Lost & Found

A good location (habitat) for one species of wildlife, is always good for other creatures as well. I’ve shown images from this Great-blue Heron rookery (too) many times. I am not sure if I’ve ever shown pictures of other wildlife that I photographed during my visits. Great Egrets are really just herons by another name. There were usually a couple of nests of these pretty birds in the corner far in the back of the rookery. One day I was privileged to have one parent fishing right in front of me. That is actually something that the Great-blue parents rarely did. They generally “commuted” to a distant wetland instead. I was happy to see this display while the Great-blue activity was in a lull. Shortly after this, I turned my attention first to a Green Heron, and then some Wood Ducks.dsc_54171bbbGBHEgretRookbbb GBHEgret2bbb Natural history is still a part of nature photography. Every photographer understandably wants to get noticed, and to be thought of as an artist, but there are stories to tell and people to be educated. This Bank Swallow stands at the precipice of its home. I have spent countless hours with this species of bird, and every one has prospered me in my education. There are no boundaries to your education and edification when you are out photographing nature.dsc_5770 I’ve always enjoyed wild mammal photography, and what could be more compelling than a pretty Red Fox vixen, and a spring storm.fox3-147bb1 The argument between which is better, color or black & white, began in the early 20th Century, and it goes on today. Of course b & w is a departure from reality. My view and yours on what makes a good b & w, and what does not, is likely different and that’s what makes it interesting. After spending many years shooting black and white film, and developing that film and making my own prints, pre-visualizing a colorful world in black and white is easy for me. Just the same, making images in color, that are meant to be color, and deciding which to convert to black and white can be problematic for me. All of the images below have been shown many times in full color. In fact, most of them are heavily saturated in eye-popping color. It takes a different way of looking at the world to acquire a “feeling” for colorless imagery. In my opinion, the Texas landscape of El Capitan with an Agave plant in the foreground, and the old Mississippi River railroad bridge work the best in black & white. Both images, work just as well in color, but the mood is vastly different.Copy of 5dsc_0089 Copy of 3DSC_1607 Copy of 7eDSC_3240 Copy of 10Bong 727 009b Copy of Copy of Copy of DSC_0144 copyAnd2more Copy of Copy1c of ANWRUtah 171And2more Copy of Railroad Tracks River I decided to show you this final image in both b & w and color. This shot is (obviously) of red rocks and flowers, and the difference in the two pictures is almost jarring. The color picture puts you on your seat. Still, if you ignore the color shot, and only concentrate on the b & w, it has a high desert quality worthy of a 1940s John Ford western.Copy of dDSC_2535 dDSC_2535 ———————————————————————————————————– I have been seeing a lot of nice pictures of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) recently. I’ve only photographed this phenomenon one time. I was in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the images were made on film. I photographed star trails once in Colorado (film in the 1970s) and I’ve made a lot of moon shots, but no eclipses, and really, nothing unusual. All in all, I wasn’t as prolific as I should have been on these fantastic subjects. I should have more and better images to show for all of those years as a photographer. Among some nice work on the Northern Lights I have seen recently, include that from two local photographers who are friends of mine. Great shots that have both been published by outside sources. My favorite recent Aurora image was made by Dave Grubb, in Finland. It’s pretty hard to beat the clarity and contrasts that are possible with images of this subject when they are made in northern Finland, the Yukon or Siberia. Notice how powerful this subject is when it is not edge to edge, but rather a central focal point of the overall image. The tree silhouette is tack sharp and compliments the sky rather than fighting with it for attention. Oh to be in Finland.Dave Grubb, Northern Lights, Finland https://www.flickr.com/photos/dgcctv/16879402222/in/pool-canondslr ————————————————————————————————- Memories From The Field This may become a regular feature here at Earth Images. Of course that will occur only if my memories of the many great days out making pictures, both alone and with others, are still vivid enough in my mind.  Memories of my thousands of photography days from the past, are often lost, and only sometimes found.  Days like the one below however, will always be fresh in my memory. Several years ago I spent an entire day with a Snowy Owl. Before dawn until after dusk. At that point in time, the bird was already the most famous (and photographed) single bird in the history of my home state of Wisconsin. Shortly after I arrived (in the dark), a good friend and fellow photographer drove up in back of me. To go through that day minute by minute, or even hour by hour would take me a few hundred paragraphs to complete. Every second of every day in the field is significant. The real story is about the accumulation of moments, and what they mean to each of us. People came and people went all day. I met a Scottish wildlife biologist who was there studying the habits of Harriers. I was richer for the experience. I met for the first time, many people who were on the Wisconsin Birding Network. They came and they went. Finally the sun disappeared and it was time to begin my 85 mile drive home. The only person left besides me, was my friend. From before dawn until after dusk, we stayed. Our visitor from the arctic was providing us with many great “moments”. Finally darkness began to take over the world and we said our goodbyes, first to the owl, and then to each other. As I drove off I remembered that there had been Short-eared Owls flying at dusk, almost every day, less than a mile from there. Maybe there were still a few more moments to be had. Even though it was too dark for photos, I just had to watch them fly. Even perfect days have flaws, and there were no owls to be seen. I suddenly realized that a lone car had been behind me. You guessed it. My friend had followed me, also hoping for this day not to end.  I think we were both hoping for just a few more moments. We said our goodbyes (again) and went our separate ways. We both knew that this had been a special day. One not to be forgotten. 19DSC_0833 Thank you to the Snowy Owl, and a special thank you to my friend. Wayne

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