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on Feb 12, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Elegance of Flight

The magic of flight that birds appear to do so effortlessly is a photographic storytelling challenge. That’s because as we watch it in real time, the mind fills in lots of gaps so all that registers is that magic. But when you take just one moment from that flight, that single moment in flight might not translate that magic that we’re after. How do you bring home that elegance of flight in your photo to share with others? As you watch them ring up, raptors make circles and in that circle there is a photograph and only one moment. In that moment is the elegance but how do you capture that? It all starts really with the gear you’re shooting with, in this example, I used the captured by D5 / 800mm but an easier set up for most would have be something handheld like the 300PF on the D5. The gear gives you not only the image size but ability to isolate the flight from the background. There...

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on Feb 6, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Our Moment of Zen?

There are those moments when the air is still, the light has kissed it when the subject comes through to be blessed by it. With the D5 / 800mm mounted we had such a moment with this Fl Brown Pelican glided past. Our moment of...

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on Jan 25, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

It was So Worth the Wait!

It was SO worth the wait! All these years of coming to Yellowstone to be intimate with a pack was finally achieved. Sixteen members of the 8 Mile Pack made a kill the night before. The next morning nine were still working on the Bison kill. When we arrived we found them off in the distance with full bellies sleeping it off. There were two options when they woke up while we were there. They would come back and feed a little more or more likely, slip back into their secretive world of the forest disappearing from view. Within 30min of our arrival, they got up and at first, two of the adults walked back into the forest. My heart sunk! There were nine wolves when we arrived, now there were seven. Then they all started to get up, stretch and mill around. I figured that would be it. Then the alpha male made a 180 and walked right towards us and the kill. For the next two hours,...

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on Jan 9, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Summer or Winter, They Need …

It’s the staple of life! Water, birds need water every day, multiple days a day. They need it for both drinking and for bathing, both essential survival needs. In the summer, free water is scarce in many regions because pools evaporate. In the winter time free water freezes. Both scenarios remove water from the system. That’s why we have so many bird baths on our property, five to be exact and they always see more activity than our feeders. In the winter time, they have a simple birdbath heater to keep them open. And all of this means a great photographic opportunity for you! The key is to have perches for the birds to land on coming to and leaving the bird bath. The Bullock’s Oriole above was coming into the bath and the 600mm isolated it against a great background. That was a planned perch, not luck. The bottom photo is a Red-breasted Nuthatch coming landing on a perch right on the bird bath up close with the...

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on Dec 22, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Exposing for Winter, a Thought

> With the new snows of the season, I thought I’d answer a common question that floods in this time of year. “How do you (as in Moose) expose for snow?” Of course, living in snow, I have a number of off the cuff answers, but I’ll move past those and get to the heart of the question as I look at it. What color is snow? Unless a Moose or dog has passed by, it’s white, right? The common belief that if there is snow in the scene, automatically dial in +1. A recommendation that comes from the meters of the 1970s. We’re not in the ’70s. I honestly don’t think there are viewers of your snow photograph who wouldn’t recognize the white stuff on the ground as snow. With that being true, then seeing detail in every crystal of the snow (what +1 might does for you) is not mission critical to tell the viewer the white stuff they are looking at is indeed, snow. With that...

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on Dec 18, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a ….

I’m often asked how much lens do you need for bird photography? My response is a really old quote, “Go out with your longest lens or else you’ll comeback short!” And with that I always add, what’s the story you want to tell? Because for me after being so fortunate to photograph birds for four decades, the answer is real simple. Let me illustrate. My quick answer to the question is, 400mm as that’s the lens I started with. The long answer is 800mm but only us nutjobs spend that much on a lens. You really need to reach down and decide if you’re going to go with the herd and the easy route and simply stuff a frame with a bird and call it art, or the hard route and fill the frame with the birds word while making the bird the subject. Ya, it takes less lens for the latter, but a whole lot more skill and passion. And the complete bird photographer has both crafts in...

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