May 142011

Arrived late in California last night.  The hotel was junk.  But man am I having fun!  Point Reyes National Seashore was my destination today.  I really looked forward to seeing the ocean and hopefully some critters (as Moose Peterson calls them).  I am here for DLWS.  A photography workshop hosted by Moose Peterson and Joe McNalley.  Two of the greatest photographers in America.  I am truly blessed to be able to be here.  I came a day early to shoot the coast.  Especially Point Reyes.  And the Tule Elk herd.  Yep.  A chance to shoot Elk with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. What is the chance?………

Elk with ocean

The DLWS workshop is about an hour inland.  Driving across a state where I have not been before is like a kid in a candy store.  Saw (photographed) tons of things.  But honestly this one lone tree was by far the most striking.  Waited about an hour and a half for the sun and shade to be just right.

CA tree

 Posted by at 11:37 PM
May 122011

I am heading out tomorrow for a week of photography in California!!!!!

Tonight for just a few short minutes I went to Farmington.  Had to check on the nests.  Found the nest.  No eggs or Avocet chicks at the nest.  But a little distance away were three little balls of fur.  And a very protective mother.  Nobody got close to the chick’s not even a Red Head Duck…..


Can’t wait for the week ahead.

 Posted by at 10:07 PM
May 082011

I love to PAN.

Some birds fly faster than others.  Some pretty much fly in straight line.  Others like the swallow are constantly turning and going up and down.  The f-16’s of the bird world.  Or the Flycatcher.  Fast and unpredictable flight.  As I have watched the American Avocet I’ve noticed some routines in their flights.  At Farmington they often between ponds.  Back and forth. And pretty much in a straight line.  So I set up. Put the long lens on the D3s and waited between the ponds.  I almost always shoot in aperture priority.  Gives me control over the depth of field.  Though most of the time I shoot wide open to isolate the subject.  It is a look and feel in a photograph that I like.  So I am shooting wide open (f/6.7 on the 600 with a 1.7 teleconverter).  The long lens allows me the distance I need from the Avocet so they will fly directly between ponds.  And not be deterred by my presence.  I am 90 degrees from the birds as they fly by.  Panning right then left.  Fortunately I have a great Gitzo tripod with the gimbal head.    Makes the panning a little easier and smoother than hand holding.  Besides that, I would have to look like the hulk to hand hold a 600mm lens successfully.    After about 800 or so frames I was done (sunset).  Ended up with a couple of keepers……

Avocet flight

I did take the liberty to convert to black and white and erase the original colored layer of the Avocet back in.  The full color photo was a little bland.

 Posted by at 6:25 PM
May 072011

As photographers we dream about certain shots.

We hope to get that one shot.  I am no exception.  The White Faced Ibis is a beautiful bird.  Unless you have seen an Ibis through binoculars, a 600mm lens or in a cage you would never know of it’s beauty. Flying by or from a distance it looks like a black bird with a real long bent beak.   They stop in Utah for a bit this time of year.  I have tried for many moons and seasons to get a shot with the extended wings of an Ibis. And in decent light.  Patience payed off!!!!!  I waited and waited.  Watched and learned about the behavior of this animal.  After preening they walk a bit with their wings extended.  To dry?  Don’t know.  Just real darn happy with the shot.

For you fellow photographers here is the Meta….

ISO – 1000,  1000mm (600mm with 1.7 extender), 1/1000 sec @ 6.7.  (No kidding 1000 across the board except the f-stop)

Ibis wings up

 Posted by at 10:08 PM
May 032011

For the most part I have a camera is near me.  It was cloudy (again) today.  Some sprinkles.  No sunshine.  As I traveled I noticed off in the distance a fight.  Geese fight to be exact.  Had to push the ISO up to 3200.  Shot wide open at 6.7 (includes 1.7 extension compensation).  Even with the limited noise the shot is pretty sharp.  What was amazing is the two birds chased each other for a while.  Even as I drove off…..

Goose chase

 Posted by at 9:34 PM