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on Jun 22, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

That Ugly Stick!

You know what I’m talking about, we’ve all had to deal with them. The unsightly stick in our critter photos, argh! The mind’s eye loves vertical lines especially when they have any kind of texture taking the eye away from our cute and fuzzy subject, argh! So we tend to go to great lengths to either make them disappear or simply not take the photo in the first place. This photo of an American Robin demonstrates a technique I try to use whenever possible. First, keep in mind I’m shooting with a very narrow angle of view. In this case, the D500 / 800mm permit me to move just a small distance, 6 inches to the side to incorporate out of focus leaves to help hide the annoying branch. Now in order to move over to grab that leaf, I also had to move backward. Subject size is not a priority when the subject stands out visually so with that branch now hidden even through the Robin is smaller...

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on May 26, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

How Much Background?

“Just how much background should I include?” This is a very common question that I receive all the time. It just came in as a possible podcast topic. Being a visual answer in my mind I was waiting until I had the same subject with three different backgrounds to answer it. My recent time at Magee Marsh with its waves of busy warblers provided the images I needed to explain how I look at the background and its role in telling the visual story. In answering this question for myself, I first start with the gear I’m going to use. With birds in order to control the background, I use either the D5 or in this case, the D500 on the 800mm. That combination provides an incredibly narrow angle of view permitting easy tweaking of the background with slight movements to right or left, up or down with the gear. With that it comes down to your own style of photography and that’s really to the heart of the...

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on May 10, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

The Wind Has It!

It’s a real simple formula for capturing birds in flight. You want the sun and the wind on your back. Here’s a real simple illustration of the point. This pair of Forster’s Tern on day one had the wind coming in from the right. Because of that when the mate came in for a landing, it was going sidewise to the camera. While OK, it’s not the most desirable. The next day the light and the wind were hitting our backs and the terns, were landing while flying right into the lens barrel. It’s really just the simple. The rest was having the reach (shooting with the 800mm w/TC-1.25e) and the FPS (shooting with the D5) to capture the slow decent to the stump. So with that the photo was made as the wind has...

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on May 9, 2017 in Landscape Photography

Photo Consumption

It might sound like some awful disease, but when I say photo consumption, I’m talkin something much worse! As I mentioned yesterday in my podcast, I consume every photograph I get in front of me. And one of the weird things about me is I remember the photos I see, which includes small details. Because of that when I go to locations and in particular new locations, my mind often races back in my memory for images I’ve seen that I really like that I would like to have myself. I’m not out to make exact copies but rather the same photo but with a “Moose” twist. There are times when this makes all the difference in the world in my success. And there are times when it just brings great frustration. But then, that’s photography … right? Case in point is the photo you see here. You might not know this about me, but I’m really into spring greens. The multitude of shades of green in spring is...

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on May 5, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Splendors & Wonders!

For thirty-six years, I have traveled in search of the natural wonders of this planet. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to witness some of Mother Nature’s finest, sights that have inspired me for a lifetime. Reaching a lifetime location to witness the annual shorebird gathering on Delaware Bay tops the list of her miracles! Seeing tens of thousands of birds packed into a hundred yard stretch of beach simply takes your breath away. And while they are packed on the beach, there is a celebration of life in the skies as the Dunlin fly their aerial ballet moving from a piece of beach to another. It can’t help but effect and inspire you, the sites and sound in this explosion of life. Go out this weekend and find your lifetime wonder and celebrate it in your photography. Then be sure to share that wonder with everyone else. Because it belongs to all of us and everyday we need to celebrate Mother Nature and all her splendors and...

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on May 3, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

A Tern at Handholding

I’m in Cape May having the time of my life photographing birds! We found on our first day this pair of Forster’s Terns that hang on the same sunken stump every afternoon. I’ve captured some absolutely delightful images there I need to share. During the “down” time between their “spring activities” I wanted to get some panning practice in with me new favorite rig, D500 / 300PF and to make it exciting I added the TC-14eIII. The extra mm’s narrows the angle of view so handholding has to be spot on. There were Forster’s Terns feeding right in front of us so that was my target. When the light got good and they hovered in front of us, I would shoot. I wanted the slower shutter speed to blur the wings to show they are hovering but knowing their head stays in the same spot when they hover, knew I would get the eye sharp. It was great practice and fun and produced some cool images. That’s why I...

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