Charleston Lake: Photographic Bliss!

 Charleston Lake, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 28mm, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 800

Charleston Lake, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 28mm, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 800

It never ceases to amaze me how many photographic opportunities there are at Charleston Lake Provincial Park.  I was only there for about 48 hours this weekend, but I was able to get pictures of osprey, green and great blue herons, butterflies, and dragonflies.

There is a man-made osprey nest opposite the main beach and it’s low enough to the ground that I was able to get closer to osprey than ever before.  There were two juveniles in the nest, but it looks like they are almost ready to leave.  Here’s one perching just outside the nest:

 Osprey, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 300mm, 1/1600s, f/8, ISO 800

Osprey, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 300mm, 1/1600s, f/8, ISO 800

I like the photo above except for the obvious man-made structure.  I was pleased to get some photos of an adult away from the nest.  Any nature photo without man-made structures is better.

 Osprey, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 300mm, 1/3200s, f/8, ISO 800

Osprey, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 300mm, 1/3200s, f/8, ISO 800

Note the difference in eye color; adult osprey have yellow eyes while juveniles have red eyes.

The marsh opposite the campground is a great place for herons.  I was able to get pretty close to a great blue heron:

 Great Blue Heron, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 300mm, 1/1250s, f/8, ISO 800

Great Blue Heron, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 300mm, 1/1250s, f/8, ISO 800

 Great Blue Heron, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 300mm, 1/1250s, f/8, ISO 800

Great Blue Heron, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 300mm, 1/1250s, f/8, ISO 800

I also found a green heron in a tree and was able to capture my first ever images of that species:

 Green Heron, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 300mm, 1/500s, f/8, ISO 800

Green Heron, Canon 7D with Canon EF 28-300mm @ 300mm, 1/500s, f/8, ISO 800

I’m not really pleased with the sharpness of the heron photos, but maybe that’s all I can expect when hand-holding a 300mm lens while in a kayak!

The boardwalk at the start of the Quiddity and Tallow Rock Bay trails is a great place to see butterflies and dragonflies.  I used a high ISO and fast shutter speed to freeze the action of a giant swallowtail:

 Giant Swallowtail on Swamp Milkweed, Canon 7D with Canon EF 500mm, 1/5000s, f/8, ISO 1600

Giant Swallowtail on Swamp Milkweed, Canon 7D with Canon EF 500mm, 1/5000s, f/8, ISO 1600

Photographing dragonflies is always a challenge.  I find that they often go out and return to the same perch (like some birds), so I tried pre-focusing on a perch and waiting.  In a few cases, it actually worked!

  Twelve-Spotted Skimmer , Canon 7D with Canon EF 500mm, 1/4000s, f/8, ISO 800

Twelve-Spotted Skimmer, Canon 7D with Canon EF 500mm, 1/4000s, f/8, ISO 800

  Widow Skimmer , Canon 7D with Canon EF 500mm, 1/1600s, f/8, ISO 800

Widow Skimmer, Canon 7D with Canon EF 500mm, 1/1600s, f/8, ISO 800

 Canon 7D with Canon EF 500mm, 1/640s, f/13, ISO 800

Canon 7D with Canon EF 500mm, 1/640s, f/13, ISO 800