PS Challenge – June 26, 2017

Today’s PS Challenge image comes from the Virginia Range, north of Stagecoach NV. I made this image a few weeks ago when I was out with my old retired guy ATV group. We encountered several bands of wild horses on the ride. Three of these four were more concerned with the guys in the lead, but one kept his eye on me. Bracketed exposures combined in Adobe Camera Raw, cropped in PhotoShop with a filter from Nik Color Efex Pro.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

Just a few more days!

Time is running out!  In just a few days, I’ll be in Winnemucca for Shooting the West (shootingthewest.org) and will be making my presentation Saturday afternoon.  I’ve been working on the presentation for a couple months, going through my pictures from the last couple years to select the best ones to showcase.  Last week, I was feeling good about my selections and was starting to make the cuts necessary to meet my 15 minute time slot.  I asked my lovely bride to go through the slide show with me, as the cuts were becoming more difficult to make.  At the end of the first run through, she says that I haven’t included my best shots!  Holy cow!!

We opened up the hard drives and looked for the shots that she thought I should include.  After adding in another dozen or so, I started the ‘deselection’ process all over again.  I have the presentation down to 78 slides now, which is on the high side of my original target of 70+/-.  I think it will work.  There’s time for more fine tuning.

I made a big addition to my editing toolbox this week – software to calibrate the color on my computer monitor.  ColorMunki from X-Rite is my choice – simple to install and use.  The ‘before and after’ showed small adjustments in the colors, but I move forward with more confidence in my editing.

I managed to get out a bit – I didn’t lock myself in the study, after all!  Here’s a few images from the last couple weeks.

I have a new photographer friend in Carson City who showed me a different group of wild horses.  We were standing in a saddle with multiple bands, probably 100 or more horses.  There was a group of 16-18 bachelor studs showing us their physical prowess.  It was very exciting to see!

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These two started a fight in the middle of the group of horses – a common occurrence during our time there!

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This is my favorite shot from the day. These two had moved away from the group and were serious for several minutes.

I also got a couple shots that were less ‘exciting.’  The scenery shot was featured on a local morning show during the weather report this week.

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This is the view looking south towards the Carson Valley, and was the featured image on the Channel 2 Weather Report last Wednesday!

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This foal is proudly leading the band up a hill. The rocks made a wonderful background!

I had a little fun this week, too.  I went to a local ranch to see if the ‘kids’ were out and about, and they were!  I also spent a little time in the back yard.

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Remember Pickup? Here he is again – climbing a tree and getting into mischief.  You don’t see that every day!

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My exploration into macro photography and creative filters continued with these Lilac flowers from our back yard.

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Some flowers from one of our Crab Apple trees.

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This Quail and its partner were making their way through the plants in the back yard yesterday. By the time I grabbed my camera and headed outside, they had gone up the hillside and were in the rocks.

I needed a break from the computer one day last week, so I made an impromptu visit to a location where I’d heard about an Aerie.  I wasn’t disappointed.  After making several images of this Bald Eagle sitting in the nest, it took flight and gave me quite a show!  Here’s a couple from the day!

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Coming in for a landing. This image was made microseconds after touchdown.

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The in flight image. What a magnificent Raptor!

Sorry that the blog is short, but I have to finish my presentation, pack my bags, and try to fit in a ride with my ATV group before I head for Winnemucca.  I’ll give a report on Shooting the West in my next blog!  I look forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, and meeting face to face with people I’ve ‘friended’ on Facebook.  Until next time – enjoy!

PHOTOROGR

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

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!

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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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!

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

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

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

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

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Remember that ‘right place right time’ discussion.

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

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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.

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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…

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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…

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

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

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

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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.

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

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One of the Sunshine Band. I like this composition.

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Peeking through the trees…

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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.

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New foal staying close to Mom, Suzie Q!

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

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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!

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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.

Right Place! Right Time!! Right Settings!!!

I have long recognized that much of my success as a nature photographer is due to being ‘at the right place at the right time,’ better known as luck!  In a recent article in Outdoor Photographer magazine, Andy Long tells us that luck “… is when preparedness meets opportunity.”

I have tremendous opportunity, by virtue of where I live.  The Carson Valley is teeming with beautiful scenery, a wide variety and abundance of wildlife, and, most importantly, great friends who share their knowledge of photography and where the wildlife are hanging out at any given time.  In fact, one of my photo buddies, Jackie Gorton, recently added a third leg to my thoughts on luck – right settings! How wise she is, for one can be at the right place and time but if one misses the correct camera settings, one misses the shot!  Of course, this is where the preparedness piece comes into play.

I started this blog to share my photographic journey – learning photography and developing my skill set, experiments in photo processes, successes, failures, and as a showcase for my work.  Apparently I’m doing something right, because many of you have shared that my pictures are getting better (thank you for the feedback!).  Of course, the more I learn – the more I realize how little I know, so there is lots of room for improvement!

I’m closing out 2015 with a tribute to luck!  Please find below a series of pictures that are the result of ‘being in the right place at the right time with the right settings!’

I’m also expanding my outreach!  I share my blog on Facebook, and will try to include my friends on LinkedIn.  If this reaches you, then I was successful – and Welcome!  If you wish to get an email notice when I make a post, then consider following my blog.

I’m not one for new year’s resolutions, so I won’t make one here.  I will continue this marvelous journey and share with you, hopefully making better images for your enjoyment.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!  PHOTOROGR

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Ultimate luck! My lovely bride and I were running errands and saw this Bald Eagle on a utility pole beside the road heading into town. He had just caught a rabbit and was enjoying his meal.  In some of my pictures, you can see fur in the air and meat in his mouth.

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A little less gruesome shot of our friend.

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I saw this Red-Tailed Hawk in a snowy field, but didn’t realize I had interrupted his meal until he took off.

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Sometimes I find one Great Horned Owl in this pole barn, but this day I got lucky and found two!

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I was at Jake’s Wetlands in Minden looking for the Wood Ducks that some of my very lucky friends had seen there. Of course, the Wood Ducks were hiding from me, but these Mallard Ducks put on a parade in the snow!

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Contrary to what you might think, this female Mallard Duck is not conducting an orchestra – she was preparing to dive. This image made a very nice note card!

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As stated, no Wood Ducks for me. This Bufflehead posed nicely for me, though.

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I was cruising Foothill Road just south of Genoa last week, and this Hawk tried to hide from me.

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Yes, it was as cold as he looks. He watched me, but didn’t move away.

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This Hawk was just stretching his wings.

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I don’t know why, but I really like the shots where the bird is looking straight at me.

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I have no idea what these two were up to, but they had a great time for several minutes while I clicked away, safe in my warm truck.

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Not a very timely update, but this is Mystery just before Christmas. He was closer to where the Pine Nut bands wander. I haven’t been out to check on him in a while.

 

Honored and humbled and excited and intimidated…all at the same time!

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 info@shootingthewest.org.  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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This one looks like he’s giving me ‘the bird’ as he flies away.

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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.

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I saw this Blue Heron on a very windy day…must have stopped blowing for a second or two while I made the image.

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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…

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It was a snowy day outside this pole barn, but this Great Horned Owl didn’t seem to mind.

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I saw this Golden Eagle probably 600 feet away.

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This was the scene outside the pole barn…this guy was trying hard to stay warm and paid me no attention.

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Same bird – different angle and background…maybe next year’s Christmas card???

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Did you see that? Yeah, but I don’t believe what I saw…

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Coming in for a landing…er, going up for a landing…

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I drove by this Red-tailed Hawk, and went back for the picture. At first, he tried to sell me a watch…

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…and then he took a spin around me…

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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

 

I just get distracted too easily…

I’ll admit it.  Three weeks between posts is abhorrent and shows a lack of discipline on my part.  I just get distracted too easily.  Between taking pictures, exploring new techniques in shooting and editing, friends visiting, printer issues, some business stuff, and ensuring I spend time with my lovely bride and the family, the blog suffers – sometimes for a couple weeks.  When you see the pictures, however, I think you’ll appreciate what I’ve been doing.

I fixed the printer problem by purchasing a large format printer.  I can now print up to 13″ x 19,” and shouldn’t be distracted by printer dysfunction anymore.  By the way, the prints are great!

I spent some time working with the PhotoMerge function in Photoshop and Lightroom.  I successfully merged a series of images of the Sierras that I made in 2008.  I was on my way to work when I saw the mountains with a band of snow, a band of light, a band of dark, and some low clouds.  I was in awe and stopped to grab a few pictures.  My plans to merge them were always set aside (see, distracted too easily), until now.  Here’s the result – not a great image, but it proves that I can do it.  More to follow!

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Susan’s dad asked for a Walker Burger a couple weeks ago.  (It’s a great distraction!)  If you haven’t been to Walker Burger, it’s worth the drive from anywhere.  Thankfully, it’s only a 40 minute drive from the Carson Valley on US 395.   Go soon, because they close for the winter on October 15.  Not only are the burgers the best on the planet, but the ‘Garden Dining’ experience is wonderful.  The Blue Jays were great and the small birds enjoyed the bird feeders.  You can buy a bird house there, or just enjoy the bird houses in the dining area.

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We’ve had some phenomenal sunsets due to the smoke from the California fires.  Most exciting for me, however, was the morning that the sun was screened by the smoke and I got great pictures.  See what I mean!  (Check the Landscapes and Scenery page for more sunset images.)

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Yes, this is the sun screened by the smoke. The color is great, but I was very excited to catch a couple sun spots.

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If I put a stem at the top, it could be an orange or a peach, but it’s the sun. Not the sharpest focus, but the colors are beautiful!

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One of my favorite sunset images. The smoke can be seen low on the horizon making a wonderful golden glow, but the light on the contrails makes the picture for me.

Last weekend, a good friend came to visit.  Brian and I served together in the Air Force almost 30 years ago.  We drove a bunch of miles, but the horses weren’t cooperating, the leaves are already gone in the Sierras (dadburned drought), and the Glen Alpine Falls were a mere trickle.  We had a great couple days, catching up on family and life.  I’d say ‘just another distraction,’ but it could have been a different story if I’d gotten some pictures.

I caught up with some of the horses this week.  Most were uncooperative, but Blue let me walk around his band and make images.  In spite of his gruff demeanor, he’s just a big Blue puffcake at heart.  Don’t tell the other studs, though – they will NOT believe you!  Check out the Wild Horses page for more images.

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Blue! Nothing more need be said.

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I don’t get ‘artsy’ with the horses very often, but I loved the line of heads as they walked by.

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Socks – chillin’ under a tree while his ladies were enjoying a dirt bath. Seriously…

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Blue with a couple ladies and one of the kids!

For the business stuff – I’ve been working on new note card designs and filling an order for Christmas cards.  I have two images in the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates Foals of 2015 calendar, and got  notified that I have an image in the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce 2016 landscape calendar.  It’s very exciting for me!

So, I hope I’m forgiven for the long wait and I hope you enjoyed these pictures.  Many more to follow – please stay tuned!

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

Happy 4th of July!

Can you believe that it’s July?  The calendar year is half over, but the business year is not.  Next month will be one year since I decided to become a full-time photographer.  Am I making lots of money?  No, but I’m having a lot of fun and my knowledge of photography and photo editing is growing by leaps and bounds.  You’ll see some of that growth in this post.  For the business year – It’s time for me to report my business assets to the County Assessor for tax purposes.  I think I can get everything together and look forward to the tax bill.

But first, an update on the wild horses.  Until last week, I have been photographing four bands in the area.  The studs are Blue, Blondie, Socks, and Shorty.  Please also recall that we have a group of bachelor studs, the ‘Boys’ Club,’ waiting for their turns to establish a band – Sampson, Jack, Little Socks, and Skip.  In a major power move, Shorty stole all of Socks’ mares so Socks is now a bachelor.  When I see him, he appears very lonely and forlorn.

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A very lonely Socks!

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He won’t even look at the camera.

I have a theory that Socks cut a deal with Shorty to look after the family while he took a little break.  I’m told that’s not a viable theory.

Here’s an image of Shorty’s band taken yesterday, with all of Socks’ mares and foals in the group.  Please don’t ask me which mares formerly belonged to Socks.

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They were enjoying a lazy day, just relaxing and not too concerned as I approached on foot.

And my buddy Blondie – remember the butt shot from my last post?  Well – late last week I found his band, parked, and approached on foot.  Blondie didn’t like that in the least!  For the first time, he ‘challenged’ my approach, actually running towards me.  He stopped when he could see me and I was never in any danger, but it made me a little more wary than usual of where he was while I made my images.

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Blondie keeping a very watchful eye on me!

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I only made a couple images due to Blondie’s obvious ‘discomfort’ with me being there. I like this one – I think it’s Little Scarlett and Mama.

Yesterday, Blondie’s band was across a small valley from Shorty’s band.  As I approached in the PHOTORANGER, Blondie gathered everyone up and off they went.  I’m not sure what I did to make him mad.

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Blondie’s band moving off. Horse butt pictures aren’t really exciting, but I like the pattern created by the numerous rears as they walked away.

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And Blondie, walking away – keeping himself between me and the band.

And what about the Boys’ Club?  Some of my friends have pictures of Socks with the Boys, but I don’t have any as yet.  I found the Boys close to some of the houses, just being boys.

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Our temperatures have been high the last couple weeks, with intermittent rain and thunderstorms.  We have a fire south of us that has burned 18 square miles.  Thankfully, the wind has blown the smoke away (and my power bill likes that!).  Since I melt at about 85 degrees (figuratively, not literally), my shooting time is short, leaving me lots of time to stay indoors and work on my editing skills.  A really BIG SHOUT OUT to my Photoshop mentors (you know who you are!!), who helped me over a giant hump in learning a couple techniques.  Here are a couple of images I edited this week – see if you can identify the changes I made!  Hint – they’re very subtle.

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This is Little Jo with Mom, Dad, and several other members of the band. The exposure is way off and there is the horse at the bottom of the shot who just doesn’t belong.

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Through the magic of Photoshop, I removed the horse at the bottom of the picture and rescued my poor shooting. The result is very pleasing, I think. Oh yeah, Blue is facing the camera behind the black horse. That’s not him on the left.

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During the winter months, the Raptors migrate through the Carson Valley. Photo opportunities are everywhere. I caught this juvenile Red Tailed Hawk last February at one of the local ranches. Exposure has been one of my greatest challenges, and lately I’m getting a better handle on it.

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I think the image works better with him facing right instead of left, and I fixed my poor exposure and got a little closer.

The night skies have also called to me.  The sunsets have been gorgeous and I’ve worked on my ‘low light’ shooting while I’m out there.  Temperatures are much better when the sun goes down, so why not?

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I made this image from my backyard while we still had a hint of smoke from the wildfire.

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Another from my backyard, through the trees. The smoke is gone, but the storm clouds made gorgeous light!

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Same evening – different vantage point.

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…and a little to the right…

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A look at the Pergola in our backyard. This is looking northeast, so the evening light is much different.

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One final night shot. This is looking southeast from my front yard. My neighbors very thoughtfully built this beautiful scene in the front corner of their yard. I photograph it often.

And I’ll close this post with a couple images of the PHOTORANGER in action.  This little truck has been a great addition to the stable, and I continue to be impressed with its performance in the field.  I took my father-in-law out to look for the wild horses yesterday.  He was impressed with the truck, but said he preferred the ‘softer’ ride of the other cars.  I understand completely.

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Enjoy – and have a wonderful 4th of July!  God Bless America!  PHOTOROGR

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

All Who Wander Are Not Lost

My lovely bride and I snuck out for a quick dinner last week and, on the way, I saw a sticker on a car that read, “All Who Wander Are Not Lost.”  For some reason, the phrase resonated with me – maybe because I was hungry – but the thought seemed incomplete.  Susan and I discussed the sticker over dinner, brainstorming ways to complete the thought.  We decided that it needed to say, “All Who Wander Are Not Lost – Some Of Us Are Taking Pictures!”  I slept well that night, meeting a subliminal need to be profound.  Maybe it was the good dinner and wonderful company – I’ll go with that (love you, Cutie!).

In my last post, I teased you with a promise to deliver a great composition montage from my photography challenge.  Here you go!

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This is the stamp mill at Coloma State Park, overlaid with a texture from a classic Chevy I found in a barn yard. I placed the wood stamp mill in the rusty areas of the texture and let the faded grey areas interact with the background and foreground.

The challenge for last week was street photography.  The instructions were simple: go to a location(s) and take pictures of street scenes – include people if you can.  I was a bit apprehensive for this challenge.  I don’t live in a big city where people can be oblivious of activity on the street.  And the Carson Valley is not small enough so I know everyone.  Granted, I know lots of people here, but not everyone and, in true pioneer spirit, being too invasive can get you shot around here – figuratively, not literally.  So, I traveled across the Valley to the Town of Genoa.  It’s a quaint little place – the oldest settlement in Nevada (unless you’re from Dayton, where they take exception to Genoa’s claim, but I digress).  Tourism is big in Genoa with lots of people around, so I felt safe with my camera over there.  Genoa has one main intersection with a 4 way stop.  I parked a little bit away from the intersection and started taking pictures: a nice couple walking through the Genoa State Park; vehicle traffic going through the intersection; a family stopping at the General Store from their bicycle ride; and a group of men enjoying drink outside the Genoa Bar, the “Oldest Thirst Parlor in Nevada.”  My attention kept returning to a group of people placing mulch in the planting areas along the street.  I recognized one of the workers, so I approached and said howdy.  They are members of the Friends of Genoa, and were sprucing up the downtown before a major tourism conference next week and a big event, the Genoa Cowboy Festival, the first weekend in May.  They were very chatty and welcomed me and my camera.  Here’s my image.

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I got rave reviews from the photo challenge facilitator, who liked that the woman’s red jacket complemented the red in the stop sign, the ‘V’ positioning of the people, and the lines created by the tools connected the people in the picture. Better lucky than good? Yes, I think so!

One of the great things about being retired/self-employed is that my time is mine to use as I wish.  Susan and I live in a great neighborhood with wonderful neighbors.  Several of these neighbors are members of an ATV group that hits the trail at least once a month.  This month’s trip was southeast of Dayton, the Rawe Peak area, and featured fun stops at the Como Mine and the Palmyra town site.  If you want more information on this area, just Google ‘Como Mine’ or ‘Palmyra, Nevada’ and you’ll find lots of information on the area.

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This is Lynn, John, and Bob, with the Como Mine in the background.

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Looking down to the road from the mine equipment. The high desert was beautiful.

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This drum was intriguing. I don’t know enough about this mine to tell you what its purpose was.

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The remains of the only building ‘standing’ in Palmyra.

I can’t go anywhere without looking for a little wildlife.  We hit the jackpot near Palmyra, as we found a band of 6 horses, including a young colt.

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Here he is with Mom. A fire passed through this area some years ago, making tough walking to get close to the horses. Not too close, however – this was shot with the big lens and then cropped.

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The yellow grass, bare trees, and reds in the horses created quite the challenge for my limited photography skills. The horses were mostly cooperative and didn’t run away.

We also went to a nearby mountain, just down from Rawe Peak, to enjoy the views and let a couple group members do their geo-caching thing.

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Looking northeast towards Stagecoach, Nevada.

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Looking northwest towards Mt. Rose. Dayton is in the right side of the image, and Mound House is on the left.

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Looking across the Dayton Valley to Virginia City on the hillside (along the light brown line in the far mountainside). Mt Rose is just out of the image on the left.

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The view to the southwest and the Carson Valley. Jobs Peak, Freel Peak, and Little Sister are the prominent snow covered peaks. Lake Tahoe is just over the ridge of the far mountain range.

I’ll close this week with a images of the wild horses closer to home.  I checked on them the other day, and they are enjoying the spring very well.  I now have images of 7 new ones this year.  I know the names of 4 of the 7.  I hope you enjoyed my fun week.  Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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These are the two little ones in Shorty’s band, I think. They didn’t get too far from their Mamas.

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This is one of my favorite images from this year, and is available on a small note card or as a larger print. Sorry, I had to get one commercial plug into the post!