Me and My Gear

Hello and welcome to my photo blog!  I became interested in bird & wildlife photography over ten years ago when I bought my first Nikon D50 camera.  At that time, we were fortunate to have an Osprey nest approx. 150-200 feet from our third floor balcony overlooking Kent Narrows off the Chesapeake Bay.  Capturing the Osprey’s daily life over a season was amazing, and I learned a great deal about their personalities, behavior, and crazy antics.  And that’s when I became hooked on birds and my blog was ‘born’.  I’ve since added equipment and expanded my horizons.  Today, I still love my birding hobby and looking for photo opportunities that showcase the beauty of birds, wildlife, and nature.

My present camera equipment:

Nikon D200
Nikon D600
Nikon D750
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm
Nikon AF-S VR-Nikkor 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G ED
Nikon AF-S VR-Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 ED
Nikon AF-S VR-Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8
Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

Nikon AF-S TC-17E III Teleconverter (1.7x magnification)
Gitzo Tripod
Vanguard Tripod
Wimberley WH-200 Head

It is my hope you enjoy your time when visiting my blog.  As always, thank you for stopping by!

114 thoughts on “Me and My Gear

  1. Great photos. You and Hubby are blessed to be so close. I’m in the foothills 25 miles east of San Diego, Calif and next to a lake. Throughout the year we have seen as many as 5 Osprey (mixed sexes) but for some reason they never pair up here. The Rangers have put up several nesting boxes but no luck. I have witnessed “sky dancing” but no luck yet. I’ve been 4 years. There are several areas around the county where these magnificent birds have come back and are raising families, so I do get go and watch them. I”m sure we will get them here so I meantime I get to enjoy the other birds and wildlife. Thanks and keep up the good work. Bill Dunning

  2. Thank you Bill for your comments! Keep the faith, one day two will pair up. We have approximately 10 osprey nests in our immediate area, using the channel markers, nesting box platforms, and tall dead trees, basically whatever they can make work and no one disturbs their nest building. Once your area becomes productive, you will be amazed. BTW, we’ve heard there was an earthquake in the San Diego area. How have you made out through it? Hope all is okay.

  3. Great Pictures. My wife and I were there over this past weekend to see the snow geese. I have a equipment question. How do you like your convertor? I know some people say they are useless but it looks like your pictures prove otherwise. Do you use a tripod with it?

    Thanks and let me know.


    • I received my converter at Christmas a year ago, and I have been very pleased with it and use it most of the time for my bird shots. I’ve heard people comment both ways but I think it is really a personal preference. I have also heard from many that lens work better with the camera when they are the same manufacturer (since they are ‘made’ to work together) so I have only bought Nikon lens. The converter was definitely more reasonable in cost than to buy another larger telephoto lens. I just got a tripod this Christmas and I took & used it at BNWR on New Year’s Day. It handles the teleconverter and telephoto lens without a problem! I had been accustomed to not using a tripod, but now I want to kick myself for not getting one sooner! Thanks for your comments!

    • Thanks for your comments Russ! I use Photoshop CS5 to crop and edit my photos, and it has a feature for a text box that I cut/paste my mark from an MS Word doc. There’s probably an easier way but I’m not a computer whiz! On your osprey sighting two weeks ago, I’ve read couple forums that there were several sightings two weeks ago around your area and the Potomac River. I guess some are anxious to get back to their summer home. Those early sightings had me anxious for our pair to return. Just posted this mornings photos of a female on our nest, it may be our Olivia. 🙂

  4. Donna, Thanks so much for your photos. I enjoyed them when I found your site last year, and marked it. I share it with my mom in Florida, as she loves hawks, so the osprey fit right in for her. I got her a beautiful framed photo of the osprey and little ones in a nest years ago, and she loves the photo and the ospey. Thanks again for all your beautiful camera work and captions.

    • Thanks Nanci! I’m glad your mom enjoys the osprey, tell her thank you too. I know in lower Florida, most of their osprey stay year-round and don’t migrate. Maybe she gets to see them in Florida throughout the year, that would be neat!

  5. Great stuff Donna! I added your blog to my blogroll – on A Chesapeake Journal. I especially love the sequence of the osprey diving for the fish – wonderful! I think I’ll stop trying to get good photos of osprey, and just enjoy yours!

    • Thanks Kathy for your comments, I’m glad we connected, I just subscribed to your blog. I love everything about the Chesapeake Bay and will enjoy seeing/hearing your thoughts. 🙂

  6. Donna, I love your photos. I, like you, am also an amateur photographer, but boy do I LOVE the birds and photographing them. My hobby also started about 3 years ago. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful wildlife photos. I look forward to seeing many more.

    • Thanks Joleen! Bird photography has been very rewarding to me too, and patience, it sure has taught me to be more patient. Something needed in this hustle-bustle called life! It is fun to watch the birds either alone or interacting with each other and try to capture that shot that just awes you. And then to share it with others who have the love of birds too. Glad we connected, looking forward to seeing the birds in your backyard!

  7. What beautiful photos of our feathered friends I found here ! I have been watching birds for the past 20 years so I’m glad I found your blog ! Your chronicles of the osprey is very interesting, I’m looking forward to read your stories and see your beautiful photos of birds and sunets/sunrises.

    • Wow, thanks Max, I really do enjoy sharing with others and am honored by your nomination! I appreciate you choosing me, I hope I can live up to the award on a continuous basis!! Love your site as well, I am a huge sunrise/sunset watcher too, and photograph them when I can. One of these days, I want to add a gallery of just them on my blog on the sidebar…..someday soon! Thanks again Max!

  8. Pingback: ABC Award | Avian101

  9. Hi Donna,
    Max is right on with deserving the ABC Award! You deserve the Greek Alphabet award as well. I check out your blog and pictures everyday and there is always something new that I missed. I also love seeing the beautiful pictures again and again with your interesting and funny comments. Loved the duck “bottoms up” photos. They make me laugh and the amazing shots of ALL the other wildlife and sceenery are just so interesting and inspiring to me. Wish you would put these all in a book and I can guarantee I would be your first customer AND IT WOULD BE A BEST SELLER. You can’t get that detail and love out of a book anywhere. Your work “hobby” show you really love nature!! What a gift you are and an inspiration to all!!
    Thanks so much!

  10. Hi Donna! Because I so enjoy your blog, I’ve just nominated Bay Photos by Donna for the Reader Appreciation Award. There are only a couple rules to follow, which I listed on the post at my site. Basically, link back to the sender (His Creation) and nominate 6 blogs that you follow which you would like others to enjoy also.

  11. Hi Donna,
    Do you ever photograph hummingbirds? Besides osprey, I love the hummingbirds too. I am still waiting for them this year and I haven’t seen any just yet! 🙂

    • I have tried to photograph hummingbirds around my feeder on our balcony for two years now, somewhere in my past posts I’ve posted some shots. The hummingbirds are so cute, territorial, and FAST! I had five total last year, fighting over who’s feeder it was. I haven’t seen one yet either, but should be soon! 🙂

  12. Maryland surrounds the Chesapeake Bay, with Virginia bordering the bottom third. At the top of my blog, there’s a tab “Nest Location”, there’s a small map there that might help explain. Thanks for asking Jane!

  13. Hi, I’m Kathy from naturesnippets. I just read about your camera setup. I’m impressed and don’t know what half that means. I’m excited over my new Canon Powershot SX130. I only know how to do what I need to do. I do so enjoy and admire your photographs!

    • Hi Kathy, I agree, camera equipment can be intimidating. I started with a Canon Powershot before my Nikon, and thought I’d never be able to learn to use it. It was those beautiful osprey and eagles that had me dreaming of getting better, closer shots that convinced me I could. Now I want a bigger lens than I have now to get closer still! (saving my dollars!) The camera, lens & accessory ‘wants & dreams’ never end, LOL.

  14. Hi Donna, I’m not one to do these Award things, but there are some blog sites like yours I enjoy so much, I wanted to recognize you as others have recognized me. I know you’ve been recognized with awards, but I’m recognizing you again on my blog with the Reader Appreciation Award. Your site is definitely one of my favorites. You can view the award at No need to follow the silly rules — it’s the recognition that’s important. — Rob

    • Thank you very much Rob for the nomination, what an honor, I truly appreciate it! I enjoy your blog as well, for those reading this, give Rob a visit, he also photographs around the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay Virgina area, and has a great eye for image and composition! Thanks again Rob! 🙂

  15. Donna,

    I’m really enjoying your bird photos. Those are the kinds/quality bird photos I always want to get but rarely every do.

    Can you tell how you like the performance of your teleconverter? I’m thinking about getting one. Thanks!


    • Thanks Rick, they are a challenge which I love, I’m glad you’re enjoying them! I also love my teleconverter, and have been very pleased with the results. Very rarely do I remove it from my 70-200mm lens. Of course, the teleconverter gives you that edge of being ‘closer’ for the shot, at a fraction of the bigger lens’ cost, so to me that is a big plus with the birds. I’ve been told you lose quality, but I haven’t noticed that. I have stayed with all Nikon lens to ensure their sync-up is smooth-running. I was also told mixing different manufacturers’ lens together doesn’t work as well, so that’s where some might be losing quality due to price. Since camera equipment is an investment, I’d stick with your same manufacturer for both lens for best results. Hope that helps!

      Glad you found me, and I just started following yours. Looking forward to Chesapeake Bay captures through your lens and posts!

      • Thanks for the advice on the x.x converter. Staying with authentic Nikon lens products sounds like a common-sense thing to do. Otherwise I might have been tempted away by a lower price from a 2nd party manufacturer.

  16. Thank you so much for the photos of KI during the storm. There is NO ONE else who is doing this, not the county, state, or news media. I’m not even getting updates from either of the marinas I use or the yacht club to which I belong.

  17. It sure has been a superstorm for our area, I’ve been anxious to see/know what’s going on at the marinas too. Or what the Chesapeake Bay bridge looks like with the waves that have to be huge! Glad to give you a little glimpse of what I’m seeing. Stay safe Maurice and thank you for your comments!

  18. I have just had the chance to look around your blog…. Can I say WOW! I absolutely love ospreys as well as how you have captured their lives with such intimacy. Here in FL we enjoy a multitude as well. I look forward to following your stories and enjoying your images!

    • Thank you so much! Yes, I do have a passion for osprey. They are such wonderful entertainers! Hubby & I are planning a trip to the Fort Myers/Sanibel Island area mid to late August, and I am anxious to check out the osprey (and other birds!) there and around Florida. You have some awesome, gorgeous tropical birds I cannot wait to see/photograph…..AND add to my bird lifer list. Thanks for stopping by, I’ll be over to check out your blog! 🙂

    • You’re welcome and thanks for stopping by mine! As long as I’m near or on the water, I’m a happy happy person! 🙂 I love the Chesapeake Bay and all it’s tributaries and treasures.

  19. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome photos, Donna. I am looking forward to perusing more of your photos. I’m a birder and find your list of birds very tantalizing…. 🙂

  20. Thank you for sharing your precious gems, they are gorgeous!! I am from Baltimore and an absolute beach bum making trips often to Ocean City and the eastern shore. I am an avid animal lover and believe we should have compassion for all animals in need. I am following and look forward to more of your beautiful work!

    • Thank you so much, Stacey Ann! Your trips pass right by me at Kent Narrows. I, too, have love and compassion for animals in need. Together this world can make a better place for them too!

  21. How wonderful to have so much wildlife near home! We love our ospreys here. They are already bringing sticks to their nests for spring. Beautiful photos!

    • Our Osprey return to Chesapeake Bay area the middle of March. By the end of March, they’re (re)building nests also. They are fantastic entertainment for sure!

  22. Hello … My name is Deborah Rankin Matz. I am an Artist. I paint Sea Life. My Facebook Page is : Deborah Rankin Matz. Once on my Facebook page , please look for “Artwork by Deborah Rankin Matz” Then when you are on my “Artwork” page please look under photos to view all my Artwork. I am requesting your permission to paint the Blue Crab Photo. I do not want to ever infringe on your copyrights and I am very respectful of your craft. Whenever I display or post , I always give Photographer credit, add your website or anything else you wish. Please give me consideration and let me know. My email is : or you can reply on Facebook. My phone number is : 850-375-3168 . I could not find any email information or contact information section on this site so I am sorry for any inconveniences.

    • Hi Debbie! I would be humbled and absolutely honored if you painted my blue crab photo. It is one of my all-time favorites! I am sending you an email now. I cannot wait to see your painting!

  23. Donna … Facebook: Deborah Rankin Matz. I just posted my painting of your blue crab sitting on the dock.

  24. Congratulations Donna on flying the coop & getting on the road in the land cruiser. Loved the bird pictures. I’m sure you will be taking tons of bird pictures on your trip. Safe travels & tell ” speedy Rick Gonzalez ” to slow down around those mountain roads out West. Call or email me sometime & let me know how your doing.

    • Hey Girl! I have been missing you! Do you have any of my email addresses? If so, send me one so I have yours. I lost your email address and phone # and have tried to contact you a couple times. I’ll tell Speedy R-G what you said! 🙂

  25. Found you and your posts interesting from the start. Happy to finally read how you became started snapping the
    fabulous photos presented here. Looking forward to many more. Eddie

  26. Wonderful photos and found you after looking at my favourite Ospreys in Wales. It was the Olivia ones I found. Great and thanks for info on your gear. I fail at bird photos here for many reasons!

    • Thank you very much for your comments and following. Osprey have been my top favorite bird for about eight years now; I started with my first pair, Olivia & Oliver. Fond memories of them! 🙂 Osprey are quite entertaining, Bella & Beau are my daily fix now. 😉

  27. you have better equipment than me! The best piece of equipment a wildlife photographer needs is the one behind the eyes.
    Photography is all about long hours of leg/back work with a few moments of rapture. Like a prospector searching for gold……many long lonely hours of hard work,but eventually with persistence they find a plump shiny nugget!

  28. Thank you for dropping by my blog and sharing your thoughts.
    You have a lovely blog. Looking forward to your birding adventures 🙂

  29. I love it, to see the chicks growing more and more. Soon they will be flying around and later getting fish on their own. The cycle of life continues.I’m sure that you must feel proud to see them grow under your observation and love. Thank you, for your dedication and good work with the camera. 🙂

    • Thank you, HJ! It is a wonderful feeling to watch them grow and work together to support each other. And a lot of enjoyable fun and challenges. Thank you for your kind words, my friend! 🙂

  30. Pingback: The Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award – peace of life today

  31. Hi Donna! I have nominated you for the Ideal Inspiration Blogger award! I know some bloggers do not do awards, and if you don’t that is ok. However, I still want to thank you for the Inspiration you give me! Your posts and feedback have inspired me in my along my blogging path 😊 If you choose to participate you can find out more here: And THANK YOU! 🤗

  32. As an amateur photographer who loves nature, hiking and cycling, I found your blog very inspiring. It would be great to be a follower. All the best for 2021.
    Greetings from Belgium,

    • Hiya Vic! Awwww, thanks for thinking about me! A post should be forthcoming real soon! Life’s been full of fun and adventure for us; we moved and I just finished setting up my computer and office. 🤪

        • We had obtained our building permit to start building our dream home last winter, but we soon learned we did not want to live in that community. The community people were ignorant and disrespectful. We had theft, shenanigans with Rick’s machinery, poaching, trespassing – all reported to the police with trail cam evidence and multiple reports, and they did nothing to help us. One officer told us to try to get along, these people don’t like change. What a disappointment from the local law enforcement. We were lucky we had the choice to change our mind and move on to find somewhere else more enjoyable and beautiful to live. It took a few months to find our new home, but we did! The area, our new neighbors and community are all wonderful and MUCH better than Rock Hall!!!!

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