Monthly Archives: September 2015

Photograph South Texas Birds-Only Two Seats Left!

Workshop Dates: October 30 – November 1, 2015

Goluch Jays
Image by participant, © Richard Goluch.

Just two months away, only two seats remain in this workshop. Don’t miss an opportunity to Join noted photographer Brian Loflin for a highly instructional, hands-on bird photography workshop in the heart of the South Texas flyway. This workshop features a half-day of full, hands-on instruction and three half-days of shooting in some of the best South Texas birding habitat available where the neotropical South Texas varieties abound. The late-October date takes advantage of cooler temperatures and the opportunity to photograph a large variety of resident and migrant species.

Take a moment to view participant images from previous workshops here:

The workshop will be held at the Laguna Seca Ranch north of Edinburg, Texas in the heart of the lush Rio Grande Valley. Features of this 700-acre ranch are purpose-designed for photography and preserved with all-native plants and animals. It features four constant-level ponds, each with permanent photography blinds oriented for the best use of light. Each location has been hand-crafted, and they all provide outstanding birding and photographing opportunities. Nearly eighty species have been listed on the ranch. Laguna Seca Ranch clearly offers a unique South Texas birding and photography adventure!

At Laguna Seca Ranch we bring the birds to you! We will set up natural perches considering the best photographic light possible. Most photography of the best scenarios is just 12-15 feet from your lens! Birds have water, dripping attractions and are fed year-round so attraction of the best species is stress-free.

Dolph-Laguna Seca 3-484
Image by Participant, © Dolph McCranie.

This workshop is designed for serious photographers who are competent in the use of their camera and equipment, yet may not have experienced the thrill of producing bird photographs of the highest quality. Copious instruction will include hands-on demonstrations in bird photography, understanding best exposures and camera settings, and the use of flash. Instruction will also include how to set up in a blind and shooting etiquette, setting up perches, best management of backgrounds and light and much more.

“Brian put so much work into this workshop, it was amazing! He took care of absolutely everything that you could imagine, meals, lodging, bird attracting set up, and always making sure that we were comfortable. At times there were so many birds around us, you didn’t know which shot to take first. We all had a great time, and I am ready to go back again! ” –C.C. – Austin, Texas

For more information see: RGV Bird Workshop
or, Email direct to: bkloflin@austin.rr.com

Copyright © 2015 Brian Loflin. All rights reserved.

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The Queen Emerges

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Several days after the Monarch eclosing, I had the second chrysalis develop. This butterfly was a Queen. I was a bit late in starting preparations so I missed the first part of the emerging process. I did however get some images in the process.

The cameras, setup and procedure was the same as the Monarch, except that I used a live stem of Blue mist flower, a Queen favorite.

Here is another pair of views of the same adult:

Queen Butterfly

Extreme close-up

Copyright © 2015 Brian Loflin. All rights reserved.

Emerging Monarch Butterfly

Monarcg butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.

In July, 2015 I was given a couple of butterfly chrysalises by a friend and butterfly enthusiast, Linda Avitt. They were very near the state when they were ready to emerge (or eclose, as the experts say) as adults.

I quickly went about setting up my lab as an expectant photographer knowing I would see adults at any moment. I wanted detailed closeups, and timed sequential images and video of the event. So for all the stills, I used SB-910 Speedlights with Lastolite EZBox Speedlight modifiers and reflectors. For the video, I used a daylight balanced, flat LED panel. All lighting was balanced for balanced flash and ambient light exposure.

Cameras included Nikon D800 for stills (RAW and JPG) and Nikon D90 for the MP-4 video. Timed sequences were setup using  Nikon’s MC-36 remote cord intervalometer set to shoot every ten seconds. All cameras were securely mounted on tripods. The composition was set loose so there was ample room around the chrysalis for the emerging activity so nothing had to be moved.

For the staged insect, I picked a fresh stem of butterfly weed and kept it in a bottle of water. The chrysalis was secured to the plant stem with a drop of super glue, mimicking the natural attachment. Everything was clamped securely to the lab table.

Test images were made and exposures adjusted and composition and equipment fine tuned. All was in readiness, only to wait. This was Tuesday morning at 7:57 AM. And wait. And wait. . .  NOTHING!

Finally, the color began to change at 11:22 PM, some fifteen hours later. So much for the butterfly being ready to go. So it is with nature photography. The following sequence is selected from 45o images made that evening and early the next morning. Times are listed within each image.

So after a twenty-seven hour process a pristine male monarch butterfly was released into my garden and I was able to take a nap!

Butterfly collage

Copyright © 2015 Brian Loflin. All rights reserved.