The Crop & Other Stuff

The crop.

This pretty, vertical photo of a Canada Goose scratching where it itches, is of nice quality, but a deeper crop of the same picture is acceptable. but barely. While I love frame filling bird pictures, if they are a result of a major crop, the quality will go south until finally it will be no good. This deep crop is “just” acceptable but it was still worth the try.DSC_4873-01


There used to be a wild hybrid, probably a Canada/Greater White-fronted Goose (maybe Canada/Snow Goose) combo, near the Racine harbor, who loved to preen and pose near people.

The two images followed by their crops can be seen below. The originals are surely better than the crops but the crops are usable for the purpose of this post.DSC_4877-01




One great thing about making a wildlife photo with more than one animal, is that you can create multiple crops from that single picture.

This original photo with two preening Canada Geese, is itself a small crop. I cropped further making a separate image for both birds. The vertical crop is actually my favorite picture among today’s images. There’s a goose in there somewhere. I think the more extreme crops are more powerful.




Other stuff.

Clean, simple backgrounds are the aim of most wildlife photographers when it comes to portraits or light action.

This male American Goldfinch, presents itself in all its glory. That simple background allows viewers to absorb the colors of the bird, as well as its personality, and do so without conflict.DSC_6397

Insect photography is also wildlife photography, and dragonflies benefit from the same simple backgrounds.DSC_0044

All bird or insect photography does not have to be a super close-up. Backing off can be even more artful.


A public zoo gave me an otherwise unlikely possibility for a portrait of an African Cinereous Vulture. A reasonably clean background made for a compelling portrait of this regal scavenger.CV2

We are now in late summer, and April is just a memory. I made this shot in April of 2008, and it reminds me of how many types of images, and how many different subjects nature photographers have at their fingertips. I love taking intimate little scenes and stretching them out, photographically speaking. Both long lens visual compression and wide angle “stretches” are important tools for any photographer.


I’ve known photographers were who were all about the subject. There was one specific photographer who considered himself a wildlife photographer so he wouldn’t so much as bend over to make a picture of a flower. In fact, even when it came to wildlife, he often would not photograph birds if he thought they were too common, or if he already had a decent image of a species. If he was out during the most spectacular autumn colors in a century, he would never consider making a picture.

I have always considered everything that I find to be a potential photographic subject. No matter what I was after on any given day, my eyes, ears, and photographic prowess was always ready for whatever might come up. I especially spent a lot of time looking down.

A pair of wild Geranium petals that had fallen onto a bed of moss, was to me, as interesting as anything I photographed that day. I guess it is true that beauty is in the eye of beholder.2DSC_4052

I’ll leave you with this image made at sunrise at Illinois Beach State Park in October of 2013. This misty, dreamy sort of sunrise, is as representative of who I have been as a photographer as anything I can share.FallIllBeach 047abc


Opinions are a dime a dozen, ideas are hard to find.

I was watching an old 50s western (of course) on TV yesterday and one cowboy said to the other, if everybody pulled in the same direction, the world would tip over. While the science of that is pretty dubious, the point to be made was that we need a variety of different ideas just the keep the world in balance. I think it is fair to say, that a bigger variety of world and societal views inside Communist Russia/Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, might have saved this planet a lot of horror and death. How about Cambodia? North Korea? Cuba? How about the many African, dictatorial genocides we have seen throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries?

The point to be made is, an honest exchange of ideas, can help keep the world free and always moving forward. I don’t think we want one scientist to invent all the new science, one government wonk to be the final word on what sort of government we will have, one medical doctor to decide which treatment every sick person will receive, or one general to decide when and where the world will war (or not).

Still, the issue facing the world today isn’t a lack of opinions, it’s the totalitarian nature of those opinions. Those seemingly diverse opinions are in fact the result of “group think”. Our children are not learning to think for themselves, they instead are being told the most noble act is to be a part of a group. They have also been taught that if their group is to be successful, they must shout down or shut up any differing opinions they hear. It seems that all opinions today, are interconnected throughout specific groups, and many of those groups are self-serving, and often violent. A one world view is taught as the answer, at the expense of independent, creative thinking. That one world, group thinking, is both communistic and fascist in nature.

Individual thinkers have trouble getting their ideas heard over the noise, but that is where most creative and constructive thought rests.

While families and friends banding together, and this nation pulling together, has been one part of our success, independent effort, thought, and rugged individualism is at the root of it all. Our founding fathers had opinions, but they also had independent  ideas.

Opinions without ideas are at best meaningless and at worst destructive. The opinion should always follow the idea  not the other way around.  What we are currently seeing are group opinions followed by group action which is almost always destructive. What we are not seeing……are ideas.

That’s my opinion based on my ideas.

I think this is the day to end one of my posts in a high note.

Like everyone, I was horrified at the impact that Hurricane Harvey had on Texas. My heart goes out to those Texans who have, and are suffering so much. A number of years ago I spent two days in Rockport, Texas on the gulf, as I photographed birds., I was saddened to see how little of this quaint little town was left standing.

Now for the high note. I have never been more proud of my fellow Americans for giving of themselves at unprecedented levels. From the heroic police and fire and rescue operations, on to the Texas state and the American federal government, going all the way to the White House, and on to the thousands of everyday Americans who have given so much!

God Bless, America,

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