Dec 112013

WInter has come!

And I have been staring at the ceiling and walls.  First and hopefully only winter cold.  I just had to get and today.  Grabbed some gear, bundled up and headed out to my “spot”.  It didn’t take long to start tracking an American Kestral.  For many years I have captured some fun photo’s of these hyper hunters.  This time of year they pretty much will land on several of the same spots and watch for little critters.  To day a rock and rebar was a couple of lookout spots.


In the very cold winter they are a little more tolerant of cars and photographers that stay in their cars.  Of course it helps when shooting with a 600mm lens.


When leaving the island I always look for the BIG guys.  Today I was lucky!   Had to stop real fast grab my 80-400 lens while driving and shooting.  Then this huge buck stopped long enough for me to barely fit him in the photo.  Of a dozen shots fired in just over a second this is the only one that got the full rack captured!  This guy looks a bit like a fullback.  What a huge neck!

 Posted by at 9:48 PM
Aug 042013

The Cormorant.  A heavy boned, swim low in the water, ugly bird.  An expert diver and fisher.

After diving and fishing this prehistoric looking birds leaves the water and spreads it wings to dry.

Really a goofy looking bird.  Fun to watch.  They are shy.  With a long lens you can enjoy their antics.  Much like the white faced Ibis, and from a distance the cormorant just looks like another black bird.  A closer look reveals colorful eyes and face.

 Posted by at 5:54 PM
Jun 232013

I’ve been spending more time in the hotel bed and room next to the bed than out in the park.

Felt A little better tonight.  I ventured a few miles up the Madison River.  Didn’t want to get too far from the hotel.  Very late light and a beautiful Great Blue Heron made for some fun captures….




 Posted by at 10:26 PM
Jun 202013

The animals in Yellowstone are a very small part of it’s beauty.  The natural features are incredible.  All opportunities to photograph animals come with beautiful scenery.  Here are a couple of quick shots I captured while watching and photographing buffalo.

 Posted by at 10:22 AM
Mar 182013

A couple of weeks ago I grabbed this photograph of a Bald Eagle at Farmington.  Since the gate have closed for the season. The snow has melted and my Mother passed away.   Mom’s passing was a celebration of her life.  At 85 she had lived a grand life as a grand lady.  My mother exemplified what a women with honor, integrity and beauty should be.  Though I miss her, she is much better now.

While watching a Piano Guys video I was enamored by a quote they used in one of their performances video.    Thought I would add the quote to the Eagle pic.  Music is a big part of my family.  Never heard this quote from Beethoven before.  I think it applies to all “Art”.  Anything that we have a passion for.  Or love to do.

 Posted by at 9:21 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 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 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