Good Behavior

The one thing you can capture in wildlife photography, that you cannot with landscape photography, is behavior. At least not in the common definition. All wildlife action, is behavior, although not all behavior is action.. Stretching, eating, mating, preening, scratching, yawning and just walking are all behaviors and actions. Sometimes they tell us something special about an animal, sometimes not, but they are all a part of what and who they are, and therefore worthy of our camera, and our sharing. Sometimes a static pose is behavior. A predator standing motionless, waiting for the proper moment to strike, or prey hiding quietly in a habitat that provides camouflage, in order to escape that predator, are both behaviors. My Nikon 500mm F4 lens was used for every picture below, except the turtle (105 macro) and the Great Egret bursting into flight, where I used a 70-300mm zoom set at 195mm. That Egret shot is the only picture in today’s post where auto focus was employed. I am of course not against auto focus. That (older model) 500mm prime lens does not have that feature. I specifically made the decision to use manual focus with the turtle picture so I could be absolutely sure I had my focus where I wanted it. It helped that it was a turtle, and not say, a deer bounding away. For those of you who still pursue stock photography in the old-fashioned traditional sense, meaning that you still contact editors yourself and sell your work at full price, understanding the value of your individual images in respect to how they relate to a story that might appear in a magazine, book, or online, is significant. A picture of a bird flying, or a rabbit bounding away, says much about who they are, what they do, and why. Those images are not necessarily just another action shot, to be viewed and then forgotten. See if you can find groups of pictures that seem unrelated, and figure out what they might do to aid telling a story that you might find in a publication. Eventually do the same thing, but suggest an article to that publication. Finally try to write it yourself, with your pictures to illustrate of course. Birds love to preen (it is actually a life or death necessity), and photographers love the catch them in the act. This is a Tundra Swan. Their migration can be a spectacle to be seen and photographed.1DSC_3460 Canada Goose, gosling.2dsc_4181b This headless beauty is a Rough-legged Hawk.3DSC_9240 Birds also shake, flap their wings, scratch and bathe. From the standpoint of the photographer, all behavior is good behavior. Male Northern Shoveler4Ducks 176 Female Bufflehead Duck6DSC_7241Pigeon7Mute 086 Brown-headed Cowbird8DSC_9258 Flight is always a form of behavior. This Forster’s Tern is fishing from the sky.10Horicon09d 120 Ring-billed Gull11DSC_7369 American White Pelicans12Hor31b 095 Snow Goose13DSC_2684 The catalyst for flight. White Egret.14HorE 030 Attempting to find food is one of life’s (ours and theirs), most common behaviors. Male Greater Scaup fishing.15zDSC_6769 Male common Goldeneye.16DSC_7158 American White Pelican.17aPelMissBlog We can help in the search for food, and capitalize on the result. Chipping Sparrow18DSC_3036 Male Baltimore Oriole19HawthornOrioles 005 Of course for any species to continue, they must procreate, and we should be there to observe and photograph. Caspian Terns.20DSC_7496 Behavior without action. American Bittern standing motionless, trying not to be seen.20egHor2008 126b Black-crowned Night Heron, posed motionless waiting to strike at a fish.20fHorMGlory 136 Of course, not all animal behavior is exhibited by birds. Photographing a turtle in action is fairly hard to do, in the sense that finding a turtle in action is unusual. They do most of their moving when we are not looking. This Painted Turtle however, kept on trucking even though I was only a few feet away.21DSC_0068 Movement is always behavior and that surely includes walking. This River Otter managed to lift her right rear leg high, at just the right moment.22SoraHor 038 For a Red Fox, scratching during the summer months (heat, fleas, etc.), is a key and important behavior/action.23CaspianFox 033 If walking is behavior, so must be stopping. This little Red Fox Kit, was taking a casual stroll when, well, nature took its course. There’s always a story to tell, and sometimes a pose to show.  I always illustrated everything an animal did.24NewFox1 086 25FoxFri2 066 The above images were chosen in a totally random fashion. I, and many of you could share tens of thousands of pictures that fit this category. Partnering with our wild friends is the most fun you can have in photography. I cannot imagine any outdoor photographer not photographing at least some wildlife. —————————————————————————————————— I have an old friend where the only connection that remains between us, is Flickr Photos. He emailed me because he just realized, that the pictures I share there, are in fact old. I explained, to the degree I felt compelled to, why that was the case. He asked me what I missed the most. I could have gone over a long list, including wildlife, landscapes, macros, abstracts road trips, the great outdoors, seeing my work published, and on and on and on. My answer was teaching workshops. While the quality of my shops rose and fell a few times over the years, when I was at my best, those teaching sessions gave me more satisfaction than anything I have ever done. I was always pleased to have adequately taught the technical aspects of image making, but anytime I saw the eyes and heart of a participant, open up to a world they never dreamed of, and a way of seeing that world that they never knew existed, I was at my happiest. The best moments of life, are few in number, but amazingly rewarding. Never fail to recognize them while they are happening. God Bless,                                                                                                                                       Wayne

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