In the past I have described my process of deciding what photos to
show in a new post, as kin to throwing darts against a wall of photos while
I was blindfolded, and sharing whatever those darts produced. I have
come as close to doing that today, as is possible.
I began with a 10 minute process of opening folders on some external hard
drives. Many of the files in those folders that I clicked were not
immediately familiar to me, although in the end there were only a few
that I have never before shared. I just moved the mouse cursor in any
direction and then suddenly stopped. You’ll have to trust me on that.
Now understand, I quit editing my folders a long time ago. I leave the
bad images in with the “ok” ones, and with the winners as well. I
cannot tell a lie and there were some files that were selected which
were soooo bad that I did not even give them a close look, but for the
rest, well, here we are. Some were basic RAW files, and some were jpg
copies, and some were jpgs that were resized and minimally edited.
Photographing wildlife is an educational joy. This is especially true when you come
upon young animals.
I spent the better part of the day photographing White-tailed Prairie
Dogs in Colorado several years ago. When I lived in Colorado in an earlier time, I had 14
acres of land that I kept my horses on, and there were thousands of
Black-tailed Prairie Dogs living there. The Black-tails were also cute and
displayed some great behavior, but they always looked extremely
overweight. Not so much with these White-tails.
These two young animals are displaying their
“sentinel” tendencies. Standing back to back, looking for predators
makes their lives safer and longer. They can each see a 180 degree
view, and back to back, that adds up to a full 360 degree range of
While I worked with these animals I witnessed, and made a (bad)
photograph of a Swainson’s Hawk carry off a member of these guy’s
Snakes, hawks, Golden Eagles, Badgers and other weasels, foxes,
coyotes, Bobcats and even Black Bears and Mountain Lions all feast on
these guys. Well, not actually these two guys as they are pretty
Many of my most personally fulfilling days as a photographer were
spent with a variety of Red Foxes over a three or four year period.
Once again, the babies (kits) were hard to resist.
These siblings spent about 20 minutes playing and roughhousing on a
hillside near Lake Michigan. It ended in a split second when dad
signaled he was headed out to hunt, and mom and the kids (kits) were
back in the den like greased lightning.
Every member of a given species cannot be “picture perfect”. They are
all part of the natural world and it worked best for me as a
photographer, to take them as they come.
I photographed this male at a different location the year before the
babies in the previous photos. He was a bit gnarly and scraggy, but
tolerated my presence and that made him a great subject by my
While I love pictorial story telling with my subjects, I still prefer
artful images that seem to say more with less. This “from behind” shot
would have been ignored by many of the photographers I have known in
my life. It is my favorite in this bunch despite its marginal
What does he see? Is he just contemplating his next move? Can foxes
reflect on their lives?
Remember, amphibians are great subjects too. I found this young Leopard Frog
one day while hiking around the edge of a small lake. My tripod and
camera are situated “almost” right above its little head.
The most popular subject for wildlife photographers is birds. I have
only photographed White Pelicans on the Texas Gulf Coast, along the
upper Mississippi River, and at Horicon Marsh NWR here in Wisconsin.
This shot was made in Texas.
The bump on the bill tells us that this bird is in breeding plumage
theretofore the image should have been made in spring. Along the Gulf
Coast, February 26 counts as spring.
Capturing things like that bump, is all just a part of being a
Displaying the season via wildlife photography can make a potentially
This male Ring-necked Pheasant was “tooling” along a small road when I
made this picture. The snow says something where and when I found this
Pheasants are a heavily hunted bird which does mean there are many
opportunities for usage of such images.
This is a “reasonable” image of a little Yellow-rumped Warbler, but
why it is called “yellow-rump”?.
Walla, taken care of.
Making pictures of birds and other animals isn’t necessarily about
getting great detailed shots of the subject.
The picture below depicts an immature Common Moorhen in its favorite
habitat. That of a marshy area with cattails. I was actually drawn to
this picture when there was no bird in my picture frame. The weeds and
their reflection, and the abstract design it produces, was all I
wanted. That was, until the bird walked into the frame and the picture
became something very different to me.
There are as many reasons to make a photo as there are people making them.
Sunrise and sunset are my times of day. Especially sunrise. It belongs
to me. If I didn’t buy it, I’ve earned it.
This early morning picture of a cityscape, and a rock taken well
before sunrise, is the kind of image making that feels natural to me.
The lack of substantial light, not only produced a moody image, but it
require a four second exposure.
I loved mornings like this. If I was still a smoker, I think I would require a cigarette now.
Even when I was headed to an antique ship & boat show on a river near
Lake Michigan, I made it a point to get there plenty early. The mast
(minus the sails) of this early 1800s ship, intrigued me enough to
make it my first subject of the day. I suppose I could have made this
photo with a blue or maybe a blank gray sky from later in the day, but
it just wouldn’t have been the same.
These are old film images copied with a digital camera and tripod, a
macro lens, and a daylight balanced light table.
Well it is safe to say, that picking images while throwing darts when
blindfolded, doesn’t produce a lot of award winners or big money makers,
but it does help show others just who you are. There is a piece of
ourselves, in every image we make.