May 312011

I have a ton of friends.

Many of which read my blog.  Faithfully.  My dear friend from BHS was startled by my post last week.  After I read it I would say it was a little weird.  I don’t proof all my blogs…..yes english was not my major.

Three weeks ago I had my annual physical.  Yes all the fun included.  Saw my dermatologist as part of my check up(s).  Showed her some areas of concern.  She cut out a few areas for tests.  My dermatologist is ….beautiful.   Can you say that about your doctor?   Blonde….short…blue eyes…….I am 56 years old you know some things still look good.  Did not think twice about it (the samples).  Guess I was too busy in a daze admiring at her.   Much better looking than my doctor she just replaced that is retiring.

Last week her secretary called and left messages every day to say that my tests came back.  That the doctor wanted to talk me about them.   When I called back the doctor was busy.  The secretary could NOT talk about my results.  Sweaty palms now!  Later that day the doctor called me back when I was shooting this photo……


The call went something like this….

“Hi doc.  How are you?”

Good Jim.  Listen your tests came back possitive for Cancer…”When can you come in so we can cut them out” (she used a medical term for cut out.  I knew what she meant) “Can you come in tomorrow?”

“Well Doc I am in California and won’t be home until next week”

“OK. I will put you on hold and the secretary will set a time when you are available”  “As soon as possible”

“Thanks….I will see you later”

What?  I said thanks????!!!!!  Thanks for telling me I have skin cancer!  After I hung up I sat there looking at this california buzzard and thought what I just heard.  The “C” word.  After studying  it and asking questions I realized it was no big deal.  Minor.  Easy to fix.  Like a flat tire.  Not like pancreatic, or serious cancers.  In fact it’s pretty common.

Tomorrow I go in to get them cut out.  An hour or so in the office.  A Xanax to keep me on the table. Stitches.  A few glances at the DOC.  Then I will be on my way.  Better with a few holes in my head.  Adding a little character to a goofy face……

Love ya Wanda!!!

 Posted by at 10:25 PM
May 312011

On my belly shooting at ground Level.

A different perspective. Pixels of little swallows.  Tiny little buggers.  Fast as fast can be.  They build their nests out of mud and saliva.  Reminds me of my grandsons when they were younger.  Not nest building but mixing mud and their saliva.  Anyway, the Swallow is a pretty bird.   Lots of energy.  Very difficult to photograph in the air.  Extremely difficult.  Last night was the time to get on my belly just before sundown and give it another try.  They knew I was there.  Let me in their world for a few minutes.  At first they just flew by their favorite mud hole.  Then one by one they trusted my presence.  Soon they were collecting mud again.  At times they were numerous.  I had to shoot wide open at an ISO of 3200.  The depth of field was very short.  All the shots with multiple birds in the frame where a little too busy for my taste.  Especially due to the short depth of field putting most of the birds out of the focus range.  After a little practice I was surprised to get a couple of keepers.

A side note- I was laying on my belly at the edge of the road.   I was shooting through a 4 bar gate.  I would hear cars slow as they passed.  I am sure they considered helping the beached whale on the road side.  Then it was obvious it was just a porky photographer with a giant lens, on his belly shooting at a mud hole.  Oh those photographers are weird people!


Yes I broke some photographers (Moose Peterson) rule of never cropping a photograph.  Hey it’s my world and I will do what I want!  Take that mr professional photographer(s).    Yes an editor may not take the crop.  So what.  I did………….


 Posted by at 9:41 PM
May 302011

A good weekend.  Just too short.  It’s a day or two from June.  At Bear Lake this weekend it snowed.  No waterskiing or even playing in the water. We did however enjoy time together.  Games, food, more games, more food, de-winterized the boat and more food and naps.  At the North end of the lake I did notice an Osprey nest driving in.  Always looking.  So sunday afternoon I was off to get my annual Osprey shot.  It was going to be a long shot figuratively and literally.  The nest was at the very top of high transmission power lines.  Way up there.  They have to eat and feed the young in the nest.  I waited.  And waited. After some time I left.  Back an hour or so later and there he was.  Eye level on a post.  I guess he had been waiting for me.   I was prepared with the longest lens I have and a rain pouch for the lens and camera.  We then had a stare down.  He was not going to fly and I was not going to move a muscle until he did.  He even gave a  big shiver.  Maybe to scare me? …..Notice the feather dust he shook off…..

Osprey shake

He was not going to win.  I have a ton of photographs of Ospreys sitting staring at me.  I needed one in flight close up.  My arm and hand was going asleep.  My feet were freezing. I was getting wet in the snow/sleet falling.   I think he was a little bothered also.  He would tuck one leg under his wing.  Then the other.  I slowly took my eye from the camera and said out loud “you win!”.  He was about 200′ away.  A minute or so passed and off he flew!…….


Osprey fly

Nikon D3s, 600mm, 1/4000 second @ f/4, ISO 800

 Posted by at 10:05 PM
May 262011

What makes me tick?  I work everyday with people I enjoy and respect.  I love my career and this job.  I have a beautiful wife that has taken up home decorating with a passion.  And is exceeding everyones expectations.  My home has turned more beautiful.  I love my kids. They each have their own talents, hopes and individualism.  My grandkids……well I am left speechless with love and enjoyment.   It isn’t all good.  Yesterday I had to eat a little crow at work.  Though I was praised for my work ethic I know that I had fell short.  Not the first time.  And not the last.  Last week the doc called and gave me news that at first was shocking.  Then it all fell into place and I understand all the consequences.  Though my life is full of positives,  there is the intermittent emotional stress and set backs.

So I fall back to the greatest stress reliever in my life.  Photography.

Heron fish midnight

I never get tired of the Great Blue Heron.  An easy subject to shoot.  And found in a lot of places.  Tonight I found this beauty fishing.  Watching this big bird reveals that they are quit successful at fishing.  And they let me into their moments……

duck fight

These two ducks were fighting tonight over the female.  This happens a lot in the wild world.  There is always a winner.  Sometimes to ones own fate.  Look at the fear(?)in the ducks eyes.  I was invisible to him.  This instant saved with 1’s and 0’s.  A real mind blowing thing to me.  The camera literally has a brain.  It just needs a nudge when photographing………

Black head bird

The darks fall into a black hole.  The character of the subject is limited to the split second catch on the sensor.  I think about the balance of light and real reproduction of the subject every time I shoot.  In the end light or dark is compromised.  At best the fast moving subject is trapped motionless.   At worst the subject looks different than real life……

Yellow belly bird

The entire time the camera is to my good eye I forget.  Stress falls away quickly.  Epiphanies surge.  Peak experiences abound.  The time from capture to viewing on the screen at home is like christmas eve to the opening of the present.  Anticipation of seeing if the flash of an image in my eye when shooting turned out as my brain thought I saw it.  Hoping that my imagination will pop out as the image is brought up in post.  I escape.  A little selfish.  My own time.  Thinking of only myself?  Probably.  At the end of the day I am more calm.  More relaxed. I have a better perspective with my role as a father, grandfather and co-worker.   I have time to look ahead.  At least one more day.  One more chance to shoot my wild friends.  To love my family.  To love my co-workers.  And to love myself.  What else is there?

 Posted by at 9:45 PM
May 252011

Every year I search out the Pheasant.  They are sneaky.  But kinda dumb.  Do you really think I can’t see you?  Way too much makeup!


This guy knows how too hide.  Check out that beak!!!!!!


 Posted by at 10:02 PM
May 202011

DLWS is done…until November.

I drove to the ocean today to try and get a few shots.  But I first saw this Great Blue Heron right at the cliffs catching mice.  It was wild…….


The mouse must have been a great snack!


Then there was this Rock in the ocean.  Getting really beat up.



 Posted by at 12:02 AM
May 182011

Man am I having fun.

Little sleep for the last few days.  My head is full.  I feel my age.  Mind mind however is going like an eight year old in a candy store.  Though I worry about work I am escaping from it.  The passion of photography takes me to another world.  Away but close to my heart and mind.  I miss my family.   I miss my associates at work.  I miss my bed.  Today is the last day of fun.  A little more sleep tonight.  Tomorrow I will miss DLWS…….

Old fart

 Posted by at 10:56 AM
May 172011

It’s still raining!  And it is great.

Have just a few moments to post.  Up before 5:00 a.m. again today.  Brain is a little dusty.  Living on adrenaline.  Our morning shoot was enhanced by clouds and rain.  Could not ask for better conditions considering what we were shooting.  We were welcomed at a location loaded with classic cars, old collections and color!  It was a BLAST.  Could have stayed all day.  Tonight our photograph’s will be critiqued.  Getting  geared up for that.  Maybe a little Xanax or a bullet proof vest.

Blown engine

Cars and church


 Posted by at 4:55 PM
May 162011

Am I dreaming?

This afternoon we were rained out.  This morning however it was overcast with no rain.  A morning I will never forget.  In life we have idols.  Like my Dad.  And others that have had a great impact on our lives.  In my case one of those is the famous Joe McNally.  He looks like a normal guy.  Jeans, regular shirt, and regular clothes.  Says hi to anyone.  He is NOT arrogant.  He is normal.  Unless you ask him.  If you walk into one of his sold out photographic presentations you would never know that he is a legend in photography.  The master.  A plethora of published materials.  Cover photographs on the biggest name magazines.  Photographed famous people from Gorbachev to Chamberlin. A name sake at Geographic. He made history with his 6’x9′ polaroids of 911 survivors and families.  Millions for good causes.  Looked down from the very top antenna on the empire state building.  Hung from helicopters for his one-of-a-kind shots.  He has seen and done it all in photography.

My idol

He is the best at his craft.

He took my photograph today.  Gorbachev and I photographed by Joe McNally. What can I say?  INCREDIBLE!  Not sure why he asked me to be the subject.  What did I learn today?  How a famous person can be so personable.


 Posted by at 9:15 PM
May 152011

Joe McNally said it best in his presentation tonight…..

“When you get that “one” shot, it’s like wind in our sails as photographers”

Tonight was presentations by the best of the best.  Starting tomorrow morning at 3:30 a.m. it’s time to start shooting.  Can’t wait!!!!!!

Seagullflyat cam

 Posted by at 11:49 PM