Be There or Be Square

Being in the right place at the right time is certainly advantageous to nature photographers. The truth be told, every place is the right place for those with their eyes open and their mind as well.

Today I share with you a gorgeous moody image of a Tri-colored Heron
made by Colorado photographer Dan Walters. Dramatic poses are great
but so is dramatic light. Don’t be frightened away by early and late
in the day light, or by highlights and shadows. They do need to fall
in the right places, but oh so often, they do.

Speaking of dramatic color, this Michael Frye  picture has drama and
artsy written all over it. I fell in love with this the moment I saw
it. The location is a central valley in California!
2CA Central valley Michael FryeThe

The two pictures above, are “dripping in art”!!

I Usually when I share photos on this blog that were created by some of
the world’s top pros, and then I also display images of my own, I add
the disclaimer that I am no way attempting to claim my pictures are on
the level of the others I share.

I mean that for the most part, but frankly, some times I do believe my
images are on the level of the visitors.  Today I really mean it. We
have two great pros, but  a hodgepodge of images from me that I truly
did just grab out of some old folders.

We can learn from the best, from the average, and from failures as well.

Beginning wildlife photographers often want to start with a trip to
Africa or India, and fill their files with things like lion and tiger
images. Start near home, even in your own backyard.

Most people have one version of a squirrel or another nearby to use as
practice animals.

The Gray Tree Squirrel is certainly common enough around these parts.
They are interesting, strike great poses, and easy to practice focus,
depth of field, and composition on.  Yes, those pictures will
sometimes sell also.
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If you live here in the U.S., and you are within 50 miles of water,
the chances are good that there is at least one member of the gull
family around to practice your wildlife photography on.

No, I did not toss the piece of bread to this Ring-billed Gull, but I
was not ashamed enough to pass up this opportunity.
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Swallows of one sort or another, make great practice critters as well.
The Tree Swallow, is widely dispersed and is often tolerant of a close
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If you have a marsh nearby, very often you will have the common
Muskrat as well. They can be spooky or they can be ridiculously
tolerant. This one was ridiculous.
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Those same marshes will likely have one form of a wading bird or
another. I did not shy away from dramatic, contrasty light when I
found this Snowy Egret fishing, I embraced it. It is in fact, 50% of
what this image is about.
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The small creatures of nature are just as much wildlife as are the
larger ones. If memory serves, I spent quite a bit of time clicking
and refocusing as this dragonfly would fly and return to that perch.
Practice will make you better and often that can happen near home.

Sometimes we do get opportunities with rare animals, and sometimes
they don’t quite work out.  The image below as made in the desert
southwest of the U.S.

This Desert Kit Fox, and that does not refer to its age but to its
species, was cooperative, but I could not gain enough depth of field
to capture that all important face and its butt both sharply.  That
out of focus butt, being closer to us as we view the image, ruins the

When opportunities arise give it your best and live with what you get.
This image was made many, many years ago on film.
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If you are anywhere near a body of water as in the first image below,
or a prairie as in the second, and you are willing to get up early, or
use up your late afternoon for image making, you will be able to
create some mood provoking and powerful images.  Mood can be as
important in photography as is the subject.


Whether you are half way around the world, or in your own backyard,
there are opportunities galore.  You just have to be there.


I can be a strange sort of guy. Few who have known me for very long would
argue that point.

When it comes to work, money, and for that matter, much of life, I am
a basic, fundamentally common sense sort of guy. I try not to
interject my “feelings” into things that need to get done. When I make
decisions with fundamental common sense, they often work. Decisions by
emotion almost always fail for me. I fulfill  most (certainly not all)
of life’s daily duties using a large dose of the real world. I do not
make many daily decisions based on my feelings.

When it comes to art or entertainment, my feelings come into play. In
fact, when it comes to writing, be it poetry or prose, or the writings
I hear in music, be they lyrics or notes, as well as things like
plays, paintings, movies and TV shows, mood, atmosphere, flow and uniqueness are
paramount to me. In retrospect, I think that has been the case for all
of my life. At least as far back as my memory carries me.

So here’s to common sense when applicable, and mood and inspiration
when the subject and timing is right!!


A final thought.

As virtually every school in the U.S., kindergarten-college is closed due to the
Coronavirus, instead of looking at this as a calamity, might we take a
few moments to look at it as a possibility.

Schooling does not have to take place between the four walls of the
classroom, or for that matter, by attending a public school online.

My K-12 education was superb, be it many, many years ago. They taught
subjects (and respect and honor) rather than politics and philosophy.
With all that said, the education of living taught me much more. Could
it be, that children, along with their parents or guardians, might make use
of the parent’s knowledge, with of course books and the internet to
aid where necessary, and actually gain from this time instead of
recede?  Who knows, our children might go back to school better
educated. They might even teach the teacher a thing or two.

God Bless, and Happy Trails,

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