Arches & Canyonlands Nat. Pks

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Balanced Rock, Arches

Balanced Rock, Arches

Balanced Rock Sunset

Balanced Rock Sunset

Courthouse Towers, Arches

Courthouse Towers, Arches

Deadhorse Pt

Deadhorse Pt

Deadhorse Pt

Deadhorse Pt

Goblin Valley St Park

Goblin Valley St Park

Goblin Valley St Park

Goblin Valley St Park

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands

South Window Arch

South Window Arch

Deadhorse Pt

Deadhorse Pt

Sunset Clouds

Sunset Clouds

Sunset Deadhorse Pt

Sunset Deadhorse Pt

Twisted Juniper

Twisted Juniper

Windows Arches

Windows Arches

We spent 8 days photographing Arches and Canyonlands Nat Pks trying to get up before sunrise and also shoot at sunset- the best light of the day. I had wanted to do some night photography but it was cloudy at night most of the time. These 2 parks had some spectacular scenery with some of the best rock formations in the U.S. Most of the images are with a Canon 1dx mark ii and a Canon 17-40 mm wide angle lens  and in a few cases a 14mm Rokinon lens.  Moab is a great place to stay with good motels and a few good restaurants, especially Desert Bistro. We pretty much stayed on the main road but if you have a 4 wheel  drive hundreds of miles of roads are available, especially in Canyonlands.

More Alaska Bears, Puffins, Otters

More images from our Alaska trip with a few landscapes. The landscapes were on the Kenai Peninsula while the Bears were at Lake Clark across the  Cooke inlet. We were able to get fairly close to the Bears with an experienced guide, which is essential, not only to find the bears but to be able to read their behavior and know how far to position ourselves safely. The welfare of the bears is the highest priority and our time was limited so as not to alter their behavior or interfere with their daily routines. The fact that we were in a coastal grassland habitat made it easier for us to spot bears at a distance and for them to see us well in advance. The problem is that if you surprise them in a forest on a trail with no visibility then they can get defensive or aggressive, especially with cubs. Also if you are in a group of 3 or more people they seldom attack if you stay close together and use common “bear sense”.

cub with stick

cub with stick

Mother with cubs

Mother with cubs

3 cubs

3 cubs

2 year olds play-fighting

2 year olds play-fighting

Horned Puffin

Horned Puffin

Sea Otter portrait

Sea Otter portrait

Tern Lake, Kenai Peninsula

Tern Lake, Kenai Peninsula

Upper Trail Lake near Moose Junction

Upper Trail Lake near Moose Junction

 

 

 

Vermilion Flycatchers

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher


Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher


Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher


Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher at San Jacinto Wildlife Area on Feb 4. There were 2 males and possibly a female but I wasn’t able to photograph the female. They repeatedly fly from a perch to catch small insects and if you approach slowly enough it is possible to get fairly close. I used a 400 mm 5.6 Canon lens on a Canon 7d.

Golden Eagles

Golden Eagle Landing

Golden Eagle Landing


Golden Eagle Takeoff

Golden Eagle Takeoff


Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

I managed to get fairly close to 2 Golden Eagles taking off and landing on a rock at San Jacinto Wildlife area. They usually takeoff as soon as they see you but I was able to get closer by being hidden by a steep hill. These are probably within a year or two of maturity with still some white blotches.

Vermilion Flycatcher at San Jacinto Wildlife Area

I photographed the first male Vermilion Flycatcher of the season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside Co, CA. It was near the path between ponds C1 and B1 flying between Willow Trees.
When I saw it repeatedly landing on a sign I placed a branch above the sign so that it would land on the branch and look more natural. Then I waited until it got close to the branch and fired multiple shots. It is better to focus on the branch tip and then switch to manual focus. If you leave it on autofocus the camera might focus on the background instead of the bird.

Vermillion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermillion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermillion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermillion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

 

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

I never get tired of seeing the variations of Red-tailed Hawks and trying to capture them as they take off. These shots were taken from the rolled down window of my van and allowed me to get closer without alarming the bird. The idea is to focus on the bird and keep it there until it takes off and start firing multiple shots. If you don’t already have the camera trained on the hawk you will not get the split second takeoff. Sometimes it can take 30 min before the bird does anything so it takes patience.

Elegant Terns Feeding Young

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I knew that the Tern was feeding it’s young, but in order to get the actual transfer I had to start shooting before the adult landed. This paid off as I followed the bird in mid-air and fired multiple bursts as it came in for a landing with the fish. Always anticipate what your subject might do and don’t wait and miss that split second action or behavior. Keeping the subject in the finder and being ready to shoot makes the difference. These are actually 2 different pairs of birds but I was able to get what I wanted in 2 different sessions.