Best of 2003

During 2003, we were fortunate to be able to shoot at a variety of locations: Lake Mattamuskeet, on the coast of North Carolina, the Audobon Swamp Gardens at Magnolia Plantation outside of Charleston, SC, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and other nearby locations in Virginia, Grand Cayman Island, Crandon Park, Wakodahatchee and the Anhinga Trail in southern Florida, as well as places closer to home. Birds continue to be my favorite subjects, and I was able to add a number of new species to my collection.

These images are among my favorites for this particular year's shooting, and I hope you enjoy them. You can view the rest of the photos on my site from this year by clicking here, and scrolling down through the links to the various Galleries. They are arranged chronologically, with the most recent at the top and the older ones toward the bottom.

All Content © Donald L. Cohen, MD All Rights Reserved Click on each thumbnail to open up a larger image in its own window. Just close these windows after viewing them.

These images, along with all the others present in the various galleries, are available for purchase as prints up to 13"x19". For more details on buying prints, please click here.


 

White Ibis in Tree

Image # 01296

Audubon Swamp Garden

Charleston, SC

Canon 600L/f4 IS and 1.4x II Teleconverter

ISO 200, f/8, 1/2000 second

Evaluative Metering at -2/3

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

This is definitely one of my favorite shots from this trip. We found this bird somewhat high up in a tree, and he stayed there while I maneuvered around to get the sun behind me. I took a number of shots in both horizontal and vertical format, with a variety of poses, and it was hard to choose which one to include here.


 

Blue-winged Teal in 'Duckweed' Pond

Image # 01308

Audubon Swamp Garden

Charleston, SC

Canon 600L/f4 IS with 2x II Teleconverter

ISO 200, f/8, 1/1250 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3

Gitzo 1329/Arca Swiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

This was the first time I had an opportunity to see and photograph these beautiful ducks. I just loved the 'soupy' growth of duckweed through which they were swimming.


 

Black Crowned Night Heron

Image # 01317

Audubon Swamp Garden

Charleston, SC

Canon 600L/f4 IS and 2x II Teleconverter

ISO 200, f/11, 1/640 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

Definitely another of my favorites, this bird cooperated as I got into a better shooting position. We first spotted him from the far side of the pond where he was sitting, with the sun behind him. We gradually worked our way around to get better light, and I was able to get several shots (again both horizontal and vertical) before he finally got spooked and took off.


 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Image # 01361

My backyard

Mooresville, NC

Canon 600L/f4 IS and 1.4x II Teleconverter

ISO 400, f/8, 1/250 second

Evaluative Metering at -2/3, 550EX/BB at -2

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

This was a surprise visitor to our backyard. I spotted a pair visiting our feeder in early May, and had time one Sunday afternoon to set up my gear and try and capture them. They disappeared within a week, so I was glad I got at least a few shots.


 

Oyster Catcher

Image # 01414

Chincoteague NWR

Chincoteague Island, VA

Canon 600L/f4 IS and 2x II Teleconverter

ISO 400, f/11, 1/500 second

Evaluative Metering at 0

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

I've seen some wonderful images of this species, but until this trip had never come across one, so I was quite excited to spot a few. I spent some time shooting him as he did his thing, and was able to get a number of shots while he was feeding - on oysters, naturally!


 

Forster's Tern Calling

Image # 01422

Chincoteague NWR

Chincoteague Island, VA

Canon 600L/f4 IS and 2x II Teleconverter

ISO 400, f/11, 1/640 second

Evaluative Metering at 0

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

This was taken when we stopped along one of the roads in Chincoteague. This tern was calling for a good 10 minutes, giving me ample opportunity to get some shots showing him in action. As the shooting data indicates, I had to use the 600L with the 2x converter for this, and many other shots. We seemed to be considerably further from the birds here during this visit, relative to some of our trips to Florida.


 

Canada Goose Portrait

Image # 01428

Chincoteague NWR

Chincoteague Island, VA

Canon 600L/f4 IS and 2x II teleconverter

ISO 400, f/11, 1/500 second

Evaluative Metering at 0

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

I had spotted an Eastern Kingbird as we were driving down one of the roads at Chincogeague, so we pulled off, set-up, and hoped he would come back. He didn't, but while I was waiting, there was a family of Canada Geese not too far away, so I took some shots. This was also one of the few times the sun actually came out. The Canada Goose is not the most 'exotic' species, but it is still quite beautiful.


 

Canada Goose Juvenile

Image # 01429

Chincoteague NWR

Chincoteague Island, VA

Canon 600L/f4 IS and 2x II Teleconverter

ISO 400, f/11, 1/500 second

Evaluative Metering at 0

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

Taken right after the picture above, I couldn't resist the 'cuteness' factor here.


 

Cattle Egret Eating a Frog

Image # 01440

Chincoteague NWR

Chincoteague Island, VA

Canon 600L/f4 IS and 2x II Teleconverter

ISO 400, f/11, 1/500 second

Evaluative Metering at 0, 550EX/BB at -2

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

We took the 'Marsh Walk' from the main parking lot at Chincoteague, and as I rounded a bend, spotted this Cattle Egret off in the distance. I set up my camera, and was lucky to then see him snatch a frog out of the grass. He flew off, but fortunately only a short distance, and I was able to reposition myself, and continue to shoot as he worked for a while getting the frog in a position to be swalloed. The frog lost....


 

Eastern Kingbird 2

Image # 01460

Dameron Marsh Natural Area Preserve

near Kilmarnock, VA

Canon 600L/f4 IS and 2x II Teleconverter

ISO 200, f/11, 1/400 second

Evaluative Metering at 0

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

This image is perhaps my favorite from this whole trip, and possibly the entire year. This area was one of the more beautiful side locations we found, and the weather cleared for a few hours of beautiful sunshine. I carried my gear down a path leading to an overlook to the Bay, and set up there. It was so beautiful I almost didn't care if any birds came along. But I was excited to see an Eastern Kingbird come out of nowhere and perched on some bushes a little ways off from the overlook. The sun was behind me, the blue of the ocean and green of the coastal foliage created a gorgeous background, and I busily shot for 5 or 10 minutes as the bird came and went, flying from one one perch to another.


 

Lacewing

Image # 01499

The Butterfly Farm

Grand Cayman Island

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm with 20 mm extension

ISO 400, f/16, 1/200 second

Manual Metering, 550EX with Stofen Omnibounce

Bogen Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

The Butterfly Farm on Cayman had a fairly diverse collection of species, and this Lacewing was just incredibly beautiful. I used my 'usual' butterfly setup, which allows me to get sufficient magnification, but maintain reasonable working distances.


 

West Indian Whistling Duck Portrait

Image # 01535

Northside Area

Grand Cayman Island

Canon 100-400L at 300 mm

ISO 200, f/8, 1/640 second

Evaluative Metering at 0

Handheld

This species is scattered through the Caribbean, and its presence on Grand Cayman was once in jeopardy. Thanks to the efforts of several residents (Willie Ebanks and others), they were sustained and protected, and are present in good numbers today.


 

Blue Morpho (Open)

Image # 01545

The Butterfly Farm

Grand Cayman Island

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm with 20 mm extension

ISO 400, f/16, 1/250 second

Evaluative Metering at 0, 550EX with Stofen Omnibounce

Bogen Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

What is special to me about this image, is that it is rare to see this particular species on the ground with its wings open. Typically, you see the incredible blue iridescence of their wings as they fly by, but once they land, they close up. I was fortunate to have him land, and briefly open his wings a time or two, allowing me an opportunity to get this shot.


 

Snowy Egret at Cayman Shoreline

Image # 01571

Seven Mile Beach

Grand Cayman Island

Canon 100-400L IS and 1.4x II Teleconverter at 460 mm

ISO 200, f/11, 1/1000 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3

Handheld

Several afternoons in a row, this Snowy Egret came to an area of the beach near our condo, and spent an hour or two fishing at the shoreline. He'd fly away as various people walked by, but kept returning after they were gone. This particular afternoon, I went back inside to grab my camera, and sweating in the heat and intense sun (which my wife tolerates far more than I), spent some time shooting. Since I don't normally see or shoot Snowy's in this type of environment, I wanted to try and juxtapose him against the incredible blue Caribbean waters.


 

Atlas Moth

Image # 01575

The Butterfly Farm

Grand Cayman Island

Canon 100/f2.8 USM Macro

ISO 200, f/16, 1/25 second, 2-second timer

Evaluative Metering at 0

Gitzo 1329 Tripod

Now this was an impressive moth! It apparently is the largest moth species in the world. They seemed to always cling to the enclosure screens, making good photos impossible. Tony Cox, manager of the Cayman Butterfly Farm, was kind enough to gently place one on a bush so I could take some decent images. The diamond shaped spots on the inner-wing area are translucent, helping them to blend in with their surroundings.


 

Red-crested Pochard at rest

Image # 01947

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/320 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3, 550EX/BB at -1 2/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

I just loved the combination of the brown head, with the red bill and red eye, on this duck, and I took quite a few shots of various individuals. I love the serene feeling this image gives me.


 

Plumed Whistling Duck

Image # 01948

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L IS 400 mm

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/640 second

Evaluative Metering at -2/3, 500EX/BB at -1 2/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

I have a number of shots of this species, and this is one of my favorites. It's actually a different image from the one I originally included in the Gallery posted at that time. The eye markings, and those on the beak, were simply stunning!


 

Red-crested Pochard flapping

Image # 01956

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/800 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3, 550EX/BB at -1 1/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

I was fortunate to have this particular duck rise up and start flapping his wings while the sunlight lit up its face.


 

Wood Duck

Image # 01959

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/320 second

Evaluative Metering at 0, 550EX/BB at -1 1/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

The colors and beauty of this species impresses me each time I see them, and I was glad to find one of them at Crandon Park.


 

Egyptian Goose

Image # 01970

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L IS at 400 mm

ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/3200 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3, 550EX/BB at -1 2/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

We were actually on our way out of Crandon Park when I kneeled down to get a close-up of this wonderfully colored goose. Not surprisingly, I was very drawn to the eye markings on this species.


 

Spot-breasted Oriole

Image # 02000

Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Delray Beach, FL

Canon 600L/f4 IS with 2x II Teleconverter

ISO 200, f/11, 1/320 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

This was probably the highlight of this trip for me. I was near the end of my time at Wakodahatchee, and was focused on a Lesser Yellowlegs, waiting for him to stand up and show the feature it is named for. Out of nowhere, I saw a flash of yellow/orange go by, and land in a bush not too far from me. I quickly set up in the opposite direction, straining to see where it was. It started out deep in the bush, in an unshootable position, but gradually worked its way up and out, giving me only a few brief unobstructed views. I shot when I could, and was happy to come away with a few decent images. A more experienced birder shooting near me helped me with the identification, as I wasn't at all certain what it was. Quite exciting, for sure!


 

Deer Pair Jumping at Sunrise

Image # 02075

Chincoteague NWR

Chincoteague Island, VA

Canon 600L/f4 IS

ISO 800, f/4, 1/100 second

Evaluative Metering at 0

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

We had several opportunities to watch, experience and photograph deer crossing the water during this trip. This was taken at very early sunrise, as evidenced by the shooting parameters above. I was fortunate to catch this pair virtually synchronized in their jump.


 

Juvenile BCNH in Flight

Image # 02134

Chincoteague NWR

Chincoteague Island, VA

Canon 600L/f4 IS with 2x II Teleconverter

ISO 200, f/8, 1/1250 second

Evaluative Metering at 0

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

A couple of us were watching and shooting this juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron, posing nicely in a tree, when it took off. It circled a time or two, and eventually landed. This repeated a couple of times, giving me a few chances at some flight shots. In the original Gallery for this trip, I used a Photoshop-created sequence using 4 images from this series, but decided to use one of the individual frames by itself for this presentation.