This guy had a rough winter. I suspect he was subject to an attack. Something had it’s jaws on his back. It is good to see his recovery. By fall he will be fighting for his right to a group of females.
Good Luck Fella!!!!
One day photographing in Yellowstone.
It’s April in Yellowstone. Bet I’ll see Buffalo, Elk, Coyote, Blue Heron, Geese, Swan, and Marmot.
Saw them all. Bet I would’t see Wolves.
Saw wolves. And photographed them. It was obvious that something special was ahead on the road. The typical traffic jam. About 15 cars ahead of me I saw a wolf run across the street. Then two followed. Instantly I was in hyper-photo mode. The wolves were traveling up a hillside. Took a few shots. The sun was directly behind them. They were on white snow. The alpha was black. Not a good combination for a great photograph of wolves. It was time to gamble. If the wolves continued up and over the hill they would be in much better light. If they didn’t cross over I would miss photograph’s of wolves. I took the Gamble. I set up on the other side of the hill. Ready and waiting for my once in a lifetime encounter with wolves. Though wolves on a kill is the ultimate photograph, a sharp photo of wolves running may be the next best thing? This may be my chance. Then they appeared. One at a time….
This guy looks thin. Notice his tail is very thin without the “fluff” as opposed to the other lighter colored wolf above.
As they disappeared into the woods he looked back to make sure I wasn’t following I guess. Wow that was the fastest minute or two. I was a little shaky after they disappeared. Another great day in Yellowstone!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not much better than lunch with friends. Especially friends I don’t get to see much. So was the case on Friday. Had a wonderful lunch and lively discussion. DT is an artist. A painter. Our discussion soon evolved to how an artist and a photographer differ. Before the artistic photographers jump down my throat hear me out. My argument is that to be a great artist (like DT) requires some genetic code or psychological trait received in development in the womb. Not everyone can pick up a brush and create masterpieces. Like Beethoven a true artist have unique skills and talents. That arguably cannot be taught. A visionary that can put their vision on paper with only two tools. A brush and paint. And their vision.
Ok now for the photographer. I argue it’s a numbers game. “If you shoot enough photographs. Eventually you will get a good photograph” I am specifically talking about wildlife photography. Yes the great photographers seek out unique wildlife. They know their equipment better than the vast majority of camera gear owners. And they know the biology of the wildlife they pursue better than most also. But it still comes down to being at the right place at the right time. Patience. And composition. If you follow great photographers or talk to them, they take a ton of photographs. Most artists get one chance with a painting. The create the subject.
Today I had a prime example that supports my argument. I have shot thousands of photographs of Blue Heron. One great photographer, Moose Peterson as of late has joked about how plentiful and easy Herons are to find and photograph. They are everywhere. Even in Yellowstone! Every year I come back with Blue Heron photographs taken at Yellowstone. Today I watched, followed and took hundreds of photographs of this particular Blue Heron. At times I sat with my eye to the camera and my finger at ready for long periods of time. Waiting for that moment when the Blue Heron would lunge forward and snatch it’s snack from the water. To me that is the prize. To capture that split second when the Heron brings up a wiggling treat in it’s beak.
Not today. Not that capture at least. For a few moments the light changed slightly and the Heron looked up. I was shooting with an exposure compensation of -.7. Why? The Heron was always on or near snow and very bright dead pine trees. Shooting the D4 with a 600mm lens and a 1.4 teleconverter got me very close. I was across the Fire Hole river form the Heron. Did not really see this particular photograph until I saw it on my computer. One shot. A unique shot of a Heron. The light was right. The Heron’s pose perfect. And all I did was push a button on a camera. No vision. No artistic forethought. Lot’s of Luck.
Last Wednesday I drove to Delta, Utah. Delta is west of SLC. Delta resides in the Utah desert. But as usual I took my photo gear. Just in case. You just never know. You know?
Close to Delta and just over a small rise in the road was a small pond! Loaded with birds. An oasis in the desert. Only three days after a wonderful day photographing Egrets in Florida, I find a pond with Egrets. In the Desert. Near home.
As soon as the scene presented itself I realized that it had to developed in post in Black and White.
This is not what I expected. Sometimes I drive for hours and see nothing worthy to photograph. Other days, I have fun success. A little luck.
Mike is super smart. An Engineer. An Electrical Engineer. He knows I love wildlife photography. He informed me of an owl nest in Idaho. Today I drove from Boise to Yellowstone. About half way to Yellowstone and just before sundown I detoured to the designated spot on his map. An abandoned house. Large trees around the house. I was looking for three little owls and mom and dad. Found one little one. Mom was upset with my presence so she was easy to find. Dad was more laid back. Took me about fifteen minutes to find dad. In all I was there about 25 minutes. The sun dropped below the horizon. And I was on my way to heaven!!!!!!
Why spend the money to go all the way to Florida for a few days? Basically the same location I went last year.
1). Needed a break
2). Needed time away from Work (badly needed)
3). Too long since a real focus on my passion for photography.
4). A second chance to practice on beautiful birds in a very difficult lighting situation.
After my last trip I was pretty excited with my photographs. But as the year went on I realized that the shots could be much better. Shooting a white bird against dark foliage can cause all kinds of problems with the outcome. The cameras we use today are incredible with light, and color balance. But they still lack what gave us. A way to see extremes in light. Cameras pretty much average the light. That may be a little over simplifying it. If I shot the the Egret above in normal mode the bird would be partially burned out and the background would be lighter.
I just cheated the camera. Kinda like the old saying “if I could just teach you not to think”. Exposure compensated by -.7. It work’s.
If you ever have a chance to go to Orlando get over to GATORLAND! They have certain days a photographers early pass. The park usually opens at 10:00 a.m.. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday they let photographers in at 7:30 a.m. “Let in” – of course means for a few more $$$$’s. If you like to photograph beautiful birds with no hiking or little effort while on vacation, this is the place.
It’s important that you come in April. Usually early April. The chicks are hatching and growing! And the Gators are breeding! When the parent returns to the nest the chicks prod the parents beak. This in turn causes a natural reaction of the parent to regurgitate food up for the chicks.
This trip was especially fun. We spent some time in Universal Studios. Bought a lot of Harry Potter stuff. Ate good food and wore ourselves out. I was so tired and sore I could barely walk. It was all worth it! Nest week big GAME!!!!!!!!
It really should be called EgretLand or Birdland. It’s heaven here.
All kinds of birds and gators. Up this morning at 6:30 am to get the early bird special. I love this place.
Most all the birds are nesting and feeding. It’s a constant, action packed scene. Non stop photography. And ideal conditions.
This place is the best place to practice panning. Birds are flying every direction.
As the day went by the heat and humidity started to get to this old, fat man. Got a little heat stroke. Nothing lunch at Olive Garden and a 69 degree room can’t fix. Days like today take me away. Other than the effects of a little heat stroke I was at complete peace. Calm! Can it get any better? Critters, good light, a camera, my wife (zip lining while I photogaphed) and food! I love it!!!!!
YeeeeeHA! Heading for Florida tomorrow.
Some of the family is staying home. My bride and I are going for a few days of Photoshop, rest, relaxation, meditation and FOOD!
Oh and a LITTLE photography.
Last year we discovered a bird photographers mecca and dove in head first. What a blast!
If all works out some of my new gear will be getting hot with use.
Hope to come home wide awake and ready for my next excursion…………………