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on Oct 2, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

That Took A While!

I wish I knew the genesis of some of the photographs I want to capture. I have this unspoken list that often I don’t know I have until I see the photograph appear in my viewfinder. I’ve worked with Bison for decades and have thousands of images in my files taken in many different habitats in all sorts of weather. Yet with all of that, certain images still elude me that I want. Why I want them I can’t tell you. Be it someone else’s image that has inspired me, a “possible” photo my imagination conjured up or a combination of the two, it’s in my head in either case. This past week at Roosevelt Nat’l Park offered me one of those opportunities. It was early morning, twenty-nine degrees out as the sun popped over the horizon. There beside the road was a gorgeous Bison bull, it’s fur coated in a layer of frost. As the sun struck him, the frost turned to steam. I watched through the D5...

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on Aug 16, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

A Moment with Hummers

I had a ton of fun this summer photographing hummingbirds. The thought crossed my mind to use the “slow motion” video mode in the D850 for the first time and record their flight in and out of the feeders. This was a helluva learning experience for me. For example, while it’s obvious, at the time it didn’t occur to me that shooting at 1920×1080 30p x4 sound wouldn’t be recorded. Duh! So while shooting stills with the D5 / 180-400, I had the D850 / 70-200f4 just running. I came back with 1TB of video from this experiment, yikes! I edited it down for a little fun. You can see some of my Hummer stills here at my AZ Bird Portfolio....

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on Aug 9, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Alvin Jr!

It started long ago, a tradition from back in film days and thankfully it’s continued this summer. Alvin Sr. is an Allen’s Hummingbird and at the end of most summers, fledgling Allen’s come to our feeders in good numbers. But not every year do we have ones with the character of the original Alvin. This year’s crop of hummers have been a bit funny, I think in part because of the heavy days of wildfire smoke and our warmer temps. Things started to settle down this past week and when it was all done, well, there was Alvin Jr! He’s quite a character even chasing the Mtn Chickadees that come near “his” feeders. Finally, I got some Alvin time in and he’s a hoot to work with! With the smoke being the heaviest in the afternoons, I changed up my shooting to the AM. There is a small window of time when the light comes in and backlights the perch I’ve got stuck in a Justin Clamp. The piece...

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on Aug 1, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

The Elegant Trogan

Back in 1988, we went on our first hunt for the Elegant Trogon. With Brent in a backpack on my back, in the cool of the morning, we hiked up that canyon. Far off in the distance, we could hear its call ever so faintly. Up we went along the trail but it eluded us that week, never ever getting a glance of it. It would be another thirteen years before I would get glass on one with only one click being somewhat decent. And so it would be until last month. The Elegant Trogon is a rare bird in North America where its northern range stops at Madera Canyon, SW Arizona. Over a foot long with a 16″ wingspan (big bird), its colors and rarity are what drives birders nuts trying to catch a glimpse of this gorgeous bird. Your best bet of finding them is in spring when the male’s loud call rings through the forest giving away its location. You would think a bird this big,...

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on Jul 23, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Worth A Buck!

Every fall, Sharon and I start prepping our meadow for the next spring. We’ve been doing it for decades and depending on the snow and winter showers, it’s either ok or, wow! This year was wow and in late July we call it the nursery. That’s because all the baby rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, grouse, quail and other critter make the flowers of the meadow quiver with all their activity in it. We love it. About ten days ago though for the first time, this big Mule Deer buck arrived and quickly the blossoms of our carefully loved meadow began to disappear. After a week of coming out and talking to him, he stood his groun munching long enough to get some glass on him (D5 / 180-400VR). Now we have had does a lot, a couple of yearling bucks, but never a big boy like this so it’s been quite a treat. And the meadow, well I guess it won’t be so wow for long but it’s worth a...

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on Jul 20, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Move Your Photography Forward

One of the biggest challenges in photography is measuring the success of our photographs both technically and most importantly, aesthetically. What I mean by that is, the vast majority of what we do there is no scale, an accepted public measure that we can quickly, easily and accurately measure the quality of our success. It’s all rather subjective. Those who live in the industry have such a scale but in many ways, this is a secret measure that’s summed up very simply in a check paying one for their efforts. But even in the days of film with it ridgedality that was relatively cut and dry this measure of success, helping a new photographer understanding what was sharp while looking through a loop on a light table was a helluva challenge. I by no means have any intent to suggest or force my scale of quality on anyone but rather, simply pass along just two things that my forty years of working with photobuyers has instilled in me that...

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