Historically Speaking

All of my own images shown on these pages are from the past, ranging from a few years to thirty years ago. All of my stories from the field are theretofore, from the same time in history.

I also write about current events, and share the current work of other photographers. I do so because, even though it may often sound like I live in the past, I am very much aware of today’s (and tomorrow’s) world. Tomorrow will become today in a blink, and it’s not long until today is “yesterday’s news”. Each and every one of us, is creating history right now. I am very aware that this rather insignificant blog, is creating a “type” of historic perspective, each and every time I hit the publish button. Only a small smattering of humanity will ever realize that, but in many ways, that’s the coolest (ugh, coolest?) part about writing it.

The reason, really the only reason, why I remain on social media and follow both newsmakers and everyday people, is because each of them is making history while I watch.

The most interesting historical document ever written is the Bible. It teaches us history, shows us who we are today, and lets us know what will become of us tomorrow. That’s why I began a journey through that Book yesterday, and will continue today and tomorrow.

Now from some old pictures.

Blue skies and white (Snowy) owls just seem to go together.

This first shot was made at Bong State Recreation Area here in Wisconsin. This was my first Snowy ever, and you always remember your first. This is a young female who despite her young age, became dubbed “Her Majesty” due to her pompous and regal nature. This rare, afternoon shoot with her, represented one of the few times that she looked right at me, and acknowledged my existence. This is one of three occasions that I had “Her Majesty” all to myself. The winter of 2005/2006 was the time frame.

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The winter of 2007/2008 brought the appearance of this young male who became at that time, the most photographed and famous bird in Wisconsin history. He cared even less about people than my first Snowy. He spent his winter at Horicon Marsh NWR which is also here in Wisconsin.

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While Her Majesty only had a small smattering of observers, and the young male drew throngs of onlookers, neither were baited or harassed. That was to change over the years and while other Snowy Owls entered my life and my photo files, it was never the same, and I gave up making pictures of them, even before I gave up photography. As pure and wonderful as the subjects were, the photographers and their photographic greed took over and ruined the experience for me an others.

Over the last years of my photography, the only wildlife images I made where I shared the space with a lot of other photographers was with Red Foxes, and those photographers were not in any way selfish or consumed with greed. Wildlife photography with a group of other photographers can be fun when the photographers care about both the subjects, and respect the rights of those other photographers with which they share the space.

Poppa fox with a squirrel brings back memories of a great time spent with several photographer friends making pictures of him and his whole family.

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I made this one in 2009 and was all by my lonesome as I created images of a half grown group of Red Fox kits. They provided me with nonstop action. This image required a shutter speed of 1/640th sec which left me with an aperture of f/7.1 which gave me just enough depth of field to cover the fox. It helped that its body was “almost” parallel to me. I cut off its tail, but nobodies perfect.

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Humans are mammals and that means we tend to identify with other mammals. This little Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel seems to, and I said seems to, be praying. Maybe he/she was hoping that it was only a camera lens pointing at it.

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Playing with light on the land and the water, was something I cherished even more than wildlife photography.

White Sands New Mexico gave me plenty of opportunities to create “light and shadowscapes”. Layers of light, and how it affects various tones within a scene, and what the photographer does with it, or how she/he uses it, is an art form within itself.

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This image is the Mississippi River at sunrise from some bluffs in Iowa. I would have loved to have been able to use the waterways as leading lines into either a glowing red body of water, or a dark abyss within the shadows, but I would have drowned doing that so I settled a mishmash of lines that were beautiful, but a bit confusing to the eye.

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A contrasty but accurate rendition of a road into the Utah desert. Scenes like this bring back powerful memories for me. Historically speaking.

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Photography is for the birds.

I have made more images of birds (well maybe other than race cars) in my life than any other subject. I think most people love watching birds.

I’ve caught Eastern Meadowlarks in song many times in my life. It is not difficult to do as they are happy to perform for an audience.

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Action bird photography is always fun and there is nothing in these parts easier to practice on than our local, resident Ring-billed Gulls. A winter’s day is the perfect time to sit and attempt all sorts of great shots. That would included flying just above the snow.

Pinpoint focus is important with a shot like this, and manual focus can make that difficult. I pre-focused on a spot in the snow, and began rapid firing just before the bird arrived on that spot.

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Racial harmony. A Great Egret and bunch of American Coots.

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Photography, especially animal photography, can be used symbolically (as a metaphor)  to make a lot of points that are relevant to the human animal.

I am not sure whether this is Dad or Mom Trumpeter Swan. You can just see the tail feathers of the other one. Of course this scene is about the five little swans, but it is difficult to ignore a big swan looking us right in the face.

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It is true that it is less than fruitful to live in the past. The present will be missed if all we do is reminisce about yesterday. It is just as true that those who do not look at the trail behind them, will never understand what’s in front of them.

Now go out today, and create some great history for tomorrow.

Wayne

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