For a few weeks a year, hundreds of bald eagles congregate along a short stretch of Hood Canal near the town of Seabeck, Washington. Bald eagles are opportunistic. While they are skilled hunters, they don't work any harder than they have to for their meals. Between a fish migration and wide tidal swings, the feeding is easy there in May and June.
Monday, June 22, 2020
Monday, May 11, 2020
Big bother for little fluff
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Speak up to save migratory birds
The bird population in North America has plunged by nearly a third over the past 50 years. That’s a loss of nearly 3 billion birds. And that’s even with regulations designed to protect vulnerable birds.
The losses could soon grow even worse. The Trump Administration now wants to essentially eliminate one of those protections: The Migratory Bird Treaty Act. You have only until March 19 to speak up to try to save it.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Hands on with the Canon 100-400 IS Mark II
Captured with a Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L Mark II, and a Canon Extender EF 1.4X Mark III
I spend relatively little time on this blog talking about equipment — I’m drawn more to the art than the mechanics — but there’s no denying that equipment plays a critical role. The wrong equipment can limit your creative vision. Bad equipment can cause you to miss the shot entirely.
With that in mind, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about the new Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, which I’ve been using for about two months now. You won’t find test charts and studio comparison scenes here. There are plenty of those already that are produced under very controlled conditions. This is a Canon 100-400 Mark II review in the context of how it has performed for me as a professional nature photographer in real-world situations, which includes handling and other features that make a difference in my work.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
The protection of Protection Island
Protection Island is a small island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca whose name now has a double meaning.
Located at the mouth of Discovery Bay, the name originally referred to the island’s usefulness to humans. The island nearly stretches across the entrance to the bay, shielding it from some of the strait’s choppy waters.
The island still offers that protection, but now it protects a whole host of wildlife as well.
Friday, January 31, 2014
Fields of white
From November into March, the fields on Fir Island in the Skagit Valley of Washington state are often white, but it's not the result of snow. It's the result of snow geese.
About 80,000 snow geese winter in Western Washington. The vast majority of them winter in the Skagit Valley.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Letting nature tell its own story
It has never been easier for a nature photographer to create an image that they imagined in their head. No Photoshop required.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Get close by keeping your distance
For the second year in a row, there are fairly large numbers of snowy owls that are wintering nearby. Near Seattle, snow geese are a regular winter feature, but snowy owls are a rare treat. Reckless photographers, though, are in danger of driving our infrequent visitors well back north — or even worse.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
A waterfall of murres
I've seen plenty of waterfalls, but until recently, I had never seen a "waterfall of murres." That's how friends of mine in Cannon Beach, Oregon, describe a truly wondrous nature show that takes place this time of year on the nearby Chapman Point.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Moving the camera to stop motion
The usual goal in photography is to create an exceptionally sharp image. If you're photographing a bird, for example, most photographers want an image that's so sharp you can see every feather on the bird and every barb on the feather.
To capture that, you typically need a sturdy tripod, a cable release, lots of light — and a stationary subject.
But what if the light is dim and your subject is moving? That's when you need to pan — moving the camera with your subject. It involves moving the camera so that your subject is always at the same spot in the image.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Getting to know all about you
For as much time as I've spent watching this bald eagle nest, I should be on a first name basis with the owners. The eagles don't talk much, so I'll just assume their names are Eddie and Ellen.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Stunning shorebird migration zig-zags into Grays Harbor
It's late April and the sun is just beginning to rise over the Bowerman Basin, a muddy bay in Washington's Grays Harbor.
Very little mud is visible right now. One of the highest tides of the month, 8½ feet, is covering much of the mud. Tens of thousands of shorebirds are covering the rest. And more shorebirds are on the way.
Over the span of a few weeks, maybe a million shorebirds will stop here. The flock consists mainly of western sandpipers, dunlin, two varieties of dowitchers, and plover.
They're on their way to breeding grounds in Alaska and northern Canada, but given that some started in Chile and Argentina, they tend to take a few regular breaks on their way north. Grays Harbor is one of the few major stopovers.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
AF settings for birds in flight with the Canon 1D Mark IV
The Canon 1D Mark IV is the most customizable camera I’ve ever used. It has dozens of settings that allow you to tune it to your exact needs. Wading through all those settings, though, can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a lot of time for trial and error.
After using the camera for more than two months of intensive wildlife photography, I’ve finally settled on autofocus settings that I really like. I’m sharing them with you because I’m often asked for my settings.