Monday, December 26, 2016

Monday Morning Stretch

After a family filled weekend it is time to get back to normal. What better way than a stretch, although walking might be a little slippery. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Coyote hunting Bighorns

It is rare to see a chase or hunting sequence in Yellowstone. Most of the time the animals are eating, eating, or just plain eating. A fellow visitor told me a coyote was hunting these bighorns but I said "No, they are just in the rut." He had witnessed a coyote chase one of the sheep over the cliff a few years ago.  Once again humbled in Yellowstone.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Challenge

This young ram was smart and did not accept the challenge of the much bigger and older ram. Perhaps he had a headache from the last time he accepted the challenge. These guys were a side show to the main event happening above them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Attack from Above

These rams have no rules, if one can be attacked it will be even from above. I guess in love and war (and perhaps politics) anything goes. Most wildlife sightings are from the road in Yellowstone and as you can hear I was not alone witnessing this spectacle. I was lucky to see multiple battles between rams from relatively close range.

Technical: focal length not always recorded but less than 900 mm most of the time using a set up of 100-400mm lens and 1.4 teleconverter on a C100 that has a crop factor.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Head Butt

I tried to catch this iconic action several times but always missed it because  the real action between mature rams above them was so intense. These guys were playing in there own sandbox while the big boys were sharing their genes. This is what you see on TV but in reality is not the focus of energy during the rut.

Technical: contact slowed to 25% real time

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Otter Family Portrait

Every time I drive by a bend in the Lamar River I look for these guys. This time I drove past, backed up, and identified a rock otter (from the same lineage as a stump bear). Then I noticed these guys swimming in the water. My next hour flew by! Video captures their personalities and activity better than stills, you will see more of these.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Weasel and Rabbit


It's camera trapping season again! This location was good for skunks and rabbits last spring so I thought I would try it again. No skunks so far but the weasel was a real surprise. This a summary of a week's worth of activity. Hope to have more when I check it again. I usually wait at least a week between visits to minimize my scent.

Technical: slow motion at 50% was used for a couple short intervals of weasel activity

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Shake that booty!

This was another interesting behavior I saw at Badlands NP. I have no idea why the buck did this and it shows another reason to be outdoors. Photographers see things that never will be on TV (too boring, no blood, etc.) and occasionally we get a chance to record what we see for others to enjoy.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Trying to wake up

A little groggy this morning and this  clip shows how I feel as the coffee gets to where it needs to be.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Rejected Ram


This is another short piece from my recent trip to the Badlands. The purpose of the trip was to capture big horn rut activity and this is the closest I came to it. The iconic shot of big rams charging each other is a rare occurrence and most of the time the "bumps" are like this. It is also clear the ewe is not ready and is leading the rams around. She would stop to urinate, the rams would check it, then joust for dominance.

Friday, November 25, 2016

I love clouds but. . .

The last few overcast days have been keeping me at the computer waiting for some color or weather to give November images some punch. While I was  at the Badlands I was lamenting  crystal clear blue skies, I guess it is hard to make a photographer happy. Does the weather ever make everyone happy?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Prairie Watch Dogs

These guys are alert for anything unusual, perhaps I accidentally got their attention when the camera bumped the door frame. In any event they soon settled back to their normal behavior of nonstop eating. Black and white seems appropriate for the monochromatic color of real life. I like the difference between the texture of their fur and the hard ground. Sitting in my car photographing prairie dogs was a way to spend a sunny November afternoon with a bitter northwest wind blowing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A great day


The goal each day when shooting video is a sequence with a beginning, middle, and end. When shooting stills it is a shot with great action, emotion, or light. I'm not sure which one is more elusive. This was a good day for video with the battling bucks being followed later in the morning with this sequence, not your average day.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Battle of the Bucks

By chance I witnessed this duel between four bucks during the  mule deer rut at it's peak last week.  Several other encounters were recorded, this is one of the more dramatic ones. I love the way the dominant buck comes in low as of sneaking up on the other buck. After a couple minutes it was all over and life went on. 

Technical: As with most videos the selection of background music is as time consuming as the video edit. Natural sounds was white noise: wind. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Look at those ears!

Can you imagine the discussion when the first mule deer was seen by explorers? "It looks like a deer but it can't be with those ears. It must be some kind of mule." 

Technical: WB 2850

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mule Deer Buck

I got coffee on Sunday morning at a Wall convenience store while about a dozen hunters were also tanking up on coffee. The excitement and anticipation was palpable especially from a 10 year old that was going out with dad. Even though I was hunting with a camera I shared their excitement on my last morning to shoot a big muley buck. Thanks to technology it was a success.

Technical: ISO 10,000 at f4.0, shutter speed 1/80. image uncropped. noise reduction in LR. shot from car with bean bag rest

Friday, November 11, 2016

Looking out the window

Daybreak at the window overlook in Badlands NP. Quiet with only the wind for music , a great way to start the day. The formations seem to change character almost by the hour.

Technical: Two image HDR in Lightroom

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Badlands Morning

On the road again, this time to Badlands National Park. Early morning insomnia made me decide to get outdoors and try various settings on my new camera.  Of course, now I am just waking up from my noon nap.

Technical: ISO 3200, ND gradient in Lightroom to lower the color temperature and exposure of the sky.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Second Attempt

I normally need three visits to feel satisfied with the exploration of subject. The first visit documents what I see but usually does not show any depth of vision for a subject. The second visit builds on the documentation seen in the first and is a more in depth exploration. The third visit confirms the completion of the subject or adds a minor twist to a previous image.  This image was taken the day after the first vision and shows more of the river that I was trying to capture. The sunburst adds time day to the time of year information seen in the leaves.

Friday, November 4, 2016

November Transition

I was out locally for the first time in a month and testing my new Sony. This image reflects both the transition of seasons and my transition in camera brands.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Autumn Waves


We enjoyed the crashing waves and color while in Michigan a couple weeks ago. I couldn't resist putting a video together in what was otherwise a trip for landscape photography. This experience also tipped the balance to get an upgrade on the Sony RX10ii, more to come on that note.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Yelllowstone Time

I visited Lower Geyser Basin earlier this month and while waiting for Fountain Geyser to erupt an interpretive ranger stopped to chat at the end of her day. She said this geyser grows at a rate of one inch per century and is currently 20 feet high on a 10 foot base. The numbers have been swirling in my head since then. Shortly after our conversation it had an eruption that I would have missed if not for the chat with her. This short experience has made me ask, " Is my life a race or something to be savored?" In my third act I plan to savor it.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Below the Overlook

I usually stand at an overlook and gaze to the horizon but the pale sky and was less interesting than what was happening below me. Once the composition had been chosen it was a matter of waiting  for the best wave to break on the shoreline. The cold wind and my enthusiasm to see it "all" eroded my normal patience level so we moved on after a few minutes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Slow to Change

Nature usually moves on a bell shaped curve so even if I am a few days late or early there is usually a photo to be found. This maple was significantly later than its neighbors making it a great autumn subject.

Technical: overexposed one stop in camera, 1/2 stop added in Lightroom

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The end of the day

The lake became more dramatic than the sunset as we were alone on the beach watching day turn into night. A handful of photographers had packed up and headed in for supper. We watched a few minutes longer and almost missed the last call for burgers in town. It was worth it.

Technical: iPhone6 using Procamera HDR app

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Chapel Falls

This was one of our day hikes and circling the falls to the various lookouts gave lots of opportunities to explore its character and enjoy the autumn color. I usually shoot wide angle but a zoom was needed to pull the falls through the surrounding hill side leaves.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Michigan Color

We planned a trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore this fall and arrived just after peak color. Coincidentally Outdoor Photographer magazine also had an article on fall color in Michigan.  This is the place to be for fall color! Waterfalls and the Lake Superior shoreline against the back drop of autumn cannot be beat. This area has a different character than the North Shore and is a little later. Next fall consider Michigan.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Blacktail Plateau Clouds

It seems like all I took were cloud photos this time but the animal action was recorded on video.  Wildlife was also scattered and not very common this time so there was time to watch the clouds. These clouds grabbed my attention this image and short time-lapse that can be seen at: Yellowstone National Park Facebook


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Morning Clouds

Little America Sunrise

I just returned from Yellowstone National Park and had a successful trip despite the weather. Several days had sun, rain, and snow all within the course of a few hours. The rain was the Midwest variety, a real soaking rain.  Snow kept me on the south side of the Park one morning and it was tense crossing Dunraven Pass even when deemed safe for vehicle travel. However, morning clouds were spectacular as this panorama demonstrates.

Monday, October 3, 2016

First and Last Sun of the Day

Yesterday I saw a hint of sunlight at sunrise. Overcast and raining has been the rule with heavy rain lasting for hours at a time. When the rain stops the autumn color almost glows.

Technical: no change in color saturation, Daylight WB

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Yellowstone Fever

I'm heading into the park this morning and can't wait. I always avoid summer with its crowds so it seems like forever since I was last there in May. My assignment is recording crowds and crowd control as well as wildlife so I'll be busy. This shot is from last fall's visit, recorded with an iPhone.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Leaving their mark

In the past this bothered me more than it does now, I now take a more philosophical approach. Maybe it is a sign of age or just acceptance of human behavior. We have been leaving our mark since the beginning of time. Kodak may have changed this a little and perhaps selfie photography will replace the need to mark rocks and trees. The best tree carving I saw was "I love you, forest." I wish I had taken a picture.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Autumn Palette

I didn't make it to the North Shore this year for fall color but this shot from Bear Lake in RMNP reminded me of the splash of colors along the lake. Fellow visitors lend a sense of scale to the hillside showing it is in the mountains instead of the gentle hills of the Minnesota.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Colorado Roadside View

Our drive up Old Fall River Rd in Rocky Mt. NP was interrupted when I saw this in the side mirror I just had to stop and take a couple shots. Two chapters later, my wife's time measurement, we continued on to the next overlook.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Golden Arches

While visiting Rocky Mt. National Park we shared the trail with hundreds of hikers enjoying the colors on a blue sky weekend. It reminded me how much all of us enjoy nature. Recently I watched this short TED Talk and it opened my eyes about the availability of nature to all of us, especially children. Too often we feel we must travel great distances to find nature. This talk suggests otherwise. Nature is everywhere

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Colorado Color

We just returned from a few days in Rocky Mountain National Park. Although hiking was the primary activity there was time to pull out the camera during frequent rest stops. Mountain hiking and at elevation definitely gives plenty of opportunities to rest and admire the surroundings.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Watchful Mother

This footage is from a couple evenings during May while in Yellowstone. Photography has been sporadic this summer including  exploration of non traditional subjects: dogs jumping, demolition derbies, and county fairs.  Perhaps after 20+ years of photographing the prairie I needed a break. I'm looking forward to fall color and travel during September and October to rejuvenate the creative juices.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Good as new (old)

This bridge was washed out a couple years ago and it's back swinging again. It's hard to imagine the water level that washed it away but most disasters are to imagine after the mess has been cleaned up.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hovland - Past & Present

When visiting Hovland, north of Grand Marais, I stopped at the waterfront. I was struck by the well-used buildings and dock that represented the past. Clearly I was a few decades late for the frenzy of activity. I also saw remaining vibrancy of the current residents in their colorful buildings. Each of these images tells the different stories that I saw that afternoon.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Watching the Sky


I watch weather forecast and radar apps all the time. One morning in early August I pulled into a field driveway and watched the clouds for several minutes.  Looking up renewed my appreciation of them and reminded me of my place on earth. There is something to be said for the real world.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Grand Marais Sunset

 Sometimes you have to chase the clouds and other times they come to you. We were exploring the harbor last week and noticed color shaping up so we found a bench and enjoyed the sunset.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Prairie Sunset Quotation

 One of the joys of donating images is seeing them put to use and learning how someone else has interpreted the image. This image was donated to the MN DNR Scientific and Natural Program for use on its Facebook page.

Duluth Lift Bridge

While in Duluth we walked the Canal Park side of the jetty to see Duluth's night lights from a different perspective.  It was also one of the only places we could find a parking space. On our way back the bridge was raised for a sail boat. This side of the canal is quiet and has very few visitors on it, try it the next time you are visiting Duluth.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Duluth Tall Ships

We planned a North Shore trip earlier this year and were disappointed to hear there were no rooms in Duluth this weekend, only to find out it was the Tall Ship Festival. We made our plans and came back through Duluth on Thursday just in time to see ships coming into the harbor. The crowd was thinned out by a drizzle and we had a leisurely stroll through the art show and got to see the ships up close.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Walks on Water

It's amazing what 1/6400 of a second looks like. I usually stretch time for several seconds but freezing time made these dogs seem to have the power to walk on water. This guy is keeping his eye on the prize to the very end.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Happy Rottweiler

I have never thought of rottweilers as jumping dogs this guy loved it. You can see his total concentration on getting the prize.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Making a Splash

I watched dock jumping dogs at the fair yesterday and had a blast! The dogs' enthusiasm was hard to contain and they couldn't get enough air time. Rain kept the crowd size down so photos could be taken from poolside.

Friday, August 12, 2016


This sums up my view of the "derby". Fun to watch and a challenge to photograph, good practice when the animals are scarce but not my cup of tea. Going to the fair for a little quiet fun today.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Between Races

August is fair month in Minnesota and I couldn't resist going to the demolition derby last night. Sitting in the smoking section, seeing all American testosterone in action, and coming home near deaf was a great way to spend a summer evening. Sitting in the cheering section for grandma with her wife added a 21st century flavor to the event.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Grassland Sunset

I'm struggling to get out in the hot, humid prairie as I always do in August. When I do get out it is usually in the evening when the wind has calmed and the light is sweet. The western fires have been great for red sky prairie sunsets.

Technical: HDR processed in Lightroom

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Yellowstone Drama

This is another brief video from my May trip to Yellowstone. I watched the bison for what seemed like an hour but really only was about 20 minutes. As is almost everything in Yellowstone this was recorded at a pull out and passing traffic made capturing the subtle sound so bison calling to each other difficult. Even eating grass can be a dangerous in Yellowstone.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Country Road

This country road is more than an element of composition, it tells a story.  The overhead storm clouds are ominous and the road leads up a small hill.  What is your story in this image?  Are you optimistic or pessimistic?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Passing storm

Watching clouds change reminds me of my size and position on this big Earth.

Two cameras are set up for time-lapse and the iPhone was used while waiting for sequence to be captured.  This is a grab shot from a sequence that has been converted to B & W in Lightroom. The sky is so much more foreboding in black and white.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Milkweed and Friends

One of my goals this summer was showing the interaction between insects and prairie flowers. Common milkweed is a perfect plant to show insect drama on the prairie. While it is not native it has been adopted by resident butterflies as a preferred food source. Slow motion recording is the perfect medium to show butterflies and bees around these flowers.

Technical: Insects are shown at 1/8 normal speed, recorded with SonyRX10ii.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Stars over Flandrau

Moon rise was about 2 AM so a late night was the only way to get Milky Way images. It moves toward the west through the night and next time I'll try early morning to get different ground lights. I used framing to hide ground light and put a brief burst of light on the overhanging trees. WB at 3400k

Technical: highlight and white slider used to enhance Milky Way, no local adjustments used

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dealing with Light Pollution

Shooting in mixed light at night creates choices for white balance. Below are a couple choices showing the differences of 1000k. Which one is right? As in most photography the right one is the one that looks right, in this case most natural. We all know the night skbrowy is black but blue also seems to fit into this reality.  If in doubt I choose Auto WB and adjust until the colors look pleasing, a real scientific answer.

WB 5500k
WB 3800

The best solution is to minimize ground light by shooting into a false horizon like a small swale or hiding the points of light with foreground objects.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

History at Night

This historic church was built in 1861 was a great playground for  photography last night. Multiple sources of light were used to create a this image. I had a bright light on the church, Sandi lit the crucifix, and the clouds reflected city lights. The fun of night photography is finding a subject in the dark. It was a perfect night to be out, more images to come.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A little late

I decided to photograph cactus flowers this summer. My first opportunity was at Louisville Swamp near Shakopee on July 4th weekend. I wasn't happy with the results. A couple weeks ago I went to Gneiss Outcrops near Granite Falls for prickly pear flowers. It was 90+ degrees, humid and I found something like this. Yesterday I was out and was only 88 degrees, still no flowers.  What am I doing wrong? After two frustrating visits I decided to research images like this on Google. This is the fruit not the bud, going back a third time will not result in my flower image.

Lesson: Next time I'll do some research before hand instead of afterward. On a positive note, Granite Falls has a great Dairy Queen where a salted caramel truffle Blizzard will restore you after your walk among the rocks.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Storm Chasing

I was chasing the weather Saturday hoping for some good storm time-lapse sequences. While waiting for a sequence to record the iPhone came in handy to catch some still shots of the clouds. I'm still learning storm time-lapsing technique so the morning was otherwise a little disappointing. For the ultimate storm chasing experience and the source of my inspiration check: Vorticity

Technical: This was taken on the iPhone with Procamera8 app and processed with its HDR app.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Watchful Eye

I thought Canada geese goslings were eating machines but watching these cygnets put the geese to shame with their blinding speed grabbing and gobbling grass (probably rice) on Crex Meadows. It's no surprise when you think they must be ready to migrate just a few months after hatching. Mother (?) was carefully watching me as the youngsters foraged.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

High Water

While crossing the St. Croix last weekend I noticed police officers and spectators on each side of the bridge. I pulled into the canoe landing and saw the river almost touching the bottom of the bridge. On Crex Meadows ponds and lakes also were filled almost to capacity . This photo was made with one leg of the tripod resting on the asphalt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mornng Mood

Cool colors and light, early morning fog: What more could you ask for? As the sun was rising I raced to the west side of Namekagon Barrens to catch it and the back lit bushes.  Landscape photography is an intense race to the best location in quickly changing light all with the goal of creating a calm, peaceful scene.

Technical: HDR technique with blending in Lightroom

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sunrise Web

Spider webs were motionless as the sun rose through the ground fog. This web caught my attention and was motionless long enough to get images for HDR processing. My imagination tells me the sun will soon be dropping into the web basket.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Almost in time

I had a brief opportunity to record the milky way this weekend.  I set the alarm and arrived at Namekagon Barrens just as nautical twilight was starting, hence the blue sky. The beauty of Namekagon is the ground fog that obscures light pollution for cities along the 35W corridor. I was a little late, as the sky brightened the milky way faded with a few minutes. Always a next time...