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on Jan 26, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Winter Heat Shimmer

Most think of heat shimmer as a summer issue when in reality, it can happen anytime. The last place folks think heat shimmer might occur is in winter and with snow on the ground. What you have here are two images, soft images because of heat shimmer. The top image is the most common example of heat shimmer issues, a photo that you know should be tack sharp but simply isn’t. The bottom photo if you look at the elements behind the Coyote, you will see a “shimmer” in them, elements not sharp but lines are just not straight. Both were taken with the 800mm / TC-14eIII with the subject across an expanse of snow. There is only one way I know of dealing with heat shimmer when it occurs, wind. When there is a breeze heat shimmer disappears. So in this case I watched the grasses around the Coyote and when I saw them moving in the breeze, I would shoot. And when I saw the grasses still,...

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on Jan 22, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Half An Hour Later

We’d past it some time back on the road, a bunch of vehicles had gone by the coyote, it just kept on trotting down the road. Along the Firehole River in Yellowstone, the groomed road the NPS maintains is a highway for critters as much as folks because it’s easy walking for them. This individual seemed very much on a mission so we went passed it and up towards Fountain Pots and began photographing the steam on the landscape. We shot with the wide lenses (24-70VR) and pulled out the really long lenses (800mm) and even drank some coffee. We spent some time just taking in the gorgeous view! Then we saw the coyotes make the bend in the road still walking on the road and coming our direction. Then the wait began. Where we were parked in a pullout that was alongside a massive meadow so figured the Coyote would leave the road and start across it to go hunting. It did for a short moment and then...

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on Jan 19, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

They Dot The Landscape

Click to see larger image The Bison of Yellowstone have always held a special fascination with me. Any critter that can stand in water that can boil an egg with an air temp of minus -32 (the coldest I’ve seen them), and go on chewin their cud as if it were just another day (which it is for them) I find fascinating. In the past, shooting one click and having it filled with Bison wasn’t a challenge. This latest trip with the warm temps and not historically high snow levels, tons of Bison just weren’t to be seen. At the same time, they are a range animal with the main herd kinda always on the move as they graze … and they call one of the most gorgeous and special places on the planet, Yellowstone, home. How do you say that in a photograph? I first went long, shooting with the 800mm trying to compact those that were available. That didn’t work so I then added the TC-14eIII giving...

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on Jan 13, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Go Wide – Tell Story

This might seem like an odd title when you realize this photo of a Bobcat was taken with a 800mm / TC-1.25E. Filling the frame seems like a common quest of wildlife photographers often leading them to crop in post just so you see just the critter. While there is nothing wrong with this if you still tell the critter’s story. Often though, the story goes with the crop. And that robs that critter of telling its story, that’s sad. It was the end of the day, temps hovering around 10 degrees. There perched in a down tree reaching out into the Madison River, a Bobcat does what a cat does so well, waiting for its prey to come within reach. This Bobcat has become very efficient at catching waterfowl. If you look in the foreground in the right corner you’ll see the ripples of the Goldeneye that just saved its own life by diving for food. If I had moved in closer, used a different teleconverter, I could...

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on Jan 11, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Working Winter

Shooting in winter has some abnormal challenges, one is really boring but turns out to be important. Condensation can really cause us issues if not nipped in the bud from the start. Condensation normally occurs when warm, moist air hits a cold surface. It can start as simply as our breathing on our gear and ice forming while shooting. The gear with that ice goes in your camera bag and once in your warm room, the condensation issue is born. To avoid this, I do these simple but I think important steps. When I put my gear away for the last time after shooting, the memory cards are removed and put into my pockets. Once I get into my room, I grab a clean bath towel and on the bed, I will lay out all my gear and quickly cover all of it with the towel. I then open all the section of my photopack, unzip them but have the flaps closed. I then put the cards in the...

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on Jan 7, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Fun ‘n The Snow

It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to enjoy winter shooting from the office. It’s actually real simple; put out some food, set up the gear, have it snow and shoot. It’s all real simple but the white stuff when you’re in a long drought, but such has not been the case this last month. Who you see above is a female White-headed Woodpecker (and how she came to be here is a whole other story). I’m shooting with the D4s / 800AFS with light provided by the ProPhoto B2 with the 2′ Octa w/grid. Why am I using flash and why the B2? The key here is, I don’t want you to see flash! The final photo has to look like what you think the light should look like. I shot this before and after of the perch so you can understand how and why I’m adding and melding the light. When it’s snowin, it’s dark and wanting to blur the falling snow, I need a...

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