The only thing that’s almost as much fun as creating images, is
analyzing them. It is my favorite hobby.
There’s nothing quite like a “play of light” upon the land. In
America, the Palouse farm country of Washington State is the premier
location for such. Photographer Dennis Westover caught that phenomenon
exquisitely in the image below.
Light and hills combine to make shadows, and shadows express
dimension. Showing what appears to be three dimensions within a flat
two dimensional photo is the one thing that keeps every photographer
Australian photographer Patrick Kavanagh caught this Mallee Ringneck
(wild Parrot or Parakeet?) with either a bit of nesting material or
lunch in its mouth. Either way, this beautiful bird as photographed at
eye level, is magnificent.
Capturing the true essence of a wild Rocky Mt. Bighorn Sheep ram,
would have required me to have backed off a bit and showed the entire
curl of its magnificent horns. Just the same, this close-up takes
viewers on a journey that explores the eyes and examines the fur,
nostrils and teeth of this guy. Photography allows viewers intimacy
with animals that they may never actually get close to.
I believe I made this shot in Wind Cave N.P., South Dakota.
This picture of an Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, which was made from my
car, not only shares an eye with us, you can almost count every hair
on its body, and every whisker on its nose and around its eyes.
High quality long lenses are irreplaceable in their ability to allow
for images that bring the world into even closer proximity to a wild
animal, than the photographer who made this picture actually was at
the time the shutter was clicked.
Note that in both of these images, an exposure that allowed
for good detail (no overexposure or underexposure), was one key to
Light can change in a second, and it can transform the mood of the subject.
These two pictures are of a single Snowy Owl, resting on the same
perch, and they were made only a few minutes apart. I was incredibly
fortunate (I thanked the owl), for getting two superb poses with which
to create my photos.
This first photo was made as a cloud moved in and created a shadow
over my subject. It is a less eye popping image than the next, but the
“prayer like” pose was perfect for the soft, gentle light.
The afternoon sun came back out and my subject almost seems to be
reveling in the warm ( this was winter) joy of it all.
Same bird, same perch, a few minutes later and two very different moods.
In the part of the world where I reside, the second most iconic
harbinger of spring is the male Eastern Meadowlark in full song. The
only thing more prolific is the male Red-winged Blackbird. Between the
two, the Meadowlark is a bit more challenging to capture so I was
always grateful for every opportunity.
I have caught other images of this species in song, but this picture
with its flawlessly clean background, shows the bird not only in full
song, but in profile with all of its markings available for
examination. Pictures like this were ( I imagine still are) very
sell-able in both the natural history and fine art markets.
There is no doubt in my mind, that the artist here is the bird.
Every wildlife picture does not have to be frame filling or need to be
illustrating well-known behavior.
This young Red Fox kit was out in the open, but upon seeing me it
retreated to the cover of some trees. Too bad you say! Not for me. I
have entire catalogs of files of foxes out in the open. This picture
was different, it told a more natural story, and is many ways more
Some days are just good.
I began today’s post with a non-wildlife image of the land. Let’s
finish with a flower photo that speaks just as much about light (and
color) and how it can transform an image as does that first photo.
This tulip, was just one in a sea of tulips. It was however, the only
one with the sun striking it. It also was the only one with that
eye-popping orange color. It took some effort to find and work
out the isolationist composition you see here, but if was well worth