Post 461

In a recent post I illustrated that I occasionally will make a close-up action shot of a bird, but accidentally cut its wing off…in the visual sense.  At minimum focusing distance this can happen with a small bird as well.  I probably had a 1.4 converter and maybe an extension tube on my 500mm lens when I caught this male Red-winged Blackbird “blowing in the wind“. I needed to leave some space to our right as to give my friend some room to look. In doing so I cut off some of the left side of the bird. You can be too close sometimes. I think the image is still powerful enough to show, but it is unlikely that this old picture would have ever found a purpose professionally. Great light, great pose and a great background are enough to share any picture with friends.DSC_1689

I think most bird photographers love birds of prey.  They will drive farther for things like owls, eagles and hawks than for almost anything.  I will admit there is something about being in the presence of these creatures that manufacturers  goose bumps.

One of the great things about traveling is that you get different species and color phases of hawks as you move from one region to another.

The top photo is that of a Cooper’s Hawk in Wisconsin and the other is a Swainson’s Hawk in WyomingDSC_5796Copy of DSC_3112

Geese also have regional preferences.  I have seen over 10,000 Snow Geese at a time at Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico but this duo was photographed right here in Wisconsin where they exist in much smaller numbers.DSC_2609

Whether they are up close or far away, on the ground or in the air, cranes make good photographic subjects.  Sandhill Cranes are abundant now in much of North America and the Greater Sandhill that we have in Wisconsin is an easy subject.  Their size alone puts them high on my list of bird subjects. Despite their size they are always active and interesting.Hc1 142DSC_7790

In my last post I mentioned that my favorite places in the world to be, are on mountain tops, and at the edge of western canyons.  As usual I analyze myself even more than I do the world around me.

I am no different than most people.  We struggle most of our lives to “be large”.  We all want to do something, or accomplish something that sets us apart and makes us appear bigger.  I mean nothing negative by that statement.  That is human and we all have it as a part of who we are.  We just don’t admit it.  How about that promotion at work. When we have authority over others we become bigger.  I think most of us can handle it and remain decent people, but we feel a little taller when we have a position of command.

Might it be that standing at the edge of the world so to speak, allows me to look down on all that is below me?  Does it make me feel bigger?  Actually at first I feel small when I am at the edge.  In a positive way.  I become a molecule in a vast world.  I am dwarfed by the scene before me. I am in fact humbled by how tiny I am in an intricate yet enormous universe.  Yet at the same time, I feel special.  Eventually I become almost as big as the world around me.

I think that you “only feel small” at the edge, when everything you see is a scientific accident, but “large at the edge” when you realize that it and you exist with intent or with purpose.  You become a part of something both large and special, and you are bigger for being a part of it. It is quite a feeling to stand at the edge of all of that beauty and life, never alone, but always in the company of the source that created it.

The image below was shot either in Utah or Wyoming. I was at the edges of those two states and am not sure where I or the canyon stood when I made the photo.  I had spent my morning with Prairie Dogs and the rest of the day with the land.  It was getting late and I decided it was time to drive over those mountains into Wyoming.  I knew I would finish my mountain drive in the dark, but I wanted to make the climb in the light of early evening.

As my car and I climbed up a small ribbon of switchbacks, I noticed how the partly cloudy sky was creating a variety of light phenomenon.  The color changed from bright gold, to more subtle shades of orange, lavender and red.   Then a film of mountain haze acted like a warm screen, adding rusty light to the landscape. I just had to stop but there was not even a shoulder to the road.  Finally I rounded a corner and there sat a pull-off.  One that looked down on this beautiful canyon as it was being painted with the streaky colors of sunset.  I made my pictures and felt at peace with the world. I even enjoyed my descent in darkness on the other side of the mountains.

ANWRUtah 177

My writings on this blog usually reflect my love for photography and nature.  I care enough about those subjects that much of what I say seems pretty serious.  Don’t ever believe that what I write means that I don’t think that nature photography should be fun.  Recent comments by Ron and Darlene both mention the fun times we had.  I truly don’t believe that anyone who shot with me repeatedly, can say we did not have fun.  Ron, Darlene, Celeste, Lloyd, Kristen and so on.  My philosophy has always been, that if I am going to start a business be it full or part-time, or have a hobby, the first rule is that it has to be a lot of fun.  Life is indeed short, so love what you do, as well as the people who you do it with, and laugh.  A lot.

God bless,  Wayne

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s