Images, Thoughts on Travel, Equipment and Techniques that somehow relate to Nature & Wildlife Photography.

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"Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace"... Albert Schweitzer

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Black and White

Yellowstone Church, IR Filter, B&W

Old Yellowstone Church, Colorado,  color converted to B & W  with addition of IR preset in Lightroom

Black and white photography allows us to catch a glimpse of something different, colors are replaced by shades and gradations, a million grays, pure whites, blacks and shadows so deep you can get lost in them.

Ranch windmill and clouds

Gray Skies, Wet Mountain Valley, Colorado, B & W conversion from color in Lightroom. It was already a pretty monochromatic scene, B & W brought out the detail in the sky

Film was the medium when I first began to play with black and white images. Anybody remember Durst enlargers? Well, I had an el cheapo Durst but using it was as close to becoming the sorcerer’s apprentice I have ever come. Watching an 8×10 piece of  white paper become a “picture” was pure magic. Still is, but the tech has changed.

Lone tree

Lone Tree, B & W conversion from color in Lightroom

Making images with a digital camera is more magic at our fingertips. Take an image and give your imagination free rein. Color becomes something totally different, using Lightroom, the conversion to black and white requires a click. Well maybe a little more is needed for a finished image.  Leaving the image in color and making whatever adjustments are needed to bring more life to it and then converting it in Lightroom using Adobe presets or creating your own will make you feel a little like a wizard. Contrast will make or break a lot of b & w images. Just make sure you are shooting in RAW. Light is still the deciding factor in making a great image, the cool thing is mid day harsh light can work in your favor, contrast is good.

Raven graffiti

Raven Graffiti,  another B &W from Lightroom

There is another way to get there, if there is a place you’ve never been. Infrared or IR turns our visual expectation on its head.  It can still be b & w but maybe from another universe. IR isn’t the end point, it is the starting line for inspired vision or just a place to play.

High Park Road

IR capture, converted Nikon D2X camera….Barb did all IR images

Foxtail Barley Grass

Foxtail seed heads, IR capture

Old school IR photography required IR film and an IR filter that, when mounted on a lens, couldn’t be seen through, doable but a huge hassle.  Digital cameras have an internal filter to block IR so they need a little work.  We have two digital cameras that have been converted to IR, two different internal filters.  We used LifePixel for the conversions and can recommend them, have no experience with others but there are several companies that do conversions, just make sure they know what they are doing. Why convert a camera? You would have a dedicated tool with no lens mounted filters to mess with and all functions work. What can take all of this way out of the ordinary is that there are a number of IR filters to choose from. Deep BW IR gives darkest skies and whitest whites. Standard IR is a very good all-around, there is Color Enhanced IR that brings color into the equation. And there are others. Color Enhanced IR requires a little more creativity, channel mixing, and Adobe Photoshop to get some of the results seen here.

White Canyon

White Canyon, Utah, IR with a twist…IR filter allows some color

Colorado National Monument

Coke Ovens, Colorado National Monument, color enhanced IR

abandoned adobe house

Abandoned homestead, IR with another planet’s sky

Give black and white photography a shot to see the world in a new light, or go all in and convert a camera and remake the world.

Goemmer Butte landscape

Panorama of Goemmer Butte and the Spanish Peaks, Colorado. IR black and white

Abandoned farmhouse

Abandoned farm, straight IR from converted Nikon D2X camera

Bosque del Apache landscape

New Mexico landscape, IR with Clarity Slider (Lightroom) used to soften image and make a more painterly image.

Wetland

New Mexico  landscape, IR with Lightroom and 3rd party presets used to soften image and make a more painterly image.

Wetland

Bosque del Apache wetland and sky, IR capture

Preening Eagle

Bald Eagle [Haliaeetus leucocephalus]

Perched and waiting…..

Spring is here, the cranes are in the Valley so we took a trip down to check things out. Not many ducks around yet, the cranes were in various areas of the Monte Vista National Wildlife refuge but most stayed waaay out of range.

We got lucky and spotted this mature Bald Eagle hanging out in a cottonwood tree near the Rio Grande River. Sometimes birds of prey like hawks and eagles spend a lot of time perched, waiting and watching for something to catch for a meal. Much of that time they do very little other than pose nicely. If you wait long enough behavior happens. Well, preening isn’t all that exciting but this is an eagle and it is beautiful.

Bald Eagle [Haliaeetus leucocephalus]

This image was cropped in Lightroom. Original made with a Nikon D800 and Nikon 500mm f4 lens. 1.2 in-camera crop so lens is equivalent to a 600mm.

Bald Eagle [Haliaeetus leucocephalus]

This image same as above.

Yellowstone Bison

Bison [Bison bison] cow & calf

Resting Bison cow & calf in a tender moment of bonding; Madison R. valley, Yellowstone NP., WY

The following is a press release issued today from the Buffalo Field Campaign, an organization whose sole purpose is to save our only wild and genetically-pure bison from extinction in the lower 48.



This morning a large banner depicting a buffalo and a tipi with the message “Protect the Sacred” was discovered by Buffalo Field Campaign patrols as they were documenting livestock trailers loaded with captured Yellowstone buffalo heading to the slaughter house. The banner was hung off of the Corwin Springs bridge that crosses the Yellowstone River, just a few miles north of Yellowstone National Park.

https://org.salsalabs.com/o/2426/images/022017-Protect%20the%20Sacred-BFCphoto%20.jpg

©A Buffalo Field Campaign photo

A short time later, Buffalo Field Campaign received the following statement:

A Call to Action: Save the Buffalo of Yellowstone Park:

As the last resisters in Standing Rock hold off the pipeline, so do the last remaining 5,000 indigenous Buffalo here at Yellowstone Park. Every morning up to 100 of the sacred Bison are exterminated during a government-sponsored population control program. Today, at dawn, at least fifty of our Buffalo brothers were shoved into trailers and hauled to slaughter. There are 1,500 Bison that are slated to be captured and slaughtered.

Yellowstone Herd Bison are descendants of twenty-three Great Plain’s Bison who survived the 19th century extermenation campaign, managing to eke out a living in the corner of the National Park. Once, they numbered 60 million, and ranged the entire continent, supporting millions of Indigenous lives. Since 1901, they have managed to repopulate in this harsh reservation style habitat. However, each year through government mandate, Buffalo are trapped and slaughtered by contract killers–the pregnant mothers have their offspring ripped from their wombs. These last remaining Bison live precariously under govermental control and continue to be pushed into oblivion.

Our communities are made up of many different nations, belief systems and lifestyles. Each member plays a role and in a way that role resembles nature. Honeybee’s work together to maintain their colony; buffalo, when going through hardship, will circle and protect the weak and when attacked, trees will signal other trees to start their self defense response before being invaded. On a micro level the change we create in every community is momentous as it encourages and unifies on a macro level.

This is a call to our relatives from all four directions to step forward in prayer and in action, to put an end to genocide and save the last wild roaming Buffalo, without the Buffalo we cease to exist.

Wake up! The Buffalo need your help!

In Memory of Rosalie Little Thunder, All Buffalo Nations, The Ancestors, and All Future Generations. For Mni Wiconi!

Earth’s Indigenous Army


 

The Montana-based wild bison advocacy group, Buffalo Field Campaign, applauds this courageous action which will help draw more attention to the growing opposition to the maltreatment and slaughter of the country’s last continuously wild buffalo herds.

“This is great timing, as this comes on BFC’s last day of our Week of Action, so it tells us that others have heard the call, are paying close attention, and are taking steps to make their opposition to the slaughter of the sacred buffalo known,” said Buffalo Field Campaign media coordinator Stephany Seay. “This banner is a testament to the resistance strengthening and solidarity growing throughout Native communities and earth defense allies.”

For more information about what is happening to America’s last wild buffalo, visit http://www.BuffaloFieldCampaign.org.

The Colors of Fall

Owl Creek Pass in autumn

Looking up the Cimarron

Yes, fall is long gone from these parts, winter has finally began to exert its dominance. If you are among the many that just don’t like winter, the cold, the dark, the dreariness of it all, here are a few images from this past fall. See, there was color in the world. Read the rest of this page »

Snakes Alive!

Western Prairie Rattlesnake [Crotalus viridis]

Western Prairie Rattlesnake

The snake was in the sun, loosely coiled, relaxed.  Not all that obvious, blending with the pinyon needles, twigs and grass.  It was in a small flat surrounded by rock, granite rock, weathered into smooth shapes but still rough, mica and quartz glinting in the sun.  There was a second snake, smaller, also relaxed, in the shade a foot or two from the first.  I would never have seen it had Mark, our neighbor and the one that told us about these two reptiles, not pointed it out for me. Read the rest of this page »

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