The Golden Hour

Photography is all about the light. In fact, without it photography itself would be impossible. We all know that the character and quality of natural light changes throughout the day. Who hasn’t enjoyed watching the sunrise and marveling in the golden light that is present for the hour after. In photography the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset are referred to as the Golden Hours. Daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky. When the sun is near the horizon, sunlight travels through a greater depth of atmosphere, reducing the intensity of the direct light, so that more of the illumination comes from indirect light from the sky reducing the lighting ratio. More blue light is scattered, so if the sun is present, its light appears more reddish. In addition, the sun’s small angle with the horizon produces longer shadows. Continue reading “The Golden Hour”

ISO, ISO, it’s off to work we go.

Yesterday I awoke to overcast skies and fog as is often the case in winter. Although the conditions were not ideal, I headed out to see what I could photograph. I knew from the conditions that exposure was going to be a challenge. Knowing that Ducks in flight would be the most readily available wildlife to shoot, I would most likely have to use a higher than normal ISO to achieve an adequate shutter speed. Now if you don’t know what ISO is then here it is. In Digital Photography ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The same principles apply as in film photography – the lower the number the less sensitive your camera is to light and the finer the grain. Higher ISO settings are generally used in darker situations to get faster shutter speeds. Higher ISO’s cause more “noise” in digital photographs. Continue reading “ISO, ISO, it’s off to work we go.”

Action shots- shutter speed, frame rate, a little bit of luck, and alot of patience.

I never no what’s going to happen when I head out in the morning. I set out early this morning with the intention of photographing some Wood Ducks that I had recently seen on a local playa. I love Wood Ducks because of their vibrant colors but find them very difficult to photograph. Somehow those colors just dont look the same in a photograph no matter how much saturation I use. When I arrived at the playa however I heard the characteristic chattering call of a familiar bird and it wasn’t long before I spotted the loudmouth. It was a Belted Kingfisher. Continue reading “Action shots- shutter speed, frame rate, a little bit of luck, and alot of patience.”

Cold morning

It was cold this morning.  At sunrise the temperature on my trucks dash said 33 degrees. There was a light frost, but no wind. Contrary to what you may think, many birds and mammals are more active during periods of cold weather. Because food sources are more scarce, they must often remain active later into the morning and become active earlier in the afternoon than usual in order to meet there nutritional needs.  You can take advantage of this tendency and increase your photography opportunities by getting out more in the winter months. Continue reading “Cold morning”

Great Horned Owls

I’ve been photographing wildlife for about the past 10 years. I’ve focused mostly on the wildlife that is close at hand and most common to West Texas where I live.  The wildlife in the area is plentiful and diverse if you take the time to look for it.  I have been fortunate enough to be able to photograph a large variety of birds and mammals over time, but have found Great Horned Owls to be quite difficult to find.  I have studied the information regarding their habitat and behaviors and although plentiful in most areas, they have remained elusive to me. Today, while out scouting my local park, I had the opportunity to photograph my first two Great Horned Owls. Continue reading “Great Horned Owls”

Wow this lens is heavy!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought that to myself while walking with my supertelephoto lens. Currently I have a Nikon 500mm F4. This lens, as well as the rest of the supertelephoto group, is heavy. These lenses weighs in at around 10lbs, give or take a pound. Lugging them around is a chore. While you might occasionally take a few handheld shots with these superteles, you need to have some form of stabilization in order to consistently get keeper shots. The solution is a mono pod or tripod with some type of head. Together with your camera, battery grip, and lens, a tripod or mono pod with head adds to the weight. There needs to be a way to carry your rig comfortably, over significant distance and have it remain immediately available for use should a wildlife photography opportunity present itself. I have looked at and tried a number of combinations and the one I find most useful is this. Continue reading “Wow this lens is heavy!”

Who doesn’t like a good photo of a Raptor?

Who hasn’t enjoyed looking at a great photo of a majestic Bald Eagle with a fish in it’s talons? The internet is full of them. As an aspiring wildlife photographer you probably wish you could capture a similar photo. Most of us would love to live in, or travel to, an area where bald eagles are native or migrating. Unfortunately a lot of us don’t live in those areas of the country. We can however find other raptors that are just as beautiful and majestic right in our own backyards. They’re called Coopers Hawks. The Cornell lab of Ornithology is a great source for facts about all kinds of birds. I use it all the time to research birds that I think are in my area and I might like to photograph.

Continue reading “Who doesn’t like a good photo of a Raptor?”

You’ll never see a Bobcat sitting on the couch.

I got up early in the morning as I usually do to head out before the sun came up. I like to be in position to catch the sunrise and see if any wildlife will present itself for the mornings shoot. On the two preceding mornings I was without luck and spent several hours watching small bluebirds flit in and out of the pasture I was scouting. This morning was different however. Just prior to sunrise, during that time when you don’t have enough light to actually take a photo without using an ISO so high it’s not worth it, I noticed some movement along the tree line at the distant edge of the pasture. Initially I thought it was a house cat from the farmhouse about 1000 yards away, but no, today was my lucky day, Bobcat. Continue reading “You’ll never see a Bobcat sitting on the couch.”