Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Buck Whitetail Deer, Bedded

Here is a mature buck whitetail deer bedded in the woods in late fall (one week ago, actually). The antlers have eleven points and are both tall and wide.
The sun never gets very high this time of year in Michigan. The angle was alright, then, even though the photo was taken at about 3 o'clock. I normally prefer softer light but I was struck by the strong rim light on the side of the buck's neck and on the top of his head. Also, because of the backlighting I didn't have to deal with uneven shadows on the face or body. The antlers show well against the darker background. The deer is alert with both ears pointed forward. 100-400 lens at 400mm, 1/400 second at f/5.6, ISO 1000, handheld with image stabilization.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Whitetail Deer

I recently spotted these two bedded whitetail deer, a buck and a doe. My path had originally been from camera left with the sun at my back when I saw the buck. The doe was much more concealed from that direction and I didn't spot her until I worked in closer. I took some shots that included both deer in the image but the deer were far enough apart that the composition lacked focus. By circling about 90 degrees I was able to bring the heads of the two deer close together and achieve a stronger focal point for the composition. An additional benefit was the sunlight coming from the side to give nice shaping on the face of the doe.
It was impossible to keep both heads in focus because they were too far apart for the limited depth of field of the long lens (100-400 at 340mm). I took a shot while focused on the buck at f/5.6 but the image was not pleasant with the doe so far out of focus and being the closest one in the image. I also tried focusing on the doe but the buck was too far out of focus at f/5.6. The image shown here resulted after stopping down to f/9 and focusing on the doe. The buck is still out of focus but there is much more detail at the smaller aperture. The buck now serves as a nice complement to the doe in this image.
For those of you interested, the buck's antlers were not symmetrical, with four tall points on his left side and five shorter points on his right. There were two separate brow tines on the right side.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Portrait of a whitetail deer buck.

This mature whitetail deer buck was photographed last year and we created this interesting portrait with some digital enhancements. The intent was to give a three-dimensional look to the image.
Quite a bit of meticulous work was involved in separating the antlers from the original forest background. The rest of the work proceeded smoothly. The imitation mat has a slight texture that does not show on this small image. The shadow behind the antlers was crafted so as to be visible only on the mat. The final touch was to convert the original image to black & white but gradually blend to color on the deer's head.
This image is available at one of our online stores as a wrapped canvas print.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ducks in Flight Composite

This is a composite image featuring two separate photographs of mallard ducks in descending flight. We have done this occasionally in the past by combining one photo of multiple ducks with another photo of a single duck. A computer-generated mat is added to the group photo and a shadow is added behind the prominent image of the single flying duck. The intent is to create a 3D-like effect. We were careful to keep the shadow only on the mat so that a viewer might be able to imagine the duck flying out of the group picture.
This image is available in our online store in a variety of sizes with optional framing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Whitetail Deer Canvas Prints

This is one of our favorite portraits of a mature whitetail deer buck. The composition is nice, the background is nicely blurred and the sun is lighting the face and antlers. In addition, the buck is alert with both ears forward but he is not looking directly at the camera. It appears that there are eight points on the antlers in this small image but the full-size image on a large monitor clearly shows ten points.
This image and several other deer images have recently been added to the collection of canvas-wrapped prints at one of our online stores. Just in time for people that need gift ideas for the upcoming holidays. Check out these new canvas prints and calendars!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2012 Calendar Series

This is the cover of one of our calendars from the popular "Ducks in Flight" series. They all feature our favorite photographs of flying ducks like this cover shot of three ducks descending with cupped wings. Our calendars are now available for 2012 in our online calendar store.
Consider these as cool gift ideas for the upcoming holiday season. We also have a series of calendars featuring action photographs of wooden speedboats and another series with stunning photographs of whitetail deer.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Equestrian in Fog

This action photograph of an equestrian was taken last year. The horse and rider are jumping a fence during a horse show in Lexington, Kentucky. We recently chose this image to experiment with a different background to replace the original one. It is difficult to isolate the subject at horse shows because the background is usually cluttered with tents, spectators and other assorted distractions. We created this imitation fog with Adobe Photoshop software and blended it into the horse and rider with careful masking. There was no desire to make the image appear as though it had been originally taken with this background. In fact, we added some other toning effects to the subject to give a more "edgy" appearance.
We expect to apply this idea to other action photographs where a more dramatic image can be created by eliminating a distracting background.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fighting Whitetail Deer Bucks

These two whitetail deer bucks were photographed last week as they were fighting each other. This is a fall ritual as the male deer try to establish strength and dominance. Neither of these bucks is very large but they were semi-serious about the fight. Most of the action took place in deep shade and the light was not particularly pleasing. They briefly moved into this sunny spot in a meadow and we only got two shots there. This our favorite image of the day because the background woods are so dark that the deer are very prominent. The antlers show very well. Also, the deer are broadside to the camera with their heads pressed tightly together. Good action. Often the heads of the deer would be lowered so far into the weeds that their eyes were not visible but on this shot we can see everything.
This image was taken about 8:45 AM. The 100-400 lens was set at 235mm, 1/1250 second at f/5, ISO 640, aperture-priority. These settings were for the more shaded area of the meadow and we didn't have time to change when the deer moved into the sun. Two shots and they were back in the shade. We didn't need the fast shutter speed and would have preferred a lower ISO.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Poster of Flying Duck with Cupped Wings

This image is from a poster series of ducks in flight. The original photograph featured this drake mallard duck descending with his wings cupped and his feet down. We enhanced this photo to give it a bold and more colorful look for the poster. There are fifteen other images in this series of flying ducks. The posters, as well as waterfowl calendars, can all be seen in our online poster store.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Excellence in Wooden Boating

This wooden speedboat was photographed last year. The boat is a 1930, 30' triple-cockpit Hackercraft runabout. I was standing in chest-deep water while the driver performed some high-speed maneuvers for nice action. We recently created a series of posters using several of these boat photos. The original photographs were altered to give them a bold and colorful look for this poster series. The image with this post is an example of this new look. The posters can be ordered in different sizes and are economical. Please follow the link to the store to see more of them!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Grand Prix Jumper-2

Here is another photograph taken during the Grand Prix jumper event at the recent Traders Point horse show in Indiana. This is a nice action shot taken at the peak of the jump. The location is actually the same fence shown in the previous post but I had moved slightly more to my left to see the horses more from the side and to shoot in the horizontal format. Unfortunately, this angle put more background clutter into the image. The intermittent rain showers kept me close to the tent and there were many other spectators, both of which made it difficult to find other locations to shoot from. Nonetheless, I like the image for its portrayal of action.
70-200 lens at 150mm, 1/1250 second at f/3.5, ISO 250.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grand Prix Jumper

We were able to get some photographs during the Grand Prix event at the Traders Point Horse Show in Zionsville, Indiana. This photograph was taken as a rider and his horse jumped a fence during a rain shower. This fence was near the outside rail so we could stay underneath a nearby tent as long as possible before popping out to take pictures. The fences were 4'11" high so the horses seemed to be in the air a long time as they jumped. This is one of the few instances where the motor drive would actually give us a couple of nice images each time.
The weather was unfortunate. Very wet and dark with low contrast. We used the 70-200 lens because of its speed. If there had been more light we would have preferred the 100-400 lens to allow us to photograph more of the jumps that were farther away.
70-200 lens at 200mm, 1/800 second at f/3.5, ISO 400.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Red Fox

Here is a juvenile red fox that paused at the edge of a small woodlot. I was told that one or two young foxes had been frequently seen in the area. I saw them myself at dusk the day before and took a couple photos but they weren't particularly special. This photograph was taken the next morning shortly after sunrise. The area was in deep shade so there wasn't much light to work with. ISO was set at 8000, 1/400 second at f/5.6, 400mm lens.
I love this image because there is nice contrast between the fox and the background, the fox is alert and we can see his entire face. It is unfortunate that a weed partially obscures the fox. He did not come out any further after seeing me and went right back into the woods.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Environmental Boating Portrait

We had fun creating this photograph of a couple sitting on their antique, wooden boat at dusk. An off-camera flash was set up about 40 feet to the left of the camera, on the shoreline, and a grid was attached to reduce the spread of the light. The photo was taken a few minutes after sunset and we intentionally underexposed for the ambient light in the image and lit the people with the flash. The speedlight was set manually to 1/2 power. The goals were to focus attention on the people, keep enough detail in the boat to recognize it and have the boat's running lights noticeable.
All of this was essentially accomplished with the original image but we made some improvements in post-processing computer work. First, we slightly increased the brightness of the people relative to the background. Second, we changed the color temperature of the background to blue to more resemble night light (we added a mask to keep the color temperature of the people and the running lights from changing). If I were to do this again I would either increase the power of the flash or position the boat closer to the flash unit.
Shot at 1/200 second at f/5.6, ISO 400, 50mm lens.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Barefoot Water Skier-2

This is the photograph taken shortly after the one in the last posting of the barefoot waterskier. The previous image included the boat with the horizontal format and I quickly switched to vertical for this shot. I was standing in the water as the boat approached but was slightly wider than needed. I had wanted the skier to be approaching directly at me but I also wanted to be outside the spray of the boat as it passed. Sharp viewers will notice that the skier is edging with his feet in an attempt to get as wide as possible. We have practiced some more since this photo was taken and have succeeded in getting in closer to the boat's path.
This was shot at 1/1600 second at f/5.6, ISO 250, manual, 400mm lens. I use a fairly fast shutter speed because I stand in chest-deep water. It is surprisingly difficult to stand steady in the water even though it is calm. The fast shutter speed is needed because my body is not steady.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Barefoot Water Skier

I took this photograph of a barefoot waterskier while standing in chest-deep water. I've used this technique for the photo shoots of boats and had wanted to try it with the water skiers. This has to be carefully planned with both the driver and the skier. We placed a buoy in the water to be the guide for the driver. I placed myself far enough away so as not to be hosed by the spray as the boat passed. The goal was to have the barefooter head directly toward me and let go of the rope at the last minute, which we determined would be when the boat passed me, giving him 75 feet to stop. The plan was fine except I was positioned slightly too wide and the footer could not get out to the side any more than shown here. The image looks good here and I wanted to get a shot that included the boat. As the skier got closer I switched to the vertical orientation. I'll show this image in the next posting.
This was shot with a 100-400 lens at 400mm, 1/1600 second at f/5.6, ISO 250, manual.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Photograph Boats

A Beginner's Guide to the Action Photography of Boats, our latest ebook, was recently published. This book was written specifically to help amateur photographers capture stunning, action images of boats. The lessons can be applied to powerboats, sailboats, large boats or small boats. Technique is more important than equipment and the reader will learn how to get the most with the camera he already owns. We draw upon our many years of nautical photography and illustrate this guide with over fifty of our own photographs.
There are chapters on location and positioning, capturing peak action, composition, camera settings, plus the use of multiple drivers and chase boats. Something for everyone in this book, regardless of experience. Please visit our website for more information or go directly to the bookstore to download a free sample or purchase the entire ebook for your reading device.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Waterskier Throwing Spray-2

Here is another example of a waterskiing photo. This one is framed tighter than the one in the previous post and it was also taken after the skier completed his turn. This means that the tow rope no longer provides the nice diagonal line that is seen in the other image. But the skier's body is angled as to give us a diagonal line and there is a more subtle diagonal formed by the spray coming from the ski. As before, the wall of spray eliminates background clutter and isolates the subject. In terms of pure action this photograph is pretty cool and it exemplifies my favorite type of shot.
The photo was taken from the towboat running about 34 mph, 100-400 lens at 210mm, 1/2000 second at f/5.6, manual, ISO 250.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Waterskier Throwing Spray

A slalom waterskier carving a turn. I photograph skiers frequently during the summer and experiment with different compositions and different timing. This image has appeal because of the composition. The tow rope provides a nice diagonal line that leads the viewer's eye to the skier. The skier's body is also oriented in a diagonal line at this point in his turn. Diagonals provide for a dynamic image. The wall of spray conceals any background clutter, such as shorelines or boats, that may have been present and serves to isolate the subject.
There are other options for composition and timing. Some skiers like to see the entire wall of spray and prefer photos that are not as tightly framed. I usually prefer images that are framed as tightly as possible so that the skier fills almost the entire frame. This particular image provides a nice compromise and gives a great overall composition. I'll post some other examples in future posts.
This photo was taken with a 35-350 lens at 160mm, 1/2500 second at f/5.0, ISO 200. The tow rope was 15' off the standard length, or 60 feet long. I was positioned just in front of the pylon on the boat.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fawn Whitetail Deer

This fawn whitetail deer had been laying low in the tall grass while I slowly edged closer and closer. It knew I was there but had become quite used to my presence after a couple of hours of shadowing its movements before it lay down. Unfortunately, all that time spent getting close meant that the sun was high and the light was harsh. Ordinarily, I would have been home by then but I was thrilled to be so close (100-400 lens at 135mm) that I kept following along and shooting.
I was sitting when I took the shot because I like being at eye-level but it was difficult to find a window through the tall grass. I'm not fond of the tall, blurry grasses in the foreground but they tend to frame the fawn somewhat. I'll have to try this again with softer light.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fawn in Thick Grass

This is a whitetail deer fawn that is resting in a meadow with knee-deep grass. I had been shadowing this fawn for some time as it traveled with its mother, trying unsuccessfully to work close enough for photographs. The fawn decided to lay down and the mother wandered away. I decided to sit down and wait for the fawn to get up and provide photo opportunities. The fawn was in no hurry, though, so I busied myself by slowly creeping closer. The fawn was not nervous but it kept an eye on me. This photograph was an experiment to see if anything attractive could result from shooting through the thick grass.
I wanted to stay close to eye-level but knew there would be no chance to get a clear view. The fawn's ears were alert so I figured the animal would be recognizable even if one couldn't see the whole face. I focused manually on the ears and took this frame. This is not my usual style as I usually strive to include a sharp image of the eye in my animal photos. However, this image appeals to me and I'm glad I tried it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Whitetail Deer in Sunbeam

Very exciting to get this photograph of a whitetail deer resting in a sunbeam. The lighting is quite dramatic. This forest has a thick, heavy canopy that prevents most of the sunlight from penetrating. When I first spotted the doe she was in the deep shade and there wasn't even enough light for a photo. But a shaft of sun penetrated the canopy and tracked over her. I had only a few minutes to get into position and take a few frames before the sunbeam was gone.
The original image was shot in RAW format and there was even more contrast than shown here. I brightened the shadow area to show a little detail in the surrounding woods.
1/250 second at f/6.3, ISO 1600, aperture-priority with minus two stops exposure compensation, 400mm lens.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Whitetail Deer Fawn-2

This is the same whitetail deer fawn that is shown in the previous post. The tiny sunbeam is gone and the light is very even because of the deep shade. I moved to the side because I wanted to see both eyes but couldn't do any better than what is shown here. The deer was hiding on a slight rise and this enabled me to move downhill enough so that I could shoot near his eye level.
The shade was so deep that there wasn't much light to work with. This photo was shot at ISO 10000, 1/250 second at f/5.6, 400mm lens, handheld with image stabilization on the lens.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Newborn Whitetail Deer Fawn

This is a recently born whitetail deer fawn that I spotted in the deep woods. The fawns instinctively lie motionless to avoid detection. After a couple days or so they are strong enough to run away from danger.
The fawn was in deep shade when I first noticed it but there were shafts of sunlight penetrating the canopy in spots. I waited at a respectable distance until a sunbeam tracked onto the fawn and got this image.
The mother was not in the immediate vicinity but it is common for the does to forage farther away and return later to nurse the fawns. I also figured that a twin might be nearby so I looked very carefully but never saw another one.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hunter/Jumper Horse Show

This photograph was taken at a recent hunter/jumper horse show as a young rider jumps a fence. I like the excitement that is generated by the head-on approach so I often position myself directly in front of a jump. The height of this jump was only two feet so the horse was only in the air for a split second. I got lucky with the timing because this is the peak. Also, I dropped to my knees to get a lower angle and framed tightly so the bottom of the jump is not visible. This allows the viewer to think the jump may be higher than it actually was. The low angle also gives us an uncluttered background behind the rider.
The image was taken late morning with the sun fairly high. The girl's face is visible but I would have preferred that there wasn't so much shadow under her helmet. We can't control the sun or the schedule of the horse show so we shoot regardless.
100-400 lens at 320mm, 1/1250 second at f/5.6, ISO 200.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beagle Dog in the Sun

A beagle dog laying in the morning sunshine. I was sitting on bleachers while waiting to photograph a horse show. The action was slow getting started and not many people were around yet, giving me lots of room to maneuver in front of the dog. Plus, the bleachers were unusually wide, allowing me to lie down on my stomach to get as low as possible. The intent was to separate the dog's head as much as possible from the clutter in the background as well as get close to his eye level. The sun was bright but not yet high enough to cause harsh shadows. This image benefits from the alert expression because his ears are up and his mouth is closed. This is what drew me to attempt this photo and I was fortunate that he stayed alert while I shot a few frames.
100-400 lens at 400mm, 1/1000 at f/5.6, ISO 160.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lacrosse players in action during a game-3.

This photograph shows the intensity of a lacrosse game with the opposing players in violent contact with each other. The action happens so quickly that it is difficult for me to capture shots like this very often. Player #8 has the ball, although it is hard to see. But his face is very visible and this adds so much to the drama of the image. His body is contorted by the impact of the other player's stick, making this a "peak action" moment. The bleachers in the background are blurred and this helps the players to stand out. Also, it's nice that the bleachers are empty because there is less clutter to distract the viewer.
This image was taken in the late evening with an overcast sky. The lighting was from a combination of floodlights and some remaining light from the sky. ISO 5000, 100-400 lens at 400mm, 1/800 second at f/5.6.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lacrosse players in action during a game-2.

This is an exciting photograph of high school lacrosse players in action. Player number 3 is carrying the ball and both his feet are off the ground. The player chasing him is airborne, too, but even more dramatically. The action happened so fast I didn't know I had captured this until editing the images later. What fun! The players stand out nicely against the background of grass. Many of my shots had bleachers in the background and those were not nearly so nice because of the clutter.
This image was taken late in the game and it was lit mostly by the floodlights. 70-200 lens at 200mm, 1/640 second at f2.8, ISO 5000.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lacrosse Player ready to shoot.

Here is a lacrosse player winding up to shoot the ball at the goal. Several factors contributed to this photo being a nice lacrosse image. First, the player is isolated from any other players, which is unusual during the game. Second, the player's uniform contrasts nicely with the background so he stands out very well. Third, his stance indicates great action. Last, the ball is visible.
I have not photographed many lacrosse games and still have difficulty following the ball as it gets passed back and forth. The action is very fast and the distance to subject changes rapidly. I was quite pleased, then, to get a shot like this.
100-400 lens at 380mm, 1/800 second at f5.6, ISO 1000.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lacrosse Action

This was taken at a high school varsity boys lacrosse game at dusk. This sport provides quite a challenge to get nice action shots because the players change directions so rapidly. This particular photo is nice because one player has the ball, the ball is visible and his face is visible. Many times the player's faces are turned away from the camera.
The photograph was lit mostly by the stadium floodlights with a little help from the dwindling light in the sky. 100-400 lens at 260mm, 1/500 second at f/5.6, ISO 12800 on the Canon Mk IV body. Quite a bit of visible noise in the image but it will still look nice in the smaller print sizes. Shortly after this photo was taken the sky turned so dark that I couldn't get a fast enough shutter speed anymore. I will switch to the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in the future, though, when the light gets that low. Trade some magnification for the opportunity to keep shooting.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Two Ducks in Flight

This pair of flying mallard ducks was photographed before landing in a nearby creek. This is the fourth frame in a sequence of five shots I took as they made a fast, banking turn and descended. All five images are pretty neat because the wings were cupped nicely in all of them. In this frame both ducks were banking at almost the same angle and they looked very synchronized.
I also liked the lighting. Hazy, late morning sun was behind me and this lit the birds very nicely. Clouds had begun to move in from the west to make the sky darker behind the ducks. I switched the camera to an auto exposure mode because of the rapidly fluctuating light levels caused by these advancing clouds. Handheld, 400mm lens, 1/2500 second at f5.6, ISO 250, aperture-priority mode with +.67 exposure compensation.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Waterfowl in Flight Photo Gallery

We have just posted photographs of waterfowl in flight to our online gallery. These photos are our favorites from the Spring, 2011 season and include both ducks and geese. Many of the images were taken as the birds were in hot descent with cupped wings and feet down. Pretty exciting for those of us that like to watch this. Click this gallery link to see them all! For anyone that might like a print there is instant online ordering.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Canada Geese in Flight

Two Canada geese in flight, descending with cupped wings. I was set up near the shore of a pond to photograph incoming waterfowl and normally I like to have the birds descending toward me. There was no wind on this morning so the ducks and geese were landing from every direction. I took three frames as the two geese set their wings and glided to the water. This photo was unique because the closest goose turned its head in my direction and its mouth was open as it called.
100-400 lens at 350mm, 1/1600 second at f5.6, set manually, ISO 400, handheld.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Soaring Turkey Vulture

This soaring turkey vulture got pretty close to me while I was photographing ducks in flight. I have seen them at a distance and haven't been particularly interested in photographing them. Late one afternoon, though, this one was circling a pond and creek where I was positioned and he kept getting closer. What the heck, he got close enough for me to see good detail and there was great contrast against the blue sky. The soaring vulture is much slower than the ducks coming in hot so it was an easy shot. The camera was set manually, 1/1250 second at f6.3, ISO 400, 400mm lens.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

American Mink

What incredible luck to get a nice photograph of an American mink. I was positioned near a creek bank hoping to get photos of ducks descending into the creek. I spotted the mink when he climbed to the top of the bank about 20 yards away from me. He was in shade until he reached this spot about 10 yards away and stopped briefly to look back. I took this one photo and he was in motion again. I got one more image before he disappeared over the edge.
This section of creek is not far from civilization and the bank has been reinforced to prevent erosion. The mink is standing on stones that are held in place with a wire cage. The creek behind the mink and the far bank are both in deep shade, which is why the background is so dark.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ducks approaching with cupped wings.

The ducks are finally starting to get active after the long winter. The ponds are still frozen but I was positioned near a fast-moving creek with open water. These two mallard ducks are descending with cupped wings toward the creek. They came in hot and fast; notice that their feet are not yet deployed as air brakes. This is the last frame in a series I got with the motor drive running. After this shot they screamed over my head and I lost focus.
Setting the exposure can be tricky against the sky because the meter tells the camera to stop down too much, resulting in underexposure. This photo was taken shortly after sunrise on a cloudless day so the light was predictable. I metered against a neutral background of trees and manually set the camera to expose at 1/1000 second at f6.3, ISO 400 with a 400mm lens. Notice that the hen is sharply focused but there isn't enough depth of field for both ducks. The drake was following too far behind and is quite soft.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New store for calendars and t-shirts.

A new online store has been set up at Zazzle to enable the purchase of some of our products. We've placed many of our popular calendars here, including several volumes of "Ducks in Flight" and "Whitetail Deer." All of these feature exciting wildlife photography. Also, some of our most popular waterfowl t-shirt designs have been uploaded and more are on the way. These designs are all created from our photographs of ducks in flight. The Zazzle store allows purchasers to customize many of these designs with their own text, such as slogans or names.

create & buy custom products at Zazzle

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wooden Boat Art-2

This image of a speeding wooden boat was created by applying some special effects to a color photograph. The goal was to create an image that resembled a charcoal drawing. Two different artistic filters were blended together with the computer. One filter added most of the shading but lacked the desired detail. The second filter brought back some of the detail but with noticeable loss of the shading. Careful blending of the two allowed the important characteristics to remain.
The boat, PALM BEACH DAYS, was built by Mark Mason of New England Boat & Motor. It is a reproduction of a 1923 Ditchburn racer and identical to the Gold Cup champion EL LAGARTO. We photographed her at speed in the St. Clair River near Algonac, Michigan.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Photograph Hunter/Jumper Horse Shows

Our newest ebook, "How to Photograph Hunter/Jumper Horse Shows," has been published. This book is focused specifically on capturing stunning images of horses in action at hunter/jumper shows and it draws on our many experiences at the show rings. Amateur photographers, especially the parents, relatives and friends of riders, can see what kinds of photographs are possible and how to take them. Abundant photographs taken at actual horse shows are used throughout the book to illustrate the many helpful tips. Learn about positioning, timing, camera settings and many other topics.
A sample of the book can be downloaded at no charge. Multiple formats for the various e-reader devices and computers are available for purchase at the bookstore.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Three Deer in Snow

This group of whitetail deer posed themselves very nicely and I was attracted to the composition. The heads of the three does are positioned in a triangle shape with the nearest head at the top. The horizontal tree branch would be mostly unnoticed if not for the snow on top. But that snow adds some natural framing, along with the vertical tree trunks on each side. The early morning sun was shining through the trees in scattered patches. How fortunate that these deer were laying in one of those patches!
The photograph was not just a snapshot, of course. I spotted the deer in the sunlight from some distance away and slowly moved within range. There were additional sideways adjustments until the three heads were composed and I shot from my knees to lower the angle.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Whitetail Deer Fight

These two ten-point bucks were not really fighting. They were gently sparring with their antlers and it only lasted 10 seconds or so. The picture is cool, though, as it certainly looks like it could be a real fight. These deer were together when I first saw them that morning and showed no signs of hostility. Fortunately, I was close enough to get a few shots when they started butting heads. I would have preferred to be more to my right side and a little lower but the show was over before I could risk moving and spooking them. The sun was still quite low so I was lucky that the deer were close to the little sunbeam. There were many areas of the woods that were still in deep shade. This was shot at 1/500 sec at f5.6, ISO 500, 400mm lens.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Buck Rubbing Antlers

This ten-point buck whitetail deer is rubbing his antlers on a tree trunk. This was taken in mid-November during the rut (mating season) and the buck had just finished mating with a doe. His antlers had been polished much earlier in the fall but his hormones were really raging this particular day! He raked this tree for about five minutes while I got a series of shots. The doe he was tending was laying just a few feet out of the picture.
The morning started very foggy but most of the fog had dissipated by 8:30 when this shot was taken. Nonetheless, the heavy overcast did not allow much light into the woods. The buck was moving his head pretty rapidly so I boosted the ISO to 2500 to get a shutter speed of 1/640 second to stop the motion. 400mm lens at f5.6.