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Dave Blinder Nature Photography Blog

  • New Jersey Wildlife Photography: White-tailed Deer in Meadow

    IMG_8426 copy

    White-tailed Deer in Meadow
     
    Mercer Meadows, New Jersey
     
    Taken on a recent nature photography excursion, this frame is one of my favorite wildlife shots of the year. The soft light, swaying vegetation, and mostly concealed animal gave me an opportunity for a strong image. Photography and art are more about feel, emotion, and mood. Subject is not always paramount.
     
    How would you describe the feeling of this image?

    Purchasing any of the equipment below through my Amazon Affiliate Links will help support my blog.

     

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  • Landscape Photograph – Jonathan’s Woods in Autumn

    This image is one of my favorite recent photographs.  It was taken on November 4th 2017 mid-morning on a bright overcast day.  This Autumn was not a colorful foliage season in my area but I was fortunate to come across a picket of golden hued Beech Trees whilst walking a wooded trail.  The trail is situated within Jonathan’s Woods in Rockaway NJ.

    New Jersey Fine Art Landscape Photography by Dave Blinder

    Jonathan’s Woods in Autumn. A wooded trail meanders through a pocket of vivid American Beech trees in November. New Jersey Fine Art Landscape Photograph from Rockaway Township by Dave Blinder.

    My goal with this image was to capture a frame which a viewer could easily place themselves into.  I had quite an immersive nature experience on this pleasant walk with the fragrant smells of the deciduous forest, the earthy palette of the woodlands, and the slightest breeze on my face.  If this image is successful the viewer should also have an engaging exploration within the frame with no coaxing of words or other cues.  We shall find out when I print and exhibit the piece!

    I should easily be able to make a 20″ x 30″ print from this full frame capture.  This wide angle perspective is brought to you by the Tamron USA SP 15-30mm VC lens.  A lens this wide gives an extremely broad perspective and will also make objects nearer to the camera appear larger.  This characteristic can be utilized by the landscape photographer to simulate three-dimensional space in a two-dimensional capture.  It helps the the Tamron 15-30mm is also exceedingly sharp.  Camera utilized was the Sony A7R which produces highly detailed and vivid images of my treks.

    Thank you for stopping by and be sure to get out and appreciate your local nature.  Purchase the lens through my Amazon Affiliate link helps support my art.

    Do you have any thoughts or questions about the image?  Leave a comment on this post or send me an email to dave@daveblinder.com


  • Recent Video Production: Denville Beekeeping

    I recently completed a short digital video project on beekeeping to be used as a learning tool for the Denville Community Gardens. I filmed local resident, naturalist and beekeeper Mike Leone, of Rockaway Township New Jersey, to provide both the action and dialogue.

     

    Conceptually, Mike and I wanted to keep the video informative but also upbeat.  This was easy to achieve as Mike knows many pearls of wisdom about the importance of honeybees and the work which goes into beekeeping.

    I found a terrific poppy royalty-free soundtrack online by Kevin MacLeod to set the tone.  I created the intro animation myself by drawing a cartoon bee from reference images. I then drew basic animation paths to bring our pollinator to life.

    The filming was done in two stages. For outdoor filming I utilized the Tamron 16-300mm VC PZD All-In-One lens. The broad zoom range lens allowed me to frame environmental and detail shots. Mike and I recorded the voice-over indoors using the R0DE VideoMic Go wired into my Canon SL2 DSLR.

    I have received great positive feedback from this Beekeeping production and I look forward to taking on more educational projects in the future. Let me know if you have feedback or comments on this video.  I have included a few affiliate links above if you wish to purchase the same equipment I use.

    Are you interested in collaborating with me on your own video project? Get in touch today by emailing me at daveblinderphotography@gmail.com


  • Swamp Walkers at Jonathan’s Woods in Rockaway NJ

    Yesterday in Rockaway Township NJ, I was outdoors photographing wildlife and scenery when I came across this scene.  Something I have never seen before, a recreational club whose soul mission is to walk up bodies of water.  Two club members mentioned to me that this is just a precursor to the club visiting a pub.

    Whenever I feel like I’ve seen it all, I am reminded otherwise.  I was glad I had my tripod and Tamron wildlife lens ready to go to add credibility to my sighting.

    Click to view slideshow.

    This area is a quite scenic section of the Beaver Brook.  POWWW has a small kiosk and parking for two cars right on Old Beach Glen Road for Beaver Brook access.

     

    Purchase camera equipment below from my Amazon Affiliate links to help support my blog.

    Tamron SP 150-600mm VC Telephoto Lens

    Canon SL2 Digital SLR Camera


  • Video: Fall Beekeeping at Denville Community Gardens

    When my friend and fellow POWWW board member Mike Leone (actually POWWW’s VP) asked for my help in producing a short beekeeping video I took little hesitation in saying yes.  We created this short info video on behalf on Denville Community Gardens.  The purpose of the film is to explain the great benefits of pollinators while discussing some trials and tribulations that may stump beginning beekeepers.

    Initial filming took place at the Denville Community Gardens which is located on Diamond Spring Road just outside of Downtown Denville.  I chose to film with my Canon SL2 DSLR which is a great compact and simple camera for clean 1080p video.  For filming optics, I chose my Tamron 16-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro Lens for the ability to film both broad scenes as well as close-up shots of the honeybees.  Voice Over audio was recorded after-the-fact by wiring my R0DE VideoMic GO directly into my SL2.

    Camera information aside, I was very pleased to help web-publish the invaluable information about the ecological important of honeybees.  More pollinators = more fresh local food = less processed food with preservatives and refined sugar.  Many green and sustainable practices do require a time investment, however the health benefits and feelings of self-gratification make for any easy offset.  I also greatly enjoy creating outdoor education content as I can use my multimedia background while both teaching and learning.

    If you have any beekeeping questions or video production questions please leave them in the comments and I will route them to the appropriate individual.

     

    Purchasing any of the equipment below through my Amazon Affiliate Links will help support my blog.
    Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO Lens for Canon Cameras
    Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO Lens for Nikon Cameras
    Canon EOS Rebel SL2 Digital SLR Camera Body – WiFi Enabled
    Rode VideoMic GO Lightweight On-Camera Mic


  • Yucatan Wildlife Photography with the Tamron 18-400mm 

    I hope this post is helpful for others looking to photograph wildlife near Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum. I also want to thank Tamron USA for lending me the jacknife of all travel lenses, the new 18-400mm. The broad range of this ultra telephoto All-In-One helped me image everything that moved (and a few things like ruins which did not move). I would sincerely recommend this lens to anyone looking for a versatile travel lens especially for nature which is one of my niches (addictions?).

    Yucatan birding

    Tropical Mockingbird in Cozumel Mexico

    Tropical Mockingbird
    Cozumel, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Aperture Priority +2/3 exposure compensation
    1/320th F/9 ISO 3200, 400mm

    My first time observing this species. I could easily have mistaken this bird for the Northern Mockingbirds I often see at home. Body dimensions and wingtips do stand out to me as differing slightly between the two species.

    Tamron 18-400mm bif

    Turkey Vulture in flight and Caribbean Sea

    Turkey Vulture in flight
    Cozumel, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Aperture Priority +2/3 exposure compensation
    1/4000th F/9 ISO 6400, 400mm

    The same vulture species we commonly see cleaning the roads in New Jersey. I like the small breaking wave of the Caribbean Sea in the background. I also like sharpness of the flight feathers now suspended in the frame. The Tamron 18-400mm VC did a very good job at tracking the action and also resolving the fine detail. Kudos to the Canon SL2 Rebel also for a clean enough shot at ISO 6400.

    Tulum Mexico Nature Photography

    Partially Leucistic Yucatan Jay in Tulum Mexico

    Yucatan Jay – partially leucistic
    Tulum, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Aperture Priority +2/3 exposure compensation
    1/1250th F/8 ISO 25600, 300mm

    The genetic condition of leucism in birds will often cause a loss of pigment. I am not a scientist but I do know this condition varies from albininism as an albino animal should have discolored or pink eyes. Anyhow, this was quite a challenging photograph to capture as I was in the deep shade in a grove of trees, shooting almost vertically, and dealing with extreme heat. ISO 25600 is never a desirable as fine detail is sacrificed for a brighter exposure in low light.

    Note that the shaded walk to the ruins of Tulum (approaching from the public beach side) has diverse trees including fruit trees making it a decent patch for birding.

    Mexico Sandpiper Picture

    Sanderling sandpiper in Tulum Mexico

    Sanderling
    Tulum, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Aperture Priority +1 2/3 exposure compensation
    1/250th F/9 ISO 400

    A raised natural rock perch, overcast light, and uncluttered background brought this scene together for me. Sunrise Beach in Tulum is a very pleasant yet small public area. Lisa and I both enjoyed taking photographs here and you can walk on the scenic exposed rocks at low tide. It would be hard to take a bad picture in such a place.

    Mexico Amphibian

    Gulf Coast Toad in Coba Mexico

    Gulf Coast Toad
    Coba, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Aperture Priority + 1/3 exposure compensation
    1/25th F/10 ISO 1600, 100mm

    An obliging subject at the base of a tree near ruins at Coba. Possibly my first time observing a Gulf Coast Toad, it’s dark lateral markings remind me a bit of a Wood Frog. An aperture of F/10 was selected to offer more depth of field than my typical walk-around setting of F/8. This is an uncropped image, the Tamron’s 1:2.9 (check this) macro ability is very useful for photographing small wildlife.

    Yucatan Wildlife Photography

    Striped Basilisk lizard at Coba Mexico

    Striped Basilisk Lizard
    Coba, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Aperture Priority + 1/3 exposure compensation
    1/320th F/9 ISO 800, 400mm

    I did crop in on this, I played hide and seek with this lizard for several minutes but it was not going to sit still for me. A male Basilisk would like similar but have a large angular crest atop its head. I would have preferred a cleaner setting for the shot but my goal when I travel is to document as much wildlife diversity as I can.

    Macro Insect Photography

    Carmine Skimmer dragonfly in Cancun Mexico

    Carmine Skimmer Dragonfly
    Cancun, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Aperture Priority + 0 exposure compensation
    1/200th F/8 ISO 400, 400mm

    I took this on a golf course during a morning walk from my resort. The Tamron 18-400mm looks like a good choice to me for dragonfly shooting. 400mm of telephoto reach, a short minimum focusing distance, and reputable Vibration Compensation (in lens anti-shake stabilization) are all very useful in the field.

    Isla Mujeres birds

    Cormorant and Gulls silhouette in Isla Mujeres Mexico

    Cormorant and Gulls silhouette
    Tortugranja, Isla Mujeres, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Aperture Priority + 0 exposure compensation
    1/2000th F/8 ISO 200, 227mm

    I chose not to use my lens at its furthest zoom for this image to show more context. Compositionally this is a pretty basic rule-of-thirds layout. The muted scene looks rather postcard to me which is neither good nor bad, “it is what it is”. This might print well for a dentist’s office.

    Ctenosaur Iguana picture

    Ctenosaur (spiny-tailed iguana) in Mexico

    Ctenosaur
    El Ray Ruins, Cancun, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Aperture Priority + 0 exposure compensation
    1/250th F/10 ISO 400, 400mm

    This large adult iguana is either surveying his territory, enjoying the breeze, or doing whatever else iguanas do. They are actually quite territorial and will confront other iguanas invading their turf. A good number of the iguanas we saw had tails in various stages of regeneration which is a nice evolutionary trick to have.

    Fringe-toed Foamfrog

    Sabinal Frog (aka Fringe-toed Foamfrog)

    Sabinal Frog
    El Ray Ruins, Cancun, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Aperture Priority + 1 exposure compensation
    1/160th F/9 ISO 800, 400mm

    A very diminutive frog and hard to locate at first. I chose to show its flooded grassy environment to provide context and scale.  A big thank you to Bill McGighan for identifying my photo for me.

    Cancun Crocodile Picture

    American Crocodile in Cancun

    American Crocodile
    Cancun, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Aperture Priority + 1 exposure compensation
    1/500th F/10 ISO 400, 200mm

    A small individual, this one was on the edge of the lagoon just behind a gift shop in Cancun. I had seen another tourist couple looking down in the lagoon and had a hunch of what they were looking at. After a couple of photographs and a quick conversation with the couple from Manchester UK we bid the reptile and the humans good day.

    Mexico butterfly picture

    Gulf Fritillary Butterfly in Cancun Mexico

    Gulf Fritillary
    Coral Beach, Cancun, Mexico
    Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD lens + Canon SL2
    Manual Exposure
    1/100th F/8 ISO 1600, 227mm

    The wildlife habitat at Coral Beach was less than overwhelming, however it did have more vegetation than most other parts of the tourist city. Coral Beach (also called Mirador) is a very pleasant place to walk around and a good way to avoid the crowds on the rest of the boulevard. Vibration Compensation saved the day on this shot, with a low handheld shutter speed of 1/100th at ISO 1600 I did not want to raise the ISO at the expense of fine detail.

     

    Let me know if you have any questions or comments about the photographs, locations, or lens/camera setup I will do my best to help.

     

    Purchase the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD All-In-One Zoom through my affiliate link to help support my blog

    Tamron 18-400mm for Canon APS-C

    Tamron 18-400mm for Nikon

    Canon EOS Canon EOS Rebel SL2 24 Megapixel Digital SLR Camera Body Only


  • Yucatan Birds + Tamron 18-400mm

    Common birds of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Photographed handheld with the new Tamron USA 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD All-In-One Zoom.

    Tropical Kingbird photographed at El Rey Ruins in Cancun.
    Species info on Tropical Kingbird – https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tropical_Kingbird/id
    1/320 F/9 ISO 1600, 400mm, handheld
    Tamron 18-400mm + Canon SL2
    Mexico birding

    Tropical Kingbird in Cancun Mexico photographed with the Tamron 18-400mm VC lens.

    White-winged Dove photographed at Coral Beach in Cancun.

    1/200 F/9 ISO 3200, 400mm, handheld

    Tamron 18-400mm + Canon SL2
    Wildlife Photography Sample

    White-winged Dove in Mexico photographed with the new Tamron 18-400mm VC All-In-One Lens.

     

    Order this terrific lens and camera combination through my Amazon links will help support my blog.

    Tamron 18-400mm for Canon

    Tamron 18-400mm for Nikon

    Canon EOS Canon EOS Rebel SL2 24 Megapixel Digital SLR Camera Body Only

     

    Please let me know if you have any questions about the photographs, lens, or location.


  • Jonathan’s Woods Red Trail to Green Trail

    Located in Denville and Rockaway New Jersey, Jonathan’s Woods is owned in parts by Morris County Park Commission, as well as both townships.

    Trails are maintained by Protect Our Wetlands, Water and Woods (POWWW).

    New Jersey Hiking

    Hiking trail at Jonathan’s Woods in Morris County NJ

    Kiosk for Red Trail is located on Old Beach Glen Road in Denville.

    Denville Trails

    Kiosk at Jonathan’s Woods on Old Beach Glen Road

    A Google Maps search for Jonathan’s Woods will get you to the main parking area. Take the Red Trail from the parking lot on Old Beach Glen Road.

    New Jersey Nature

    Red Trail at Jonathan’s Woods in Denville Twp

    Turn Right at the Green Blaze on the old gravel road to head towards the wetlands.

    NJ outdoors

    Green Trail at Jonathan’s Woods county park

    The Beaver Brook marsh is a great place to sit and look for wildlife or just unwind.

    NJ nature photography

    Beaver Brook marsh with Wildcat Ridge beyond

    Wildlife watching NJ

    Beaver dam at Jonathan’s Woods

    Following the Green Trail will take you across seasonal stream crossings before you return to the parking lot.  You will also pass near the “Cathedral Pine” area which was largely toppled by Hurricane Sandy but has since been re-planted.

    NJ hike

    Seasonal wetlands on Green Trail

    Pine Trees Grove NJ

    Former Cathedral Pine Area devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The area has since been re-planted and is being monitored by Morris County Park Commission and POWWW.

    For any info on the trails at Jonathan’s Woods contact info@powww.org


  • Tamron 18-400mm Full Resolution Butterfly

    I took this digital photograph of an Painted Lady butterfly recently in Chester New Jersey.  Click on the picture to download or view the high resolution original.  Zoom in to view the sharpness from the new Tamron 18-400mm ultra-telephoto all-in-one lens.

    Tamron 18-400mm Sharpness

    Tamron 18-400mm Macro Sample Image of an Painted Lady Butterfly. Straight Out Of Camera.

    The Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD all-in-one lens was handheld in conjunction with the Canon SL2 Digital Rebel.  I am extremely impressed by the fine detail resolved in this SOOC (straight out of camera) shot.  The tiny hairs by the butterfly eyes are very well defined.  I also like the pleasing bokeh of background flowers.

    100% crop from above SOOC photograph

    Tamron 18-400mm macro photography

    Tamron 18-400mm VC 100% Crop SOOC. Handheld at 400mm F/9 on Canon SL2. Photo by Dave Blinder

    Exposure settings:

    Tamron 18-400mm VC @ 400mm, Autofocus On, Vibration Compensation On

    Canon SL2 in Aperture Priority Mode +2/3 exposure, AI Servo Focus

    1/800 F9 ISO 800

     

    Purchase the new Tamron 18-400mm from Amazon using my affiliate links  (help support my blog)

    Tamron 18-400mm for Canon – http://amzn.to/2xvjzbX

    Tamron 18-400mm for Nikon – http://amzn.to/2xPqXj9

    Canon EOS Rebel SL2 Digital SLR Camera Body Only – http://amzn.to/2xBsFU8

     

    Do you have any questions about the lens, camera, or photograph?  Any more sample images you’d like to see?  Let me know.


  • Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch 9/23/2017

    A few quick views from one of my favorite local vistas.

    NJ hiking

    Photographer taking a shot of NYC in the distance. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

    The Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area Hawk Watch also serves as an unofficial community center for nature observation and study.

    NJ birding

    International Hawk Week banner. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

    A great service to the public has been provided by Bill Gallagher and more recent NJ Fish&Wildlife Volunteers. Bill will be missed.

    NJ hawk migration

    Volunteer Frank Bundy tallies passing raptors. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

    These giving folks greet newcomers to the hawkwatch and provide birdwatching knowledge and tips to all.

    Rockaway Township NJ

    Visitors come to discuss migration. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

    The volunteers also provide raptor migration data sheets to NJF&W and other wildlife monitoring organizations.

    New Jersey Nature Area

    Visitors take in the panoramic view. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

    Visit the Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch this Fall. Parking is available at the far end of Upper Hibernia Road in Rockaway Twp NJ. Ascend the gravel road on foot 6/10 of a mile before turning for Hawk Watch access. Bring binoculars, water, and a snack.

    Visit the WCR Enhancement Website for more detailed visitor information.