A Few Red-Winged Blackbirds

Red-winged Blackbirds. Canon 7d2, 500mm, tripod, 1/320 @ f8, ISO 400

Last year at this time I was returning from a trip to New Mexico. The focus of the trip was to photograph the sandhill crane and snow geese migration. But there were plenty of other subjects as well, including a few red-winged blackbirds as seen in this photo. Any guesses as to how many birds are in this photo? I have no idea and am not about to try to count! These birds were the background to a few hundred sandhill cranes that were feeding in a field. At the same time, thousands of snow and ross’s geese began to arrive as well. Imagine the sounds of so many birds all coming to feed in the same general area.

Marten Visit

Marten. Canon 5d4. 500mm, tripod, 1/640 @ f5.6, ISO 1600

I’d been trying for close to six weeks trying to get a photo of this marten. I have see him in the woods behind my house about once a week or so. I tried tracking him about two weeks ago and stumbled on some bear tracks in the snow, so turned around and headed back. Last week, he made an appearance and I was finally able to get two photos including this one.

Winter Wolves

Gray wolf. Canon 50D, 500mm + 1.4TC, tripod, 1/800 @ f8, ISO 400

I just finished up a quick project before Thanksgiving for a client where I needed to go back through some of my older wolf images. This image is from 2012. While hearing and seeing the wolf howling was incredible, the heat shimmer coming off the snow was so bad that most of my images were unusable. Meanwhile the image below is from 2010. To encounter a wolf coming towards the road is pretty lucky. I had stopped in a pullout and was watching the wolf several hundred yards away when it decided to cross the road. I never got out of my car but photographed using a beanbag support for my telephoto lens. The wolf crossed the road and went about 100 yards or so up a hill where it lay down and howled.

Gray wolf. Canon 5d2, 500mm, beanbag, 1/1000 @ f8, ISO 400

Squirrel in Flight

Red Squirrel. Canon 5d4, 500mm + 1.4TC, tripod, 1/1250 @ f5.6, ISO 3200

I watched this squirrel as he used the same path to pick up pine cones and take them back to his cache. While the light wasn’t great, I set up, using a low angle, manually focused on a point just beyond where he jumped, manually set the exposure, and shot a bunch of shots trying to get the squirrel in mid air and in focus. This was the keeper.

Hoping everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Red Squirrel. Canon 5d4, 500mm + 1.4TC, tripod, 1/160 @ f5.6, ISO 1600

Last Day for Holiday Orders

Moon. Canon 5d4, 500mm + 1.4TC, tripod, 1/320 @ f8, ISO 500

First, the last day I will take orders for holidays to arrive in time for Christmas is December 7th.

I’ve been photographing the different phases of the moon lately. While a full moon is interesting due to the entire disk being visible, the moon has more texture and depth at other times when the sun is lighting it at more of an angle. The above photo was taken on November 6 and the one below was taken on November 20, for comparison. While both images were shot with a long telephoto lens, I still needed to crop about 50% of the image for the moon to look this large in the photo.

Moon. Canon 5d4, 500mm + 1.4TC, tripod, 1/400 @ f8, ISO 1600

A Stellar Steller’s!

Steller’s Jay. Canon 5d4, 500mm + 1.4 TC, tripod, 1/500 @ f5.6, ISO 1000

I’ve probably stated this before but it’s worth repeating, the correct name for this beautiful bird, as stellar as it may appear, is Steller’s Jay. Named for naturalist Georg Steller, they share that distinction with Steller’s Eagle and Steller’s sea lion. They’re also one of only two crested jays, with the blue being the other. With their striking black and blue coloration, they are certainly one of my favorite birds.

Look Ma, No Wings!

Clark’s Nutcracker. Canon 5d4, 500mm + 1.4 TC, 1/6400 @ f4.6, ISO 1600

Disclaimer… he had wings, he just hadn’t spread them yet as he did a free fall from the top of the pine tree. I actually missed the shot I was after, which was the flight shot but this one was still interesting enough and was quite popular when I posted it in a Montana Birding group. I spot metered off the bird to get the exposure.

One Year Ago…

Lilypad. Canon 5d4, 500mm, tripod, 1/500 @ f11, ISO 800

It was just over a year ago we returned from a family trip to Florida. While the purpose was family, I still had time to get out and do some photography with a focus on birds.

Florida Scrub Jay. Canon 5d4, 400mm, tripod, 1/2000 @ f8, ISO 800

Photographing the endangered Florida Scrub Jay was high on my list and I did a lot of research about where to find them. Of course, other birds, such as the Loggerhead Shrike below, were also photographed. Both of these birds were firsts for me at the time, so it was pretty cool.

Loggerhead Shrike. Canon 5d4, 600mm, tripod, 1/2500 @ f8, ISO 800

End of the Season

Yellowstone National Park will shut down for the end of the summer season tomorrow morning at 8 am. Only the road from Gardiner, MT to Cooke City, MT through Yellowstone will be open as the park prepares for the approaching winter season. Yellowstone saw record attendance in 2020 with September being the busiest September on record. And those numbers are with no tour buses in the park this year which meant a lot more cars than normal. I went in twice in September, before sunrise, and almost immediately left due to the amount of traffic. This image was taken in the winter in Lamar Valley more years ago than I care to admit.