Tag Archives: Wildlife

Keep Your Eyes Open


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: Grizz !!!

Yellowstone Grizzly

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 !!!

A Walk on the Beach

140226_SandPipers by Karl Graf. Canon 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS @ 180mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, IS0 1600

Strolling along a hard sand beach is sure a lot easier that trudging through calf-deep snow.  I enjoyed sharing my walk with these little sandpipers.  At first when I tried to get close, they rapidly ran along ahead of me.  I learned quick to move back, walk around in front of them and let them come to me.  I guess this is a corollary to “Let the image come to you”.


Great White Egret

140201_Gr. White Egret by Karl G. Graf.

Canon 7D, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS with 1.4x Extender @ 280mm, f/11, 1/800 sec, ISO 400

The Great White Egret seemed to be the most common bird that we consistently saw at the Florida Bird Festival.  They were everywhere.  They seem so graceful as they take off and fly.  I got more satisfaction just watching them than trying to get that “perfect shot”.

Building a Nest

140130_Nesting Herons by Karl G. Graf.

Canon 7D, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS with 1.4x Extender @ 280mm, f/9.0, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400

Sometimes you are just lucky.  We were driving around a wetlands reserve and saw this group of photographers and birders watching a nesting heron on top of a palm.  Soon the male came up bringing up branches to build a nest.  The male made several trips back and forth to bring up more branches for the nest.  Soon several other females flew to nests on other palms.  At one time there were five herons nesting.  We spent at least two hours just watching this beautiful and amazing sight.


Roseate Spoonbill

140129_Roseate Spoonbill by Karl G. Graf.

Canon 7D, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS with 1.4X Extender @ 260mm, f/7.1, 1/800 sec, ISO 400

The Roseate Spoonbill was one of the most colorful and interesting birds that we saw at the Florida Bird Festival.  Most of the time the Spoonbills were quite far away.  This one flew right over the top of me.  I got so excited that the most of my frames just caught a part of the bird.  I was lucky, out of dozen shots I took, one was centered within the frame.


Learning New Techniques

140128_Osprey by Karl G. Graf. Canon 7D, EF70-200 f/2.8L IS with 1.4x extender @ 250mm, f/9, 1/1000 sec, ISO 800

Over the past several years some of my long time friends have said they wanted to go down to the Florida Bird Festival in Titusville.  We have been talking about this for over 5 years.  This year was the year!  Three of us and our very understanding wives took the trip.  My other two photographer friends have done much more wildlife photography than me.  This was my first trip and I was ready to learn new techniques.  I quickly found out that my methodical engineering approach to working a subject was not working.  I had to be quick, anticipate, and have a lot of patience.  I took two half-day workshops and over 9000 images during three days of shooting.  Out of these 9000 images, I felt that only about 10-12 were good.  I also learned that taking so many pictures take an enormous amount of computer time just to sort out the keepers.

Wildlife photography may not be my niche.  However learning new things always excites me and gets me out of a rut that I may be in.  It also encourages me out to apply new ideas to the work that I most enjoy.  I thank Milton Heiberg and Robert Amoruso for their insightful instruction.