I was at an overlook on the Beartooth Highway engulfed observing a panoramic view of the Absaroka Range. I had my camera on my tripod set for a panoramic shot sequence. I happened to look down and saw this little critter looking back at me. I slowly left my camera, walked back to my car, picked up my “wildlife configured camera” and quickly grabbed a shot of this little guy before he ducked away.
When I am photographing wildlife and landscapes together, I usually carry two cameras configured with different lenses. Changing lenses in the field takes me too long. It really payed off this time.
Yellowstone Red Fox
I saw a few cars parked along the roadside, so I stopped. This little guy was walking right along the road. The prior day I saw him on the other side of the road at about the same time of day.
Wild Grizzly and Stupid Man
This is a wild Grizzly! Notice the head of a man in the lower right corner of the photo. This stupid man was out of his car blocking the way between the grizzly and his intended direction across the road. Notice how the grizzly is looking at him. A few leaps from the grizzly and the man was a “goner”! Note: I had a 960mm equivalent lens/camera combination. I was at a safe distance!
It is unbelievable how many people disregard nature. The poor grizzly was running along the hillside trying to cross the road. A string of cars with people hopping out of them was prohibiting the animal from going where he wanted to go. The animals have the right of way in the park, not visitors!!!
I traveled to Yellowstone to practice my wildlife photography. I was not disappointed. We first say this grizzly running along the Lamar River at a distance. He ran across the road about a mile from where we first saw him. We drove down the road and saw him on the hill side above us. There was a big traffic jam, so I pulled off and watched him running away toward a ridge. Just before he got to the top, he turned around and looked straight at me. Click … I got him. What a sight !!!
Sandhill Cranes – Othello, Washington
More Sandhill Cranes … It was very hard getting a shot of flying cranes, separated from each other with their wings in a similar position. If you shoot enough, you get lucky … sometimes.
Sandhill Crane Near Othello, WA
Here comes one right over the top of me. I was hand holding my camera and almost fell over backward as the crane flew directly over my head. The Sandhills are sure pretty and graceful creatures!
Sandhill Crane Near Othello, WA
This image is technically better that the one in my previous post. However it is still not as sharp as I would like. The original image was taken with a 600mm equivalent configuration on a full size image sensor camera. In addition I cropped the image by a 16x factor.
I need a lot more practice to get the image as sharp as I would like. I do not think that I am at my equipment’s limit yet.
Sandhill Crane near Othello, WA
I just returned from a weekend photographing Sandhill Cranes near Othello, WA. The cranes are on their migration path from central California, where they winter, to Alaska. I am relatively new at bird photography. I practice a lot to get decent images. I took around 3500 images over a three day period. My “decent image” percentage is about 2%.. The following sequence is what we went through to photograph the birds. #1 – Find the birds. The first day we spent about 4 hours before we saw any Sandhill’s. #2 – Position myself to get the sun behind my back. Hope that wind is coming from the same direction. The birds land and take off into the wind. #3 – Have a lot of patience. Don’t get excited and take hundreds of images of birds on the ground not doing anything or birds that are flying off way in the distance. #4 – Wait for the birds to do something interesting like taking off/landing or “dancing” on the ground. #5 – Anticipate, be be ready. You do not have a lot of time to focus and shoot. #6 – Make sure you are focused on the bird before you shoot. I had a lot of blurry images (I meed a lot of practice). #7 – Pray that you captured a few good images. My success rate was not very good. #8 – Shoot with someone who knows what they are doing. Thank you Jack!!!
The above image was not my best, but it had some interesting lighting. It was a good opportunity to do a little post processing. I will include sharper images in future posts.
Danger – Gator !!!!
As I mentioned in my previous post, I had placed my full attention toward shooting the terns as they were diving. I sat down along the path so I could brace my elbows on my knees as I followed the birds. After we finished, I looked down and saw this young gator sunning itself less than 10 feet from my legs. Holy XXXX, did I jump. Even though the area had warning signs about alligators, I had not even thought about it when I sat down. My eyes were on the birds in the sky, not at the water’s edge in front of me. That is the rest of the story.
How many times have I focused on capturing an image without paying attention to what was around me. This is truly a lesson learned! Be safe out there!!!
Now things really get tough. Capturing a diving tern is not easy. They dart changing directions constantly as they fly looking for little morsels in the water. Once they see something, they dive at 1000 miles per hour (or so it seems). To catch a dive, I had to actively follow the bird as it darted above, keeping it in focus. Then as soon as it makes a motion down, I start shooting and drop my camera to the water as fast as I can. My camera shoots at 10 fps and I still caught only a couple of dives in the 250 images I shot. We shot for about a half an hour. I was exhausted from the concentration that I had exerted. I was ready to quit. But this is not the end of the story. Wait for my next post …