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on Apr 11, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

The Prairie Chicken

From inside their covered wagons, western bound immigrants heard the haunting sounds coming from the landscape before the sun rose and thought the world around them was haunted. It was spring and the Prairie Chickens in the thousands would be on their lek doing what chickens do. When the sun shined light on their “ghosts,” the pioneers realized breakfast had been provided them. The Prairie Chickens has been in trouble ever since. There are few refuges left for the chickens and we were so fortunate to spend time at one of them this past week. The amazing folks at Calamus Outfitters are conserving their habitat on their ranch and have created for us photographers an incredible opportunity to see, witness and photograph this very unique piece of our wildlife heritage. These are Greater Prairie Chickens and the calm you see in the top photo, it’s hard to imagine all that goes on for this male to find a mate and their less than 30sec moment with that female. They...

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on Apr 9, 2016 in Random Thoughts

A Moment to Stop

Here’s the things with clouds, when you see the perfect one, you gotta stop then and there to take them. The perfect ones just don’t stick around! The winds that in large part give rise to thier perfection also quickly change them to nothing. So when you see that perfection, you gotta take a moment to stop. Along Hwy 96 in Nebraska, there aren’t a whole lot of pullouts so stopping was a challenge. We were fortunate there was a dirt road we could drive into within a short distance of where we saw this scene. Looking the scene over, there were to many perfect clouds to take in one click. I should explain that. The amount of sky to ground ratio is what for me made me think I couldn’t capture them in one click. I needed a sliver of ground and in doing that, cropped into the clouds more than I liked. So it was pano time which is real simple anymore. Shooting the D5 / 24-70VR,...

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on Apr 7, 2016 in Field Reports

D5 – Something to Glow About!

Up until yesterday, when shooting a sunrise or sunset, I would switch the WB from Auto to Cloudy. This was because AW just didn’t capture the reds I was seeing or feeling. Well, no more! The D5 in Auto2 NAILS the vivid reds and oranges of sunrise and sunset incredibly faithfully! I realize this is a very small detail and for many, they just do it in post. But I’m still old fashion and want to get it right when I go click. This little thing means that I don’t have to remember to switch to Cloudy or, switch back from cloudy. The best thing to me is, all the little nuances in the color which are so important to me are captured. Simply gorgeous! This is a D5 / 24-70VR click. The other thing I am quite giddy about is the sensor cleaning option in the D5. Never being a believer, never put any stock in it, I’ve never relied on it. Well, while photographing these Sandhill Cranes...

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on Apr 6, 2016 in Field Reports

D5 – Worth Dancing About!

It was cold, blustery and gusts of 35mph on the lek this morning, but the Sharp-tailed Grouse were out none the less. That meant we were out and had a great time! As you can see, it was dark, light on the flat side. My bud Kevin should me his results yesterday shooting the D5 in Auto-area AF and I really didn’t believe him so shot it myself today. Blown away! As you can see, there are TONS of targets for the AF system to lock onto. Time and time again though, it locked on the grouse producing wickedly sharp photos. D5, 800mm, ISO 800, 1/250 and there is grass between the subject and the sensor and the D5 locked right on! Bloody hell! The D5 even displays the AF sensors it is using, visually confirming where it is focusing. Never seen this performance before in a Nikon AF system. I’ve lovin it, worth dancing...

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on Apr 6, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Nebraska Skies

Yesterday afternoon, the skies over Nebraska were really performing. The winds started to come up keeping the birds down and big game away so we went off exploring the countryside and were not disappointed. Shots lots and lots, here are a couple of my first finished. The image above was taken as we were driving down Hwy 96. That little white cloud grabbed my attention so made the click as fast as I could. It was gone by the time I was done. Shot at 50mph with D5 / 24-70VR finished in PS using the simple B&W technique. Now if that little white cloud hadn’t been there, I would have not even though about taking the photo. Not quite as little, but this white cloud, again was the center of my attention. Way off in the distance, this was a D5 / 70-200f4 AFS shot with HSC. Where the top photo, the cloud is way off by itself in the corner, the elements in the frame suggested to me...

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