Wildlife Photography: Photo-editing in comfort and style

Photo-editing is an essential and tedious part of any photographer’s workflow. As wildlife photographers, we spent significant amounts of money on cameras, lenses, and other equipment for capturing our images on the front end. We incur an additional cost when we travel to exotic locations to pursue our subjects. The expenditures don’t stop when it comes to post-processing our images with computers, software, and peripherals such as Wacom tablets and Loupdeck panels that make the entire process easier and more efficient. Spending hours in front of a computer editing photos takes concentration and can be mind-numbing. The more comfortable you are while doing it, the less mind-numbing it will be. For a comparatively minimal investment of both money and time, you could soon be editing your photos in both comfort and style.

Continue reading “Wildlife Photography: Photo-editing in comfort and style”

Wildlife photography: So you want to start a wildlife photography Blog

I was visiting my family for the holidays several years ago when my niece casually starting talking about her ” Blog”. She commented eloquently for some time about blogging and followers and all sorts of puzzling things. At the time, I didn’t have the slightest clue what a blog was. Having graduated college as well as graduate school and considering myself well educated I was embarrassed to admit that “Blog” was a word I didn’t know. To me it was some mysterious word, with origins on the internet, familiar only too hip, with it, young people unlike myself. After a few uncomfortable moments, the conversation politely moved on to other subjects, and the nervousness associated with being exposed as ignorant soon abated. On the drive home I resolved that I would never be caught so unhip and uninformed again. I would thrust myself into the internet world of the young and become a blogger myself. As a wildlife photographer, blogging about a subject I knew and liked seemed as though it would be as easy as falling off a log. Little did I know what I was getting into. Wildlife Photography blogging is challenging but fun at the same time.

Continue reading “Wildlife photography: So you want to start a wildlife photography Blog”

Wildlife Photography, learning to keep your photographic ducks in a row.

Keeping your ducks in a row is an old expression for sure but some expressions remain useful and are timeless. Photographing wildlife is complex and involves a process with many individual steps or “ducks” to keep in sequence if you want to achieve the best outcome. Most people who haven’t tried wildlife photography before think you just walk out the front door, take a photo of an animal, and put it online, perhaps because these days with smartphones that’s exactly how most photographs are taken. Those of us who photograph wildlife regularly for business or pleasure know it’s a bit more complicated than that. To produce your average random wildlife photo you could just depend on getting lucky once in a while but to produce good quality wildlife photos consistently, they have to be preceded by a significant amount of study and preparation, as well as a multistep post-processing routine. Photographing Ducks is fun and is a good way to illustrate the multiple steps that are involved. Lets’ take a look at how I like to keep my ducks in a row while photographing ducks.

Mallard drake taking wing.

Continue reading “Wildlife Photography, learning to keep your photographic ducks in a row.”

Wildlife photography: One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi

When I was a kid we used to play touch football in the street. Because there wasn’t an offensive line we had to count ten seconds out loud before we could rush the quarterback. When we counted we would use Mississippis because supposedly it takes one second to say “One Mississippi”. Say it ten times and you could rush the quarterback. I was out recently looking for wildlife to photograph when I came across a number of beautiful raptors that caused me to harken back to those days. I found myself counting each of the several birds circling overhead in Mississippis as if I were a kid on the football field. One Mississippi Kite, Two Mississippi Kites, and so on.

Continue reading “Wildlife photography: One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi”

Wildlife photography: Photographing Burrowing Owls, getting lost in the eyes of your subject.

I think it was Humphry Bogart who said, “She had the kind of eyes you could get lost in”. I love to photograph owls for a lot of reasons but mostly because of their eyes. They have the kind of eyes you can get lost in. When beginning to photograph wildlife it’s important to understand that an animal’s eyes are the most important part of the composition of a wildlife photo. Because of their large prominent eyes, owls offer a great opportunity to practice this principle. Owls, however, are very reclusive nocturnal creatures for the most part which can make finding them and subsequently photographing them quite difficult. There is one species of owl however that is relatively easy to find and is active during the day. The Burrowing Owl. If you want to practice your wildlife photography and work with a subject that has great eyes, then burrowing owls are just the trick.

Continue reading “Wildlife photography: Photographing Burrowing Owls, getting lost in the eyes of your subject.”

Wildlife photography: I love my 600mm lens, but how do I get it there? Traveling with a super-telephoto lens.

Most wildlife photographers start out using smaller lenses and work their way up to large super-telephoto lenses as time goes by. In the beginning, I had a 300mm f4 and like most, lusted after larger lenses but wasn’t sure that wildlife photography was something I would stick with long enough to justify the expense of a larger lens. Once I saved enough and pulled the trigger on a 600mm lens I couldn’t wait to travel and test it out. My first trip with this monster was to Jackson Wyoming and Grand Tetons National Park. I knew it would be the perfect lens for the trip but getting it there on the plane was concerning and would take some thought.

Young Pronghorn Antelope Grand Tetons National Park
Continue reading “Wildlife photography: I love my 600mm lens, but how do I get it there? Traveling with a super-telephoto lens.”

Wildlife photography: The I-20 Wildlife Preserve

If you have ever been to West Texas then you know there really isn’t much to look at. You can literally drive a hundred miles and not change elevation more than 10 feet. For the most part, it’s dry and arid. The average yearly rainfall is about 14 inches and not a lot can grow in those conditions. Every once in a while though you’re lucky and you find an oasis in the desert.

A Canvasback duck at the preserve
Continue reading “Wildlife photography: The I-20 Wildlife Preserve”

Yellowstone, a Wildlife Photographer’s pilgrimage. Part 4

If Yellowstone is known for anything, it’s one thing, wolves. My trip to Yellowstone wouldn’t be complete without trying to find and photograph a wolf. These iconic animals represent the west’s wild and untamed past. Hunted to extinction in the lower forty-eight states long ago, they were reintroduced into Yellowstone in the early nineties. Since that time they have successfully established themselves in several western states. They are the subject of much controversy. Thousands of visitors a day are drawn to the park with hopes of getting a glimpse of these elusive creatures. In 2016 there were 11 packs with a total of 108 wolves who called Yellowstone home. Although there are over a hundred wolves in the park, as you might imagine finding them can be somewhat difficult, and getting a decent photograph of one can be darn near impossible.

Map showing the wolf packs resident to Yellowstone.
Continue reading “Yellowstone, a Wildlife Photographer’s pilgrimage. Part 4”

Yellowstone, a Wildlife Photographer’s pilgrimage. Part 3

I don’t know about you but the first night I try to sleep in a new place I never sleep very well. A smaller bed, strange noises, and anticipation of the day ahead led to a restless night. We all know that wildlife is more active early in the morning and at dusk. The plan was to rise early with enough time to get ready and be on the road shortly before sunrise. Times of sunrise and sunset vary by longitude and time of the year. Sunrise and sunset calendars for various locations can be found easily online. In the first week of October sunrise in Yellowstone was around 7:30 each day give or take a few minutes.  We were up at 5:30, coffee in the lobby by 6:15, breakfast to go from the Canyon Eatery, and on the road, about 7:30, Scanning the roadsides for wildlife as we drove. This would be the morning routine for the next several days.

Continue reading “Yellowstone, a Wildlife Photographer’s pilgrimage. Part 3”

Yellowstone, a Wildlife Photographer’s pilgrimage. Part 2

We arrived early in Bozeman, and by the time we had rented the car and were pulling out of the airport parking lot it was only 10:30 in the morning.  As part of the plan, we stopped at the Walmart in Bozeman and purchased various things we felt we might need for the week, water, snacks, bear spray, etc.  While these things are available in the park at general stores in several locations it was cheaper, and given the time of year, we weren’t sure exactly what would be open. We grabbed lunch and were on the highway by 11:30 heading for Yellowstone. It’s a little over an hour’s drive through the pretty country along the Yellowstone River from Bozeman to Gardiner at the north entrance to the park. Along the drive, we saw several herds of elk with large bulls as well as a Bald Eagle perched in a tree along the river.  In no time at all, we were entering the park through the north entrance and the Roosevelt Arch. We quickly paid our entrance fee and headed for Mammoth Hot Springs.

Continue reading “Yellowstone, a Wildlife Photographer’s pilgrimage. Part 2”