It doesn’t often snow in West Texas, but strange things happen, and if you live long enough you’ll see some of them. This winter we had an unusual visitor, a Snowy Owl in West Texas. In early December I was out with another photographer at our local wildlife preserve taking photos of birds when he told me his daughter had seen a large white owl in the parking lot of their church the day before. I told him it was most likely a barn owl as they are native to the area and can be white or very light in color. When he pulled out his phone and showed me a video she had taken I could hardly believe what I was seeing. To my disbelief, the video showed a large Snowy Owl.
Continue reading “A Snowy Owl in West Texas”
Was out this afternoon looking for things to shoot. I didn’t come across Wile E Coyote but I did I come across a Road Runner or Chaparral. According to the Audubon website, the roadrunner is the most famous bird in the southwest, featured in folklore and cartoons, known by its long tail and expressive crest. The Roadrunner walks and runs on the ground, flying only when necessary. It can run 15 miles per hour, probably with much faster spurts when chasing a fast-running lizard or other prey. Its prowess as a rattlesnake fighter has been much exaggerated, but it does eat a remarkable variety of smaller creatures.
Continue reading “Beep Beep”
When we were kids we all loved to play hide and seek. Finding a good hiding place was not always easy. Hiding from wildlife can be just as difficult, but doing it well can improve your chances of getting some truly amazing photos. The debate about the effectiveness of camouflage for wildlife photography seems to vary from what you read to who you talk to. It’s funny because the camouflage clothing industry thrives with the hunting community who have seemingly accepted its effectiveness for years. I’ve personally experienced the effectiveness of camouflage used in wildlife photography and don’t need much convincing. I don’t think that visual camouflage will make you a better photographer but if used properly it will improve your opportunities.
Continue reading “How to Wildlife Photography Techniques; Hide and seek”
The local wildlife preserve has an unusually diverse flora and fauna given its size and location. One mammal that is native to West Texas and the preserve and always a treat to see, is the Bobcat. On most days I arrive just before sunrise in order to increase my chances of seeing one but today I was a bit later due to heavy fog. Shortly after arriving, walking down the trail, I noticed movement and discovered a single mature Bobcat was ahead of me on the trail.
Continue reading “Everybody wants to see a cat”
One of the most iconic lines from the 1986 movie Top Gun. If Maverick had been out shooting geese in flight, instead of shooting planes with Goose, his top priority would still have been the need for speed, but a few other things would have come in handy as well. Almost every wildlife photographer starts out photographing birds. Birds are the most readily accessible and abundant wildlife in our environment. In the beginning capturing a simple still portrait like the cardinal below is challenging and fulfilling. If we manage something sharp and clear we’re satisfied and happy. Sooner or later though we become comfortable with the techniques associated with still images, and there is a desire to challenge ourselves further. For birds this means capturing birds while in flight.
Continue reading “I feel the need. The need, for speed.”
I have a friend who is an interior designer by trade. We were looking at art prints one day to put on the walls in my office. As we looked through stack after stack of prints, he suggested several that I might choose, always with an associated reason for why I should pick each one. Continue reading “If you like it, buy it.”
Paul Simon wrote the 59th street bridge song, (feeling groovy) in 1966. The song starts with the lyrics, “slow down your moving to fast, you got to make the morning last”. I think of that song often and the message it was trying to send. It applies to every aspect of our lives. Nowadays we Continue reading “Slow down, your moving to fast”
A few shots from this morning. Went out early and initially encountered a Coopers Hawk all puffed up trying to keep warm in the cold weather, 32 degrees at sunrise. Continue reading “A few from today.”
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”
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.”