Tag Archives: nature

3 Hawk drawings

Here are a couple of drawings from yesterday and one from today.

Yesterday was 2 takes on the same source image Cooper’s hawk.

I like the first one better. The closely placed eyes are true to the little bird’s place in the raptor pecking order…

The second one didn’t quite work out line weight and “feel”-wise.

This one I like, it’s pretty dark and matches the coloring of the source image well.

Both source images were taken in Cape May during the fall migration.

Red-Tailed Hawk drawing

I’ve started a slightly new way (to me) of learning to draw a new bird. I’m doing small versions right next to each other. This makes it easier to iterate and compare each version. It also means I can draw each one quicker because they’re smaller 😉.

Here’s the source image.

These are the two side by side versions, the one on the right is my second try.

Trying to figure out the size and placement of features.

And then getting it better. I think I really improved. There so much feather and hair detail around the eye and beak that’s easy to miss or overlook.

One thing I want to get better at is capturing the essence in fewer lines/strokes.

Eagle Drawings #4 and #5

snapseed-1

Here’s another take on an eagle, with the eyes more proportional and further apart.

The other drawings had more of a hawk look, with the eyes closer.

And here’s another one, this one I actually drew with a tilt in the image itself.  The above was just photographed with the tilt.  I think the below wound up less symmetrical as a result.

When I do these I tend to start with the left eye, ie the right side of the drawing, and then when I try to draw the right eye (left side of the drawing) I’m covering up what I already drew with my hand!  It’s weird, I don’t know why I do it that way.  I’m going to try the other way.  What I do however is make a faint sketch to outline the placement of eyes and beak, but even so it has some out a little off…

snapseed-2

“Eagle” drawings

I’ve picked up drawing again of late.

Last year I drew a bunch and again a few months ago I drew some.

Tonight I drew 3 of the same thing, from the same reference photo.  The first one basically was to get an idea of the proportions and how to lay out the features.

Snapseed_3

Next I drew it again, with more lines, and more crazy, overlapping features, trying to explore it a bit.

Snapseed_2

Finally I drew it again, starting more slowly and with much smaller strokes/lines.

Snapseed_1

With the above as the start, I added more.

Snapseed_1a.JPG

Finally I added more details, and finished the drawing.  The first two took about 10 minutes each, and the last one might have taken 15 or 20 minutes.

Snapseed_1b

I like the results.  The eyes should probably be further apart to be more accurate.

The above are photographed with my phone, and then edited in snapseed to black and white, with the key edits being the tone-curve to boost contrast and desaturation to make them black and white.

In the past I have drawn a ton of eagle portraits from the side of the bird, that are like this one.  I did this with pen and a highlighter ;).

SnapseedI had a bunch of drawings on Instagram but I closed my account, so there’s just this one drawing remaining online from my past efforts.

Amazon links:

Birds: Great Blue Herons

In 2006 I was new to wildlife and nature photography, just getting going, just starting to learn the ins and outs of my camera, of subjects, of trying to see a subject and make a unique and good image.

This image is far from perfect, but it was an accomplishment at the time. It was taken with my Nikon D200 and the original 80-400mm lens.

Precision - GBH @ Centennial Lake, Columbia Maryland  2006

In 2008 I wrote a post on how to get the most out of the 80-400mm lens, I think many of the tips hold up today and with any lens.

In 2010 I had been going to Great Falls National Park for a few years, and I would photograph the bald eagles up river from the falls, as well as the herons.

The below heron image is one of my all time favorites, of any subject. It took many visits to get a proper balance of light to allow for a slow enough shutter speed, and to have water flowing in such a way that the bird would be in a good spot with some dynamic patterns in the background.

D300s – 400mm, f/13, 1/8th of second.

Great Falls Blue Heron

A much more common photo from Great Falls is this one, with bubbling flows of water and herons gliding past. 2006 – D200 80-400mm, f/6.3, 1/800th.

Great Blue Heron @ Great Falls National Park, Maryland

In 2017 I managed a different version of the same type of scene as above:
GBH @ Great Falls National Park

For more years than I would have liked I shot in jpg format.  I didn’t shoot raw!  The main issue was that the tools I had to edit files made it hard to produce an image I liked as much as I could get from a jpg.  So I went with jpgs.  Later I shot both formats, and eventually I switched to only shooting raw. Using Lightroom to edit images made all the difference.

In 2008 I got this unique to me so far image (after some friends at Blackwater NWR mentioned they had just gotten a heron who snagged 2 fish at once).  I found the same heron and he did it again!

Expert

In 2009 I made friends with a local heron and he was amazing to watch and photograph.

D300 – 35mm.  Standing a few feet away and using a relatively wide angle lens, I liked how the splash made for a unique image.

Splashtastical
This heron was a very good fisherman, and would let me shoot from so close without disturbing him. It was one of those things, if you can find a bird that is ok with being watched, take full advantage of it, and make lots of images! I photographed him for a little over a year I think, and then he was gone.

GBH

D300 w/ 200-400mm w/ 1.4xTC (at 460mm), 1/320th, f5.6.  Looking at those settings I’m surprised at the sharpness.  I have a tendency to shoot slow shutter speeds to try to keep noise down, and to sometimes allow for motion around the edges where that adds to an image’s aliveness.  Freezing action completely is not something I usually go for.  I saw this National Geographic image and story by Nick Nichols in 2006 and have never forgotten the blurred Panda.

May Everyone Have Something To Be Thankful For

D300s – 200-400mm w/ (I think) 1.7xTC at 650mm, 1/400th, f/7.1.  These settings also seem a little against the grain for me now, I never use my 1.7xTC, and would not be inclined to shoot this wide open and at only 1/400th of a second.  But it worked, and the focus on on the eye where I wanted it.  I’m pretty sure I had to shoot a bunch to land it right.  (Note this also predates AF-finetune, and I know it would have needed a major adjustment.)

Great Blue Heron

During the summer of 2017 I found another somewhat friendly heron, and shot him a bunch.

GBH @ KAG

Putting this post together I can see how my eye and technique has evolved. And how my images are now cleaner, and better.

Gone Fishing

Finally, one of my favorite heron images is this one from Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Florida, in 2015.  It’s taken at sunrise shooting right towards the sun. The two adult herons are sitting on the nest where there’s a chick (below and out of frame).  I’ve been back to this exact spot more than once and not been able to reproduce the light/birds/resulting images.  However, when I first saw the setup for the above image – it was a year earlier, and someone else was standing in this exact spot, and I didn’t try to shoot over his shoulder or crowd in on him.  I waited A YEAR, and tried again on my next trip to Florida.  Luckily it worked out, because this is among my favorite images/sequences.

D4 w/ 600mm f/4 – f/4.5, 1/1000th, ISO 100.
Proud Parents

See more of my GBH images on flickr.

Do you have a favorite image from above? Or a heron image of your own? Let me know in the comments.