Bonus Day!

Bonus Day is one of my favorite expressions. These two little words, when used in the proper context, can be very powerful. On this day, these two words are appropriate to describe the great shooting day I had.

The weather was gorgeous – 60+ degrees and no wind (a wonderful change from the past couple weeks!). Dad and I loaded up and drove south. We found a few head of Pronghorn and the Bison weren’t too far off the road. We stopped at the Terry Bison Ranch and had a wonderful lunch of Bison burger and sweet potato fries, then proceeded south on the Frontage Road to see if more Bison were close to the road. They weren’t, but we found a Meadowlark and a Finch.

When I first saw this Meadowlark, he was on a fence wire. While I was getting the camera ready, he jumped down on the ground. I pulled forward slowly, and captured him sitting in the grass.

Just a little bit down the road, here was this Finch also sitting on the fence.

And then the real fun began! I’ve posted pictures of Pronghorn recently, but we came on this Buck near the road. I approached cautiously and hadn’t spooked him, but two cars passed us and they scared him off. I had already made this image.

One of my favorite Pronghorn images! How close was he? Well, I didn’t have to crop the image.

We got back on the pavement and turned east towards Carr CO. The road was nice and the country beautiful. We saw lots of Pronghorn, which was not surprising. What was surprising was finding Pronghorn in beautiful settings, and they cooperated…mostly!

This Buck was by himself in front of this beautiful rock formation, and didn’t run as I made my images.

When we stopped here, there were 4 Pronghorn in front of this windmill. This one was alone on the right. The 4 ran (of course) when I got out of the car. This one followed, but I had time to get this shot. I like it, but wish I had caught the 4.

Getting one Wildlife Panorama with Pronghorn would be great, but making two Pronghorn Wildlife Panos in one day is just, well, Bonus Day!

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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All RAW — All the Time!

It’s a quiet Saturday morning and I’m not heading out for an hour or so.  My friend, Rich, and I are going to Reno to see the Restomods in Reno Car Show.  Assuming they come out, you’ll see pictures in my next post.  I’m astounded that it’s been almost 3 weeks since my last post.  Time really flies when you’re having so much fun!

I’ve made a couple changes in my shooting and editing process since my last post.  First, I’m shooting in RAW format exclusively (All RAW – All the Time).  I resisted going to RAW for a very long time because I wasn’t comfortable editing in RAW, it consumes massive amounts of memory, and the images can not be used right out of the camera – they must be edited.  In the last few months, I made learning to edit in RAW a priority and have gained enough comfort factor to shoot in that format exclusively.  Of course, my editing time has increased and I fill up SD cards quickly.  The tradeoff is worth it, however, as I was becoming increasingly less happy with the JPEG images coming out of the camera.  The second change is my ‘backup’ process.  Like many photographers, I have triple redundancy for storing my images.  Until recently, I used the SD card from the camera, my computer, and an external hard drive.  Since I’m filling up memory cards so quickly these days (a 32 GB card every 3-4 weeks – yikes!), my lovely bride convinced me that buying more and more SD cards was not the most cost effective method for storage.  Plus, SD cards can fail and they are not recommended for long term storage anyway.  So I purchased another external hard drive and spent some time backing up all my images on it.  Fortunately, memory (data storage, not my feeble mind, darn it) is getting better and cheaper all the time.

I’m refining my workflow for editing in RAW, but it’s getting easier and I’m getting more proficient.  A REALLY BIG THANKS to all my PHOTOSHOP mentors who cheerfully (at least when I call) answer my sometimes silly questions.  We’re usually on the phone, so I don’t see their eyes rolling and their voices don’t betray them.  Occasionally, my questions trigger a learning moment for them, too, so I think it’s beneficial all around.

Enough about that part of my creative journey, though.  Now I have to remember what I’ve been shooting for the last couple weeks.  Because my feeble memory doesn’t feel like it’s getting any better as time goes by, I keep a shooting log to help me remember where I’ve been, when I was there, and what I was shooting – that’s a big help.

A day or so after my last post, a friend texted that a local rancher was moving some cows and it would be a great photo opportunity.  I grabbed the camera and ran out the door – well, I did say bye to my lovely bride.  As usual, the appointed time was ‘flexible,’ so I looked for interesting shots while I was waiting.

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I found this breeding adult American White Pelican in an irrigation ditch.

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This is a great shot of Jobs Peak, the Carson Valley’s most recognizable mountain peak.

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Oh yeah, I was there for the cattle drive. George Strait sang ‘How ’bout them Cowgirls?’ I always thought the song was for the Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team – turns out it wasn’t. This was an all female crew and they did a great job!

A couple days later, I made a trip to the Pine Nut Mountains and found Blue’s band.  The sly devil moved them from open ground and into high brush, but I still managed a few nice images.

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I’m not a big fan of horse butt pictures, although I have quite a few. I liked how this little one was just visible above the brush.

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Several of the mares and babies. Our bands look very healthy.

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Little Jo – my favorite!

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And this is Blue. He’s the stud!

In the last couple weeks, I’ve made several trips to Mottsville Lane here in Douglas County.  With the rivers flowing well (for now anyway), there’s lots of water for the migrating waterfowl.

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My bird book has been getting quite a workout. This is a Wilson’s Phalarope.

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In the same pond, a Cinnamon Teal.

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This Great Egret posed and pranced for me, then ‘floofed’ itself and flew away. As my followers know, I love it when a bird does something a little unusual for the camera.

The mountains called a couple times, so I made trips up Monitor Pass in California and took a hike at Lake Tahoe with my son.

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I took a drive up Monitor Pass for some scenic shots. After driving by it many times in the past, I finally noticed this tree. I have several images to edit, as I photographed the tree from all angles. I liked this shot and edited it first.

 

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This is Lake Tahoe from Castle Rock, just off the Tahoe Rim Trail near Daggett Pass.

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This is a California Snow Flower – some call it a California Snow Plant. They are starting to grow in the Sierras and we saw several on our hike.

Sometimes, one finds interesting shots on the side of the road and in the backyard!

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Driving in from the Pine Nut Mountains the other day, I saw these Hawks in a tree next to the road. A baby was visible, when I pulled up, but dropped out of sight when I started shooting.

 

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Okay, this wasn’t on a public road, but I shot this from a vehicle. A friend took me on a tour of a highway construction project and this well-fed little guy, along with several friends, make the project home. I’ve never made images of a Marmot (aka Rock Chuck) like this before.

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This Robin sat on a rock in my backyard long enough for me to see him, get my camera, sneak out a door on the far side of the house, and make several images.

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Another patient little fella’. This Goldfinch sat in one of my Austrian Pine trees long enough for me to see him, go get my camera, and make several images. Although he sat on the branch for a while, he did not sit still. I have several shots of him in motion.

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Many of you have seen my night shots of my neighbor’s trees and the moon (one of those is my cover photo on Facebook). The moon was in position the other night, so I made a few more of those shots. While I was out there, I also made some images of the pergola in our backyard. My lovely bride designed the trees and lights very well. While I was shooting the pergola, a playful spirit found his way into the shot! Silly playful spirit.

 

I’m finishing this on Sunday night, after a busy day yesterday at the car show and a trip to Reno today for a friend’s retirement ceremony.  My apologies for the further delay.  The car show images are worth the wait until the next post – I promise.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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.