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on Jul 11, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

The Silhouette – How Much Do You Need?

The silhouette is a dramatic and romantic way to tell a story about your subject. But just like everything else in communicating, the amount you say helps the viewer understand the story. The silhouette is by its very natural a dramatic image because of the character of the light. The most common silhouette comes in the early morning or late evening when we can so easily take advantage with its color. You can suck in everyone to look at your photograph with that red (make sure you’re shooting in Cloudy WB). We all are drawn to red so in using that you’ve done the easy part, grabbed the viewer’s attention. The hard part is telling the story once you’ve got their attention. That’s where knowing how much silhouette you need in the photograph. What we’re competing with are folk’s life experiences and perceived ideas. For example, a palm tree, everyone knows that shape so you don’t have to show that much for all to relate to the shape as...

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on Jun 24, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

White Pelican over Snow

I was down on the flats shooting the Swallows on a gorgeous morning. Off in the distance is home, the Sierra Mountains, still snow capped and in that filtered light – simply gorgeous. Then up the river I see a White Pelican lift off the water. I throw the D500 / 300PF up to my eye, gently touch the shutter release activating the AF system (in Auto Area AF), the system locked on and I let it rip, and rip, and rip and rip hoping the Pelican’s flight path would put it in front of our home. There was no way to know if the Pelican’s flight path would take it with the background I wanted when it first lifted off. If I waited to put the camera up to my eye once I saw the background, by the time the camera locked on and I took the photo, there is a good chance that the background would be loss. So shooting the D5 or in this case, the...

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on May 27, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Evening Love Cranking Up

Spring has sprung on the property and Sharon’s favorite birds have come back. We have two distinct populations of Evening Grosbeaks, winter and summer. This migratory species ranges over most of North America and Mexico with our winter Grosbeaks coming south from Canada, stopping at our feeders and our summer Grosbeaks coming up from the south to stop at our feeders. Sharon carefully notes their comings and goings over the years and so looks forward to the summer population since they are so active and noisy! We were in our home for years before we first saw the Evening Grosbeak on the property. We’d seen them in the Sierra but not around our feeders. Then eighteen years ago the first one arrived in May. Couldn’t move one foot in the house without flushing them. They are incredibly shy! Then none over the winter until the following May when we had a couple of Grosbeaks. The summer population slowly grew overs the years and then about seven years ago, the...

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on May 26, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Simple Pleasures – Score!

On my last two week bird road trip, I photographed 42 species of birds, 23 were new to my files. It was a great trip! Now I saw some gorgeous birds, some rare birds, some weird birds and lots of birds but the one that was the real joy to photograph was this Bobolink. Why? I’ve been seeing Bobolinks on wires for two decades. I have many times stalked a Bobolink, had them in the viewfinder but for every possible reason, I had never got one click of one. Not a rare bird, not an incredibly cool looking bird but for me, one of those birds I’ve always wanted only because of the challenge of getting the shot. And this trip I got one in the viewfinder, I lucked out with a clean background and nice light (not great light though) and made the click. What’s the point? No matter where you are in your wildlife photography, having a critter in your sites, preferably a “common” one that you...

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on May 11, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Song of Spring

I’m up at Magee Marsh, OH and even with 55 degree temps and the sky spitting at me, the sound of spring is everywhere! Jake had come up here a couple of years back and said, “Dad, you gotta go” and so I’m here. He was so right! Had a marvelous day in this new Shang-ra-la seeing some gorgeous birds sing the blessings of spring. What a day! What species did I see? Lost track to be honest with you. Spent a heck of a lot of time with Yellow Warblers (top photo) cause even though common in my backyard, these are wearing their spring best and singing up a storm and point blank range. I had really good birds as well like this Prothonotary Warbler which stuck around for quite a while. With these small subjects and travel being restricted to a boardwalk, I went out with the big gun, D5 / 800mm. With the over saturated light, shot with no flash, at zero exposure comp. Only out...

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