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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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on Nov 14, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

The Fur is Comin

The coats of mammals are essential to regulating their core temperature. It’s really a marvel of adaptation when you look at the color, length, molts, patterns and distribution each mammal has which is what in large part makes each unique. There is one thing we can generalize, mammals coats become their most luxurious in winter. This is a biological fact we can use to grab our viewer’s heartstrings! We start by being more intimate in our photos in telling that story. Top photo was shot with a 600mm and the bottom with a 200-400VR2 at 400mm. Using these longer lenses permitted manipulating the background so the subject, story, pops in the photo. Along with that is the light. The softer light like in the top photo makes the fur appear, thicker because there are no hard shadows to define it. And by emphasizing the thicker fur we play into folks stereotypes. Most associate thick fur with winter so by playing into that, it makes our storytelling easier. It’s fall...

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on Oct 27, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Refrigerator Gallery

There are two types of photographs, memories, to me, those for the refrigerator and those that go out to the world. The difference being is those that go on the refrigerator and the personal memories, the ones where only we understand the inside story so for the most part, there is no story other than that inside knowledge. This photo goes on the frig and is here only to illustrate my point. Sharon and I love the fall because a group of birds always move through the property. One is the Spotted Towhee. We only have them for a couple of weeks but we celebrate it! This year they were around when we had a splattering of snow. This one photo sums that up great for us. But unless I told that story, the only real true attribute the photo has going for it is, it’s sharp. That’s not enough to share with the world so it’s only to go to the refrigerator...

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on Oct 20, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Bird Bath Birds

I had the itch to spend some time with my birds. So I set up the D850 / 800mm on a bird bath where I could work on the computer and shoot. I actually had a great time, photographed over a dozen species and made a couple of images I really like. What I love seeing in the photographs was the dramatic change in the light. Over the couple of hours, the light on the birds and the background really changed, changing the entire photo. What you see below is Cassin’s Finch, Red-breasted, White-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatch, male & female Red-shafted Flicker, White-headed Woodpecker, Evening Grosbeak and Stellar’s Jay. I just love my...

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on Oct 9, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

The D850 & Wildlife

I’ve had a whole lot of folks ask about the D850 for wildlife photography. The honest answer is, I’ve not really had the time nor opportunity to truly photograph critters with it yet. It’s a valid question because, on paper, the D850 appears to be perfect. For example, I’ve always needed myself a minimum frames per second of 5.5FPS which the D850 blows by with 7 native and 9FPS with the MB-D18. Even better is the buffer which for all intent and purpose is endless (yes, technically there is a limit). After a week of focusing in on the backyard critters, I can easily say the D850 does a great job with wildlife! I first went with a D850 / 300PF combo chasing squirrels around the wood pile. This small, light package was pretty darn easy and fun to shoot with. The rockin D850 AF system made shooting in the low light a snap which is really important in wildlife photography. With that checked off the list for first...

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on Sep 27, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

How Low to Go?

I’ve written many times about getting down low when shooting. The whole thing about getting down low is to control the background so the subject pops. This need comes from shooting a subject low to the ground and pointing the lens down captures too much background or, shooting up not only controls the background but adds drama. When standing up how do you know how low you need to go, or even if you need to go low in the first place? It starts with seeing that the subject is blending in with the background. After that, it’s just getting down a lot and knowing if it’s worth it or not. Here are two photos of the same American Golden Plover and one is working and one is not. Can you tell which? I love the action of the tail in the top photo and the biology and calm of the bottom photo. That said, the light at the top of the frame in the top photo drives me...

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