For the last two weeks I’ve been told I can’t photograph wildlife with a micro four/thirds camera. Most of the experts telling me this have never used a micro four thirds camera or for that matter shot wildlife, but here’s proof they are wrong. Shot this morning at La Jolla Cove near San Diego. California brown pelican in breeding plumage. See meta data below and full zoom at size.
Maybe you CAN photograph wildlife with a micro four thirds camera. Lots more to come. (Note this wasn’t even zoomed all the way out to 300mm (EFL=600mm) but you get the idea.)
NOTE: Criss Posted at Photofocus.com -
I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection lately. I’ve realized (late in my career) that for me to become an artist I have to get out of my own way. I have to be involved in something that I care about and you have to love my subjects. I also have to look back at what I’ve accomplished and set markers for my career. That way I can know wether or not I achieved what I wanted to.
I decided to select 12 photographs made over the last 10 years that are my personal favorites as part of this process. Note I am not saying that these are my best 12. I’m not saying they are the 12 best sellers. I am saying they are my personal favorites. We have to give ourselves license to enjoy and like our own work and for me, this process of looking back is part of that permission. Since I spent most of the last decade photographing birds, I selected 12 bird photographs. I hope you enjoy them.
In no particular order…
I made this image at Little Estero Lagoon on Fort Myers Beach. I like it because it is calming. The egret sat there patiently for an hour fishing. I sat there with him and enjoyed the moments we spent together. He carefully waited and pounced – waited and pounced. Much like we do as photographers. We wait for a decisive moment and click the shutter. It was one of the most relaxing hours I’ve ever spent. I am grateful to have this memory.
I selected this hummingbird photo because it reminds me of how much work photography can be. I drove to southern Arizona, brought 12 flashes with me, hired two different guides, and sat for hours just hoping to SEE a bird let alone photograph one. But patience and perseverance won out and I got a shot I am proud of, including the tiny Hummingbird’s tiny tongue. These amazing creatures are truly one of nature’s marvels.
Of course I have to have a few eagle shots in this compilation. I love this one because it captures more than a static portrait. It tells a story about how hard eagles have to fight just to stay alive. This rare shot of eagles in battle over food is one of my very favorites. It’s not pretty, but it’s real.
Not all my favorite shots are favorites because they bring back good memories. Some are favorites because they remind me of tragedy and the power of photography to help overcome it. This shot was made in Louisiana in 2010 (BP oil spill) and shows a brown pelican in oil-soaked waters eating a fish. The bird most certainly died along with many others. To make this tragedy worse, the spill was as close as could be to the pelicans’ rookery. Generations of these birds will be lost because of this incident. This photo serves as a reminder of that very high cost.
Back to something calm and peaceful. I love shots of birds reflecting in calm water. This shot was also made at Little Estero Lagoon in Florida. There are four species, five birds here so that’s the title of the image. The very rare reddish egret white phase morph walked into the photo on the right side seconds before I shot it. The reddish egrets are threatened. There are less than 1500 pairs of them left. It was a treat to shoot this guy. In fact, he bonded with me and spent almost three days following me around. Hence the next photo.
This is the very same reddish egret white phase morph shot at night using a flash. I decided to make the photograph black and white to add a sense of the evening darkness to the overall image. It’s absolutely one of my favorites. I took a lot of time thinking about and composing this shot and it came out just the way I wanted it to – which is reason enough to put it on the list.
I photographed at Bosque del Apache more times than I can count. And this image “Cranes in the fire mist” is one of my most successful images from Bosque, but also one I worked very hard to get. If you don’t know the cranes in the fire mist story you can read it here. Suffice it to say I have an extremely emotional attachment to this photograph. It’s one I am very proud of and I’d be happy to hang my entire career on this one shot.
I made this image in China Poot Bay, Alaska. It’s an action shot. Again, not pretty, but an image I prize because not just everyone has a photograph of an eagle with a rabbit in tow. Nuff said.
Another classic favorite of mine is this great egret displaying his feathers in an attempt to attract a mate. It was made at the famous Venice, Florida rookery which sadly, like so many of the great bird photography places, is no longer attractive due to decisions made by the residents in the area to cut down all the trees surrounding the island. These birds almost became extinct in the 30s and 40s since women prized the feathers for their hats.
Back to Bosque del Apache where I was able to capture this lesser sandhill crane flying through the sunset. Bosque was one of the most productive locations during my career. Due to mismanagement by the government, it’s gone through lots of ups and downs, but I’ll always remember the peaceful feeling I got watching the cranes come back to the ponds at night thanks to this image.
Here’s one more eagle shot for the list. The story is obvious. The eagle went for a fish and got it. The capture was a matter of years of practice, the right gear, knowing when and where to be and a little luck. Still, luck or no it’s one of my favorites.
I’ll end with a picture of one of the most wonderful birds I’ve ever photographed. The Harris’s hawk is rare in that it is the only bird I know that regularly works cooperatively to hunt down prey. Flocks of six hawks will circle a rabbit and run it down, sharing in the kill. They are extremely (and I do mean extremely skittish) so getting this full-frame, full wing-span landing on a perch was one of the highlights of my career.
It’s hard for me to judge my own work. Many other photographers share that same frustration. I’d rather turn over the images to a professional photo editor and say, “You do it.” But in this case I don’t mind so much. I’m picking based on my personal favorites. Nobody can say I am wrong about what I like
Try this exercise for yourself. I think you’ll find it valuable.
I love Twitter. I believe that it is more valuable to me than any other social media network. I don’t believe for a minute that G+ has as many users as they claim. Facebook is too juvenile. LinkedIn is full of accountant types. And all the rest are fine, but none pulls for me like Twitter. I realize it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s mine. Still, I wish Twitter offered a few more features. Here’s my wish list. What’s your list look like?
1. A mute button in addition to a block button. There are times someone is snarky enough that I’d just like to shut them out without having to block them.
2. I’d like better options for searching older Tweets.
3. I’d like the ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts from inside the main Twitter interface instead of using third-party apps.
4. The ability to “like” or +1 a Tweet.
5. The ability to use Twitter’s built-in RT button but still add a comment.
6. The ability to schedule a Tweet from within the main Twitter interface instead of using third-party apps.
7. Better integration with mainstay photo apps like Lightroom and Photoshop.
I realize you can do some of this stuff with third-party apps but I’ve had bad luck using them so in case you guys at Twitter are listening, how about it?
Yesterday I announced a new camera contest with @IAEPUB. Today I welcome a new sponsor and start yet ANOTHER new contest. Yes that’s right. I have two camera contests going on at the same time and probably will for the rest of the year.
This contest is to celebrate a new sponsor – Shoot Proof. Together we’re giving away a brand new Canon 5D MK III. In case you’re confused, you can monitor all my open contests at the Photofocus Contest Page.
Now – back to the details for THIS contest…
Welcome to the next Photofocus contest. This contest starts December 2, 2012 and ends March 1, 2013. The winner gets:
Prizes: Canon 5D MK III (body only) and a free year of Shoot Proof pro service.
(PLEASE READ THIS PAGE CAREFULLY – IT ANSWERS ALL YOUR LEGITIMATE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CONTEST!)
Here’s how to enter.
(If you are already following no need to unfollow and refollow – doing so repeatedly will get you permanently blocked and banned from our contests — we have recently blocked or banned several hundred followers who engaged in this practice after the last contest – if you are amongst those people – sorry – no need to enter because you are not eligible.)
- Tweet the message you see highlighted below once! (There is no advantage to tweeting more than once. There is also no penalty for tweeting more than once, but you won’t have any better chance of winning and you may anger your own Twitter followers if you decide to tweet more than once. Please keep track of your own entry. We can’t (and won’t) respond to requests asking about entry status.)
Twitter has changed its policy to no longer allow disabling of link shortening – so if you need to use a different link to get to the same exact contest page that’s fine. As long as people end up on this page – that’s all that matters. The rest of the Tweet must be identical to the one below.
Do NOT put the @ sign in front of Scott Bourne in the tweet. This is to cut down on noise to people who follow you and me.
Here is the Tweet:
Official Rules: All general Bourne Media Group/Photofocus contest rules apply. In addition:
No purchase necessary to enter or win.
1. You must be 18 years or older to enter
2. You must be following Scott Bourne (http://www.twitter.com/scottbourne) and Shoot Proof on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ShootProof )
3. You must send out the above tweet EXACTLY as it appears. A failure to do so will disqualify you.
4. The prize will be announced on March 2, 2013 by Scott Bourne via Twitter and on Photofocus.com.
5. US residents responsible for any taxes (if any) incurred as winner. If you live outside the US you are responsible for any taxes, custom duties and shipping in the event you win. We will only ship the prize to a US address. Foreign winners must be able to retrieve the prize from a US address to be eligible to win.
6. If users make lots of Twitter accounts in order to enter a contest more than once, they’re liable to get all of their accounts suspended. Anyone found to use multiple Twitter accounts to enter will be ineligible.
Scott Bourne will keep a record of each tweet in a database and then a random number generator picks the winner. Due to the volume of requests we receive, we cannot and will not answer ANY questions about the contest on Twitter or via e-mail. The information you need is all right here.
We are proud to be working with Shoot Proof. Ever since Smug Mug doubled their prices, many of you have asked me where you should host your images. I’ve researched all the options and I think that Shoot Proof is an excellent alternative. They offer competitive prices (including a free account) but where they differ from other services is they take no commission on sales. None. They also have a photographer-friendly Terms of Service. You keep your intellectual property. They offer lab support or you can fulfill your own prints. There’s never any Shoot Proof branding on the pages, you can upload from Lightroom, the sites are very easy to set up and you can even set up shopping carts to help you sell your work. Thanks to Shoot Proof we’re able to do this contest.
As always, if you are not a fan of these contests, please don’t participate. For the tens of thousands of you who do enjoy the contests, we’ll continue to try to find new contests and new prizes that will make it fun and interesting to be a part of the Photofocus family. Thanks for your support.
*We reserve the right to substitute a different camera of equal or higher value in the event the manufacturer cannot meet demand or to offer a cash equivalent paid in U.S. dollars to any winner.”
It’s my favorite time of year – no not that – this…
I get to give stuff away! Today I announce the winner of the first @IAEPUB camera contest.
Congrats to: https://twitter.com/realallenscott
Allen Scott – Mr. Scott you get your choice of a Canon 5D MK III or a Nikon D800. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your postal shipping address and phone number and you will receive your prize shortly.
Now, time for the winner of the Epson Printer Contest.
Congrats to http://www.twitter.com/gregslyon
Greg Lyon – My Lyon you win an Epson R2000 printer. Email me at email@example.com with your postal shipping address and phone number and you will receive your prize shortly.
Didn’t win? There are more contests coming up. In fact, a new camera contest will be announced today – wait in fact TWO new camera contests will be announced today!
Time to put your big boy pants on because today I am ticked. I am going to post an editorial that will probably cost me readers. Good. If you’re a NASCAR fan after yesterday’s fiasco, I couldn’t care less if you read my site or not. It’s time to take a stand.
Don’t you dare call what goes on in NASCAR racing, or sport or anything of the kind. It’s not. It’s a joke. It’s a ruse. It’s shameful. It’s a disgrace. It should be banned. And any company associated with it should be boycotted.
The latest fracas on a NASCAR track was the tipping point for me. You can read about this Jerry Springer moment here – http://on.msnbc.com/SW0B2p
Personally, this doesn’t represent any kind of racing I know. Fist fights seem to be the mainstay of NASCAR. Bullying folks, calling them names, threatening them and beating them. That’s what NASCAR represents today. It’s devolved into something where so-called “professional race car drivers” intentionally crash into each other – endangering themselves, the fans, the crews and the sport. It’s absurd and it’s garbage and it has no place in motorsports. It reminds me of the old Demolition Derby. (I apologize to Demolition Derby fans. It was unfair of me to taint that with a connection to NASCAR!)
I grew up in Indianapolis. NASCAR was always looked down upon there. I thought it was unfair. To me, back then, racing was racing. I went over to Europe to photograph Formula One. They looked down on Indy-car racing and even more so on NASCAR. Again, I thought it was unfair. To me, back then, racing was racing. I didn’t care if you ran top fuel, midgets, karts, open wheel – whatever. If you raced – I respected you and what you did. I looked up to racers. I wanted to be a racer. But after watching the fiasco that has developed over at NASCAR these last few years, I am done considering what happens on a NASCAR track racing. It’s not. In my Constitutionally-protected opinion it’s a bunch of hopped-up redneck thugs who seem to think they are stars in a badly-scripted B-Movie. Grown men, acting like 13-year-olds trying to prove theirs is bigger than the next guy’s. There seems to be more fighting than driving in NASCAR these days and the event in Phoenix is the straw that broke the camel’s back.
So from now on – if you’re involved with NASCAR, don’t tell me you’re into racing, or cars or motorsports or anything of the sort. Tell me you’re into thugs acting like thugs, throwing cheap punches at a minor league hockey game, desperate for attention and bound to lose because that’s obviously easier than learning how to act like a professional and drive a race car in such a way as to bring honor and glory to a sport that deserves both. Tell me you’re a washed up professional wrestler. Heck tell me you do UFC fighting. But don’t you dare call yourself a racer. You don’t deserve that title. It’s reserved for honorable people who pursue motor sports with a degree of decorum and sportsmanship. NASCAR can’t claim anything close.
If you’re a television network broadcasting this pablum, shame on you. If you’re a NASCAR sponsor shame on you too. I won’t do business with you. If you’re a NASCAR fan and you let your kids watch this crap, you should be reported to child services. If you’re an aspiring driver and you think NASCAR is for you – go to boxing school instead of racing school because it appears that the thugs have taken over and the race car drivers have all checked out.
What a disgrace.