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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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on Dec 14, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Whatta Morning!

Bosque is so good for the soul! And it doesn’t suck for photography either. But mornings like today make those statements pale by comparison! Timing is everything at Bosque, and that timing all centers around light. The light for the inflight of Geese to the pond and the outflight can make magic turn into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the camera and soul. Here are two quick pics from this AM which barely scratch the experience but for me, will always remind me of the moment,...

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on Dec 12, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Elegance on Ice

A very special place for critters, birds, Sandhill Cranes, in particular, is Bosque del Apache NWR. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have been coming here forever and this week being here with dear friends is extra special. Sandhill Cranes are an amazing bird coming to Bosque to overwinter, storing up reserves to make the flight back north in the spring to raise the next generation. Their biology at Bosque is pretty straightforward, eat, eat, eat and not be eaten. They roost at night is the very shallow ponds so the approach of predators can easily be heard, then head to the fields during the day to forage. They do all of this with amazing grace and elegance … except …. Those shallow ponds that afford the Cranes a prewarning can turn this otherwise elegant birds into a comedy act. There are mornings like this morning when the air temp gets down there (13 degrees this AM) and a surface layer of ice forms. It’s not so thick that the...

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on Nov 28, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Ya Baby … SNOW!

Think he’s been watching Peanut Cartoons through the window? Winter has come to the house … and we love it! One of the best things is how it concentrates all the critters at our feeders, free water, and houses (be it shrubs or birdhouses). It makes observing them easy, fun and always entertaining. Nows the time to stock up on supplies and make sure you have those unfrozen sources of water available for them. It’s 13 degrees outside as I write this which means any water not warmed with a heater will be a rock. This little Douglas Tree Squirrel is waiting his turn to get to the bird bath. Free water is so important to critters, no more so than in the...

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on Nov 17, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Simple Photographic Pleasures

One of the great things about wildlife photography is the simple pleasures a simple click can bring! We’ve had 36hrs of rain here at 8200′, over 4 inches so the critters have been hunkered down. The sun came out this morning as did the birds in great numbers. Often with storms this time of year, migrants that normally fly on by stop to wait out the storm. It’s one reason the 800mm is left set up, ready to shoot at the first shout of “BIRD!” Then when conditions are right, they greet the day in the sun refueling on our property. This morning a secretive favorite of mine appeared. Sharon first called him out and for the next twenty minutes, we watch the Varied Thrush rummage through the underbrush looking for morsels (not been on the property that we know about since ’08). Then it hopped up and T’d up long enough for me to make a couple of quick portraits. And now my day is made. Simple photographic...

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