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on Apr 16, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Jumping for Spring!

There are many celebrations in nature announcing the coming of spring. One of my favorites is that of the Greater Prairie Chickens. Looking at the image above, it would appear they are jumping for joy with the passing of snow and the coming of green grass and warmer days. And while they are celebrating spring, their jumping has nothing to do with joy! The Chickens come together for a short period, about a month, on a lek, to get lucky. Arriving on the Lek in the dark, they establish small territories then perform their hearts out to attract a female to the territory. And if another male should come close to that territory, the fights begin. It’s true chicken fights with biting, scratching, kicking and tackles all part of the fight trying to make the opponent look unworthy of a mate. Now I call it getting lucky because to our eyes, it never seems to ever work as copulation is never seen on the lek. But a celebration it...

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on Apr 13, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Headin North

We took a short break from chicken and grouse and made the drive down to the Platt River for the evening flyin. It’s a spectacle that’s really hard to put into words and the still click doesn’t express it well enough. That’s because when there are 20k cranes filling the sky from behind to on the horizon to the water in front of you, the “360” visual and audio is something that has to be experienced in person! The Cranes are on the Platt near Kearney, NE for just about 6 weeks typically. They are coming from the south on their way north. This evening, I went with the bridge on Elm Island to watch the flyin to the river night roost. Some nights there are a few birds that pick this location, last night it was thousands! So standing on the edge of the road with the D5 / 300PF / TC-14eIII, all you had to do was look for the great background, match it up with the...

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on Apr 11, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Up with the Chickens!

I’m up in Nebraska with one of my favorite birds, the Greater Prairie Chicken (at my favorite place, Calamus Outfitters). So I’m up literally with the birds. And then we’re in the blinds well before the sun even thinks of peaking its head out, so I’m still up, literally with the birds. And I enjoy every minute of it! Today the fun was watching the males getting up on the fence gate and try to “strut their stuff” while doing a high wire act. It really never worked out well so they ended up back on the ground to dance to the ladies. But the best part was about 30 minutes after this, the females got up on the fence. Now they don’t strut their stuff. They just flew up there where the guys could see them, got them all spooled up and then, did nothing! After about twenty minutes, they just flew off leaving the guys literally, eating dirt. It was great fun, at least from my point...

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on Mar 26, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Snow Flare

From the office in the softest voice possible, Sharon said, “Get in here slowly with your longest lens!” I slowly walked into the office to see Sharon pointing cautiously out the window. There on Tree 2 about eight feet in front of Sharon was perched our winter, Sharp-shinned Hawk. We’d seen it many times, mostly perched right out in the open like it was right now. A gorgeous bird, I grabbed the D5 / 800mm which is always set up when I’m home and walked out to the the shot. That’s what you see below, the first shots. I always take a couple of shots in this kind of situation so we have at the very least a visual record of birds that come on the property. But looking through the viewfinder I saw I had two major problems. The obvious one is the background, the not so obvious but bigger problem, snow flare! The solution to both issues was moving to the left, which I did and shot...

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on Mar 20, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Can the Bar Be Raised?

It was one those classic winter morning sunrises on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon! The light slowly builds in the depths of The Canyon like a perfect symphony rise to a crescendo as sunrise approaches. We scan left and right watching it build and photographic opportunities as they come and go. The air temp might be only a single digit, it doesn’t matter as the excitement warms the air and builds with the light. I have the D850 / 24-70VR in hand as I patrol the rim looking for opportunities taking photograph after photograph. I’m scanning over to the North Rim when from below in the morning exchange of air brings a gorgeous Peregrine Falcon up in front of me as it riding on an elevator in the early sunrise light. And there it hangs in front of me, close enough to reach out and touch so by instinct, I put the camera to my eye and shoot. I’ll never forget the experience! The one problem for...

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on Feb 21, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

What’s In Your Favorite?

There are so many “things” that go into a photograph! There is the great, brand, f/stop, shutter speed and of course, the Photoshop concerns. The one “thing” that I find many photographers don’t consider or act upon is the most important element to go into a photograph, themselves! Ya, there are all the worries, the … will this qualify for the camera club judging or the … will I get a bunch of likes on Facebook, but what about your wants, desires, your favorites? What is it YOU want in your photograph? This is the most difficult because all I just listed and more plus the fact there is no, (insert your name here) Menu Setting or Slider that automatically puts (insert your name here) instantly into the formula. Do you even know what that might be if you could have such a setting? I can tell you some of mine, the Glossy Ibis above is a good example of them. All my images require light, not just light...

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