Badlands, Good Times, & Weavers

There are three basic ways that people look at photos. It seems to me that most people view them in one of the three ways each and every time they look at a picture.

There are those who look to the subject of an image. If they like the subject they barely notice the quality of the image. To them, it is a great picture because it is a great subject. Then there are photography aficionados. They love great photography but don’t really care much about the content of the image. Then there are those who can find a bad picture of a great subject worth viewing and enjoying, and can love a great picture of a meaningless subject just for its photographic value, and always love a great photograph of a great subject. I put myself and most of the serious photographers I have known in the latter category. Either way, a picture is worth a thousand words and is much easier to produce.

Even if a slight camera movement only makes a small change in a scene, what the resulting picture “says“, will be different.

I love The Badlands of South Dakota and my fondest memories are when overcast skies produced saturated colors on the hills. When those overcast skies are ominous storms on the horizon, well, that’s the jackpot.

This first picture shows a look at the colorful and physically challenging (it’s why they call them the Badlands) formations with some obvious storms on the horizon. It is in fact, the Badlands with a storm.DSC_3293

Just one tiny adjustment to tilt the camera upwards on the tripod, produced an image of a storm with the Badlands, just the opposite of the previous image. Both valid, but with a different feel.DSC_3294

It’s the little stuff that matters.

I opted for a small amount of underexposure when I made those two Badlands pictures, to help hold the saturation that exists in the land. A very little bit of contrast has been added in the editing process and no artificial saturation at all.

When I look through my files, even I am surprised at just how many sunrise images I have made at the location near my home where the Pike River empties into Lake Michigan. A million mornings and a million sunrises. Well, maybe a hundred. Okay fifty. That’s still a lot. Special places only get more special with time and quantity.DSC_0356

Most photographers today wouldn’t even show a straight up natural history photo like this. To me, images like this are as important as more spectacular, or more artistic images. These wild Turkeys are searching in a winter’s corn field for left over kernels of corn. I made this image while on my way home from photographing Bald Eagles near a dam on the Wisconsin River. I was almost as excited about the turkeys.DSC_2347

Whether it’s boats or birds, a wake shows action. You know that this male Northern Shoveler’s feet are paddling away under the water because he is moving through that water as proved to us by the wake he is leaving behind.Copy of HorN1 012text

Sunny days can provide the light needed for wildlife, but it brings shadows. I took this photo of a male Eastern Meadowlark and when editing with Photoshop, cast an outline around most of the bird that is to the right of right most tree trunk. I opened it up by brightening that portion of the picture to make it “almost” as bright as the left side.DSC_5583

The coolest, most interesting image of the day is that of a Southern Masked Weaver Bird. The picture was made by Sumarie Abber and is a gem. I guess Weaver Birds must practice yoga as this one has its rear end upright, and its front end upside-down….all at the same time.35793043093_d8970c152c_z

Kind of a twisted way to close, but I will anyway.

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