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on Jan 18, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

It Just Takes One!

I don’t know if the storm blew him in or he just returned, but man was I happy to see him! At the height of our storm Thursday on my constant vigil of looking, I spotted this Steller’s Jay perched. Now why it wasn’t taking cover I don’t know but truth be told, I didn’t care. I had a bird to photograph!!!! Now, to make a photograph. Shooting from the warmth of our office out an open window, I pointed the Z7 / 800mm and watched the blowing snow. And I mean blowing snow! There were a couple of tasks at hand, show the blowing snow, show off the blue and get a “clear” shot of it all. That translated into a fast shutter speed, 1/50, and shooting on Continuous High Extended and ripping off about 100 frames in a heartbeat. I took that many because as the snow blew by, at times it would create a fog and then there would be a clear window between the lens...

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on Jan 17, 2019 in Landscape Photography

Just a Smidge of Color

As I blew the 18″ of snow that fell during the night, my mind started to wonder about all the white. You gotta understand I love living in snow, the white transforms the landscape into shapes, contours and mysterious forms setting the imagination on fire. And as I worked the snow, I was paying attention to what was catching my attention in the all-white world (besides Sadie who is always by my side playing in the new snow with such joy!). The answer was pretty obvious, once I stopped and thought about it. It was just a smidge of color! I then came in from my three-hour fun outside and went to my files to see if my conclusion held true in my photographs. Now I have plenty of photographs where there is a smidge of white to set off the rest of the color in the scene. But with little effort, I found plenty of examples in my own files where just a smidge of color really set...

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on Jan 15, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

100% Gone Squirrelly!

My neighbors probably think I’ve gone nuts; I probably have! With no birds and with my addiction to taking photographs every day, I’ve gone to playing cat and mouse around our property for the only game in town right now. Douglas Tree Squirrels! We have three that have decided that now’s the time to make new squirrels. To those ends, they are redefining, “squirrelly!” So having a severe case of cabin fever, I decided to race around the property in the hopes of making a click or two of their antics. And in the process, I found a brilliant combo I’m lovin for the chase! One thing about these squirrels, they don’t hold still jumping from tree to tree so I needed a non-tripod, quick moving rig. I went with the Z6 / 300PF and so glad I did! This small rig permits me to just push the lens out the window or around the corner and get them squirrels in the viewfinder before they skedaddle. And at f/4,...

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on Jan 10, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Where They’d Go?

It’s that time of year when our bird baths (heated of course) and feeders are stuffed with a dozen or more species of birds. Normally I’m somewhere else in the country and not able to photograph at my favorite local, my backyard. Well, this year I changed my schedule up so I would be home to photograph all the great birds in the snow. For the last 50 days, ever since the first real snow of the season, we’ve had NO birds! Now I say no, we’ve had 3 Dark-eyed Juncos, 1 Flicker and a couple of doves. Last winter there was no way of counting all the birds and getting just one bird in the viewfinder was near impossible as there were so many. So what’s a frustrated wildlife photographer to do? I started by talking with my neighbor, the forest biologist to see if our property was experiencing some fluke or if it was the norm. He relayed to me that there are no birds anywhere right...

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on Jan 7, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

1/5sec Tack Sharp?

It’s been a snowy weekend and that always has me looking out for photographic opportunities. My first thought is always the birds and they’re coping with the falling snow. So with that in mind, I grabbed the Z7 / 800mm and pointed it at a Red-shafted Flicker perched on tree four. Now to say it’s snowing in a photograph, you gotta see the snow. To see the snow falling, you need a slow shutter speed. How slow? The all depends on the size of the snow and how fast it’s falling. Birds in big snows tend to take to cover which means they are out of the snow and wind. This means slow snow and slow snow means a slow shutter speed. Trying to get the limited snow to streak required 1/5 shutter speed which often scares most. Using proper long lens technique and in this case, the Z7 with its gimbal made it simple. The variable in the sharp photo was the Flicker holding still. With that in...

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on Jan 3, 2019 in Landscape Photography

Little Slice of Mood

Mother Nature has many moves bringing a mood to a landscape. Those big mood swings are what bring such grandeur to our landscape photos when it encompasses it all. But more often then not, there is just a small slice in the landscape that has the mood. But we take the large sweeping landscape incorporating that little piece of mood or detail in hopes that its enough for the viewer to feel it. The problem is since we were on scene and our senses took it all in, we “see” and “feel” every little pixel of mood in our photo that our viewers never will. How then do we share with the viewer that little slice of mood? The one tool we have as landscape photographers for those little slices, telephoto lenses. When we think of landscape photography, we often reach for the wide angle. For one reason, because wide angle lenses have been pigeonholed as “the” landscape lens. But they leave us short when it comes to capturing...

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