Arkansas, Photography, trumpeter swans, Waterfoul

Animal Behavior cont…. Walking On Water

Last week I posted some photography tips, and I talked about one of the most important… Animal Behavior.  
This story begins on a cold January afternoon.  It was the kind of cold chill that went to the bones.  It was overcast and the sky was draped in gray.  I knew where the swans were that afternoon and I just had to go see if I could get some decent shots.  I took out walking carrying a load in my backpack.  My camera, a couple of lens, and my trusty tripod.

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When I arrived at the pond where the swans were feeding.  Some of the swans were on the pond bank and some were in the water.  I noticed that they had company.  A few cows were standing on the same side of the pond as they were except they were on the opposite end.   I noticed the birds were getting a little nervous moving around more and more.  I climbed up the pond bank keeping as low as possible crawling on the damp cold ground.  There were two adults in the group, a Pen and Cob, along with five young Cygnets.

Since spending many hours watching Trumpeter Swans, I have learned when they are not happy and when they are not going to stick around.  This group was not going to stick around long.  The adult male Pen was the first to get very nervous.  The cows kept getting closer to the group and that did not suit the Pen at all.  Cattle are very strange when it comes to something they don’t see every day.  They were curious and just as scared as the swans.  I kept holding my breath hoping that the swans would stick around just a little bit longer.

The male Pen started bobbing his head up and down and calling out to the group.  This made all the swans nervous and now all the group were bobbing their heads.  All the swans got in the water and started swimming toward the lower end of the pond.  The Cob was telling his group to get ready.  Every swan lined up side by side with the Pen in  the center.  I knew this was not a good sign. They were lined up for what seemed like an eternity to me, bobbing their heads and honking back and forth to each other.  I lay there on the ground waiting while holding this huge heavy lens up afraid to let my guard down and miss the shots that I knew were to come.

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The Pen lifted his angel wings high into the air.  I knew this was going to be show.  All of his group were lined up evenly at his sides.  In the photo above you can see the adult Pen in the center lifting his wings, the adult Cob is on the left side at the very end.

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When he started to take flight, all of the swans started to lift their wings and take flight.   None of them were going to stick around.

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All the swans took off with the Cob waiting until the very last to leave.

Knowing animal behavior and having patience is so important.  If I had not known the reason that they were bobbing their heads, communicating, moving around, lining up to take flight, I would have not known to be ready.  You must have the patience to stay and be ready to get the shot.  Not knowing all these important aspects will make you miss that great shot you only dreamed of capturing.

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I will let the photos tell the rest of the story…

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And the walked on water…….

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Seeing Eye to Eye


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Arkansas, Deer, Ducks, Geese, Mallard, Photography, trumpeter swans, Uncategorized, Waterfoul, White tail deer, wildlife

Capturing A Moment In Nature


The past year I have been working on a project that I have wanted to do for a while.  I just received a proof and I would like to share the cover photo of my new book.  Capturing A Moment In Nature due out in the fall of 2018.  I am excited to see my project completed and I cannot wait to share it with you.  A book that is filled with some of my best images and wildlife photography tips.

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Arkansas, Cattle, Photography

Signs Of Summer On The Farm

 

This weekend the farm was alive with the signs of summer.  When hay time hits you know it is here.   I hope you enjoy a few of the photos I was able to capture of life on the farm.

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A week old calf gets a lick from its mother
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I love wild daisy so I couldn’t resist the shot
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A bull frog sets and watches me take his picture

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December calves
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Red Bellied Wood Pecker
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Rhode Island Reds
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A bumble bee gathering nectar
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A white faced baldie calf
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A Scissor Tail Fly Catcher enjoying the sunshine while setting on a fence post.
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Fresh bailed hay
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Female Eastern Bluebird setting on a barbed wire fence
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Male and female Bob White Quail

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A beautiful male Cardinal 
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Two young deer enjoying the green grass
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Goosey pulling on Dinky’s tail
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A special Canadian Goose that lives here on the farm
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Red Bellied Woodpecker

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Sunflowers and John Deere Tractors 
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Maggie the coon dog enjoys the cool water
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A young heifer
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Rhode Island Red hens visiting the barn

There is nothing like living on a farm.

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The End…

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Deer, Photography, White tail deer, wildlife

A Great Wildlife Image is Pure Magic

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Pure magic…..  That is what a great wildlife image truly is. As I sat in the blind waiting on the buck deer to appear, I thought to myself.  A great wildlife photo is truly magic.

There is so much that goes into capturing great photos of wildlife, and I want to share with you some of those amazing aspects.

The first most important things that you need to know is animal behavior.  You need to know your subject.  You need to spend time with them.  Knowing them could mean the difference in getting the shot, or watching the golden hour pass you by.  You need to know the behavior of your subject such as this deer in my case today.

Last fall I sat and waited for this buck deer for over two hours.   I had seen a doe come out and run up the trail toward me.  I thought with any luck, there may be a buck deer to follow shortly behind her.

dsc_0455And sure enough, here he came.  He came right up the same trail that she just traveled.  That is something that one should know.  If I had not known how the White Tail buck deer behaved during rutting season,  then I might have just gave up and went to another spot.

Patience is also another important trait you need to have in photographing wildlife.  Without it, you will never be successful.

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Knowing that there might be a buck deer come out behind her made me stay and wait.

This little eight point just took his sweet time coming towards me.  I was holding my breath in hopes that he would come close enough to get some fantastic shots, and he did.

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Knowing what your subject is feeding on, where they stay during the day and their movements at certain times of the day,  will help you to get a chance at that great shot.


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Animal behavior can sometimes be unpredictable, but it can give you a great advantage if you know just a little bit about your subject ahead of time.

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Greater Roadrunner, Photography, wildlife

Seeing Eye to Eye


Low impact Photography

Getting down and dirty at your subjects eye level can give you big impact when it comes to photographing small animals.  Capturing these photos of the Greater Road Runner is a example of this type photography.
When you think of the road runner, you think of the cartoon where Wile E Coyote chases the road runner but never prevails.

SHOP AMAZON

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The Greater Road Runner is a bird that never stands still for very long periods at a time.  He seems to me a very nervous bird that darts and runs constantly as he makes his way across a field or down a road ditch.

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This very distinctive bird with its crest on top of his head, that sticks up when he gets excited, can out run a human, catch a snake, and live in the worst climates on earth.  I had the opportunity to get down on its level and capture this active bird as he made his way across a field in front of me.   This made the Roadrunner appear bigger and more dramatic.

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Another tip I would like to mention with this type photography,  is shooting in manual mode when it comes to focus.  Manually focusing on your subject will keep your camera from focusing on an object in the foreground.  This will keep your subject in focus and not just being a blur.


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This type perspective to photography not only works for wildlife but also can make a field full of flowers look like a forest, or it can turn an insect into a monster.

MY EQUIPMENT

PORTFOLIO of the Trumpeter Swan

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low light, Photography

Low Light Photography

There are two hours in the day that photographers call the golden hours. These two hours are the first hour of daylight when light is first peeping its head up and becoming visible. The second golden hour is at dawn when the sun makes its last appearance and God takes his paint brush and paints the most stunning colors in the sky. These two hours are the golden hours of photography. This is when you want to be out there catching the light in your camera lens.

The photo above of the Trumpeter Swan was taken when the sun was shinning its last rays of light on the water and giving the swan a pink glow. It was such a magical hour and I hope to do it again someday when I can catch the light just right.

Magic can happen when you least expect it. When sun light hits the water it can cause some pretty awesome effects to happen in a photo. The swan above brings its head up from eating the grass on the bottom of the pond and shakes the water from its head. As the sun reflects off of the drops of water there is a magical array of droplets that surround its head.

The afternoon I took the above photo it was almost getting too dark to capture an image.  The Trumpeter swans were restless and decided to take flight.  I had capture the images in very low light.  This is what happens in low light photography at the the golden hour.  Droplets of water are reflected by what little is left of the sun.   Trumpeter swans dancing across the water with type of light gives you an awesome photo.

I hope you have enjoyed this little excerpt on the golden hours of photography.  I encourage your comments and love to hear each and everyone of them.  Until next time…

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Uncategorized

Birds In Flight

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There is nothing more challenging than trying to take a still photo of a bird in flight.  In this blog post I want to hit on a few key tips for making this challenge a little more easier.  First of all you must have patience.  This is probably the most important aspect to wildlife photography.  Without it, you are not going to get that photo that you have always dreamed of taking.

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Lighting plays a very important part in photography.  Capturing a photo, wether it is an action shot or a still shot, light is what photography is all about.  Never shoot into the sun.  Your best shots will be on an overcast day.
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Keeping a low profile is also another key element to wildlife photography.  Most animals will not stick around if they see you.  And keeping your distance is very important if you want to get a great shot.  Try never to disturb an animal in the wild.  A good photographer will get the shot without causing the animal to run or hide.  Choosing the correct lens to get the reach you need will help you to accomplish this.  I use a Tamron 150 – 600 mm lens and it has quite the reach, along with not breaking your pocket book.


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Free hand shooting is the best for action but if you have to use a tripod you need to use a pan head.  That way you can pan and move the camera along with the bird or animal as it moves.

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But the most important tip I can give you is making sure your shutter speed is fast enough to freeze the animal or bird in flight without blur. Set you shutter speed to at least 1/1000 of a second to 1/2000 of a second or faster if your camera is capable of doing so.  The faster the better.


Check back for more tips and beautiful images.

Until next time….

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Uncategorized

The Hen Harrier


The Hen Harrier Hawk is a bird that is very hard to catch setting still.  This was a rare treat to catch this one setting on a stump listening for its next meal.

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What made this very special was another Hen Harrier came by and tried to knock the first one off of the log and I got the shot.

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The Hen Harrier Hawk, also known as the Norther Harrier, gets its nick name years ago from preying on free range fowl.  The Harrier is a migratory bird migrating south in the winter months.  Each year I see this wonderful hawk circling the fields, dancing in the air with its circling flight, as it flies low to the ground.

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The bird has an owl looking head with beautiful feathers.   If you have ever seen an Hen Harrier Hawk you will for sure know that it is not like any other hawk.   I had the opportunity to get many shots of this beautiful bird as it sat and listened for its next meal.

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The hawk decided it needed to stretch its legs and wings.  I never realized a bird could get in that many positions.  It was amazing.

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Ducks, Geese, Photography, trumpeter swans, Waterfoul, wildlife

My Equipment

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One thing I love in life is photography.  I am so hooked on taking my camera and going on a hunt for the perfect photograph.  Wildlife is what I love the most.  I have taken many photographs of wildlife in and around the farm in which I live.  It is my passion and I would love to share a few pointers and some of the images that I have taken with you.

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The first few years that was I first became interested in photography, I didn’t invest in a very expensive camera.  I bought a Nikon D5500 Camera and a Nikon AF S NIKKOR 55-300 lens.  This is a great little camera and the perfect lens for starting out.  this lens is a kit lens but it does do a decent job.  The reach is fair and you can take some really good pictures.  This little camera is a wonderful camera.  Later I graduated to a Tamron SP 150-600mm.  This is a great lens, and the reach is wonderful.  Also it won’t break the bank.  I have enjoyed the lens so much that when I graduated up to the Nikon D500 that I use now, I stayed with this lens.


I always shoot in RAW mode, and I use Adobe photo shop and Adobe Lightroom to develop my photos.  I do not like to adjust my photos very much.  I love the natural look that my camera gives the photos.  I adjust only what i have to adjust and leave it at that
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The Tamron lens is also wonderful for action shots.  You need a sturdy tripod to hold this lens steady.   Along with the Nikon D500 it is a handful to use free handed.  It can be done as I have done many times but you need some muscles.    I really love this camera and lens together.

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