Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chilly Cranes

These Sandhills were warming up this morning in the clear, calm, 12 degree air.  After sunrise they began stretching and later headed out to feed.  Photo gear was stretched to its technical limit shooting at ISO 1600, 1/90 sec. with the 500 mm on a car braced tripod.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Full Moon at Crex

There was a tremendous full moonrise last night but the cranes were scarce.  Either there are fewer cranes this year or they are more scattered.   Most of the cranes seem to be on the north end of the Refuge.  It will take a few more mornings to get a better impression of the 2012 crane season.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Time Flies

I taught a class on Saturday and afterward it was time for reflection.  The class is a basic DSLR class which has been given at least a dozen times.  Of all the classes I have given since 2006, this is my favorite.  Many classes are a struggle with the students never really grasping the joy of using their camera.  This class is different, each time there is a "lightbulb" moment for at least one of the students which makes it all worthwhile.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lonesome Deer

This young deer walked about a hundred yards out of thick cover to check me out.  It eventually was about 15 feet from me, so close I could hear it chewing.  This is not typical behavior although they do have an intense curiosity.  A great experience and a couple good shots before it got inside the lens' minimum focusing distance.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

In the Rough

Yesterday I helped judge a photo contest in New Hope.  It was great to see photos representing enthusiasm for the outdoors.  Most images were from photographers in the rough, technically speaking.  It would be easy to criticize their attempts if not for remembering when I started with a Kodak Instamatic and my feeble attempts to record what I was seeing.  Some days I feel the same frustration I did back then.  Check out the work of these enthusiastic photographers at: 

New Hope Photo Contest

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Bluff

This was one of many moments during the morning that will long be remembered.  Each time a bird would get too close to the feeding bird it would defend its territory.  Occasionally they would just face off for awhile and separate without doing battle.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wilson's Snipe

Who is Wilson you might ask.  Alexander Wilson was a birder in the late 1700's prior to Audubon whose name is associated with several shorebird species.  A large flock of snipe is hanging around Crex.  Technical info: about 1/500 and +1 compensation to show full wing detail because of the bright water, moderate cropping.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Last Color

I was hiking along Knife River yesterday and came across the last color of the season.  The ground leaves had already faded leaving this bush with the only color to be found.  The photo doesn't relay the noise from the overhead traffic on the Highway 61 Expressway bridge.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


This view off Stoney Point created a dilemma.  The extreme contrast just does not translate to the screen although I could easily see the colors.  HDR seemed unnatural when put together.  A split density filter could have worked if I had thought of it.  My solution was shooting for the highlights and using ND filters in Lightroom at both the top and bottom to bring the contrast into acceptable range.  About 2 stops were reduced from the top and 2 stops added to the bottom.  A long explanation for a process that took less time than this typing.

Friday, October 19, 2012

On the Move

We are passing through Crex Meadows today on our way to Duluth so had to check out the cranes.  The crane viewing and photography is the best in years with birds being close to the dikes in multiple locations.  The light and drizzle this morning were not the best for photos but the rain is much needed.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fox Squirrel

The largest of the squirrels and much more tolerant than gray squirrels these guys like to sit and watch you.  In contrast grays quickly run up and hide behind trees, eventually peaking at you.   This is low light photography with ISO 1600, 1/20 second at f4.5.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting Snorted

There is one sound you do not want to hear when trying to photograph deer.  Yesterday the gig was up way before daylight when I heard two quick puffs of air from an unseen deer.  It didn't race away but was gone before there was light.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Other Guy

My great luck last Friday which has not been repeated.  This is the second young buck seen that day.  Since then the timing has been off, too early or too late for either the deer or me.  Yesterday a doe was almost in my face at 40 feet but even at ISO 6400 she did not show up on the viewfinder.  This morning snorting in the dark was the best I could do.  This was captured at ISO 3200, 1/250.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Alert Doe

The deer in Flandrau are hunted each fall and it shows with their extreme alertness to any movement.  They also like to hide behind clutter making a pretty picture tough.  All you can do is shoot a narrow depth of field and hope for a better shot the next time.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Young Buck

I was deer hunting this morning for the first time in nearly a decade.  I was reminded how quietly deer move and how cold 30 degrees is when you are sitting.  My deer hunting weapon of choice has gone from a shotgun, muzzleloader, bow, and finally to a camera.  I hope to shoot this guy again and again.  Photographed at Flandrau State Park.

Monday, October 8, 2012

More Than Red

I'm reviewing on my trip around Oberg Mt. last week and reliving the morning.  With the bright colors gone, it is nice to remember the brilliance of autumn as long as possible.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Clearing Fog

As we worked our way around Oberg Mt. the colors became more intense as the fog lifted.  This was one of those days when the eye and camera had a hard time working together to put an image in the frame.  So much to see and so little space in the frame!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Morning Fog

Sometimes the conditions are just right.  I went on a North Shore trip with Gary Leeper yesterday and we were treated with morning fog that burned off as we raced from overlook to overlook around Oberg Mountain.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Morning Exercise

The cranes are a daily source of enjoyment and a few good photo opportunities.  These birds coincidently filled the frame and provide three stages of take off.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wake up call

You can almost hear their call to the other cranes flying overhead.  It's crane season at Crex Meadows and the early morning action has been fantastic.