Saturday, November 29, 2014

Are you a professional photographer?

How many times have you been engrossed in your hobby and someone has asked you this question? It's common if you are using a tripod and almost guaranteed if you are using an arm length lens.  While it is flattering my stock answer is "I'm a happy amateur with a hobby that has gone wild." Giving it more thought I would say I prefer being a happy amateur without the stress of everything that goes with being a professional. Think about the difference between working for a living and being on vacation. When are you having the most fun?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks

This is my favorite Thanksgiving image.  It is hard to not anthropomorphize when photographing animals. There are similar behaviors but clearly they have different motivations than humans. This squirrel was pausing in the middle of finding a walnut.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Waiting at Soda Butte

With 3 million visitors to the Yellowstone National Park each year, most taking pictures, a photographer has a challenge producing something no one else has recorded. A quote by Arthur Schopnhauer in this month's Outdoor Photographer magazine sums up the challenge.

“Thus, the task is not so much to see what no one yet has

 seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that

 which everybody sees.”

Sunday, November 23, 2014

October in Yellowstone

The clouds were changing almost hourly making it an excellent time to collect time-lapse footage. The weather went form 70 degrees to 40 degrees one afternoon! Reviewing the bison footage surprised me because each appears to move in synchrony with the others when feeding.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Death in Yellowstone

Poor Joseph. This tiny boot caught my attention when I was wandering through the Fort Yellowstone Army Cemetery. Joseph died in Yellowstone when he was 5 years old.  I had to find out more about him. Many other children are buried there, most have no dates, a few are only named "Infant".  I had to find out the mystery of Joseph and the rest of the children. The book "Death in Yellowstone", by Lee H. Whittlesey, provided the answer to this question and the other deaths in Yellowstone since it first became a park. How did Joseph die? A true tragedy, he was murdered by his mother! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Hour at Norris Geyser Basin

I arrived late in the afternoon to photograph the basin with warm light and found this composition. I wandered around taking in the atmosphere, inhaling the vapors, and getting some shots until I saw the same composition in different light. The time between the images is 1 hour, 10 minutes. Both shots developed to maximum potential in Lightroom

Monday, November 17, 2014

Artist's Paint Pots

I have not been below the northern tier in Yellowstone for several years but made a short trip to Norris Geyser Basin area one afternoon in October. Short should be quantified becasuse of the 30 minute delay due to road construction. The Artist Paint Pots have subtle colors but what I saw when I approached them was the heat, light, and steam. Note the distant fence to get a sense of scale.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bison Sparring

Most of the time I get bored watching bison since they eat so much of the time.  During late autumn there is more excitement  when young bulls test each other by sparring with each other. Usually there is just head scratching but it can get quite violent. 

Technical: All filming was done from the roadside using a 100-400 mm lens on a Canon C100.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

LED Light Flicker

I was photographing snow in during very early one morning using a LED flashlight to illuminate the snow. When I reviewed the images several had this pattern. The exposure was 30 seconds and the only explanation I can think of is the light source. Canon advertises that there new 7D will have pulse detection to trigger the shutter during  the brightest light.   It probably won't be effective with a 30 second exposure but at least I know the problem they are trying to correct.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cloud over Lamar River

With the early arrival of winter it's a perfect time to review images from Yellowstone last month. A bright rim of light on the western horizon one evening encouraged us to stay in the valley after sunset. My daughter and I worked the edge of the river as the color was changing. Shadows were brightened in Lightroom.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Stormy Skies

Not everyday is a blue sky day in Yellowstone, in fact, it would be interesting to know just how few there are. The character of the sky adds to the mystery and excitement of the Park and I prefer the cloudy days which usually bring a little wind with them. Recorded at the top of the S curves.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Clouds over Mammoth Terrace

I am having a hard time moving beyond Mammoth with my images taken while visiting Yellowstone last week. There is so much to see and explore without leaving "civilization". The terraces have an even more mystical quality in low light with the subtle colors of the sky changing their colors.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mammoth Terrace Sunrise

On some days you get to see the sun once. There were two cloud levels and we actually saw each layer light up so you could say we saw two sunrises on this day which was mostly overcast after this brief burst of color. What a treat!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Late Start

We slept in and almost missed sunrise. The original plan was capturing sunrise over Mammoth Terrace but the sun waits for no one so we stopped on the way up the hill to get this scene. One of the challenges photographing in Yellowstone is getting a unique shot of something that millions of people see each year. I'm sure others have photographed this but we were the only lucky ones at the gate this morning.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Moose in the Dark

Getting dueling moose bulls in Yellowstone was on my shot list last week. When I talked to the ranger I was told there were very few moose in the Park and my best chance was in the Tetons. I had seen moose several times but never during the late fall and made the assumption I would see them in the same locations. Lesson learned: Do your homework.   On the last evening this cow, with her calf, was eating along the road.

Technical: 500 mm lens, uncropped. ISO 2500, 1/60 sec @f 7.1. Several "rules" were broken getting this image with a very high ISO and high aperture. It is sharp because of the rock solid 12 pound tripod I lug around for video work.