Snow On April Fool’s Day

Remember when everyone was excited about the blood, super, blue moon? It wouldn’t happen for a few years so everyone went out to photograph it. Snow coming down on Easter which also happened to be April Fool’s Day seems pretty crazy to me. For most of the early snow we were at Easter dinner with family. As we were driving home the light was fading, but the snowflakes were picking up. I grabbed my camera and ran outside to make some pictures. I am sure that my neighbors are used to it by now, but I bet they still think that I am crazy.

Trying Out a New Toy

When I went out I took my Canon 5D Mark IV with my Canon 100mm Macro lens on it. I did that to play with my new ring light for that lens. For some of my macro work I bought a Yongnuo YN14EX ring light. I wanted to pop a little light on the snowflakes. Since I had a pop up flash on my Canon Rebel I have tried to light snowflakes up. I think that it gives them a much cooler look than just random specs flying by the lens. It looks like a look that some people can do in Photoshop. I am not good at Photoshop at all so I have to do things in camera.

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Finding Some Color In The Winter

As the grey colors of winter start to pile on you start to look for color anywhere. The photo above was made one night when the sky graced us with a little color. It seems like every night has a boring grey sunset unless I am indoors shooting and event, and then the colors pop out. Here I was lucky enough to be around when some color appeared.

Beating The Winter Blues

What do you do to beat the winter blues? I have sports to help break it up a little, but even then a short dry spell in jobs can leave me looking for something to shoot. How do you get over the lack of color in the winter?

My 17 Favorite Critter Photos of 2017

I really think that I had an amazing 2017 with the amount of cool critters that I was able to see and photograph. Almost off the bat I was able to capture a few photos of bald eagles grabbing fish out of the Wabash River. From there it was a fun year finding new and interesting wildlife to chase. After fruitlessly looking for a few years I was finally able to photograph a few owls as well. This was a fun year for wildlife, and here are a few of my favorites.

17. I spent a lot of my year waiting for eagles to do something. Often they would just sit in the trees doing nothing. At some point you start to get bored and you try and make an image out of that. Here the light was hitting the branches just right to make that work.

16. Usually I don’t use my iPhone when making photos of wildlife. Here in Ocean City, Maryland though I was able to do just that. While crabbing on a pier one of the crabs came right up to me. The phone was the only thing that I had available so I made the photo with it.

15. When we go to the Indy Zoo the first thing that the girls always want to do is to see the butterflies. Of course I have my camera so I go around and try and find something interesting to photograph. Here we found a female that was fending off many males. One male comes in close to the female here.

14. This year I finally made it up to see the Sandhill Cranes at the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area. They were amazing to watch as they spent some time here before continuing south. Here one grouping takes off out of the marsh.

13. More fun at the zoo. While the kids watch the animals I like to have fun photographing them. I will probably not go on an African Safari in my life so I like to pretend that I am on one while I am there. It is fun to try and make photos of the animals that don’t look like they were made at the zoo.

12. I spend a lot of time in the winter waiting for bald eagles to do something. While I am waiting I am also looking for other things to photograph. Here a flock of geese came by in great formation giving me a good photo. I don’t know that I came away with a good eagle photo that day, but I did come away with a cool silhouette photo.

Bald Eagles Of the Apocalypse

11. When I made this photo I called it “The Bald Eagles of the Apocalypse” With the sun lighting up the clouds behind the eagles that is what came into my mind for some reason. This is another example of me waiting for the eagles to do something. It sounds boring, but at times it can be fun coming up with shots while I am waiting. This is one of my favorites from those times.  Continue reading “Top 17 Critter Photos of 2017”

Nobow Returns For Another Month of Memories

Every year on the morning after Thanksgiving our elf on the shelf Nobow makes his return. Nobow is here to watch the kids and report on their behavior every night to the North Pole. When he returns from his trip up north every day he finds a new place to hide. The fun every morning is seeing just where Nobow is, and what he is up to. This year as you can see above he decided to try his hand at photography. I think being a free elf intern is probably more lucrative so he did not stay with the new hobby very long.

Christmas Comes At The Right Time

Every year when the leaves are gone from the trees I have a few days of depression. What little landscape work there is here seems to fade away pretty quickly. We are left with very little color. Christmas season starts and the color returns! Nobow and all of the other colorful aspects of Christmas give me something to shoot for a month or so. This really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Breaking Out The Good Stuff

Photographing Nobow usually means that I break out a couple of lenses that I don’t use very often. My Canon 100mm f/2.8 and Canon 50mm f/1.4mm lenses don’t get a lot of use. They have a specific purpose, and come in handy when I need them. That being said I don’t really need them that often. When Nobow shows up I tend to rely on those two lenses for the season. I don’t know why I do this, but it is good that they get used. The 50mm 1.4 lens gives a great bokeh so that one is easy. You can see in the top photo what a great job it does. It turns Christmas lights into delicious bokeh.

A Welcome Break From Mowing the Grass

Lately I have been lucky enough to see a couple of cool critters while mowing the grass. Earlier this week I came upon the one above while out in the yard. Of course I immediately shut off the lawn mower and ran inside to put a kit together real quick to photograph the praying mantis. I grabbed my Canon 5D Mark IV and my Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. I ran back outside, and sure enough it was still there waiting for me to photograph it. At first the mantis did not know what to do about me so it would not look my way. Once I sat there a while though it started to become familiar with me, and I was able to work the scene a little. In the end I came up with the photo above which I liked very much.

Bringing A Little Extra Gear

Sometimes a nature shoot can occur when you least expect it. Mondays are usually slow days for me as far as making publishable photos. I was in the middle of a shoot where I was photographing interiors for a client. Earlier I had noticed that there were many butterflies in their flower garden. The shoot was one where I just needed my Canon 11-24mm lens for the job. I brought my bag though so I would have my Canon 100-400mm lens with me to photograph the butterflies while I was there. The client liked the extra photos, and I was able to make some photos early in the day on a Monday.

Have a Merry Christmas

Today is a day to spend with your families and those that you love. It is a day to spend around the tree opening presents, but that is not really what the day should be about. I don’t like to write much on Christmas other than to say thank you for following this blog throughout the year, and I hope that you are having a great day. Nothing beats having the family home for the holidays.

Our Elf on the Shelf is Back For Another Year

I cannot believe that I made it until December 16th to post a photo of our Elf on the Shelf Nobow. Usually by now I have posted many photos of Nobow as he places himself in various places around our house. Nobow is an elf who does things that we would never expect him to do. We must have gotten up too early this morning though as we caught Nobow in the middle of shaving. He had just applied the shaving cream to his face, and had to stop as he must have heard someone coming. Who knows where Nobow will be tomorrow. One thing is for sure. He makes waking up from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve very fun as we cannot wait to see where Nobow has hidden himself.



Watching the Transformation

For the past couple of weeks we have been running a little science experiment in the house. We found some caterpillars in our backyard eating leaves off a vine. We thought we brought two in the house, but a third one came in on some leaves. We watched as they ate much more than we thought that they would for a week or so. Then they went into the pupa stage one by one. It was amazing just how fast they went into the stage. Then the wait began. It took about a week and a half for the butterfly to emerge. When they did though it was just amazing. How this transformation happens is still amazing to me even after seeing it. These were the last generation of butterflies this season meaning that they are the ones responsible for flying south to stay for the winter. They will travel back north next spring to ensure that we have more monarchs to look at.

Testing the Canon 100mm Macro

When we started this little experiment I decided to finally pull the trigger and buy the Canon 100mm macro lens. This is a lens that I have wanted to buy for a while now. I used it in 2014 during the NCAA Women’s Tournament to change things up a bit. A fellow photographer loaned it to me for the day for that purpose. I have rented it since then, but it was just a matter of time before I would buy it. It is meant for something much different than this, but it was a great way to get things started.

Having Some Fun With the Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro

I rented the Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens for quite some time. With the weather (and not wanting to send it back) I contacted LensRentals.com for a couple of extensions. It was a fun lens to use if for nothing else than I was able to shoot some things that I have not shot up close yet. I could fake it a bit, but that was about it. With the weather turning bad came chance to try it out. Last week I took it out one day, but I was not happy with the results. The snowflakes looked pretty bad. I decided to try it again just after a fresh snow to see if the results would be any different. I love the little individual snowflakes. The ultra shallow depth of field also give the photo the tilt shift feel.

Making the Photo

I shot this with one of our hedges directly behind it. It gave me the effect of a black background. As I was processing this photo I noticed that it looked black and white. I tried moving the saturation slider up and back with no real effect on the photo. I ended up just taking all of the color out of the photo to minimize any distractions in the background. For this photo I was at f/4. I decided to change my f-stop to f/8 to see what that would do for the snowflakes. My depth of field was really shallow, and even going to f/8 at this close of a range did not do much. Now I know why people use a slider and merge multiple shots when shooting macro. Without any of that it was up to me to hold steady as I made this handheld. That is not easy when the windchill is in the teens.