Fun Friday: Organizational Tip

Today’s “Fun Friday” post comes from a brief stop at Loess Bluffs NWR (formerly called “Squaw Creek NWR”) in northwest Missouri, while on my way home from photographing in the Columbia River Gorge. As I drove the 10-mile refuge auto tour route, I came upon a pair of adult Canada Geese with 8 young goslings.

As I drove closer to them, the adults rounded up the little ones and headed for the water. The tip? It’s always best to “get your ducks in order (including geese), before proceeding”:

Canada Goose adult with Goslings

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 lens
  • Handheld from car window, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/3200 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Beautiful Blue Camas

Today’s post features a beautiful blue wildflower growing in the Columbia River Gorge area of Oregon, a blue Camas (species unidentified) wildflower. Early one morning, I crossed the Columbia River to photograph at Catherine’s Creek Nature Area, a wonderful little area on the Washington state side of the river. One of the striking wildflowers at Catherine’s Creek was the brilliant blue Camas. Adding to the view was Mt. Hood in the background (which was soon to be clouded over). Here are some of my favorite images of the Camas wildflowers at Catherine’s Creek:

Camas wildflowers with Mt. Hood in background

Camas wildflowers

Camas wildflowers

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 28-135mm lens and Canon 180mm macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ball head
  • ISO 800 (all photos, due to a brisk, early morning wind)
  • Aperture f/3.5 (top, focus-stacked image of 3 images), f/11 (middle photo), and f/8 (bottom photo)
  • Shutter 1/500 sec. (top image), 1/60 sec. (middle image), 1/250 sec. (bottom image)

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, focus stacking, Landscape Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Wahkeena Falls

Another wonderful waterfalls I was able to photograph during my recent trip to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, was Wahkeena Falls. Although only 242 feet tall, it was one of my favorite waterfalls I found during my visit to the Gorge. There were several reachable viewpoints and each had it’s own advantages. Here are a few of my favorite images.

This first image was captured at the foot of the falls, after walking a ways down the trail so that I could also include the creek runoff from the falls:

Wahkeena Falls, Columbia River Gorge, OR

 

Shooting horizontally, I captured this view of the lower portion of the falls, captured from the same location:

Wahkeena Falls, Columbia River Gorge, OR

 

Moving closer to the bottom of the falls, I captured this closeup of the falls as it hit the bottom. This capture was the most difficult to make … there was a ton of wind created from the falling waters (making it difficult to just stand still), as well as a large amount of mist in the air, causing the lens to be covered with water droplets immediately after uncovering. A real challenge!:

Wahkeena Falls, Columbia River Gorge, OR

 

And one of my favorite views was a “long distance” view of the falls (if you look closely, you can see a couple of people near the bottom of the falls). I loved this viewpoint so much that when I was done photographing and was alone, I sprinkled some of my wife’s ashes at this viewpoint … what a view to wake up to each and every day!:

Wahkeena Falls, Columbia River Gorge, OR

More Columbia River Gorge posts coming up!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Tamron 17-35mm lens, all shot at 17mm
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ball head
  • ISO 100 (all photos)
  • Aperture f/16 (top 3 photos) and f/11 (bottom photo)
  • Shutter 0.5 sec. (top 2 photos), 1 sec. (3rd photo down), 1/4 sec. (bottom photo)

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Waterfalls | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: How Bees Make Honey

Yesterday morning, I decided to go check out Snowball Hill Prairie, a wonderful prairie remnant near my rural Missouri home. This past winter, the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) did a controlled burn on the remaining half of the prairie (the first half was burned in the winter of 2016) and I wanted to see what was blooming. One of the most common wildflowers blooming right now is the Spiderwort. While photographing these beautiful wildflowers, I noticed lots of small hover flies (which look similar to small, sweat bees) busy seeking nectar from the flowers. While photographing one of these hover flies, up close and personal, a second hover fly flew in and acted “frisky” with the fly already collecting nectar:

Hover Flies on a Spiderwort wildflower

Next week I’ll post more images from my recent Columbia River Gorge photo trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ball head
  • ISO 800 (high ISO used due to windy conditions on the hill)
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Fun Friday post, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Horsetail Falls

Today’s post comes from a small waterfall that is located near Multnomah Falls … Horsetail Falls. Although it lacks the grandeur of Multnomah Falls, I found it very private and intimate, being able to maneuver all around the falls to capture different views and feelings. Here are a couple of my favorite images I captured at Horsetail Falls:

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls

Coming up, more waterfalls and wildflowers of the Columbia River Gorge.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Tamron 17-35mm lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ball head
  • ISO 100
  • Aperture f/16 (top photo) and f/13 (bottom photo)
  • Shutter 1/10 sec. (both photos)

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Waterfalls | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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The Grand-daddy

Today’s post features one of the highlights of my recent photo trip to Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge … Multnomah Falls. This two-tiered waterfall towers 611 feet high, with the top tier reaching 542 feet and the lower tier 69 feet.¬†According to Native American lore, Multnomah Falls was created to win the heart of a young princess who wanted a hidden place to bathe.

For an even closer view, you can walk another several hundred feet up the paved trail to reach Benson Bridge, which spans the falls at the first tier’s misty base. Standing on the bridge you have a perfect view of the top tier’s full 542-foot height and a knee-wobbling vantage point over the second tier’s 69-foot drop! The bridge is named for Simon Benson, a prominent Portland businessman who owned the falls in the early part of the 1900s. Before his death, Benson gave Multnomah Falls to the City of Portland, which later transferred ownership to the USDA Forest Service.

Here is a view from the base of the falls:

Multnomah Falls

In this next image, you can see a young lady standing on the Benson Bridge:

Multnomah Falls

After photographing the falls from the base, I hiked the trail to Benson Bridge, where I attempted to capture a closer view of the upper tier of the falls. This proved to be extremely difficult as the heavy mist and turbulent winds made it very hard to capture an image without having droplets of water on the front of the lens. Even using a technique of wiping down the lens front, followed by immediate covering it up, then briefly removing the cover to capture an image was very difficult. But I finally managed to capture a single image with no obvious water spots!

Multnomah Falls

Talking with several people at the falls, I was told that in 2016 the Benson Bridge was closed, due to a tree falling on the bridge and breaking it up. I’m sure glad it was repaired before my trip there … an awesome sight to see from the bridge!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Tamron 17-35mm lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ball head
  • ISO 100
  • Aperture f/8 (top photo) and f/4 (bottom 2 photos)
  • Shutter 0.7 sec. (top photo) and 1/15 sec. (bottom 2 photos)

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Waterfalls | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: A ‘Pile’ of Pelicans

This “Fun Friday” post contains a couple of images I captured on my way home from my recent photo outing in the Pacific Northwest. Stopping by the Loess Bluffs NWR (formerly known as Squaw Creek NWR), I was hoping to find a few birds still lingering around from the spring migration. I arrived at the refuge before sunrise and was the first car into the refuge. As I rounded the southern end of the refuge, I was amazed at the sight ahead of me … a “pile” of American White Pelicans! I’m not sure of the correct term for a large group of pelicans … sea birds are know as “rafts”, so that may be the case with pelicans, too. But to me, it definitely was a large “pile”.

Typically, I find the pelicans near the middle of the refuge waters, making it difficult to get some nice images. But on this day, they were all huddled up at the edge of the refuge waters, just feet away from the refuge tour route. Staying in my car (using it as a photo blind), I was able to grab some up-close images of these beautiful birds. Here are a couple of images I captured around sunrise:

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans

If you look closely, you will find a “keel” on the upper bill of some of the birds, a common trait the white pelicans have when entering breeding season. At a later time, this keel is shed.

I was certainly glad I was the first car on the refuge that morning. On my next drive around the refuge, there had been significantly more autos on the tour route and the pelicans had moved to the middle of the refuge waters … definitely true that the early bird gets the worm!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld from the car, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/125 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Balsamroot From ‘The Gorge’

Today’s post is the first of many to follow, illustrating the uniqueness and beauty of the Oregon Columbia River Gorge scenic area. Today’s post comes from the Tom McCall Preserve, located on the Rowena Plateau and overlooking the Columbia River. The highlight during this visit was the wonderful Balsamroot wildflowers, proudly displaying their beauty in the Gorge landscape:

Balsamroot wildflowers

Balsamroot wildflowers

Balsamroot wildflowers

Balsamroot wildflowers

A few days later, I made another couple of trips to the Rowena Plateau. I’ll post images from those visits later.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 28-135mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens (IS turned “Off”)
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with ball head
  • ISO 100 (top 3 images) and ISO 400 (bottom image)
  • Aperture f/22 (top 2 images), f/16 (3rd image), f/8 (bottom image)
  • Shutter 1/8 sec. (top image), 1/30 (2nd image), 1/4 (3rd image), 1/125 (bottom image)

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Our Woodland Duck

After a 2-week road trip, I arrived back home last evening. I had a wonderful trip to the Pacific Northwest, my first ever in that geographical area. The main emphasis was to photograph the wonderful waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge in northern Oregon, along with the many spring wildflowers popping up everywhere. What a spectacular sight! If you happen to live in the Gorge area, I hope you are able to get out and enjoy the amazing scenery you have in your back yard! I know I was thrilled to see all the great landscapes … so much that I’ll likely return in the near future!

As you can probably imagine, I have hundreds of images to go through and edit, but am hoping to start featuring some of the trip later this week. Meanwhile, today’s post features some images I captured yesterday at the Loess Bluffs NWR (formerly named Squaw Creek NWR). On my way back home, I stopped Saturday evening in nearby Rock Port, Missouri. After a restful evening, I got up early and stopped by Loess Bluffs NWR of a day of shooting the many wildlife opportunities there, before driving the 2+ hours to my rural Missouri home. Today’s post features one of our most beautiful ducks, the Wood Duck. As I drove the 10-mile auto route of the refuge, I found several “woodies” in a wooded area of the refuge. Here are a few of my favorites:

Wood Duck drake

Wood Duck drake

Wood Duck drake

These beautiful ducks are quite skittish, as they are hunted during duck season. But using my car as a blind was the key to being able to photograph these guys.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/400 sec. and 1/800 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday … From the Vault

Today’s “Fun Friday” post comes from the “vault”, and features a wonderful, Green Metallic Bee that is busy pollinating one of my favorite prairie wildflowers … the Spiderwort. I have been away from blogging for about a week, due to a very hectic schedule.¬† Last weekend I had a booth in the Stillwater Art Show (Stillwater, OK), which was my third straight year in that wonderful show. Met some awesome people and sold a lot of my artwork there … already looking ahead to their 2018 show!

As soon as the show ended on Sunday, I packed up and made the long drive back, reaching home at 1:00am. After a morning of volunteer work, I unloaded the truck, did the laundry, and began packing for my next encounter with nature … photographing the wonderful waterfalls and wildflowers of Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, where I will be in a few hours, through next week. So, after getting the aforementioned chores done, and settling in my house-sitter for my away time, I was off for Oregon! I’m still behind on e-mails, so if you have one in to me, I’ll try to get caught up soon! I may or may not publish posts this coming week, depending on how much time I can “create”. But I’ll certainly be posting on a regular basis again, the following week.¬† :o)

Regarding today’s post, using a macro lens and tripod, I was able to get quite close to this busy little guy; he was so engrossed with his job of pollinating, that he paid little attention to me. Here are a few of my favorite images of the little guy as he worked:

Green Metallic Bee on Spiderwort wildflower

Green Metallic Bee on Spiderwort wildflower

Green Metallic Bee on Spiderwort wildflower

I just love the brilliant, emerald green sheen of the bee, sprinkled with a bit of yellow pollen “dust”. An indicator he is as “busy as a bee” :o) Can’t wait for our summer wildflowers to begin blooming so I can capture more small prairie critters!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/250 sec. and 1/320 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Fun Friday post, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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