Wildlife photography is my passion. I get so caught up in the moment of seeing an amazing animal and capturing at least just one amazing photo. It is what I love, live and dream about. That perfect shot!
I got the opportunity to mark off another amazing item from my bucket list this week. Photographing a black bear. Here in Arkansas you might see a bear, but seeing one is rare and very exciting if given the opportunity.
Arkansas, once know as the bear state, is loved by black bear due to its mountains which are rugged terrain, covered in trees, and abundant with water sources. Black bear were almost extinct in the natural state in the 1930’s with only 50 bear. Now, there are thousands and the numbers keep climbing.
I recently got the opportunity to capture some amazing shots of this young male black bear. This is a young bear recently pushed away by it’s mother just looking for food. He was very brave and didn’t seem to mind posing for me.
I hope you enjoyed the shots of this beautiful little male bear. If you would like to learn more about Black Bear in Arkansas, this article from Only In Arkansas called Bears in Arkansas is an interesting read and gives some great links to read more about Arkansas Black Bears.
The weather here in Arkansas has been quite cooler in the last few weeks due to overcast rainy skies. It has been great weather to take long walks and just get out and enjoy the great outdoors with my camera in tow. During my long afternoon walks a big white bodied winged bird has caught my eye lately soaring over the pastures and ponds.
This snowy white bird know as the Great Egret, is the symbol of the National Audubon Society. I hope you enjoy these few photos that I was able to capture and just had to share.
I watched as three glided in on snowy white wings, landing in a big tree nearby. The birds put on a show landing and leaving the tree to go to the pond nearby. There were three, two adults and a juvenile. I watched as they landed in the tree and then flew to the pond feeding on fish, frogs, and anything else that they could catch.
The Great Egret is common in south Arkansas and may be seen in northern parts of Arkansas during the late summer before heading to their wintering grounds.
Nearly hunted to extinction in the late nineteenth century for their beautiful white feathers for ladies hats, they are now making a come back. Audubon was founded for protecting birds from being killed for their feathers.
This juvenile Little Blue Heron was flying low over the pond searching for a place to land to get its next meal. This is a smaller bird and will change color when it is mature.
I was spotted by the birds before I could get good photos while they were in the pond feeding. So maybe next time…
If you would like to know more about the Great Egret visit the National Audubon Society Also All About Birds is another great site to read about the Great Egret.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
PORTFOLIO of the Trumpeter Swan
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
One of my most favorite subjects to photography is the Eastern Bluebird. They are so photogenic. The male is bright blue, while the female is less colorful.
The little bluebirds listen and look at the ground to see and hear their next meal. They feed by dropping to the ground and catching insects.
The Eastern Bluebird is a sign of spring and I love to hear them sing and watch them work building their homes in the boxes that I have in my yard.