February is a very busy time!

When I started this Journey in Creative Photography, I knew I would be spending lots of time learning how to make images (in camera and on the computer) and that some of my learning curve would be about the business side of photography.  In my post ‘Order and Chaos’ (last December), I discussed the challenges of storing and retrieving images on the computer.  I described how I installed additional memory in my computer and further refined my storage/retrieval system in my last post.  I have been reaping the benefits of those changes in the last couple weeks, as I tackle another big challenge – what do I share, print, and show?

February in the Carson Valley is prime time for nature photographers.  The calves are dropping and the Eagles migrate through to feed on the nutrient rich afterbirth and the occasional carcass.  Long lens mounted, I go hunting for these regal subjects.  Then, after downloading the RAW images on the computer, I review the images and decide which are worthy of processing and possibly sharing or printing.  Believe me, you only see a small fraction of the images I make in camera.  Why is this on my mind?  Read on!

Many years ago, the local Chamber of Commerce (http://www.carsonvalleynv.org) teamed up with area ranchers and conservationists to create a wonderful event called Eagles and Agriculture.  The opening reception and photography exhibit is tomorrow at the Senior Center, and the tours start Friday!  The Eagles & Agriculture Banquet is Friday night, and I will have a table to sell my pictures and note cards.  I’ll also be there Saturday morning – if you’re nearby, stop in, say hi, and buy a picture or note card!  I’ve been printing, matting, and framing new images for a week or so (I love Amazon’s 2 day delivery on ink for my printer!).  The image retrieval system was critical to my printing activities, and the modifications to my process made it soooo much easier.  This will also help as I prepare for my presentation at Shooting the West (http://shootingthewest.org).

I’ve also been making time to get out and make new images.  The Eagles have been a little difficult to capture, so other subjects have endured my intrusion – most notably, the wild horses in the Pine Nut Mountains.  The foals have been coming a little early this year – we now have 3.  I shared pictures of Skye in my post ‘Inspiration – the Key Ingredient’ although we didn’t know that she was a she, and she hadn’t been named when I posted.

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Skye with her Mom, Suzie Q (in back), and Dad, Shorty (facing).

Here are the other foals!

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This is Sassy with her Mom, Bossy Betty. Sassy got her name by exhibiting an ‘independent’ behavior.

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The family portrait (l to r): Sassy, Bossy Betty, Skye, Suzie Q, Shorty (looking right). Shorty is the proud Papa, but he plays it cool.

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This is Hardy with Mom, Lady. Dad is Blue – the undisputed King of the Pine Nut bands. Hardy is named after my father-in-law, who celebrated his 90th birthday last week!

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Hardy running with other members of the band. The horse on the left is Copper and we’re waiting to see her foal. Lady is keeping Hardy in line.

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While shooting Blue’s band the other day, Blue decided we had been there long enough and came over to tell us. When we didn’t leave immediately, he took a couple steps as if to say, ‘Didn’t you get the message?’

I found Mystery again – we started with a game of hide and seek, and then it got interesting!

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Mystery hiding in the trees.

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Mystery posing for me.

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Mystery deciding he wanted to check me out! He walked to within about 25′ of me before I convinced him it wasn’t a good idea.

I saw several horses who were having lots of fun!

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This is Hope. She’s a yearling and Blue’s daughter. Apparently, mud bath was the day’s fun activity.

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Another of Blue’s yearlings played in the mud.

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This little fella’ is The Rogue’s son. I found him in a different area, but he had been playing in the mud, too.

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This is Little Jo, one of Blue’s yearlings. She’s quite a camera tease, and apparently doesn’t play in the mud.

I can’t post without a bird picture…

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This Sharp-Shinned Hawk was in my neighbor’s tree. I got some good pictures…

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…but obviously overstayed my welcome.  It’s a problem I have on occasion (just ask Blue).

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One more shot of Hardy – a guy just has to scratch sometimes, even when he’s only a couple days old.

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom.  I know I shared a lot of pictures, but you see my dilemma!  Like the convenience store, I just have ‘too much good stuff!’

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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Process improvement – another important ingredient!

Many years ago, I retired from military service.  My last assignment was on the Plans and Programs staff at State Headquarters.  While my efforts focused on emergency preparedness and response planning, I assisted others on our small staff with strategic planning and process improvement.  I’m comfortable with goal setting and brainstorming new ideas (imagine rooms full of important people with a facilitator guiding the participants through a long and sometimes interesting discussion on making the organization better).  These days, my process improvement thoughts and actions are a lot more personal – mostly making higher quality images and developing my creative side.

Well, not all my improvement processes are about making images.  For the last couple months, I’ve noticed that available space on my computer’s internal hard drive is continually decreasing, and some software seems to be running more and more slowly.  I didn’t break out the marker boards and markers to evaluate the problem and formulate plans to mitigate the problem, though I was tempted.  Instead, I decided to install more memory in my computer and move all the pictures to a dedicated internal drive.

I ordered the drive and had one of my smart neighbors do the install and setup (it’s not true that all engineers can remove the covers from their computers and not do harm).  Then I sat down to move the pictures and the light bulb came on – I could fix all the frustrating and wasteful file organization issues I had been thinking about since I started this Journey in Creative Photography!  I spent much of a day re-organizing my folders and moving the images around on my computer.  I’m pretty sure that my image storage system is more efficient now, and will probably feel that way until I do my monthly backup to external hard drives in a few weeks.  If you’re having a hard time with your image storage system, make time to make it better.  You’ll be much happier.

And remember, the bad part of process improvement is that it’s continuous, but that’s also a good thing.  We’ll revisit my reorganization at the end of the month.

It’s been a great shooting week.  I found Eagles, Quail, a Cooper’s Hawk and, just today, I finally got that elusive Bobcat shot.  Eagles & Agriculture is only a couple weeks away, and I’ll be spending a lot of time prepping for the show.  I have several new images to print, mat, and frame.  Of course, the weather is supposed to be really good, which means that I’ll be out shooting, too.  It could be a problem, but it could be a fun challenge, too.  Here’s the fun stuff from this week!

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This Cooper’s Hawk was out in the snow, hunting from this gnarly tree stump just outside Genoa, Nevada’s oldest town (but don’t ask Dayton).

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This Red-Shouldered Hawk was also south of Genoa, a little closer to David Walley’s Hot Springs. He posed, but wouldn’t make eye contact.

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I was on a local ranch looking for Owls and a covey of Quail came by. This one posed on an old ranch wagon.

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These Quail were marching in a parade, except for the guy on the lower fence rail. We’re not sure what he’s up to.

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We are blessed with a nesting pair of Bald Eagles in the Carson Valley, and I made this very long range image earlier this week.

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I was watching a Bald Eagle in a field a couple days ago, and this Bald Eagle flew in to crash the party. He was only 100′ or so away, and looking very regal!  This image will be on sale at Eagles & Agriculture, with other images from my collection.

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This is my prize capture this week. I’ve been looking for this cat for a couple months. He was in this tree laying down, and would have stayed hidden if he hadn’t sat up and revealed himself.

That’s it for this week!  Enjoy – PHOTOROGR