Wildlife photo thread

My new Lumix FZ300 arrived yesterday and I took it paddling today. I really need to spend some time with the directions, because I had not a clue what I was doing. I was frustrated with how long it took to be ready for subsequent photos, even though I have a fast memory card for it. All that said, so far I’m thrilled. I had a beautiful day on the water today, and stalked a lot of wildlife (I also chewed out a guy on his houseboat for throwing cigarette butts in the water. WTH?). I’ll just share two photos for now, because I am still a terrible photographer.

The hornet nest I almost ate recently. They were very active but the photos I caught of the residents were all blurry. I have much to learn - especially to not get so engrossed in shooting that I don’t notice I’m drifting too close to a nest!

I watched this guy fish for a while, and he was wary at first but then forgot I was there. I have loads of blurry photos of him, too.

There were not a lot of herons out there today. I think they have started moving on from the area.


Maybe all your big blue herons are traveling to or through my area. Spotted more of them than usual yesterday in one inlet of the big local lake as well as a lone great white egret, ospreys, masses of ducks, couple of coots and a lone seagull.

My favorite part of paddling locally is seeing all the herons. It was strange yesterday, because I was the only person on the creek for the first 4 hours I was out, and I would normally see loads of them. All the flooding we’ve had lately might have been a factor, but I don’t know.

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They were with me mowing…i show up and they start showing up , waiting for the feast.

Then they mob in one the mowed sections grabbing the grass hoppers … There were 25 a little later.

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Color me jealous!

I bought an FZ300 earlier this year. Great camera for paddling, and the zoom is amazing.

Tips: Big problem with waterproof cameras is they don’t have lens caps to keep the water droplets off. This one does but mine kept popping off by accident. I ended up buying a $5 screw-on cap for it, good move.

I can confirm the “splash proof” IP rating. But I put UV filters on all my lenses for protection, and when I used the camera in the rain, water got thru the filter’s threads and fogged up between the filter and the lens. Hesitant to seal it with something as then I can’t ever remove the filter.

Finally, I’m used to Canon SLRs. Panasonic’s controls are different, the FZ300 is packed with more complexities and capabilities than I will ever need, and with no printed manual access to google (where available) is pretty much required. For example it’s easy to unintentionally set something that locks out other settings and end up trapped. So become familiar with navigating to the reset menu. I found this manual very useful, unlike Panasonic’s pdf. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1544749651/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This blog has some helpful info:

Cloudy’s FZ300 website (braybaroque.ie)

In case you are interested, here are some settings I generally use:
Photo Style = Natural
Aspect Ratio = 4:3 (this is also the highest number of pixels, ie Sensor’s native aspect ratio)
Picture Size = L (12M)
Quality = Quality Priority
Metering Mode = full scene (similar to Nikon’s Matrix Metering)
Burst Rate = H (note this is not the same as setting the motor drive, which is accessed by a rear button: 4k/Timer)
Quality = MP4 [FHD/28M/60p] 1920×1080 60p 28 Mbps (allows good slow motion)
Eye Sensor AF Sensitivity = High, LVF/Monitor Switch = MON (sets so you have to turn on the screen to use it)
Focus/Release Priority = Release (allows picture taking when shutter is pressed fully, even if focus is off)
AF+MF = ON (allows manual fine tuning after auto focus has acquired focus)
Beep = Volume OFF, Shutter low, tone 1 (note: It appears that if you turn both off, then you cannot turn any back on w/o resetting to factory)

It is a good camera, but takes some getting used to for me, with many years experience with Nikon equipment. That said, the Nikon P1000 takes getting used to too, as it is quite different than an SLR.

Great point on the UV Filter and water getting behind it. I find that it stays dry pretty well for a single trip. But it will fog up the next trip. So moisture is getting in, either while kayaking or when I rinse it off afterward. So the routine I have worked out is the following:

After a trip, I remove the UV filter and rinse both the camera and the filter. Then I let it air dry overnight. Next day I put it and the UV filter on a heating pad to make sure it is fully dry, before cleaning the lens and filter, then re-attach the UV filter. This seems to work well for keeping fogging issues away.

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Saw some cattle Egrets while paddling on the Saluda River this weekend. Not a decent, photo but here they are flying by us. I might need a better camera. :smiley:

I would suspect that they are egrets and not herons.

Castoff…The cattle egrets don’t sit still long. Elsewise they’ d stepped on our bush hogged. They also shift fields if the action gets less. They have to eat to use up all that energy.

Low-tech…yes you are correct. They are cattle egrets. They’re related. :wink:

Pru…the herons…er big ones line blue herons like shallowish water. High water might move 'em back to the shallows where the fish go for new foods. Either way their song is the same…awwwkkkl.

awwwkkkl…Anymore that’s the same sound I make when I have to move. I think of it as a combination curse and complaint that both Blue Herons and I make.

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You make a lot of noise while sitting still.

Likely all those fish scales and pin fish spines being swallowed whole past the birds vocal cords.

Freaky green Leopard Frog.

Thanks for the tips on the new camera! I was out at dawn today to avoid the holiday crowds, and I learned a lot more about what I don’t know about this new toy. I’ll get there. The herons were back out and I even saw a Green but he was very shy so the photos are crap. A shrieking (Great Blue?) nearly made me fall off my board before the sun was fully up, so that was fun. A few shots that are not great, but I love these creatures.


That first shoot is great!

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Good stuff, Pru!

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Very nice Pru. these are from a recent canoe paddle on the Saluda River. There was a Mayfly hatch, and we saw two Great Egrets, several Blue Herons, a Green Heron, Wood Ducks, a couple of Kingfishers, and about 30 Cattle Egrets. I didn’t get any decent bird shots, but did get one of a mystery bird on a stump in the river. Haven’t settled on an ID. We saw a couple of muskrats too.

These Mayflies caught in the web of death, but web of life for the spiders

Mystery bird.

Male Eastern Pondhawk, the Females are Green.

Back of a Muskrat head.

River side photos.


And such is life. That heron is surely. Black and white beauty.

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[quote=“Pru, post:297, topic:101099, full:true”]
A shrieking (Great Blue?) nearly made me fall off my board before the sun was fully up, so that was fun. A few shots that are not great, but I love these creatures.

Round corner
dawn’s golden band.
On stilt
in stealth
of shadowed stand,
here heron
fishy approach.
quite frank
be your reproach!
(The board
she wobbles)
"I’ve got this, coach!

Ain’t nuthin’ like be’n cussed-out by a Kingfisher, though. As my late friend Jsaults summed it up, “They make it very clear they have no use for humanity.”

And, it is a great shot.