Category Archives: wildlife photography

2000 Eagles in Two Days

© 2013 Mark Byrnes

© 2013 Mark Byrnes

Mark Byrnes of Camera Mart USA not only works behind the counter at the Michigan photography store, but also leads groups of customers on photographic adventures around the USA. The 2013 Bald Eagle Photo Tour was his sixth trip and because of its great success, they’re not only planning to doing it again next year, but will add a Sand Hill Crane Migration Photo Tour in March.

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Great Snowy Owl Hunt

Photographer Meg Rodney has posted about an excursion to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island. The objective: photograph the elusive Great Snowy Owl on a cold, windswept beach.

The team took along two tripods with Induro GH Series Gimbal Heads, along with a range of bodies and heavy glass from both Nikon and Canon. They encountered a sandpiper, egrets, swans and Canadian geese, but it appears the Great Snowy Owl was a no-show.

Check out the details in the full post at LensProToGoBlog.com. It looks like a cold, but educational adventure.

Outdoor Photo Gear on the Induro CT414

If you’re sporting big glass, especially on location, the Induro CT414 is the tripod you want to trust your investment to. At least that’s the conclusion of Florida wildlife photographer Maxis Gamez, writing for Outdoor Photo Gear.

In a thoughtful review which covers all the bases weighed when considering a new tripod, Gamez has put together a comprehensive analysis of the CT414. He includes a handy table of the model’s specifications, along with many photos of the tripod in action.

©Maxis Gamez

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Dave M. Shumway at Yellowstone

We love discovering Induro users in places on the Internet we don’t normally browse. Photographer Dave M. Shumway is a new discovery for us, and we were happy to find his fine work on Glacier National Park Chat. He recently posted some of his work on that message board, along with an impressive, detailed write up of a trip to Yellowstone National Park.

©Dave M. Shumway

Shumway used an Induro GHB2 head and a CT214 tripod, among other gear he brought into the park. We’re looking forward to seeing more of his beautiful wildlife photography. Follow Shumway on Twitter, Facebook, his blog, and his site. He’s definitely worth checking out.

Charles J. MacPherson and Motion Blur

Charles J. MacPherson posted an article about creative motion blurs. Using a Canon EOS 7D and Canon 800mm lens mounted on an Induro GHB2, he was able to balance just the right amount of blur on a white pelican’s wingtips, a watery background streaking by behind it.

©Charles J. MacPherson

MacPherson writes of his Induro: “This device functions like the mount of a machine gun on a tank. It allows the lens to pivot smoothly in all directions.”

Great image and nice site, Charles. Induro blog readers should definitely check it our for more great tips and fine photography.

Nathan Beaulne’s Patience Pays Off

Growing up in Timmins, Ontario, Nathan Beaulne had ample opportunities to explore wildlife. “It’s in northern Ontario, so you’re pretty remote,” he says. “It’s pretty much stuck in the middle of the bush.” For the last fifteen years he’s been living in the more populated Barrie, Ontario, but Barrie is still located so that with a short drive, Beaulne can observe a wide range of Canada’s diverse birdlife.

©Nathan Beaulne

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Nancy Lehrer’s Trifecta

When she was growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1960s, no one could’ve guessed young Nancy Lehrer would achieve substantial accomplishment in three very different fields. Lehrer describes herself in the following way: computer scientist by profession, classical musician by history, and photographer by passion.

After high school, Lehrer headed north to San Francisco State University as a classical oboe major. Upon graduation with a B.A. in Music, she went to Boston University for graduate school and studied with Ralph Gomberg, who was the first oboist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the time. “Then, as an incredibly poor, starving graduate student, I finished my Master’s at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst,” she says. While at Emerson, she began taking computer science classes, and ended up with another Master’s, this time in Computer Science, and a new career. All these years later, she is not disappointed by the switch.

©Nancy Lehrer

Lehrer points to an analogy in photography which summarizes the future she was facing with a classical music career. “Say you want to be a great landscape photographer, and that’s all you ever wanted to do,” she explains. “Then you realize that in order to pay bills you have to do weddings, bar mitzvahs, senior portraits, and stuff like that. In music, to make ends meet, you have to do a lot of part-time gigs in community orchestras in places that don’t really have the high quality of standards you trained yourself to do. Getting into another field where I could be more choosy about what I did in music was actually fun, and it was a very well‑paying field, highly in demand, allowed me to live where I wanted to live.”

All the while Lehrer was studying classical oboe and computer science, something else was constant in her life: photography. In 1978 while in college, she bought her first 35mm SLR, a Canon AE-1 with a 50mm lens. She used it exclusively for the next 20 years, occasionally substituting the 50mm with “a really cheap 100‑millimeter lens,” she says. “That was all I had.”

©Nancy Lehrer

As her career as a computer scientist accelerated, she stopped photographing anything other than vacations. Eventually, she got a Yashica with a Zeiss lens. As digital technology improved, in 2002 she bought a Canon Digital Rebel XT. “That rekindled everything for me,” she recalls. “That’s when I really got back into photography seriously and started first with Flickr, but then found the local camera clubs and local camera professionals I could hang out with and talk to in order to learn about digital photography and digital processing.”

Shortly after it was announced, she purchased a Canon 5D Mark II. “I have a whole variety of high quality Canon lenses and pretty much have been sucked in,” she laughs.

©Nancy Lehrer

Digital photography reinvigorated Lehrer’s interest in the art. Her subject matter is vast, but she’s partial to black and white street photography and color landscapes. Lehrer has her own thoughts and terminology on her shooting. “My landscapes aren’t really landscapes. They’re tighter. They’re more like the 50 millimeter view of nature. I’d say those are my two most successful sorts of genres, the street stuff and then the tighter nature kind of thing. Not the big, expansive landscapes. I just haven’t gotten there yet, I just don’t see it yet.”

One of Lehrer’s most interesting series of photographs were done in the Lower Antelope Slot Canyon of Page, Arizona. Lehrer claims a maturity to be able to frame her shots from a tripod just the way she wants. Her tripod of choice is the Induro CT-114. “It’s the carbon fiber and I love it,” she says. “I just put it in a regular backpack. I’ve recently been banging it around Utah and it’s held up just fine. No problems there. Yeah, I’ve been very pleased with it. I know someone else who has a little bit larger model in our club, and he loves his as well. He’s also banging it around. It’s certainly my go-to tripod.”

©Nancy Lehrer

Recently, Lehrer picked up not one but two First Place awards at the Spirit of the Mountains 2010 Photo Contest, hosted by the National Park Service. “Waiting for Breakfast,” a delicate study of an Argiopes Garden Spider in a dew-soaked web, won Best of Show. “Stand Tall,” a shot looking up at redwoods, won First Place in the Plants category. She also snagged an additional four Fourth Place awards. You can check out the details on her blog.

©Nancy Lehrer

Her next project may be chronicling her native San Fernando Valley. “It’s where I grew up,” she explains. “It mostly was built in the 50′s, so it’s got this 50′s southern California ranch house style structure to it. The change in the San Fernando Valley has been mostly downward, economically. There’s a lot of Mexican-art influence, so you have these great old 50′s looking, cheap modern-ish buildings that now have these brightly colored signs and fences around them.”

Her days in the San Fernando Valley are rooted in photography. “I was born in ’59, and in the 60′s, I remember everybody had cameras. When I was really little my father had a Brownie camera and I would take pictures with that. I would take it to camp when I was in fourth grade and became the camp photographer. I had an Instamatic later. I always was trying to capture what was going on around me.”

When asked if she still plays the oboe, Lehrer responds she did up until a few years ago. “The oboe is not so easy to play for enjoyment. It’s one of those working-hard instruments. I’ve always needed a creative outlet, so once I got more and more into photography, I found less and less of a kind of creative need to do it through the music.”

Nancy Lehrer Photography
Nancy Lehrer Blog
Nancy Lehrer on Flickr
Nancy Lehrer on Facebook
Nancy Lehrer on Twitter

Written by Ron Egatz

Scott Bourne’s Photographic Diversity

Indiana native Scott Bourne has called the Pacific Northwest his home for fifteen years, but his passion for photography boasts an impressive 37 year history. In the early seventies as a high school student in the Midwest, his half-sister’s husband was the editor of the Bloomington Herald Tribune in Bloomington, Indiana. Young Scott was given press credentials to photograph the Indianapolis 500, and was assigned as a stringer for the Associated Press. Racer Tom Sneva crashed and Bourne was fortunate enough to capture a photo—complete with airborne engine hurtling at him—that ran on front pages around the country the following day. He was paid $2000. Scott Bourne was a photographer.

After high school, Bourne became a political science major, but took photos his entire college career. For six years after that, he professionally shot motor sports, largely based on his Sneva-crash photo. He also spent years in Europe photographing Formula One races. Returning to the U.S., he worked in New York and San Francisco. “I did some portrait work. I tried my hand at fashion photography and failed miserably,” says Bourne. “I didn’t like fashion. I got back into portrait and wedding work—really enjoyed it, and found a niche. I did that for about fourteen years, owning a studio in Minneapolis, and later, Seattle.”

©Scott Bourne

©Scott Bourne

Bourne sold his wedding practice fifteen years ago and dedicated himself to his new photographic passion: nature and wildlife. “In order to avoid being burned out, sometimes it’s good to try different genres,” he explains. “When I describe myself now, I say I’m a portraitist. I just take portraits of animals. Catch light is catch light, whether it’s on a bride or a wolf. My goal is to have people understand these creatures. When the public sees an animal, it’s typically for a few fleeting seconds. I try to show these animals up close and personal. When you see a bird, they’re fast and flighty. You don’t really think much of it because you don’t get the opportunity to study it. When you see the detail in a portrait like this, it’s hard to discount these animals as something you might run over with your car, or ignore.”

©Scott Bourne

©Scott Bourne

The passion Bourne feels for photography is equal to the passion he feels as an educator of the public on behalf of the animals he’s captured with his cameras. “A wolf may live seven or eight years in the wild,” he says. “They’re not going to be around forever, so taking their picture sort of preserves that wolf’s story. I try to take the approach every animal I photograph might be the last picture of that particular animal anyone ever sees.”

©Scott Bourne

©Scott Bourne

Subject knowledge is what informs Bourne, aiding him to make the best possible photograph he can. “Ninety percent of being a good portraitist is knowing a lot about your subject, whether your photographing a rock band, a CEO, or a bear.” Accordingly, Bourne has an encyclopedic knowledge of a range of wildlife he’s interested in photographing, including habitat locations, migratory timetables, and feeding patterns. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing where your subject’s going to be,” he continues. “In the wildlife photography world, a lot of it is just patience. Taking your time is critical.”

©Scott Bourne

©Scott Bourne

The gravity of the combined mindset of historical importance and patience applies to Bourne’s feelings toward photography in general. “I take photography very seriously. It’s a sacred job,” he cautions. “When people’s homes are burning, they don’t take the video game console. They take the wedding album or the box of family photos. We’re documenting family history, wildlife history, national history. We look at old photos from the first days of photography—native American Indians and some of the work done during the Civil War, for instance. There will be times in the future when people will look at our photos with the same interest.”

There is no end of equipment Bourne regularly uses in the field. “I have a lot of gear,” he says. “I shoot both Nikon and Canon. I shoot Canon primarily for video, Nikon primarily for stills, although I have started to shoot Canon for some stills because of the beautiful new 800mm f/5.6 lens. In bird photography, there’s never too much lens. My main bodies are a Nikon D3s and a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. I use an Induro tripod for landscape work.”

©Scott Bourne

©Scott Bourne

Tripods are critical to his wildlife photography. “I use a tripod almost 100% of the time, unless it’s flight shots,” he says. “If you want to try the most difficult shooting in the world, it’s getting flight shots,” he laughs. “But a tripod is essential. Sometimes I’m standing in a lagoon, sometimes I’m standing in the ocean. I beat that little Induro to death and it hasn’t burped once. I’m hard on my gear. It’s a tool for me, not a museum piece. I’ll run a little water on it, and that’s it. I’ll get it wet every day for six weeks at a time and it’s never caused me any trouble.”

©Scott Bourne

©Scott Bourne

When shooting’s done, Bourne uses both Apple Aperture and Adobe Lightroom. Photoshop is also used, when necessary. Promise hard drives with 16 terabyte RAID arrays store his images. A remote server in Minnesota backs up his data.

Many photography enthusiasts don’t know Bourne by his impressive wildlife photography, but by the site he runs, photofocus.com. Founded in 1998, photofocus.com is a magazine devoted to photo advocacy and the education of photographers. It achieves this by reviewing photo-related products with a high degree of independence, journalistic integrity, and clearly-defined editorial ethics. Photographers can regularly visit this site and gain knowledge from product reviews, inspirational how-to articles, info on upcoming events and musings on new technology. The site gets 1.5 million page views per month and at the present growth rate, will top 2 million per month this year. Defying conventional wisdom, after choosing to concentrate on content rather than police comments and spam submitted to every article, site traffic has tripled. His Twitter feed has over 66,000 followers.

“It’s rewarding to get mail every day from people saying how much this post or that post meant to them; that it changed their photography, or helped them,” says Bourne. “Sometimes it’s a little thing I’ve written, and I didn’t think it would mean much to anyone, and I’m surprised by the response.”

©Scott Bourne

©Scott Bourne

Bourne continues to teach, and is often on the road. As he sees his career winding down, he’ll also keep writing for photofocus.com while managing his stock photography collection. His latest big news announced at this month’s WPPI is the book he’s co-authoring with industry giant Skip Cohen entitled Going Pro, to be published by Random House. It will be more than a book and include a podcast, a conference, and a blog. An exciting project, for sure, but it seems to be just one more outlet for Scott Bourne’s deep passion for all things photographic. We’ll keep reading and learning, Scott. Thank you.

Scott Bourne

Scott Bourne’s PhotoDiary

Scott Bourne on Flickr

Scott Bourne on Twitter

Scott Bourne on Vimeo

Scott Bourne on NatureScapes

Photofocus

Eric D. Brown’s Engineering Approach

“Those birds just don’t sit still for too long,” Eric D. Brown quips. In the last year, Brown has heavily focused on bird photography. Operating from his home in the Dallas suburb of Wiley, Brown has been been aiming his lenses at everything from doves on his backyard fence to Dark-Eyed Juncos at the Spring Creek Forest Preserve to stunning Great Blue Herons at Bob Woodruff Park.

©Eric D. Brown. Great Blue Heron, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L, 1/250 sec., f/8.0, 400mm focal length, ISO 800.

©Eric D. Brown. Great Blue Heron, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L, 1/250 sec., f/8.0, 400mm focal length, ISO 800.

“Bird photography has allowed me to become a better photographer,” Brown explains. “Anyone can take a picture of a bird, but to capture the detail and character of the bird is what I’m after.” The work Brown shares on his photography blog is testament to his rapidly emerging skills. “I’ve always been a very noncreative person,” declares Brown, an Oklahoma native and engineer by training. “I’m very analytical, and that’s coming into play in my photography. You have numbers and settings. You can play around with them and see what they do for you. It’s been a lot of fun for me.”

©Eric D. Brown. Male Cardinal, Canon EF 500mm f/4 L, 1/250 sec., f/7.1, focal length 500mm, ISO 400.

©Eric D. Brown. Male Cardinal, Canon EF 500mm f/4 L, 1/250 sec., f/7.1, focal length 500mm, ISO 400.

Shooting a Canon EOS 5D with a 24-105mm lens and a 7D sporting super telephoto lens, Brown’s workflow is all-digital. Now working as an IT consultant, Brown’s passion for photography was sparked by his wife Tracie, a professional portrait photographer , on their trip to Yosemite National Park. “On my first trip as a shooter, I stood next to her and took photos of what she took photos of,” Brown laughs.

©Eric D. Brown. Canon 24-105mm L, 1/1600 sec., f/5.6, 24mm, ISO 400.

©Eric D. Brown. Canon 24-105mm L, 1/1600 sec., f/5.6, focal length 24mm, ISO 400.

Being a wildlife photographer, Brown spends much of his time slogging out to isolated locations. Even moreso than a studio photographer, all aspects of his gear are examined and evaluated. That he is an engineer certainly doesn’t lower the criteria he uses as benchmarks. “I’m always walking with the Induro tripod slung over my shoulder, the camera and big lens attached, trudging through the fields and small woods we have here,” he says. “When I find a place I want to shoot, I just throw down the tripod in the mud, or whatever might be there. I level it off as best I can on uneven ground and grab some photos. It’s perfectly fine and there’s no stability problems at all.”

©Eric D. Brown. Gray Jay, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L, 1/125 sec., f/8.0, 400mm, ISO 400.

©Eric D. Brown. Gray Jay, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L, 1/125 sec., f/8.0, focal length 400mm, ISO 400.

“I was out this weekend and had some mud on the seat of the tripod. It can get caked on there, but you just scape it off and it’s good to go,” says Brown. Currently shooting atop an Induro CT314 Carbon Fiber 8x tripod, which was a gift from his wife, Brown has gone so far as to write a detailed review of it on his blog. “I love the product. I’ve been out shooting with it for the last month and love the stability of the thing.”

©Eric D. Brown. Cormorant, Canon EF 500mm f/4 L, 1/640 sec., f/7.1, focal length 500mm, ISO 400.

©Eric D. Brown. Cormorant, Canon EF 500mm f/4 L, 1/640 sec., f/7.1, focal length 500mm, ISO 400.

“I shoot with incredibly big and heavy lenses. The platform needs to be very stable, whether I’m shooting birds 20 or 200 feet away,” Brown explains. “The slightest bit of tremor cause the picture to be unsharp, at the least. I don’t put any extra stabilization or weight under it at all.”

©Eric D. Brown. Female Cardinal, Canon EF 500mm f/4 L, 1/400 sec., f/4.0, focal length 500mm, ISO 400.

©Eric D. Brown. Female Cardinal, Canon EF 500mm f/4 L, 1/400 sec., f/4.0, focal length 500mm, ISO 400.

Brown’s choice of subject matter was enforced by his geographic location. “Being in Dallas, there’s not a lot of wildlife unless you drive a few hours,” he explains. “Birds, however, are everywhere here. They were a way to learn how to take a better picture because I could just go out in my backyard and photograph four or five different species. I’m always looking to shoot wildlife other than birds, though.”

©Eric D. Brown. Bull Elk, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L, 1/200 sec., f/5.6, focal length 400mm, ISO 400.

©Eric D. Brown. Bull Elk, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L, 1/200 sec., f/5.6, focal length 400mm, ISO 400.

Birds are not the only wildlife he photographs. “I love to shoot anything I can, but where I’m located, I’m largely focused on birds,” he says. Non-wildlife subjects raise other interests and shooting philosophies for Brown. “I don’t do any portrait photography. It’s more challenging for me to take a good photo of a person than of a bird. I do like architecture, though, but I haven’t had much of a chance to get out and learn how to do it properly.”

©Eric D. Brown. Grand Teton sunset, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L, 1/1600 sec., f/5.6, 400mm, ISO 1000.

©Eric D. Brown. Grand Teton sunset, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L, 1/1600 sec., f/5.6, focal length 400mm, ISO 1000.

In the future, Brown has his sights on something more difficult. “The thing I want to work on and get better at is birds in flight,” he says. “I’m pretty well-versed in them sitting in one place, but to get a sharp, clear composition of them flight is my next area to get into. I haven’t gotten one I’m happy with yet.”

©Eric D. Brown. Great Blue Heron, Canon EF 500mm f/4 L, 1/1250 sec., f/4.0, focal length 500mm, ISO 1000.

©Eric D. Brown. Great Blue Heron, Canon EF 500mm f/4 L, 1/1250 sec., f/4.0, focal length 500mm, ISO 1000.

Brown is also interested in building up a workshop organization which will bring great photographers to teach Dallas-area shooters new skills. I used to teach, and I like doing it, so I think this might bring my passions together. My greatest contribution, though, will be  more administrative, putting the entire thing together.” We wish him well, and look forward to hearing more news on his Dallas workshops and seeing those birds in flight.

Eric D. Brown’s Photography Minute

Eric D. Brown on Flickr

Photography Minute on Twitter

Eric D. Brown on Facebook

Eric D. Brown on Vimeo

Eric’s Induro Tripod review

Eric D. Brown, Technology Executive

Tracie’s Web site and blog

Tracie on Facebook