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on Sep 20, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

The History in Our Files

It was a long time ago, 1989, when I dragged the family up the California coast to a lighthouse. We’d not been there before, it had taken a bit of leg work to even gain access and as we drove up in the station wagon, I had no clue what I was photographically getting into. The biologist walked up, opened the door to the base of the lighthouse and inside were the last remaining Morro Bay Kangaroo Rats in the world. Just eight at the time, just eight. They were living in manmade plywood box arenas in the hope they would breed and make more. At the time, there were none known in the wild. Today, there are none and the search for a small pocket in the wild that might have survived is underway. I so regret my lack of skills then and the quality of this photograph today. It was taken in the crudest of ways. It was my first, very first small critter shoot and I...

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on Sep 7, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Even A Photograph is Not Enough

It was on the top of my list. I was very fortunate when growing up to be surrounded by the wild world of creatures being exposed to vastly more species than can be found in North America. I have no doubt that is why I have such a lust to travel and see firsthand our amazing wild heritage. I don’t remember when but the Tawny Frogmouth has been on my wish list to see and photograph from the very beginning of my career. On our last K&M Adventure to Australia, we were in the world of the Frogmouth but that’s not enough to see them. On our second to the last day, one of the guides said they knew where a pair had been hanging out. Being a nocturnal creature, we headed out just prior to sunset to find them. We all piled into the van and off to “The Bluff” we went. We’re in a rainforest at Lamington Nat’l Park and on this particular evening, the clouds had...

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on Aug 31, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Smooth as Satin

The Satin Bowerbird is one of the quirkiest birds you’re going to find on the planet! Lets start with its name. Satin is pretty obvious, their plumage color radically changes as light strikes it going from black, black to the most amazing brilliant blue. Now “Bower” might be throwing you and that refers to its crazy love shack that it creates. The male Satin Bowerbird creates this crazy stick, two wall structure and maintains it for nearly nine months of the year. Part of that structure is the “front porch” which is a collection of more sticks along with anything blue it can find. Before man showed up, it would be blue feathers from other birds. But with man came plastic so now you can find any kind of blue plastic you can imagine. Now if you want to drive a bowerbird nuts, place a piece of his blue inside the actual bower structure. He can’t get it our fast enough! Now all of this is for one purpose,...

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on Aug 24, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

It Hooked Me the 1st Day!

The very first morning I caught just a couple of frames and that was it. They were those kind of frames which give you a taste but leave you wanting more. And in this case, the frames were in mixed light of an unique individual so I couldn’t instantly key out the bird. And it wasn’t one we’d seen on our previous trip to O’Reilly’s. A day went by before we saw another individual and this time, had a long look and photographed a typical individual and I knew in the viewfinder was a Grey Shrike-thrush. It’s actually a common species, not that hard to see nor photograph if you know where it hangs out. But I was already hooked so I went into my normal mode, making the common, uncommon. The quest for the uncommon photo that told its story started with knowing the stage I wanted to set for my star. I wanted to speak to its living in a dark rainforest. With this idea, I started...

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on Aug 19, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Ghosting for Effect?

Ghosting is an old term when it comes to wildlife photography. It refers to when there are two “images” of the subject in one frame. It is caused when shooting with flash using an shutter speed too slow so it captures the ambient light exposure of the subject along with the frozen image captured by the flash. The rule of thumb is, a subject has to appear in the frame for 1/4 of the exposure time to register (100% to be captured completely). Now I’ve used ghosting creatively for wildlife for a long time. Prime example is to illustrate the drilling action of a woodpecker. Here’ in the rainforest at O’Reilly’s, I’ve been trying it to communicate the activity of some of the birds, like this Eastern Yellow Robin. They are such a delightful little bird, but all so busy. In this case, shooting with the D5 / 300PF / SB-5000, I used ghosting to show its constant activity as it flits about the forest. Is it perfect? Na,...

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