Another Owl Prowl, Part 2

Today’s post features a few more short-eared owl images I captured last week. Here are a few of my favorites:

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

In an upcoming post, I’ll feature some images of these owls actively hunting, as they intently stare and dive into the tall grasses for their prey.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Wemberly gimbal head
  • ISO 2000 (top 2 images) and ISO 3200 (bottom 2 images)
  • Aperture f/7.1, f/8, f/5.6, 5/5.6
  • Shutter 1/400 sec, 1/640 sec, 1/400 sec, 1/320 sec

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse

Wednesday morning saw a rare event … a “Super Blue Blood Moon (Lunar Eclipse)”. The last time we had one of these was approximately 150 years ago! To capture this event, I was really challenged. First, the eclipse would be occurring in the morning hours as sunrise was beginning. It also was in the very low, western horizon; in fact, totality was approximately at the horizon, making it difficult to not only see, but especially to photograph.

In case you are not familiar with this phenomenon, a “super” moon is one that is closer to the earth, than the typical orbit. This caused it to look larger and brighter than normal. A “blue” moon is the result of the second “full moon” of the month. The “blood” moon is named for the reddish color it takes on as the eclipse progresses and Earth’s shadow is covering the moon.

I got up at 4:30am on Wednesday and drove to nearby Amarugia Conservation Area, where I hoped to photograph this event over Amarugia Lake. When I arrived, clouds were pretty heavy in the sky, as evidenced by the first few photos in this blog. But as eclipse time approached, the skies miraculously “opened up” and gave way to a cool event. Here are a few of my favorite images from Wednesday morning:

Super Blue Blood Moon

Super Blue Blood Moon

Super Blue Blood MoonSuper Blue Blood Moon

Super Blue Blood Moon

Unfortunately, the sun was rising on the opposite horizon, “washing out” the moon a bit:

Super Blue Blood Moon

I wanted to “squeeze” this post in before continuing with some Short-eared Owl images. So look for the little owls, coming right up!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Wemberly gimbal head
  • ISO 200 (all images)
  • Aperture f/5.6 (all images)
  • Shutter Speed 1/60 sec. to 1/2 sec. (top 4 images), and 2.5 sec. (bottom 2 images)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Astrophotography, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Another Owl Prowl, Part 1

Last week, I published a couple of posts of a very successful outing in southwest Missouri, to photograph the wonderful little Short-eared Owls (if you missed these posts, you can find them by clicking on these links: “Owl Prowl, Part 1” , “Owl Prowl, Part 2”). As usual, whenever an outing goes very well, it’s like an addiction … I have to go back for more!!! Well, I drove back down to the prairie a couple of days later. As it goes, nature does things on it’s own time! Didn’t see a single owl. I was a bit skeptical that I would have a good day (the temperatures were very warm, and the biggest issue was the strong winds). Well, Mother Nature won that battle!

But not to be too discouraged, I began looking at the future forecasts to see if another day would be arriving that would give me more hope of photographing the owls. On Monday of this week, the weather looked to be very appealing … temps were to top out at ~32F, clear skies, and the wind was very light (only about 5-6 mph). Looked good on paper! So I left home in the early afternoon and drove down to the prairie. Just like the very successful trip earlier, the owls began flying/hunting at about 4:30 pm, well before sunset. The lighting was great, most of the time no wind was even detected, and the owls were very cooperative. In fact, at one point, I counted at least 5-6 owls in the air at a time. The trip was another great success! Owls flying by low, some owls “kamikazi diving” into the prairie grasses after rodents, overall great cooperation with these birds of prey.

In today’s post, I’m sharing a couple of my favorite images from this outing, showing the beautiful, yellow eyes of the short-eared owl. There will be another post, or so, with more owl images, coming in the next few days, after I have had a chance to finish editing the shoot, so enjoy this first installment:

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

I’ll share some more owls from this trip in the next post.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Wemberly gimbal head
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/640 sec. and 1/500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Those Beautiful Red Birds!

One of my favorite wading birds is the Roseatte Spoonbill. Unfortunately, they are not seen in my neck of the woods. Here are a few images of these beautiful birds that I captured a few years ago while in Florida:

Roseatte Spoonbill

Roseatte Spoonbill

Roseatte Spoonbill

Can’t wait to get back to Florida … hope it’s sooner, rather than later!

 

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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A Tribute

I was saddened to hear, just a couple of days ago, of the passing of the Hallo Bay Wilderness Bear Camp owner and Naturalist, Clint Hlebechuk. I have been to the Hallo Bay camp may times and always had a wonderful time and captured thousands of images of the wonderful brown bears of Katmai NP (and also a few other interesting critters, like river otters, grey wolves, moose, bald eagles, and more).

My condolences to his wife/Naturalist-Guide, Simyra. Simyra is a first-rate bear guide and is known to bear fanatics all over the world. (Note: if you happened to watch PBS’ special “Wild Alaska” (live) this past summer, Simyra was featured as the bear guide helping the video team that produced that special). Thanks for all the wonderful memories you and Clint always provided!

Here are just a very few of the many images I captured during my trips to Hallo Bay (note: all of these images were from my early visits to the camp).

A flyover the camp, to make sure there were no bears or moose on the beach’s “landing strip”:

Hallo Bay Bear Camp

Family nap time:

Brown Bear Family resting on the beach

A curious red fox:

Red Fox

A break from grazing, to check for any potential dangers:

Standing Brown Bear

Brown bear with fresh salmon:

Brown Bear with Salmon

My first bear fight! A sow and her 2 2-year-old cubs driving another sow away from their fishing spot:

Brown Bears in a fight

“The Three Amigos”:

Spring brown bear cubs trying to catch up to mom

A white wolf on the beach of Hallo Bay:

Grey Wolf

Bald Eagle taking flight:

Adult Bald Eagle

Sow nursing young cub, on the beach:

Brown Bear sow nursing young cub on the beach

Naturalist/Guide Simyra making sure the bears do not approach too closely to the photographers (that’s me with Simyra, taken by a photographer/friend at the camp)

A Fisheye look at Hallo Bay Bears

A big fish meal necessitates an afternoon nap!:

Brown Bear napping along Clint's Creek

I was fortunate to be at the camp on several occasions when either a BBC or Disney film crew were busy capturing footage for nature specials. I got to meet a couple of Emmy Award winning videographers and had such an interesting and entertaining time! Thanks Clint/Simyra, for all the great times at the camp!

 

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Mammals, National Park, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Owl Prowl, Part 2

In the first of this owl prowl series, I posted a few images of the short-eared owls as they began to take flight during their ritualistic, late afternoon hunt over the prairies (if you missed it, you can click on this link to see it: “Owl Prowl, Part 1”).

In Part 2, I’m featuring some images that really made this photo trip a big success. After a little while of flying around (Part 1 images) low over the prairie, some of the owls came much closer to where I had my camera and tripod set up. A couple of owls even appeared to “check me out” as they continued to fly about:

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

As the sun fell below the horizon, a nice orange sky gave a nice background for one of the hunting owls:

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

And within minutes, the sun was gone and the moon was out to play:

Moon over Shawnee Trail CA

I’m already watching the weather and working on planning another trip, or two, to photograph these wonderful little owls!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Wemberly gimbal head
  • ISO 400 to ISO 1600
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/50 sec. to 1/1200 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Owl Prowl, Part 1

Today’s post features some images I captured this past Saturday, as I photographed Short-eared Owls as they began their hunting ritual around sunset.

Short-eared Owls are not year-round residents in my area. But in winter, they often will migrate southward, from the upper Midwest prairies, to prairie land in Missouri. These owls are one of my favorite photographic subjects in winter and I always enjoy spending time with them.

This past Saturday was setting up to not be an ideal day for photographing them. The weather forecast was projected to be windy and cloudy all day, with the sky starting to clear in the early evening hours. But luck was on my side! A couple of hours before sunset, the clouds began to part and eventually yielded blue skies with only slight winds. As a result, a number of short-eared owls took flight late in the afternoon and gave a wonderful performance. Here are a few of my favorite images I captured of the owls, as they began to take to the air:

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owls hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

Short-eared Owl hunting over the grassland

In Part 2, I will continue my evening shoot with the hunting owls, as they moved even closer to where I had my camera/tripod set up!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Wemberly gimbal head
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/400 sec. to 1/500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Time With the Kids

Today’s post comes from one of my spring trips to the Wichita Mountains of southwest Oklahoma, were I can spend tons of time watching/photographing the cute Black-tailed Prairie Dogs. This adult prairie dog is busy attending to a couple of pups:

Black-tailed Prairie Dog with Pups

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC (shot at 540mm)
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/60 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Mammals, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

Brrrrrrrr!!! Another cold day in the Heartland! Got up this morning, with much hesitation, with the outside temperatures at -3F. That reminded me of one of my trips to Alaska’s “Valley of Eagles”, located outside Haines, Alaska. So I decided it was very appropriate to go back and post a few of my favorite images from that cold day:

Are these guys frozen to the tree limbs?

Bald Eagles along the Chilkat River Valley, AK

Where did this Eagle go?

Bald Eagle feather covered with frost

Alaskan-sized frost!

Heavy frost on shrub in the Chilkat River Valley

A weasel in it’s winter camo coat:

Short-tailed Weasel in snow

Short-tailed Weasel in the snow

That day was one of the coldest I have ever endured in nature photography … only the -25F morning in Yellowstone was colder! But these images bring back many fond memories of a frigid day (high of 5F) in the Valley of Eagles! Wishing I was back there :o)

 

 

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Landscape Photography, Mammals, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Out On a Limb

While editing some older, Alaska images, I ran across this one image that I don’t believe I ever posted. While photographing bald eagles in the Valley of Eagles (near Haines, Alaska), this adult eagle flew in and landed in a dead tree a short distance from me:

Bald Eagle perched on short limb

In this image, he is conversing with another eagle, perched a short distance below him.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC (shot at 540mm)
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/1250 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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