Tuesday, January 29, 2008

And I thought 6 Billion Gallons was a Ton of Water...

Last weekend, I shared pictures from a quick stop by the O'shaughnessy dam and reservoir on the northwest edge of the Columbus metro area. Two days later, I visited another one of this great city's water sources, Hoover Reservoir, which stores over 20 billion gallons. That is the number two and ten zeros-20,000,000,000! Hoover is also a well birded site--in fact, it is part of the Big Walnut Important Bird Area, designated by Audubon Ohio as such.

So last Monday when I had the day off thanks to Martin Luther King, I decided to head over to the Hoover dam to see what was to be seen. To my surprise, plenty of interesting things were going on this cold, windy, and clear January day.

I started out by driving Megan's yellow Volvo wagon down the narrow asphalt access road to the bottom of the dam and parked the car in the empty lot. There were reports on the Ohio Birds e-mail list of mallards and a hooded merganser frequenting an open area just below the dam.

Sure enough, there they were. Plenty of mallards, and a pair of hooded mergansers. The male hooded has a bright white hood and can be seen in the upper left, in the water.

I also enjoyed watching the relatively common ring-billed gulls circle the artificial canyon created by the dam.

I was able to practice my panning technique on these gulls. I must say, I wasn't expecting much from these photos, but I was pleasantly surprised when I downloaded them onto my computer. I was really fortunate to have such pleasing light.

And since blogger is giving me fits right now, I'm going to save part two, the waterfowl of Hoover Dam, for tomorrow.



  1. These are great bird shots! You must have a very good zoom along with fast lens to get these pics. If we went to our dam, we'd have about 20 gallons of water left - we're nearly empty!


    David Webb: Photographer

  2. Thank you David,

    I don't have a fast telephoto lens, but the light was bright and I could shoot at a fairly small aperature (I think I set the camera at f 7.1.

    I have a Sigma 70-300 Macro DL super, non-APO version which is about 8 years old. The current version of this lens can be had from B and H photo here in the U.S. for less than 150 bucks! I'd love to upgrade, but so far, this has suited my needs. I may rent a canon 400 5.6 for my trip to Sanibel Island coming up in March.

    I hope it rains in OZ soon!

    BTW..I was on a plane from Chicago to Columbus Ohio and sat next to an Aussie living here in Ohio. We chatted for the whole flight and reminisced about Australia. Great country.


  3. You are getting really good at capturing shots while panning. Nice work. You should thank those seagulls for giving you practice opportunities.

  4. Marvin, I agree.

    Hoover Dam ring-billed Gulls, Thank you.