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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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on Jan 4, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Background DoF

The background in a photograph is so important! It can do so many things positive, and negative, and seeing and working the backgorund is important because of this. It sets the stage for our subject, gives it a place to stand out and tell its story. The relationship between the subject and the background is directly linked so we as storytellers must see and use this in our storytelling. In this case, a yearling Moose was simply browsing along in the fall willows. I was shooting with a D4s / 200-400VR2 / TC-14eIII, shooting wide open at f/5.6, using the lens and teleconverter combo to narrow my DoF to control the background. In one photo, the willows are just behind the calf and even at f/5.6, they are busy and distracting. In the other shot, the willows are now a substantial distance behind the calf and are softer, not so busy so the calf pops out more. But the man made structure even further away in the background while...

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on Dec 29, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

By A Hair!

I was a tad to slow! The White-headed Woodpecker had been frozen on the perch for nearly twenty minutes. All the feeders were empty and the Mountain Chickadees could be heard but not seen. There’s a predator on the prowl and all the critters were telling me that. Two days before, I’d seen a small flash chase a bird into tree three, but I didn’t see who it was. It was small and rusty colored so thought our No. Pygmy Owl was back. So with all the critters communicating a predator was around, I was looking for the owl. Smaller than a dollar bill, they can be very hard to find in the trees. So yesterday with all the signs, I was just turning away from looking at tree three for the owl when it dashed in and landed. It wasn’t a owl though but rather a small, male Sharpie! It was looking around so I grabbed my D4s / 300PF (left out just for this reason) and walked...

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on Dec 14, 2015 in Simple Click, Wildlife Photography

Trying to Get it for 20yrs

For a long time I’ve wanted my own, cool shot of a White-breasted Nuthatch and no matter how I’ve tried, no luck. I keep coming up short. This is in part because they just don’t hold still! You can’t bribe them to come to the same spot over and over again. You gotta watch them land at the top of a tree, work their way down the trunk to the food source, never taking the same path twice, and hope you get in a click. Only if there is an avian predator might they hold still for a moment. So, I’ve been on my deck since the first snow fall again trying to get the shot. I’m standing out there with my 300PF and using the snow as a reflector. And this this weekend, I finally got one photo good enough to post. It’s a start, but I’ll be back out there working on...

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on Dec 11, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Learning from Our Past?

Been personally witnessing this for three decades, it’s not new. I don’t believe the warming of our planet is man caused but damn sure believe we’ve greatly intensified and sped it up bigtime, faster than Mother Nature can ever evolve for sure! Living “up high” and working on the edge a lot, we’ve seen with our own eyes so much of the change. There is a simple yet eloquent piece out in High Country News you might want to read. No matter the ills that befall us, the more we know, the more we can effect a positive change. Give it a gander and remember, you can change the world with your...

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