Jan 212012

Have you ever noticed that a lot of the wild hunt alone?

Probably more hunt in groups.  But I see regularly predators hunting alone.  There is something to be said about being alone and able to survive.

Herons, Egrets, Kestrals, Hawks, Grizzly Bears, Coyotes all hunt alone.  But not “all” alone.  They all were raised by a pair.  TWO adults.  Instinctively the young learned how to hunt and survive.  Many by watching the example of the “adults”.  Over time they become alone to fend for themselves.  Some find a mate.  But still hunt alone.

As humans we are much the same.  We raise our offspring to hunt alone.  They hopefully will find a mate.  The hunting part is their “gig”.  I have heard and repeated this quote many times “Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves”.  As a parent we feel very alone at times.  Watching our kids grow.  And learn.  I have a friend at work that often when we cross paths at work we end up talking about our kids.  The good and the bad.  It’s Ok.  I have never met her’s and she has never met mine.   We have a lot in common.  We are adults. And we have kids.  Adult kids.  Who have learned or are learning to stand or hunt alone.  The hard part for us as parents…… watching……. and letting them be themselves.  Of which we created and taught.

 Posted by at 5:09 PM
Jan 152012

Only had about an hour after spending time with Mom today.

Probably the most productive shooting in the last while.  Captured a female Norther Harrier devouring a duck, another White Faced Ibis (still here?), and a perched American Kestral.  All but the duck dinner filtered through Topaz’s “Buzsim” filter and subject erased back.  The duck plucking by the Harrier had to be done in video.  No critics please……

Hawk Eat Duck

What a nervous nelly.  But man can she pluck a bird.  I watched as she ate most the bird in 5 minutes or less.  I thought she was was pretty well camouflaged….

Soon a crowd was gathering.  The big lens I use usually draws a crowd.  And as usual one admirer got out of her car to get closer with her point and shoot and off the Harrier flew……

Add to photographic surprise a White Faced Ibis flew right across i front of me right where the Harrior had been.  I am blown away by two things.  One that they are still here this winter.  Have only seen one.  And two how beautiful Ibis are.  Unbelievable!

As I was leaving my always present American Kestal.  Took this one as more of an “arsty fartsy” shot…..

All in all a very short visit at FBWR.  Didn’t even make it to the back gate.  It was fun!

 Posted by at 5:56 PM
Jan 142012

Out at FBWR again today.

Yes it’s Saturday but I had to drive north to measure a store.  Flying out Monday and won’t have time next week.  Driving north almost always means a stop to visit my winter flying critter friends.

Today it was Mallards and a Northern Pintail.  Beautiful birds.  Extremely colorful.  I guess prized by the guys carrying the shot guns.  The ducks do not look tasty to me.  In fact long ago I tasted duck.  Yuck!  Never again.  Besides I am getting into the watch, photograph and enjoy the ducks alive and moving rather than on the grill.

I was moved again to push the post process a wee bit.  All the shots were ran thru the Topaz filter then erased back about 37% just on the ducks…..

This Northern Pintail has a broken or damaged leg.  Hope he makes it.  I really think these guys are beautiful.

After I sat there a while they got a little used to me and took a nap.


Not too often do I get to photograph a bird flying right at me.   But when I do I dig it!

All shots with Nikon D3s, 600mm lens and 1.7x converter.

 Posted by at 6:01 PM
Jan 132012

The Egret is an incredibly beautiful bird.

And graceful.

I have been following Moose Peterson’s web site (daily) for years.  He spent time in Florida recently and has been posting with shots from the area.  He is a master photographer.  An individual that is always looking forward.  Knows the craft and art of photography as good as anyone.

And he has an opinion.

My Dad always said “Opinions are like noses. Everyone has one”.

 I have sat in Moose’s classes a few times and learned tons from him.  Very direct in his teaching approach.  He comes across as his way or the highway.  But not really.  He will give direct reasons why we should not crop.  Why this or that process is not the best.  In the end he is teaching the best knows how.  His is teaching from professional experience.  And he wants to make his students the very best they can be.  The reality is photography is sort of an art form.  A subject can be photographed almost an infinite number of ways.  Some people crop.  Some don’t.  We all use post production tools in different ways.  So I say listen to Moose.  Learn from him but in the end enjoy your very own style, look or feeling in a photograph.

The following is a great example.  I photographed this Egret in Florida.  He flew across in front of me.  While doing so he dragged his feet (claws?) and put his beak into the water while flying.  Pretty cool shot.  I stopped the action.  The water droplets were flying.  The wings in a strange contortion.  I liked the shot.  But it felt like it was missing something.  Going back to Moose Peterson…he is a purest when it comes to wildlife photography.  In a lot of ways so am I.  But there are times when I just want to push the creativity in post.  Probably not my most graceful day but this Egrets……..Oh Yea!

And yes I did get crazy in post.  Used a Topaz filter to mimic an oil painting.  Closest I will EVER get.

 Posted by at 6:40 PM
Jan 112012

My travels took me to the Reno, Nevada area today.

Spent the day in the rental car and walking a few projects.  And taking a couple of photo’s.

When I travel I carry one bag full of gear.  Two camera bodies and 6-8 lenses ranging from a fish eye up to a 70-200.  No long lenses.  I especially don’t bring long lenses on days like today when I know that during daylight hours I will pushing to get things done.  But my eyes are always wandering.  In Minden, Nevada is this old station.   It was cool that the dispensers are right up to the edge of the road.  Things have changed a little. I wish I could have found the owner to thank him for saving the old classic station.

Genoa, Nevada is the first settlement in Nevada.  This small quiet town sits at the base of the mountains west of the Carson, Minden Valley.   I took the back route back to Reno through Genoa today.  When passing through town this time of year I can count on seeing the Deer family.  Every trip through Genoa has provided me with a little camera time with this particular buck.  Last year I photographed him within one block of where I saw him today.  Not the best shot.  But hey its big game…..haven’t pointed the camera at one for a while.

While I was blazing across highway 50 I couldn’t help noticing that the hawk population was out in force.  As usual they where near the roads edge and not practical to stop and photograph.  Amazingly while at a quick stop to get some string cheese and water a hawk landed in an old dead tree next to the property.  A couple of quick jumps to the car and I was back to capture the hawk with pixels.  Five or six frames later he was gone.  Had to push the cropping a little to hide some unwanted human fixtures……

 Posted by at 10:05 PM
Jan 082012

Life’s twists and turns.

Mom is in a retirement facility.  That’s code for your not going home anytime soon Mom.  Sundays are a favorite for me now.  Just like when my dad was in a care facility I take Mom to church every week.  My brother was lucky to do it last year.  A guaranteed few hours alone with Mom.  Today was different.  She was in bed when I got there.  Sound asleep.  Snoring a little (good thing Mom can’t access or know how to read my blogs.  She would kill me for this one).  I could tell she must have had a rough night.  The room was in disarray.  Soon she realized I was in the room and was sitting up talking to me about things that are imaginary.  Dementia stinks.  Here is a woman that gave birth to 6 children, losing one at birth, almost losing another at birth and birthing a 12 pounder.  She pretty much did all the financials for Dad’s construction business.  She held many positions of responsibility in her church.  Lost her gall bladder, several feet of her intestines and colon, had her knee replaced, broke her back, and had about every type of intestinal problem known.  She had a room at the emergency facility that was nicknamed after her because of her frequent visits.  One time I will never forget.  She had dislocated her middle finger.  It was laying back 90 degrees from the palm of her hand.  Real creepy looking.  She was very uncomfortable but as usual had the emergency room on their toes.  The Doctor arrived and gingerly took her hand.   The female emergency room doctor told Mom that she wanted to just look at her finger before she would decide what to do.  Mom had just got back from the X-ray room.  With a swift motion the doctor relocated Mom’s finger.  Even more swiftly Mom decked the Doctor.  Mom could have been a prize boxer.

These days we remind her to bathe.  Does very odd things that are normal for dementia patients. She is lonely.  Wants to go home.  She relies on her children today like we did of her for so many years.  One thing has not changed with Mom she is humble.  Loves and cares about others.  Concerned about my family and I more than herself.  And is still very spiritual.  Many, many times today she asked me the same questions and told me the same story.   Good.   A couple of times I wasn’t her son.  Good.  Someday I will look back just like when Dad graduated from this earth and think of these days when we just sit and talk.  She tells me she loves me every time I arrive and leave.  I do the same to her. Give her a kiss.  I hope when she eventually does graduate she can look back and remember our times together.  Actually I know she will.

 Posted by at 9:43 PM
Jan 082012

I’ve found and have made a new friend this winter.


A very young Hawk at FBWR that allows me capture a lot of his/her antics.  At this point I am not sure of the sex.  Doesn’t matter.  Gave it the name Spot because on the back of it’s head is an obvious black spot.  It’s been a blast as I wait pre sunrise for this little charmer to appear at the same spot.  MTC…..

 Posted by at 8:57 PM