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on May 27, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Evening Love Cranking Up

Spring has sprung on the property and Sharon’s favorite birds have come back. We have two distinct populations of Evening Grosbeaks, winter and summer. This migratory species ranges over most of North America and Mexico with our winter Grosbeaks coming south from Canada, stopping at our feeders and our summer Grosbeaks coming up from the south to stop at our feeders. Sharon carefully notes their comings and goings over the years and so looks forward to the summer population since they are so active and noisy! We were in our home for years before we first saw the Evening Grosbeak on the property. We’d seen them in the Sierra but not around our feeders. Then eighteen years ago the first one arrived in May. Couldn’t move one foot in the house without flushing them. They are incredibly shy! Then none over the winter until the following May when we had a couple of Grosbeaks. The summer population slowly grew overs the years and then about seven years ago, the...

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on May 26, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Simple Pleasures – Score!

On my last two week bird road trip, I photographed 42 species of birds, 23 were new to my files. It was a great trip! Now I saw some gorgeous birds, some rare birds, some weird birds and lots of birds but the one that was the real joy to photograph was this Bobolink. Why? I’ve been seeing Bobolinks on wires for two decades. I have many times stalked a Bobolink, had them in the viewfinder but for every possible reason, I had never got one click of one. Not a rare bird, not an incredibly cool looking bird but for me, one of those birds I’ve always wanted only because of the challenge of getting the shot. And this trip I got one in the viewfinder, I lucked out with a clean background and nice light (not great light though) and made the click. What’s the point? No matter where you are in your wildlife photography, having a critter in your sites, preferably a “common” one that you...

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on May 24, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Just A Sliver

When the heavens put on a show, it’s one of the great events that can disappear as fast as it appears. Bringing that fleeting moment of majesty to life is the challenge because of in large part of its scale. When the tops of those clouds are 30,000′ or higher, how do you say “freakin huge” in the small medium of our camera? And if you have a storm as part of that story, bringing that power of nature to life just adds to the mix of complexity. There are lots and lots of ways to start to communicate this starting at the bottom and working your way to the top! You gotta have some scale in the photo, something that permits the eye to quickly saw, “dang, that’s big!” Photographers understand this but tend to put too much landscape in the bottom of the frame. At the same time, often the landscape is not as interesting as the heavens themselves. The sliver is even more important in these...

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on May 11, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Song of Spring

I’m up at Magee Marsh, OH and even with 55 degree temps and the sky spitting at me, the sound of spring is everywhere! Jake had come up here a couple of years back and said, “Dad, you gotta go” and so I’m here. He was so right! Had a marvelous day in this new Shang-ra-la seeing some gorgeous birds sing the blessings of spring. What a day! What species did I see? Lost track to be honest with you. Spent a heck of a lot of time with Yellow Warblers (top photo) cause even though common in my backyard, these are wearing their spring best and singing up a storm and point blank range. I had really good birds as well like this Prothonotary Warbler which stuck around for quite a while. With these small subjects and travel being restricted to a boardwalk, I went out with the big gun, D5 / 800mm. With the over saturated light, shot with no flash, at zero exposure comp. Only out...

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on May 5, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Caverns of Sonora

One of the great aspects of storm chasing is seeing parts of our amazing country you otherwise wouldn’t see. The Caverns of Sonora is a great example of what I mean. It is the coolest cavern I’ve toured but didn’t know it even existed! The sad thing is that now I know about it, I probably wouldn’t travel just to see it but on a road trip, it’s a must do stop! There are tons of great treasures like this you see while your storm chasing that make the chase just that much sweeter! You go down if I remember correctly nearly 200 vertical feet on the tour. That’s a lot of stairs cause you gotta come back up them to get out. At first, the cavern isn’t all that impressive and then all of a sudden you turn a corner and the magic appears, room after room after room! The natural beauty, the sculptures created by water and minerals is staggering! The lighting is provided by the lights...

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on May 4, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Can’t it Be Alone?

The sun and the moon suck photographers in like moths to a flame. There are lots of reasons for this, all very valid. Often though, that memorizing glowing ball tends to fog the mind and the final image, well, just isn’t as memorizing as the real McCoy. Has that ever happened to you? It happens to many and they wonder why. The answer might be simpler than you might think. It could be simply you included items in the scene that were not needed. Now this might not be the case all the time, but here’s an example from a shoot on top of Mt Scott to illustrate my point. Shooting long (D5 / 300PF) the subject was pretty clear cut, the sun. But often we’re told we need to have something else in the frame. This might be true if the photo of the sun sucks. Why might it suck? Often it’s because the way the light and color are distributed in the frame. When you’re shooting over...

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