A long time friend contacted me recently to inform me about his plans to tour Yellowstone National Park this coming September. Knowing that I had been there in the past, he wanted to know what he might experience photographically while visiting the park. Since it has been e few years since I last visited Yellowstone, I went back into my image files and posted a few of them for him on my Facebook page. This particular image of a Yellowstone Moose was an photograph that I never processed after taking the shot. I had many images from this trip as I also spent time in the Grand Tetons. Most of my postings from this trip were of the Tetons and surrounding areas. Even though I had photographed many wildlife on my visit, my original focus had been the beautiful landscapes around the park.
New Visions of the Past
Times like this one where I have been asked for a specific image, or photographs from specific locations, provide me an opportunity to revisit my past and I am often questioning myself why I had not processed this image or that image. This female Moose was traveling with her calf and stopped to get a drink. There was a Male Moose nearby and was threatening the Mother and calf to a point where she had had enough of his attention and ran him off. It was interesting to watch and photograph as the female bested the male and he quickly departed the area. The Moose this time of the year do not have the large antlers that your would normally see in the fall, since I was there in mid summer. My friend is going in Serptember and might see different scenes and wildlife than I did years ago in Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy!
The Bubbles at Jordon Pond
Bubbles in Landscape Photography
During my recent trip to Maine we traveled around Acadia National Park searching for great Landscape Photo opportunities. The Bubbles, a mountainous area located near Jordon Pond provided us with a late morning shoot. After photographing along the shoreline for the morning sunrise, we drove a short while to Jordon Pond. We hiked along the East side of the pond scouting out the best photo locations around the water. Since this was later than our usual time for photographs, we were a little concerned about the brightness of the sun at this hour. The timing actually turned out to be perfect as the sun had just risen to cover the top the Bubbles and the sky gave us just the right amount of clouds to capture this image.
Vertical or Horizontal
While teaching at our local University, many of my students asked when it was best to take a vertical composed photograph or a horizontal one. The answer is quite easy. The best time to take a vertical image is right after you capture one in a horizontal composition. The world of digital photography allows us to capture many different types of composition and the cost is zero. The click of the shutter captures an image and, as opposed to film which would have to be processed at a significant cost, it costs us nothing. Some images can be seen in both vertical and horizontal format. Some images lend themselves to one composition or another but not both. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so shoot away and find the right composition for the best image when you look at things on your computer after the shoot.
There are many guides and rules to follow when thinking about composition. The rule of thirds, vertical vs horizontal, depth of field for creating dynamic images, and shutter speed just to name a few. Those of us who take our photography seriously make pictures instead of take pictures. Quick snapshots are great for travel photography. Capturing quality images for presentations, gallery shows, or portfolio demonstrations requires a thought process that defines us as photographers and helps to share our vision with those around us. Enjoy!
Sunrise over Cadillac Mountain
Acadia In October! One would think that if you scheduled a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine during the month of October, you would see autumn colors at their finest. Not necessarily true this year. The weather had been a little warm this past fall and the colors started to pop later than usual. But planning and scheduling being what they may, I found myself surrounded by green trees and very little fall color during my visit. This type of problem always exists and can be a challenge if you are a nature and wildlife photographer. We have been to the Canadian Rockies during the best time of the year for photography, only to find fog and rain for the whole week. We have traveled to capture images of Coastal Brown Bears eating salmon from the creek, only to find bears eating grass and not paying attention to the salmon splashing 20 feet away. Sometimes we win, sometimes Mother Nature has her way. So, what to do!
The coastal areas around Acadia provide for some spectacular sunrise and sunset images. Since the fall colors had not arrived as yet, we focused our lenses on the morning and evening sun. The golden Hour we call it in photography. That hour or so before, during, and after sunrise or sunset. Some of the most dynamic images are captured before or after the great event. Colors in the sky change throughout the time that we were along the coast or up on Cadillac Mountain. So it was that we arrive on location an hour or so before sunrise or sunset. Another great challenge for us had to be the many tourists and other photographers in the area. One morning we climbed down onto Boulder Beach at 5 am only to find 15 other photographers already in place. We had to jockey for a good position and work around the landscape such that another photographer was not in our viewfinder. The above mage was a sunrise over Cadillac Mountain and is one of many that we were able to bring home from our trip. More to come, Enjoy!
Landscape or Abstract
Traveling in Acadia National Park provides for many different views of sunrise and sunset. Composition and formatting of the image can create realistic landscape or abstract images. Using the rule of thirds as a guide, you can compose any image to suit your needs. When creating Fine Art photographs, the sky is limit on your choices for composition, cropping, and texture. In Stephen Covey’s book series called the 7 habits of Highly Effective People, his first thought is to begin with the end in mind. As a photographer, I constantly think about what my end result is going to be and then capture the image to fill that vision. Whether it is going to print or on the web makes a difference in composition, cropping, or texture.
The Final Product
Giving some thought to what I stated in the previous section, I started doing my own printing in my home office quite some time ago. It gives me full creative control over my final products. I manage my process from the moment I trip the shutter, all the way to the end user. Since I use different types of photographic paper, my images look differently on a shiny metallic surface then they do on a textured matte surface. You might think that this is a lot of thinking to do when all you want to do is trip the shutter. However, as a professional, I like to keep things into perspective as to what it is I want to do with the finished product. Any and all of my images are available to purchase right here from my web site. If you are interested in acquiring an image, contact me and we can discuss what would be the appropriate paper to use and where you might display these images in your home or office. Enjoy!
Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park! I am traveling throughout Acadia National Park located in the State of Maine. We tried to track the fall colors but arrived to find only a slight change in the fall colors. Its often a challenge when scheduling your travel to fool Mother Nature. Even though fall has yet to arrive along the east coast of Maine, we found many photo opportunities around the area. The above image is from a morning sunrise over Cadillac Mountain. We arrived early in the morning to find a few travelers had beat us to the ridge. However, after the sunrise we turned and found that we had been joined by hundreds of people seeking out the morning entertainment.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park provides many photographic experiences. Mountains and shorelines are the attractions and we have many to choose from. The ocean path travels along the coast from Sand Beach to Otter Cliffs. from sandy beaches to rock filled terrain and rising Cliffs, the ocean pathway is something to see.
Fishing Great Egret! It appears that the majority of the migratory birds here in Northwest Ohio have moved on. Although there a still a few lurking in the area, the great numbers of birds has been reduced to a handful. My last visit to the Boardwalk at Magee Marsh found it to be wide open with very few visitors. It was a cloudy morning and the light was a little better for photographing. No harsh light shining through the trees. I walked along the boardwalk for an hour or so a did not find much to photograph. I hopped into my car and travelled out along the road to the exit. The road moves through the marsh area and I spotted several Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons fishing along the edges. I quickly parked my car and walked along slowly as I approached the this Great Egret. Once again the light was fairly nice and allowed me to photograph this white bird without too mu bright a light. Always making sure I had detail in the white feathers can be a challenge. This morning, it worked out very well.
Fishing Great Egret
Great Egret (Ardea alba). Egrets can often be found in water areas either standing or walking along looking for food. They often nest in colonies and mixed with other wading birds. Their diet is mostly fish but may also eat frogs, salamanders, snakes, or aquatic insects. Their nest is usually found in trees about 10-40 feet above the water. The male locates the nesting area and then attracts the females. Both the male and female work to build the nest. The female can lay as many as 4 to 6 eggs. The young are fed by regurgitation and will clamber out of the nest at 3 weeks, flying in about 6-7 weeks. There are many Egrets located along waterways throughout Northwest Ohio. After the migration many of them stay in the area and can be photographed throughout the rest of the season.
Keep coming back to the Blog and follow my photographic adventures. Remember to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. Enjoy!
First Spring Baltimore Oriole
It appears that the majority of the birds at Magee Marsh have moved on. Traveling to the refuge yesterday was a lot different from last week. The boardwalk was not packed with people. The bird migration apparently has moved because the number of birds in the area are significantly smaller. I was on my way out to the car when this First Spring Oriole landed on the hand rail of the Boardwalk. He seemed content to sit there for a while and allowed me to capture many full framed images of this young oriole. I have posted an earlier image of a full grown Baltimore and I think that each image is quite nice. The younger one does not have the full orange color of its parent birds, but the colors on this First Spring Oriole add to the quality of the image. He landed so close to me I needed to back up a bit to fit him inside of my viewfinder. My lens was a 300mm and I was using a 1.4x teleconverter. This combination is great for birds and with the Olympus EM-1 Mark II, I can get really sharp images holding the camera in my hand and not on a tripod.
My plan is to continue to watch the postings of the birds from the marsh and see if this was the final wave or if there are more birds in my future. Being a photographer here in Northwest Ohio limits the photo opportunities if wildlife is your area of focus (pun intended). Birds and deer are primarily the targets of my lens. An occasional red fox or coyote can be seen, but that is quite rare. We have a great Metro Park system in the area and I will continue to visit to capture some of the wildlife there. Next month we will see an influx of Dragon Flies and I will venture back to Magee Marsh and along the coast of Lake Erie to see what I might find with my Macro lenses and these Olympus mirrorless cameras that are becoming quite popular. Stay tuned and follow me on Facebook as I will keep posting in the various groups on my Facebook page. Enjoy!
Returning to Magee Marsh on the day after the Migratory Bird Festival, I still found quite the crowd on the boardwalk in the early morning hours. Walking along trying to get my bearings and I saw movement off to the right. There, perched nicely on a tree branch, was a Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum). This bird is a fly catcher. He also eats berries and is often times found in wooded areas similar to Magee Marsh. This image is one of my favorites form the last week and I will continue to visit the marsh as there will be a second and possibly third wave of migratory birds over the next couple of weeks.
The Cedar Waxwing’s habitat can be found in woodlands, fruit trees, and orchards. Their nesting habits is late, not beginning until mid summer. Only a small area is defended as their territory. Birds may nest with other Waxwings in small colonies. They have a tendency to lay 3-5 eggs and incubation is about 12-13 days. Both parents share the feeding chores and the young leave the nest from 14-18 days after hatching.
Traveling along the boardwalk each morning allows for some people watching as well as bird watching. Even though the festival has ended, there were quite a few folks crowding the Boardwalk. One advantage is that if you com along a group of people with binoculars and cameras pointed up into the trees, you can rest assured there is something there of interest. Find your spot and look where they are and voila you found your bird as well. Although I have only met two people whom I know from the area, I did come across a photographer whom I have travelled with in the past. Moving along towards the far end of the Boardwalk I spotted this gentlemen and he looked really familiar. As I walked closer I realized it was Moose Peterson from Mammoth Lakes, California. Moose is a famous Nikon shooter from California and I knew he was going to Columbus to teach a class at a camera store there. He apparently detoured after the class the the marsh for some bird photography. His website can be found here. He has many blog postings and video tutorial, always interesting to see what Moose has been up to in his travels.
More posts coming in the future as I continue to focus on migratory birds in Northwest Ohio. Enjoy!
Venturing out once again to Magee Marsh along the coast of Lake Erie, I headed out early to beat the rush. This week is the International Migratory Bird Festival and the boardwalk around the marsh gets crowded later in the morning. So, I spent a few hours in the early day sunshine to find and photograph some of the birds traveling through this month on their way up north. This image was captured on my way out of the refuge. Several Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) circled around the trees and caught my eye. This particular bird was right over my head along the boardwalk and was kind enough to settle on an open branch for several photographs. Baltimore Orioles are one of the most brilliant colored song birds sharing its orange and black col,ors with the coat of arms of the late Lord Baltimore.
Baltimore Orioles can often be found in open woods, along riversides, and among shade trees. They generally breed in open woodlands and along the outer edges of the forest. These birds often winter in the tropics and can be found in nests in town ares where you find elm trees and semi open wooded areas. They often can be found foraging for insects often catching them in mid-air. They are attracted to sugar water feeders and pieces of fruit. These birds are some of the most popular here in the marsh areas around the lake. Many of the birders who come here can find them out on the boardwalk are easily sighted because of there distinctive color.
I plan on continuing my trips out to the marsh areas to capture these small bird species as they continue to migrate toward the north. Keep an eye on my Blog and web site as I hope to be posting more of these small birds. Follow me on Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Leave a comment or two and share with all your friends. Enjoy!
The Biggest Week
This week in Northwest Ohio is referred to as “The Biggest Week.” As in the biggest week in birding for the International migratory bird celebration. Each year thousands of birders and photographers gather for the bird migration during the second week of May. The above image was captured yesterday. Tree Swallows populate Magee Marsh this week as they continue their trek north to Canada. I arrived early yesterday morning chasing the light and hoping for some quality bird photography. manof the birders arrive later in the morning and jam the Boardwalk at Magee Marsh. Some are also photographers and the large tripods seem to take up more and more room each year. I was carrying my trusty Olympus EM-1 Mark II. Coupled with my 300mm lens and 1.4 teleconverter, I could maintain a long reach and yet could hold it pretty steady without the tripod. This combination helps me keep a smaller profile and allows me to be more agile when tracking the birds here in the marsh.
Tree Swallow, Magee Marsh.
Tree Swallow. (Tachycineta Bicolor). This bird breeds in North America and winters in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. They are small birds and weigh less than an ounce. This appears to be a female as they tend to have more greenish colors. Males have a tendency to have more bluish colors. These colors also seem to point out that this is an adult as the juvenile Tree Swallows are more dull in their coloring. This bird allowed me to capture some great shots. Earlier in the morning it was a little tough going. The birds were keeping to the brush and trees. I could see them and pick out their colors, but a great photograph of these birds was a little difficult. I will be back in a day or two as more and more of these warblers begin to populate the areas around the edge of Lake Erie. Enjoy!