Behavioral Analysis

Today’s title has nothing to do with the TV show called Criminal Minds.  The reason for the title corresponds to the paragraphs you will find below the images.

I love bird flight shots and there have never been so many great ones on public display as there are today. The enormous increase in the number of bird photographers as well as recent equipment advances are definitely two of the reasons for that.  Another reason is there are more photographers working hard at making better images.  Many of the pix I see are spectacular. The only criticism I have is that once you get past take offs and landings most of the images I see are the standard profile or “coming at you” shots.

I love making flight shots at unusual or oblique angles and Pelicans seem to provide me for a lot of opportunities to make that happen.HorD 137

One of my favorite parts of living along the shores of Lake Michigan has been all of those great birds that pass through in spring. One species that I have spent many wonderful hours with, is Caspian Terns.  Even though most have just stopped to rest and feed on their journey north, they will court and mate while they are “resting”.  The male purchases the affections of the female with a fish, and you can guess what follows.  We humans have a name for that kind of action.DSC_3064DSC_30749DSC_29862DSC_7509HawNuthatch 060

This adult Leopard frog was on the auto trail road at Horicon NWR here in Wisconsin.  I quickly got out and sprawled on my belly in the road. I took my trusty Walmart throw pillow with me to act as a tripod.  After three shots, I spotted a car headed our way so I gently urged the frog off the road.  As those who frequent Horicon can attest to, after a warm rain at the right time of year, young Leopard Frogs migrate, filling every road at the marsh.  It is truly impossible not to kill frogs, so eventually I just omitted traveling those roads under those conditions.HorF 223

Here we have an amorous male Bull Frog inflating his pouch and getting ready to call to the ladies.  This was made at Bong State Rec, Area in Kenosha, county WI.

I have shown this exact Bull Frog image before.  I like this picture but there is a flaw to it. What is it?  Answer at the bottom of the page.Dsc_2295

Bears or maybe wolves are what comes to most people’s minds when they think of Yellowstone N.P.  For my money the Rocky Mt. Elk is the iconic mammal in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone is made up of a series of small villages designed for visitors.  There are a lot of elk in Yellowstone and they occupy the wilderness and roadsides, but sometimes they also occupy those villages.  The final two images below were made in Mammoth Springs Village.DSC_0056DSC_0302DSC_0233Copy of DSC_0236

They’re colorful and carry an infinite number of designs.  Flowers are the perfect subject for the nature photographer.12DSC_507026FallMcro 005HorE 166

As the world peruses the millions of images that exist in books, magazines, calendars and especially this internet thing, they are being inspired, becoming uninspired, being artfully fulfilled, or being left visually empty, in accordance with how you the photographer, composes your imagery.

This photo originated on my final trip to White Sands New Mexico.  As you can see I was shooting from one sand dune down to another.  I used a small 60mm telephoto to achieve some minor compression.  The angle where the dunes meet, the placement of the desert plants and therefore their shadows, were all important to me.   There’s nothing like sand dunes to present the photographer with the purity of subject necessary, to work graphically instead of working by the knowledge and information about a subject.  Both styles of photography are important but the freedom that this graphically pure form of photography provides us with, helps us to mature in both types of image making.

With that somewhat diagonal line between the two dunes, this is actually an unorthodox composition and is certainly a matter of individual taste.29G2b

I’ve been known to push the season just a bit.  It’s never too early to dream. This winter scene is meant to be simply……well……simple.1snDSC_6648

The quote below is by landscape photographer Kevin McNeal, and it came from Facebook.  Photographers who walk into your space while you are making pictures are a pain in the ass that we need not tolerate, but photographers who seem to think they own the natural world, and insist only they have the right to create their images, are even worse.  As is usual, the truth and the right thing to do, is somewhere between those extremes. My guess is that this photographer who thought rights to the natural (public) world belongs solely to him, would also walk into your picture and ruin it if given a chance.  Hypocrisy usual rules with people like this.

“Was I wrong ? Why do certain photographers have to have an ego and treat others so poorly around them ? Has anyone ever come across something like this ?

I never rant or get too upset about anything but in this particular situation I got in my first argument with a photographer stranger.. We were here at Thor’s Well along the Oregon Coast and he was here first.. so when I arrived he stated to me that he was doing 360 panoramic images of Thor’s Well and needed me to be out of his space. So this went on for about 30 minutes where I couldn’t shoot but now the light was getting really good and I moved up a bit but still behind him and 80 feet to this right.. this is when he stated to me that he has asked me nicely to stay out his way and the picture. I then asked him how am I suppose to shoot when you are doing a 360 pano – I have been waiting to shoot this Thor’s well for about 45 minutes ; so when can I move up so I can get into position to shoot it – he then says I respectfully asked you to stay out of my image.. so where can i shoot then I ask..he tells me I am an idiot and to stay way behind him .. with other photographers just watching this and not speaking up to help me..I told him if he wants to do 360 panos he needs to be doing this not on a Saturday night but a less busy night. Then an older gentlemen strolls into his picture frame where he begins to shout at him and then state, ” is everyone an idiot and dumbass around here ? ” At this point my wife is scared and tells me she is going to wait in the car.. I then creep up to the right of him about 100 feet to the right where now I am in danger from rogue waves on the other side.. he yells me again and I ask where the hell am I allowed to shoot .. he tells me I should take my wife’s cue and get the hell out of here.. he goes on and gets a lot worse.

All I want to say is professional or not no one should ever yell at another person over a particular spot. If a person who isn’t a photographer wants to watch or happens to get into the line sight of another – be patient they will move – it is a public place… after he told me I had no business down there all I can say is that this really affected me and wonder why other photographers have to have an ego – aren’t we suppose to be having fun !!! This person should be ashamed of their behavior.”  Kevin McNeal

I often have more issues in life with people who claim to agree with me or who enjoy doing the same things I do, than I do with those that don’t.  Let’s just say it bothers me more when they behave badly.

From wildlife photographers who choose to affect the behavior of wild animals, even when there are other photographers present who want natural behavior, to wildlife photographers who proudly get in the way of others, they make us all look bad.  I actually know one photographer who is into forced behavior by baiting , who has also bragged how he got in the way of other wildlife photographers, preventing them from getting pictures. It did not surprise me that the same photographer exhibited both bad behaviors. Wildlife photographers are no worse than landscape photographers. If you are making a picture and another photographer shows up, he/she should allow you to finish your picture before they expect you to move.  On the other hand, photographers who seem to think they own the planet and want you out-of-the-way even if it will be dark by the time they finish their images, leaving you with nothing, are to be disregarded and discarded.  I can become angry with non-photographers who either spoil our images or think they own the landscape, but I become far angrier when it comes to selfish or crude behavior by photographers.  They make us all look bad.

The truth is that I have seen very few photographers who are as rude and self-serving as those I or Kevin have mentioned above. It of course, only takes one or two out of a thousand to cast all of us in a bad light.  Join me in being willing to speak up when a photographer has gone over the line in selfishness. I have genuinely done that and in my case, it caused him to leave in embarrassment, and that made several  “good guy” photographers quite happy.

I should add that Kevin McNeal is a gentleman. If I were treated as he was by such a self-centered, narcissistic egomaniac, well I hate to think what I would have said.

Answer to frog question:  Today’s picture of a Bull Frog is a crop.  You can tell that by the semi-panoramic format.  If you look at the water you’ll see it is running uphill. If the frog was on land this would not be an issue as the land can run uphill or downhill.  Unless you are photographing waves, water will settle to an even level on the surface.  Since it’s a crop I can easily fix that problem by making a different cut to my crop, or tilting the entire picture to the right and then making a straight crop.

Have the best of days and may God Bless,                                                                                       Wayne

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