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on Jun 11, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Quail Post

Photographing ground birds can be a challenge at times. The reason being, they are on the ground. The natural debris can hide them to make the photo incredibly busy. And in the case of this California Quail, foraging around in a freshly mowed lawn just isn’t the best of worlds for the subject. This is when understanding basic biology can keep you waiting around to capture the better photograph. What you can’t see in these frames is the female. The pair came walking down the lawn and we moved into place so if everything worked out, they would walk into the lens. This is because “stalking” ground birds tends to push them back into the cover where they find safety. In this case, the pair kept walking right down to us and but doing it on their terms, all was good and we didn’t matter. Now with the female in tow, the male was looking for other males that might challenge him for his mate. That sex thing which...

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on Jun 10, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

House Wren Morning

This past weekend during our Sierra Bird weekend, we took a little field trip to a very special location of ours. It has always produced, but you just never know what. We’ve been heading here for over 30yrs and like usual, we had a new and difference subject occupying a bunch of our time this trip. Sharon discovered a nesting pair of House Wrens that were just finishing their nest and seemed to have laid their first egg. The post your see in the photos is where the male would come over and over again to sing, broadcasting his territory and keep his better half interested. We spent over an hour with the male and it was just killer. You will notice a change in nearly every photograph and that’s from both the behavior and the light. There were thunder clouds forming and as they came and went, I would move around the perch to get the better light on both the subject and the background. How close were...

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on May 6, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Sobering Moment

We spent the morning at the awesome American Museum of Natural History. I went through the halls enjoying the exhibits until I came to the African mammal halls. You walk in to a very dark room and in dim lights, a herd of elephants seem to be move silently through. But in real life, elephants are anything but silent. As we went by the various exhibits with Bushbucks, Leopard, Cheetah it occurred to me, something was very wrong. The main important element of these critters was horribly missing. Life! Then we came to the Black Rhino exhibit and it occurred to me, I might never see them other than as live mounts in an exhibit. Even though I’m going to where they should be in two months, the odds off seeing them are slim to none at best. And not that I’m trying to depress you, but I was rather depressed with that thought. Sadly, we’ve all experienced the passing of someone dear in our lives and know the...

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on Apr 10, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Hope Rewarded

Then, the magic happens … the years of paying dues, the desire of not just seeing by sharing the spectacle fills the viewfinder and you can go … click! It’s what wildlife photography is all about! And while of course we’re hoping for the “best,” there is no “best.” There is only the best we’ve experienced and captured up to that point and that’s what we experienced. At 06:45 the shutters started to fire as enough light permitted photography. Still shooting with the D4s / 800mm, I scanned the cranes in front of the blind. At first, the cranes seemed to be shaking of the morning. Then, in one sudden wave the dancing began and deciding where to point the lens became the biggest challenge. When the wind is from the North, the cranes spend another day. When it’s from the South, they take to skies and head to the nesting grounds. When there is no wind like this morning, I wonder what they think. With the incredible wave...

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on Apr 9, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Hope Awakened

The alarm went off at 06:00, 90min before sunrise. It was still dark outside but the bright full moon gave some hint of who was still on the river. Around 02:30 there was a lift off from the river. Didn’t see it, heard it! More than likely a predator like a coyote made an stab at a free meal which set the flock into the skies. Since I didn’t hear them come back, I was wondering if we’d wake to an empty river. It’s happened before, it’s part of the gamble of spending the night in the blind. At least this night, got some sleep since we didn’t have to deal with a leaky blind in a rain storm. With as much stealth as we could muster, we crawled out of our sleeping bags, got everything packed back up so we have space to set up camera gear and get ready to work. Oh, what a cup of hot coffee would do right now. Wait, no, been locked in...

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on Apr 8, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Hope Renewed

When I tell folks I’m going to Nebraska, they screw up their face in a tight wad and ask, “WHY?” I can tell they’ve not heard about the magic that is Nebraska (you should check out Bill Frakes Nebraska Project!). I have so not tapped that magic that is Nebraska but that one little bit I have, keeps bringing me back again and again and when you realize it’s to be locked in a 4×8 box with another photographer and all our gear for a minimum of 16 hours, you gotta think there is something special. The Hope … With a crash, at 16:30 our driver with what seem some glee, slammed the door to our blind saying, “I’m locking your in now.” (There is an emergency number inside the blind for the locksmith, no kidding!) Where the day before we had solid gray skies and the rain storm that night of biblical proportions, today was the total opposite … bald skies! I hate bald skies. So there we...

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