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A random set of images from... VLF Wildlife Competition (first post)
Posted By: Marc Langille, 07-30-2008, 07:08 PM

My first post for this competition...

Division I: for now, just sample wading, shore, trashers, and and the mockingbird classes. They are only several of the 17 classes. As some of you may know, I shot with two camera systems: Pentax and Canon. The Canon system was the 40D+grip and the Sigma 500/4.5 APO EX DG.

This was by far the most difficult environment I've ever shot in: the conditions were at the extreme end of wildlife photography! The area (deep south Texas) is much further south than a sizeable portion of Mexico. It was under severe drought conditions, with NO rainfall recorded for seven months. This area is so far south, only Hurricane Dolly brought in the second significant rainfall in the past year. It was extremely hot, dusty, and sandy conditions. I suspect that only the watering holes saved many animals from potential death, especially when the hit index was hitting 105F in the early part of May.

NOTE: Unless otherwise specified, NONE of these images are crops. They are the full image. That is part of the rules of the competition.

First, a Great White Egret washing it's prey prior to lunchtime:



Crop of the action (this is not at 100%):



Killdeer (a shore bird):


Brown Thrasher - this bird was part of a nesting pair taking care of their young one(s) in a mesquite tree nest. I was near the MFD for this shot. At 100%, the head and bill are almost 15 inches across!!! Again, no cropping:



Northern Mockingbird - currently displaying it's wings as part of it's feeding behavior. This is done to startle the insects/invertebrates into moving and then it darts in to pick up the prey:



I'll post more as time permits! Coming up: Greater Roadrunner, Bewick's Wren, Mourning Dove, Northern Cardinal, to name a few.... and there is quite a few!

Cheers,
Marc
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07-30-2008, 07:11 PM   #2
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Fantastic... all of them
07-30-2008, 08:35 PM   #3
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awesome stuff !!!
07-30-2008, 08:37 PM   #4
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Wow..............

07-30-2008, 08:41 PM   #5
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Wow, awsome , those are some incredible pictures Marc. Thanks for sharing as well as the conditions. 105 degrees is well above my melting point kudo's for a job well done.

When do you hear of the results or did I miss that piece of information ?
07-31-2008, 05:42 AM   #6
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Absolutely stunning images Marc. Looking forward to hearing the results.
07-31-2008, 11:17 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jocko_nc Quote
Wow..............
That says it all
07-31-2008, 12:17 PM   #8
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Great stuff Marc! Perfect timing on all of them.

07-31-2008, 12:35 PM   #9
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Excellent series. Nicely done.

The Brown Thasher is my favorite.
07-31-2008, 01:23 PM   #10
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These are beautiful shots; it’s been great hearing your thoughts and experiences from the competition.
07-31-2008, 01:24 PM   #11
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The Killdeer pic almost looks like it's in 3-D and that Brown Thrasher pic is simply amazing. The egret is a great capture. Looks yummy!
07-31-2008, 01:53 PM   #12
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Awesome Marc!!
07-31-2008, 03:51 PM   #13
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Sigma 500/4.5 used in these shots

QuoteOriginally posted by nulla Quote
Fantastic... all of them
QuoteOriginally posted by Stratman Quote
awesome stuff !!!
Thank you both for the kind words - I am glad you enjoyed them! BTW, the images in this post are all with Canon. Again, the image quality is my ultimate benchmark (as stated in past posts). Sometimes the system came through, sometimes not. Sometimes I experienced frustration with either system, and sometimes Pentax delivered the goods over Canon.... there is no best solution in what I used. The Sigma 500/4.5 is a fine, fine lens - wonderful clarity. I'll post some Pentax images soon!

It's been a big experience for me, both from the extreme environmental conditions, the highs/lows of managing trips/equipment/delays (and yet more delays), to the challenge of photographing animals that rarely see a human being or even a vehicle. Heck, the only birds I've ever photographed with any sense of conviction were hummingbirds... I'm a newbie compared to most bird photographers...

I almost considered quitting the competition at one point... Thank goodness I like a challenge, and it didn't hurt that my better half gave me grief for even thinking about calling it quits!!

Regards,
Marc
07-31-2008, 06:57 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jocko_nc Quote
Wow..............
Thanks Jocko - glad you enjoyed them!

QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
Wow, awsome , those are some incredible pictures Marc. Thanks for sharing as well as the conditions. 105 degrees is well above my melting point kudo's for a job well done.

When do you hear of the results or did I miss that piece of information ?
Thanks Dave for those very kind words. I had to protect my gear from direct sunlight if it was out for more than 45 minutes - too much heat and I started to melt! I think it's important people understand the difficulty of this. It's not a simple thing to do - it's incredibly challenging and is truly "extreme nature photography". Dry, dusty and windy conditions, along with heavy overcast skies during April and the first part of May much of the time was tough.

I had someone come for a couple of days and I warned him about the heat. The reply that he's capable of handling 113F in Florida changed it's tune once he got there and experienced the "heat gun" for wind conditions of deep south Texas...

QuoteOriginally posted by scott-devon Quote
Absolutely stunning images Marc. Looking forward to hearing the results.
Wow Scott - you humble me with those words. Much appreciated!


To answer those questions about judging and results: currently the judging was to commence last week, but Hurricane Dolly swept through, so I have no idea what or where it's at right now...

The time line is to announce the winners in early September, even though the judging finishes up much before then. If I understand correctly, it's because they want to send the books/calendars to print and have them ready for the award ceremonies. So, I am hoping to have a couple images in print... maybe??


Regards,
Marc
07-31-2008, 08:52 PM   #15
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Incredible shots Marc. The Egret in action is over the top. Perfect capture at the right second. I've been waiting to see these in larger sizes since the teasers you posted earlier. They certainly do not disappoint! Looking forward to more. And continued good luck!!

Last edited by Peter Zack; 07-31-2008 at 10:00 PM.
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