Please excuse the following unabashed, pulling my shoulder out of socket..patting myself on the back part of this post.
This last Wednesday I was lucky enough to be awarded 1st place in the St Louis Camera Club Salon class of the Nature Division competition with this image.
Bosque snow goose air brakes
Considering the quality of images that are routinely submitted, my placing so high has truly been a case of ‘Feast or Famine’— famine more than feast LOL
On more important notes
We saw out first bluebirds perched on our shepherd crooks this morning along with the first robins of the season. All of them looked in fine condition and the robins were exceptionally big bully-boys.
Spring must be close and frankly….it can’t come soon enough. Tired of snow, tired of ice and tired of being cooped up.
Friday, January 25th, was the reception for Framations Art Gallery’s annual Beyond the Lens competition. Our very dear friend, Carolyn Schlueter, was awarded 2nd place in the competition for her excellent black & white image “Pensive Moment”. Carolyn also had 2 other images accepted into the exhibition.
We had other friends who had their work accepted into the gallery exhibition and will note them in another blog post soon.Molly and I are blessed with being surrounded with wonderful friends that are very creative.
It is our pleasure to try and showcase them to our subscribers.
Here is an image of Carolyn with her prize winning image
(sorry, I do not know who took the image to do a credit caption).
Congrats to Carolyn
Carolyn Schlueter and her prize winning image “Pensive Moment”
I recently entered this image in a local competition (didn’t make the cut for any points) and had titled it Bosque Snow Goose At Dawn.
Not sure what I was thinking, but it is a Ross’s Goose. They are a ‘cousin’ to the Snow Goose but lack the size (Ross is about the size of a mallard) and also the ‘grin patch of a Snow. Beak length is different at well.
Just goes to show that even after chasing waterfowl for more years than I care to admit, I still make mistakes.
For years I’ve wanted to photograph Sandhill Cranes. Even looked into the blinds you can rent from an organization in Nebraska when the cranes head to their breeding grounds. The drill for these blinds is the organization people take you into the blind after sundown and they come get you the next day after sundown. From accounts, you can’t leave the blind unless it is an emergency. The blinds are reported to be very cold and cramped. A couple of folks I asked said the openings to photograph out of were not real conducive to longish lens.
So when I read some of Arthur Morris’s articles and saw his images from Bosque years ago, I decided that some day I would go there and photograph cranes. As most of you know, Paul Fisher and I made the journey and tried to wear out our cameras photographing cranes,snow geese, ducks, harriers,javelina and Rio Grande turkeys.
A photographer by the name of Jim Palmer (https://www.jimpalmerphotography.com/) gave us some information of where the cranes would be and some places we could set up to capture them feeding and flying. Paul and I found a place along the flight line and it became our go to place. We nick named it “The Beach” due to the sandy soil where we pulled off the main road. From this vantage point we photographed cranes until we thought we were “craned” out. Looking back on the images as I work through them, it just makes me want to go back and try some different settings and different vantage points etc.
Here is a small sample.
We finished our calendars a couple of days ago. Printed them on Red River 60lb. Polar Matte and had them spiral bound at Office Depot using their ‘report’ covers. I broke out our heavy-duty commercial paper punch and they are ready to go.
In case you have the urge to create your own calendars, here are a couple of links.
Download and read the ReadMe file. Pretty easy peasy– see sample at the end of the post
For those of you that like to play in Lightroom
A photographer named Ed Weaver has been making template/presets for use in Lightroom for several years. Matt Kloskowski has a video tutorial on how to set up the templates for use in Lightroom– read the text on the download page for the link to the video
Looks pretty easy for those of you that play in Lightroom–
Here is a sample off of this years calendar– a Bosque del Apache mallard no less with a gorgeous blue mountain background– 8.5 x 11
Bosque images are being edited– got a ton of them so be patient LOL
Thursday,November 29th, Paul Fisher and I embarked on a photo “safari” to Bosque Del Apache (Woods of the Apache). The goals were to test out Paul’s “new” camera and his existing lens, bird and bird in flight photography and generally photograph anything that would allow us to photograph it.
Betty (Paul’s wife) and Molly acted as the quartermasters. I am not sure if we had enough snacks,soda, green tea and water to circumnavigate the globe, but anywhere in North America was certainly covered. Being amply supplied, Paul and I were able to drive for extended periods with pit stops for gas and other reasons.
Twelve hours after leaving New Haven, we arrived in Amarillo and spent the night there. Next morning we headed to Socorro. We were hoping to beat a winter storm forecast. While on the road, we saw an isolated snow storm falling about 3 miles off Hwy 40. White from cloud to the ground. The rest of the area was untouched. Quite the sight….and no, we didn’t stop to photograph it. Sometimes the memories can’t really be captured with a camera. This was a recurring lesson on this trip. How do you capture that landscape and do it justice? We measured our trip in hours and not miles.
To paraphrase Robert Frost–we had miles to go before we sleep.
I am still thinking of how vast the country is from Oklahoma City and the Short Grass Prairie to the Mountains and the desert scrub of New Mexico. While not “The Road Goes On Forever” by Robert Earl Keen the vistas do bring to mind The Allman Brothers “Midnight Rider”. Poets and photographers, what a mix this trip would be.
Next post– Arrival and our first afternoon.
For larger image click thumbnail
A shot of the snack bag– coolers were outside the vehicle getting ice– photo by Paul Fisher (phone)
The rear of the rental vehicle. Big lens, lots of camera gear and a couple of BIG coolers with provisions– Photo by Pauls Fisher (phone)
I run off to go duck hunting and she heads for Lone Elk.
I think she got the better deal LOL.
Lone Elk Park– bulls sparring during mating season
I’ve mentioned having writer’s block for quite some time. Yeah, I’ve been able to squeeze out the intermittent blog post and hopefully, it hasn’t bored too many of you but I’ve been trying to get a new presentation about photographing birds in flight out of my head and on to paper. Not much success at this point.
My old friend Sam Hampton, who has the soul of a poet and the scientific/technical ability of a physicist once explained how a super saturated solution could change to a solid or a gas if the right catalyst was found. Sam was and is a pretty smart fella that lives in California and can be found with a fly rod fishing in beautiful places when he gets the chance. Definitely a person that I have listen to over the years.
I guess we could say the same about photography plateaus. You know…when it seems like you are in a rut. You pretty much have the technical aspect of photography down enough that you can overcome bad light or poor backgrounds and all the things that seem to interfere with producing top notch work. You have to reach a point where you are ‘saturated’. in photography. You are looking for that ‘catalyst’ to solidify the images in your head so you can figure out how to achieve them. You are looking for something to move you off dead center.
That catalyst can be new equipment. It can be switching to a new genre of photography but in my case, I think it is time to do a road trip. Not just any road trip but a road trip to one of the iconic hot spots for bird and nature photography.
In this case, Bosque del Apache.
I leave the end of November. Stay tuned for updates. Hopefully, it won’t bore you.
Until then, here is a warm up image that I made to start dusting off the ‘cobwebs’. It was also part of a focus test to determine if there was any back or front focus issues.
Now, I’m sure some of you are asking yourself…..what is significant about October 15th?
October 15th is when many of the Conservation areas restrict access to their wetlands either for hunting or for refuge areas for waterfowl.
Two Rivers is closed to all foot traffic until after the 1st of January.
Columbia Bottoms closes part of the area (gravel road access) for waterfowl hunting.
Riverlands closes several areas.
Link to access list http://riverlands.audubon.org/sites/g/files/amh741/f/rmbs_map-access_restricts.pdf
So, plan accordingly.
Also the earliest image I have of Trumpeter Swans is October 26th so get prepared for them to start arriving.
Hope to see some of you on the Great River Road sometime.
Trumpeter Swans flying out of the Heron Pond
I just got off the phone with Cassandra at Two Rivers Refuge. She was calling to let me know that the Fall Wildlife Festival is canceled due to flooding. The Gilbert Lake parking lot is flooded and the water is coming up towards the Swan Lake Headquarters.
This picture is from the Two Rivers Facebook account and was taken by R. Dietrich, USFWS
You can read the latest at Two Rivers Facebook
High water at Swan Lake viewed from HQ
The Brussel’s Ferry is still in operation but if you are thinking about using it you might want to call or visit IDOT’s Road Closure page