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on May 5, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Splendors & Wonders!

For thirty-six years, I have traveled in search of the natural wonders of this planet. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to witness some of Mother Nature’s finest, sights that have inspired me for a lifetime. Reaching a lifetime location to witness the annual shorebird gathering on Delaware Bay tops the list of her miracles! Seeing tens of thousands of birds packed into a hundred yard stretch of beach simply takes your breath away. And while they are packed on the beach, there is a celebration of life in the skies as the Dunlin fly their aerial ballet moving from a piece of beach to another. It can’t help but effect and inspire you, the sites and sound in this explosion of life. Go out this weekend and find your lifetime wonder and celebrate it in your photography. Then be sure to share that wonder with everyone else. Because it belongs to all of us and everyday we need to celebrate Mother Nature and all her splendors and...

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on May 3, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

A Tern at Handholding

I’m in Cape May having the time of my life photographing birds! We found on our first day this pair of Forster’s Terns that hang on the same sunken stump every afternoon. I’ve captured some absolutely delightful images there I need to share. During the “down” time between their “spring activities” I wanted to get some panning practice in with me new favorite rig, D500 / 300PF and to make it exciting I added the TC-14eIII. The extra mm’s narrows the angle of view so handholding has to be spot on. There were Forster’s Terns feeding right in front of us so that was my target. When the light got good and they hovered in front of us, I would shoot. I wanted the slower shutter speed to blur the wings to show they are hovering but knowing their head stays in the same spot when they hover, knew I would get the eye sharp. It was great practice and fun and produced some cool images. That’s why I...

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on May 2, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Humor then Threat in a Wing Beat

It’s spring so love is in the air. This male Osprey is sitting on an artificial nesting platform after bringing in fish and nesting material. Reading human emotions into the situation and his gesture, you might quickly think he’s tired of it already and it’s just begun. Then within seconds the humor is replaced as an interloping male attempts to come into the nest and get in between the mated pair. The aggression you see in the frame below was very real and for a moment, the resident male was battling for either his mate, his life or both, who knows. In the end the resident drove off the interloper and things went back to the boredom experienced just moments before. Making the shot required a couple of basics so concentrating on the action was all that was required to make the shot. First, the background needed to be clean which required our simply moving to the right. Next, was using enough glass to eliminate some items while not...

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on Apr 25, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

The Drive for Love

The Greater Prairie Chicken is a fascinating bird with the most unique biology in attracting a mate. When our forefathers crossed the country in the 1800s heading west, they would be waken by the strange booming and dull thud of rapid footbeats as the Chicken displayed on their lek. For decades covering the vast landscape, they were shot by the million to feed eastern markets. Today, extinct in much of their historic range, the Gtr Prairie Chicken can still be found in spring on their leks displaying and fighting in their drive for survival. Once again in my drive to witness our vanishing wild heritage, I headed to the Calamus Outfitters Ranch to be amongst this celebration of spring. You get in the blind long before daylight, before the male Gtr Prairie Chickens reach the lek and take up their position on their very temporary territory. Their territory which is no bigger than a dinner table is very flexible, changing size and location depending on the females. The males...

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on Mar 31, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Know When to Bail!

Many, many, many years ago I got a photo of the magnificent blue eye of the breeding Double-crested Cormorant. It was back in the days of film and I needed an extension tube on my 800mm to get physically close enough to make the shot. I’ve always liked that photo because with that magnificent blue eye they get during spring, the Double-crested Cormorant is really cool. The rest of the year, not so much. So whenever I’m around them in spring now, I’m always going after that blue eye trying to make a better photo then I already have in my files. Above you can see that blue eye that is just crazy cool. Both of these photos are of the same cormorant taken just a week ago, D5 / 800mm w/TC-1.25x. I had a very preconceived idea what I wanted to see in the viewfinder in my “better” eye photo. First, I needed to see the eye and I wanted to see just the eye. Next, I wanted...

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on Mar 28, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

The Cut Off … Argh!

One of the hardest things for photographers to grasp is where can they crop a critter in the viewfinder. There is no guide or book on where you can crop a neck or leg or body. The best I can ever do to help is describe it as the awkward crop. There is one area though that I have a little more substantial aid and that comes to birds feet. Above is an example of not only an awkward crop but and general rule of thumb. When it comes to feet, if you crop them, you need to leave enough room that mentally the viewer can put the feet with the critter. The photo above, there is great action going on but the feet are gone. In the bottom photo, the one foot is cut off by the water but there is enough room in the photo to mentally see them. It’s such a small thing but it can make or break a great photo. We need to have...

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