Let us begin today’s photo journey with two excellent images from two great photographers.

This first one was created in New Zealand by photographer Paul Zizka. This is clearly a time exposure and Paul has caught the magic to the degree that I feel that I am actually  there when I view this.

This next one comes from Cheyenne Rouse and was clearly made in the American southwest. These are not wild horses but they are reservation horses. When I used to fly out to Phoenix for photo trips, my first journey was usually north of the city to a Native American reservation where there were horses running free within that large tract of land that was the reservation. This may well be that place. It’s a great shot and it brings back the atmosphere I felt when I was there.

There’s little that’s more fun for a nature photographer, at least for this one, than spending a few hours seeing how many local “little critters” can found as a target for a camera. In the upper Midwest, the Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel is one such critter. I knew photographers who would find an animal such as this, spend some time getting photos, and then scratch them off their list. In other words, been there done that. I never ever made rules like that.  An animal, or a flower, or a place, was never removed from my list. My philosophy was “till we meet again”.

Backlight can be an issue in animal photography. In this case, the light creased the head and one side of the face of the subject. I exposed in between the brightest and darkest areas and I did not burn out the bright areas, especially important on the squirrel, yet there is nice detail and the shaded areas.

One great joy for me, in some cases a joy that also brought financial rewards, was to find a rare animal, or at least, an animal that did not belong where you found it.

That was the case when I found this Western Grebe in southern Wisconsin. There were actually about five of them and I had a good morning as they swam and preened and put on a show for my camera and I.

There is no rule that states, an image of a wild critter needs to give detailed information of color, markings, and texture.

The duck below is likely a Mallard but it was its fluid motion, created via the gentile wake it made as it swam through the poetic waves of sunrise, that so attracted me.

There is a time to record information, and a time to “go with the flow” if you will.

Imagery that has within its boundaries, a wild creature, which is small and seemingly inconsequential to the photo,  can still be powerful and even become a metaphor for the moods and thoughts of we humans. That can be an important part of photographic art. 

A short while after sunrise on a lonely Lake Michigan beach, this Ring-billed Gull seemed to ponder the day ahead. Almost like it was saying “I seem so small in this gigantic world“.

Using wildlife to draw inferences to our own feelings and our own journey, can be effective.

Location shooting certainly does give the photographer an opportunity to search out and capture the essence if you will, of wherever you may be at the time. I have shared with you on these pages images from some of North America’s most scenic and beautiful locations. There exists sort a “second ( or third or fourth) tier” of locations that are often more intimate but less spectacular than others.  It  can be difficult to capture their essence.

This first pair of photos was made somewhere in Wisconsin’s north woods. It was autumn yet I struggled mightily to convey a truly powerful vision. I decided to capture what I saw, not what I wanted. It was and I am sure still is a peaceful, and pretty place. I loved the rock in this area.

I did the best I could at the time, smiled to myself, and moved on.

Some moments and some scenes, are so spectacular, that as long as you know how to expose for the light, and compose pleasingly, you will win by the pure power of what is in front of you.

The Sonora Desert of Arizona and Mexico, is quite a bit more famous than the unidentified subject above. With that said, it is not always so easy to capture a likeness of it, that will persuade people of its power. It can seem pretty ordinary.

With the first image below, I simply decided to get as many Saguaro  Cactus as possible, in one picture frame. I carefully composed my photo to be well-balanced while showing a fair stand of cacti.  I liked the photo and believed it served my purpose.  With that said, it lacked any immense power.

The next morning I decided to find one or two Saguaros, with a desert overview and some nice light.

Some moments and some scenes, are so spectacular, that if you know how to expose for the light, and compose pleasingly, you will win by the pure power of what is in front of you.

Sunrise storm and Lake Michigan.

Life is a journey both literally and figuratively. Melding together the literal and the envisioned, is what creating images is all about. Whether you capture something that imparts information about a subject or location, or captures your personal vision of what’s in front of you, a picture is still worth a thousand words.

I will leave you now until next time, before I actually reach that one thousand word plateau.

May God Bless,

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