Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Montezuma Audubon Center - Wednesday Casual Photographers

Sandpiper Shallows

On this clear, bright St. Patrick’s Day morning, Naturalist Dave Spier conducted a photo walk around Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC).

This hands-on outdoor session demonstrated how to digitally document the plants, animals and habitats around the MAC.

At 9:00 AM, our group of five assembled inside the MAC foyer. After registration and explaining the day's activity, Dave led the group (Bob from Baldwinsville, Laurie from Ontario, NY, Gail from Utica, Anita from New York Mills and myself) out onto the grounds.

In the bird feeder area were a female downy woodpecker and a tufted titmouse. We walked on the trail toward the wood.

Trail Map

Before entering the wood, employing a tripod, Dave demonstrated how to photograph the typical path scene from another angle or position.

Upon entering the wood, Dave had the group circle around a tree to observe texture. Pointing out the advantage of side lighting.

Answering a question about white cards and gray cards, Dave noted that the palm of your hand is one stop brighter than gray. The use of the Histogram was also discussed.

While on the observation deck, a car drove between the Merganser Marsh and Sandpiper Shallows. Dave pointed out that it was the muskrat trapper.

Muskrat Mound


Before heading back into the wood, Carlton Gay, the trapper, and his wife visited with us. Carlton told of a fourteen pound female that he had captured this winter. According to Carlton the fur market is booming with China purchasing the pelts and reselling them to Russia and Italy.

While photographing fern spores, Dave showed how to brace the fern stem with a stick, how to change the lens so as to avoid exposing the lens to large amount of dust, and how to limit the light using his coat. As an aside Dave noted that light will come through the viewfinder.

On the trail Anita drew our attention to a butterfly and Laurie pointed out a bird that was soaring outside the wood. It was a turkey vulture. Dave described the difference between a turkey vulture and an eagle.

Leaving the trail and venturing into a swampy area, Dave photographed an Eastern Skunk Cabbage. There was an abundance of this first Spring plant so we all took photos.

Also nearby was a stunted yellow birch.

Close by too woodpecker activity.

Back on the trail Dave mentioned in a landscape photo the eyes tend to go to the bright spot first. Dave then directed our attention toward an eastern hemlock tree which were catching the sunlight just right.

Where’s Dave?

Some of us continued our walk along Trumpeter Trail. The wetlands provided good opportunities to capture reflection. There were 6 turtles sunning themselves. Ring-necked Duck and Mallards were languishing in the marsh.

On our way back to the Center an immature eagle made several passes overhead. A great way to conclude a most pleasant morning walk.

Passed this building on my way home. Ah! Tonight's menu - Irish potatoes & a corned beef sandwich with cole slaw and Russian dressing.
Erin Go Bragh

1 comment:

The Northeast Naturalist said...

Thanks, Doug, for promoting the Montezuma Audubon Center. I posted a link to this page on the new Montezuma Birding Trail website [] because it gives people a sense of walking around the MAC in early spring.