Every photographer has a favorite place near home to practice their craft. Mine is called Bong State Recreation Area in southeastern Wisconsin. Not a very romantic name but a location that facilitated for me, subjects and opportunities for all of the major nature categories.
These two pictures of a Belted Kingfisher (top), and a Sandhill Crane, were made within 100 feet of each other, separated by four months. Bong has never failed to provide for me.
Even closer to home. Among my favorite winter/early spring visitors to this lake I live near called Michigan, are cute little ducks called Buffleheads. This little male was photographed in early May which means he is in breeding plumage. Look carefully at the dark area around the head. Gold, green and varied shades of purple make this seemingly ordinary little fellow special. Just out of camera view is a sexy little female that causes him to strut his stuff. A simple but happy life.
Springtime is indeed special along the bays and harbors of Lake Michigan. My favorite time of all is when migrating Caspian Terns start arriving. They are boisterous and gregarious. They will court and mate in their brief stopover here and they will also scold, scold, scold, as this one is. I enjoy this shot because while I caught the main subject nice and sharp, the other birds slowly dissolve into a fuzzy obscurity. Notice the first bird next to our squawker. One little (also migrating) Bonaparte’s Gull. A gull among terns…so to speak.
One thing you can always find around Lake Michigan is gulls. This is likely a Herring Gull. They are worth a few pix when they preen. Note the ice at the bottom of the screen. Winter can add some flavor to a scene.
I am not quite sure where I made this image. I have made a lot of images like this I in my life. A cute little bird and a good, clean picture. Normally they are brown (those little brown birds!), but ultimately I have no idea what this is. I used to belong to several email birding groups where I could find experts for help, but those times are gone. I’ll just call this little fellow a little yellow/green bird, and thank him/her for posing for me. I would imagine, that when I worked the camera with this bird, I was pretty excited.
While I love all of the popular national parks that I have visited, often times I would rather visit the less popular ones. Theodore Roosevelt N.P. in North Dakota is one such place. Smaller crowds with a nice blend of wildlife and landscapes. Below is the only part of “Teddy” that many people see, the overlook outside the park.
Back to Bong. Just because a location is good for birds does not mean it can’t be great for many other things. I have arrived at Bong before sunrise and left after sunset several times over the years. In this case, Wolf Lake provided me with one of dozens of sunrises I have made here.
If the clouds are great, why not feature them as a photo all by themselves?
It won’t be long and my favorite season will begin its journey. To me, autumn is both the most peaceful, and the most short-lived of the seasons. It takes forever to get here, but leaves much too soon. I love atmosphere and mood, and autumn has that in spades. I look at atmosphere and mood as photographic subjects, in and of themselves. How can anybody resist a quiet but moody time of year, that provides photographers with riotous colors?
Very soon we will have those magical beginnings where green meets gold. Like it was a member of the Green Bay Packers, early fall will straddle the line of color. In autumn’s case, that line will be between summer green and fall gold.
If your fortunate enough to live in the western mountains, the Aspens will already be displaying their magic. This was made in September in Wyoming.
Autumn is just as much a season that urges a photographer to look down, as is spring. If you’re a photographer, go out early when the dew is still present, and catch the morning sun as it skims across the fallen leaves. You will find little valleys of shadows in between the peaks.
May God Bless, Wayne
Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give unto you, not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.