Friday, 30 September 2011

Play the Seasons and Learn

From http://natureandwildlifephotography.blogspot.com/

You can't fight it, you have to go with the flow. Let the salmon go up river to their death, struggling to survive, but as a photographer - learn the seasons, research the places, scout them, make friends, make visits, and over time get to know places and what works best.

I guess in a nut shell that's what I've been doing for a few years or more. Traveling mostly a hundred miles this way or that way, and when it works well either learning about a location or getting some good and new images - and on the really good days both. A day with learning but no stand out images, that's still got to be counted as a success.

Cape May New Jersey is sort of my new favorite place. Last year I went a couple times, but this year I am even more in to it.

Cooper's Hawk resting for a moment at the beach

Having gone to spots here and there at Cape May and tried sunrise or sunset at a few spots I now have more info and more local knowledge. The folks that live nearby, or visit lots, they know what's up - and it can largely be a matter of asking, and also trial and error.

The hawk landed on that fence post - I was just 20 feet away, and when I moved the camera over and started to shoot he saw me and flew off a moment later. That brief encounter, what it really highlighted for me was - hawks will do anything and land and then scan the area - IF they aren't spooked off to begin with. I was there already, but when I moved and focused on him, THAT bother him.

So, that was a couple weekends ago. What happened a few minutes later was a group of ~15 birders came up to the spot near me, and walked up and started looking around. Needless to say, no more hawks landed on the fence.

A week later I was back and it was like ground-hog-day, but I had just a little more info. I was at a similar spot along the dune and the hawks were all over the place, and migrating, and flying mostly south.

What I tried differently was to not be in a spot so often traveled by people. It was still pretty close to the beach, at a dunes spot, and basically equally good for hawks.

Here's the spot I picked and how I setup with some cover. Having shot a few places where I just made the seemingly minor choice of picking some cover to try to blend in with, it really made a difference.



The thing about shooting raptors flying by close and fast though is that shooting from a tripod - that's not so good. I couldn't move around and adjust fast enough. I wound up hand holding most of the time. I'd rest the camera and lens on the tripod, and then when something was approaching I'd hand hold the camera and get ready...



What actually happened next THREE TIMES though was I was too hidden, I blended in too much for my own good. Last year I got a camo coat, and hat, and have wrapped my lens in camo too. So, THREE times at this *other* spot a hawk landed on the fence post, so close that by the time I reached for the camera and began to adjust and move to just begin to PREPARE to take a shot, the hawk was so spooked by my new found presence that it took off before I even came CLOSE to getting a shot. Three times. Once the hawk was just on right of that tall grass perched on the fence maybe 4 feet from me and the camera.

Sigh.

So, I tried to learn from that, expect things, and plan and move around differently... It didn't quite work out, but I think if I had done what I did later during the earlier encounters, it could have worked. So, for me, I learned and will try new things next time.

-

One of the great things about this time of year and Cape May also is that there are so many knowledgeable and friendly people there. In just a few visits this year, I really learned a bunch already. I will still basically say much of the bird IDs I tell people are "guesses" because I know I have so much more to learn, but, with hundreds of raptors passing by, often per hour, I kind of feel like I know more every day of every visit I'm there.



Taking time to blend in, dress right, move slowly, and predict things is something I've picked up more in the past 2 years I'd say. It's like being a hunter... The input influences the output. If you don't know what you're doing the best you can hope for is being lucky. But there more you know, the more you can predict, the more you can steer chance in your own favor.......

Find spots and go with the seasons, learn the lay of the land, patterns, and NEVER be afraid to get info from a local or fellow visitor.

-Jon

Nikographer.com / Jon

Source: http://natureandwildlifephotography.blogspot.com/2010/10/play-seasons-and-learn.html

stock photography sites

Cycling the Coast-to-Coast


On the 5th and�6th September, 2011 my brother Ken, my son Andrew and I cycled the Coast-to-Coast across northern England, starting at Whitehaven�on the west coast and anding at Tynemouth on the east coast. A link to the write-up on Day 1 can be found under the “Cycling” tab above.

Source: http://www.wilkinsonsworld.com/2011/09/cycling-the-coast-to-coast/

courses photography

Start Your Photography Career as a Second Shooter

Photography: Elmada It doesn?t matter how great your photography teacher or how respected your course, it?s only when you reach the church and spend time with the bride that you realize exactly what?s involved in completing a successful wedding shoot. It?s only then that you understand what to bring, who to photograph, how to manage [...]

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/PhotopreneurBlog/~3/7Hyal94EEYo/start-your-photography-career-as-a-second-shooter

professional photographer

Madagascar Photo Tour

Will is leading a two-week photo tour to the enchanted land of Madagascar, this October! Photograph lemurs, chameleons, geckos and more...

Source: http://blog.burrard-lucas.com/2011/06/madagascar-photo-tour/

stock photography sites

Christoph Martin Schmid BTS: Scream

�Christoph Martin Schmid

By Sara Lando -- There is something about Berlin photographer Christoph Martin Schmid's work that makes the viewer uneasy. His images are suspended, eerie and polished to the point they seem to transcend reality. His ability to compress a whole story into one single frame has allowed him to land international advertising campaigns and become widely recognized.

Today we go behind the scenes with this image from his Scream!! series. Read more �

Source: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2011/08/christoph-martin-schmid-bts-scream.html

photography course london

Un orth�trum fac�tieux ...

2011_05_21_Orthetrum_albistylum_01
Pourquoi fac�tieux me diriez vous ? Tout simplement parce que cet Orth�trum � stylets blancs ( Orthetrum albistylum ) porte bien mal son nom et ferait tourner en bourrique un odonatologue d�butant, car ses stylets (appendices anaux au bout de l'abdomen) sont, pour ce sp�cimen, noirs ! Mais pour une fois, je n'ai pas h�sit� : l'abdomen �troit recouvert d'une pruine bleue claire presque blanche et surtout la zone noire � d�marcation nette (ce qui n'est pas le cas chez Orthetrum cancellatum ) signent les marques caract�ristiques d' Orthetrum albistylum .

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Wildlife-Photography-Blogs/~3/GeB_oSg-mhY/21744218.html

colour photographers

Denali Moose

Bull moose in front of Mt. McKinley, Denali National Park, Alaska. It is always a treat to see Denali.� It is also a treat to see a bull moose up close!� But, to see both at together at the same time – awesome!  

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/RonNiebruggesPhotoBlog/~3/-Cx-4NzJGbk/denali-moose

national history museum wildlife photography

Shield-Tailed Snake

Yes, it's another snake. But this time, a live one! My dad brought home this weird-looking snake in a bottle from the same plot of land where we spotted the caecilians. As always, everyone thought it was a highly venomous species. But the problem was, I couldn't tell if it was venomous or not, for I was seeing a snake like this for the first time!


You might probably be thinking that the raised end of the snake is its head. That's what I thought as well. But I was wrong! After having touched the snake with a twig, it started slithering 'backwards'. That was when I noticed a tiny white tongue appear from its 'tail'. At that moment I knew this was a form of defense- the blunt tail appeared to be the head and the narrow head appeared as a tail! Here's a video of the snake. We might have frightened the snake, but don't worry, it was not harmed!






After doing some research, I figured it out that this was a species of Shield-Tailed Snake, a nocturnal, burrowing snake rarely encountered as it spends most of its life underground. They are non-venomous, so I went up close and took some shots, as I didn't have to fear about dying if I get bitten. A shot of the snake slithering out of the bottle.



The blunt tail. These tails are strong and built as a 'shield' to absorb attacks from predators, as they usually mistake the tail for the head. That's how they get their name- Shield-Tailed Snakes.



Close-up of the narrow head. It seemed like it was about time for the snake to shed its skin.



I had a hard time photographing this snake as it wouldn't always stay still. The flash always got reflected by the shiny skin as well. Hence I couldn't manage any shots I was completely satisfied with.





I got the snake into my aquarium and let it dig into the moist soil. As evening drew near, I got snake out and released it into ditch a few hundred metres away from my house. I was glad I got to see a snake I hadn't seen before, and not dead!

Source: http://praying-mantis101.blogspot.com/2011/09/shield-tailed-snake.html

portrait photography tips

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Chincoteague NWR, VA pt2

From http://natureandwildlifephotography.blogspot.com/

What's neat about shooting at Chincoteague is getting to see some new behavior.

On a previous trip I was watching the herons and egrets and noticed how the gulls group up with them. The gulls don't seem to bother the herons and egrets much but they do key off of them - some times stealing their catch. What was interesting to watch though was how the gulls imitate the snowy egrets. The egrets will use their feet to stir up the bottom and get critters to reveal themselves. I saw a gull using its feet in the same way, it had to have learned it from the herons and egrets.

Shooting across from the visitors center out near the beach is surprisingly good. I would have thought the traffic or other visitors might detract, but it worked well.



I have this low LL Bean chair, it sits about 4 inches off the ground and makes for a nice seat to use and stay low, and off the sometimes wet/muddy ground.



One thing that I try to avoid is shooting from head high, tripod high, for no reason. Often I will collapse the legs on my tripod to the shortest height and then sit down, or I will extend the legs just slightly and kneel or crouch. I've only gone in to a full horizontal shooting stance a few times, but getting that low makes a difference. The two main things are the angle is more intimate, being closer to the subject, and the other thing it does is makes me less imposing - so I am not towering over a 1 feet subject standing 6 feet tall. Staying low can make a big difference like this. A couple of trips about at Chincoteague I slid closer to a group of herons and got within 20 or 25 feet of them. THey knew I was there but over time I slowly got closer and didn't trigger their fear and they stayed put, hunting, unbothered. When I was done shooting and stood up - every bird flew away. Many came back as I walked away, but that just shows the contrast of standing vs. sitting and the way birds might respond.

This Redish Egret had just caught and ate a crab - and then proceeded to stick its head underwater so it could slowly look for the other bits (legs and claws). It was neat to see and the undisturbed water made for some nice reflections...

Chincoteague NWR, VA





Nikographer.com / Jon

Source: http://natureandwildlifephotography.blogspot.com/2010/09/chincoteague-nwr-va-pt2.html

photography workshops

Grinnell's Beardtongue

Grinnell's beardtongue along the Pacifc Crest Trail, near Mt. Burnham, in the San Gabriel Mountains. This bulbous Penstemon can accommodate large pollinators such as bumblebees and carpenter bees.

From a run in July 2010.



PhotographyontheRun.com Copyright 2006-2011 Gary Valle. All Rights Reserved.

Source: http://www.photographyontherun.com/GrinnellsBeardtongue.aspx

cameras for wildlife photography

Bird Trilogy

Image Thumbnail
I've just created a 'best of 2011' gallery on my web site and noticed that three of the shots are, aside from the species, damn near identical! Clearly I'm a big fan of this composition! CLICK ON IMAGES FOR LARGER VERSIONS 700mm f7.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Wildlife-Photography-Blogs/~3/IXgJQqAIBlE/bird-trilogy.html

still life photography

The Unfairness of Flickr?s Explore Page

Photography: Entrer dans le r�ves If you?ve ever felt that Flickr?s Explore page has been ignoring you, that your images deserve the attention the page brings and that Yahoo?s site just isn?t fair? you?re right. Flickr?s Explore page is neither fair nor intended to be fair. As Serguei Mourachov, an engineer responsible for the page?s [...]

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/PhotopreneurBlog/~3/gpTgUwwP5hQ/the-unfairness-of-flickr-explore-page

wildlife photos

The Bird of the Week ? Week 86 ? Brubru


The Brubru is a fairly unobtrusive shrike that is quite difficult to see clearly as it hops about in the thickly leaved tree canopies that it favours. It is found through most of sub-Saharan Africa, and in the southern African region it is absent only from the south. It is found in open woodland areas, [...]

Source: http://www.wilkinsonsworld.com/2011/08/the-bird-of-the-week-week-86-%e2%80%93-brubru/

landscape photography

Violets of New River

I would venture to guess that violets are one of the more recognizable flowers in the world. I bet everyone reading this blog, if presented with an image of a flower of the genus Viola, would say, "That's a violet." In addition to a staggering number of wild species, there are many cultivated species, too, and avid gardeners may be familiar with a number of them (those cute little Johnny Jump Ups and basket upon basket of pansies at the garden center come quickly to my mind). While we might easily recognize them as a genus, being able to identify individual species takes a little more work - work to which I have not yet committed myself. However, with the help of field guides, the internet, and knowledgeable friends, I was able to identify and take photos of 5 different species of violets during my trip to the New River Birding and Nature Festival. I'm sure there were many more species that I walked right past without even noticing, but we'll blame that on the fact that I was watching birds!

Canadian Violet, Viola canadensis
There is no doubt that this is a very bold, showy violet. I was surprised to learn its identity, actually - I was expecting it to be something more exotic. I'm sure I have encountered it at some point in my life, but I was very much impressed when I saw several clumps of this species one day.


The Canada Violet is large, both in stature and the size of its bloom. The back of the flower's petals have a purplish hue to them. Go check out Dawn's blog for a photo of the flower from the back. Heck, just check out her blog for the heck of it. She's done a lot of serious birding over the last month that you might want to read about.


Marsh Blue Violet, Viola cucullata
I'm not keeping a list, but if I were, this would be a "life" flower for me, for sure.


The Marsh Blue Violet was sighted during our trip to Cranberry Glades. I plan to tell you all about the very special day we had there in my next post.


Halberd-leaved Violet, Viola hastata
Yet another life flower for me. A halberd is "a two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 14th and 15th centuries" (thanks, Wikipedia), and the flower is so named due to the supposed resemblance of the its leaves to the weapon. Another common name for it is Spear-leaved Violet


Unfortunately the flowers were just past their prime, so they weren't quite as showy as they probably had been just a few days prior.


Long-spurred Violet, Viola rostrata
Yet another species that was beyond its peak bloom and had begun to fade. I'm sad that I wasn't able to actually capture the spur coming off the back of the flower that gives it its name, but I wanted to share the few images I did get because I still think it's purdy.


You'll notice some very bold lines in the middle of the flower. Those are called nectar guides, and they are the equivalent of an airport runway all lit up, telling bugs and other pollinators where to go to get to the nectar that is housed within. Many flowers have nectar guides, not just violets.


Sweet White Violet, Viola blanda
This is my last specimen. Sweet White's are tiny, and would be dwarfed by the Canada Violet that headlined this post. I heard about another similar violet that was growing on the grounds of Opossum Creek Retreat called Macloskey's Violet, or Northern White Violet (Viola macloskeyi), but my sources tell me that Macloskey's Violet has a green stem, whereas the Sweet White has the pinkish stem that you see here.


As with the Long-spurred Violet pictured earlier, you will notice an ant up inside the flower, assisting with pollination duties. Makes me wonder if ants are a common, perhaps major, pollinator of violets?

Source: http://heather-heatherofthehills.blogspot.com/2011/05/violets-of-new-river.html

photography portfolios

Violets of New River

I would venture to guess that violets are one of the more recognizable flowers in the world. I bet everyone reading this blog, if presented with an image of a flower of the genus Viola, would say, "That's a violet." In addition to a staggering number of wild species, there are many cultivated species, too, and avid gardeners may be familiar with a number of them (those cute little Johnny Jump Ups and basket upon basket of pansies at the garden center come quickly to my mind). While we might easily recognize them as a genus, being able to identify individual species takes a little more work - work to which I have not yet committed myself. However, with the help of field guides, the internet, and knowledgeable friends, I was able to identify and take photos of 5 different species of violets during my trip to the New River Birding and Nature Festival. I'm sure there were many more species that I walked right past without even noticing, but we'll blame that on the fact that I was watching birds!

Canadian Violet, Viola canadensis
There is no doubt that this is a very bold, showy violet. I was surprised to learn its identity, actually - I was expecting it to be something more exotic. I'm sure I have encountered it at some point in my life, but I was very much impressed when I saw several clumps of this species one day.


The Canada Violet is large, both in stature and the size of its bloom. The back of the flower's petals have a purplish hue to them. Go check out Dawn's blog for a photo of the flower from the back. Heck, just check out her blog for the heck of it. She's done a lot of serious birding over the last month that you might want to read about.


Marsh Blue Violet, Viola cucullata
I'm not keeping a list, but if I were, this would be a "life" flower for me, for sure.


The Marsh Blue Violet was sighted during our trip to Cranberry Glades. I plan to tell you all about the very special day we had there in my next post.


Halberd-leaved Violet, Viola hastata
Yet another life flower for me. A halberd is "a two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 14th and 15th centuries" (thanks, Wikipedia), and the flower is so named due to the supposed resemblance of the its leaves to the weapon. Another common name for it is Spear-leaved Violet


Unfortunately the flowers were just past their prime, so they weren't quite as showy as they probably had been just a few days prior.


Long-spurred Violet, Viola rostrata
Yet another species that was beyond its peak bloom and had begun to fade. I'm sad that I wasn't able to actually capture the spur coming off the back of the flower that gives it its name, but I wanted to share the few images I did get because I still think it's purdy.


You'll notice some very bold lines in the middle of the flower. Those are called nectar guides, and they are the equivalent of an airport runway all lit up, telling bugs and other pollinators where to go to get to the nectar that is housed within. Many flowers have nectar guides, not just violets.


Sweet White Violet, Viola blanda
This is my last specimen. Sweet White's are tiny, and would be dwarfed by the Canada Violet that headlined this post. I heard about another similar violet that was growing on the grounds of Opossum Creek Retreat called Macloskey's Violet, or Northern White Violet (Viola macloskeyi), but my sources tell me that Macloskey's Violet has a green stem, whereas the Sweet White has the pinkish stem that you see here.


As with the Long-spurred Violet pictured earlier, you will notice an ant up inside the flower, assisting with pollination duties. Makes me wonder if ants are a common, perhaps major, pollinator of violets?

Source: http://heather-heatherofthehills.blogspot.com/2011/05/violets-of-new-river.html

photography agencies