The light is fading, it’s snowing over the Sangre de Cristo mountains to our south and west. The sun has dropped behind those snow clouds and its cold, 10 degrees fahrenheit and slowly dropping with a soft breeze, ok a breeze with that temperature is anything but soft. I’m out here looking for three cats that our neighbor had described over the phone as 3 or 4 times the size of a house cat, solid tan color but with a dark band down the back and over the tail, and yes, the tail was quite long. I suspect Mountain Lion but 3 small ones?(more…)
It would seem to be a cliché to be writing about the past year and yet, by this time of the year, we tend to do just that. I like to think that past can be prologue, rather than wishing more had been checked off the to-do list or celebrating those things that were checked off. Nothing wrong with that but since we photograph and travel, looking into the future a bit is more satisfying. More of the same could be seen as a good thing, making images of the places and inhabitants of those places that we find interesting if not down right mind-blowing.
Nature photography and using digital cameras gives us the opportunity for endless learning and that, I think, is key to not letting the political class drive us totally crazy. “Walk in beauty” isn’t just an adage, it’s a directive that we can use to find that sometimes elusive key to happiness.
Contentment may lay in the past but life itself is ahead. So….. here are a few images from 2012 and a sincere wish that this coming year is very good to you.
Walking along this trail one thing becomes clear, we’ve been away from the tropics for way too long. Heliconias, red and yellow glow in a sea of green. Sweat runs in rivulets down my face, heat and humidity, the necessary ingredients for this untamed mass of life, hard to handle after years spent in Colorado. Howler Monkeys roar and howl from mid-level in the trees overhead, a misty rain drifts through the canopy, makes my shirt even wetter but doesn’t cool. Surrounded by an almost unbelievable diversity of life, plant, animal and insect make a dreamscape for a photographer.
Living in the city one loses most sense of nature but after living for many years in the rural foothills of Colorado which most people call the boonies, in a landscape of pinyon juniper forests, undeveloped wild lands and mountains all around, my senses have been intensified. Its easier to see, to smell and touch. Its easier to hear, easier to listen.(more…)
Attuned to desert light we travel to find the phenomenal, the remarkable…. the traveling is easy, the finding a little less so. Not that the landscape isn’t cooperating, showing us colors and shapes that are what we are looking for. The trick is to interpret what we see into an image that allows others to feel at least a bit of what we found attractive.
Cold, really cold, dark and quiet except for a very low, almost imperceptible, muted sibilance, like voices at a distance, heard but not understood. Waiting for the day to give enough light to see and then photograph the hundreds of birds also waiting out the dark on an iced over pond in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Winter here brings tens of thousands of ducks, geese and Sandhill Cranes to the wetlands and farmed fields along the Rio Grande River south of Socorro, New Mexico. Morning does arrive and the cold is forgotten as the thousands of lives in front of us unfold in a myriad of ways.
Macro photography adds a wonderful dimension that allows us to see beyond the norm, no matter what your interests may be, natural or man made. And you don’t have to spend a lot of time traveling, backyards offer a huge number of potential subjects. Don’t have a yard, head to a nearby park. Let’s see what we need to have some fun with this.
Now you need to have a SLR(single lens reflex camera), film or digital because there are a few lens options you might want to explore. Having said that, a “normal” (not macro, which just has built in extension to focus close) lens can work for many macro applications. Starting with the simplest and generally least expensive way to get a closer view is to use screw- on lenses usually called diopters. They come in increasing magnifications, listed as +1,+2, +3, etc. These can be stacked for additional magnification, start with the strongest next to the lens, add the next strongest and so on. Easy to use but with a very real caution, adding another layer of glass to even a good lens can degrade the resulting image. The best of the diopter add- ons are two-element lenses and are corrected to give better edge to edge sharpness and will give better results than the less expensive single element lenses. Nikon no longer makes their iteration of these but they are still available on line. Canon still manufactures a two-element supplementary lens.
Don’t know if you have noticed but there has been a lack of posting here lately, seems as I’m not so good at doing this in a timely manner and I will try to do better. Want to take macro photos, or better macro images? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, here are a few thoughts on spring, droughts and our local bears.
Colorado National Monument is positioned in the north-east part of the Colorado Plateau, that big chunk of canyon country that Ed Abbey so eloquently wrote the praises of. It sits west of Grand Junction, Colorado and north-east of Moab, Utah, its dry country, bisected by some great gulch topography, vertical sandstone walls, hot in summer and cold in winter. Spring is pretty close to perfect, especially if you come from country not yet released from winters drab cold. We arrived in late afternoon with warm light on the rock walls, red, buff, salmon and all gradations between. A few electric blue Penstemons were blooming under the ridge of a rocky hogback, along with radiant carmine Paintbrush, next to a beautiful purple Milk Vetch.
When spring and summer give us a mind-boggling number of potential photo subjects it’s sometimes difficult to narrow down the field and concentrate on a particular thing. If one of your interests is in capturing images of wild birds and would like to concentrate on hummingbirds either to add to your files or just figure out how to capture images you can be proud of, stay with me.
Digital cameras allow us a lot of flexibility when trying to capture fast-moving subjects. High speed flash has been the standard solution and still is for many subjects but with adjustable ISO settings it is now quite easy to get a shot that in the past required an elaborate set up. Finding an open shady place with room for multiple flashes, some on light stands; floral arrangements with a hummingbird feeder, a suitable background and possibly a commercial or at least homemade backdrop; as well as a spot for you and your camera with long lens on a tripod and perhaps in a blind can be difficult not to mention a little intimidating. Expensive comes to mind as well. Such a set up can yield excellent images. It’s hard to argue with the consistent lighting and framing that can result from all of this attention to detail. Let’s make this a little easier.
This blog is a new experience and an experiment, we don’t know where it’s going and the direction it takes will at least some of the time be up to you. Hope you enjoy the ride.
We will share some of our insights on image capture , the equipment used, as well as environmental and natural history tidbits. We pretend to no expertise in all things photographic but we manage to have some success at capturing interesting and beautiful creatures (they are all beautiful) as well as the land that they and we share. Please check out our web site Pronghorn Wildlife Photography for more images.
When The . Plants of in the rain forest? Oh yeah, but it all worked out, and we learned a lot, not just about photographing in difficult situations but about one of the most beautiful and environmentally diverse places on .released the D2x we snapped up a couple of them and our transformation from using film (remember?) to digital began. Suddenly we needed more computing power, and , , copying to dvd, and on and on. Sometimes shooting with film seems like a really fine idea, and then I look at my camera histogram or increase or decrease the and I think this digital thing is good, it might even catch on. In truth I really wish we had todays back when we were working on our book
So let’s see where this ends up. We look forward to you sharing your comments and or questions and we will endeavor to reply to all.