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Thread: Laguna Seca Ranch

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Laguna Seca Ranch

    This is going to be about birds, but I thought we would create a new thread. Joel Eade, J.W. Eade, and I met up last weekend at Laguna Seca Ranch. First takeaway, yep, there is another Eade that takes photos of birds. It is Joel's son, and, not surprisingly, he has a good eye. Laguna Seca Ranch is in Edinburgh, TX, which is near the Mexican border and the gulf. Our thought had to been to be there when migrant birds were coming through, but it seems like we were between waves. That said, not complaints, the birding was excellent.

    Second main takeaway, a couple of us talk about investing in locations rather than new gear...you are talking about places like Laguna Seca Ranch. I was actually a bit shocked, but their blinds are set up so well, you really do not need the big whites, matter of fact, you may not want the big whites. Within minutes I had abandoned my 500 f/4 (forget about the TC), and took the vast majority of images with the 100-400 II. But, what got me, some of my favorite photos thus far were actually taken at 150-300 mm. Gene, the site owner and our guide, was shooting with a 300 f/2.8. But, as he advised, you really need to stop down to keep the whole bird in focus anyway. So, f/5.6-5.7.1 were very common. My point, you can go places like this without the expensive gear like supertelephoto lenses. I did end up using my 500 f/4, but mostly when trying to get head shots.

    That said, the R5 was very nice to have. I have way too many photos to sort through, but the Eye-AF was amazing and absolutely helped me get shots that I would have otherwise missed. Most of the time, I was in "H" mode, so "only" 9 fps, which was enough...until it wasn't and I shifted to electronic shutter and 20 fps. But I could have easily walked away with good photos even without the R5.

    I am going to try to work in some other thoughts here or there. But here are a few from Day 1. I still need to look at Days 2 & 3.

    Day 1 Morning: Raptor Blind

    Crested Caracara
    537A5149 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    537A5255 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    I am impressed with the R5 right out of camera. I am usually modifying, but I am starting to think I over edit a bit...here is a Caracara unedited-just RAW conversion in LR.

    537A7031 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    Day 1 Afternoon-Beaver Blind (aimed at songbirds):
    Green Jay taking a bath
    537A9937 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    Cardinal (they have LOTS of Cardinals) at a reflecting pool:
    537A1061 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    Female in the cactus flower:
    537A1330 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    Thanks for viewing....Brant

  2. #2
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    I will say that the place is set up well and Gene really worked it for us in terms of perch set ups, feeders and other constant efforts to help us get the most out of our visit.

    Each day was divided into a morning and afternoon session with about a 3-4 hour break so we could go back to our hotel, eat lunch, download the morning images and chill. I think three days was plenty and a person could get a great experience with 2 days. The ranch is maybe 15-20 minutes from town and not difficult to find.

    The mornings were very comfortable but the afternoons (especially our first day) can get extremely hot ..... some cold water and a small battery operated fan might be a couple of items to put on your list. Gene had bottled water in the blinds but at ambient temperature. Better than nothing but when it's 100 outside a bottle of 100 degree water isn't what you're looking for

    I brought my EF 600mm f/4 and kept it tripod mounted with a 5D MKIV and used the R5 + 100-500mm hand held.

    The R5 saw most of the action and did very well.....the AF performs extremely well and despite extreme ambient temperature there were no over-heating issues. My camera actually felt hot but never malfunctioned.

    We all got thousands of images (especially Brant!) .... here are a few of my first day efforts:





  3. #3
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    A few more from Day 1



  4. #4
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Wow I'm really enjoying this thread! Especially since I wanted to be there with you guys but couldn't make it across the border for some reason . I'd say the R5 looks like it was made for exactly this kind of shooting. But of course it also takes quite a bit of skill on the part of the photographer (especially in the heat). Thanks for sharing!

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Next time Jonathan!

    I have other places I want to visit (ummm...anyone know a good spot to photograph bears??? Puffins???)...but I could easily see going back in a few years.

    A few more.
    537A1038 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    537A1067 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    537A1253 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    537A1419 by kayaker72, on Flickr

    ...more to come...

    Thanks for viewing...Brant
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 04-21-2021 at 01:11 PM.

  6. #6
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    I will add a few too ....












  7. #7
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayaker72 View Post
    I have other places I want to visit (ummm...anyone know a good spot to photograph bears??? Puffins???)...but I could easily see going back in a few years.
    Definitely get yourself to Katmai area, anytime from June to September! Bears galore.

  8. #8
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    Really enjoying this post, and very interesting business concept. Maybe I'm just unaware, but I've not head of anything like this before.

  9. #9
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    ****EADE 2 HAS ENTERED THE GAME*****

    Had a blast with Dad and Brant on this trip and got away with some amazing photos! I was shooting Canon 1d MKIV with 500mm prime lens most of the time on a tripod. Also shooting the 1dx with a 100-400mm handheld as well.

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