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on Feb 27, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Light Time With a Critter

It was on our last morning at Zax-sim Bog, it was the ninth time in a week we had checked the Admiral Feeders looking for it, not finding it the first eight attempts. The ninth time, literally driving to the airport, we stopped one last time and we finally saw the magical Boreal Owl. The feeders are literally on the side of the road, behind them is the boreal forest of Minnesota. In theory, you literally wouldn’t have to get out of your car to see or photograph the Owl, if he’s there. We drove down the road to see a group they’re doing exactly as we desired, taking in the Boreal Owl. And that was the greatest gift the Boreal Owl gave us, time! I stood there hand-holding the D5 / 180-400VR (with its 1.4x engaged) and TC-14eIII attached at this little gem in the viewfinder looking at the boreal forest thinking, “How am I going to smack you, the viewer right between the eyes with this little...

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on Feb 4, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Unique Survival Strategy

There is a scene in Jeremiah Johnson where they get their dinner by throwing rocks at some birds on the ground. If you meet a Dusky Grouse, you can see how exactly how that is true. About the size of a chicken and I’m told, really tasty, the Dusky Grouse (formally Blue Grouse), when found, is a real easy bird to photograph. That’s because, they seem to be missing the “be very very scared” gene. You don’t need a long lens, you just need light. A lot of folks with iPhones found this out for themselves last week in Yellowstone when this male repeatedly performed for folks at point-blank range. A number of times, it literally flew to the ground right at folk’s feet. They had to WATCH where they stepped so they wouldn’t squash it! When going about its normal routine, you could watch them feast on these very small fungi that live on the limbs of the Ponderosa Pines. He would walk about the branches in search...

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on Jan 23, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Winter – Respect Their Space

One of my favorite times of year to photograph big game is in the winter. The two main reasons are all based on their pelt. They have their winter coats and often extra fat levels so they look their best. At the same time, those pelts which any other time of year help them blend in, really make them stand out. And in the winter, the basics of getting close physically really pay off big. Food is an obvious attraction but water, not so obvious, is even a bigger attraction. Free water, water not frozen, can be really scarce and they still have the same needs in the winter and summer for water. Knowing this basic biology can really produce some great images. It takes very little to stress a critter in the wintertime. The same old mantra, calories in, calories out, still counts. This is even truer in the winter when both food and water helps keep them warm as well as functioning. I’ve seen too many times...

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on Dec 27, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

What Happened to Those Canoes?

“What happened to those canoes?” If you’re looking at a bull moose with no antlers, it looks like a cow moose and this time of year, that’s what you’ll see. You can tell it’s a bull without its antlers because you will see the buttons, base of the antler (like in the above photo). If you want that bull moose shot in deep snow with its canoes, you gotta be in the right place in late fall, early winter where there is snow and the bull moose still have their antlers. They shed them during late fall/early winter to get rid of that extra weight so they don’t have to fight them and the deep snow. Moose, deer, elk have antlers and shed them (they are called sheds) and Bighorn Sheep, Mtn Goat, Bison have horns because they don’t shed them. In the late fall, the Bull Moose needs those big racks, or canoes, to better hear with. While they do use them in “battle” (the clashing a sound...

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on Dec 20, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Nature’s Beautiful Chaos

The sun has just hinted it’s going to appear over the horizon when the calm and quiet is shattered with a sonic boom of flapping wings! The Snow Geese who had just landed in the pond just minutes before had barely begun to mill around before lifting off again in an explosion of life. In fact, that’s what I’ve come to call it, an explosion as that best describes the chaos that seems to insue. One has to wonder how there aren’t a bunch of casualties left from midair collisions as a thousand Snow Geese dash for the heavens in less than a second! Within a heartbeat or two, the geese in all that chaos have a path up and out. They form up their flocks to fly to their next destination. The sight and sound have drawn me back to Bosque for nearly forty years, it’s a spectacular wonder that is brand new every time I witness it. It brings warmth back to the heart and soul, nature’s...

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on Dec 12, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Morning Glory

It was one of those mornings at Bosque del Apache where the dew point was just right to create some ground fog. Not a ton of it, some in small patches so the game plan was to find those patches and hope, hope the birds would perform. That’s always the game plan though, put yourself in the right place but just because you show up, doesn’t mean, the critters will. Well this morning, they did! I did my usual, got to the ponds early, rolled down the windows and listened and watched. Long before sun up, the Snow Geese made their move and so did we. The formula was simple, move to a locale where when the sun would broke the horizon would light up the ground fog. We did and the Snow Geese were off to our right. but when the sun actually broke the horizon, they had floated over between us the sun. Magic, it was morning...

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