Just got home last week from my second journey to Yellowstone National Park in winter, traveling on Jared Lloyd’s Winter in Yellowstone Workshop. My first trip last year was one of those so called life changing experiences with it being an easy decision to go back again this year before the airplane wheels touched down in Houston. Last year was very special with fishing coyotes, bull elk, jumping fox, frosty bison and a long-tailed weasel. Also got to see wolves in the Lamar Valley about 1 mile away through a spotting scope. This year changed that perspective, just slightly, forever.
Day 1 in the park started out with a slight delay with the snow coach but it all worked out with us entering the park at the West Yellowstone entrance around 7:30 a.m. We had heard about a carcass near the road with wolf activity, so we were very excited to see what the morning would bring. As we approached the location, we could see what was left of the carcass but no wolves, so we kept going in search of other wildlife along the Madison River. We worked the river to the warming hut and headed back west.
Just past the seven mile bridge, we spotted two wolves on a hillside that were watching a young bison that was standing in the river. The bison had apparently been attacked earlier by the wolves on her rear legs and was seeking shelter in the river.
Manual mode, 1/2000 sec @ F10, ISO 500, spot metering off the snow, +2 stops
Manual mode, 1/1600 sec @ F10, ISO 400, spot metering off the snow, +2 stops
We photographed the wolves for over two hours and they eventually moved over the hill out of sight. The bison took that que to try to make an escape by walking along the river right in front of us and then up on the road heading east, limping along as she walked. We found her later on the opposite side of the road lying down next to a tree.
We all knew what would likely be her fate by the next morning, which came to pass. The circle of life is very hard to watch in person but inevitable in the wild.
Manual mode, 1/1000 sec @ F10, ISO 400, spot metering off the snow, +2 stops
Manual mode, 1/1000 sec @ F10, ISO 400, spot metering off the snow, +2 stops
Manual mode, 1/4000 sec @ F6.3, ISO 320, spot metering off the snow, +2 stops
Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Induro tripod with leveling head and Wimberley II gimbal head, some hand held.
Hoping that all of you had a great 2017. My plan was to post my favorite shots for 2017 before now but I got tied up over the holidays so it will have to wait for early Jan.
2018 will start out with a bang for me from a photography perspective and then have some challenges. It’s going to be an interesting year for sure.
Spend the morning of Christmas Eve at Bolivar Flats along the gulf coast taking shorebird photos, along with a few raptors. While walking out along the shoreline, saw a dark spot out on the sand that looked out of place. Trusted my instinct and picked up my camera and spotted a peregrine falcon. Got very excited and walking slowly closer to him, laid down, took a couple of shots, went to check my histogram and he took off.
Walked away from that area over to one of my favorite spots around the corner and spotted a couple of hundred Avocets feeding just off shore. Laid down and belly crawled towards them. The muck was very slimy and ended up on my knees and pushed my ground pod along for about 60 ft and stayed put for a couple of hours.
All of a sudden, all of the birds flew away, which usually means that either a raptor or human was nearby. Spun around on my stomach thanks to the slimy muck and caught this Northern Harrier flying along the vegetation line.
Ended up seeing a couple of Harriers and four Caracara’s. Tis the season for migrating raptors.
Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head.
Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +2 exposure compensation.
Made it to Wings Over Houston special show again this year and took photos from outside the gates with my 100-400 lens. Got in a good spot across the road from the runway and got the F-18 coming in for a high-speed pass almost right over me (first two photos). He came back for another pass and banked left and caught some great vapor on his wings. Lots of fun trying to track him when he was flying around 600 mph.
Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400 II with 1.4X III teleconverter, handheld
1/3200 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation
1/2500 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation
1/4000 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation
These two reddish egrets went toe to toe yesterday at Bolivar Flats along the gulf coast of Texas. Had my ISO cranked up to 3200 while taking static shots of a couple of white morph reddish egrets when these two started fighting. Should have increased to ISO to 6400 but didn’t have enough time to change any settings as the action happened very fast. Lots of blurred action in this series but it was very fun to watch and photograph. More to come…
Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500MM F4 IS II with 1.4X teleconverter mounted on skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head.
1/20 sec @ F5.6, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, + 1 1/3 exposure compensation
Found this Sandhill Crane while exploring the back roads of NE Indiana. Was checking out my favorite Osprey nest when this Sandhill started squawking right behind me. Almost made me jump. Turned around but couldn’t see him with a high berm along the dirt road. Walked up an entrance into the field and saw him walking around very close to me. He was apparently calling a couple other cranes that were hanging out in the field near the osprey nest.
1/800 sec @ F9, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation
Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400 II with 1.4x III teleconverter, handheld
Made a trip to the local gun range with my two brothers while visiting them over the 4th of July weekend. We typically don’t go home over the 4th of July but it worked out great with being able to spend more time together.
Got a chance to shoot several rifles and pistols and my camera, of course. Took my 100-400mm lens this time for the Battle Creek airshow, which also worked out well for the gun range. It was a blast shooting their guns but I also had lots of fun taking photos.
My first gun when I was in 7th grade was a .45 cal flintlock muzzle loader. My goal at a young age was have an extensive gun collection but my wife is pleased that I changed gears to photography, except for the cost.
Converted these to B&W using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, in order to bring out the smoke and mood of the photos.
Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400 II lens with 1.4X III teleconverter, hand-held
1/1600 sec @ F7.1, ISO 1600, evaluative metering
1/1000 sec @ F7.1, ISO 1600, evaluative metering
1/1000 sec @ F7.1, ISO 3200, evaluative metering
Got a chance to see the F-22 Raptor again for the 6th time at the Battle Creek, MI airshow over the 4th of July weekend. It’s an amazing plane that never ceases to amaze me with its maneuvering capabilities.
While planning a trip home to visit family this summer, just happened to look up the F-22 schedule and saw it was going to be in Michigan fairly close to home. Took my two brothers with me and they enjoyed the show as well.
Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400 II with 1.4X III telconverter, handheld
1/1000 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 368 mm
1/2000 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1 1/3 exposure compensation, 560mm
1/1600 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 560mm
1/1250 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 318mm