A year ago, my good friend and photography mentor, Craig Moore, introduced me to Shooting the West, a photography symposium in Winnemucca, Nevada. I ventured to Winnemucca last March and had a great time, made new friends and improved my photo skills. Any of you who attend events such as this know that the promoters solicit feedback from the attendees. In my evaluation, I noted that the program did not include a nature photographer and I suggested they include nature photography in future programs. One should always be careful for what one wishes because last August I got a call asking if I would be interested in making a presentation on nature photography at the 2016 Shooting the West symposium (honored and humbled). I thought about it for about 3 seconds and quickly assembled a brief outline with a few examples of pictures (excited), and submitted my proposal for a nature photography tour of the Carson Valley. A couple weeks later, I got an email advising that they accepted my proposal and I would be on the program (more excited).
As the initial excitement subsided, reality set in – I would be showing my pictures to a room full of photographers from around the country (intimidated). Thinking back to last year’s program, I realized that, in addition to the amateur and hobby photographers in attendance, there would be people who have been shooting for decades, travel the world and get published in National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and other international publications, and write books and teach classes about photography and photo editing. Oh my God!!! (More intimidated!!!!!) And I just said yes to showcasing my work on a really big screen for all to see (even more intimidated). I’m not afraid of public speaking – as many of you know all too well – but I’ve only been shooting seriously for a short time. Then I said to myself, “Self – get it together, put your best foot forward, and see what happens.” Finally, the voice of reason (but I’m still intimidated).
Shooting the West XXVIII will be held April 26 – May 1, 2016. Registration opens January 18. For more information, go to shootingthewest.org, call 877-623-3501, or email email@example.com. I’m back to being excited, by the way (and still honored and humbled)!
It’s winter – prime raptor season – I’m out almost every day trying to get new and good images for my STW presentation and to market at Eagles and Agriculture (February 18-20, 2016, go to http://www.carsonvalleynv.org/pages/EAGLESAG1/ for information). Don’t worry, I’m not limiting my presentation to raptors only. I hope to include a good representation of game animals, non-raptor birds, and the Valley’s predators – at least the ones of which I have pictures.
Here’s a few images from the last couple weeks. I think you’ll like them.
I was out checking an area for a Golden Eagle aerie, and I found this stud wandering in the Pine Nuts all alone. He let me make lots of images. I’m trying to decide which one to submit to the Pine Nut Wild Horse Association for their 2017 calendar featuring studs.
He and I watched each other closely while I shot. He’s not from the area, that we know of anyway. We’ll see if he makes it all the way down to the other bands. We named him Mystery. Oh yeah, I haven’t found that aerie yet.
I’ve seen lots of Kestrels in the last few weeks. I’m not sure if they are more plentiful, or if I am better at seeing them.
This one looks like he’s giving me ‘the bird’ as he flies away.
My lovely bride commented that I get a lot of ‘butt pictures’ when I’m shooting birds, but I love seeing the frozen motion of their wings and feet as they take flight.
I saw this Blue Heron on a very windy day…must have stopped blowing for a second or two while I made the image.
I found this immature White-crowned Sparrow near the Nevada-California state line. This is my favorite composition for birds – tack sharp with a blurry background…
It was a snowy day outside this pole barn, but this Great Horned Owl didn’t seem to mind.
I saw this Golden Eagle probably 600 feet away.
This was the scene outside the pole barn…this guy was trying hard to stay warm and paid me no attention.
Same bird – different angle and background…maybe next year’s Christmas card???
Did you see that? Yeah, but I don’t believe what I saw…
Coming in for a landing…er, going up for a landing…
I drove by this Red-tailed Hawk, and went back for the picture. At first, he tried to sell me a watch…
…and then he took a spin around me…
I think this is my favorite. I was checking a location for Owls and saw this guy. Again – my favorite composition – tack sharp subject with a blurred background.
That’s all for this post. Between the raptors returning to the Valley and the wonderful weather, I’ve had a great couple weeks of shooting. I look forward to more fun, finding that aerie, and a visit from Santa! Have a very Merry Christmas! PHOTOROGR