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Saturday, November 22, 2014

First Blue Jay

I have captured many Blue Jays before, but never in my front yard.  I have often set food out waiting to see these beautiful yet bossy birds.  It took snow for one of them to finally find his way here.  I didn't want to chance him flying away before I got my camera on him, so I ended up taking this through the front door window.  It definitely degrades the photo from what the bare glass of my lens would have done, but it still turned out pretty good with a little deeper post-processing.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Birds of a Feather

I spilled some seed in the yard filling while making a DIY bird feeder with the littlest.  The snow came through and the spillage was covered.  Yesterday, it was finally warm enough for the snow to melt ever so slightly.  It sure didn't take long for the scavengers to stop by and start cleaning it up.  I even caught glimpse of a Blue Jay.  I haven't had one of these in my yard as long as I can remember.  All I needed was a Cardinal, but I think they have moved from the neighborhood for the winter.  Who knows, maybe they will be here tomorrow.

The first couple birds are Dark-Eyed Junco.  They are usually around all winter long and are pretty cool little birds.  They are very skittish however and very difficult to get your lens on up close.  The others are House Sparrows which are much more comfortable with people.  They may fly away at the slightest movement, but if you sit still they will make their way back to the food.

As always, if you would like to see a bigger version of this photo or purchase a print, click on the photo to be taken to my website at Alder Images.






Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Platte River Falls Take 2

My youngest and I visited Platte River State Park earlier in the month.  My two older boys were feeling left out as they had never viewed a real water fall either.  On our trip, I was planning on photographing them with the falls in the background so they would have something to remember.  I snapped a couple shots of the falls from the top before heading toward the lower falls.  Our trip was abruptly halted at the sight of a mysterious dead squirrel that appeared along the walking trail.  They got their fright a little earlier that planned.  After all, it was Halloween.


I had it suggested that I try to focus a little closer on the falls to get some of the intricate details.  Even though there were beautiful fall leaves all over the ground, I believe a turn to black and white brings this photo to a whole other level.




Here is another shot of the little falls that lead up to the larger.




Friday, November 7, 2014

BTS of the Baby Headshot

Some of  you may be asking why I had to take two shots to make the one for the below baby headshot.  Well, as you probably have experienced, very young babies are unable to hold their heads up.  Usually that comes a couple months after birth and makes for some pretty cool 3 month and 6 month old pictures.  Shooting newborns is a little trickier because you have to hold their head up.  It usually works best if they are sleeping because they aren't wiggling or moving trying to get comfortable.  This is why most people like to have newborn shots taken within the first 14 days.  In the first 14 days babies are still sleepy little ones and are still very flexible.  You can bundle them up and they are perfectly fine with it.  The other trick is you have to keep the room very warm.  In this shot, we had a portable heater running in the room to keep the temperature nice and toasty.  The added addition to the heater is the white noise it creates.  That usually will keep the little one asleep.

Here are the before shots.


Here is the final image.  


Thank you to Mommy for helping with the shot.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mr. Baseball!

I had the chance to photograph this handsome little baseball fan.  He was sleepy through most of the shoot, but kept us on our toes the last couple of sets.  He was quite the cutie!

Here are a couple of my favorites from the shoot.  If you can't tell, I think someone likes the Braves.











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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Platte River Falls

My son and I visited Platte River State Park for the first time this week.  There was a photo of a waterfall that had shown up on a screen saver and he really wanted to see one.  Since this is fairly close, we decided to drive there to see.  Not having been there myself, I really didn't know what to expect.  I had viewed others photos of the falls, but you can't really get an idea until your actually there yourself.  I decided to take my camera along to grab a couple practice shots.  If the time works, I think I may go back and try some other stuff.  The photos are two little fall leading up to the bigger falls.  The little ones, as you can see, are only about 6 inches tall.  There wasn't a whole lot of water rushing over them since we haven't received much rain in the last month.  It provided just enough for some nice blur.  



We hiked down to the river bed following the trails that had been there for some time and stood in the river bed that was now a nice sand bar.  Since it was mid day, the sun was coming through the trees pretty directly, so it made capturing the shadows under the falls tough while trying not to blow out the highlights of the lighter areas.  Cameras cannot capture the same type of dynamic range as the human eye, so you have to really compensate for that.  Post production software, such as Lightroom, help quite a bit when confronted with this situation.  I moved in closer to try and avoid the harsh light.  I used f/13 to get a longer shutter speed to blur the water but it wasn't enough.  I had to use a 6 stop neutral density filter along with a Circular Polarizer (2 stops) to get the timer to between 45 and 60 seconds.  In total, I had 8 stops of light between the ND and CPL.  The last shot was taken at 65 seconds.  As always, click on the photo to view it larger on my website.  Prints are also for sale.








Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Foggy Morning on the Prairie

I visited family this past weekend and was greeted by some pretty awesome fog the following morning.  My son and I set out to get some breakfast pizza but were sidetracked with the site we had before us.  Not really having been in a true fog, I decided to take him out to see the countryside.  We stopped by the family hayfield to capture a couple iconic shots that I really love.  I plan to print these for myself as something to remember.

All of these photos were taken within miles of each other.  The sun was rising quickly, but the fog was hanging on.  The suns rays illuminated the fog in a beautiful hue that worked great with the frosty browning grass.  Here are a few from the morning.

"Trails End"

"Golden Bales"

"Windmill Sunrise"

"Lone Tree"

"Prairie Windmill"







Thursday, October 23, 2014

Illuminations

Epcot is not only famous for well being Epcot, but they have a very cool light show every night called Illuminations.  The fireworks last for about 15 minutes and are very awe inspiring.  I used my fisheye lens to capture as much of the show as I could.  I didn't have room for a tripod in my luggage so I had to use my shoulder to keep the camera steady enough through out the 1.5 to 3 second shots.  There were some blurring photos, but the majority of them turned out great.  We camped out under a tree due to the amount people nesting their way around the lake.  Some of my shots had a nice tree view; however, it didn't spoil the mood or effect of the fireworks that evening.













Tuesday, October 14, 2014

White Ibis of Disney

A continuation of my last post about the wildlife at Disney.  Along with ducks, there were vast amounts of White Ibis waiting for the people of Disney to drop their food for them to swoop in and snatch up.  Usually the ducks were faster, but if there was enough or if the food was far enough out the Ibis would jump into action.  Here are a couple shots of the White Ibis.  I wasn't able to catch them in action because I didn't have the right lens for the job, but I did catch these.



Another fascinating thing that you don't see everyday is the amount of Newts they have in the Disney area.  If you stray off the concrete at all, you quite possible would step on one of these little guys.  One caught the particular interest of the boys because of its cool under the chin red bubble.  When he would breathe or at least I think that's what he was doing, a red bubble of skin would appear under his chin.  I don't know if they are a relative and will have to do a little more research, but it reminded me of a bearded dragon.  






Monday, October 13, 2014

Disney Ducks

Some more photos from Disney.  Every park, zoo, or frequently traveled area that has wildlife has some wildlife that has gotten so use to humans that they really aren't scared of us anymore.  Such is the case of the Disney ducks and White Ibis.  There are signs stating specifically, "Please do not feed the wildlife", but it doesn't appear that those are followed all that often.  Plus, having all of the lunch tables right next to the area they camp in is kind of inviting people to do that.  Epcot has plenty of little grassy area just off the path where people choose to eat and no one is perfect, your going to drop something.  When you do, rest assured these guys are ready to jump all over it.  They were so close, I was using my kit lens to take photos of these guys.  They were that close.  No cropping.



They were getting braver and braver so I switched to the fisheye lens to see a funny face.  This lady decided to get close and personal!



She even gave herself a kiss as she was looking into my lens.  Luckily duck bills are not rock hard and she didn't scratch my lens.