Friday, December 25, 2009

Common Merganser

Ithaca_Jun102009_0149, originally uploaded by KRNaturalPhoto.
This photo of a common merganser was taken at a stream near where I worked in Ithaca, NY. I was out for a walk on my lunch and spotted her. While I was watching her she got up off the rock she was sitting on and jumped into the water. I was fortunate enough to capture this image.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Troubling Social Media 2

In regards to my previous post. I did hear back from the individual on Twitter that I was concerned I made upset. He was fine with what I had sent him.

So I guess, no harm no foul. But, I have learned a valuable lesson. It may be best practice to ask an individual if they would like to see something before sending it to them. Especially if it is potentially upsetting content.

I have also learned that it is easy to have a miscommunication when you cannot see or hear the person. Simply reading the words and punctuation leaves room for a lot of interpretation.

We can easily add our own context to someone elses type. I know that from here on out I will exercise more caution when sharing information directly with one individual, simply to avoid the potential for a possible incident.

Social media is a constant learning experience. I plan to learn from my missteps. Even though this interaction did not actually result in any negative consequences I still consider it an error in judgement from which I have gained invaluable insight. Hopefully others can learn from my mistake as well.

Troubling Social Media

There is an aspect to social media that I had never realy considered pertinet to me before. I consider myself a polite repectful individual who would never try to abuse the power of the internet or social media. These forces can be put to ill use as ways to harras others. This is something I would never do.

However, social media allows us to communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time, instantaneously. Many of the people we communicate with we don't realy know. We only know then by their picture on their profile, the limited information contained in the profile, and what limited communication we've had with them. It's easy to forget that we don't actaully know these people. We don't know what is going on in there personal lives or how they may react to what we say or information we may share.

This point was driven home to me recently. I responded to an individual I follow on Twitter who had stated that they get choked up over ASPCA comercials. I also get choked up over those comercials as I have a huge soft spot in my heart for animals, dogs inparticular. So I thought it would be a good idea to share a writting which while very sad and tear jerking is one of my favorite of all time and I will never forget it. I sent "How could you?" by Jim Willis 2001. Every time I read this I want to cry.. To me this writting is a pertinate reminder of the responsability we have for those animals we bring into our lives. I thought this person who I do not realy know would also appreciate it as I do.

It turns out I may have made a mistake. The individu messaged me back on Twitter asking why I had sent them that. The punctuation used in the message left me with the impression that I may have unintentionaly upset my fellow Twitter user. I did not get the message back until the next morning because I had signed off for the night after sending it. I responded back to the person to appologize if I upset them, but I have not heard back yet. I have been thinking about it ever since. I am concerned that I may have purpotrated an injury on this individual by making assumptions about a person I do not realy know.

I hope to hear back from them soon, but its a real possability that I won't. Especially if I ha e hurt and offended them. They may choose to never read another message from me and discontinue all communication with me. I hope that is not the case. I hope they read my message and understand that I am sorry for my unintended transgression. I have learned a valuable lesson from this though. Do not make assumptions about those we do not realy know and becareful of what we share on the internet and through social media.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Take Advantage of Everything part 1

As a part time professional photographer who is currently working a regular full time job to pay the bills while I build and establish my photography business I understand many of the frustrations that a photographer just starting out may have to deal with.  When starting out there may be limited time to shoot photographs.  It may feel like there is no time to contact clients.  There is only limited time work on developing a business plan.  And the list goes on and on. 

The best thing one can do as a part time photographer is to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.  I am a stock photographer specializing in wildlife and nature photography.  For my specialty I need to be able to shoot on location.  It is also helpful to be familiar with my location.  So for me one of the most beneficial things is to shoot in locations that I am frequently in such as near my home or work.  One thing I try to take advantage of is using my breaks and lunches to photograph my surroundings near where I work.  Some of my best photography has been done that way. 

Unfortunately on occasion one may change jobs.  So now while the move may be beneficial for my job it may be detrimental to my photography.  I lose a familiar location where I was able to shoot photography and find interesting subjects and know what to expect. 

My goal is to turn this around and make it a positive.  I am going to take advantage of this change of location.  I will use this as an opportunity to explore new landscapes and find new subjects.  It will take some time but I will become familiar with this area as I have others.  I will learn what subjects are available and what the scenery is like.  Soon I will be able to get the same benefit from photographing this new location as I have others.  But in actuality it will be a bigger benefit because not only will I be able to continue shooting I will be able to enhance my stock list with new subjects and new locations.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Playing with Photoshop

I was just playing with Photoshop CS3. I combined a photo I liked of a bald eagle with one of my favorite phots of a glacier in Alaska. The glacier was in Glacier Bay National Park. I did it just for the heck of it to practice using some of the applications in Photoshop CS3.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Acadia NAtional Park

I mentioned in my previous post that I went on vacation. And what would a vacation be without some photos to share.
My wife and I went camping at Blackwoods Forrest campground in Acadia National Park In Maine. It was an amazing trip. I had never been exposed to scenery like that before in my life. I would greatly recommend anyone to go there.

One of the things that made the trip so enjoyable is our campsite was within a short walk of the coast so we could walk down anytime. We simply followed a short trail and then crossed the park loop road and we were right on the coast. Now for anyone not familiar with the coast at Acadia it is quite different than one might imagine when they think about a typical coast line. When walking out to the coast we found ourselves a good distance above the ocean on rocky cliffs.

This made for a spectacular view. We were able to see up and down that stretch of coast and across to the far shore. It was amazing to watch the waves crash on the rocky cliffs. If you are there at the right time in the right place you can see giant sprays of water shoot up between the cliffs. I was lucky enough to experience this awesome sight. I was also lucky to have my camera there.

This image is from the coast near our campsite on one such occasion when we could see the waves crashing and shooting up into the air. The exposure isn't the greatest to me but I love how the plume of water shooting up came out. It was not the easiest shot to get. I couldn't actually see where the waves were hitting that were creating that water spout. So I had to just try to time it or wait until I actually saw the water shoot up. And the waves weren't always strong enough to send the water skyward. It was cyclic. So once the pattern of water spouts started there was only a limited am mount of time to get the shot or you had to wait for the next cycle of waves with enough force to push the water into the sky.

It was nice to have such a great landscape feature so close to where we were staying. My only regret is that I didn't get to see more of the park and surrounding communities. I would love to go back some day.
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I'm Back

Wow it has been a long time since I've been at this. Sorry about the long hiatus. Some life events conspired to keep me from the computer desk for a while. Luckily for me none of them were negative life events. I went on vacation to an area where there was no Internet connection and no computer. Then upon returning from vacation I was set to begin a new job. Then after a short time at the new job I began a new college course for my PhD program in Psychology.

So nothing bad happened just a lot of things that required a lot more time from me than previously and greatly restricted my access to computers and the Internet from what it was previously. So now it has been made obvious that I need to work on my organizational skills so that I can work the new job and complete my college coursework and still have time to do the other things that I am used to doing.

Blogging has been a new venture to me this year so it was not built as well into my schedule as all of my other regular activities. So when I found myself in a time crunch it inadvertently fell by the wayside. Now I know that that is no way to run a blog. It just happened. Almost subconsciously without me knowing it. I would think about doing a blog post. Then something would come up and I would just never get to it. As you can see this trend lasted for over two months. It is amazing how quickly time goes by and how fast time escapes me. So now my goal is to be as my favorite radio hosts Mike and Mike say "back and better than ever!"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

To Acadia

I am headed to Acadia National Park in Maine. I will be leaving Friday 9/11/09 and returning Tuesday 9/22/09. So in that time there will not likely be any new posts to the blog. However, while I am there I plan to get a lot of other things done. I will be taking quite a few photographs while I am there and hopefully creating some breathtaking images to share. I also think that I will do some writting while I am there. I am not sure if what I will write will be future blog posts or be articles for publication with my photographs. I am leaning more towards articles to accompany photographs. I like to write my blog posts in the current and not planning them out into the futre. I like to write about what is going on in the preasant or things that I have just done or experienced. I will probably write a few posts upon my return about my experiences at Acadia. I am expecting to have a great time and hopefully have some inspirational moments while I am there. My only hope is to not get rained on much. My wife and I will be camping at Blackwoods campground. I have not been camping much in recent years so hopefully I have not forgotten how to go about the whole thing. Hopefully I will enjoy it as much as I have in the past. I have not gotten to the point where I am a wilderness or outback camper so I still like to have a few creature comforts so I will not be totaly unplugged even though there is no electric at the camp ground. Well, wish me luck on this adventure.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Natures Struggles

In the three years that I have been living in a more rural location I have been fortunate to be able to experience nature more up close and personal than ever before. It has enhanced my life in many ways. I have become a better photographer and more importantly a better person.

Unfortunately or fortunately, being more present in nature I have also witnessed the struggle to survive that goes on daily for the wildlife that surrounds us. I have seen a hawk in hour yard fly off with a freshly killed rabbit. I have watched as smaller fish are eaten by larger fish. I have walked in the grass only to find a hatchling who has fallen from its nest and died. And this is only what I have seen happen and what I have seen happen in my own back yard.

I have walked out on my deck to find a small dead bird. I don't know if it died of natural causes and its last breath happen to occur on my deck. I don't know if one of my dogs was able to catch and kill it. Although that seems unlikely to me as it was a warbler which usually lives in the wooded area which is inaccessible to my dogs. Perhaps it was attacked in the woods and flew from the woods to escape and succeeded but was dealt a mortal blow in the process expiring on my deck. I will never know.

Today I was picking up he dog food dishes after the dogs were done eating in the house and one of them was near the door which has a full glass panel and I saw something flitting along the ground on the deck just outside the door. I went outside to check it out and found another small warbler, alive but injured. It allowed me to pick it up and I tried to look it over for injuries as best I could. It was bleeding from its head and had blood running around its left eye. It seemed to be stunned and other than the bleeding OK. It did not make any attempt to leave my hand though. This concerned me.

I was not sure what to do. I had to leave for work and was now running late. I thought about going inside and waking my wife and seeing if she wanted to look after it until it was OK to fly away, but I did not want to risk going inside with it and chancing one of the cats or dogs trying to get it and hurting it more. I walked over to the side of our yard where the dogs cannot go. I sat crouched down with it in my hand for a few minutes stroking its back. Trying to calm it down as it was trembling and panting. After a few minutes it finally seemed to start to relax and even flicked its wings but did not fly away. I thought about setting it down in a hidden spot where I could come back and check on it after work but I was fearful that I would only be leaving it as bait for a predator. Then I decided that since it flicked its wings I would see if it could fly. I tossed it up into the air a little bit and it took flight. It was not a graceful slight as it started off by making a small circle and bumping a few branches but then seemed to get under control and circle around again and fly into the woods and out of site. Hopefully my feathered friend is OK and will still be in my woods somewhere watching me when I get home.

These experiences make me ever more grateful for the things that I have and the lifestyle I have that our ancestors and others today still do not have. I do not have to worry daily about where I will find food or if I will go hungry. I do not have a daily struggle just to survive as much of our wildlife does. I try not to take for granted all of the human conveniences that we have available to us. If I am hungry I can go to the store and by some food or even make a phone call and have it delivered to me. I don't have to go out and stalk prey for hours on end in the hopes of getting a bite to eat and hope no one bigger or stronger than me comes and takes it away. I do not have to go out grazing and foraging for food constantly exposing myself to predators that would like to make me their lunch. And that is just the advantages I have when it comes to food. I also do not have to struggle to find shelter or other resources that I need. It puts a new perspective on things even if tough times. I can look at nature and see how good I still have it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Today when I was getting ready to go out and take some photos I thought to myself I think I am going to see something unusual today.

I walked down to the stream I almost always go to and as I started walking I began seeing common mergansers. There was a large group of common mergansers swimming in the stream. This might by name sound, um common, but for me it was unusual. I have seen common mergansers frequently but not in this location and not exhibiting the behaviors that they were.

They were hunting....... Mergansers dive under water to catch their prey. When I think of this the image that comes to mind is a bird is swimming along looking down through the water from above and then dives under when it sees something it wants to catch. This however is not what was going on. The mergansers were swimming along on top of the water like ducks but with their heads stuck in under the water so that their eyes were submerged for several seconds at a time. Then when they saw a prey item they would dive under and catch it.

The fact that they were swimming in a closely bunched group may have given the impression that they were hunting as a group. But that did not appear to be the case. I did not see any mergansers dive cooperatively to catch anything. They dove generally one at a time and succeeded or failed at catching their food individually. There was no combined effort or sharing of food. In fact when one merganser literally bit of more than he could chew, or gulp down fast. It became a free for all. There was no all for one and one for all. It was every merganser for them self. When the merganser who saw the fish first dove after it so did others as they saw it. Each trying to catch it first. Once on caught it and emerged from the water with it in its beak the others rushed in to try and steal it and it became a giant game of tackle the bird with the fish. In the end it appeared that the fish got away in the frenzy.

Now for me that is what I call an unusual sighting.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

To love a pet

To love our pets is a mixed blessing. We are able to experience life altering moments through our relationship with them. We experience the unadulterated joy they exhibit. We feel the love and camaraderie they share. We become their family and they become our as they allow us into their lives and make us theirs. We are their humans as much as they are our pets.

Unfortunately to love an animal is to guarantee oneself an eventual heartache. We will always live to see the passing of our beloved fury family members. This is a gut renching trial to go through. There is no filling the void that is left when one of ours leaves us.

Even though this member of our family is no longer with us in physical form they can remain with us in spirit. We can commemorate their lives and celebrate the important impact that they have had in our lives. We will always have the memories that we shared with them and others in our lives.

I am writing this today to commemorate the life of Stripe a great cat who lived a long life of 14 years. She was my and my wife's cat. She was a loyal animal and seemed to care in a way most people don't associate with cats. She also loved our dogs. She spent every waking moment trying to insert herself into our lives and our dogs lives. She made sure that we will never forget her. From her scampering play sessions where she will be chasing various household objects across the floor to her playful nibbles and rubbing up against you. She lived a long life and in recent times she had begun to get a little frail. But she still had that spark of life to her. That never say die attitude that let you know she was never going to give up and she was always going to be around. And in the end it was that never say die attitude and desire to stay with us that shown through. We came home to find her very sick and seemingly on deaths door at midnight. She We did not know what was wrong with her or what had happened but it was clear that it was serious. It was made difficult by the time of day it happened and the fact that it was a Friday night so there was no easily accessible vets. We did everything we could think to do for her to try and get her better. But nothing seemed to help. She would seem to be fading and be about to go to sleep and pass on and then she would fight it and stay with us. After a long while my wife made the gut wrenching decision that we needed to call the vet and have her put to sleep to end her suffering. I do not envy my wife being the one to make this decision. The vet was compassionate and handled the situation quickly and professionally. We gave Stripe her on plot in the back of our yard and we will get he a marker for her spot. From there she can keep an eye on us and keep us safe. Now she is outside, which is where she always wanted to be anyway.

I think this is always a trying time for a pet owner as doubt always creeps in. Did we do the right thing. Was there nothing else to be done. Was she suffering. I know I feel all these things. But in the end I think we did what was best for this important member of our family.

Stripe we will always love you and miss you. Nothing will ever fill the void you have left in our family.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Michael Vick's Return to NFL

I am diverting my posts from my normal subjects to a matter that is very important to me and perhaps more important than photography.

This is an issue that I am conflicted about. I am a passionate dog and animal lover and I despise animal cruelty. It makes my stomach turn. Michael Vick committed heinous crimes against helpless animals. However, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced for what he did. He served a sentence that was determined to be suitable to the crimes he committed as determined by our laws. If I do not feel that his punishment was severe enough then that is a mater that I need to take up with our judicial system and our lawmakers. I could never forgive a person for committing acts of animal cruelty to my dogs, nor do I think I could find it in my heart to forgive Michael Vick for his actions. Perhaps I am a lesser person for that.

I do believe that people deserve second chances and should be able to go on with their lives after they serve their sentence. However, it is difficult to come to grips with the idea of a person who committed Vicks crimes being able to make millions of dollars for a second time in his life. I sincerely hope that Michael Vick can turn things around and I want to say make things right, but I don’t think one can ever make things right for the crimes he committed. I just hope he is able to live a life from here on out that will be deserving of the second chance that is being afforded him.

As someone who has studied psychology I have an even graver concern with the crimes that Vick committed. Acts of torturing or killing animals are behaviors that sociopaths or those developing into sociopaths commit. Sociopaths are people who feel no remorse for their actions and will do whatever they need to do to get what they want. If it means playing along and saying all the right things to appear sorry in order to get back into the NFL then a sociopath would do that, but not be sincere in any way. I am not saying that Michael Vick is a sociopath, but he has displayed behaviors associated with that mental status. It would be a big concern for me and would be something that I would want to have looked into if I was an NFL team before taking him on.

I wish Michael Vick luck and I hope he is successful in redeeming himself, but not just in the eyes of NFL fans.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Eagles at the river

This past Saturday I decided to get up early and head down to the Chemung River in hopes of photographing some bald eagles. When I arrived the fog was thick and it was impossible to see far into the distance. This would create an added challenge. Usually the eagles can be spotted off in the distance and I can prepare as they close in on my direction and be ready for them. I saw on eagle perch in a tree a short distance up river from me. In a tree that will be cut down shortly. I began to aproach the eagle but it took flight long before I got close. Later as I turned my attention elswhere another bald eagle emerged from the fog right in front of me as if appearing from nowhere. I was able to get some shots as at flew by paying me no mind. I am not sure how I feel about the photos as they did not come out idealy clear due to the fog but they also did not produce anyvisible evidence of fog.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Patience and Perseverance

In wildlife photography there are two traits that are very beneficial to ones success. A wildlife photographer often benefits from having patience. It is often necessary to sit and wait for long periods of time for your subject to happen upon your location or you may have to wait for a bird you inadvertently startled to get used to your presence and come back. It i also important to persevere. One may have to endure some rough weather and uncomfortable conditions to get the desired shot but if you want the shot that is what needs to be done.

Recently I was lucky enough to benefit from both of those traits in my own photography. I Will admit that I am not the most patient man by a long shot. Perseverance is a little bit more up my alley, but I am also working on that as well.

This past weekend I headed down to the river looking to photograph some birds of prey. I was fortunate enough to spot an osprey flying my way. It took refuge in one of the nearby trees. I knew it approximate location but there were several trees clustered together and I was not sure exactly which tree the osprey was in. I looked at them from every angle and location and still no sign of it. I was about to give up thinking that maybe it did not land there and it flew off without me seeing it. Then I heard a screech and it took flight again. This time only moving down the row of trees and perching again in another tree. This time I was not as sure as to where it was, but I knew it was in one of these trees. I moved along slowly and quietly trying not to disturb the bird as much as possible. From a distance I finally saw it and just as I raised my camera to take a shot it was off again. This time it flew off down the river.

I decided to hang out at the river and see if it would come back or if anything else would happen by. With my luck it started to rain. Lucky for me I was near all those trees. I took shelter below the trees and continued to look for photographic opportunities. Eventually I saw the osprey come back up river. I tracked it with my camera as it flew over the river, waiting for the shot. Some branches blocked my shot just as I depressed the shutter and my camera refocused on the branches I recovered and found the osprey just in time to see it plunge into the water. But I had missed the shot. The osprey missed its shot as well. It took off with no fish for lunch. It continued farther up river, but I could see it off in the distance the entire time. I stayed in the shelter of the trees moving around a little trying to stay out of the rain as much as possible. Checking on the osprey from time to time just hoping for one more shot.

Then the osprey began flying back in my direction. It was flying directly over the trees this time instead of over the water. I think it was planning to land in the trees again. However, it did not anticipate my presence. As it swooped down into a clearing between the trees to take up a perch in the next tree it saw me. It immediately veered off course and flew away. This time I got the shots as the osprey flew directly over my head. But it took a lot of hard work and dedication. I got a little wet and was a little bored at times, but my patience and perseverance paid off. Hopefully this situation will reinforce those traits in me.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Missing the action

Yesterday was quite a frustrating photographic venture. When you set out to take photographs you are bound to miss a great shot every now and then. Yesterday it felt like I missed every great photo op. I went to the lake and walked around this little path that passed between the lake and a pond. It was pretty overgrown which made it difficult to see anything much around me until I was right up on it. So I knew I was going to have to react fast to anything I saw. Even knowing this and being prepared did not help me. I stumbled upon a pair of bittern along the lake shore and scared them off without getting a single shot. Twice a belted kingfisher landed on a tree branch not more than ten feet away directly in front of me and in perfect position but saw me and took off before I could get a shot. A green heron was wondering around the pond area but kept taking flight before I even saw it. There were numerous small birds flitting around of which I missed many shots. So it was quite a frustrating day. I would love to be able to chalk it up to equipment failure or miss fire, which I think it may have been on a few occasions, but for the most part it was likely operator error. I simply was not on top of my game. I was not quiet enough, patient enough, or fast enough to get the shots I was presented with. It is a learning experience every time I go out into the field. I did get some nice shots but also missed some possibly remarkable ones. So in circumstances where I fail more than I succeed I try to at least bring away a bit of learning and new knowledge. And even though I missed the photos I still was privileged to be able to go out and see these amazing animals up close and witness their behavior.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm Back

Sorry that there has been such a long delay since my last post. Many things that came up that kept me away. One of whcih was a very good thing. I completed and submitted my first article and photography for publication in a magazine. My work will be published in a regional NY magazine, Life in the Finger Lakes. THis is a magazine that I have enjoyed reading freequently so if you have the opportunity to pick one up please do. Not just so that you can see my work but so you can see all of the other great articles and photography that appear in this magazine. I have been out taking many more photographs lately and I think I have a lot more great images to share and hopefully find publications for them as well. I am hoping to work with Life in the Finger Lakes magazine more in the future. This is the second item I have worked with them on. I also had an articlepublished in their e-newsleter and on their website.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Repeat Visits

I frequently visit the same locations over and over again. I also frequently visit these same sites at the same time of the day repeatedly. Taking this into account it is amazing that I also am able to see a wide variety of wildlife at these sites even though I am always at the same place at the same time. When I go to these repeated locations I often find that some of the same animals are always there. I visit a stream near were I work every workday on my lunch which is at almost the same time every day. There are always mallard ducks and grackles congregating in different areas around the stream. I frequently take time to photograph some of these specimens. Even though they are always around they may be displaying different behaviors each time I am there. Every so often I am treated to a photographic treat. I will be walking along the stream and I will see something that I do not usualy see or have ever seen here. Today down at the stream was one such day. I was fortunate enough to be walking by as a female hooded merganser was swimming up the stream with her chicks. I had only seen hooded mergansers once or twice in my life so I was quite surprised to see them in this location right in the middle of town. The chicks were already pretty good sized and some of them were diving under the water and catching food. It was a nice surprise and I was able to sit and watch them and photograph them for most of my lunch break. I have not checked the photos yet, but I think I got at least a few excelent shots.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This past weekend was quite a fortunate one for me. I had a great time. I was able to get out in nature and enjoy myself quite a bit. I was able to experience nature first hand both at home and at local nature sites. It was a great time as a nature lover, birder, and photographer. I went hiking two days during the weekend. The first day I went hiking I was able to see a pair of yellow bellied sapsucker at their nest cavity. I was actually able to see the male emerge from the hole and land on a nearby tree. This was a first for me as I had never before seen a woodpecker at an active nest cavity. I could not tell if there were young inside. I did not hear anything to indicate there was and the adults were not bringing food to the cavity. I was able to watch them flit around amongst the nearby trees. It was quite an experience for me. This also resulted in me being able to get the best photographs to date of yellow bellied sapsuckers that I have ever been able to take. I look forward to visiting that spot again. That same day at home I noticed a pair of Baltimore orioles flying around our yard. After watching them for a while I determined that they kept returning to the same place over and over. I walked over to where they were going and discovered that they are building a nest high up in one of our aspen trees. This is the first active nest of Baltimore orioles I have ever seen. It will be nice to have a nest close by to observe over time. I was also able to get some nice shots of the orioles.

The second day I went hiking I did not see the woodpeckers, but I was treated to some other surprises. The hike was mostly uneventful but enjoyable. Towards the end of the hike I spotted some deer moving off in the woods and I stopped to photograph them and I was able to see that they were young bucks just beginning to grow antlers. I had never before seen bucks with antlers at any stage in person. so I snapped a few shots as they moved off mostly for documentary purposes. At the very beginning of my hike I had also sighted a deer out in a field which I took a few photos of. Upon reviewing the photos later I discovered that it too was a young buck just beginning to grow antlers. Upon reaching the meadow at the end of my hike it was evident that the song birds were active. There were several Baltimore orioles flying about in pairs and males chasing other males. I was able to approach them slowly and get close to the area they were flying around in. Eventually a female Baltimore oriole landed on a branch of a bush right in front of me. I was able to create some very nice images from that occurrence. It was the first time I had been able to photograph a female Baltimore oriole.

After my hike I decided I wanted to check out a local park to see if there were any ducklings there. There were no ducklings. I was pleasantly surprised to see a red fox however. I rarely see them. I even snapped a few photos of it. Then as I walked further into the park I was able to see a European starling feeding its young and watch and photograph the process. As I was leaving the park I saw another small bird flitting about. It looked like a bird I had never seen before, so I patiently waited for it to come close enough to photograph it. When it finally came to a good spot I began firing away. Taking shot after shot. Following its movements as it flew around. Once I was able to see it closer I was able to identify it as an American redstart. Another first.

Later that same day out in my yard, just doing some random yard work I was also fortunate to spot some birds. Ever since hanging up a peanut feeder several weeks ago we have had a red breasted woodpecker that frequently visits. I had not to this point been able to get close enough to get any really high quality photos. I heard the woodpeckers call in the distance. Then I spotted it in a nearby tree. I quietly sat down in my chair and got ready with my camera, as I had learned the bird would approach even if I was present as long as I was still. The woodpecker flew right over to the tree where the feeder was located and eventually landed in the perfect spot for me to photograph it from where I was sitting. I was able to get the best photographs to date of a red breasted woodpecker. As I was photographing the woodpecker I saw a quick flash of red. I assumed it was a cardinal but I checked anyway. When I looked I saw that it was a scarlet tanager. This is the first time I had ever saw one. It stayed just long enough for me to get some good images of it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Contact with wild animals

I just saw a nice photo of a person holding a hawk durring study that was being conducted. It reminded me how amazing it is to be able to have direct involvement with wild animals. Anyone who has had the oportunity to work with wild animals through scientific studies or other contact knows what I mean. I recently had the oportunity to rescue a sharp shinned hawk from a place it had gotten stuck. I was able to hold it and get it un stuck. Then it sat perched on my hand for a few moments before it took off and flew out into the night. It was one of the most memerable experiences of my life and I will never forget it. Has anyone had a similar experience.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

the "work" of photography

Looks like today will be a good day to make progress on the "work" of photography. At least that is how I have come to think of it because that is how it has been explained by other professional photographers like Moose Peterson. The "work" of photography is all the stuff you have to do other than actually taking the photographs in order to make your business run. This means contacting editors, organizing images, sending mailings, and all of that other fun stuff. Days where weather or other circumstances do not permit us to be out in the field or actively shooting are good times to get caught up or even ahead on those other business aspects of being a photographer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tree Removal

I am saddened as I learned late last night that another 100 year old tree along the Chemung River has been cut down. This tree had some special meaning to me as a photographer. For at least the past four years every winter I have been photographing a peregrine falcon. This falcon visits Elmira the same time of year every year and in the same location every year. The tree that was felled yesterday was his favorite perching locations. You could see him perched high in the tree as you drove over the bridge. It is in the location that I would frequently watch and photograph him. There were also other trees along that section of river which he liked to perch in. However, those trees are also being removed. There are other trees nearby but farther from the water that I have occasionally spotted him in. Hopefully he will like using those trees as much as the others and will continue to grace us with his presence. The trees are being removed in the name of safety as a measure of flood control. I hope that it was in deed a necessary measure although I have not seen any concrete evidence of supporting this. I am looking into it. I hope that I am wrong. It is impossible to replace 100 year old trees. I would hate to think they were cut down needlessly.

Making Time for photography

As a part time photographer that still has a day job it is crucial to find time to get in some photography as often as possible. One way I do this is by using my lunch breaks to make some images as often as I can. I have been fortunate that my last couple employers have been located in areas where photographic oportunities abound. Today I was able to take a five minute walk over to six mile creek in Ithaca, NY and sit along the stream and watch as the birds flew around at look for instances to take photographs. There were many grackles at the creek. I watched them as they hopped among the rocks. I was quickly able to anticipate when they would hop and try to get to the next rock with a few quick flaps of their wings. I focused on these instances as prime photographic oportunities.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Getting things going

Well here things go. I am now starting a blog. I would have never imagined I'd be doing this a few years ago. However, I have found become increasingly passionate about what I do and increasingly comfortable with technology. So it only made sense to combine my passion with the technology that is readily available. Thus the creation of this blog. In this blog I will discuss just about everything and anything that is related to photography and/or wildlife and nature. If you have any thoughts or comments I would love to read them as we begin this journey together. I hope you all enjoy reading my thoughts.