New Stuff and a Little Fun!

My journey into photography has always been about trying new techniques and processes – all with an eye towards having fun. This week I had the opportunity to try something new…to me anyway. I accompanied the tour group from The Chateau at Gardnerville, where my Dad lives, at the Nevada State Railroad Museum. While they took their tour and listened to the tour guide, I made a few images around the Museum.

On a side note, I encourage everyone to make time to visit the Railroad Museum on May 10, the anniversary of the Golden Spike at Promontory UT. They are doing very fun stuff and have several new exhibits in the Museum.

Back to the blog…so, I tried something new. I took a group picture in front of one of the locomotives. In order to describe how I feel about the results, I will use a phrase from my car show days – it’s a 10 footer! (In car show parlance, a 10 footer is a car that looks great from 10 feet away but not so great if you get closer.) Here’s one of the group shots – just don’t look too close!

Check out the map on the floor…the route of the railroad when it was completed 150 years ago!

In good news, however, I always learn from my experiences and will do better in the future.

For the fun stuff…my lovely bride accompanied me on a brief excursion into the Pinenut Mountains this afternoon. Our objective was desert flowers (since I came up empty on my last run) and we found some beauties. The highlight of the day, though, was a Horned Lark who sat on the side of the road as we drove by…then waited as I backed up to get his picture…then, as I raised my camera, flew to the bush you see in the images below…where it posed for me! How fun is that?

Nice profile…

…and then a quick look to make sure I was getting the pictures…

New stuff and a little fun! Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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Ready for my Close Up, Mr. DeMille…

One of the reasons I love photography is that I never stop learning. Whether it’s a new technique or equipment or subject or even just a different way of seeing things, there’s always something to learn. Now that the Raptors have moved on to other places, my eye has turned to smaller and closer subjects – the pollenators and flowers in the back yard!

Over the years, my cameras and I have spent a lot of time in the yard and have enjoyed some success. Although Spring is still fairly new this year, I’ve had a good time so far. This is a Hyacinth, and it was the first flower to bloom in our yard. I put my Canon 6D Mk II with a 50 mm lens on a low tripod and got as close as the minimum focus distance would allow. I did not use focus stacking, but it may happen this year.

All images processed in Adobe Camera RAW and PhotoShop, with a Nik ColorEfex Pro filter.

I upgraded my mobile phone to an iPhone XS a couple months ago and I’m slowly exploring its photographic capabilities. With Spring so young, the Bees are working very hard and are tough to capture…but it can be done…even with an iPhone.

This flying critter was on our Peach tree – looking forward to those peaches!I also bought a new Super Telezoom lens this year and decided to see what it would do on close up shots. Mounted on my 6D Mk II body – a full frame sensor camera – and with a minimum focus distance of more than 8 feet, the Bees are very small so the following images are heavily cropped. The end result, however, is very nice.

This Bee is on one of our Chanticleer Pear trees.

Our Flowering Plum tree has been very popular with the Bees this year.

And so it begins. Spring has sprung and it’s time for some close up. I’m ready Mr. DeMille…

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

Silhouettes as Fine Art…

Last month I shared some silhouette images with you – images I made during one of the classes I took at the Winter Wings Festival. I also took a class in wildlife as fine art which is the subject of today’s post.

I was out the other day and I found these two Geese floating in one of the irrigation ditches in the Carson Valley. Geese aren’t my favorite subject and the light wasn’t in my favor, but I decided to try something new using the techniques I learned in Klamath Falls and seeing if I could make some ‘fine art.’ I made several images using various exposures. Fortunately, the Geese were just floating along so they weren’t disappearing into the distance or making great ripples in the water.

When I downloaded the images and began processing, I tried several different ideas – color versus monochrome, variations in contrast and color, and a variety of filters. I ultimately chose this single color image, processing the dark areas into silhouettes to accentuate the position of the Geese on the water and in the frame using Adobe Camera RAW, and then finishing in Photoshop and Topaz Studio.

I hope you like it. Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

Raptor portraits continued more…

When I look at these images, I marvel at the ways these Raptors pose like people…or maybe people pose like Raptors! What an interesting discussion topic.

Every now and then, a Raptor will sit in one place and just look around, providing an opportunity for a series of images.

And then you get the single shot of that Raptor…looking very regal.  They are beautiful creatures!

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

Silhouettes!

A couple weeks ago, I participated in the Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls OR. I took several classes to improve my photography skills and got to see a presentation by George Lepp. George has been taking pictures for over 50 years, and was recently presented with  Lifetime Achievement Award by the North American Nature Photograhy Association. He is a regular contributor to Outdoor Photographer magazine. I was able to visit with him for a few minutes before his presentation – a true gentleman, wonderful photographer, and a great presenter.

One of my classes was silhouette photography. The timing wasn’t great for the field portion of the class, but we did the best we could and I learned a lot about the technique. The key to a successful silhouette image is the background. For those fine art shots that people like to hang in their homes and offices, black outlines with a brightly colored background works great. Think sunsets and sunrises. Another key element is to be as low as possible to ensure that there’s a clear connection with the ground. Get low to ensure that feet aren’t lost in the foreground, for example.

For the images from class, I relied on pretty skies and the details in the trees to make the composition work.

Here’s a few images from the class.

I made this image with my trusty Canon PowerShot G9X Mk II. The instructor, Lisa Langell, told me I passed the class when I showed her this image in camera.

Not a perfect silhouette but still a fun image. Everyone was making images of the Eagle in the tree.

There were several Eagles in the area while we were there, and this one was circling before landing in the nest.

The sun was still in the sky, so I took advantage and made it a part of the composition.

This wasn’t my first attempt at silhouettes. In 2015, I made this image of my neighbor’s house and yard.

I was intrigued by the moonlight and the warm colors in the yard lights, but the tree silhouette on the right became a critical element of the composition.

And this from the Siskiyou River in Florence, OR.

I chose to not make the pilings and birds totally black, but it still counts as a silhouette.

My best silhouette to date was shot in 2016 in the Pinenut Range just east of my home.

A moonrise always makes a good picture – even better with a creative foreground.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

Raptor Portraits continued…

In early February, I introduced my series of Raptor Portraits. I had intended to post more portraits sooner, but I made my post about those ‘special moments’ and then ran away to a soon to be disclosed location for a little photography and education. So, here we are finally – getting more Raptor Portraits.

In today’s group, there are a couple that remind me of classic poses in a high school yearbook. Take a look and tell me what you think.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

Special Moments…

Wildlife photographers live for those special moments when they record something special. Those moments are few and very far between, and must be cherished when they occur.

Today, I had one of those special moments. I was out looking for eagles and not finding any, so I decided to head to the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park. Many of my friends had been having success there. As I approached the house, I saw an eagle in the tree on the east end of the Park. I parked and quickly grabbed a few shots  – maybe 33 or 34 – of him sitting when he started to flex his wings. Thankfully I had my camera up and shooting when he took off. Even better, he flew straight toward me! When I downloaded the images, I saw he was looking right at me as he took flight.

I’ve probably used all my special moments for the year and should possibly retire from photography, but I won’t. Oh yeah, you can buy one of these prints.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR