No heavy tech talk today, just some ruminations about some old pictures and what I thought about them when I made them, and maybe what I think about them now.

Any time I came to an interesting place, even if I felt I only had a few minutes before I needed to move on, I tried to capture a couple of different viewpoints of that place. Sometimes wildly different, often slight variations.

What you see below is pretty much an oasis. It is in a dry area of northwest Colorado or northeast Utah. Which it is, I have never really been sure. The most important thing to me, was to show both sandy, dry, and wet in my images.

The images are similar, but the small compositional variations do make a difference. Which are ok and which do not make the cut, I will leave up to you.

I would have loved to have worked this place at the edge of light, but sometimes you take what you are given, do your best, and move on.

Wildlife photography is like anything else, the entire picture matters, not just the central subject. It can be frustrating when you have a very cool wild animal in your viewfinder and the background is ugly or can be distracting.

Sometimes we need to remember, we are natural history photographers as well as animal photographers. The natural (or unnatural) habitat we find an animal in, can be a part of their story. In addition to that, occasionally great, even exotic animals can become even more visually beautiful by making them the rose in the otherwise ugly garden.

This Eared Grebe was swimming about in some pretty ugly water. The bird itself is fascinating and fairly stunning to look at, although it was in a pretty scraggly part of its yearly cycle. Somehow, with all that “busy” water, the birds looks kind of stunning. Must be those powerfully red eyes and those two splashes of light.

I in fact find Leopard Frogs to be a bit “busy” in their photographic appearance, but beautiful just the same. I would have loved to have captured this image with the subject either in some clean beautiful water, or maybe on a single, large, aquatic plant. That’s not what I was given. I accepted a busy background, but with some dramatic “spotlight” if you will on the frog. That helped make the scene compelling.

“Seeing” the light, be it colorful and/or dramatic, will up the value of any photo.

That doesn’t mean that we should not chase clean, flattering (to the subject) backgrounds when possible.

This Western Meadowlark with dinner, posed nicely in front of an unobtrusive distant meadow. I gave thanks and moved on.

Fog and sunrise go together like rum and Coke. This dreamy, surreal, foggy sunrise in a Wisconsin prairie, was all about being there at the right time, realizing what I had, and then just going click, click, click to consummate the occasion. The exposure was important. Too little light and those trees and bushes would be absent, and too much exposure would destroy the mood.

Well, we’ve got landscapes and wildlife so far, so let us finish with the other major category of nature photography, the macro.

There is no subject so sublime up close, than a flower.

Below we have a couple of different Sunflower species in the macro, and super macro modes.

Detail often reigns supreme in macros. We miss much with our eyes, that we can see with a macro lens. Or extension tubes, bellows and on.

Wildlife photography lives in the macro mode.

Caught these beetles in the middle of procreating. I guess they think they’re too small to see, or else they have no shame. One of the most difficult parts of making a photo like this is, keeping your tripod legs from bumping the plant(perch) and knocking them off right in the middle of that procreation.

Finally we see what the phrase close-up details really means. As you can see, this dew covered dragonfly was not going to do any flying for a while.

I lived for mornings that could produce a scene, and yes it is a scene, like this. After a few images, I carefully, as to not knock the dew and/or the dragonfly off its perch, extracted myself from the tangled web of branches.

May God Bless each of you,

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