About Me

Barrington, IL, United States
I am a amateur wildlife photographer who lives in Barrington Illinois. I will use this blog to display my photographs and share the story of how I captured them. Hopefully, anyone reading this blog will venture outdoors and learn all they can about nature. I am convinced that you first have to learn about something to care about something.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cactus


Who the hell knew that cactus got this big? That's not even unusual for around Phoenix.

I was also surprised to find out that the State is very mountainous and Flagstaff is at 7,000 feet. That's considerably higher than Denver.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Arizona


I'm in Arizona for two-weeks on a work trip. I did not take my camera because it's big, bulky and I just didn’t have the room for it. So I bought a $70 "point and shoot" camera to take on the trip. The photos are not great but it's better than nothing. I've found the quality so low that I've mostly been shooting low-quality video that I can send to Cia. Anyway, here is a huge meteor crater that I visited. It's about 4,000 feet across and 550 feet deep. It's supposedly the best preserved meteor crater in the world because of Arizona's dry climate and that fact that it's *only* 50,000 years old.

This photo was taken using the cameras built in panoramic feature. It's three shots stitched together.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another great wildlife photography tool

I once had someone ask me if hunting wildlife or photographing wildlife is harder. The answer is that it depends on if you are photographing truely wild animals or ones that are accustomed to humans. If they are truely wild animals, then it's much harder to obtain great photographs than to simply kill one.

For example, when photographing whitetail deer the wind direction is crucial, just like with hunting. However, you also have to find a much larger shooting opportunity and the direction of the sun (something that's usually not a factor with hunting).

One of the most important things in wildlife photography is the direction of the sun, especially since most of the action occurs at dawn or dusk and you will not be able to see details on your subject without the direct sun. Figuring out which direction the sun is going to be at certain times is challenging.

You might be thinking, "big deal, the sun comes up in the east and sets in the west!" Well, it's not that easy, in fact it changes throughout the year and it's almost never exactly east and west.

So when I'm setting up my blind for an afternoon set up or when I'm in an area before sun up I need to know where the sun is going to be at certain times. I've searched online and was not able to find that kind of information but yesterday I did find a great app that can help. It's called Sun Seeker. I've tried it out and it's dead on accurate.


New photography tool

A couple of years ago I bought two ghillie suits. These are the suits that snipers wear and are superior to the 2 dimensional camouflage that most people wear.

There were two types available; a "grassland" version which was the exact color of the grass in the background here or a "woodland" version which is what I have. I did not want to buy both versions but I wish I would have now because obviously the darker does not work well in the yellow grass. It still works quite well though when you are sitting as in the second pictures.

If I wanted to spend the time I could make this very effective by placing grass into the suit. This is about 10 seconds worth of effort. If I had spent 5-minutes, I think a person would be nearly invisible, even standing in the open.

I used this in the spring turkey woods last year and it was unreal how well it worked. You can even move around turkeys IF you do so very, very slowly.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Moon tonight

800mm 1/320th of a second f13 400 ISO

The ISO was much higher than I would have normally set it for this type of shot but I simply forgot to check it.

You know it's been too long when you cannot log in....




I just tried to log in to my account for a good 15 minutes. Seems that it's been so long since I've logged in that I had forgotten my account information.

The problem is that I've not been doing any photography. I have been obsessed with work and trying to make this consulting business work out. The good news is that so far I've already exceeded our income goal for 2011 so my job feels really secure for now. The bad news is that it's never enough for me and I have a hard time not continuously chasing opportunities.

I did go out in the lawn a couple of times this week and shoot some birds. Nothing special but maybe they are worth the electrons you're using to view them.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fake Photography? What is real?


(typical hunting magazine bullshit)

In Audobon magazine a few months ago there was an article about "fake" nature photography. Essentially the story indicated that most nature photography on the cover of magazines are photographs of tame animals from game farms. Places where you pay hundreds of dollars per hour to have huge bucks, or mountain lions and other animals posed any way that you like. If you prefer action shots, for example, they might throw a ball that the lion chases while you shoot away.

If you understand "Depth of Field" and have ever hunted you can begin to pick up on this pretty quickly. Take this photograph from the cover of "Outdoor Life" magazine. The grizzly bear, which looks wild and very fierce is facing the camera nearly straight on, really at just a slight angle.

A large grizzly is about 6.5' feet long. Since that bear is at an angle, let's say there is 5 feet of this bear in the picture. At my main nature photography len's lengh (400 mm) the most of that bear that could be in focus at any one time is about 2.5 feet if the bear was 60' away from the photographer. DOF for a true nature shot can be demonstrated here...

Notice that the beaver is not entirely in focus. In fact, only it's face is.


Anyone who has ever hunted knows that it's nearly impossible to get to within 10-20 feet of nearly world record size whitetail bucks. Yet, those exact animals are photographed with tiny lenses from those short distances and placed on the cover of every hunting magazine.

If you want to know something truely disgusting, the famed nature documentary maker Marty Stoffer, who shot the series "wild america" actually used to stage nearly every aspect of his fillms, including conflicts between predator and prey. He even threw lemmings off a cliff and made it appear as if they jumped.

So when you look at my photographs you should keep in mind a couple of things.

#1. They suck
#2. I spent thousands of dollars to make these sucky photographs
#3. They are wild animals
#4. I hate it when people fake nature photographs!
#5. I sometimes go to fairly extreme measures to get my photographs, especially since I do not wish to own or drive an automobile. For example, I left my home at about 3 am, rode my bicycle pulling about 100 pounds of gear 15 miles to that nature area in order to be in my blind before daylight. A little harder than say............driving to a game farm.

Here is another example of a person that I suspect is faking their nature photographs. Notice that here there appears to be maybe 20' totally in focus, the colors are almost neon and the entire scene is too perfect, especially when you consider that with that DOF he must have been like 4' away with a wide angle lens.

Now I dont try to sell my photographs for a number of reasons, but if I did, I could never compete with something like this.