Blue Footed Booby! One of the main attractions when photographing birds in the Galapagos Islands are the Boobies. ( Not those Boobies, the birds! ). Here is an image of the famous Blue Footed Booby. This is a male bird and he is doing his mating dance. Male Boobies try several ways to attract females to mate. This way they lift their feet up and down in a somewhat interesting mating dance. Another way in which they try to attract females is to pick up a stick or pebble from the ground and hold them up in the air as if offering it to the female as a gift. Finally, they spread out their wings and call out to the sky when a female flies by. We witnessed all three types of mating rituals on the island. Two males were in competition and they kept trying to one up each other by picking up bigger sticks or dancing better than the other bird.
One of the reasons we went to the islands in April was to capture the mating birds in all of their glory. Although it was not the best time to see the Tortoises. In the fall there are an abundant number of Tortoises in the wild available for photography. However, in the fall we would have missed the mating rituals of the birds which was our main focus of the trip. We did see several Tortoises in the wild and I will share those images with you shortly. Stay tuned for more, Enjoy!
Marine Iguana! Another post from my recent trip to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. This is an endemic species only found here in the Galapagos Islands. There are several sub species. If you stay tuned to my blog you will see many more of this species of Iguana. This little guy was quite small, but they can grow to be about 40 inches long. Some of the islands had only a few Iguana while other islands had thousands. Marine Iguanas are more subtle in their coloring while the other Land Iguana are quite colorful. They are mostly herbivores. They consume plants for their food source. They lay around and sun themselves on the Lava Rocks found on the island and are not very skittish. We could easily get as close as 2 meters from them and they would not even flinch. Flash photography was prohibited on the islands, but we were pleased to have many days when the overcast skies produced a nice even light and yet allowed for the right amount of exposure to capture great images. Bright sun shining on wet lava rocks generally yield reflective spots that hinder the best photographs. Even light under overcasts skies allows for the rocks to be more subdued and creates an excellent light to capture images of these interesting creatures. Enjoy!
Great Frigate Bird! I have just returned home from a trip to the Galapagos Islands on Ecuador. We traveled the area in a small cruise ship that accommodates 16 passengers and the crew. Here is my first post in a while, but I have hundreds of images to post so come back as often as you can. The Male Frigate Bird is quite unique. It has a small sack under its chin that he inflates in attempts to attract the female birds. This image shows it full of air and quite colorful. They also can keep it inflated while in flight. In addition, the males will wave they’re wings and cry out if a female is flying overhead. Quite the thing to see.
We saw many species of birds, Iguana, sea lions, and other sea creatures crawling along the lava rocks. It was a very educational trip as our guide has been in the Islands for 30 years. She was quite informative as wells as demonstrative in her efforts to share with us the history and ecological impact you find in The Galapagos Islands. Remember to share this post on Facebook, Pin It on Pinterest, are give me + over at Google. Enjoy!
Tiger Crossing! Here is another image from my recent trip to Montana. I posted a previous pic of this Tiger but I like the way that the water is cascading down from her tail on this image. Photographing wildlife in any environment is challenging. As I have said many times before, patience is the key. A watchful eye waiting for just the right moment to trip the shutter often times produces great results. Diligently viewing the subject through the viewfinder can be a bit tiring at times. However, an image of this quality captured at just the right moment is a great reward for persistence and craft. You can add this image to your Pinterest account by selecting the “Pin it” button below. You can also follow me on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Watch for new updates coming soon! Enjoy!
While we were in Montana last weekend bemoaning the fact that there was limited snow, we needed to find a way to make lemonade out of lemons. We were able to photograph this 0ne year old Tiger mix and was amazed how she jumped into a pond near the compound where we were shooting. She seemed to enjoy the water and spent quite a bit of time splashing around and running across the pond. I have photographed Tigers in the snow in the past but this Tiger interacting with the water made for some interesting shooting. We had to be diligent and patient as she walked around the side of the pond and then decided to go for a swim. Shutters clicking away at 11 frames per second enabled us to capture some pretty dynamic images of this beautiful animal. We appreciated the assistance we received from the staff at the preserve and helped make our trip fun and exciting, snow or no snow. Enjoy!
On my recent trip to Montana, I had an opportunity to photograph two juvenile Canada Lynx. They were quite playful even finding a way to jump up onto a tree near our location. Many people refer to them as Canadian Lynx, but my Canadian friends are quick to correct me. Canada Lynx it is! The light was constantly changing as we focused our cameras on these little “Kittens.” You had to be quick to adjust for the changing light even though we were all wearing heavy gloves due to the cold temperatures in Montana during the month of February. The key to be able to change settings on the fly is achieved by having an in depth knowledge of your camera and how to adjust the settings rather quickly. Practice makes perfect. Get out the manual for your camera and sturdy it. Spend time firing off the shutter and changing the settings as you go. Practice makes perfect so get out and shoot as often as possible to get your self comfortable with the camera settings you will need for a particular subject. I was shooting a while in manual mode and adjusting my ISO or light sensitivity to keep a fast shutter speed to capture the action while holding my aperture at f/8.0 to protect my depth of field. When the light became really erratic, I switched to aperture priority and kept an eye on my shutter speed. I adjusted the exposure compensation dial as the tonality of the subject changed when the Lynx was moving from a dark area to one covered in snow. Experience, knowledge, and quick reflexes rule the day when your subject is small and playful. Enjoy!
I am traveling to Montana this week to photograph Wolves in a private preserve. Hoping for lots of snow, we found that it has been quite warm here in Northern Montana. Snow is at a premium. We travelled up in to higher elevations this morning to find a great place to photograph these magnificent animals. Many images to review and select for publication. This is certainly one that stands out as a keeper. As time permits, I will continue to post images and comments, more to come when arrive back into the biter cold of Northwest Ohio. I can’t believe I had to travel to northern Montana to find a warmer climate. Enjoy!
Its National Bird Day 2015! This from Wikipedia : National Bird Day is an annual holiday with half a million adherents who celebrate through birdwatching, studying birds, bird drinking games including ‘bird date’ and other bird-related activities. Bird adoption is a particularly important National Bird Day activity. According to the newspaper Atlanta Journal-Constitution, many bird enthusiasts celebrate by adopting birds and by educating future bird owners about the special issues involved with taking care of birds, including their “screaming, biting, constant cleanups, the need for daily interaction and a varied diet”. National Bird Day takes place every year on January 5.
I particularly like bird drinking games myself. So, for all you birders out there, let us raise a pint in recognition of National Bird Day here in the USA. May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, The foresight to know where you are going, And the insight to know when you have gone too far. Enjoy!
The Great Migration! This post is the first of many of my “Behind the Lens” project. Through this project I will be posting or reposting images for the blog with the story behind the image as well as camera settings, equipment, and the thoughts behind the shot. In September of 2010, I found myself traveling with 5 of my friends to East Africa to photograph in the Masai Mara. We flew into Nairobi Airport (OK then, not so now) and trekked out to our camps on the outskirts of the Masai Mara. One of the reasons we picked this time frame was because of the Great Migration. Some call it the ninth wonder of the world. The Zebra and Wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya every fall and back again to the Serengeti in the spring. In the process, they have to cross the Mara River. It is a great spectacle as hundreds of Wildebeest and Zebra crash down into the river and cross to the other side. We made several trips to the river and witnessed two major crossings. Patience is a virtue as these crossings do not happen that often. Sometimes the animals gather at the river in large masses and then turn around and leave returning in an hour or even two hours before attempting to cross the river.
This particular crossing was one of the first that we were able to see. We were riding in Land Rovers which allowed us to photograph out of the top of the vehicle. Our guides from Nairobi were well experienced and always moved us into a spot where we could capture some great images. I was traveling with my Nikon 200-400 zoom lens and tele converters which I used sporadically during our travels through the Mara. Some of us had purchased special tripod mounts which would sit along the top of the vehicle or attach to the side rails giving us a strong and stable platform from which to shoot. We only had three photographers per vehicle which allowed us a full row of seats to ourselves. This allowed us to move back and forth along the width of the Land Rover while using the seat to hold some additional gear. The photography is fast paced and my cameras stood up to the challenge allowing me to shoot at 11 frames per second. Composition had to be by instinct as the animals were moving quite rapidly into the water.
If you look at the lower right hand portion of this image, you will see a Wildebeest heading to the far side of the river. In essence, going the wrong way. I observed this Wildebeest upon our arrival before the crossing began. It had apparently got caught up in some rocks on a previous crossing and was stuck there. He had long since drowned from the rushing waters. This was a familiar sight all along the river as some of the Beasts were not able to make the crossing and either were trampled in the process or were attacked by Crocodiles or Hippos in the river. There you have the brief story of the Great Migration. For you photo nerds out there, Nikon D3s, Nikon 200-400mm lens @ 200mm, ISO 640, 1/1250 sec @ f9.0. Custom tripod, Lexar media, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to finish. Enjoy!
Happy New Year! I have some great plans for the new year photographically so tune in to see what is new and exciting. I have been spending some time updating my galleries and Portfolio. Take a peek at my Coastal Brown Bears gallery and you will find some new and exciting images of Grizzlie Bears from my trips to Alaska’s Lake Clark National Park. Find them right HERE. In addition, I will be adding some new posts which I will be labeling as “Behind the Lens” posts. These posts will go into detail about how the image was created. What equipment was used, what settings on my camera, and the thought process behind the shot. So, check back or watch for my posts on your Facebook page, Google+, or Linked In. Not following me on social media? Get there and lets get connected.
The Image on the left is a photograph that I captured while traveling to the Northwest Territories of Canada last September. Our goal was to capture images of the Northern Lights and we were not disappointed. When you see the lights with the naked eye, they look to be white or off white in color. When I captured the images with my camera they appeared to be green in color. I have posted a few of these for your pleasure in my Northern Lights gallery. This image was enhanced using Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. We measure the temperature of light in degrees Kelvin. Sunlight, flashlight, or Lamp Light all have a different temperature and may look different in color. To complete this image I changed the temperature of the light from its original temperature down to about 3200 degrees Kelvin. It changed the color of the lights from Green to this Bluish color. Its a different perspective. As photographers we can post images captured and illustrated with no enhancements, or use a little digital magic and create art that seems to stand out from the norm.
Remember to “Like” this image on Facebook, “Pin it” on Pinterest, or give it a +1 on Google +. If you would like a copy for yourself give me a note and I will print you one and send it out. Check the pricing for prints in my galleries section of this web site. Enjoy!