Wednesday, April 30, 2014

And you think its wet

I'm not sure who looks more miserable.

Technical: I chose a journalistic approach and did not clone out the branch through the beak. Still image taken with Canon C100 using a 500 mm lens. Shot from the portable Toyota blind.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Drop of Rain

I know a little more than a drop has fallen recently but this is the only one that landed here. Southern Minnesota ephemerals are about on schedule despite this winter's snow and cold. Bloodroots are past peak, trout lilies are starting, and the forest floor is a brilliant green.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Nest Building

I spent some time last week watching a pair of chickadees excavate their nest.  They are just as entertaining and frenetic in the spring as when at winter feeders . Both worked on excavating the nest and one was so impatient to get in that it looked in to see how the other was doing. They were laying in carpet (grass, etc.) on Saturday so the nest must be complete. Hopefully there will be some young to see in a couple weeks.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Badger at Den

I watched this badger for about an hour a few weeks ago. Most of the time we were both motionless watching each other. I was behind the Tacoma blind to break up my silhouette and standing absolutely still. She noticed the sound of me shifting my feet in the sand! It was a little unnerving when the badger left the viewfinder as it was heading toward me.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Shooting to the Sky

I'm torn between showing hepatic bursting through oak leaves or showing them reaching up to a blue sky. Most of the hepatica I shoot is on a steep hillside making it easier to try both images. It all comes down to the message. Is the message life springing forth or incredible color on a drab hillside? I think there's room for more than one right answer.
Question: How much of an image needs to be sharp?
Answer: It depends.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April Showers

These woodland leaves pop up with the more showy hepatica and bloodroots. They are either wild onions or garlic, I didn't do a sniff test. 

Technical: These are a depth of field challenge. I usually shoot at f22 or f29 and manually focus at different points on the leaf.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hepatica Season

It has gone from winter to spring almost overnight. The hepatica are bursting through the oak leaves on the warm hillsides. They have been patiently waiting for a little warm weather to pop and yesterday they were out in profusion. Spring is definitely macro season.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Perplexed Coyote

On morning I was watching ice melt (I'm retired). Imagine my surprise when a coyote appeared in broad daylight. To be honest I was hoping a deer would cross the ice like it had a few days earlier when I didn't have the camera set up. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Snow Trillium and mittens

Snow Trillium and Oak Leaf
I photographed these snow trillium while laying in the leaves wearing mittens and long johns this morning. Apparently these beauties didn't get the message that is was cold. They are about a week later than most years and almost at peak. Photographed at Seven Mile Creek County Park, Nicollet Co., Minnesota

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The sandhills are back.

Cranes have returned to Crex Meadows and are busy on the ice. This pair has selected a corner of Grettum Flowage to raise a family. If you look closely you can see a band on the female's leg. I contacted David Fronczak (Migratory Bird Management) who said this bird was hand raised at Necedah NWR in 2011 as part of a whooping crane project. Necedah is about 200 miles southeast of Grantsburg. What a story she could tell!

Technical: Recorded with Canon C100 using 100-400mm lens. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Peaking Gopher

It's hard to admit being defeated by a gopher but that's what happened as I was sitting in the comfort of my portable Toyota blind this week. I waited for the gopher to show more than its head but each time it started to move I clicked the shutter and the waiting would start all over again until I finally gave up.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I think winter is over.

This bison crossing walking through snow exemplifies the feeling I had in March while watching it's struggle. Bring on the birds!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Badger Yawn

One could interpret this image in many ways depending on your opinion of badgers. Most badger images show their fierce defense display which they show when confronted. If you have watched one waddle you know running away from danger is not an option. I spent about half an hour watching this badger on Sunday evening, most of the time we were both motionless looking at each other.  This badger was curious, cautious, and a creature with incredible hearing. She reacted to a foot stepping on sand. Why do I say "she"? This den was the site of a litter of badgers last year and I am making the assumption the same badger has returned, only a guess. A special thanks goes to Kathy J. for alerting me to the badger's return since I missed all the action last year.

Technical: image taken from Canon C100 video capture, moderate cropping

Monday, April 7, 2014

Coyote Contemplating Ice

Saturday morning I was watching this shallow oxbow pond because a deer had crossed it earlier in the week when I didn't have my camera. I was hoping another one might make the crossing but this coyote appeared. It spent about 20 minutes trying the ice in different locations, rolling in the snow, and finally choosing a safe crossing. This is a frame from video footage.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Lamar Swimmers

This is another in the series of short videos taken last month while in Yellowstone for a week. March is March wherever you are so the weather was typically overcast but that seemed to be the best time for wildlife activity. During a couple sunny days very little was seen. Why film Canada geese in Yellowstone? I tend to see them as a nuisance in city parks but that's only because they have adapted so well to our manipulation of the landscape. It was nice to see them in a completely different environment.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Yellowstone Moose

Daily life in Yellowstone and for wildlife in general is far different than what TV, even the venerable PBS Nature, shows. Most of the time the struggle for survival is based on energy acquisition and conservation, eating and resting to put it simply. I find complete joy watching for subtle nuances of behavior as animals go about their mundane tasks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Stoic Bison

I look at this and see a bison enduring another snowfall. The more I watch them the more I see their perseverance and tolerance. Tolerance to weather, cars, humans, and whatever else is in their environment. Most of the time during March they eat or rest, except when they amble down the road. You might notice the ear tag, a subtle sign of Yellowstone science in action.