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on Oct 30, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

What Do the Ears Say?

It’s such a little thing (those them ears are huge!), the direction of the ears on ungulates. Moose, deer, elk and all hooved animals use their ears to tell them lots of things, the main being which way is trouble coming from. They are constantly pivoting them to take inventory of everything around them. Bull Moose use them along with this to listen for the moans of cows. Those big racks are like a disk and they turn their ears to listen to all the sounds that come in. It really is a remarkable adaptation they use with great accuracy. Since the Moose don’t smile or frown or have any real facial movement, it’s their ears that do all the talking. So what do you want your ungulate to say? Here are two quick clicks to illustrate my point. Shooting with the D5 / 180-400VR a split second apart, you can see how with the ears forward (the desired position of ears) the Moose is engaging the viewer. With...

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on Oct 25, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

A Woopin is Comin!

Oh ya, nothin good is coming with that look in a Moose’s eye! Bull Moose has quite a ritual they go through each late fall in the pursuit of mating. Battling and chasing other bulls, young and old is a big part of it. It takes a lot out of them so typically after their afternoon nap, the fun begins. In this case, these two who were really just “goofin” give you a great look at the battling process. You can see in the eye of the one on the left the invitation to shove. The cocked head and eye tell the opponent that it’s on! I was shooting with the brilliant D5 / 180-400VR which provides the speed and flexibility to capture the action. So, after hours of boredom looking at sleeping bulls, you have a thirty-minute burst of sheer spectacular wildlife biology action. What a great day just knowing a whoopin is...

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on Oct 22, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Well, So Much for Color

I got up Saturday, grabbed the Z7, FTZ with the 60f2.8micro and headed outside with Sadie to photograph the leaves frozen in the bird bathes and well, nothing. I moved leaves around the meadow, chased the light and Sadie, nothing. No worry, I’ll head to some of the trees and went for backlighting, nothing! That afternoon, the next morning, that next evening, nothing. It simply wasn’t speaking to me, I just wasn’t feeling it, the photo. The closest I came was this shot of Mt Tom Sunday evening and while there is fall color in the foreground, you wouldn’t know it as I went B&W. But that’s OK, the challenge really was just to get out, anything that came from that was icing on the cake. So my weekend challenge, well so much for...

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on Oct 17, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Thoughts on Bambi

I refer to all deer as “Bambi” for one reason, nearly everyone has seen the movie, Bambi. That powerful imagery can affect how viewers of our deer images look at our photographs. Preconceived visions are the “rose-colored” glasses we look through at the world, our own built-in filter. When it comes to critters, this is important to consider if you want that cute and cuddly appeal of critters to come through in your photographs. So with deer, here is the biggest element to never forget! You gotta have those ears pointed forward! Why? That’s a darn good question! It starts with the movie Bambi and the preconceived idea of deer being innocent, playful, and full of life. Those ears of the Mule Deer are HUGE! They can pivot independently taking in the sounds surrounding the deer. The direction of their ears can communicate visually all sorts of emotions and if you wanna grab heartstrings then you have only one option, ears pointed at the camera. Standing there in Roosevelt...

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on Oct 2, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

That Took A While!

I wish I knew the genesis of some of the photographs I want to capture. I have this unspoken list that often I don’t know I have until I see the photograph appear in my viewfinder. I’ve worked with Bison for decades and have thousands of images in my files taken in many different habitats in all sorts of weather. Yet with all of that, certain images still elude me that I want. Why I want them I can’t tell you. Be it someone else’s image that has inspired me, a “possible” photo my imagination conjured up or a combination of the two, it’s in my head in either case. This past week at Roosevelt Nat’l Park offered me one of those opportunities. It was early morning, twenty-nine degrees out as the sun popped over the horizon. There beside the road was a gorgeous Bison bull, it’s fur coated in a layer of frost. As the sun struck him, the frost turned to steam. I watched through the D5...

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on Aug 16, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

A Moment with Hummers

I had a ton of fun this summer photographing hummingbirds. The thought crossed my mind to use the “slow motion” video mode in the D850 for the first time and record their flight in and out of the feeders. This was a helluva learning experience for me. For example, while it’s obvious, at the time it didn’t occur to me that shooting at 1920×1080 30p x4 sound wouldn’t be recorded. Duh! So while shooting stills with the D5 / 180-400, I had the D850 / 70-200f4 just running. I came back with 1TB of video from this experiment, yikes! I edited it down for a little fun. You can see some of my Hummer stills here at my AZ Bird Portfolio....

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