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on Dec 5, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

The Moment of Elegance

Sandhill Cranes fly with amazing elegance and grace! Their long wings grab so much air with each stroke, it sends them gliding through the air with little effort. Watching them fly, it’s very easy to see this grace but when you stop it with a camera, the motion and grace is often not captured. Is there a trick to this? Is there a wing position in flight that says this more than another? In saying this in a photograph, I tend to try for a couple of things. First, I try to start firing the camera when the bird is at the top of their wing stroke (crane on the right). I don’t know what it is but it seems to work out when you rip the shutter to capture the best wing strokes. The other thing I do is go for synchronized flying. Shooting with the D5 / 800mm (so I can shoot with Auto Area AF), I look for two birds flying together. They tend to at...

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on Nov 15, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Turnstone?

Turnstone, turnstone, what kind of name is that for a bird that is found most often on the beach? We have two turnstones in North American, the Black and Ruddy, this is a Ruddy. And their name comes from their constant habitat of turning over debris looking for food. Unlike many of its beach neighbors, Turnstones don’t constantly prob the sand looking for a bite to eat, but under debris where the rest of the birds never look. It always fascinates me to watch all the different species of shorebirds gather and feed with minimal competition in the same little patch of sand, all finding what they need to survive the day. Beautiful! In these first two photos you have two different stories of the Ruddy Turnstone. The above is your basic intimate with the subject shot, the bottom is the biology unfolding. While they were both taken with the D5 / 800mm w/TC-1.25x but the top one, the rig was resting on the sand with the Panning Plate...

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on Nov 9, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Working Birds on the Beach

There is NO one way to work with wildlife, this is especially true with birds! There are many paths to success so then the way to find your path should include the fun factor. When you include that, then lying on the beach has to be one of the best techniques (Kelby class on the technique). We’re working with birds about the size of your fist darting about a world that is full of visual distraction. To make them visibly pop, we need to either make them larger in the frame or remove the visual distractions. Getting down on their level accomplished both with a lot of fun mixed in. Here’s a video showing you the technique in action a few days ago. The video was shot with the new Nikon KeyMission 360. It was attached to a flash arm over the 800mm lens. It’s a 4k video (be sure to set it to 4k when viewing) resized down from 2.1Gb to 524MB to upload quickly to YouTube. Clicking...

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on Oct 28, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

The Legacy We’re Leaving … or Not

Adorable American Pika Is Fast Disappearing, And We’re Doing Nothing To Stop It is a headline that should stop us and make us think at the very least. And it’s not just the America Pika but Collared Pika as well. Seeing firsthand populations disappear literally in my own backyard, it saddens me to no...

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on Oct 20, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Which Way to Turn?

Which format, horizontal or vertical tells the story best of this Red Squirrel munching? It was a pretty easy photo to take. The Red Squirrel had his mind on one thing, food. Getting close with the D5 / 300PF was easy, real easy so then after that challenge comes the question, which way to turn? I have a favorite based on the action, background and light. When it comes up in your viewfinder, do you know which way to turn? If you don’t and if the opportunity presents itself, take it both ways and then look at the photo later in the hopes you’ll start teaching yourself which works best for your storytelling. Because there are times when you don’t have the luxury of shooting it both ways so you must commit. It’s a question that never goes away … which way to...

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