Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gone for a bit . . . but not forever . . .

Hey All,

It's been a long time since I've posted to my blog. I really don't have an excuse other than life leads you in other directions at times. I haven't been out birding much at all over the last months mainly because of other things in my life. I've got many things going on right now and birding has fallen to the wayside (for now). However, I'm planning on heading out over the holidays to try my luck at getting some owl shots up north. I've still never seen a Great Grey or Snowy Owl, so those are going to be the main focus. My father also found out some information about Swans near Monticello so I'll heading up there soon to hopefully get some shots.
I enjoy posting to the blog and communicating with all of you so I just wanted to let everyone know that even though I may not be posting much right now, I'll be posting again in the near future. I hope everyone is well and has a wonderful holiday.
With all of that said, I have been spending some time shooting black and white in a studio setting trying to learn more about lighting as of late. It has been a great learning experience for me and definitely applies to both my personal and professional life. Here is one of my latest experiments:


Friday, October 24, 2008

Stillwater Gulls

I was recently down in Stillwater walking along the river and snapped a few shots of the gulls. They were so close I decided to get a few head shots. I liked these two, although they turned out a little darker than I would have liked.



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

South Dakota Sunset

Well, it was a great trip and I've had a lot of fun going through the photos, editing, organizing, and of course sharing them with all of you. Here is the last shot from the trip that I'll be posting and I thought it quite a fitting shot for a conclusion to the trip.

Sunset on the grasses of the Badlands:
South Dakota Sunset

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Black Hills Landscapes

A friend of mine has an Infrared converted Canon D60 and she was kind enough to let me borrow it for the trip. Thanks MG! I didn't take a lot of photos with it mainly because I didn't always have it with me when hiking so most of the shots were taken with in walking distance of the vehicle. Here are the two best shots of the bunch with processing done in Lightroom for conversion to full grayscale and the addition of just a bit of Sepia in Shadows.

Black Hills Infrared

Black Hills Infrared

If you're interested in learning more about infrared conversions, here is the company that converted her camera and a page of sample images. Life Pixel

Sunday, October 12, 2008

South Dakota Mountain Goat

The day we arrived, we pretty much went straight to Mt. Rushmore. I had seen it as a young child, but my memory of it was not that great. It really is a spectacular monument both to the people portrayed and to those who carved it. What a collosal effort. Just outside of the park on the road was this Moutain Goat. The only one we saw the whole trip. It was a bit dark and overcast but I think the picture turned out all right. I had never seen one before!

Moutain Goat

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Custer State Park Pronghorn

Well, I can't leave out the Pronghorn! They were much more abundant than I would have expected. We saw them all over, but this shot with the wild flowers just seemed to be the right one to post.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Custer State Park Buffalo

I think that this was probably the most representative shot of the day. It was a great day that we truly enjoyed.

Buffalo Landscape

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Custer State Park Buffalo

Here is another shot of a Buffalo (Bison) converted to Black and White. The original shot in color was pretty mediocre. It was the middle of the day with full sun so the color shot appears washed out. With a bit of work though, the contrast between the dark color of the animal and bright grass and sky seems to really work out well.

Buffalo Black and White

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Black Hills

So I am continuing, although quite slowly, to work through my photographs from South Dakota. The next few shots are some black and white (converted in Lightroom) that I was quite happy with. Below is a shot of the Black Hills in Custer State Park near Sylvan Lake. What a spectacular place to visit!

Black Hills Black and White

By the way, this one might be worth seeing in full size over on my Flickr account, just click the image to get there.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

South Dakota - Bison

While we were in the Black Hills(Custer State Park), we took a Bison Safari which was very cool. They actually take you off road up into the hills and right into the Bison herd. There are about 1500 in the herd and you get quite close to them throughout the tour. Here are a couple of shots.



Monday, September 29, 2008

South Dakota - Black-billed Magpie

Here are a few more shots of the Black-billed Magpie. Not the most fantastic shots overall, but it is such a cool bird, I thought they were worth posting.

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie

Sunday, September 28, 2008

South Dakota - Black-billed Magpie

This bird was a close second in terms of a 'coolness' factor on the trip. I have a few more shots of the bird showing the wonderful coloring which I'll post over the next few days. It's much larger than I was expecting and they were very curious birds. Again, these were all around the cottage we were staying at in the Badlands. I never really expected to see the numbers of birds in the Badlands that I did. I fully expected to see more birds while in the Black Hills, but as it turned out, the majority of my photos came while in the Badlands.

Black-billed Magpie (1 of 2)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

South Dakota - Spotted Towhee

Well, here is another new bird for me, and probably the highlight of the trip in terms of birds. I was hoping to see one, but didn't expect it since this wasn't really a birding trip. I was pleasantly surprised to find this guy right next to our cottage in the Badlands.

Spotted Towhee (1 of 2)

Spotted Towhee (2 of 2)

Friday, September 26, 2008

South Dakota - Horned Lark

I was also able to see a number of horned Larks (another new bird for me) while in the Badlands. This particular bird was on the ground and at first appeared as though injured, although by visual inspection looked basically fine. He never flew away but definitely was wary.

Horned Lark

Horned Lark

Thursday, September 25, 2008

South Dakota - Mountain Bluebirds

Well, I'm back from my trip to South Dakota and have been steadily working my way through all of the photos I took. We spent a few days in the Badlands and actually saw quite a bit of wildlife including some new birds for me. So here is the first of many posts about our trip to South Dakota.
I had never seen a Mountain Bluebird before this trip and they were plentiful and also quite stunning in the sun.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What bird?

Hey All,

I'll be heading out of town for the next 10 days and will hopefully have a few shots to share when I get back. For the time being I thought I would leave you with the shots below. When I was looking through my shots after the trip I thought this was a terrible shot of the back of a bird on a branch with the majority of it's body behind the trunk of the tree. I'm not sure what it is . . . maybe a Brown Thrasher . . .

Brown Creeper

However, if you look a bit closer you'll see that there are actually two birds in this shot!
Brown Creeper Close Up

Can you see the brown creeper! Man that bird camouflaged!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Rocks in Water

Here is another experiment with a long exposure. Although it may look like fog, it is actually just a 4 second exposure as the water rushed over and around the rocks.

Water Rocks

Saturday, September 06, 2008

North Shore Cabin

Here is the cabin we stayed at on the North Shore. It is just south of Tofte, MN and is a wonderful place to spend some quiet time.

Cabin on the North Shore

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hummingbird Wars 2

Here are a couple more shots of those Hummingbirds!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hummingbird Wars

The cabin we stay at has a hummingbird feeder right outside one of windows and the Hummingbird wars were raging on almost the entire time we were there. I believe that there were 4 different birds competing for the feeder at any given time. So I removed the screen from the window sat in a chair and shot these photos. The birds were so close that none of the photos have been cropped. They are such cool birds, so there will be more photos tomorrow!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird:
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

North Shore Sunsets

Here are a couple more sunset shots.

North Shore Sunset (2 of 3)

North Shore Sunset (3 of 3)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Wizards of the North Shore

Every year we are also visited by a Merlin and this year was no exception. This one spent it's evening dining on the hundreds of dragon flys that were flying about. This is one acrobatic bird in the air. We watched him chase and eat for about a 1/2 hour. Very cool!!!

Merlin (1 of 2)

Merlin (2 of 2)

Monday, September 01, 2008

North Shore Landscapes

Well, as I stated previously, I took a number of landscape shots while up on the shore and I spent quite a bit of time working with long exposures near sunset. Here's one of the shots I really liked . . . I hope you enjoy it as well.

North Shore Sunset (1 of 3)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

North Shore Continued

The warblers definitely came in waves this year. We would have a fair number come through all at once, and then nothing for an hour, then another group would come through, then another lull . . . you get the idea. When they did show, it was a good mixture of warblers like the Black-throated Green, Chestnut-sided, Cape May, Connecticut, Black-and-white, and a ton of Tennessee's.

Here's a Chestnut-sided Warbler:
Chestnut-sided Warbler

I still have never seen one with the true chestnut color on it's side.

Friday, August 29, 2008

North Shore Photos

Hello All! Long time no blog! I've returned from my trip up north with a number of photos that contain both birds and landscapes. It was a great trip that I enjoy every year. The north shore of Lake Superior is truly a spectacular place that I just don't seem to tire of visiting. Anyway, on with the photos. I spent a fair amount of time birding with my mother and father and we saw quite a few different birds. We saw a number of different warblers as we always do so let's start with a few shots of them.

Here's a Black-throated Green Warbler:
Black-throated Green Warbler (2 of 2)

Black-throated Green Warbler (1 of 2)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Here are a few more macro shots that I took of some lilies at a friends garden. His garden is quite beautiful and my first attempts at capturing all the wonderful green thumbed work he has done is a bit lacking. I'll need to go back and get more shots. The lighting on the day I went was overcast which can be good in some circumstances, but I think some filtered sun light would have been better.



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Daisy & Lightroom

Here's another shot with my new Sigma 20mm. So far I'm still quite happy with the lens. I'll be heading up to the North Shore in mid-August and I'll be doing (hopefully) quite a a bit of photography. I'm looking forward to birding with my mother and father, and shooting a bunch of landscape shots with the 20mm. Anyway, here's the shot:


By the way, for those of you that use Adobe Lightroom, Version 2 was officially launched last night. We're quite proud of it, and are very pleased to have finished this release. As you can imagine, this is where much of my time has been spent over the last few months. :)

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Carlos Avery Landscapes

I spent some time shooting with my new Sigma 20mm F/1.8 on Thursday. I got it mainly for landscape shooting, and more specifically Black and White photography. I'm pretty happy with these shots, I hope you enjoy them. As I shoot more with this lens I'll report on it. So far I don't haven't shot that much with it, so it will take a while to figure it out.

Carlos Avery Landscape

Carlos Avery Landscape

Friday, July 18, 2008


When I was out in Carlos Avery on Thursday there were quite a few butterflies and moths flying around. I know absolutely nothing about these creatures, and I think I'm going to need a new field guide. :) Anyway, from what I can tell based upon an Internet search and a little help from the Minnesota Zoo Butterfly ID chart, this is a Great Spangled Fritillary. (If this is the wrong ID, please let me know.)

Great Spangled Fritillary:
Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bank Swallows

I was able to get out of work a little early today so I took a drive up to Carlos Avery. Overall the theme of the evening was bugs. The Deer Fly were by far some of the worst I have ever seen. I didn't see many birds, just the usual suspects at this time of year. Kingbirds, Sandhill Cranes, Sparrows, and a lot of Bank Swallows.

Bank Swallows

If you look close at this photo you'll notice that not all of the birds have the distinct dark line across there breast, but some of them do. I'm inclined to think that those without the line are this years birds. (If you think differently, please let me know.)
Bank Swallows

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Whitetail Deer

We have deer regularly in our yard, but this year we've frequented by a couple of this years deer. We normally see them just before sunset, but this time they were foraging in the trees during the middle of the day. There are 2 of them and I took a few shots of each, but this was the only one that turned out half way decent. I felt like I was disturbing them so I backed off and let them go about their business.

Whitetail Deer

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Another flower shot taken just after a heavy down pour of rain.


Treatment of the photo done in Lightroom.