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on Jun 28, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Slow Progress … Still Progress?

After sitting, stewing, and sleeping on it, I came up with minor changes in our technical tools and ideas and they started to payoff for us. Still shooting with the captured by D500 / 300PF / 2x SB-5000 set up but have made better use of Auto Area AF. The idea, of course, is not only capture the photo but have a ton of fun and enjoy the magic that is hummingbirds. We got much closer to that today. Now it’s still not “the” photo I want, but it’s now moving in the right direction so while slow progress, it’s still...

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on Jun 27, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

So Far, Yet So Far!

I’m down in nirvana, or to birders better known as Madera Canyon. It’s been thirteen years since our last visit here and we have a great, advanced group taking on the challenge of photographing hummers in flight. The goal is not to take a photo of a hummer frozen in the air, the goal is to bring to life in our still the magic that is these flying jewels. Today, I went down in flames not even coming close to the goal! Thirteen years ago, we didn’t have such cameras as the D500 to use with flashes like the SB-5000 wirelessly (using WR-R10 powered by SD-9 and light modified by Rogue Flashbender 2) which makes a huge difference. And shooting with the 300PF is a simply a joy. And while we’ve come so far in technology and gear, the same challenge of subject and light remain the same. So while technically the photo is OK, the light pleasant, it is miles from my goal! Will I get there in...

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on Jun 23, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Our Photographic Progression Never Ends

It’s essential that the more we click, the better we click! Because if we don’t learn from our photographic past, we are doomed to relive it over and over again. One of the huge challenges is remembering what we’ve done, the good and the bad and remember which is which so we avoid one and embrace the other. That’s kinda what this week’s podcast is about. Perhaps if we look at the lessons we learn on a minute by minute scale, the bigger lessons might stick better. Case in point. A week ago we had this amazingly cute and cooperative Arctic Hare. When we first stopped, he wanted nothing to do with us, slowly sliding off into some low cover. Doing an 180, we walked to where I thought he might emerge. He did and when he did he found the four of us there staring at him through our lenses. And with that, he could care less we were present and went back to munching. Biologically and photographically,...

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on Jun 22, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

That Ugly Stick!

You know what I’m talking about, we’ve all had to deal with them. The unsightly stick in our critter photos, argh! The mind’s eye loves vertical lines especially when they have any kind of texture taking the eye away from our cute and fuzzy subject, argh! So we tend to go to great lengths to either make them disappear or simply not take the photo in the first place. This photo of an American Robin demonstrates a technique I try to use whenever possible. First, keep in mind I’m shooting with a very narrow angle of view. In this case, the D500 / 800mm permit me to move just a small distance, 6 inches to the side to incorporate out of focus leaves to help hide the annoying branch. Now in order to move over to grab that leaf, I also had to move backward. Subject size is not a priority when the subject stands out visually so with that branch now hidden even through the Robin is smaller...

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on May 26, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

How Much Background?

“Just how much background should I include?” This is a very common question that I receive all the time. It just came in as a possible podcast topic. Being a visual answer in my mind I was waiting until I had the same subject with three different backgrounds to answer it. My recent time at Magee Marsh with its waves of busy warblers provided the images I needed to explain how I look at the background and its role in telling the visual story. In answering this question for myself, I first start with the gear I’m going to use. With birds in order to control the background, I use either the D5 or in this case, the D500 on the 800mm. That combination provides an incredibly narrow angle of view permitting easy tweaking of the background with slight movements to right or left, up or down with the gear. With that it comes down to your own style of photography and that’s really to the heart of the...

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on May 10, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

The Wind Has It!

It’s a real simple formula for capturing birds in flight. You want the sun and the wind on your back. Here’s a real simple illustration of the point. This pair of Forster’s Tern on day one had the wind coming in from the right. Because of that when the mate came in for a landing, it was going sidewise to the camera. While OK, it’s not the most desirable. The next day the light and the wind were hitting our backs and the terns, were landing while flying right into the lens barrel. It’s really just the simple. The rest was having the reach (shooting with the 800mm w/TC-1.25e) and the FPS (shooting with the D5) to capture the slow decent to the stump. So with that the photo was made as the wind has...

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