“Don’t start breaking the rules…

…until you know and understand them.”  This is the final tip in an article called ’50 Tips from 50 Years Behind the Camera’ by Allen Weitz (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/50-tips-50-years-behind-camera?BI=4906).

My lovely bride found the article and sent it to me (it’s so nice to have a partner who supports your habits).  The other 49 tips are also good but this one resonated with me for some reason, especially as we begin a new year.  I began my journey in creative photography a few years ago with the stated intent to learn how to take better pictures.  Every now and then I catch myself challenging those few rules that I know, mostly as I investigate more creative techniques and photographs.  These tips help me be a little grounded, though, because I don’t know all the rules – YET!  I’ll just have to continue working on it!  Stay tuned to watch me challenge the rules…as I learn them.

The winter months can be challenging for photographers.  Here in the Carson Valley, when the weather gets cold we break out the really big lenses and go looking for the Raptors and other predatory animals that migrate into the area during this time.  We’ve seen a few Bald and Golden Eagles in the area, but the Hawks and Coyotes are the most evident, at least for me.  Here’s a few for your enjoyment!


I saw this three-legged Coyote near the California line a few days ago. He wasn’t interested in me taking his picture!


I found this female Northern Harrier on Mottsville Lane last week.


Several friends like the previous picture, but I’m kind of partial to this one. She appears to be thinking about something, but she’s actually cleaning herself. This is my favorite composition for a Raptor picture – eye level, wide aperture giving great detail on the subject with a pleasing out of focus background.


I found the Red Tailed Hawk south of Genoa. I think he was checking his position relative to the camera to ensure I got his good side.


American Kestrels are the smallest and most common of the Falcons, but they are extremely camera shy. I snuck up on this guy while he was enjoying lunch!


But I obviously over stayed my welcome.


I first saw this Kestrel on a utility wire, but he quickly flew to the backslope across the road. I was very excited to get a Kestrel with a background other than a blown out sky.


Of course, he took exception to me taking pictures of him and flew off to another utility line.


Winter is here!

December is here, and winter is finally making an appearance in the Carson Valley.  For me, this means a shift in my subject matter, settings for my camera, and the weather.  I’m definitely dressing a little warmer.  Susan knitted me some fingerless gloves to wear while I’m working, and they are wonderful!

Photographing snow brings new challenges – it’s white and very bright.  I read an article in Outdoor Photographer magazine last year that gave methods for shooting in the snow.  I guess I better dust it off.

The shorter days and cooler weather makes the predators hunt at different times of the day, making them more visible – I’ve seen more Coyotes this year than ever before.  My lovely bride saw one walking up our street and then through our backyard a couple weeks ago.  These Coyotes are fat, too.

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I had my eye on a Hawk, and saw this Coyote out of the corner of my eye along an irrigation ditch. As I made a few images of him walking along the ditch, he turned and crossed the ditch.


Challenges also include the wind, rain, and generally skittish wildlife.  The Hawks and Coyotes leave when they see a camera pointed their way.  I found these three Hawks last Saturday.  The wind was fast and they were hanging on to the posts for dear life.  When the wind is calm, Hawks sit nearly upright as they hunt for their next meal.  Check the Birds page for more images.

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But the opportunities far outweigh these challenges.  I made this image of Jobs Peak as a storm was coming over the Sierras and into the valley.  I’ve driven down this road numerous times, but this scene jumped out as I drove by.  One does not find this kind of image in thew warmer months.

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The wagon and buildings are at David Walley’s Hot Springs – a popular spa and resort in the Carson Valley.

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I love the colors in the foreground and background.

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And I love the way the shallow depth of field works here.

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This Hawk was hunting from a sprinkler system. The snow was just starting to fly.

I made this image of the female Bald Eagle on a cool morning last week.  As always, she was very accommodating and sat still for the hour I was there.  The bare branches don’t have the same impact as brilliant yellow leaves.  See the Birds page to see that image.

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And the cooler weather brought new visitors to my backyard, as well.  These Finches (Goldfinch and Lesser Finches) visited on Thanksgiving Day.  They’re very fast and don’t sit still for very long.  My big lens and a quick eye are critical to making these images.

Enjoy – Photorogr

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Goldfinch munching on Black-Eyed Susans.

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This male Lesser Finch is eating the berries on our Perfect Purple Plum tree. See the berry residue on his beak?

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This female Lesser Finch is eating a seed egg. Thanks to our kids for giving us this bird feeder. We watch these birds from our breakfast nook window.

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Another Goldfinch. They love these flowers.



Yes, I know.  It’s November and we should be drinking hot chocolate or apple cider.  The temperatures outside make warmer drinks more desirable.  The Sierras got a little snow this week.  We got rain at the house – in the desert, we generally don’t complain about getting moisture in any form.

I didn’t find the eagles this week, hence the lemonade.  When I don’t find the subjects I’m looking for (bears, eagles, etc.), I take the subjects I am given.  This week, I found 4 Coyotes and numerous Hawks on the hunt.  Here’s an image of one of the Coyotes about to strike!

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I got close to several Hawks and made wonderful images.  Here’s a sample, with a few more on the birds page.

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This Hawk sat on this fence post long enough for me to make multiple images. Then he took off and moved to another post, allowing me to make a few more sitting and flying.

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I saw two hawks in a field. As I got out of the Expedition, one flew away. If you look at the ground in front of this Hawk, you can see feathers. Go to the Birds page to see what happens next.

I was driving through Carson City yesterday.  Traffic stopped on Carson Street, right in front of the State Capitol Building, for a special tour group crossing the street and entering the Capitol grounds.  What a sight!

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All things considered, it was a great week of shooting.  For those of you in the area, the Carson Valley Art Association is having their Annual Scholarship Benefit Art Show at the CVIC Hall in Minden this weekend (November 7-9, 2014).  I am entering three photos.  Stop in and support the Art Association!

Enjoy!  Photorogr