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on Dec 12, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Elegance on Ice

A very special place for critters, birds, Sandhill Cranes, in particular, is Bosque del Apache NWR. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have been coming here forever and this week being here with dear friends is extra special. Sandhill Cranes are an amazing bird coming to Bosque to overwinter, storing up reserves to make the flight back north in the spring to raise the next generation. Their biology at Bosque is pretty straightforward, eat, eat, eat and not be eaten. They roost at night is the very shallow ponds so the approach of predators can easily be heard, then head to the fields during the day to forage. They do all of this with amazing grace and elegance … except …. Those shallow ponds that afford the Cranes a prewarning can turn this otherwise elegant birds into a comedy act. There are mornings like this morning when the air temp gets down there (13 degrees this AM) and a surface layer of ice forms. It’s not so thick that the...

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on Nov 28, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Ya Baby … SNOW!

Think he’s been watching Peanut Cartoons through the window? Winter has come to the house … and we love it! One of the best things is how it concentrates all the critters at our feeders, free water, and houses (be it shrubs or birdhouses). It makes observing them easy, fun and always entertaining. Nows the time to stock up on supplies and make sure you have those unfrozen sources of water available for them. It’s 13 degrees outside as I write this which means any water not warmed with a heater will be a rock. This little Douglas Tree Squirrel is waiting his turn to get to the bird bath. Free water is so important to critters, no more so than in the...

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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 birds! [envira-gallery...

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