Where’s the Light?!

Philmont Training Center captured by Z6II / Z24-70f2.8

04:45 as I headed to the truck, I can see the moon play hide and seek in the clouds. That’s exactly the clouds I wanted for sunrise. Once on the knoll, the faint glow on the horizon told me the sun was coming, but now the clouds had slid east past the horizon. Would we see the light?

To bring The Ranch to you, I shot a five vertical image pano, handheld and assembled quickly in ACR. The scene I shot though was much different. What you see is my response to the view and not actually the view. I want you to fall into this vast and beautiful place. The overcast which prevented the sun from bringing a glow never shinned. So I brought the light into the scene in post. If I hadn’t told you, I don’t think you would have known. I just want you to feel the warmth and not wonder, where’s the light.

Sheba Moment

Sheba captured by Z 6II / Z14-24f2.8

From a mile away we saw that “white spot” on the black sands of the Oregon Beach. We knew instantly it was a Great Pyrenees which we have a huge soft spot for so we headed over. On the way, I had to make a click as they seemed very much alone. By the time we had walked up to Sheba, we could see she is old and we go on to learn she’s 13, really old for a Pyrenees. Its owner said we could greet Sheba and she felt old as well. We found out she’s on her last days and her owner wanted the last few to be the best possible. It seemed Sheba loves the beach, this quiet section so it’s where she’s spending her last moments. We took in Sheba’s view, made a couple of clicks and then said goodbye. I like Sheba’s beach!

Does a Dozen Mean Success?

Least Sandpiper captured by Z 6II / 800f5.6 w/1.25

We went total hardcore, spending the morning at the city water treatment plant which always garnishes shorebirds just not the best backgrounds. Not this time, not a single shorebird, literally none. So I went to my fallback plan, breakie! Afterward we went back to a location we had checked days before, not for birds but to see if the light was working for this one tree photograph. While we were there, Sharon found our first band of shorebirds, a dozen sandpipers. It was great to see them! We had about an hour with them before the rising tide made their little beach disappear. We’ll be back at it today, hoping to find a bunch more cause a dozen doesn’t mean success.

Gotta Have that 2nd Lens!

Devil’s Punch Bowl Beach captured by Z 6II / Z14-24f2.8

The Oregon Coast is gorgeous, I have spent a lot of time here walking its beaches and staring out from its bluffs. Though I have a wide-angle in my hands, I am looking and watching all the birds. With all I’ve seen and what I learned from others, I came to the OR Coast this week to just photograph birds. This is our second morning and as you can see, the scenery is gorgeous and there is not a single bird. I was all set to get down in the sand and spend quality time with the LBJs as they head south, but they’re not here. That poses the larger question, what’s happening to the birds or the world they depend on that they are not here. This is the time with the OR Shorebird Festival would normally be held for goodness sake.

This is why you gotta have that second lens with ya. In the perfect world, I’d have photos of birds and a gorgeous planet but the big lens wasn’t even pulled out today. I’ve been skunked way too many times to take it personal even though I do. And while I didn’t photograph any critters, I still got the beach!

They’re Coming!

Willet captured by D5 / 800mm

Those LBJs (Little Brown Jobs) have started to hit our beaches and now’s a great time to get out there with them. Why now? There are a number of reasons, top of the list is that they are still wearing their breeding plumage quite often. Like this Willet photographed on a San Diego beach. This is not their winter plumage but the much more spectacular feathers they have to catch the attention of the opposite sex. Right now the rarer shorebirds come through more often or not. Another reason to get out now is they are busy refueling and a whole lot more likely to be approachable. Don’t approach them, let them come to you as I did here. Simply lie on the sands at a spot where they might want to feed (I like when the tide is going out) and simply wait. They’ll come up and then the shot is easy peasy! I know of nothin better than spending the morning on the beach (in the west) or the evening (in the east) lying on the sands with the LBJs. Now’s the time, they’re coming!

The Romance of B&W

Monument Valley landscape captured by Z 6II / Z70-200f2.8

In the perfect world, all could venture to the same locale that inspires us and take in the wonders we are so fortunate to do with our hearts and cameras. The next best thing is to invite those we share our images with to step into that moment with us through our photographs. When it comes to landscape photography the B&W screams that love affair we had. It permits to make the most of black to hide certain elements while including them. It permits us to speak in visual depth. And most importantly, it permits us to communicate with the power of light to the viewer that, “they need to be there!” Straight out of the camera, B&W is also very simple to bring home. Great memories and photographs, the romance of B&W!

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