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on Jul 3, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

New to the Bath

Na, not a great shot but it breaks the jinx. This Williamson’s Sapsucker kid first made its appearance at one of our bird baths back on Father’s Day. A riparian, high altitude species, I’ve seen them plenty of times over the decades but never got any glass on them. When this juvi first appeared, I had to get the Sibley’s out and figure out which juvi sapsucker it was. When I figured out it was a Williamson’s, I got very excited. Then the travel kicked in and I wasn’t home to get a click of it. Sharon kept an eye on it and figured out the time of day it appeared the most frequently. Tonight, I had the D4s with 800f5.6 AFS on the Gitzo 5561SGT w/ Zenelli Carbon Fiber Gimbal Head set up and pointed where it comes. You’re seeing the wood perch wired on to the bird bath just for our woodpecker friends. If it all works out like normal, the juvi will become an adult and...

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on Jul 1, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Finger … faster!

This Cliff Swallow colony has nested in the same place forever! Every year I swear I’m going to spend more time at it than the year before and get the image. Sadly, some years I don’t make it down at all, other years which this is looking to be like, only once. It kills me to have such a marvelous opportunity and not take advantage of it. You see, what makes this colony of Cliff Swallows special is, they are nesting below eye level and just feet away! Yep, don’t have to shoot up at them but down. How cool is that! So there I am shooting away with...

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on Jun 23, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Long Lens Depth

They live at the top of the world. The animals the color of winter, Mountain Goats have long been a favorite species of mine. Their home is nothing short of spectacular! How do you say that in a photograph? This recent photo is a quick example (not the best though) to illustrate my point. How do you say in the same frame, “They live at the top of the world?” Well, you gotta include that in the frame and the easiest way is with a long lens. Not for image size cause as you can see, that’s not what I’ve done. But because of the narrow angle of view and ability to pull in the background. Shooting with the D4s/ 80-400VR3 at 250mm and getting below the Billy, the background pops and in doing so, makes it pop while telling its story. It’s a simple recipe that works so powerfully, long lens...

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on Jun 22, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Bad Light for Color?

Many all black bird species have a gorgeous iridescence to them, when, and this is the important part, when they have a direct light source on blaring on them. The iridescence works on the very basic light principle, angle of incidence equals angle of reflection. This means in simple terms, the sun must be higher in the sky than we would normally like to see those colors in the black. It also means that if we use flash, in a hot shoe or in a flash bracket, this does not get the flash far enough away from the camera to get a big blaze of that color. You can simply think of it as requiring bad light to get those colors. How do you make than a decent looking photograph if you have hot, constrastly light in order to get that iridescence in the black? There are a couple of things you can do and I share these photos of a Brewer’s Blackbird to illustrate them. I’m shooting across...

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on Jun 18, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Their Level

There is nothin more common in the Northern Latitudes then the Columbian Ground Squirrel! And when it comes to the basic challenge of making the uncommon of the common, you can easily find hours of fun in chasing the Columbian with your lens. In early spring as the snow is still melting away, they are coming our of hibernation and they have two things on their mind, food and sex. That means photographers who are patient meld into the background. This gives you the opportunity to shoot them at their level making the uncommon out of the common. With food and sex on their minds, getting close physically is rather simple. All it really takes is a little time and observation. They will telegraph where they like to sit and spy on each other and that’s where you need to get. Shooting with the D4s & 80-400VR3, the top image was taken while I was down on one knee. Shooting at 400mm, the CGS went about lookin about, groomin...

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on Jun 12, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Pop Goes the Weasel!

Put simply, it kicked my ass and I enjoyed every moment of it! The Long-tailed Weasel is not a critter you see everyday. While very common, they are very illusive, secretive and simply put, greased lightning! They do nothing slowly but what always seems like panic in motion. The photo above in all honesty really visually describes the life and times of a Long-tailed Weasel. And it’s cool! Finding one is only part of the HUGE challenge of photographing them. We were at our very special location when looking at a Mountain Cottontail, I saw this weasel pop out of nowhere behind it. We were just scouting for the moment so had no cameras, having just literally gotten out of our vehicles. Sharon and I both saw it at the same time and in jaw dropping stance, watched as the weasel went ballistic running over this fallen log. We watched for a few minutes and then it occurred to me that it wasn’t going anywhere. So we sent back...

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