The Wanderer

As is a common occurrence with this blog (and myself), we will wander through a variety of subjects today.

For the past five years or so I have been on a mission to see that we do not forget the great nature photographers that through their passion, opened doors and helped make nature photography an acceptable art form.http://www.ordovergallery.com/artists/GalenRowell/

For you Colorado photographers out there…..http://www.npcolorado.net/

I named this post “The Wanderer” for a greater purpose than to simply warn you that the post would wander from subject to subject.  I was born a wanderer.  Apparently it started at two years old and continued throughout my life.  When I was three I wandered several blocks from home until an older woman (eight I think) found me and returned me to my yard.  At six I began hopping on my bike and riding it through traffic to “downtown” Racine, WI several miles away.  At nine years old I walked to Kenosha WI, about seven miles one way, and hopped a freight train home.  When I was sixteen and a newly licensed driver I took my car to Chicago.  In between all of this I was always heading (bike or walking) farther into the country to explore.  As I grew older the need to wander got even worse.  I never saw a dirt road through the forest that I did not pursue.  I have been lost while on foot in the forests of Minnesota and in the Arizona desert.   I have been lost while driving in remote Utah mountains and even in the flat Oklahoma prairie.  I once left my job for a week of vacation with no place special to go. I decided I would just go over night if I could just decide on a direction.  I decided to head south and returned five days later from, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri.  I have in fact never lost my need to wander.  That need has brought me to many great places, and helped me to create many pictures of animals and places. 

Never lose the child inside.

Like most nature photographers I have always had my own special places around home.  They vary depending on my photographic subject.  Below you have the Pike River as it empties into Lake Michigan.  This is in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  I have created sunrises here in every season and under all conditions.  Windy and calm.  Hot and cold (-10 f ).  This was just another one of those magic mornings at this special place.  This is an image that has never been shown before.

I don’t know how many close-ups of hawks my 500mm lens and I have captured over the years, but there is nothing like having a long lens.  The top image is a Red-tailed Hawk and the bottom is a Cooper’s Hawk.

Some wild animals are art.  That’s it!!  They’re art!!  Fox in their winter coat. Wild mustang stallions sparring for leadership.  All wading birds.  This Great Egret proceeded to prove that point for about an hour.

A Horned Grebe in winter plumage.  It just emerged from a dive. Note the droplets on its back, and the water ring.

Finally breakfast is here.

I love displaying 3D effects in still photography.  Especially using color to make that point.  Warm colors (red, yellow, etc.) advance towards the viewer.  Cool colors (blue, green etc.) recede.  Playing a warm color (flowers, fall leaves etc.) on a cool color, like say a blue sky can be a mesmerizing example.  Nature photography can also be effective when it is understated.  Such is the case with our Blue on Blue, Chicory flower and sky.

Reelfoot Lake State Park in western Tennessee is a unique and interesting place.  It was formed several hundred years ago by an earthquake.  Before the Bald Eagle population rebounded several years ago this was one of North America’s premier wintering grounds for that species.

Amnicon Falls / Wisconsin / Lake Superior

One of my absolute favorite wildlife spots in the Midwest is Sandhill State Wildlife Area in central Wisconsin.  I have never found this place to be over-flowing with subjects but something worthwhile happens every time.  I was informed that there were two Whooping Cranes here during the summer of 2007.  I showed at sunrise to find nothing, but not to worry.  I can easily spend an entire day making the 10 mile auto loop over and over again.  My first trip netted me some shots of what has always been my personal favorite Whitetail Deer.  My second trip found me photographing a field of dragonflies only to have a Pearl Crescent Butterfly land on my car.  The car was parked in deep shade so I “popped” a flash and made the eye jarring images you see right below my favorite deer.  My third trip brought me the Whoopers (below) that I had hoped for.  Radio anklets and all.  Places like Sandhill SWA have a personality and soul all of their own. 

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