Feb 272013

Drove to Twinn Falls today.  Carried the D800 with me.

Whenever I carry this camera I slip into Artsy Fartsy mode.  The resolution is over the top incredible.  Blown away every-time I bring up the images on my Macbook Pro with retina display.  WOW!!!!!

Even after shrinking the file size to put on the web the resolution kick’s butt.


I love the black to white range of light in this photograph.


At Shoshone Falls while driving down the side of the gorge a particular rock formation caught my eye.   Look close at this lava rock formation and see if you can see a mans face in the rock……

Can you see it???????


This color photograph is a 6′ water fall just up the road from the man’s face in the rock.  It must run year round because of the incredible moss and moss related colors.   If I had not told you it was a 6′ high falls wouldn’t you think it looked bigger?  When I brought up the shot tonight my first reaction is that it could on screen or print pass for  much larger falls.

 Posted by at 9:42 PM
Feb 262013

 Fact #1: Cropping messes with pixels.

Fact #2: Sharpening in post messes with pixels.

Fact #3: Like belly buttons everyone has an opinion about adjustments in post (after taking the photograph).

Fact #4: I can do what ever I want in post.  It’s my world and my photograph.  Just remember the impact of a photograph based on the “RULES”.

So here are my rules;

Rule #1: Do my very best to do little or no adjustments in post.

Rule #2 Do my very, very best to capture as close to the actual scene as possible to avoid any desired adjustments in POST!

I thought I would share one particular photograph I took tonight and a few adjustments I made.  Step by step.

First here is a capture of a bald eagle from tonight.  This shot has NO adjustments in post except a slight crop to obtain more of a panoramic image.  In-camera was a +.3 exposure compensation.


The Bald Eagle photographed over snow with a slight exposure comp is almost as easy as a sunset capture.  Especially in the case of the photograph above when the eagle is flying directly at the light source (the sun).

Can’t always be that lucky when relying on the natural elements for light, shadows, composition, etc.  Tonight my camera was a little tired when I brought it home.  Inside was 0ver 1,100 images.  Swans, Bald eagles, pelicans and the majority of which was a very not very shy Jr. Bald Eagle.  He was still following his parent around still in it’s juvenile color scheme.  The time of day, the feather colors and the angle to the light source made for some interesting challenges.  I ran through all the shots and threw out the ones that I had no interest in.  Usually about 70% of the shots.  I chose the following shot for this exercise.  Funky things happen to photographs when uploaded to the web.  So I hope what I am trying to portray here actually is represented after uploading it.


In the photograph above the juvenile bald eagle, like a lot of wildlife moves fast.  It’s very difficult to always have perfect composition.  The first thing I did in post was crop slightly to make the space around the eagle less annoying to ME.  Emphasis on ME…..remember Fact #4 above.


All my photographs are brought into ACR in photoshop.  I do almost all my adjustments in ACR.  Occasionally I use NIk and TOPAZ filters.  In the following photograph in ACR I added about 10% sharpening, and with the shadow slider brought up shadow details slightly.


For years I had a dark room in my basement.  The one thing I practiced and used was dodging and burning when I thought appropriate.  The digital burn and dodge tool in Photoshop works very good.  There is all kinds of adjustments to assist in the process of burning and dodging.  In this last photograph I dodged the water drops, the white feathers, slightly on the yellow portion of the eye and the top 1/3 of the photograph. I burned in some of the wings, the beak, and the shadow in the water in front of the eagle.  The I added my copyright logo, flattened the image, resized the photo to better fit on the web and saved it to my desktop.


Side by Side;


Bald Eagle Juvenile with camera capture only……..I was tempted to crop about 15% of the top of the photograph.

 Posted by at 10:32 PM
Feb 222013

Everybody wants the shot of the Hawk.  We all have one or two favorites of a Fly-By.  The chances of a hawk flying right at the photographer is slim to none.  So we look for “that” shot.  Tons of practice shooting seagulls or plentiful birds.  The key is to be ready.  Have the where-with-all to keep the bird in frame.  It’s not easy.  Luck really does play a part.  I photograph on days like yesterday cheating the camera a little compensating +.3.  Then in post I bring up shadow details slightly.  Too many adjustments creates a funky unnatural look.  In some cases like the following photograph I burn in some of the darker portions of the Hawk.  And dodge a few highlights.  In the end this particular photograph is one of my favorites of the hundreds of Hawk Fly-By’s in my files.

 Posted by at 8:53 PM
Feb 212013

I have not even thought about sunset shots for some time.


Last week a neighbor asked about how to take sunset pic’s.  One thing I emphasized to him is to all ways turn around and look behind.   Some of my favorite photographs are shots taken of subjects lit by the sunset.  I was reminded this at work today.  So out tonight until well after sunset.  The first clear night on west side in a long time.  With clouds on the east side of the valley over a snow covered range the potential for great sunset water reflections  were lining up!  And boy was there pay off.

I am not one to enhance colors.  I do at times kick up the sharpness 10%-15%.  Tonight was no exception.  I did however turn down just the blue saturation slightly.

This capture was taken with the D4, 600mm lens wide open, at 3200 ISO!   Thank you Nikon.  In ACR I turn up the noise filter slightly.   A unique shot of a Blue Heron.  Maybe one of a kind photo of a bird that there is millions of pics out there.


This fly-by photo was a little surprise.  I didn’t notice the water as I was panning and shooting the Blue Heron.  I have mixed feelings about the shot.  In some ways it gives a tiny bit of depth to the photo.  I would have liked it better if the Heron was a little higher above the water.  This was a gift and I was pleased to get it.


A couple of days ago I shot a very similar shot of a Pelican over white snow and white background.  This photo of the Heron was shot at 3200 ISO like the others.  It has a bit of a cartoon look to it because I ran it through Nik Define and turned the noise down.  The net result is a noticeable cartoon effect.

 Posted by at 9:16 PM
Feb 202013

I’m telling ya!

There is not much better than a overcast day.  Snow on the ground.  And low flying birds.

Had another blast tonight.  Left work early to get my drivers license renewed.  Imagine that.  The DMV office is only a mile or so from my favorite bird “place”!

This capture of a pelican on snow is much better on my screen and in print.   It’s white on white.  When posting to the web it creates more contrast.



Captured this guy just before he disappeared in a channel.

 Posted by at 9:52 PM
Feb 132013

Today I am reminded of the how unfair the world is.

I have a friend that is a good man.  A businessman that is fair in all his dealings.  Extends himself for his clients more than most all business owners.  I’ve personally seen him take steps to do right. Fair and just is his creed.

Today he lost because of who he is.

He is a good man.

Challenged by a tyrant that takes advantage of people like my friend.  In the end even in defense the favor fell with the evil, tyrant man.  My friend will be OK.  I am probably more upset than he is.  I hate these type of injustices.

To evolve my mood to a better state of mind I went to my great escape.  This morning I spent a little time at the refuge.  Now there is tons of Bald Eagles.  Easily captured in camera.  Wish I could have stayed longer.  Tonight I escaped and blended a little more in photographs.

Played a little more than normal.


This one I ran through Topaz’s pencil filter.  Kinda cool!


This one I ran through Silver Efex Pro2 then I erased back the beak and claws

 Posted by at 9:15 PM
Feb 122013

I have seen and photographed most of the falls along the lower Columbia River Gorge.  This last trip I wanted to see things a little different.   Stretch my imagination a little.  Most the falls drop off and fall to a pool then cascade down a rock filled path.   That being the most common photo.  As I stopped at the various falls I realized that there is another aspect to these particular falls that I needed to capture.  But how do I do it and still have the falls as the subject.  All the trees and rocks around the falls are covered in moss and green plants.  I walked this particular water fall and spent some time looking around for a way to keep a simple photograph  but include the two elements I was seeing at all the falls.  It was a real challenge for me.  I look for simplicity in a photograph.  And always want to keep depth somehow if possible.  This is the best I could this trip.  I do love the colors….

 Posted by at 8:02 PM
Feb 092013


Too much information.  What needs to be said and what doesn’t.  Especially on a photo blog….

My wife says I say too much all the time.  Oh Well.

Crazy week!  Surgery last Friday.  On the road wednesday.  Fly into Portland.  Drive 4 hours to Milton Freewater.  Yes its a city and the water is not free.  Then for the next 6 to 8 hours hours I laid in an emergency room in Kennewick Washington.   My leg was killing me so In called my surgeon.  All I remember was blood clot and get to the hospital.  When the surgeons nurse says that you follow orders. Yep I have blood clots.  Something to do with the surgery.  A risk when having surgery I guess.  More risk that the surgeon exploring around on my insides?  Well at least they aren’t DEEP THROMBOSIS (blood clots).  I have shallow Thrombosis.  Thats a good thing according to the ER Doc.

So he said for my drive back to Portland I needed to stop no less than every 30 minutes and get out and walk around.  First doctors orders I ever had to stop every 30 minutes and take pictures.  Oh, I obliged.  Except for the leg pain never had so much fun.  The Gorge has a ton of water falls.  As the doctor ordered I explored a few.

 Posted by at 9:41 PM
Feb 092013

You know those Bald Eagles can really be bullies. Obviously the Heron wasn’t going to fight for the fish.   He saw the Bald coming from way off and dropped the fish.

 Posted by at 9:14 PM
Feb 032013

Winter isn’t all bad.  Yes it’s cold but the snow is the best light reflector on the planet.  THe picture above would not have been as good or as easy to shoot without the snow.  First the snow boosts the light hence a better shutter speed.  Even better it highlights the underside of a dark subject like this Bald Eagle.  Sometimes when it is just 20 degrees outside the birds just sit and do their best to stay warm.


 Posted by at 6:02 PM