Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Raging storm and lighthouse

Another photograph of the December 9 blizzard in Marquette, Michigan, on Lake Superior. This is the same location as the photo in the previous post: The lighthouse and breakwater at the upper harbor. The lighthouse was functioning and I was able to time the photo to capture it. The timing itself was not all that difficult but I had to be patient because the blowing snow often totally obscured the lighthouse.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Raging Blizzard

I attended the blizzard in Marquette, Michigan two days ago on Wednesday, December 9. I couldn't get out of town but I was able to get to the upper harbor and take some photos of raging Lake Superior. The waves are crashing into the breakwater at Presque Isle. The blowing snow limited the visibility but the lighthouse can be seen at the extreme left above the waves.
Check my posts from late August and early September for images of this same location during more pleasant weather.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Holiday Sale!

Starting today we are offering images from some featured galleries at greatly reduced prices. This will last for one week only. Order in time for Christmas! The image galleries include the wildlife print collections of large animals and waterfowl plus the boating and nautical collection. Consider the canvas gallery wraps that arrive ready to hang on the wall. 11 x 14 canvas gallery wraps are normally priced at $219.95 but for one week are marked at $131.95. Other gift items include puzzles, mugs, mousepads, coasters, etc. These are all on sale at greatly reduced prices through December 10, 2009. Follow this link:

Thank you to all of our loyal customers who purchase throughout the year!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mature whitetail buck

This is an interesting photograph of a mature whitetail deer with massive antlers. The buck was following the trail of a doe that had passed moments earlier and hence his nose stayed at the ground as he approached. I have more opportunity to get close to bucks during the rut because they are distracted by their interest in the does.
This particular area holds a good number of deer because of the dense cover but getting a photograph is very difficult because of the abundant small saplings. The buck was inside 20 yards and this is the reason I was able to successfully focus. At farther distances it is pretty much impossible to focus on a moving animal. He was so close that he heard the shutter release and bolted. This was the only shot I got of him in this area.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Resting Whitetail Deer Buck

I was recently looking for deer to photograph and noticed this 8 point buck following some does. I carefully shadowed him while he was distracted but couldn't really get as close as I wanted. Plus, he was in constant motion. When he finally laid down I was able take my time and get closer. It took almost an hour to get in position for this shot. Look carefully to see a doe behind the buck.
100-400 lens at 400mm, no cropping.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse-2

Here is the lighthouse at Eagle Harbor as shot from a different location than in the previous post. This spot is on the shoreline near the road that leads into town. A very scenic spot but a dull, overcast day. I timed the shot to capture the light as it revolved toward me and it shows much better than it would on a bright day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

This is a photograph of the lighthouse at Eagle Harbor on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. We traveled there last week thinking the fall colors would be nice. The colors were very nice but the weather was not. Heavy overcast skies, light rain and strong winds made photography difficult. The lighthouse is functioning with separate white and red lights that continually revolve so I timed this shot to get the red light at its brightest. The red light probably would not be as noticeable on a brighter day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Silhouette of wooden speedboat.

This image was taken during the shoot of the antique Gar Wood boat. We had nice light facing away from the sun and shot many nice photos. Also, the fog was much more dissipated in that direction. I then had the driver start to run some high speed circles around me and I initially hadn't planned on shooting towards the sun. But the fog was much more dense in that direction and as I watched the boat come from behind me I saw how cool it looked. Then I made a point of shooting in that direction on every circle made by the boat.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Horse and rider jumping a fence-illustration.

A horse and rider jumping a fence during a horse show. We've been adding some special illustration effects to some of the action images from the summer horse shows. The background was out of focus in the original photograph but still added some clutter to the image. We can still see the background elements but they are not distracting now. We blended the rider into the background so as to make her more generic and unidentifiable. The full-size image has a texture added to simulate canvas.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wooden Gar Wood Boat

This photograph shows an antique, wooden Gar Wood boat. This was shot in the same location as the Hackercraft in the previous posts but there was some early morning fog on this day. We almost cancelled the shoot but decided there might be some interesting images. I did not like the condensation on the deck and windshields. Also, the cool temperature made the engine exhaust more visible (this is what obscures the transom). However, the overall effect of the fog helps to isolate the boat in the image.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wooden boat photo shoot-5

Another photograph from the series of the antique, wooden boat. It's hard to fit this 30' Hackercraft in the frame! The 100-400 lens was set at about 170mm. I had the driver run circles around me as I stood in the water. The boat leans as it turns so we are able to see the deck and cockpits even from the low camera angle. I deliberately placed the boat high in the image because I find the water more interesting than empty sky.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wooden boat photo shoot-4

This is one of my favorite photographs from the series of the antique, wooden Hackercraft boat. FLASH is a 1930, 30' triple-cockpit runabout. In this shot she is accelerating away from me as I stand in the water. This low angle minimizes the background and the detail of the boat is apparent against the empty sky. I like how the water is parted away from the hull at the forward part of the boat, plus we can see the wake forming behind. The 400mm lens compresses things so the curves of the deck are accentuated. The one little hotspot on the transom is annoying but relatively minor.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wooden boat photo shoot-3

A photograph of the wooden Hackercraft boat "Flash" as it approaches at moderate speed. This is a 1930, triple-cockpit runabout. I was using the 100-400mm lens set at 400mm. I instructed the driver to hold course as long as possible because I wanted to fill the frame. There was no way for me to move out of the way but the driver is first class and I was not worried.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wooden boat photo shoot-2

This photo is the antique wooden Hackercraft boat heading directly away from me. I like the angle because we can see the tumble home of the sides as they narrow toward the transom. The glare of the sun on the transom is obnoxious but I couldn't do anything about that. Also, I would have preferred to have nothing in the background but that would have meant moving to water that was too deep for me to stand in. Nonetheless, the background is not cluttered and quite out of focus.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wooden boat photo shoot

This is a photograph of a Hackercraft wooden boat taken shortly after dawn during a shoot on the St. Clair Flats. The boat is "Flash," a 1930 triple-cockpit runabout. I was standing chest-deep in the water and had the driver come directly at me for as long as he could. Shot with the 100-400 lens set at about 300mm. We had been waiting some time for the right conditions; clear sky and little or no breeze.
See the slideshow of more photos:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lake Freighter and the Superior Dome at Marquette.

This photograph is of a lake freighter coming into the upper Marquette harbor with the Superior Dome in the background. The image itself is not particularly interesting but I thought it kind of cool to get a shot like this. The Superior Dome is the athletic facility at Northern Michigan University and is quite the landmark for the Marquette area. The ore docks are located in the vicinity so the freighter was coming in to load. I was positioned across the harbor at the breakwater.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lake Freighter and Marquette harbor light.

This photograph shows a lake freighter coming toward the Marquette harbor lighthouse on its way to the ore loading dock. This was a shot I had hoped to get sometime but the sun was too high and too far to the front to make a really appealing image. Taken at about 10:00 AM with a 70-200 lens set at 170mm. I was shooting from shore, facing south. There is no other place to shoot from without using a boat. Also, I don't know if the freighters ever come in to the dock at dawn.
See the slideshow of the entire shoot on the August 27 post.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Lighthouse and breakwater at Marquette, Michigan-3

Another photograph of the lighthouse and breakwater at the Marquette, Michigan harbor. This was taken at the point on the breakwater where the concrete ends and the boulders begin. The lens was set at 24mm to show the detail in the rocks at my feet and to portray the lighthouse in the far distance. I placed the lighthouse slightly left of the vertical center line.
I like the composition but am not happy with the angle of the sunlight because the lighthouse is not defined well against the light sky. Either the sun needs to be more behind me, so that the sky might be darker, or I need to get there earlier so the sun isn't so bright. I can't change the position of the sun or the breakwater, so I'll have to try getting the shot closer to sunrise.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lighthouse and breakwater at Marquette, Michigan-2

This photo of the Marquette harbor breakwater and lighthouse is similar to the one in the previous post. I eventually made it all the way to the light while taking photographs along the way. This image shows more detail in the rock portion of the breakwater. I enjoy how the lines of the breakwater lead the viewer's eye from the bottom right toward the lighthouse at the upper left. See the entire photo shoot in this slideshow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lighthouse and breakwater at Marquette, Michigan.

This is the breakwater and lighthouse in the upper harbor at Marquette, Michigan. The photograph was taken about an hour after sunrise. The breakwater itself is not pretty, just functional, but the design makes for an interesting image as the eye is led from the lower foreground out to the lighthouse. Had the breakwater been completely straight the composition would not have been so interesting.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lighthouse and Lake Freighter.

This is the lighthouse that marks the shipping channel in the middle of Lake St. Clair, Michigan. The lake freighter is downbound headed toward Detroit. This is one of my first attempts to get a nice image of the lighthouse with a freighter close by. I prefer boats that are approaching but there were no upbound boats that morning. And I didn't want to move to the other side of the lighthouse because I would have been shooting into the sun.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 Bayview Mackinac Race-4

More action at the start of the Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac sailboat race. I like the action of this fast approaching sailboat. The boat is heeled over, the crewman is busy and there is white water at the bow. The blurred sailboat in the background adds some interest but would have been even better if it was heading in the same direction as the main subject. If the background boat had instead been a spectator boat I would have found it offensive.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2009 Bayview Mackinac Race-3

Action near the starting line at the Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac sailboat race. This boat was tacking toward the line and the crew is busy on deck. I shot from the marked spectator area but many boats tacked back and forth right past us. Great fun to be so close to the action.
I took a couple photos of this boat shortly before this shot and I was not zoomed in so tightly. They are nice shots because the boat was approaching dead on, but there were other spectator boats in the background that cluttered the image.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

2009 Bayview Mackinac Race-2

The sailboat DOLPHIN waiting its turn near the start of the Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race. This boat is one of the larger ones in the race. We were in a 20 ft. pleasure boat in the designated spectator area. The sailboats tacked in and out of this area while waiting for their divisions to start. Most of the boats were under sail but this is the only time I was close enough to DOLPHIN to get a shot and she was still under power.

Monday, July 27, 2009

2009 Bayview Mackinac Race

This is the start of the 2009 Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Sailboat Race. One of the classes has just left the starting line and the sailboats are flying the spinnakers as they head into Lake Huron. The start was about 5 miles into the lake from Port Huron and the St. Clair River. The boats finish at Mackinac Island at the upper end of Lake Huron. I was fortunate to get a ride on a small pleasure boat and take photographs from the area near the start.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Twin whitetail deer fawns.

Here is another photograph of the fawns I recently spent a morning with, this one with both of them in the same image. One of my goals was to get a photo of the twins interacting with each other so I was pretty excited to get this.
This section of woods is only slightly open at ground level and there was a blowdown that prevented me from getting the camera lower. I prefer more of an eye-level angle. And the ever-present thick, overhead canopy made for deep shade punctuated by little spots of sunlight.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Whitetail deer fawn in a sunbeam.

This photo is of the same whitetail deer fawn as in the previous post. I saw it bed down in thick woods and spent the next hour getting closer without spooking it. The overhead canopy blocked most of the sunlight so I didn't think I would get a usable image. Then a narrow sunbeam popped through the trees and illuminated the fawn. What luck!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Whitetail deer fawn

This whitetail deer fawn was photographed last week at the edge of deep woods. The fawn and its twin had been feeding inside the woods and I shadowed their movements. But the overhead canopy was so dense that there wasn't enough light for good photos. As they slowly headed in the direction of a meadow I made a circle to get ahead of them. I was ready when this fawn stepped into the open.
The dark woods helps pop the deer's head and body out of the background. The natural break in the greenery helps frame the subject. I got pretty lucky here; we can't script the movements of the deer.
No enhancement or cropping of the original shot other than minimal processing of the raw file.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mark Mason's boat PALM BEACH DAYS-2

Another shot of the gentleman's racer "Palm Beach Days," owned and driven by Mark Mason. The previous posting has the unplanned swan in the foreground while this one has a buoy in the background. Both the swan and the buoy add some visual interest.
I knew we were in the vicinity of the buoy but we didn't have time to script the photo shoot to include it. I just got lucky again. If I were on land, or a stationary boat, I might have positioned myself to intentionally include the buoy. But riding at 30mph in the chase boat and concentrating on Mark as he approached at even higher speed would make it more difficult to plan ahead for this shot.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mark Mason's boat PALM BEACH DAYS

This is a shot from a recent series taken of Mark Mason's new boat "Palm Beach Days," a 26 foot gentleman's racer. This was in the North Channel of the St. Clair River near Algonac, Michigan. I was in a chase boat going about 30 mph and my attention was solely on Mark as he approached from behind and went by. I never saw the mute swan until it popped into the viewfinder just as I took the photo. We were going fast enough that the swan was behind us in an instant so I was totally lucky to get this one shot.
I used the 100-400 IS zoom set at 200mm and the image is not cropped.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Horse and rider jumping a fence-2.

More action from the Kentucky Horse Park as a horse and rider jump a fence during a jumper class. This is another example of lucky timing as the horse is at the preferred spot for a photograph. Notice how the rider is already looking for the next fence.
This was one of few times we saw the sun during the first three days of the show.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Horse and rider jumping a fence.

We recently attended the Country Heir Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington and captured several nice photographs of equestrians.  This rider is jumping a fence during a jumper class.  The horse's front feet are pulled up tightly at the peak of the action.  I don't get many jumping shots that are timed exactly right so this was pretty exciting. 

The sky was fairly heavy overcast with spotty showers.  I opted for the fast 70-200 zoom lens because of the low light level.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Whitetail deer - Springtime doe

Here is a female whitetail deer that I  photographed at the very end of May.  Notice that her coat is still in transition from winter to summer.  The summer coat is much more red but there are still remnants of the darker winter coat.
This was taken on the same day I found the newborn fawn.  The fawn was hidden in thicker, shady woods but this doe was feeding along the edge of a meadow and periodically grooming herself.  I was able to get this shot from the adjacent woods where I could remain hidden.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fawn-Whitetail Deer

I was looking for whitetail deer fawns with their mothers and did not expect to find a newborn.  I got within three steps of this one before seeing it.  The fawn never moved except for blinking an eye and breathing.  The doe had hidden the fawn and apparently left to feed.  I made a circle of about 30 yd radius and did not find a twin.

I most certainly did not bump the doe.  But I had previously seen one about 75 yds away in heavier cover and suspect that she could have been the mother.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tennis player.

Nice action shot of a girl playing tennis.  Both her feet are off the ground as she jumps and the ball is in front of her racket.
Not bad for a photo taken during a match.  It would have been nice had the player been facing the camera.  And the ball is almost lost near the bright sky.  Still, the background was pretty good compared to the other angles I was shooting that day because the fence is quite benign and there is good contrast with the player.  Much better than looking toward the adjacent parking lot.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Girl playing tennis.

This is another image from our recent photo shoot of a tennis team.  Here is peak action as the girl is serving, with the ball at the racket and both of her feet off the ground.
I usually like to frame tightly on athletes.  It was a conscious effort on my part to back off on the zoom so I could hope to get all of this in the frame.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Girls Tennis

We recently photographed a girls varsity tennis match.  Here is a sequence showing a player as the ball approaches and she swings her racket.  Notice how her attention is directly focused on the ball.  Not all the players could maintain that concentration.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Young woman and her horse.

This portrait of a young, pretty woman and her horse is from a Spring portrait session.  Middle of the afternoon with a mostly overcast sky so we didn't have to worry about harsh shadows and squinty eyes.  It was quite chilly and although this girl was only lightly dressed she never complained, and we were outside for a long time.  The horse had spirit!  It made things a little difficult as she was in almost constant motion and did not want to stand in one spot.  Fortunately, we were in the middle of a field and I just moved and circled with them,  constantly shooting.  But it reminded me more of shooting sports instead of making a portrait.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Canada goose in descending flight.

A Canada goose descending with cupped wings.  I don't often get nice shots of the geese, mostly because I don't have any goose decoys.  I see them fairly often but not in the same numbers as the ducks.  This goose came in just before sunset with its mate.  I got a couple shots of the pair when they were further out but when they got closer I had to choose one to follow.  The two were not close enough to each other to keep them in the same photo.
Their approach is much more deliberate and predictable than that of the ducks so it is easier to track them.  Plus, they are big targets!

Friday, April 17, 2009

High-speed Maneuver

A drake mallard duck in a high speed, airborne turn.  I was tracking this duck as he descended towards me and suddenly he rolled to the side and changed direction.  Notice that he is still maintaining high speed.  Also, his head stays level with the horizon as his body rolls with this maneuver.  Pretty impressive flying skills.  After I got this shot he immediately righted himself, put on the brakes and descended normally.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bluebill Ducks

This sequence shows a pair of Bluebill ducks (Lesser Scaup) coming in low over water for a landing.  Drake on the left, hen on the right.  I had wanted to photograph a large flock of these birds coming in to decoys but never got the chance this spring.  The bluebills stop on Lake St. Clair on their way north but do not stay long.  I was fortunate to see this pair on Saturday but I'll have to wait until next year for a chance at a flock.

I had two dozen bluebill decoys on the water and these two came in nicely just before 9:00am.  About 33 degrees F. and a 15 knot north wind.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Too Close!

Two mallard ducks flying too close to each other.  As the ducks descend at high speed their relative positions are constantly changing.  A video would clearly show this but the static photograph does not.  I was following these two drakes as they were coming in and they had maintained a safe distance from each other when suddenly one veered toward the other.  I was fortunate to get the shot at the point of near collision.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mallard ducks in flight-Composite

This is a composite image consisting of several separate photographs of mallard ducks descending from the sky.  I've spent considerable time this early spring getting some nice photos.  But I haven't been able to get photographs of large flocks.  I decided to manufacture my own flock with selected photos of singles and small groups.  I have enough material to work with that I may decide to do more of these, unless I can get lucky enough to get a real flock.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bull Sprig

A drake Pintail duck approaching over the water.  I was hidden on a small island with decoys in front of me.  There were more pintails in the air than anything else.  This drake came in perfectly, low and into the breeze.  Full spring plumage; notice the tail feather that gives them the name.
Temperature was at the freezing point at dawn with 15 mph wind.  I was physically comfortable but it was difficult to follow the ducks with the camera due to my heavy clothes and confining position.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mallard duck in flight.

Drake mallard duck in flight with wings locked in a glide.  He is descending to a landing and is almost at eye level.  Interesting to catch him with his mouth open as he calls.  Difficult to track with the camera as the airspeed is great;  he hasn't begun to put on the brakes yet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Canada goose in flight.

A close-up of a Canada goose in flight.  What a lucky morning!  In the area where I usually am photographing ducks I will sometimes see geese in the distance but rarely do they come within range of the camera.  This single came in all alone and eventually landed among some ducks.  He is shown here with his wings locked and gliding in to a landing.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Drake mallard duck in flight.

A drake mallard duck in a rapid descent.  Wings cupped and one foot deployed to help control direction.  He appears to be looking directly at me and as I looked through the lens I thought he might actually bump me.  He had a lot of airspeed and was past me in an instant.  Totally cool.