Jan 202011

golden eagle

It is a lot of work to carry long lenses when flying.

My 600 and 200-400 lens stay home a lot.  I have been in Wyoming since Tuesday.  Tuesday until this morning in bed…..or kneeling in the bathroom.  Sorry too much information.  Feel a lot better today.  My regret today is that I wish I had brought my long lens on this trip.  The photograph above was taken from the roadside.  The Golden Eagle was dining on a dead deer on  the shoulder of the road.  And Bald Eagles were waiting in the wings.  Golden Eagles are dominant over Bald Eagles.  I missed an opportunity to get a great shot of a Golden Eagle.  Not to many shots of Goldens in my portfolio….in fact just a couple.  This shot was taken with a 70-200.

Tonight I had dinner with Erika and her mother.  Wonderful people.  Good friends.  Erika is now and will someday be a queen.  “Rodeo Queen” to be exact.  Though not technically a rodeo queen now…in my book she is royalty.  She reminds me of my daughter that just married. Good people, good conversation and great food.  Hope to see again  before too long.

 Posted by at 9:40 PM
Jan 162011

Sitting Duck

Have you ever wondered what a sitting duck feels like?

Just before that little round hole he is looking at spews out pellets to kill?

In about two weeks we are going to Guatemala.  Company trip.  You know.  The trip you are obligated to go on because it’s free?  I always thought company trips were supposed to make you jump out of your seat and cheer with excitement.  Kind of a motivational trip for hard working employees like me.  Wives have to go.  It’s the policy.   “Honey we are going on a trip to Guatemala!”  By my wife’s reaction I thought she thought I said I was going to cut out her fingernails one at a time!

Can’t carry anything valuable.  Can’t go out alone.  Can’t go out at night. Don’t be seen with a computer or cell phone.  Don’t carry money.  Don’t take pictures of kids.  Don’t take pictures of people in nice cars.  Don’t drink the water. Don’t swim in the water.  Don’t buy food from vendors.  Only pay with new crisp dollar bills (haven’t figured that one out yet).  Lock up all your personal items.  Travel in groups.  Don’t travel on trails.  Always be on the lookout.

Kinda feels like standing in the naughty corner!

But we are going.

I am taking a camera….a good one.  Taking a couple of nice lenses.  Taking shorts, shirts, shoes, socks and photography stuff.    I plan on brining back a lot of photo’s. Thousands.

Who cares if I will be a sitting duck in Guatemala?  I am bringing back memories regardless.

 Posted by at 7:10 PM
Jan 092011

Cold Kestral

Man it was cold out there today.

After church I snuck out for a couple of hours.  Clear skies.  Bright sun.  And new snow.  It was beautiful.

Spent most the time with a Kestral.  It was a blast!

Ketstral Land

This Kestral was perched and would go out to hunt and came back to the same perch several times.  Gave me several opportunities to shoot as he approached the perch.  With the snow reflecting the light it made for good light back up to the Kestral.

Hawk Jump

The Northern Harrier are plentiful.  Lot’s of chances to shoot taking off, hunting and landing…………with my daughters wedding this week and a few days in Washington I will be busy.  Good thing I have today’s memories!!!!

 Posted by at 10:24 PM
Jan 072011

Harrier hawk fog2

My wife has asked me many times “how many pictures of the animal can you take?”.


I never get tired of shooting.  Animals.  Wildlife.  Never get tired.  Off the plane a little early tonight so I headed to FBNRRR.  No eagles but quit a few herons and hawks.

Heron fog

With winter freeze abounding black and white was the order of the day for the Heron.

Harrier male fog

Like I have said many times these hawks are incredible hunters.  Flying low to the ground stopping immediately to drop on prey.  This shot was from window level.

Harrier landed

They do do rest.  But never take their eyes of me………

 Posted by at 8:58 PM
Jan 062011

Moose Peterson

What a guy.  I have had the extreme privilege in a few occasions of sitting in front of the man and learning a minuscule amount of what is in his head.  His passion for photography is unbelievable.  Follow his life, read his books and admiring him will do nothing but rub off on your own photographic passion.

Check out a guest blog he did here.

 Posted by at 11:46 AM
Jan 012011

Eagle Pass

Made it home in time for a little new year cheer las night.

Everyone is sick or tired today.  So out to the Wildlife Refuge I go.  The eagles are slowly arriving.  Just a few as a matter of fact.  Not quit ready for prime time.  But the photographers are out.  Yikes!  A line of cars.  Every time I pulled over to shoot I turned into a car magnet.  Hopefully the bulk of the eagles will be arriving in the next three or four weeks.  I will be there off and on to record the event.

 Posted by at 8:35 PM
Dec 302010

Cheney Winter1

Have I mentioned that I love Cheney, Washinton?

It’s winter here.

Drove up from Sunnyside today.  Ran from the problems, stress and PEPSI freaks there.  The new store in Sunnyside is open today.  Not by any stretch the hardest to get open.  Just the most aggravating.  Working with the local Pepsi bottler was like teaching a cat to read.  No response and did whatever they wanted.  Someone was lucky a jim volcano did not erupt.  Too long a story to tell.  Buy Coke when in Sunnyside, Washington.

Traveled all week with camera gear in the front seat.  No time to shoot. (Chasing a Pepsi rainbow)  Until tonight.

Man was it beautiful here.

Just like the Holiday Inn Express here in Cheney.  It’s nice.  My new favorite.  The frosting on the cake…..the GM.  Ms. B. Smith!  When walking in tonight I think she recognized my anti-PEPSI mood and aggravation.  “Welcome home”  she said!  This place is amazing.  Through the doors is a distinctive smell.  A good smell.  The same smell everytime I think.  Perfect details right down to the TV that sits ON TOP of the chest.  Even anti-bacterial dispensers at the elevator.  Holy cow!

Ms. Smith is a peach and does a wonderful job with her staff here.  Hope to get back soon!

 Posted by at 9:38 PM
Dec 262010

merganserrunHave you ever had the smartest person you know ask you to help him/her with a question?


It happened to me today.  Mr Petersen approached me about a photography question.  This is the guy with the photographic memory.  Why even own a camera he can just recall it.  Turns out he is not perfect …he owns a Canon.  So here is my humble attempt to help …….

To capture a bird in flight does take some practice.  For years I have held my camera up and followed birds without shooting.  Practice is a big part.  The next is anticipating a birds actions.  Waterfowl are notorious for standing on the water after preening.  So in that case patience is in order and watching for them to stand on the water and spread their wings.


Birds of prey  have their own behavioral traits.  They don’t like people or cameras.  When shooting at the wildlife refuges the more experienced photographers rarely get out of the car to photograph.   Concealment is critical.  Or what sometimes works is when a bird is focused on prey their peripheral seems to diminish.  Many times I have approached Hawks when they are hunting and have been fortunate to get a good shot.


Finally and maybe the most important is the camera settings.   The look of a photograph is going to be determined by each photographer.  We will all see the shot a little different.  Here are a few suggestions that have worked for me:

I always shoot in aperture priority.  And I shoot wide open.  My 600 is almost always at f/4.  I like the short depth of field that a large aperture creates.  It helps separate the subject from the background.  Makes for great Bokuh!


In the case of the Hawk in the photo above I also added blur to the photograph.  I felt the tree was too “busy” for my taste. Others may want to see the tree.  That’s the creative part that makes us all different.

The shutter speed must be pretty high if you want to stop the action of a bird.  Wide open lens, aperture priority and a high ISO.  Of course the amount of light drives the ISO.  All the shots on this blog were shot this morning.  An overcast and dark morning.  To get my desired shutter speed of at least 1/3000 second my ISO ranged from 1200 to 3200.  The trade off is what we called in film days “grain”.  There will be more noise with higher shutter speeds.  I am very blessed to shoot with a D3s(s).  At higher ISO’s there is little grain or noise.


The first to get my camera up this morning was a bald eagle.  It was quit dark.  ISO was at 3200.  Makes for a little bit of a surreal look.  My blogs over the past while would lead you to believe my passion was birds.  It is photography.  Especially big game.  However I can be at the wildlife refuge in less than 15 minutes from my home.  There is always a new setting, different birds, new personalities and fun.  Though big game photography requires less skill for fast moving objects, It has it’s own challenges.  Either way if I can be out with any of them I am very happy.

 Posted by at 6:02 PM
Dec 182010


Today was a day to fly home on a Saturday.  Not too often.  Travel a lot.  Just not away on Saturday usually.  Cheney, Washington has been a neat little place to get away (and we are going to build there!).  Incredible photo op’s. From spectacular rolling farms to a Wildlife Refuge only 5 miles from the city.   Did I mention we are going to build there?  Cheney is the home of the University of Eastern Washington.  The Eagles.  Last night they played a semi-final game on the road to a national championship game.  They won.  Clear skies.  Twenty-five degrees at game time.  Fun place to be after a big win.  By the way Cheney has a population of about ten thousand.

First look out the window this morning window and it was a nice day.  Second look was when I checked out.  A blizzard.  Really!

luggage loader

The drive to the airport was crazy.  The walk from the rental car was insane…by the way don’t rent from thrifty in Spokane if you don’t like long walks in a blizzard.  Safe inside.  Plane was a half hour late.  No big deal.  We boarded our big and spacious 737.  The door shut.  “all electronics must be turned of”.  Then the Captain – ” we have been told by the tower the airport is being closed”  Time for a XANAX!!!!!!

snow flight

Eventually (an hour later) we took off and I made it home.   When you have claustrophobia as bad as I do there can be consequences when the doors shut and it is announced no one is leaving!    I am glad Xanax works fast………

 Posted by at 8:01 PM
Dec 142010

Farm line up


Swings moods, decisions, and PHOTOGRAPHS!

The first thing I told my daughter was that I was not taking photos at her wedding!    Too much pressure and too many opportunities to sit front row at the critics club. So she hired a …..person?  I think she is claiming to be a photographer.  I will not mention names.  Mostly because I don’t know her name.  BUT to say the least it would have been easier if I took the photographs.

So why the line up of farm tractor?  No pressure no hype!  I love wildlife, scenics, nature and anything but portraits.  Would rather have ketchup on my cheesecake.    My daughter brought the photographs to me that the “person” had taken.  One in particular that caught my eye was a full body or what is called a bridal shot.  In the shot my other daughter had held up the vail and let it drop to give the impression the wind was blowing.  Now I am talking about the photographs that the “person” had reviewed, edited and returned to my daughter.  The photograph included my daughters leg and arm.  Yes the daughter NOT in the wedding dress.  Are you kidding me!!!!!  I can’t post the pics because my future son in law may see my daughter in her wedding dress.  ( I guess that is a No No).  Well…… you be the judge;

Before i worked on the photo………………


After I removed the STICKS!!!!!!!!!…….


No matter what my daughters beauty came through.    Here is a couple of pics DAD took…



 Posted by at 11:05 PM