Jan 272012

Tomorrow is my Aunt “Z’s” funeral.

She has graduated!

My Mom’s sisters are and were all beautiful, full of life and excitement.  Tomorrow will be a good day to celebrate her graduation and see my cousins.

I’m reminded of my other Aunt that lived in Woodruff, Utah.  When I was about ten years old I got to live in Woodruff with my cousin Billy and his gazzillion sisters.  We had a blast.  My fondest memory was guarding the hay stacks from rabbits.  I dare say Billy and I were the best guards in the valley.  No rabbit got away or came close to the hay stacks.  Very recently I passed through the Woodruff Valley.  It’s part of the route to my lake house.  For 40+ years I have visited this valley.  This day the skies and the valley took me back to those warm days with Billy…….

 Posted by at 9:55 PM
Jan 262012

A couple of years ago I took this photo with my old 300mm, f2/8 lens.  Tonight I ran across the file and fell in love all over again with this group shot.  Lessons I have learned since I took this shot are that higher a ISO is OK.  If at possible extend the DOF in a group like this. And in post look closer at details.  I have at least 4 terra bytes of pixels.  I can honestly tell you this is in my top 10 most favorite captures……

 Posted by at 6:35 PM
Jan 242012

Yes it’s that time of year when the Pheasants think they are hiding.

But in reality you can see them a mile away.  Ok 100 yards or so!

Nikon D3s, 600mm lens @ f/4 and  1/5200 second.

Exaggerated contrast by high key Silver Efex Pro2 filter and Pheasant layer erased back.

 Posted by at 9:17 PM
Jan 232012

Yesterday between time with Mom, church and more time with Mom I sneaked out to FBWR.

It had snowed the day before.  The sun was out in full glory and the snow made for some great “bottoms up” lighting.  Of course I connected with my friend the Female Northern Harrier that I have been watching for some time now.  And boy did she perform…..

It doesn’t get any better when she flies low with the light reflecting of the snow.  Wow!

She would fly from a perch atop a man made birds nest over to a particular spot.  Like there was something there.  Then suddenly she would turn back and go back to the perch.  She did this a couple of times.

After the second flight she flew to a tree closer to where she was investigating.  It really cracked me up.  She was in the middle of small twigs.  Tangled up somewhat.  And the branch was swaying back and forth.  It was hilariousness!  In the end she did not make and a catch and flew off to a new perch.

 Posted by at 11:51 AM
Jan 222012

I love my Mom.

As a parent I find myself thinking about about what a lousy child I was.  I live in the present.  And don’t dwell on my mischievous past.  When with Mom though I think about the fact that I could have been a better son.

She is 84 now of which I caused some anguish for some 10 or 12 or more years.  Some of her wrinkles have my name on them.  Though at 84 I think she is beautiful.  Her eyes still have fire in them.  Today when I “told” her I wanted a picture of her she shook her fist at me and said “I am still your Mother I will decide”.  She loves me.  I got the photo.  I sit here with tears in my eyes hoping I can visit her and  hold her for some time still.  A little selfish on my part.  She tells me often (speaking of my father) “jim, I can hardly wait to get that great big man’s arms around me again”.  It will be 10 years next month since Mom hugged Dad.  My Mom is a GRAND LADY.  When she does eventually graduate from earth I will miss her.  Thankfully today she allowed me to capture a moment of her beauty…..


This little guy loves my mom too. He takes care of her.  Keeps her company.  He loves it when I stop by.  I give the best belly rubs

 Posted by at 6:37 PM
Jan 212012

Resting a lot today.

And have a new tool.

I have been going back and deleting files that are substandard, out of focus or too clutter y (what the heck the “y” keeps falling off when spell checked).  It’s been real fun.  Haven’t had this much fun with no stress or tasks attached for a long time.  With the new Cintiq I tried a technique that I have always liked.  I will filter a color photo through Silver Efex Pro2 then back out some of the color.  With the Cintiq I can be exact.  The final in print form is nice.

In the past the Wacom tablet performed well but not this exact.  I zoomed in 200% and finished the edge all around the Egret.

At some point I will be in trouble for spending a good 4-5 hours in the Man Cave playing with pic’s.  It really has been wonderful!!!!!!!!!

 Posted by at 8:52 PM
Jan 212012

I am constantly trying to better my photography.

And some accuse me of just having toys.

If I was a professional photographer the so called toys would be tools.  I think of them as tools of the trade.  And amateur trade mind you.  Several weeks ago I bought a Cintiq by Wacom.  I am not a graphic artist.  Barely a photographer.  I have always wanted to purchase this tool.  Digital processing at it’s best and closest.

The photo editing can be done right on the screen.  I put the unit together today.  I am blown away.  To get right in close and see the detail is amazing.  The short cut keys cut processing time.  I had to pull a a most recent file and play a little.  No copying, inserting, masking or the like.  A little sharpening, vignette and dodging.  Viewing on the internet does not do this particular shot justice.  On the Cintiq and on to the print-BEAUTIFUL!

 Posted by at 5:40 PM
Jan 212012

Have you ever noticed that a lot of the wild hunt alone?

Probably more hunt in groups.  But I see regularly predators hunting alone.  There is something to be said about being alone and able to survive.

Herons, Egrets, Kestrals, Hawks, Grizzly Bears, Coyotes all hunt alone.  But not “all” alone.  They all were raised by a pair.  TWO adults.  Instinctively the young learned how to hunt and survive.  Many by watching the example of the “adults”.  Over time they become alone to fend for themselves.  Some find a mate.  But still hunt alone.

As humans we are much the same.  We raise our offspring to hunt alone.  They hopefully will find a mate.  The hunting part is their “gig”.  I have heard and repeated this quote many times “Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves”.  As a parent we feel very alone at times.  Watching our kids grow.  And learn.  I have a friend at work that often when we cross paths at work we end up talking about our kids.  The good and the bad.  It’s Ok.  I have never met her’s and she has never met mine.   We have a lot in common.  We are adults. And we have kids.  Adult kids.  Who have learned or are learning to stand or hunt alone.  The hard part for us as parents…… watching……. and letting them be themselves.  Of which we created and taught.

 Posted by at 5:09 PM
Jan 152012

Only had about an hour after spending time with Mom today.

Probably the most productive shooting in the last while.  Captured a female Norther Harrier devouring a duck, another White Faced Ibis (still here?), and a perched American Kestral.  All but the duck dinner filtered through Topaz’s “Buzsim” filter and subject erased back.  The duck plucking by the Harrier had to be done in video.  No critics please……

Hawk Eat Duck

What a nervous nelly.  But man can she pluck a bird.  I watched as she ate most the bird in 5 minutes or less.  I thought she was was pretty well camouflaged….

Soon a crowd was gathering.  The big lens I use usually draws a crowd.  And as usual one admirer got out of her car to get closer with her point and shoot and off the Harrier flew……

Add to photographic surprise a White Faced Ibis flew right across i front of me right where the Harrior had been.  I am blown away by two things.  One that they are still here this winter.  Have only seen one.  And two how beautiful Ibis are.  Unbelievable!

As I was leaving my always present American Kestal.  Took this one as more of an “arsty fartsy” shot…..

All in all a very short visit at FBWR.  Didn’t even make it to the back gate.  It was fun!

 Posted by at 5:56 PM