Friday, April 29, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The nest is now basically completed. The only materials being brought in now are straw (seen here) and other fine materials to line the nest with. With the female staying on the nest almost all the time now, I surmise egg laying has started. Perhaps by middle to late June some fuzzy heads will appear.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Another fish special delivery for the female. Arrived just as the sun was setting the other evening. The female starts chirping loudly a minute before the fish is brought. This chirping begins long before I can see the male. How does she know he is coming so long in advance? Sight? Hearing? Usually the fish he brings are half eaten- always the head end. She gets the back half. Doesn't take them but a few minutes to eat a fish- tail fins and all. The way they easily rip those fish apart, I think I'll lay off the fish oil supplements for a while. I do not wish to be mistaken for a fish.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
the one you have with you, the saying goes. Had to run back to the office last night to pick up something and sure enough I saw the best sunset all year. My Nikon was back at the house. I did have my iPhone though. It would have to do. My son suggested last week I could get a telephoto shot with the iPhone through binoculars. Gave it a try and presto! Snapped this after sunset. Took a couple shots before the mosquitoes could get me. Used Filterstorm to sharpen and denoise.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Had some ruffled feathers yesterday at the nest. The female had just landed with the male close behind with a fish when another pair tried to stop in. The female of our pair (on the left) was having none of it and drove the other away. Our pair was so agitated they did not even look at the fish he brought for several minutes. Seems they feared another unwanted visit. They were tense and continued to scan the sky for some time before settling down to eat.
I like the drama captured here. The sky was overcast so shutter speed was down lower than I'd like and the ISO much higher than usual for a daytime exposure. Using some Topaz filters followed by some NIK filters for the pop I was after. I'm finding spot metering and 3D tracking are working pretty well for these bird shots. To keep enough DOF for two birds f/6.7 or f/8 is working.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The nest building continues full speed ahead since last weekend. Here the male is bringing a small stick to the nest. Probably the smallest stick I've seen him bring. Usually he brings the big branches- some upto 5+ feet long and over an inch in diameter. The largest branches required both birds to work together to move and place it into the nest. The female brings small sticks and straw to line the nest. When the guy is not doing the heavy lifting, he is out fishing. Since they started building the nest, I've seen him bring at least 3 fish back to her a day. She gets the back half of the fish.
Monday, April 18, 2011
We have a new pair of Osprey nesting on the farm this Spring. They built the nest shown here in one day- that is a lot of trips, one stick at a time. The male seemed to be bringing most of the larger sticks. This image was one of a sequence of the female bringing straw to line the nest. They are remarkable flying machines.
The trick to getting the shot is to get the prevailing wind and the angle of sun lined up together because they land and takeoff into the wind. Shot at 400mm on a DX sensor, the image shown was slightly cropped. A 600mm lens would be preferred.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
One of the challenges of still photography is to show motion. On my "bucket list" for the Palouse trip were flowers. Flowers were hard to come by. We finally found stumbled across some in a fence row one afternoon. It was breezy so I opted to try something new- a zoom swirl. Using a Vari-ND (an adjustable neutral density filter by Singh Ray that allows for upto 8 stops of darkening for longer exposures), I dialed up a long exposure of a few seconds and zoomed and twisted the camera during the exposure.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The wind was blowing, rain was sideways and the light seemed so close but was so far away. For about 30 minutes it looked like the side light was going to show. The sun set before the clouds moved on. The gold band in the clouds was as close as it came. Initially, I thought this evening was a bust and I passed over this one. It did not meet my pre-visualized picture. Nearly a year later and some more post work, this one is growing on me. It is surely not the classic Palouse scene due to the "terrible" weather. As the rain set in almost all of the other photographers congregated there packed up and fled missing an unusual image.
This one goes along with the previous post. These little guys are very small- the flower may be 3/8" across. This subject is not perfect as it had suffered from rain damage on the upper right petal. That is part of the appeal.
My wife, Donna, likes prints hung in groups. I had a larger flower print laying around that she hung recently. But she wanted 3 others to go along with it. So off I went searching for blue flowers in the fence rows. This is one she chose. I have wanted for some time to play with some diffused window light. So this project was a "two-fer". I used a north facing window, diffusers and reflectors as desired.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I had the pleasure to visit this fascinating place last summer. It is in the middle of nowhere in NW New Mexico. A huge place with miles of ruins to explore. We saw about half of it during our afternoon visit there. People lived there for several hundred years and then abandoned the complex quite abruptly. Why? The multi story building remains offer many photo ops. The masonry work is impressive. This is a 7 shot HDR done in Photomatix, raw files converted in DxO, Topaz Define used on the tonemapped image.
Friday, April 8, 2011
I always think of fall color in trees, but for a short time spring has it's own delights. I took this yesterday at the edge of the field. Every spring for a a few short days some of our trees show an amazing variety of colors- orange, red, yellow - just before they leaf out and all becomes green until fall. Had to wait half an hour for a break in the clouds and then a front blew in and the show was over. Maybe until next spring.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Capturing the decisive moment in a fast moving sporting event like college soccer is a challenge unto itself. Combining that with a compelling background really ups the ante. I learned to take note of potential good backgrounds prior to the game and try to work them in during the game. In this shot, the Messiah men's keeper (Jared Clug) punches the ball away during the 2009 NCAA tournament. As I recall, the opponent was Bockport. This game was played on Messiah's home field and the bright orange tree was just the background element I was waiting to use during the coarse of the game. Even with press credentials the photographer is restricted to certain areas of sidelines. At a soccer game the areas behind the goals and near the team benches are almost always off limits. I found that at Final Four games the NCAA always marked with paint the allowed photographer areas. Other obstacles to contend with are TV crews, side judges, ball boys, physical features of the stadium/field and other photogs. So you take your pick of spots and hope the action comes to you. Here the late afternoon sun further restricted my shooting angles. I darkened the rest of the background, which was lacking much color anyway, to focus the eye on the action. The quality of the background is the difference between and good and great shot, everything else being equal.
Messiah went on to win National Championship #7 that December. The Finals in 2009 and 2010 were played in San Antonio where the background is especially challenging as one end of the field is in front of a large warehouse building. Even shooting wide open, a cinder block building is still a blob no matter how you cut it. Last year, one of the pro shooters beside me complained about that ugly building in the background. The stadium was back-lit during the day so that didn't work either. Well, you can't have it all, all the time. At least my team won and the free food in the press tent was great.
Monday, April 4, 2011
_DSC6568_DxO_69_DxO_70_DxO_71_DxO_72_DxOHDRI tonemapped topaz nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
Wooden grain elevators were once everywhere in vast western wheat growing regions of North America. Time has taken its toll and now very few are left standing. These relics have been replaced by modern round steel grain bins. This particular one was in dire disrepair. A local conservation group was trying to restore it for tourism. Tony, our tour leader, pointed this composition out. Using a frame in composition is often a desirable technique. I used a 9 stop HDR to balance the dark inside with the bright outside light. Thankfully, the building did not fall down while I was inside taking the picture.
When in the Palouse region one has to stop at the famous wheel fence. Built by a farmer years ago out of thousands of steel implement wheels, it is now a tourist attraction. The photo ops are endless at this place. One of the fun capabilities of many Nikon DSLRs is the ability to take up to a 10 shot multiple exposure in camera. Of coarse one can do the same thing in Photoshop as well.
Taken from Steptoe Butte near Colfax, WA. From my June 2010 trip. One of the rare and brief moments of sunshine on that trip. This view is looking east into Idaho at the horizon.
This region was once a vast grassland until the late 1800's until it was discovered that the region was suitable for wheat production. Wheat and lentils are the main crops with much lesser amounts of rape.
The distinctive hills are surprisingly steep- up to 50degrees. In the early 1900's the hillside combine was invented for use in this unique geography. Today, it is not unusual for farms to span thousands of acres and the largest tractors and farm equipment are used for crop production.
Lentils are the lime green fields. In June, lentils have just emerged. The lentils shown here are just 2" to 6" tall. The dark green fields are wheat- probably winter wheat. At the time of my visit farmers were topdressing the wheat with fertilizer with sprayers over 100 feet wide. The brown fields are wheat stubble from the prior year's harvest.
This is a revised version of Donna's phlox from a post a week ago. I thought the original was a bit dim so I brightened it up with Dynamic Light app and added the frame and mat. I'm much happier with the punched up version. Often the subtle changes yield dramatic improvements. FYI, the recently updated Dynamic Light app now has the Dutch light filter back.