Funny Looking Elk?

Today’s post features a recently published image that found it’s way into the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s magazine, “Bugle”. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) is a non-profit organization, located in Missoula, Montana.  Their mission is “to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.”

RMEF contacted me about two months ago and wanted to use an image they found on my website in their November-December issue of “Bugle”.  When I reviewed the image they were inquiring about, I found it was of a male, Eastern-collared lizard.  Sheepishly, I had to ask them if they realized that the image was not of an elk. The responded by saying they were doing an article on Peck Ranch, a 23,000 acre Missouri Conservation area, in southern Missouri. Peck Ranch was the site where elk were re-introduced in 2011.  And in 2000, the Eastern-collared lizard was re-introduced here.

This past week, I received a check and a couple of copies of the magazine. Here are some images I captured:

Cover of “Bugle” magazine:

Cover of Bugle magazine

My image of a male, Eastern-collared lizard:

Male Eastern-collared Lizard

And the one-page article:

Peck Ranch Article

I might note that it wasn’t a cover photo … but page 18, so not too far away!  Maybe next time :o)

 

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Nature Photography, Reptiles and Amphibians, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , ,
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Six Years Ago, Today

With the sound of gunfire seemingly all around my rural Missouri home (firearms deer season opened a few days ago), I’m re-posting a blog post from 6 years ago today … enjoy!

This past weekend I drove to central Kansas in hopes of photographing some rare and endangered Whooping Cranes that are migrating to their wintering grounds at Aransas NWR in southern Texas. Unfortunately, as we reached our destination, the area was under a severe storm. Winds of up to 90 mph were recorded, along with a deluge of 2″ of rain (in a very short time) and hail up to 2″ in diameter. Seemed the Whoopers were frightened off … imagine that!

But, just as every cloud has a silver lining, every trip to a National Wildlife Refuge has a good side, too. During my brief stay at Quivira NWR, I was able to photograph some really nice White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) bucks as they wandered the refuge and wooed the does. Here are a few of my favorite images of some of the bucks we encountered:

White-tailed Deer buck

White-tailed Deer buck

Pair of White-tailed Deer bucks

White-tailed Deer Buck

 

Ironically, about an hour later I left the refuge. Along the highway, an even larger buck ran out in front of me.  $3,000 later we were able to pick up our car at the body shop!  I had insurance, but needless to say I still haven’t recouped the “travel costs” from this trip!  :o)

 

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Mammals, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Playing in the Snow

Today’s post comes from Mother Nature. Receiving our first snowfall of 2018 yesterday and overnight, I got up this morning and launched my drone for some aerial photography over my rural Missouri home. Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful snow, too!

Rural Drexel Home in first 2018 Snowfall

In this next image, you can’t see my home but it’s behind the large clump of trees in the foreground:

Rural Drexel Home in first 2018 Snowfall

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone, with built-in camera (24mm)
  • ISO 100
  • Aperture f/2.8
  • Shutter 1/640 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Drone Photography, Fun Friday post, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Springing Into Fall

On my final day in Ha Ha Tonka State Park, I decided I was going to explore and find a way to get to the water movement that Bobbie and I could hear, but not see. The evening before, I sat down with some maps and discovered a trail that should take me close, if not to where the sound was coming from.

The hike was not long, but it was an interesting hike … up a steep grade, then a winding, rocky trail through some gigantic boulders (passing “Balanced Rock”), then down a winding trail. At the end of the trail, the woodlands opened up to a wonderful scene … water rushing over boulders, as the underground spring entered the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks!  Here are a few “HDR” (High Dynamic Range, I’ll explain later) images I captured:

Spring flowing into the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks

Spring flowing into the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks

Spring flowing into the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks

And at this point, the spring water enters the lake, where fall colors lined the lake :

Spring flowing into the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks

A beautiful, fall scenic from the lake! As I mentioned, all of these images were “HDR” images. HDR is a technique often used to create an image that combines all range of tones throughout multiple, identical images (all exposed a bit differently), resulting in a single image where the range of the tones of the image is greatly expanded. This is most useful when the range of tones in a scene range from near black (i.e., shadows/shade), through the mid-tones, and even very bright highlights (i.e., in these images, the often bright rock walls).

In another post, I will share some more images from this area. Besides capturing images for HDR work, I also captured images for “Focus Stacking”. More on that later.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 28-135mm IS lens and Tamron 17mm, f/2.8 lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 100 (used slow ISO to help “slow down” the water movement)
  • Aperture f/22 and f/32
  • Shutter variable, ~1/4 sec. to 0.7 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, HDR, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Waterfalls | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Naturally Speaking

Today’s post comes from my recent trip to Ha Ha Tonka State Park, on the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. Along the Natural Bridge hiking trail, this naturally-formed bridge was formed a long time ago, in the rocky terrain of the park. Here are a few images I captured of the Natural Bridge.

As you approach the bridge, from the parking lot:

Natural Bridge

And on the backside of the bridge:

Natural Bridge

It is from this backside, where we found our Halloween spooky face:

Ha Ha Tonka Scary Face

Next, I’ll share some interesting water images that I captured along the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks (still within the park).

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 28-135mm IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400 and ISO 800 (with changing light availability under the tree canopy)
  • Aperture f/8 and f/16
  • Shutter 1/45 sec.

 

 

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Have a Spooktacular Day!

This Halloween post features an image I captured in Ha Ha Tonka State Park a week ago. While hiking one of the trails, we came across the Natural Bridge, a rock bridge that you pass through, on the trail (I’ll post more on the Natural Bridge, later). While checking out the amazing rock formations, this “scary face”, crooked teeth and all,  seemingly watched over our every move!

Ha Ha Tonka Scary Face

I’ve also added some previously published images that have a flair for Halloween in them … enjoy!

Spider Web in the fall colors

Dragonfly covered with early morning frost

Dragonfly covered with early morning frost

Full Moon over a Cass County farm

Super Moon over farm silo

Coming up … more Ha Ha Tonka State Park images, as well as a report on the three Black Swallowtail Chrysalises (Chrysali ?).

Have a Spooktacular Day!

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Insect Photography, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Part 1

This past week, I went on a spur-of-the-moment photo trip to Missouri’s Ozarks. With fall colors quickly approaching, I traveled to the Camdenton, Missouri area to search for some fall color images. My time was spent at one of Missouri’s best parks (in my opinion) … Ha Ha Tonka State Park.

Unfortunately, the fall colors were not as vivid or bold as I had hoped. But plenty of photo ops existed and I had a ton of fun hiking and shooting! And I was fortunate to have a new friend from the area, Bobbie, accompany me and give me a great tour of the area.

In this first of several posts, I’m featuring some images from the bluffs in the park, overlooking the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. Along the bluffs, ruins of an old castle still stand:

Castle Ruins at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, MO

This castle was a private retreat that Robert M. Snyder, a wealthy businessman, had started building in 1905. After his death, his sons completed the castle in 1922. Later on, fire from a chimney gutted the castle, leaving only the ruins.

And a bit further uphill from this site, are the ruins of the old water station. Water was pumped to a tank inside this structure, then gravity-fed to the castle, as water was needed:

Water Tower ruins at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, MO

For me, the best view of the area exists from near the castle, looking over the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks:

Lake of the Ozarks overview, from Ha Ha Tonka State Park castle ruins

As you can see, fall colors were appearing throughout the landscape, but a few days off from peak colors. Regardless, the following day was spent along the water below, photographing the area’s landscape.

In the next post, I’ll celebrate Halloween by featuring some more geographic wonders of the bluff area, including a scary, rock face!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 28-135mm IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/16
  • Shutter 1/500 sec. to 1/1000 sec.

 

 

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Fun Friday: Fall’s Peak Colors

Today’s post includes a couple of images I captured yesterday, after returning from a last-minute trip to Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks for some fall photography … more on that later.

A few days earlier, when I left for my photo trip, the leaves around my rural Missouri home were making some big changes. But when I returned home yesterday, two maples that sit on the south side of my home, immediately behind my butterfly garden, were in blazing colors!

Fall Colors at my rural Missouri home

Fall Colors at my rural Missouri home

And the fall colors in my butterfly garden include a mum, a dwarf burning bush and lots of small, purple asters.

Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love getting out and finding things to shoot in the fall colors, rather it be wildlife or landscapes!

In my coming posts, I will be posting some images on my fall color trip to the Lake of the Ozarks, particularly at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, a beautiful location to visit in the fall!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 28-135mm IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/8 (top image) and f/16 (bottom image)
  • Shutter 1/180 sec. (top image) and 1/90 sec. (bottom image)

 

 

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Fall Colors at My Rural MO Home

I went out this morning about a half-hour before sunrise and launched my drone to grab some aerial images of my rural Missouri home as the fall colors begin to invade:

Aerial View of my rural MO home in fall colors

I’ll try to grab more images as the color progresses!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone, with 8.8mm lens
  • ISO 100
  • Aperture f/2.8
  • Shutter 1/15 sec.
  • Just minor editing (will go back and spend more time on editing, later)
Posted in 2018, Blog, Drone Photography, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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A Late Visitor

As I left my house to pick up my mail at the road yesterday, I noted a beautiful Monarch butterfly that was very interested in a stand of aster wildflowers that are blooming in my rural Missouri butterfly garden. I went back inside and grabbed my camera and grabbed a few images of this regal butterfly:

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

Next up, an update on the Black Swallowtail chrysalises (chrysali?) that I’ve been nurturing in my kitchen.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm IS lens, shot from 125mm to 135mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/500 sec. and 1/640 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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