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on Sep 26, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Upon Reflection

The Alaskan Sea Otter is an incredibly charismatic critter that you simply fall in love with the first time you see them! The first otter biologist we worked with called them Teddy Bears of the Sea and the next biologist called them the Clowns of the Sea. They are both and so much more. When you’re on the water with them, they share their world with you as they sleep, eat, swim and of course, constantly replenish the air in their thick coats. It’s soooo easy to get caught up in all of this as you watch them in your viewfinder and forget the one very important element, the background. Sea Otters tend to have light-toned heads, more so as they get older. Since the mind’s eye goes to light and bright first, this basic physiological characteristic makes it really simple to make the Otter in their watery world pop in your photo no matter how small it is in the frame. That’s unless you lose track of the...

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on Sep 18, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

The Little Black Turnstone

Back in the ’80s after I had bought the 800f5.6 EDIF, I was haunting the rocky shores of Monterey a lot. Being on the edge of Monterey Bay, there are small little pockets of birds, not particularly rare, just rarely seen and even more rarely photographed. They grabbed my imagination, especially the little Black Turnstone. A tad smaller than your fist, I got a photograph of one way back when that I’ve always truly enjoyed. And for decades that one image satisfied me, until about a year ago. I had never gone back and looked for or photographed the Black Turnstone since them early days. Last year, I got the hankering to go and improve on my old photo. I’m glad I did! Living at the splash zone on the rocky shore, those rocks and splash are very much a part of the Black Turnstone. The three elements I need to tell the story are already dictated, I just had to combine those elements to tell its story. Shooting...

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on Aug 16, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Gotcha In My Spell!

These two, three-year-old cubs are doing what cubs do so well, mess around! What many interpret as “fighting” is no more than working off lots of energy and boredom. Coastal Grizzly Bears are an amazing critter with such a complex yet simple biology. They are the perfect couch potato, just eating and sleeping. That’s true for all except the cubs who don’t really have to work hard to gather food as mom does it all. And like any kid with idle hands, they get into trouble. It’s really easy to place human emotions and reactions to their movements when there is nothing more complex than play at hand. We were all alone on the Inlet beach with this family of four for nearly five hours. They really could care less about our presence and went about their daily routine which at this time of year, goes with the tide and the Pink Salmon run that had just started. I truly enjoyed hearing all the sounds of the family as...

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on Aug 8, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

The Mid Morning Nap

The ride over was a bit on the bumpy side, but Carl once again worked his magic and put us in a calm bay with a raft of Alaskan Sea Otters. These amazing creatures make their life seem so good as they just float about on the surface, sleeping the day away. But it’s a hard life and they work very hard to maintain their body heat through lots of food and that gorgeous, thick coat. Shooting off the back of Carl’s boat, with the D5 / 180-400VR, he would ever so slowly back us into the raft and give them time to get used to us in order to get the shot. It was once again, an amazing experience with these clowns of the...

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on Aug 6, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

A Detail That Makes Me Smile

I have spent a lot of time on Alaska’s coastal waters. They are always new, different and gorgeous each and every trip! Went out to a favorite locale this morning, Gull Island to spend some time with all the nesting birds. The predominant species is the Black-legged Kittiwake. I’ve shot there a lot over the decades so spent most of my time with the Z7 / Z24-70f2.8 shooting. But then we rounded the point and I saw this so had to pull out the D5 / 180-400VR. Now the fact I have to point out this detail tells you that in general, it’s weak. If it were strong, you would see it without my pointing it out but such is not the case. But under the adult in the top left corner is a chick staring back out. And if you look right next to it, an egg. It’s a detail that makes me...

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on Jul 31, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Hummer 2019 BTS – a Vid

Hummers (my affectionate term for hummingbirds) have been part of my life since I could walk. I would go to my aunt’s house and watch their nests in her yard for weeks on end. That fascination with them hasn’t stopped and greatly influences how I prefer to photograph them today. This short video goes BTS to discuss why I shoot the style I do and then how am I bring that style to my photos. I hope it not only answers your questions but gets you into the amazing world of hummers! Gear pictured in the video Nikon Z6 Nikkor 180-400VR Nikon SB-5000 Nikon WR-R10 Nikon SD-9 PU200 Bracket w/cold shoes Arca Swiss B2 head Robus RC-8860...

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