David Alaniz Photography

Natures turn…….

Monthly Archives: July 2013

Pellican – Low Light

I made a trip to the Texas City Dike since I hadn’t been there in some time.  I was gambling on the weather front passing through before the sun came up.  I should have been a weather man because I got it wrong.  It was a heavy overcast morning and I was going to make the best of it.  Shooting ISO 2000 – 3200 was common since the sun was hidden all morning.  With the D4, I never hesitated shooting 1600.  Now I know going higher can be just as good.  I use Photoshop to process my work.  I used a slight noise reduction in ACR as I converted my raw files.

It sprinkled at times and then started raining as I was leaving.  Half way home the sun came out with blue skies.  There is always another day.

Nikon D4, Nikon 500mm, f/4, 1/1000, Ev +0.67, ISO 2200


Nikon D4, Nikon 500mm, f/4, 1/1000, Ev +0.67, ISO 2000


Avocet – The Pair

While at Bryan Beach there were a good number of Avocets in the shrinking pond.  Capturing a decent shot was a real challenge with so many different birds in one location.  Just when you think it’s going to happen another comes too close or crosses paths with your subject.  So goes the life of a photographer….just have to keep trying.

Nikon D4, Nikon 500mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, Ev -1.0, ISO 500


Selective Memory

Do you ever wonder what happens to your brain’s memories.  While thinning out some pictures (nice way of saying deleting) I came across this one.  As soon as I saw it I was overloaded with a memory.  I remember all the details from arrival to departure at this location.  I stood there just absorbing the beauty.  There were people everywhere and no hope of getting any type of shot.  So I walked past the rock wall and turned right.  Had to stop and think for a second.  It was narrow and Very steep as in trip and you would become the bowling ball knocking everyone down.  I slowly started down the 1 1/2 body wide path.  Half way down I had a decision to make.  Either stay on a level high plane with no place to extend my tripod or choose the steeeeeppppeeerrrr one foot in front of the other half body path made only for serious photographers.  It was a no brainer, or lack of brains that I took this path.  This was a very slow descent to the waters edge.  I did a marvelous job considering my center of gravity has changed over the last umpteen years.  I set up and took a few pictures.  Ugh! After reviewing, it wasn’t what I expected.

I took a look back up the trail.  Had to ask myself what was I thinking when I made the decision to come down.  After reviewing in my mind the best way to go back up, I picked up my tripod with camera and started up the trail.  It was very slow but progressing.  Half way up my right foot forgot the progressing part of the plan.  It failed to lift high enough and hooked on a rock.  Kind of like trying to step over a branch but your foot catches it and your body goes forward with or without your foot.  It happened in a flash.  I was down, hard and solid.  Did my camera/lens pick some soft dirt to land on.  Noooo!  It found a nice hard rock.  So there I am laying on this incline looking at my camera/lens.   I stayed calm, kept all words that wanted out in cheek.  After breathing in and out in and out several times I started back up the path.  Finally got off the lack of brains trail and back to the top.  My wife asked if my foot was ok.  Sure, ask about my foot, don’t ask about me.

My Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 lens no longer would zoom.  With my lips sealed I walked back to the car and took out my back up lens.  I attached it to my D300s and set it on a tripod.  Took some random photos and all checked out good.  Before I took the last photo all the people had miraculously moved out of the view.  This is how I got the shot.

I can vividly remember all the details including the Nikon repair bill for $750, but for the life of me I can’t remember the name and location of the lake.

Nikon D300s, 17-55mm, f/16, 1/80, EV -1.33, ISO 200


Ibas – Mouth Full

While at Bryan Beach an Ibas caught my attention when he snagged this fish.  I have never seen an Ibas catch a large fish much less get it down.  I was thinking this could be interesting.  Well, he drew a lot of attention with such a catch.  He tried to get it down quickly but it wasn’t to be.  Darting in and out around other “I want what you have” birds and just trying to find a little alone time wasn’t easy.  But he persisted and finally found a little “alone time” and…and he…dropped the fish.  It was only about a couple of inches deep as he poked and poked trying to find his catch.  I think we have all lost some big ones along the way so what do you do…keep fishing.

Nikon D4, Nikon 500, f/5.6, 1/4000, EV -1.0, ISO 500


Skimmers – Banking Turns

You always want to capture Skimmers skimming along the water.  After all, that’s why they are called skimmers.  However, there is something else I like to see them do.  Banking into their turns.  At the end of their skimming run they lift and go into a banking turn lining up for a return run.  The turn can be graceful or hard and sharp.  Some what like a jet fighter pulling G-forces in the turn.  That’s just another reason why I like shooting them.  They can offer a full show.

Nikon D4, Nikon 500mm, f/5.6. 1/1000, EV -1.0, ISO 500


Nikon D4, Nikon 500mm, f/5.6. 1/1200, EV -1.0, ISO 500

Brian-Beach_20130713_0310webNikon D4, Nikon 500mm, f/5.6. 1/1000, EV -1.0, ISO 500


Nikon D4, Nikon 500mm, f/5.6. 1/1600, EV -1.0, ISO 500



One of the most fun things to shoot is skimmers.  They just keep coming and it will offer you all the practice you can handle.  Fellow photographer Tim Timmis made mention of the skimmers at Bryan Beach.  Also it wouldn’t be long before the large water holes are dried up.

I ran into Tim at the location and believe we had a pretty good time.  As for getting the shots, you just have to get in the muck along with all the dead fish not to mention the smell.  However, it all goes away (well maybe not all) when you start shooting.  With the low pond level and so many birds it’s hard to get any type of isolation on your subject.  But, every once in a while you get lucky.

The first picture is a full frame shot.  No cropping, just a few slider moves to process.  The second one I cropped to give it a cleaner appearance.

Nikon D4, 500mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, EV -1.0, ISO 500


Nikon D4, 500mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, EV -1.0, ISO 500


Blue Birds

I was able to process a few more of the blue birds I took recently.  These were taken with the 1.4tc on the 500mm.

D4, 500mm + 1.4tc, f/6.3, 1/1250, EV -0.67, ISO 500, spot meter


D4, 500mm + 1.4tc, f/6.3, 1/1100, EV -0.67, ISO 500, spot meter


D4, 500mm + 1.4tc, f/5.6, 1/800, EV -0.67, ISO 800, spot meter


D4, 500mm + 1.4tc, f/5.6, 1/1200, EV +0.33, ISO 800, spot meter


Blue Bird – Perched

Finally, after trying all year I was able to get a few pictures of some blue birds.  It wasn’t for the lack of trying.  I just couldn’t get in a good position or close enough.  So, this time I ignored them and they came to me.  I think the grass being newly cut did the trick.  They feed on insects and this gave them a good opportunity to find some a little easier.  Hmmm, mow the grass and they will come.

Nikon D4, 500mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, EV -1.0, ISO 1250, spot meter