Inspiration – the Key Ingredient!

In my last post, I talked about luck (right place, right time, right settings) and the importance of being prepared.  In the last month, I’ve discovered another ingredient that I feel is key to the creative photography process – inspiration!

Inspiration comes in many forms and governs everything.  For example, I have to be inspired to go out with a camera, inspired to stop and make an image, inspired to spend time processing an image, and then be inspired to share the image.  In the last month, my inspiration (and sometimes lack of inspiration) has been all over the map.  I’ve been excited to fire up the PHOTORANGER and go looking for subjects.  I’ve just stayed home because I just wasn’t ‘feeling it’ that day.  I’ve pulled over for something I liked, and often driven on and sometimes missed a shot.  When I’m back home and downloading images from the day, I’ve said ‘yuck’ to everything (you don’t see those!) and resolved to correct technical errors or find better subjects, and resolved to get out there again.  And then a whole month passes between posts (I really need to work on that).  You know how the inspiration roller coaster works.

In the last week, the inspiration peaks and valleys have become less extreme – returning to almost normal, in fact.  Subjects have been plentiful and my settings have been good, improving my images and increasing my inspiration.  Here’s some images from the last few weeks.  I hope you enjoy and are inspired by them!



Every winter, the eagles visit the Carson Valley for calving season. I found this Bald Eagle along US 395 a couple days ago.  Eagles & Agriculture is only 3 weeks away!


This Bald Eagle was hunting along Foothill Road, on the west side of the Carson Valley. Not sure he knew about his ‘shadow.’


This juvenile Bald Eagle was in the southwest part of the Carson Valley.


I’m not sure what these two were discussing, but they sat for pictures for quite a while.


I found the Carson River Road turkeys in the trees a few weeks ago.


Remember that ‘right place right time’ discussion.


These two are part of another turkey flock, generally found just over the California line.


I’ve seen this nest many times, but didn’t see an occupant until the last couple days. I’ll watch and see what develops.


This little fella’ flew from fence post to sign to sign while I followed and took pictures. I’m not sure if he’s sending a message here…


Remember that ‘right place right time’ discussion? I forgot the ‘right settings’ piece, as I was zoomed in too close when this Hawk took flight…


…but I got this Red-Tailed Hawk just fine.


This Blue Heron was focused on his next meal and didn’t worry about me as I got closer and closer…


While he looks unconcerned, he never took his eyes off me.


I don’t normally take pictures of geese, but I was inspired when their flight path brought them close to me.   Jake’s Wetlands, Minden NV.


This is KC. His mares are known as the Sunshine Band.


One of the Sunshine Band. I like this composition.


Peeking through the trees…


Next to an eagle shot, new foals are great inspiration. This little one is about a week old, but has not been named as the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates are waiting for confirmation of the sex. That’s Mom on the left.


New foal staying close to Mom, Suzie Q!


And Suzie Q making sure I wasn’t too close.


This family portrait shows Shorty, the sire, keeping a close eye on me while the foal nuzzles Mom. This picture has gone viral on Facebook! Thanks everyone!


It’s hard to top the ‘family portrait,’ but I wanted to share this panorama of Jobs Peak (second peak in from right). It’s a little different view of the Sierras.

Fire Hoses and Overdrive…


So, there I was – the new year started with a bang and I was on fire.  I was finding subjects in good light and making great images.  I was in a good groove editing pictures like mad.  Every new technique I tried was working.  And then, I had to take care of something and wasn’t planning to take pictures.  I took my cameras anyway, and it happened.  I got an awesome shot.


I was very excited.  It looked great in the camera.  It looked great on the computer at home.  I applied my newfound editing skill and made what I thought was a great image.  Chest puffed and very proud of myself, I took my image to get it printed.  When I showed it to my friends at the printer, I asked what they thought.  They answered and, thankfully, told me the truth about my image.  They agreed that it was a great image with tremendous potential.  I learned about the potential in great detail.  Not crushed but somewhat deflated, I tried to absorb every detail.  I had a few other images, and we went through them, too.  I found myself drinking from the proverbial fire hose of photo editing information (nice segue, right?).

I know I didn’t absorb it all, and I’m not going to try to recite everything I learned here, with one major exception:  pictures showing motion are supposed to go left to right.  Motion ‘right to left’ is unsettling.  (Of course, this explains a lot about Mustang people – the running horse logo in the grill of my car is running right to left.  Go figure.)  I went home and tried again, starting with rotating the image, and I came up with this image.


I have received further feedback on this image – all of it positive and all of it aimed at helping me make a better image.  And that brings me to the Overdrive (another nice segue, eh?) portion of this post.  I am kicking my study of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements into overdrive to improve my editing skills sooner.  I found a couple great books so I don’t have to bother my friends with questions all the time, and I’m going places in these software packages that I’ve never been.  Time will tell if I am making progress.

Meanwhile, my photo challenge this week is ‘Find a Line.’  At first glance, that sounds very easy.  Lines are all around us – sometimes in places we don’t always recognize.  The challenge is further complicated by the caveat that the image be very simple.  No lines with extra stuff – just a line.  I have an image – not quite ready, and I’m keeping my eyes open for other lines.  I’ll share my image next week.

But, here’s a few more of my successes from this week.  It’s a mix between Eagles and Hawks, with one ‘guest shot’ of a Goose.  Please also take a look in the Birds page.  I’ve added a few pictures there.  Enjoy – Photorogr


I don’t normally take pictures of Geese, but I missed the Coots that were there when I stopped the car. The Goose was walking by, begging me to make the image.


I think this is a Golden Eagle, but the jury is still out. My friends are almost evenly divided between Golden Eagle or juvenile Bald Eagle. The tie-breaker would be legs and feet, but they are not visible. It really doesn’t matter, however, as this Eagle is up to no good. None at all! Just check the posture and look on his face.


I was trying to get this juvenile Bald Eagle (I know because of a different picture) when this Magpie came into the shot. Oh yeah, I don’t normally take pictures of Magpies, either.