Monday, December 31, 2012

Year End

Looking backward or looking forward?  I am looking forward to 2013 with lots of plans and ideas.  I'll be concentrating on wildlife, big and small, video this year.  The Canon 7D is a great wildlife video camera so I'll be working it hard.  This is a shot I look at with new meaning each time I see it.  Is man encroaching on habitat? Yes.  Is wildlife thriving in the 21st century? Yes.  Overall there are more animals now than 50 years ago, think about the numbers of wolves, eagles, swans, bears, and deer.  Of course there are some lows but I am optimistic we have the ability to preserve nature for the future generations.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter Color

New images have been scarce recently with all the holiday travel.  The fresh snow yesterday was perfect for cross country skiing and photography but the former took priority.  While skiing, without a camera, we saw a doe surrounded by snow covered branches, a memory to cherish.  This purple coneflower was shot a few years ago after sunset.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tracking Season

Stories made by tracks in the snow are fascinating.  This is one of the more unusual tracks which is a typical otter track.  Step, step, glide and repeat.  I wonder if the inventor of the skate board used the otter for his creation.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

A white Christmas!  Southern Minnesota does not always have snow and it's a treat this year, even enough for a little skiing.

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hairy Woodpecker

Continuing my musings of similar woodpeckers, this shows the large beak in comparison to the downy's beak.  Technical: To clone out branches or leave them?   I cloned out a distracting branch coming in from the upper left.  I rarely modify an image with the clone tool but I decided to use it in this simple record shot.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Downy at the Feeder

I always have trouble determining whether I'm watching a downy or hairy woodpecker at the feeders.  If you are in the same quandary here are a couple hints learned during my most recent review of Sibley.  Downies are smaller (Diminutive). Downies have a small (Diminutive) beak compared to their head.  Downies Devour feeders.  They are very common at most feeders.  Hairy woodpeckers on the other hand are larger, have a large beak relative to their head size and are less common at feeders.  If you see a diminutive woodpecker with a diminutive beak devouring the feed it is probably a downy woodpecker.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Boreal Chickadee #2

Portraits are among my least favorite bird images.  Usually a portrait is a "bird on a stick" or butt shot. This portrait tells a story, at least to me, of a winter bird and the head position gives the impression of looking up and around as they are constantly doing.  Technical: 500 mm lens with 25 mm extender, slight cropping.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Boreal Chickadee

A trip to Sax Zim Bog yesterday was rewarding but frustrating.  The boreal chickadees, which are one of the areas signature birds, were active but getting footage was frustrating.  I finally went for the easy shot of one feeding on peanut butter. Technical data: shot at 60 frames per second, converted to 30 frames per second, therefore motion is 1/2 speed.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


The stare is almost frightening.  The reality is this coyote is hunting and intently listening for a vole under the snow as we stand on the road above it.  It is interesting to compare the relative size of the ears with the wolf image from a couple days ago.  This coyote ate 6 voles in the hour we were watching, all caught after hearing the voles move under the snow.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Big Feet

This young wolf is waiting for a pack mate to finish chewing on a sheep skin from a recent kill. The size of its feet and ears are two features I really notice in this image.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Getting a Drink

As this wolf is nonchalantly getting a drink there are two frantic, hyper-excited photographers jockeying to position their tripods in the back of a short bed pickup, with a gear box taking a third of its floor, parked precariously on the edge of the road facing oncoming traffic.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Canyon Pack Alphas

Most of you have heard about the recent shooting of a popular wolf after it roamed out of  Yellowstone.  I love wolves but am a hunter at heart.  There are no easy answers and each person will reach his own conclusion.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Next Generation

Continuing the Yellowstone theme despite the great opportunities in the snow yesterday. This youngster was curious and frequently feeding almost at my feet.  Most of the  herd was feeding for winter while the ram was burning energy chasing unwilling ewes.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

On the Move

Antelope were migrating to the Gardiner area during my recent visit to Yellowstone.  
A study of color and motion @ 1/20th second.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

After Dark

For the photographer: 13 seconds @ ISO 3200
For the naturalist: Life goes on when we are back home, tucked in bed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Moonrise over Mount Norris

I'm currently going through wildlife images from last week's trip to Yellowstone.  While those images are "simmering" as part of the editing process.  I'll share a couple landscape images.  Moonrise over the mountains was an hour after sunset, just enough time for a couple blue sky shots.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Montana Backroads

It's time to take a break from sheep and share other Montana images.  We are heading back to Minnesota tomorrow with more images than I could have ever imagined.  John Pennoyer and I have spent the last five days in a photographer's dreamworld.