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on Jan 5, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Tenacious Little Bugger

They are smaller than a dollar bill but take prey twice their size without batting an eye! The No. Pygmy Owl has long been a favorite bird of mine. A lifetime ago we rehabed them and ever since, I’m always, always looking for them. This one was photographed years ago in Yosemite at the base of Lower Yosemite Falls on my first outing with the then new, 200-400VR. We have them at our the home and every so often, we get a glimpse of them. Years ago I was out shoveling snow off the driveway when I heard this sharp shriek behind me. I turn around to see our friendly Pygmy Owl just ten feet behind me tightly holding a Siskin in its talons it had just caught. Shovels don’t make a very good camera so all I have is the memory. Yesterday while out shooting with the new Wildlife Kit, I saw a Morning Dove dive down while flying down the alley (our name for a group of...

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on Dec 29, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Is Snow Really White?

Is snow really white? Sure, it is in drawings and our imagination but in reality, is it really white? Since I look out at snow many months each year, I can tell you that it’s not always white. When is it truly white? When there are blue skies and bright sun. That’s when it’s white and bright (and exposure problems might occur). But as soon as you remove the sun, the color of snow radically changes from white to blue. Does its color really matter? It does if you have a story to tell. If you want to say it’s cold, blue is a great color cast for snow. You want to say it’s vast, you might want gray. That’s what you see in this photo of the Red Fox. How did I get gray snow and not blue (as there is definitely no sun at this moment)? I manually adjusted the White Balance. Yes, I know many just deal with that in post but being not only old...

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on Dec 27, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Can Winter Be Warm?

Winter has the instant feeling of being cold. In large part because when people see snow, they think cold. Add to this the normal preponderance of the color of blue, and folks just feel cold looking at a snow covered landscape. Now if you want that cold feeling to come through (misery likes company, right?) than that’s good. But what if you what folks to feel the warmth of the sun on that cold day? It’s really easy to do, especially if you get up to greet the sun. You just need the smallest amount of that warm color (yellow/orange) in your frame and folks will feel the warmth. The trick? You’ve gotta know light and white balance. You’ve got to get it right in the camera to start with and then finish it accordingly in post. I’ve used two examples here of what I’m talking about. Just remember, it’s all about light and emotion, so along with WB has to be exposure to tell a story the viewer...

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on Dec 21, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

When Do You Underexpose in Snow?

After my Podcast yesterday, I was flooded with emails about underexposing when shooting in snow. You’d think I’d said something really political by some of the responses. To start with, shooting with the D5 / D500, these three photos if I were to shoot them today (these are older images), I would dial in -2/3 exp comp to communicate the feeling you see in the images. And this is where most photographers get lost with my message. I’m not exposing for some graph or somebodies theory. I’m exposing for my heart because exposure = emotion. In telling the story, we must put what we’re feeling in the photo for those not standing beside us when we went click! The slight warmth coming from the rising sun on the Bison can be felt because of the overwhelming cold in the photo. The deer looks safe because of the overall warmth in the entire photo super imposes over the natural feeling of cold from the snow. And that tinge of warmth...

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on Dec 20, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Ice and Sun

Like most right now, we’ve been experiencing low temps of late. And we had a weird ice storm with our last snow storm. So the combo has created some great icicles. Well when I took Sadie out to decorate the snow at sunrise, I was greeted by this simple yet gorgeous view. The D5 / 70-180 macro were right there so I made a quick and simple click. Good thing, twenty minutes later and the icicles were...

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on Dec 16, 2016 in Landscape Photography

The Season of B&W …. White!

It’s not rocket science, it’s winter and with winter comes snow. What we affectionately call, the white stuff. That abundance of the white stuff is our hint to think B&W when we’re shooting our landscapes. The trick? Use the white to support the other elements in the frame and not make white THE element in the frame. Even if the subject is the snow, keep in mind that the other elements in the frame are what say it’s snow, the white stuff. This means having detail in all the snow is not required to say it’s snow. Let the imagination fill in the blanks and your landscapes, your B&W, your snow will be visually stronger. Oh ya, remember to dress warmly...

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