A Place To Hang Your Hat

I walked out this morning at sunrise, to a clear crisp autumn morning.  That is just the sort of morning that I have always lived for.  It produces a clear mind and a positive attitude.  I wish the fall season was eight months long.

One of my biggest flaws has been the little regard that I have for the dwelling that houses me.  I have lived a lot of places.  Houses, duplexes, flats and apartments.  In different towns and in different states.  I am almost ashamed to admit that they have rarely been more than just a place to “hang my hat”.  They existed (for me) only to keep me warm and dry while I waited for my next journey or adventure.  A place to keep my stuff.  Those facts were certainly a factor in a failed marriage and several failed relationships.   Those “living” places were simply not important to me.   Well,  recent years have taken a toll and I can no longer wander and explore the way I used to.  I am now a prisoner of my dwelling.  I thank God that I have a yard for a place to feel the breeze on my back and the sunset on my face.  At least on the days when I get out.  All of this whining not withstanding, as I look at my present circumstances, I cannot fathom what it is like to be homeless.  To not have that place to stay warm and dry.  God continues to smile at me and I give thanks.

Friendship.  A special word that is used a bit too casually in today’s world.  I have written before how nature photography brings people together in friendships that last forever.  I have made many special friends through nature photography.  Most are understandably slipping away now.   I cannot keep the fire of  those friendships burning when something as simple as a few hours of photography, a quick-lunch or even a telephone call are unlikely.  I pray that each of you can understand.  I will be forever grateful for the joy you have given me.

I began my journey into photography when I was 19 years old.  This past July I turned 60 and I still have many old books and magazines from years gone by.  I was just browsing a 1992 issue of Outdoor Photography and was reminded that things do change.  I was both saddened and joyed to read a column on photographing rabbits by the legendary Leonard Lee Rue.  Age has won a battle with Len and he no longer writes.  As was often the case with Len the picture of a rabbit was maybe not the best but his folksy and intelligent writing took me on a wonderful trip into the natural world.   A look at a column and an ad respectively, from the late great Galen Rowell and John Netherton brought a tear to my eye.   Two very  influential nature photographers!  Galen was the most imitated photographer of his time.   Proof that not everything changes was evident in the fact that Art Wolfe was represented with some great shots.  Art also had OPs most recent cover.

I am connected on Facebook to almost anybody who is anybody in nature photography and photography in general.   Joseph Rossbach, Moose Peterson and Art Wolfe “get it” when it comes to social media.   They act like friends, are online a lot, and share pictures, both the great and the average.   Most name nature photographers only plug what they want you to spend money on next.  Act friendly, offer something worthwhile and the customers will come.

For those of you who love equipment and tech photography information the great Photo Distrct News (PDN) is still around.  I read this publication religiously for many years.  I found a PDN online article called Strobe-Lighting Outdoor Action Sports http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/features/Trevor-Clark-Strobe-3916.shtml  This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart as from 1972 through 2005 I photographed a lot of strobe lighted outdoor sports.  At one pont my business name was even Action Sports Images.

Our first picture today was made in 2003.  It is typical of me in the sense that it was made at Bong State Rec. Area here in WI, but different in that it is a sunset made at the big wetland instead of my usual sunrise at Wolfe Lake.  There is no end to the compositional choices here.  This comp was chosen carefully. Nikon D100, ISO 200, f16, 1/500 sec. with a 70-210mm lens set at 70mm.  A Bogen tripod was used.

Good-bye to Autumn?  The chances are good.  Nikon D80, ISO 100, f16, 1/3 sec., 75-300mm lens set at 270mm and a Bogen tripod.

I have shown a lot of pix of Barn Swallow babies or adults feeding their young but very few of adults making nests. In two of the three images below, that is exactly what is happening.  All of the images were made with a Nikon D80 camera and a 75-300mm lens set at various focal lengths.  I shot these pictures hand-held with an electronic flash for light.   Remember that all photography is about problem solving.

This western scape was made near Sitting Bull Falls in New Mexico.  This desert oasis presented me with a difficult choice as I was just about out of gasoline.  After finishing my photography I was forced to take my small rental car through the desert to the nearest town, instead of back tracking via the nice paved road I came in on.  I ran out of fuel in front of the entrance to the gas station.  The scary trip through the desert provided me with just as good of a memory as did SBFs.  This picture was made with a Pentax 6×7 cm film camera and either Fuji Velvia or Fujichrome 50 Pro film.

I bid you good-bye with an always personable male Northern Shoveler.  Nikon D80, ISO 200, f7.1,  1/500 sec, Nikon 500mm f4 lens and a simple pillow on my car window.

May every day be gentle and may the sun cast warmly on you.

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