Recent Photographs of wildflowers and desert scenics at Anza Borrego State Park in Calif. Feb 25. This should be one of the best wildflower displays in years with substantial rains starting in Oct and continuing in Nov, Dec, Jan, and Feb. The peak has not been reached and could be as soon as 2 weeks depending on temperatures and more rainfall. I used a wide angle 17-40 lens on most and a 100-400 lens for the hummingbirds and a few others.
Owls photographed recently and in the past in Washington state on the coast for the Snowy and E Wash for the N Saw-whet plus some snow scenics during the recent big blizzard.
My photograph of a Great Gray Owl was chosen as one of the top 250 of the North American Nature Photography Association Showcase for 2019 (on the NANPA website and published in NANPA Expressions Journal.)
I wanted to experiment with some Black and White images from the sand dunes. The best images to convert in Camera Raw Photoshop are dramatic graphic ones with high contrast and interesting lines. You can compare to some of the previous ones in the last post.
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 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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
American Redstart found today at Lake Whelan in Oceanside, Ca on the east side of the lake near the parking lot in the trees feeding on insects. This bird does not stay very long in one place.