Saturday, January 29, 2011

Daily Photo: 1/29/2011 - "Always Carry a Camera!"

Several times this week I made an attempt to get outside specifically to take some pictures.  These short winter days make it tough because there's very little daylight shooting available when an 8-9 hour workday is factored in.  Right now, sunrise doesn't occur until 7:40-7:45, so it's very difficult to get to a location for first light and make it to work on-time.  The better option is to go to work earlier and then leave early to set up for the sunset "golden hour."  But, that didn't work out for me this week, either.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugBut, there's a reason I carry my camera with me almost everywhere, because I was finally rewarded this evening.  But, it came at a time when I was outdoors for a different kind of shooting.  I had just finished an afternoon putting some rounds through one of my pistols accompanied by my son and a good friend.  Logan and I met up with my friend on some property he recently purchased and we had just trekked back to our trucks from the creek bottom.  As I put my gear back in my truck, I noticed these trees silhouetted against a beautiful sunset lit sky.  The clouds really caught my attention and are really the reason I framed the picture the way I did.  Without those clouds, I think the picture would be bland and lacking emotion.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Daily Photos: 1/23/2011

Today wasn't a great photography day for me, simply because I was busy with other things.  Plus, it was a cold, gloomy day.  So, I have some pictures from yesterday, which was also a cold day, but the clouds didn't seem as heavy and offered some nice, diffused light.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugWe have a wonderful "picture" window in our living room looking out onto our front yard.  In the winter, we place several bird feeders near this window and it's great watching all the wintering birds as they come to feed. This year, my wife talked me into taking one of our bird baths and placing a water heater in it to keep some open water for the birds to drink.  Come to find out, some birds are crazy enough to take baths, too, even when the temperature dips into the teens!

About 15 feet from the feeders stands a purple plum tree, which acts as the perfect staging area for birds flying back and forth from the feeders.  It also provides the perfect backdrop for taking pictures of these birds as they come and go and I never tire from getting photos of all the different birds.  Most of all it's great practice for me with my camera because these birds never sit still.  They're the busiest things ever and my wife and I have both commented that being a bird must be tiring and a complete waste of energy.  It's no wonder they're at the feeder all day and they mow through sunflower seeds faster than pro baseball players!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugAnyway, as I mentioned it's great practice.  I constantly have to adjust the exposure depending on whether a bird is in the tree, on the snow covered ground, or sitting on a branch with the sky in the background.  Without knowing how to adjust correctly I would wind up with a lot more under/over exposed images.  Also, I have to make sure my shutter speeds are fast enough to stop the motion of the birds, which coupled with the changing light makes it even more difficult to get proper exposure.  It's challenging, but fun!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Daily Photos: 1/21/2011

Photography has become an addiction and I take a lot of pictures!  I carry my camera with me almost everywhere and if I don't have it with me I always have my iPhone.  But, there are times when I go on dry spells and might not take any pictures for days.  I can tell when this happens because it seems that I begin having withdrawals as if I'm some junkie hunting for my next heroin fix.  So, in an attempt to feed my addiction, I've created a new gallery here on my photo website dedicated to daily photos.  My aim is to post at least 1 quality photo to this gallery each day.  I emphasize "quality" because if I'm not happy with any of my photos from that day, then I probably won't post any.  I'm not going to begin aimlessly taking snapshots just to fulfill a goal of taking a picture each day.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugTo start things off, I've posted a group of photos that I took yesterday on my way home from work.  My total commute is about 50 miles each day and it's actually a pretty scenic drive with little traffic.  It's a small highway that winds through the typical NE Kansas farmland.  There are a couple fields that I pass where I normally see turkeys, hawks, and an occasional deer.  During my morning commute I noticed what looked like a big hawk feeding on something in one of the fields.  In fact, my first thought was, "Damn, that's a BIG hawk!"  On closer inspection, it was an adult bald eagle and I was pretty excited to see it since I normally only see them near the bigger rivers in the area (Kansas and Missouri Rivers).

I thought about that eagle quite a bit throughout the day.  Before leaving work, I attached my telephoto lens to my camera hoping that an eagle would be back in that spot feeding when I got there.  Sure enough, as I passed the field there were actually 3 eagles feeding!  I quickly exited the highway, backtracked to the field, and pulled off onto the shoulder which left me about 100 yards from the eagles. I began shooting and I could hear the eagles squawking at each other as they moved into position to feed on what appeared to be a deer carcass.  Amazing!  As I took in the scene, what I thought was only 3 eagles turned out to be 8 eagles in the field.  After chasing off a juvenile, an adult and another juvenile took turns eating while 4 eagles sat in a tree to the south and another 2 eagles sat in a tree about 80 yards to the west.  One of the photos in the gallery shows a wide angle view with a juvenile feeding, an adult hanging back sitting in the snow and the tree with 4 eagles in the distance.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's a start

If you're reading this, chances are you arrived here via my photography website,  This is the start of something I've been talking about doing for at least the last 2-3 years.  Apparently, my wonderful wife must have got tired of hearing me only talk about it because she is the one who actually took the steps in getting my photo site started and then handed it off to me to customize.  She also came up with the initial idea for the logo design displayed on both websites.

As you can tell, I have a lot more work to do in polishing up both websites.  In a perfect world, this work would already be complete.  But, it's not a perfect world and I have other priorities that must be fulfilled before I get the time to work on these sites.  So, I urge you to check back as I continue to build on what  you see now.

Thanks for visiting!