Making The Most of It

Many wild critters are named after a physical feature they possess, or an action they perform. As photographers, it is always a plus to capture such animals in a way that viewers can plainly see why they are called what they are called.

Below we have a Song Sparrow singing at either sunrise or sunset, and a dancing Sharp-tailed Grouse showing us how sharply his tail forms at its peak. He is attempting to catch the fancy of a lovely lady, and if memory serves, which it does sometimes and not others, he was successful.

I have stated many times here that I would photograph anything I saw interesting or visually stimulating when I was in the field. Sometimes all it took was a bit of frost on a common subject, and other times it was the light, or just a departure from the norm.

This frost covered leaf caught my fancy. It was partially the autumn color it carried, partially the rim of frost it wore, and partially the lighting with that deep dark forest in the background. I exposed for the bright part of the leaf, which dropped my overall exposure enough to darken the background, and make my subject “pop” if you will.

I enjoyed the frost covered grasses and bluish sky in the image below, but mostly I was visually fascinated by the elegance of the simplicity of the scene, and the God given composition of the way the grasses crossed.

Not much here many would say. Just a bit of a horizontal web, six drops of dew, and a very dark background. Simplicity can be visually intriguing. At least it is so for me.

A river, two bits of land, the lake the river empties into, and sunrise. A thousand people could have been there with cameras, and made a thousand satisfying images. I was alone, but I enjoyed the scene that unfolded in front of me as the sun began to rise over the clouds. I especially liked the contrast between the cool blue shadows, and the warm areas of the sunrise.

Peaceful sunrises/sunsets are wonderful, but powerful waves headed in your direction, have another sort of story to tell. The peace is about to be disrupted.
The beach and the waves both belong to Lake Michigan.

There’s nothing like a hike, some flowers and spring greenery, along with some distant mountain peaks, to begin your day. Mainly I was after a balance between those separate areas. After finding a scene like this first thing in the morning, the day has to be good. The location is the Colorado Rockies.

Back to critters again.

Wild animals do things. Portraits are great and I would not trade any that I’ve made, but part of wildlife photography is telling the story of who they are, and what they do.

One thing they do is search for food.

The Cedar Waxwing below was one of dozens that were searching the trees and bushes for insect larvae. They seem to do a lot of hanging upside down on those searches. This bird species is known for this, therefore once again the image helps tell their story.

This female Ruddy Duck was found out west and she was so tangled in the growth of this wildlife refuge pond, that at times, I worried about her. There was no need for concern as she managed to do quite well for herself. I thanked her for her cooperation and moved on. Habitat, can be a vital aspect of telling the story of wildlife.

Several years ago I came across a photo of racing legend Mario Andretti in a type of race car often called a championship dirt car. They were open (exposed) wheel cars, and in the days when he raced them, they did not even have a true roll cage around him for protection.

He was racing on a one mile dirt track and was headed onto the straightaway. His left front wheel was maybe ten inches off the track. The right front was about six inches off the track surface. His left rear was approximately three or four inches from the ground, and his right rear was just a skimming the surface.

On the top of the photo they put a statement from Andretti that he made several years before this. It said, “if you are comfortable with what you are doing, you aren’t trying hard enough.”

I wonder how many times in my life, that philosophy would have driven me to bigger and better things.

You never know unless you try.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

God Bless,


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