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on Oct 16, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Catch ‘Em Headin South

Marbled Godwitcaptured by D5 / 800mm The birds are heading south right now and in really great numbers. You can see for yourself for your area with BirdCast. One even set another record going from Alaska to Aukland, a Bar-tailed Godwit who made the 7500 miles journey in 11 days. Dang! It takes fuel to do this and that’s when we want to photograph them, refueling. We don’t want to cause them issues feeding, just photograph them doing such. And if you are there right now, you’ll photograph many in their breeding plumage like this Marbled Godwit. Marbled Godwitcaptured by D5 / 800mm The best way to get the photograph is actually real simple, just requires a little biology and technology combining. First, find their food source. Second, find the best background. Third, Position yourself so you’re at the distance you need for the image size you desire with the food source between you and that background. Fourth, place yourself in that spot and then wait for the birds...

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on Sep 29, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Saving Species Together

One of the first species to be listed when the Endangered Species Act was signed by President Nixon, the San Joaquin Kit Fox still fights for a place on this earth. It has been a dear, long-term project of ours and we were thrilled to be a small part in telling its story in the new Saving Species Together program! The CDFG Saving Species Together program is all about education through images and words and in keeping with how folks received their information today, it’s all video. Many don’t realize that video has been a big part of your visual storytelling with our footage here starting back in...

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on Sep 22, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

First Day of Fall!

Snow Geesecaptured by D5 / 800mm Yep, as of 07:31 MDT today, it’s officially fall. Fall for many means spectacular color draping our forests. And while I relish that aspect of fall, it’s not all this day brings. There is the light as the sun rides the equator bringing a low angle and mellowness to its rays. And I love that but fall for me signals the change in our critters, especially birds. Now is when heading south hits the panic button and the skies become filled with our summer friends! What science and technology bring to this seasonal magic blows my mind! Head to Live Bird Migration Maps and you will see how the wave of birds move south across North America. At times, you can tell what species of birds other, it’s simply sheer numbers which even with the disasters that have hit our wild heritage is still staggering. For us, this fall is especially exciting as it’s all new. New, because we’ve moved up the globe...

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on Sep 18, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

All Grown Up

Red-breasted Nuthatchcaptured by D6 / 800mm When we first arrived at The Ranch, its trees were rather quiet. It concerned us as we are so used to and love hearing and seeing our birds. Then miraculously a pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches took up residency in one of our newly hung nesting boxes and raised a brood. Ever since then, the funny, squeaky call of the family of Nuthatches can be heard all around The Ranch much to our delight. They are a very busy species busily moving about the property feeding, socializing, and luckily for me, constantly visiting the water feature we installed on the property. Nuthatches’ unique place in the bird world is flying to the top of a tree and then working its way down looking in the bark for a tidbit. They like to hang under branches doing the same thing. And when they head for water, yep, they keep up the same habit. The perch you see it hanging from is itself in a light...

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on Aug 26, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Going to Their Level

Red Squirrel captured by Z6 / Z24-200 It sounds so simple but in application, it just isn’t! Photographing critters at their level brings on a whole new feel to the photo but often can put the critter on alert or worse, scare them off. That’s because they are looking for predators at their level which is why moving our feet has to be done with care. Taking the time to get down flat with a critter watching is something few will tolerate. That’s why I love the flip out monitor! This was a real simple click taken at the Big Hole Nat’l Battlefield of a Red Squirrel finishing off a mushroom it had found. I slowly bent over looking at the monitor to frame up the shot. I moved sideways a tad to get the grass the way I wanted it and then when click. Bending over put me at it’s level so I could see eye to...

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on Aug 18, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

It’s a Matter of Inches

Pine Siskincaptured by D6 / 800f5.6 w/TC-1.25 When you think about the story you want to tell with your photograph, how much weight do you give the background? It is actually something I think about all the time when I stop and put the camera up to my eye. No matter the subject, no matter its size in the frame, that background is everything. So much so that it directly influences the lens I’m going to shoot with every time I shoot. The subject size is often controlled my zooming with my feet, the background is controlled by the angle of view of the lens. Case in point. Here’s a Pine Siskin, a small bird a tad smaller than your thumb. They’re waiting in line for the water feature we’ve created at The Ranch. They are so friendly, seriously, they land on me and my iPhone while I’m cleaning the water feature! So a long lens is not needed for image size, but it sure it for controlling the...

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