Monday, June 30, 2014

Prairie Sky and Cactus

The wide open sky draws me to the prairie over and over. This day's intermittent clouds kept the cactus flowers open and added drama to a windy day. 

Technical: On camera flash was used to brighten the flowers.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cactus Close Up

I was in photographer's heaven shooting cactus on Thursday. Yellow is almost one stop brighter than neutral and would have been a real challenge back in the old days of film. Lightroom has solved the exposure problem although I still shoot yellow at +2/3 or +1. More to come.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Minnesota Cactus

Minnesota has three species of cactus, typically all are in bloom during late June. The brittle prickly pear cactus seen here is the most common and found on exposed rock surfaces along the Minnesota River Valley. These were photographed on Rock Ridge SNA near Jeffers.

Friday, June 27, 2014

June Color

The prairie is starting its summer color with phlox and bedstraw. Occasional yellows are mixed in and monarchs are mating.  Golden Alexander's are about to pop. Subtract the mosquitos and it's heaven on earth.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mourning Dove Nest

I am always worried when I flush a bird off its nest. This mourning dove nest was found by accident while roamng the prairie. The photog in me needs to take a couple shots so I did and moved on. A couple days later I returned to check and flushed the bird again. It is still on the nest so I'm satisfied the eggs will progress naturally.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Type A (ant) Behavior

Everyone sees butterflies and feels the mosquitos but ants are usually overlooked. They are constantly in motion and could be described as having a type A personality type. It might be a trap to ascribe personality traits to insects but if ants are type A  say have attention deficit characteristics. With this line of musing, maybe the mosquitos have attacked my brain.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Porcupine Grass and Sky

I spent the last evening at Cottonwood River Prairie SNA sharing it with 7 other photographers. The clear sky evening and light breeze made it a perfect prairie evening. After the group left I pulled out my camera for a couple shots. These are the first images of the month since my attention has been more directed to video.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Eat, eat, eat!

These videos are an attempt to give a video impression of the animal's personality. Choosing edit length and background music help create this impression. In this case the same music was also used for the bison calves playing. Changing the clip length produced a completely different impression of the animal behavior.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Yellowstone Textures

The Uinta ground squirrel is everywhere in the park, commonly looking for handouts in parking lots. This one was near Trout Lake and posed for several minutes while to determine the nature of my intentions. I like the contrast of textures produced by the side lighting.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Joy of Youth

Bison calves are fascinating to watch as they bounce around stretching their legs, quite different than their lumbering mothers and the plodding males. This small herd was in Little America on evening with sweet light and lots of activity.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Owlet Siblings

The size difference of these owlets made me curious. Apparently owls lay their eggs sequentially over several days and growth starts at that time. Eggs also hatch in the order they were laid, resulting in the size difference. Behavior solely designed to ensure survival of at least one of the owlets.  Another example of the complexity of nature.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Great Horned Owl Family

For the last several years a great horned owl has nested in Mammoth. It's location is well known and visited evenings by tourists armed with all types of cameras. The adults are frequently seen resting in trees overlooking the street. We were there when the owlets were about 10 weeks old and at least one was almost at the fledging stage. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Eared Grebe

I'm slowly breaking from the spring water theme of Yellowstone and this eared grebe seems like a good transiiton. The simplicity of the image belies the short but intense hike up to Trout Lake where he was busy fishing the along the shore. Wildflowers were also everywhere; choices, choices, choices. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Lamar River Canyon

My recent posts have explored water during spring in Yellowstone National Park ranging from yesterday's calm sunrise to today's roaring canyon. The challenge is finding the shutter speed to interpret the character of the river. This was recorded at 1/250 second.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Peaceful Morning at Little America

Sunrise over the mountains is unpredictable but never boring. Wildlife is busy in the early dawn, well before actual sunrise so sunrise marks the mid-point of the morning.  After an hour of sweet light it is time to head in for a second round of coffee. Photographed at the boulder parking area on Little America.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Swollen Lamar River

Three dozen people were watching the drama between two grizzly bears on a bison carcass. My binoculars could almost make out the bears so I turned my attention to a more nearby subject.  There is something very relaxing sitting along the Lamar at dusk. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Yellowstone Thoughts

Clouds over Lamar River
We just returned from a week in Yellowstone Park and as everyone there is a lot of reviewing, reliving, and editing to do for the next couple weeks.  This was our first trip during May and it was a beautiful time to go. The crowds were tolerable and wildlife is magical, as always in Yellowstone. My theme for the trip was "spring" and the shot list included water, young wildlife, and spring landscapes. I rarely photograph in the presence of others so being around tourists and other photographers was enlightening. I was reminded of the universal love of wildlife regardless of age, race, or nationality.