Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Good Night 2014

Last night was a great night to look up to the stars and reflect on memories of 2014. It was a good year. Bundle up, get outside, and look at the stars tonight. May you have a marvelous new year enjoying the beauty of nature!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Prairie Trail

Winter is a great time to see animal signs on the prairie. It may a longstanding deer trail or you may find a story in the snow showing recent wildlife activity. Unfortunately the only thing warm about the prairie in the winter is its color. The wind can be brutal!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Winter Blue

It is a joy to see blue sky again! This was shot about half an hour after sunset as the bitter cold was setting in. Daylight WB used with minimal increase in saturation. Foreground lightened with Lightroom shadow slider.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winter Light

I was back in snow for the first time in several weeks and loved it. After my eyes stopped watering from the wind I settled down to record a few images. The clear sky and afternoon light provided some welcome color to the prairie. This image pushes the boundary of the concept of positive and negative space. I think it works because of the bright area on the left of the image.

Friday, December 26, 2014


I set a trail camera up in front of a culvert last week suspecting there were raccoons sleeping in it and hoping to get a behavior pattern to film them as they were coming and going. 800 images later I have a pattern. I should say 798 shots later, two shots were of a squirrel. There was daylight activity once in the week and the rest was well after dark. Maybe I'll check their pattern again in the spring.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

It seems fitting that my 500th post be a Christmas wish.  Have a very merry Christmas and may you follow the light in the east as the wise men did so long ago.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Raccoon and Mouse

I have had a camera trap set up at the end of a upturned tree for the last week and am getting hundreds of mouse shots. Occasionally  a raccoon or feral cat that comes to check the mice. During the day squirrels search for acorns deep in the recess of the stump. Not the most photogenic set up but very active. To see some incredible camera trap images check: BBC Wildlife Camera Trap Photo of the Year-2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December Thaw

I went to one of my favorite county parks last week. With no snow or color I recorded the slow moving water under the ice. The mood of the creek seems somber while it awaits a blanket of snow.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Big Horn Sheep Die

The area along the old Yellowstone Road north of Gardiner, MT, is a great place to photograph big horn sheep during the November rut. Over this Thanksgiving weekend there were over 100 sheep along the road in the farm fields. Photographers lined the road to watch the spectacle. During the last couple weeks there has been a serious problem with the sheep falling victim to pneumonia, ten have died within the last two weeks. for more information check this link: Big Horn Sheep Deaths

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December Textures

It's another tough month to find shots, a real test of creativity. With the recent thaw and refreeze there are some interesting ice patterns on puddles and along creeks. White balance of 5500k was used to enhance the mood of the ice.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Rhythm of Nature

I like to add background music to enhance the rhythms of nature but the the rhythm of these snow geese speaks for itself and needs no improvement. I was mesmerized by their motion and rhythm as thousands of birds flew in unison. The flight took place in near darkness one morning at Squaw Creek NWR. ISO sensitivity ranged from 8000-16000, yes 16,000! Recorded with a Canon C100 using a 100-400 lens. White balance at 6000k.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


I was going to talk about patterns and lines but the message in a  couple videos I recently watched really hit home. Each talks about transformation in a different, yet similar way. Each gives hope for the future, both for our youth and the planet. Each, in its own way, shows the power of photography. 

In a New Light

Cory Richards: Pushing the Boundaries

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bald Eagle Dinner

I spent the the entire afternoon watching a flock of ducks and several bald eagles with no action. Suddenly about 15 minutes before sunset an eagle swooped down and grabbed a mallard. I missed the grab but hit the record button a second later to get this footage. This might be amazing to me but the background sound reminds me that is a normal day in the lives of ducks and eagles.

Technical: slight cropping of birds on ice

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Morning Blastoff

I see several possible titles for this image. "Waiting for my turn." and "Waiting for breakfast." along with a couple others. About 200 eagles were at the refuge and dining well on injured ducks and geese. I like the layers showing the different stages of flight in the morning blastoff. Shutter speed: 1/20 second at f22.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Leader of the Flock

I often wonder who goes first and why. The decision seems to be made a few seconds before lift off when there is near silence followed by an organized explosion of thousands of birds taking to the air. After lift off there seems to be confusion as the birds circle repeatedly looking for a place to land.

Technical: 1/15 second, ISO 1250. WB@5500

Monday, December 8, 2014

Snow Geese Landing

Only 8,000 snow geese were listed in the weekly count but warmer weather held promise for more birds. About a hundred thousand arrived on my first morning giving spectacular opportunities. This year flight shots were taken at a slow shutter speed, less than 1/100 second, in an attempt to convey the atomsphere of thousands of geese in the air. It was also a contrarian statement since geese are usually photographed frozen in space by a high shutter speed.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Change of Plans

I arrived at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City, MO, well before sunrise intent on being in place for flocks of snow geese flying in front of the rising sun. On the way in this cloud drama caught my attention and the geese were forgotten about until their voices became overpowering.  Of course by then the best light had passed for my original plan. So much to photograph and such fleeting light, the bane of photography.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Slough Creek Crossing

A dead laptop battery and traveling caused a gap in my almost regular blog posting. I'm back online and at home so December is finally getting started. November was the first month in memory where not one still image was recorded. A time lapse was done the first weekend but that doesn't really count as a still image. I'm getting more hooked on video all the time and this is one of the less dramatic videos from my last trip to Yellowstone.