Today’s post is one of those “a little bit of everything” articles
that is based on a bunch of my old images, and whatever comes to mind
when I look at them. As is often the case with this sort post, I had
another written (actually, several weeks ago) and ready to go, and
decided for a simpler, less controversial article. A replacement. I
do that fairly often, and sometimes those articles originally meant to
go, are published in a few days, and sometimes never. My theory seems
to be, if I am not in the mood to publish a post on a touchy subject,
then I must be in the mood to publish another post that is sort of
“milk toast”, with nothing to argue about.
Young male birds, who exist under the rules of sexual dimorphism,
often go through their ugliest phase in the autumn of their first
year. Not quite grownups, not quite babies. Their pretty colors are
starting to bloom, but they appear muddy and dirty.
I always loved photographing animals at every phase of their life.
The male Yellow-headed Blackbird below, is giving us signs of the
“prettiness” to come, but alas, he is still muddy and needs to some
time before he wows us.
This male Goldfinch is actually just coming out of his pale, common
winter coat. Many male birds go through that immature look every year.
Some young males of a species, actually are quite beautiful. The white
patch on the cheeks let us know that these are male Common Goldeneyes.
This is one of my favorite shots of this species despite the fact that
the boys are well, still boys.
This male Red-winged Blackbird is all grown-up and ready to wow the
ladies. They are early migrators, and often are well ahead of the
females. I caught this guy looking for a female or maybe for trouble with another male. This was made on the date of March 6th here in Wisconsin.
I do not remember what produced that beautiful reddish background, but
the image is perfectly natural. It bothers me not a bit that some of
bird’s feathers were cut off by me. That is certainly not always the
case with me but when an image works, just go with it and let it work.
More bird stuff.
This is a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird photographed the old
fashioned way, with a camera, lens, tripod and manual focus. Of
course, high-speed flash which could catch the wings frozen existed at
the time this was made. Today, pushed ISOs (and therefore shutter
speed) and great sharpening software make is possible to catch those
wings sharp without flash. You use what “you got” with you and go ahead and make
your pictures. I always preferred that to going home empty and saying
“I wish I could, I wish I could“
I was always very careful with female birds sitting on eggs. Killdeer
can be simple, but you still have to be careful not to alert others to
their presence, and be cautious about actually running over them. This
bird was right on the edge of a small road through s state park.
Click, click, click, and leave.
Contrasty sidelight and a black bird can mean trouble with detail. If
you are lucky enough to have the bird turn its head into the sun, an
image with high contrast can be dramatic and still display enough
detail throughout, to be an interesting picture. This is a
I’ve traveled a lot of places in my life, where I knew I would only
have a very brief few moments to visit and make photos. Such was the
case with El Morro National Monument in New Mexico. I was there for
maybe two hours in what I believe was the early 1990s. It was late
winter and the light was harsh, and there was no snow to create some
natural drama. I did what I could to use the contrast to create drama,
and moved on.
With this first image I looked to make a picture with high details and
bright light, but also deep shadows. The results are what they are, but I
did accomplish my goal with my Pentax 6×7 film camera.
I found another area with a little bit more light falling across the
land. In thise case while I knew the scene would be high contrast, my
desire was to have detail in most of the image. I made a thoughtful
and pleasing if somewhat standard composition, and then it was on to
Bosque del Apache NWR for some critters.
The last light of day can also have some inherently high contrast, but
also some mouth watering colors.
This was made on the agate rocks of the shoreline of Lake Superior in
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I saw a monster on the rocks………well,
actually I spotted the shadow of my tripod and camera, and decided to
play around a little. I also made some images minus the shadow, but in
some ways this is more fun.
We are surrounded by potential images every time we step out the door.
This 1980s image (I believe) of some frosty autumn leaves was one of
many I made on a very chilly, but incredible morning. Every nature
photographer should look down.
Total abstraction is a direction that many photographers are not
willing to explore. I love working with water that is in and out of the
shadows. While this is a slow shutter speed image, I encourage all of
you to experiment with slow and fast speeds, and deep and shallow
depth of field. You don’t always know until you try.
Let’s end with a simple image of a male Red Fox out on the hunt.
There’s nothing wrong with an image of a cool animal out going about
its life. I was privileged to live a lot of those moments.
Have a great day, Wayne