Jul 312011

Ever noticed how much work women do?

This is a Yellow Headed Blackbird.  A female.  The males are noisy, obnoxious, colorful, and not often collecting food.  At least not when I have been watching.  The female work their little beaks off.   They seem to be wound up tighter than a ten day clock.  She is not as pretty as the male.  What she doesn’t have in looks she has in effort.  Her cycling of rounding up food then delivering food then back to picking food again is remarkably short.  We are talking about chasing multiple bugs packing them in the beak then delivering to the family.  A bunch of times.  I watched this particular beauty as she would return to the same area at the refuge for bug catching.  Snacks of the sort.  Love this lady.  She works hard to feed to her family.  I still wonder what dad is doing all this time…..

Yellow Headed Blackbird FM

 Posted by at 7:35 PM
Jul 292011

I hate Las Vegas in the summer.

Actually most of the time.  A couple of weeks ago I needed to be in Hell…I mean Las Vegas.  They don’t call it Sin City for the fun of it.  It really is.  Sin.  At 100 plus degrees.  A desert turned to an over-lit, over-done, over-big, and over wasted space.  We are going to build stores there.  Nobody asked what I think.  My most recent visit required a stop at the Clark County complex.  The county Taj Mahal.  Over built.  Across the street is a building that is way over the top.  An architects dream spend.  A typical Las Vegas “mine is better than yours building”….Turns out to be a medical clinic.  Surprised?

Vegas Medical center

This week I have been in Cheney, Washington.  Stark contrast to Las Vegas.  Normal people.  Natural surroundings.  Vast acreage of agriculture.  Small town.  Big stress reliever.  Tonight I drove out to Spangle, Washington.  Dinner at Spangle Saloon.  I went for the scenery and had a great pulled barbecue sandwich.  The 30 minute drive was beautiful……

cheney-spangle road 2

Cheney-Spangle Road

Cheney-Spangle Road.  One of the most beautiful drives ever.  Quiet.  Wheat as far as I could see.  Some green.  Some gold. And some harvested.  To add a little interest to the beautiful scenery a road side mail box caught my attention.  No homes/farm houses in any direction.  Probably not walking out to get the mail here.  How many miles a year does the mail person put on a vehicle here?

cheney-spangle road mailbox

After dinner I rushed back to an Osprey nest just west of Cheney.  Love them Osprey.  The problem is there is no place to approach the nest.  Open wheat field.  After a little nervous chattering from the nest I settled in and sat still. About an hour.   Mom and Dad saw me and only approached.  Never delivered dinner…..

Cheney Osprey 2

Cheney Osprey 1

I sat until sundown.  Turned the 200-400 lens 90 degrees from the Osprey nest and shot the last light of day.  I love the Cheney area.  As opposed to Las Vegas…..

Cheney sunset

 Posted by at 12:33 AM
Jul 272011

I work very hard to not mention sightings of spiders.

At our Bear Lake house the chance of an eight legged creature visiting is a little greater than at home.  Been real lucky. Haven’t seen one for some time.  This last week my daughter ran into the house screaming.  It meant only one thing for me….grab the macro lens and get outside.  Sure enough, right above the door was this beauty………


Put my 200 macro lens with all three extension tubes to work.  Shot at f/32.  My daughter held a mirror and reflected sunlight directly on the spider.  Freaked him out a little but got the shot!

 Posted by at 11:16 PM
Jul 102011

Burrowing Owls

Who ever heard of such a thing?

This last week I have been going through some of my old and even older files.  These guys brought back some fond memories.  Their underground hut was in the back yard of a friend in Golden Valley Arizona.  My best back yard critter is worms!  When called that the  Owl young had hatched and were showing themselves above ground I was there in short order.  Early one morning, bright sunshine and about 99 degrees.  I felt like a lizard cooking my belly as I lay about 100′ from the birds hut.  I waited and waited.  Then two eyes appeared.  Then four.  And out came the little ones.  And right with them was Mom to look out for mean old cameraman!


 Posted by at 3:36 PM
Jul 092011

I was chasing all over Montana when the old 600mm was being used.  My job took me near Yellowstone, and the Tetons.  Oxbow Bend used to be a quiet place to photograph Elk, Moose, Eagles, Osprey, and OTTERS!  On this occasion I waded out to my waste in the very slow moving river.  Across was the family.  They are an absolute riot to watch and photograph.  Always touching and interacting.  What a close knit family.


 Posted by at 7:53 PM
Jul 082011

Does size really matter?

Several years before I purchased my first 600mm I ran around with a 300 2.8 lens.  A very nice lens.  When I bought it I had feelings of great fortune and opportunity.  Done shooting with the 200 4.0 lens.  Now I am really reaching out there.

On the lower Madison River in Yellowstone is a large flat area. Often elk gather there. Especially during the rut.  A perfect spot to shoot is high on a knoll where you can see the whole valley.  The serious photographers gather there.  With my 300mm lens in hand I proudly marched up the hill and set up. Next to a the real thing.  A professional.  I could tell. He had an assistant.  Two camera bodies on to very long lenses.  Kinda felt like I brought my pinewood derby car to the Indy 500.  Oh well.  The subjects we were photographing were putting on an incredible show.  Bulls herding cows.  Bulls racking the ground and doing the stuff they do when wanting to mate.  At one point A bull ran straight at us. All the “pro’s” were chatting about their last adventure, the best selling shots and of course the latest gear.  I was shooting.  It was my favorite shot of the day for me.  No one else got it. As I inherently said “wow” the photographer commented; “the shot wouldn’t sell one time” “especially through a smaller lens”.   I didn’t even reply because I wasn’t there to make money.  I was thrilled with the actions of the elk I witnessed.  The beautiful scenery of Yellowstone.  The smell of pines.  At peace with nature.  I thought I had a pretty dang cool shot.  One that tells a story about what I had witnessed that morning……


 Posted by at 10:52 AM
Jul 072011

When did the real passion for photography start?

I can think back on several occasions….mostly while a camera was to my eye or the likes of Moose Peterson or Joe McNally encouraging a group to “get out and shoot”

Or times like this week.  It appears that the prominent photography store in Utah and the west may hang a couple of my photo’s in their store.  They asked me!  What an honor.  Which photographs do I send to them?  Do I really have anything worthy of hanging in their store?  Really this an honor. Especially for the likes of me.  I am not a professional.  Yes a pretty darn serious amateur.  But I don’t sell.  Haven’t even tried.  The pic’s won’t be for sale. Display only I guess.  Huge prints.  Giant “murals” on the walls.  And my name on them.  Almost embarrassing.  Yet a great honor.

Have to decide what pics to send.  What a journey. I went back many years and started to review some of my favorites.  Every pic has a story.  Every single one of them has a story and emotion connected to them.  Stayed up several nights looking and remembering.  The night before the deadline to get the digital form of the photo’s to them I was up until 3:00 a.m.    Wow.  A great adventure all over again.  It was fun.  I ended up sending quite a few photographs to them.  Mostly because of my low self esteem about my photography.  I am my worst critic.  Who knows how they will react.

Many years ago I bought my first 600mm lens.  A manual focus lens.  A behemoth.  Big heavy and sharp as a tack.  The first morning in Yellowstone the lens and I were up long before sunrise.  With just a little light reflecting from the sky I captured this MONSTER!


I was shaking worse than I can ever remember.  Looking through the monster lens at the biggest elk I have ever seen.  I almost forgot to fire the camera.  Then he let loose.   Click, click, click.  Three shots is what I remember.  My first long lens shot…..

Late that afternoon I carried the lens along the Madison River in Yellowstone.  Following another Elk.  Wanting “that” shot.  Just seconds before the sun set over the ridge he bent down and quenched his thirst….and mine.  What a beautiful animal.


 Posted by at 3:33 PM