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on Oct 20, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Which Way to Turn?

Which format, horizontal or vertical tells the story best of this Red Squirrel munching? It was a pretty easy photo to take. The Red Squirrel had his mind on one thing, food. Getting close with the D5 / 300PF was easy, real easy so then after that challenge comes the question, which way to turn? I have a favorite based on the action, background and light. When it comes up in your viewfinder, do you know which way to turn? If you don’t and if the opportunity presents itself, take it both ways and then look at the photo later in the hopes you’ll start teaching yourself which works best for your storytelling. Because there are times when you don’t have the luxury of shooting it both ways so you must commit. It’s a question that never goes away … which way to...

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on Oct 18, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

All Confused!

We were walking the back trails at Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. I was looking for Moose so was looking for something big. I had just made a turn on the path when I caught out of the corner of my eye movement, something small and gray under a tree. My mind said Lynx since they are here. I slowly moved forward to see what the movement was and I come around a tree to see a male Spruce Grouse … displaying! This is October! I moved forward a little more and I could see a second male grouse displaying. What gives, courtship is in May … they are all confused! Then I spot the female up in the spruce and the dots connected. Now why the males thought in October they had any chance with this female is still a mystery but I didn’t care. For those of you who have not seen a Spruce Grouse in the wild, they are not a smart bird. You’ve seen in the...

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on Oct 11, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Alaska Handheld Blurred Creek

You can’t help but be swept up in the landscape that is Alaska! While we were up here to photograph specifically Moose, the search for them took us to gorgeous locales. That’s why the 18-35AFS was packed in along with the rest of the gear. So in the lull in the action, off we went to photograph the wonders around us. The skies were perfect to tell the story of how cold it was where we were shooting. Using the very simple Multi Exposure technique, capturing the flowing creek handheld and bringing that story home was easy. This is important because the Gitzo had the 800mm with the Zenelli head. That’s why this technique is so cool, you can do it even without a...

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on Oct 8, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Gettin Close In Every Sense of the Word

My approach to photographing Moose during the rut is different from most. Bulls expand an inordinate amount of energy to be a bull and photographers who push them to get “the” shot just stress them further. For that and just because I want the best photograph, I wait, hours and hours, for the moment when they approach me on their own terms. Where we’re shooting, we can see for over a mile. Watching the cows, you can get an idea of what the bulls will do. In this case, this bull which we had seen first thing in the morning was pushed up slope with a cow into the trees. Hours later he came back down as we where there to get the shot. Real simple, just had to wait. Getting closer, much closer to the photo I want. Photographically, this photo is getting closer to what I want. Not the biggest bull on the field, he’s still a big boy. He’s on a bit of rise and the...

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on Oct 7, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Cous at 800

Our first day with family in Alaska was pretty darn cool. Thirty cousins showed up for the reunion so it’s easy to say, we had a good time. You might remember I said I was changing things up by shoot with the big glass, 800mm, this trip. I found very quickly that’s too much glass for our shooting yesterday. Why? Working in a dense forest, there is not always room to either backup or find an alley way through trees to get the shot I want. In this example, I’m just too tight and had no options to improve. Today is a new day and simply requires me to think through the biology and apply the technology better. It’s a good challenge....

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on Oct 5, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Going to Visit Cous’

Yep, it’s that time of year to make the annual family trip to see my northern cousins. Like any good family member, we’ve made this journey many times. Now you might think that by now I would have the one family portrait that says it all. Well, I don’t and that’s in part why I keep going back. What is that one photograph I’m looking for? To be honest with you, I’m not really sure. It’s gotta be a bull, it’s gotta be big, it’s gotta have attitude and the world in which it lives has to scream Alaska. After that, I’m not really sure. I am going with something new this year though, not just the D5 but the 800mm. Shooting big game with a big lens like this is not my normal style. I normally go after them with the 200-400VR2 or 400f2.8. I’m not sure if this is the winning ticket or not, but I’m sure going to give it my best shot. I’ll let you...

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