View 441: Mammals of the Zoo

Last week I shared photos of birds. This week I feature some of the mammals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York I photographed during my visit.

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Nikon D750/80-400VRII, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 1250, EV +0.3, 400mm Focal Length.

An adult Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) prowling the enclosure. Snow Leopards are still very much endangered and zoo populations keep the species viable.

Asian Elephants

Young Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) cooling off in the water at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Nikon D750/80-400VRII, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 180, EV +0.3, 400mm Focal Length.

The two youngest members of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s Asian Elephants were cooling off in the water.

Bactrian Camel

Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus) at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Nikon D750/80-400VRII, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 320, EV +0.3, 320mm Focal Length.

Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus) is a large, even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of Central Asia. Mostly domesticated, Bactrian camels have a tolerance for cold, drought, and high altitudes, which enabled them to be used for travel in caravans on the Silk Road.

American Bison Calf

American Bison calf (Bison bison) photographed at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Nikon D750/80-400VRII, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 160, EV +0.3, 370mm Focal Length.

An American Bison calf (Bison bison) heading towards a muddy wallow to cool off on a hot summer’s day at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

Except for the Snow Leopard exhibit, the other exhibits were large so I could not get in close for portraits and chose to get more environmental type photos.

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View 440: Bird Portraiture

After making an Advanced Reservation, I entered a very quiet Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York last weekend. None of the inside exhibits were open in the entrance building. There were signs indicating the one way direction around the outside Wildlife Trail.

I enjoyed taking portraits of some of the birds on exhibit using a Nikon D750 dSLR camera with a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VRII lens. The long focal length allowed me to focus through the fencing and get up close portraits.

Barred Owl Portrait

Barred Owl (Strix varia) at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Nikon D750/80-400VRII, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 2200, EV 0, 400mm Focal Length.

Barred Owls (Strix varia) are often called Hoot Owls for their distinctive call heard at night. As I got as close to this owl’s exhibit as I could, the owl rotated his head and looked right at me.

Kookaburra Portrait

Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Nikon D750/80-400VRII, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 640, EV 0, 400mm Focal Length.

Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) lives in eastern Australia though you may be more familiar with the bird’s call from old Tarzan movies. Watch this video to learn about and hear the Laughing Kookaburra.

Blue Crane Portrait

Blue Crane (Grus paradisea) at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Nikon D750/80-400VRII, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 500, EV 0, 400mm Focal Length.

Blue cranes (Grus paradisea), also known as the Stanley crane and the paradise crane, is the national bird of South Africa. A tall and elegant bird with a bluish-gray plumage.

As in any portraiture, make sure you have sharp focus on the subject’s eyes with enough depth of field to separate it from the background.

With many public locations closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ones that are open need our support.

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View 439: Stars Over Fair Haven State Park

Fancying another try at photographing comet Neowise, I met up with photographer Rod Best at Fair Haven Beach State Park near Fair Haven, New York last Tuesday night. We got to the park in time to catch a classic Lake Ontario sunset from the beach.

Sunset at Fair Heaven Beach State Park

Sunset at Fair Haven Beach State Park near Fair Haven, New York on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/40s, f/16, EV 160, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, Tripod, HDR Image.

To pull the detail and colors out of the scene, I took a set of 5 photos from -2 to +2EV and merged them into Skylum’s Aurora 2019 software to create this High Dynamic Range or HDR image.

Unfortunately, those clouds settled in over the lake and did not give us much of a look at Neowise. As the night got darker we turned our cameras south of the lake.

Stars over Fair Heaven Beach State Park

Stars and planets over Fair Haven Beach State Park near Fair Haven, New York on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 13s, f/4, ISO 5000, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, Tripod.

You can kind of see the Milky Way on the right side of the photo but there is a lot of light pollution and clouds. The bright “star” you see is the planet Jupiter. I brought along the Sigma 120-300 Sport lens and placed it on the tripod to see what the planet Jupiter looked like. Using the Nikon D750’s Live View on its LCD, I did my best to first find Jupiter and then manually focus on it.

Jupiter and Moons

Jupiter and moons from Fair Haven Beach State Park near Fair Haven, New York on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Nikon D750/Sigma 120-300 Sport, 1s, f/2.8, ISO 3200, EV 0, 300mm Focal Length, Tripod, Cropped (a lot!).

In this highly cropped photo, you can see Jupiter and its four largest moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Nothing like a real telescope could do but not bad for a first time amateur astrophotographer.

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View 438: Comet Neowise

Comet Neowise recently appeared in my Northern night sky at my latitude this week. Over the weekend, I attempted to photograph it. After waiting for the clouds to move off and the sky to get dark enough to see, I spotted Neowise from my location overlooking the Oswego Harbor in Oswego, New York.

Comet Neowise over Oswego Harbor 1

Comet Neowise over Oswego Harbor at Oswego, New York on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 30s, f/4, ISO 100, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, Tripod.

You can see Neowise’s tail just above a couple of stars high in the frame. I could not see it with the naked eye. A pair of binoculars helped to get a good view.

Comet Neowise over Oswego Harbor 2

Comet Neowise over Oswego Harbor at Oswego, New York on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 30s, f/4, ISO 800, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, Tripod, Cropped.

Cropping helped to bring out Comet Neowise over Lake Ontario and Oswego Harbor’s breakwall. The long 30 second exposure gave the comet and stars an oblong look as they moved…er, as the Earth moved.

Comet Neowise

Comet Neowise as seen from the Oswego Harbor at Oswego, New York on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 30s, f/4, ISO 800, EV 0, 78mm Focal Length, Tripod, Cropped.

In this highly cropped image of Comet Neowise officially designated as C/2020 F3, you can see the tail. Again, the long exposure making it look oblong.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, take the time to step outside and find Comet Neowise. It will not be back in our sky for another 6,000 years!

 

 

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View 437: 2020 Rt. 31 Cars and Coffee

With upstate New York going to Phase III in re-opening, the Rt. 31 Cars & Coffee was given the go ahead to start the 2020 season. People had been waiting for weeks to come out and show their cars. The weather was perfect for the first day of Summer and over 250 cars came out for the event.

Rt. 31 Cars and Coffee hosted by Wegmans of Clay, New York

Rt. 31 Cars and Coffee at Wegmans in Clay, New York on Saturday, June 20, 2020. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/160s, f/11, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 20mm Focal Length, Polarizer Filter.

With bright Sun, I used a polarizer filter to control the reflections on the cars paint and windows. This cut down on glare.

As always, we had vehicles from as far back as the early 1900’s like this 1926 Chevy Hot Rod.

1926 Chevy Hot Rod

1926 Chevy Coupe Hot Rod at Rt. 31 Cars & Coffee at Wegmans in Clay, New York on Saturday, June 20, 2020. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 125, EV +0.3, 24mm Focal Length, Polarizer Filter.

To today’s most modern of American muscle cars, the 2020 Chevy Corvette C8 mid-engine coupe which was very popular with everyone from gearheads to the curious passersby.

2020 Corvette C8

2020 Chevy Corvette C8 Coupe at Rt. 31 Cars & Coffee at Wegmans in Clay, New York on Saturday, June 20, 2020. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 125, EV +0.3, 24mm Focal Length, Polarizer Filter.

If you live in the area, stop by at Wegmans on Route 31 in Clay, NY on Saturday mornings from now until the end of September. The cars are there from 7am to 10:30am and you can enjoy looking them over. If you have a car, truck, motorcycle, EV or another type of vehicle, you are welcome to join in on the fun!

Click this link to see all the photos this year’s events:

2020 Rt. 31 Cars and Coffee Photo Gallery

 

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