- Animals/Birds of the Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks 2016
- National Parks Landscapes 2016
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2014
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2014
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2012
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2012
- Animals of Yellowstone 2011
- Birds of Yellowstone 2011
- Yellowstone/Tetons Landscapes 2011
- Yellowstone Textures
- Custer State Park, SD
- Great Smoky Mountains NP
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Utah National Parks
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I had an opportunity to photograph the resident education birds at the Iowa Raptor Project near Solon, IA and Lake MacBride State Park. Each bird has a unique story of how it was injured and can't be returned to the wild. They are now education birds open to the public to view the birds and learn about raptors. This is a joint project of Kirkwood Community College and The University of Iowa Recreational Services. [Click the images to see larger and read the descriptions.]
Once again on my annual fishing trip to Voyageurs National Park in Northern Minnesota I was able to get a few photos of Common Loons, Bald Eagles and ducks all taken from the boat (thanks to willing boat captains who took a slight break from fishing so that I could snap a few quick shots.) The photos of the Common Mergansers below were a bit of a surprise as I looked at the photos because the drake had fish line wrapped around its beak and may have been unable to eat. I sent the photos the the National Park Service office at the park in hopes that they could use it as a part of their education efforts to remind fisher-persons why they shouldn't throw used, tangled fish line in the lake.
(Click an image below to see larger.)
Video of a Bald Eagle in Flight during the Raymond Barlow Raptor Workshop at the Canadian Raptor Conservancy near Simcoe, Ontario. The falconers flew the Eagle across the pond several times rewarding him with a tasty treat each time. I don't remember the exact camera settings. It was a 10-22mm lens on a DSLR and slowed down to half-speed in the editing.
(Due to goofy YouTube stuff it may go to another video after viewing. Reloading the page should get you back here.)
These were taken a couple of weeks ago near Park Rapids, MN. Left to right -
1. The Osprey nest is on the top of a power pole next to the highway. I had stopped on the opposite side of the road to take pictures from the sunroof of the car with the telephoto lens and was lucky enough to get the male returning to the nest with a fish in his talons to feed the chicks.
2. There is an Eagle's nest on an island on a small lake. From the canoe I took photos of one of the adults perched on a nearby tree in the evening. Hand-holding the big telephoto in a moving canoe was challenging.
3. While paddling a bit further I spotted a Kingfisher. Just as I quickly snapped a few photos a second Kingfisher flew through the frame and they both flew off. Kingfishers are very wary around people and I felt very lucky to get any photos.
4. A great Blue Heron flew over the lake while we were in the canoe.
Click an image to see larger.
When I am out photographing birds, wildlife and landscapes I occasionally shoot some video at the same time. Here is a little video sampler of some of our photo adventures over the past few years. The still photos can be found throughout this web site.
I went to visit the local Eagle's nest yesterday and wasn't disappointed. There were two adults and at least one juvenile. From the car I was able to take a few photos as they flew up and down the river several times (terrorizing the ducks). Like visiting old friends - great to see the Eagles.
Yesterday I went to visit one of the local Eagle's nest before the leaves get too big to see it. There were two eaglets visible in the nest and only one adult present in the three-hours that I observed the nest. You have to look carefully at the images below to see the young birds, grayish-brown in color and quite a bit smaller than the adult. The adult would fly over to a branch overlooking the stream like a sentry keeping guard over the unattended chicks. While I didn't see any new food brought in to the nest I did see the adult scrape away and move a large pile of grass in the nest, dig down with her/his beak and rip chunks of meat from whatever dead animal was stored in the pantry to feed the young birds. Then off to the sentry post again while the eaglets laid low in the nest. A relaxing way to spend a nice spring evening - just watching the birds. [Click the images to see larger]
I gave in. I finally decided to post some pictures on Facebook also. Go to my Facebook page then click the Like or Follow button and you can stay updated on some of my photo adventures. Of course you will need to log in to Facebook to see them. -
Last Sunday, January 19, I spent the day taking Bald Eagle pictures at Lock and Dam 14 (or L&D 14) on the Mississippi River near Le Claire, IA (near Bettendorf and Davenport). It's about a four-hour drive for me, but worth it for a chance to get lots of photo opportunities with the Eagles. I've been here several times before (see previous post), and I've found that January is the best time. The river is largely frozen this year and the Eagles concentrate below the dams where they can catch fish. There were more Eagles at L&D 13 this day, but the viewing platform at L&D 14 is much better for photography. There were over 100 people from all over the country and Canada, shoulder-to-shoulder taking photos and watching the Eagles. There is plenty of space to take photos on the platform and along the river bank, but the parking lot does get full. A good Eagle photo day for me at this location is cold, sunny, and the wind from the West or Southwest. I watch the weather and go when the conditions are right. The best light is from about 1:00 - 3:30 in the afternoon, but I like to get there in the morning to get a good spot for photos. I bring a stool, my lunch, dress warm, put toe warmers in my boots and spend the day taking photos and chatting with the other photographers. I have one camera and telephoto lens on a tripod for the distance shots and one hand-held to get overhead shots and flying behind me. Here are just a few shots from the day.
Click the images below to see a larger image.
There are more Eagle photos here.
It is Winter time in Iowa, but an unusually cold one. Today it was -22 degrees F and the wind is blowing. I think I heard that it was a -55F windchill. At least it's not also snowing; it would be quite a blizzard. Today I am trying to stay warm inside editing pictures, pictures that I took yesterday when it was a balmy -4F outside (minus an unknown windchill factor). I bundled up, stayed in the car with the window open and from one vantage point on the Winnebago River, took pictures of eagles, geese, ducks, turkeys and a Red-tailed Hawk. They didn't seem to be too much bothered by the cold.
I was concerned about what might happen to the image sensor on my camera in very cold weather and if it would change the quality of the recorded image, so I posed the question on one of the photography forums that I follow. The consensus is that cold does not negatively affect digital image sensors. However, the cold will cause camera batteries to lose their charge sooner, and the cold metal of the camera on cold fingers or your face while taking pictures could increase the risk of frost bite. In cold weather there are often heat-waves coming up from the ground that will slightly distort things in the distance, causing pictures of distant objects taken with a telephoto lens to be unsharp.
Another real concern is condensation that may form on or inside the camera or lens when bringing it in the house (or into a warm car) from the cold outside, just like it does on my glasses. Condensation forming inside the lens or camera could ruin it and cause all kinds of mechanical, electrical or optical problems. Before I bring my cold camera in the house I will either zip it tightly inside my camera bag or I will put it inside a "dry bag" used for keeping things dry while canoeing or kayaking and seal it up tightly (a large sealed zip-lock bag may work also). First wrapping a towel around the camera may also prevent any moisture that may form inside the plastic bag from dripping on the camera. Then, when I bring it inside I will wait several hours to let everything gradually warm up to room temperature before opening the bag. I guess I can't be in too much of a hurry to get to the photos that I just took or to recharge the batteries. Surprisingly, the same thing happens in the summer when taking a camera from the hot-humid outside in to a cold air-conditioned building. So the same steps should be taken to stabilize the temperature before exposing the camera to the colder room to avoid condensation. Well, that is my photo-tip for the day. Here are a few more photos that I took yesterday (click an image to see them larger).
I was pleased to have three of my photographs accepted in to the 33rd Annual Cerro Gordo Photo Show at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum. The photo "The Eagle is Landing" won an Honorable Mention. I felt honored to have received recognition among the dozens of very fine photos that were submitted by others. (Click images to see larger.)
Common Loon, (click for larger image)
Last week I was on a fishing trip to Lake Kabetogama in Voyageur's National Park near International Falls, Minnesota - right on the Ontario, Canada border. We worked pretty hard for several days, often fishing in the rain, to catch Walleye and Northern Pike. There is a "slot-limit" on these lakes. We could keep the Walleyes under 17" but had to immediately return any that were 17-28" back in to the lake. We caught a lot of nice fish in the 17-22" range that we had to let go, but did manage to catch enough to eat while we were there and to take some home.
For me, getting in the boat to go fishing is just a ploy to get a little closer to some of the many Common Loons that nest in the area in the spring and summertime as well as other birds. While slowly trolling or drifting with my fishing line and bait in the water, my camera was nestled between my feet inside of two sealed dry-bags. We weren't seeking out the Loons, because my fishing partners came to fish. So if we happened upon a Loon, or had one swim up near us I would scramble to unwrap my camera and try to get a few quick photos before the bird dove and disappeared (sometimes forgetting about my line in the water). They are incredible swimmers and can easily swim 60-100 feet in just a few seconds popping up out of easy camera range. Hand-holding a camera with a big lens in a moving, bouncing boat is a bit of a challenge so I had to compose and focus quickly, use a fast shutter speed and fire off as many shots as I could before the bird disappeared. There were some Loons sitting on nests, and it is a little easier to take pictures of them, but we kept a healthy distance so as not to disturb the birds. In addition, we saw several nesting Bald Eagles, American White Pelicans, Canada Geese, Mallards, Mergansers, Common Goldeneye, Cormorants and more. The forest was full of smaller birds but because of the rain I did not take any pictures.
Click on any of the images below to see them larger in a slide show. (You can listen to Loon calls on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology web site.) [More Loons here...]
Just a few notes about my photos. See more on Facebook.