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As readers of this blog will remember, about a year and half ago I had the pleasure of photographing an unusually colored heron in Cuba’s Jardines del rey archipelago, an UNESCO World Biosphere, on the island of Cayo Santa Maria. My photos of this odd looking heron eventually made their way to Dr. James Kushlan of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Heron Specialist Group. It is believed that this heron  is either a melanistic or genetic variant of the Green Heron and is most likely the first record for such plumage in this species.

Below you will see the JPEG version from the latest issue of Conservator, a beautiful magazine that is published by Ducks Unlimited Canada  and sent out to those that hold a membership with Ducks Unlimited Canada. The most recent issue of the magazine began hitting the doorsteps of DUC members this week and features an InfoGraphic on my Melanistic Green Heron that I photographed in Cuba. The inset image shows a normally plumaged Green Heron that was also photogaphed in Cuba.

Please take a moment to check out the Ducks Unlimited Canada website particularly the page that celebrates their 75 Years of Conservation Excellence.  DUC has conserved 6.3 million acres and has completed 9,000 projects all aimed at conservation. That folks is an amazing track record don’t you think!

To see a larger version of this excerpt from the magazine do remember to click on the image.

 

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Tiny Marsh at sunrise (3-stop reverse graduated filter)

On Friday morning I made a quick trip up to Tiny Marsh for some sunrise photography. Tiny Marsh, located just west of Barrie, Ontario, is one of my favorite destinations for sunrise photography and wetland wildlife images too. Don’t let the name fool you, this is a very large wetland. The wetland section of this location is 600 hectares in size and is surrounded by 300 hectares of forest and fields. It is managed, in part, by Ducks Unlimited Canada. This was my first visit to the marsh this year as I have been too busy to get here sooner. I often arrive long before sunrise to allow time to walk out across the wetland trails to be where I want to be when the show begins. It is always a pleasure to listen to the sounds of the marsh as it awakens with the new day. Black Terns, Pied-billed Grebe, Osprey, Trumpeter Swans, Least Bitterns, Otters and many other critters abound here.

I have begun to use a Singh Ray 3-stop reverse graduated filter for sunrise photos where the sun is just above the horizon. The reverse graduated filter does a wonderful job at holding back the bright sun as it rises above the horizon. This filter yields more pleasing results for these type of images as opposed to using an ordinary graduated filter.

Tiny Marsh at sunrise (3-stop reverse graduated filter)

While waiting for the sun to rise don’t forget to look over your shoulder. Often you will find some rather pleasing colors in the sky. For the image below I used a combination of a Singh Ray 2-stop soft edge graduated filter with a Singh Ray Color Intensifier. The original image was composed with some wild rice poking into the foreground. To include the cloud formation reflections I was forced to include them in the composition and then evict them later in post processing.

Tiny Marsh (Singh Ray 2-stop grad filter & Color Intensifier)

As I was walking out along the wetland trail towards my car, the sun was much higher in the sky and broke through an opening in the cloud cover producing rays of light that shone down on the wetland. For the image below I used a 2-stop graduated filter and a Cokin Blue and Yellow Polarizing Filter. I don’t particularly like using the blue and yellow filter, but do find that it has its place when used sparingly. Often when using this type of filter with digital capture some adjustment to white balance and color temperature is required. If you are interested in using this type of filter I would suggest you purchase the Singh Ray version (I keep putting it off, but need to replace the Cokin one with this one) which is called ‘Gold-N-Blue” and to use if effectively refer to Darwin Wiggett’s blog entry at Focus on Singh Ray Filters.

Tiny Marsh (2-stop grad filter & Cokin Blue & Yellow polarizer)

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