Catching Up

February 5, 2017:  I was shocked to see that the last time I posted here was just over one year ago.  I began to write last summer, but never posted it.  Here is what I wrote:

August 2016:  Summer is beginning to fade.  The last time I posted here was in foggy February.  Much has transpired since then.

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Independence Day,  July 2016

I bought a new camera in June.  After months of contemplating between a Nikon and a Canon, I chose the Nikon D3300. It’s a small step up from the Canon point-and-shoot that served me well for over five years.

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Ginger at the Merced River,  August 2016

The Nikon still has the point-and-shoot modes, but allows me to graduate to manual mode—which I’ve yet to do.

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Joseph at the Tuolumne River in Yosemite,  July 2016

Manual Mode involves terms like aperture, shutter speed, ISO—terms that I still do not completely understand.

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Golden Gate Bridge with cityscape,  June 2016

Instead of learning the camera, my focus has been on learning how to set up the composition of a photograph such as those that you have been viewing above.

There’s a lot to take in.  My hope is, by the next post I will have graduated to Manual Mode.

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What Not To Do When Shooting Wildlife

February 2, 2016

I get excited when spotting an animal in the wilderness.  Just ask my husband.  One afternoon we pulled into a picnic area in Yosemite National Park.  While still in the car, I saw something move near the outhouse.  “Bear!” I yelled, thrilled at the possibility of capturing one up close.  Snatching the camera from the car seat, I fumbled with the case while Chris scanned the area for the baby bruin.  “Oh, you mean that DOG over there?” he asked.  Yes, it was actually a dog.  I was disappointed, but we had a good laugh over that.  (Hint: Scroll over a photo to see the caption.)

So when the Photo Club assignment for January was to photograph wildlife, I was eager to get started.  I wanted to head back to Yosemite and see a real bear…if they weren’t all hibernating.

During January’s meeting, I picked up some pointers on how to shoot wildlife:

  • Make eye contact, keep eyes in focus
  • Don’t amputate the animal, get its whole body in the frame
  • Make sure the image is sharp
  • Use a telephoto lens as well as a tripod for close-ups; or a wide angle lens to show the animal’s habitat
  • Have patience

With those tips in mind, Chris indulged me.  We left sunny Mariposa and headed through the Central Valley to the Merced Wildlife Refuge.

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Great Egret

The long, straight road and everything along the way—at least five dairies—was fogged in.  Agh!  I had just taken a hike in dreary weather and knew that it would be hard to capture wildlife in that environment with or without a telephoto lens.

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Black-necked Stilts

We crept along the dirt road of the auto-tour route, a five-mile scenic drive, hoping that the sun would break through the early morning fog.  It never did.  We stopped occasionally to view the ducks on the pond.

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Mudhens

Back at home, I scrolled through hundreds of my images looking for the best bird, bear, squirrel, snake, bobcat, lizard, anything-wild-that-I-photographed photo.

It became apparent when I pulled them all together, that photographically I didn’t know what the heck I was doing.

You’ve been viewing the best of my “What Not To Do When Shooting Wildlife” photos.  Most of the images are not sharp, none were taken using a telephoto lens, rarely was eye contact made, and sadly, body parts were amputated.

On the bright side, I am patient.

This summer I will try again to capture wildlife using my trusty little point-and-shoot while hiking through the back country of Yosemite.

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A dead bat in my yard. 2011