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on Oct 18, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

All Confused!

We were walking the back trails at Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. I was looking for Moose so was looking for something big. I had just made a turn on the path when I caught out of the corner of my eye movement, something small and gray under a tree. My mind said Lynx since they are here. I slowly moved forward to see what the movement was and I come around a tree to see a male Spruce Grouse … displaying! This is October! I moved forward a little more and I could see a second male grouse displaying. What gives, courtship is in May … they are all confused! Then I spot the female up in the spruce and the dots connected. Now why the males thought in October they had any chance with this female is still a mystery but I didn’t care. For those of you who have not seen a Spruce Grouse in the wild, they are not a smart bird. You’ve seen in the...

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on Oct 8, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Gettin Close In Every Sense of the Word

My approach to photographing Moose during the rut is different from most. Bulls expand an inordinate amount of energy to be a bull and photographers who push them to get “the” shot just stress them further. For that and just because I want the best photograph, I wait, hours and hours, for the moment when they approach me on their own terms. Where we’re shooting, we can see for over a mile. Watching the cows, you can get an idea of what the bulls will do. In this case, this bull which we had seen first thing in the morning was pushed up slope with a cow into the trees. Hours later he came back down as we where there to get the shot. Real simple, just had to wait. Getting closer, much closer to the photo I want. Photographically, this photo is getting closer to what I want. Not the biggest bull on the field, he’s still a big boy. He’s on a bit of rise and the...

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on Oct 7, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Cous at 800

Our first day with family in Alaska was pretty darn cool. Thirty cousins showed up for the reunion so it’s easy to say, we had a good time. You might remember I said I was changing things up by shoot with the big glass, 800mm, this trip. I found very quickly that’s too much glass for our shooting yesterday. Why? Working in a dense forest, there is not always room to either backup or find an alley way through trees to get the shot I want. In this example, I’m just too tight and had no options to improve. Today is a new day and simply requires me to think through the biology and apply the technology better. It’s a good challenge....

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on Oct 5, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Going to Visit Cous’

Yep, it’s that time of year to make the annual family trip to see my northern cousins. Like any good family member, we’ve made this journey many times. Now you might think that by now I would have the one family portrait that says it all. Well, I don’t and that’s in part why I keep going back. What is that one photograph I’m looking for? To be honest with you, I’m not really sure. It’s gotta be a bull, it’s gotta be big, it’s gotta have attitude and the world in which it lives has to scream Alaska. After that, I’m not really sure. I am going with something new this year though, not just the D5 but the 800mm. Shooting big game with a big lens like this is not my normal style. I normally go after them with the 200-400VR2 or 400f2.8. I’m not sure if this is the winning ticket or not, but I’m sure going to give it my best shot. I’ll let you...

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on Sep 28, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Butcherbird Background

Is a messy, distracting background an automatic bad thing? Do you need to strive to have only clean meld of color backgrounds in your wildlife photography? I guess it all depends on who you want to listen too. But if you cruise a number of magazines, you’ll find that quite often messy is exactly the background you’ll see. So how are you to know what is right when you see one thing, hear another and want to do a third? Personally when I ask myself this question I fall back on one simple answer, what’s the story? Photographing critters, using the angle of view of your lens is critical in this pursuit which is why I shoot so often with the 800mm. But how do you connect the dots? The Grey Butcherbird is a resident of the eucalyptus rainforest of Australia. It forages most often on the ecotone of the forest for larger prey that it impels on sharp twigs/branches/thorns and then with relish tares to shreds and consumes....

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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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