Archives for January 2012

Extreme Yellowstone… Mousing Fox Pano

I was reading Outdoor Photographer on the plane as I flew to Bozeman the other day and George Lepp had a cool article on creating a pano from a sequence of continuous shots of a monkey running across a river. It got me to thinking how I could try something like that while in Yellowstone. There is plenty of wildlife to photograph and they often are on the move. So, I filed the thought in the back of my mind. Today while we were out searching for wildlife subjects we found a red fox mousing in the snow. We quickly jumped out of the snowcoach and set up as he moved off. I followed him for about fifty feet or so when he suddenly stopped, cocked his head a few times which told me he had heard something under the snow. Do I try to hurry up ahead and get in the best position risking missing the action or set my camera down now and get the shot even though the fox wasn’t in the exact position I wanted. I opted for at least getting the shot as I don’t have any mousing foxes in winter in my files. Within a few seconds his body tensed and into the air he went diving head first into the snow. I had made the right decision. At least I have the images. I broke the jinx and I will continue to capture the image I have in my minds eye but in the meantime, I decided this sequence would make a fun pano…

Nikon D3S, AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC-20E III

I didn’t quite follow George’s exact process but, I think it turned out pretty cool. It’s not bad for a first attempt and it definitely gave me some ideas on how to improve next time. Isn’t that what photography is all about; constantly working to improve our techniques and skills as well as stretching our creative wings. I’m looking forward to working this technique again. Stay tuned.

Extreme Yellowstone…You Otter Be Here

Last year had one of the worst winter conditions in Yellowstone for the wildlife in memory. The snow depth and consistency was so extreme that over 600 bison left the park looking for food, bison and elk were having to deal with snow that was chest deep or higher in many places and even the smaller wildlife was driven from their normal areas in search of food. This did provide some great photo opportunities and some first time subjects in front of my lens.

This year is just the opposite with very little snow for mid-January. That’s nature for you. Each of the last eight years I have come to Yellowstone the conditions are different but, the photographic opportunities have always been excellent.

Our first day started off quite slow with very few wildlife sightings and grey skies but, we persevered and kept searching for subjects. As we cruised along the Yellowstone River heading towards Hayden Valley we were looking at a Hooded Merganser when Arden (our snowcoach guide extraordinaire) spotted three river otters on the bank just below us. Now these little guys are like greased lightning when it comes to speed so we had to be quick getting out of the snowcoach to make some images of them. Sure enough after just a few clicks they slid into the water and disappeared.

Not ready to give up yet, we waited and a few minutes later they were back on the ice posing nicely as the shutters were clicking away…

Nikon D3S, AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC-20E III

Nikon D3S, AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC-20E III

Nikon D3S, AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC-20E III

We were fortunate to spend well over an hour with the river otters as they went about their daily business of fishing, cleaning and frolicking in and out of the water. I’d say we’re off to a great start. Stay tuned.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It… Here!

The internet is all a buzz with Nikon’s latest announcement of their newest flagship camera…the D4!

Read all about it here!

These cameras are going to be hot, hot, hot! Availability is going to be tight, tight, tight. To be put on a priority list for my loyal followers contact Eugene at Competitive Camera (214) 744-5511 and tell him Laurie sent you.

Refresh, Recharge, Replace Your Batteries

Batteries are the lifeblood that run our electronics and yet we pay so little attention to them. Take time this new year to refresh, recharge or replace your batteries so that you have the power you need…when you need it…in the field.

Here’s what I do…
-Install each battery into my cameras (the Nikon D3 series has a gauge in the menu that shows the life of the battery and when it needs refreshed) and check to see if they need refreshed (deep discharge and recharge), recharged or even replaced.
-Test and recharge or refresh AA batteries for flash, flashlight and portable electronics. I have switched to the Sanyo Enloop batteries as they hold a charge for months.
-Replace or recharge batteries as needed in Visible Dust Loupe (2-CR2025 batteries), Arctic Butterfly (2-AA batteries), MC-36 Remote Release (2-AA batteries), Lightning Trigger (9 volt battery), Headlamp (2-AA Batteries), Streamlight flashlight (2-CR123 batteries) and so on
-Replace spare/backup batteries with new stock.
-Recycle used batteries

*Note: this is a good time to check your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide sensors, flashlights and other household electronics while you are at it. I make the first of every year my time to refresh, recharge or replace all my batteries.