Saturday, May 31, 2008

Trail camera

One of my recent acquisitions is a 5MP Bushnell trail camera. Hunters use them to scout the best location for blasting critters, but I'm interested in the actual images. I think that difference in motivation is why I haven't been very impressed with the camera so far. The motion detector works well enough, but the images, I must say, suck.

I saw a fox sprinting across a nearby field a few weeks ago, so I set up the camera in a stand of trees nearby. After a week, I got about 140 images of vegetation waving in the wind, two of me approaching to check it, and one of the deer below. I can tell this is an antlerless deer, but other than that I don't have much use for a noisy 5MP JPG.

Nonetheless, I'll probably try a new location in the next few days in the hope of getting a shot of that fox. At my next location I'll avoid shooting into the sun and also avoid having vegetation in the background that sets off the motion detector when the wind comes up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eagle's Nest

During my recent trip to Kansas, I cut through the northwest corner of Missouri and Squaw Creek NWR to see the bald eagle nest. I saw a youngster in the nest, but the light and the weather were unfavorable for making images. I drove down to Squaw Creek yesterday so I could spend this morning getting some better images of the eagles.

Throughout the morning I saw an adult eagle roosting near the nest and flying around, but got only the slightest view of the little one. In early afternoon just as the sun was moving toward an unfavorable angle, I finally got a few shots of an adult at the nest and the youngster shaded but visible.

Since this was just a brief trip and I had plenty of trunk space, I also brought along my telescope and digiscoping attachments. For comparison purposes, the above image taken with a DSLR and 1000mm lens (500mm + 2x teleconverter) is cropped, and the digiscoped image below is uncropped, so the digiscoping setup does provide more magnification. It's also less sharp and very difficult to focus.

Neither version is real successful but still they are the best "adult and young eagle in a nest" images that I've gotten. So there's plenty of room for improvement.

Friday, May 16, 2008


When I was in Massachusetts the goldfinches were around all year, but here in the frozen heartland I didn't see any all winter at the thistle seed feeder. Finally yesterday a group of three or so finally made their presence known, but it was too late in the day to get any images. And today a big shovel is digging a basement in the empty lot next door, so I think the little birds are staying away from the commotion.

So here's a Massachusetts goldfinch from '06, and at least now I know they frequent South Dakota as well.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Here is my best yellow-headed blackbird shot from my trip to Kansas. Click here for a wrapup and a link to more photos.