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on Mar 20, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

The Brilliant Walthamstow Wetlands

I was in great company Monday at the Walthamstow Wetlands! Along with my dear friend Michael Eleftheriades and the Nikon Owner gang, I got the privilege to explore the newly opened wetlands just north of London. This urban wildlife wonderland was simply spectacular that I so enjoyed. I had seen a European Robin in the past but never when I had a lens to capture it by. I was so hoping to have an opportunity this trip now that I was prepared and I wasn’t disappointed … and a lot more! Knowing I was going on this adventure and wanting to travel light, I brought the Nikkor 180-400VR / Nikkor TC-14eIII which turned out perfect. Using simple biology, the birds and the bees, I came across of pair of European Robins working on a nest. With sex in the air, getting close was easy. I just had to wait for the background I wanted. Another really cool bird (there were tons!) was the Great crested Grebe. It’s that time...

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on Mar 18, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Light’s Warmth

This is a real simple blog post, light and its emotional quality (warmth) has to be captured! This example shows what happens when lieing on the sand with a Sanderling when a cloud goes in front of the sun. The quality of light, both its quantity and its warmth disappears. The “blue” or cold tone brought by the cloud cover stops the photo from going out and grabbing heartstrings. With the sun out, that warmth opens the door letting the viewer quickly in to engage with the Sanderling. This is something that won’t improve with changing the WB in the camera or in post. It only comes from the sun and you must look for and embrace it when it...

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on Mar 8, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Glass Balancing Act

Balancing image size between physically moving (be it feet or hands) or not is the balancing act we need to dance every time we’re shooting critters. Understand I have to critical precepts to my photography, the first is, NO photograph is worth sacrificing the welfare of the subject. None! Second, I get it right, right in the camera. I don’t crop in post. Right or wrong, that is just my SOP, has been forever. With that in mind, working or “hiding” behind our big glass is essential in getting close physically, isolating with our optics while not altering the behavior of the critter to get the images size we desire. It is, a glass balancing act! In this case, we have three, Rocky Mtn Bighorn Sheep rams coming down the slope to check out the ewes and see where they are going. I’m standing totally out in the open, they can see Moose with no strain. My moving though would have stopped their forward motion which not only is...

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on Feb 28, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Uncommon from the Common

We see the same things over and over again to the point that we don’t give them a second thought. It’s only when there is something unique about that common sight do we stop and think about them. At the beginning of my career, to say I was focused on just the glamorous species is an understatement. Those common critters I saw but didn’t point my glass at them. Thankfully, very early on in my career, it was graphically pointed out to me that most focus on the glamorous as well. There was money to be made shooting the common since nobody was. That’s when I realized that if I shot the common in an uncommon way, there would be even more money to be made. I like making money from my images. I share this very basic and simple concept with everyone I shoot with for many reasons, the main one being the photographic challenge in making the uncommon out of the common. Case in point … Last...

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on Feb 26, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Polarizing Critters

“Do I need a polarizer?” This is a really common question that truly has no right or wrong answer. It’s truly up to you and the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it. This question rarely if ever come up when photographing critters though which kinda surprises me. This is because when photographing critters, there are many times when a polarizer can dramatically make a difference. Here’s a recent example of that, this Black-bellied Whistling Duck in a pond full of lily pads. If you look at the two photos, you can see how the polarizer removed from the majority of the pads the reflected gray skies. If you look at the duck’s bill, you can see where some the reflection was removed from it as well. The overall photograph has a “richer” look to it just from using the polarizer. So why not use it all the time then? The first issue is the polarizer isn’t a cure-all. If you look, not every...

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on Feb 22, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Down for Background

These two photographs were literally taken just a minute apart. The top image was taken from a top of my Gitzo 5562SGT / Zenelli Carbon Fiber Gimbal Head with the Z6 / 800mm and the bottom photo the same gear on a panning plate. I shot with the gear on the tripod then literally laid flat, in front of the tripod took the second shot. The tripod shot is just a “gull” photo but as soon as the camera hits the sand, it’s now much more. The only difference though it’s a big one is the background. This post is really no more than to once again emphasize how important background is and how little we have to do as photographers to make a big impact in our...

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