Monday, December 30, 2013

Name That Gait

The recent melt has given snow a great crust which will allow tracking when a fresh snowfall arrives.  Until now the snow has been too deep and soft so only post holes were visible making reading tracks almost impossible. The stories told in snow are fascinating and a good reason to get outside.

Answer: trot

Friday, December 27, 2013

Autumn Feast

What are they? Beats me. I could have spent some time identifying each species but this quote from Mary Oliver comes to mind.

"Still, What I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled---to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world."


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Lights in Nature

Not all Christmas lights are LED bulbs. These out of focus ice drops were recorded a few years ago. The ice prisms caused a rainbow of color that was captured using a telephoto lens and placing the drops out of focus to accentuate the color spectrum.

Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Cold

 I was reading in front of the fire yesterday afternoon and got a text "Is that a sundog?" Minutes later I was outside with my daughter shooting sunset in the -15 degree windchill. Suddenly the day had become brighter.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Winter Robins

A flock of about a dozen robins have been active in this seep fed stream for the last several days. Robins are not supposed to be here during December. While recording video I had time to consider their plight. I took this shot, recorded the scene, but what is the big story here?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Take a Break From the Big Picture

In photography we tend to concentrate on the big picture, the grand landscape, and charismatic megafauna. In life at this time of year we are focused on the number and size of presents. Take 30 seconds to watch one of God's little creatures. Say thank you to the harried clerk, look for the twinkle in the eye of a child, and remember how this all started.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bucks Sparring

I love recording animal behavior and a Bushnell Trail Cam is a perfect tool to get scenes of animals acting normally.  The camera trap is set up at a location with high potential of activity and left in place at least a week before checking the card.  Occasionally I'll use an attractant but it is more fun reading the signs and setting up a camera. Material will be eventually used to give a presentation called "Meet the Neighbors" to show the variety of wildlife in the park.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Alone with the Wolves

I was the only one in the Lamar Valley a few weeks ago and saw these wolves returning after chasing a coyote off their recent kill. It is not often the Lamar is empty of visitors and this was a rare treat. The pack had been there earlier with about a dozen spectators but the wind, freezing rain, and finally snow drove them indoors. I returned at late afternoon after the morning weather became unbearable.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December Creativity

I went back to 2010 for this image taken at Crex Meadows. The subzero temperatures have inhibited my outdoor creativity. On the other hand it may be the month, there are no images in my files from last December. I guess I'll just have to use my creativity making a Christmas wish list.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Be Careful

This young deer had its first experience with ice a few days ago. Another deer also slipped in front of camera trap the but was too close to get a good recording.

This pair of deer got out a little further out on the ice and had to be rescued. I noticed one is a buck. My wife and I frequently talk about my creative route finding. I wonder if this discussion took place between them. Deer Rescue

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Milky Way over Tree

Another image from the winter tree series. How small we are in the universe.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Tree

I saw this tree a couple weeks ago and it just had to be photographed. At the time the ground was bare and brown, the sky was dull and gray. The tree just would not leave my mind, I was fixated on it. Finally the solution hit me, shoot it at night.

Technical: What is the best best white balance at night? In this image I decided to keep the sky black and let the cloud color fall where into place. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Long Story, Short Video

This short video that started with a bald eagle in a tree. The couple who first saw the eagle also noticed a couple sheep high on the ridge and pointed them out to me. The smaller one was on the move slowly picking its way down the hill. I had two challenges: finding its crossing spot and a setting up at a safe location along the road. I overshot the crossing on the my first attempt to find a pullout and missed action at the top. Quickly turning around to  another pullout I pulled the long lens out but it was too big and I couldn't find the sheep as it made its way down the mountainside. I had to quickly change to the 100-400 but there wasn't time to exchange lenses on the C100! Finally I rested the shorter lens and 7D on the tripod platform and started shooting. Only the first clip is with the longer lens.

Technical: Footage was slowed to half normal speed during the jump and shake. To see some incredible slow motion of animals shaking water off watch this: Slow Motion Shake

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The value of shooting locally

I went to Yellowstone to get some head butting rams and this is the best I got, not very exciting. If you want to see some real action check out made by a local photographer:  Peter Murray  I look at his fantastic images and think, "One week later and they could have been mine."The trip was a great break and I'll try again next year. In the meantime there is a lot of video to edit and now that snow is on the ground winter is calling me outdoors.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gardiner River

The Gardiner River water is warm, fed by a hot springs a couple miles upstream. It's one of the few warm water areas that don't smell of sulfur. Technical: Converted to B&W, I didn't like any of the WB settings that I tried. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Gardiner Canyon

Millions of tourists enter Yellowstone through Gardiner drive along the Gardiner River to Mammoth. There are pullouts every couple hundred yards and the river roars below. After a few days of driving in I decided to stop one morning. Access down the steep embankments is tricky but gives unique views of the river.

Technical: White balance selection was a challenge. Auto WB was at 7500K, shade preset, and this seemed best. The area is dark and the blue sky really creates a cool light. B & W is another possibility in this light, maybe tomorrow.