A Great Wildlife Image is Pure Magic

Pure magic…..  That is what a great wildlife image truly is. As I sat in the blind waiting on the buck deer to appear, I thought to myself.  A great wildlife photo is truly magic.

There is so much that goes into capturing great photos of wildlife, and I want to share with you some of those amazing aspects.

The first most important things that you need to know is animal behavior.  You need to know your subject.  You need to spend time with them.  Knowing them could mean the difference in getting the shot, or watching the golden hour pass you by.  You need to know the behavior of your subject such as this deer in my case today.

Last fall I sat and waited for this buck deer for over two hours.   I had seen a doe come out and run up the trail toward me.  I thought with any luck, there may be a buck deer to follow shortly behind her.

dsc_0455And sure enough, here he came.  He came right up the same trail that she just traveled.  That is something that one should know.  If I had not known how the White Tail buck deer behaved during rutting season,  then I might have just gave up and went to another spot.

Patience is also another important trait you need to have in photographing wildlife.  Without it, you will never be successful.

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Knowing that there might be a buck deer come out behind her made me stay and wait.

This little eight point just took his sweet time coming towards me.  I was holding my breath in hopes that he would come close enough to get some fantastic shots, and he did.

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Knowing what your subject is feeding on, where they stay during the day and their movements at certain times of the day,  will help you to get a chance at that great shot.

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Animal behavior can sometimes be unpredictable, but it can give you a great advantage if you know just a little bit about your subject ahead of time.

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Seeing Eye to Eye

Low impact Photography

Getting down and dirty at your subjects eye level can give you big impact when it comes to photographing small animals.  Capturing these photos of the Greater Road Runner is a example of this type photography.
When you think of the road runner, you think of the cartoon where Wile E Coyote chases the road runner but never prevails.

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The Greater Road Runner is a bird that never stands still for very long periods at a time.  He seems to me a very nervous bird that darts and runs constantly as he makes his way across a field or down a road ditch.

 

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This very distinctive bird with its crest on top of his head, that sticks up when he gets excited, can out run a human, catch a snake, and live in the worst climates on earth.  I had the opportunity to get down on its level and capture this active bird as he made his way across a field in front of me.   This made the Roadrunner appear bigger and more dramatic.

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Another tip I would like to mention with this type photography,  is shooting in manual mode when it comes to focus.  Manually focusing on your subject will keep your camera from focusing on an object in the foreground.  This will keep your subject in focus and not just being a blur.

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This type perspective to photography not only works for wildlife but also can make a field full of flowers look like a forest, or it can turn an insect into a monster.

 

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PORTFOLIO of the Trumpeter Swan

Low Light Photography

There are two hours in the day that photographers call the golden hours. These two hours are the first hour of daylight when light is first peeping its head up and becoming visible. The second golden hour is at dawn when the sun makes its last appearance and God takes his paint brush and paints the most stunning colors in the sky. These two hours are the golden hours of photography. This is when you want to be out there catching the light in your camera lens.

The photo above of the Trumpeter Swan was taken when the sun was shinning its last rays of light on the water and giving the swan a pink glow. It was such a magical hour and I hope to do it again someday when I can catch the light just right.

Magic can happen when you least expect it. When sun light hits the water it can cause some pretty awesome effects to happen in a photo. The swan above brings its head up from eating the grass on the bottom of the pond and shakes the water from its head. As the sun reflects off of the drops of water there is a magical array of droplets that surround its head.
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The afternoon I took the above photo it was almost getting too dark to capture an image.  The Trumpeter swans were restless and decided to take flight.  I had capture the images in very low light.  This is what happens in low light photography at the the golden hour.  Droplets of water are reflected by what little is left of the sun.   Trumpeter swans dancing across the water with type of light gives you an awesome photo.

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I hope you have enjoyed this little excerpt on the golden hours of photography.  I encourage your comments and love to hear each and everyone of them.  Until next time…

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Birds In Flight

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There is nothing more challenging than trying to take a still photo of a bird in flight.  In this blog post I want to hit on a few key tips for making this challenge a little more easier.  First of all you must have patience.  This is probably the most important aspect to wildlife photography.  Without it, you are not going to get that photo that you have always dreamed of taking.

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Lighting plays a very important part in photography.  Capturing a photo, wether it is an action shot or a still shot, light is what photography is all about.  Never shoot into the sun.  Your best shots will be on an overcast day.

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Keeping a low profile is also another key element to wildlife photography.  Most animals will not stick around if they see you.  And keeping your distance is very important if you want to get a great shot.  Try never to disturb an animal in the wild.  A good photographer will get the shot without causing the animal to run or hide.  Choosing the correct lens to get the reach you need will help you to accomplish this.  I use a Tamron 150 – 600 mm lens and it has quite the reach, along with not breaking your pocket book.

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Free hand shooting is the best for action but if you have to use a tripod you need to use a pan head.  That way you can pan and move the camera along with the bird or animal as it moves.

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But the most important tip I can give you is making sure your shutter speed is fast enough to freeze the animal or bird in flight without blur. Set you shutter speed to at least 1/1000 of a second to 1/2000 of a second or faster if your camera is capable of doing so.  The faster the better.

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Check back for more tips and beautiful images.

Until next time….

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Hen Harrier

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The Hen Harrier Hawk is a bird that is very hard to catch setting still.  This was a rare treat to catch this one setting on a stump.  What made this very special was another Hen Harrier came by and tried to knock the first one off of the log and I got the shot.

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My Equipment

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One thing I love in life is photography.  I am so hooked on taking my camera and going on a hunt for the perfect photograph.  Wildlife is what I love the most.  I have taken many photographs of wildlife in and around the farm in which I live.  It is my passion and I would love to share a few pointers and some of the images that I have taken with you.

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The first few years that was I first became interested in photography, I didn’t invest in a very expensive camera.  I bought a Nikon D5500 Camera and a Nikon AF S NIKKOR 55-300 lens.  This is a great little camera and the perfect lens for starting out.  this lens is a kit lens but it does do a decent job.  The reach is fair and you can take some really good pictures.  This little camera is a wonderful camera.  Later I graduated to a Tamron SP 150-600mm.  This is a great lens, and the reach is wonderful.  Also it won’t break the bank.  I have enjoyed the lens so much that when I graduated up to the Nikon D500 that I use now, I stayed with this lens.

I always shoot in RAW mode, and I use Adobe photo shop and Adobe Lightroom to develop my photos.  I do not like to adjust my photos very much.  I love the natural look that my camera gives the photos.  I adjust only what i have to adjust and leave it at that

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The Tamron lens is also wonderful for action shots.  You need a sturdy tripod to hold this lens steady.   Along with the Nikon D500 it is a handful to use free handed.  It can be done as I have done many times but you need some muscles.    I really love this camera and lens together.

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Eastern Bluebirds

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One of my most favorite subjects to photography is the Eastern Bluebird.  They are so photogenic.  The male is bright blue, while the female is less colorful.  untitled (1 of 1)-7

The little bluebirds listen and look at the ground to see and hear their next meal.  They feed by dropping to the ground and catching insects. untitled-1-of-1-2-jpga

 

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The Eastern Bluebird is a sign of spring and I love to hear them sing and watch them work building their homes in the boxes that I have in my yard.

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