Friday, March 24, 2017

Competition Entries

The Bountiful-Davis Art Center has an annual competition that includes all types of art. I've entered before and occasionally won a prize. This year is a bit different, with digital submissions for judging, then physical submissions if you are accepted.
For me, trying to discern which of my photos might be considered art is quite challenging. Lately I've been using the criteria of - if it documents the reality of something, no matter how beautiful it is, I don't call it art. Following that criteria as close as I can (who knows if it works) I submitted these three photos. Guess we'll see!

Ice Dancers


The Reader


Eye of the Stone


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Great walk at the refuge

The main refuge road is closed from Goose Egg Hill on, so to get down to the bridges one either walks or rides a bike. Bill and I walked, his first time at the refuge, and we saw a number of birds, several herons. But we did prove that birds are allergic to moving human beings as they all flew well in advance of us.
Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable walk down to the second bridge, under a cloudy day that didn't turn warm until much later. We did see a number of birds while in the truck on the initial section of the refuge road.

Yellow-headed blackbirds are back!




Ducks everywhere!


Grey ghost hunting.


While pelicans hanging out.


Unusual for three herons to be flying together.


Run, baby, run!


Red-tailed hawk flew from pole to pole to entertain us until I had sufficient photos, then off it went.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My Favorite Place!

I recently found out about the #VantagePoint project by Light.co.  Light.co is developing the L16, a compact camera that uses 16 lenses to shoot photos simultaneously, then blends them into one image of DSLR quality.  The #VantagePoint projects aims to finds out more about photographers’ favorite places to shoot and their favorite photos from those locations.

While I love to visit many places, my favorite is the Farmington Bay Wildlife Refuge in Farmington, Utah. My trips out there, often two or three times a week, over the past ten years have yielded a number of prize-winning photographs of both wildlife and landscapes; plus any number of wildlife photographs that have helped to educate friends and family.

Wildlife photography in the refuge is different than many other types of photography. The birds and animals are conditioned to not fear a vehicle but will immediately flee when a person presents themselves. So we photographers go to great lengths to get the best vantage point to capture the shot. Often this will mean parking and waiting, sometimes for hours, for the raptors or herons or geese to present themselves in a way that I want to photograph.

Patience is a big requirement for this type of photography. However, while waiting, there is so much that the refuge will teach you if you are willing to look and listen. You learn that Great Blue Herons, normally seen hunting fish or frogs in shallow water, will hunt field mice and voles in a field when the ice is too thick - or just for a change sometimes. You learn that the Northern Harriers often fly the same routes while hunting, so you can position yourself to get the picture you want more easily.
You also learn that the wildlife can be anywhere and often you do not see them until they move. I've taken photos of a Great Blue Heron only to see later that there were three more herons hiding in the brush behind it! Or the young (first year) herons that will fly right up to your vehicle out of curiosity!

Farmington Bay Wildlife Refuge is managed by the State of Utah with considerable assistance from the various duck and goose hunters that enjoy the hunting there. Airboats are common during hunting season and the wildlife soon become acclimated to them and their noise. The hunters help refresh the raised nests, raise money to put in bathrooms and do various other chores to assist the set workers. All in all it seems to be a great partnership.

While my favorite place was easy to pick, picking a favorite shot from the thousands of shots was hard. I finally chose this one of a female Northern Harrier. To me, she represents the spirit of the refuge - fierce, independent, beautiful, and wild. Sometimes it is hard to imagine these wild beings just a short distance from a heavily traveled freeway and lots of housing.

She was captured using my Nikon D50 (now traded in for a Nikon D7200) using the Nikkor 70 - 300mm f4.5-5.6 at 300mm, ISO 200, f5.6 at 1/1250 sec.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Backyard Birds

Here's a few of the birds that visit our backyard enjoying the feed that we provide.

As much of a nuisance as the flock of starlings are, we often overlook the beauty of the individuals.


Northern Flicker keeps coming back.


Downy female


Birds of the refuge

Here's some of the birds of the refuge...the cormorant is not as common but the Northern Harrier and the Pied Bill Grebe are ubiquitous!





Thursday, March 16, 2017

Potpourri

A couple of shots from the past, one from Zion NP of the Virgin River and one from the Farmington Bay wildlife refuge.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

Heading West!

Train headed west, Oquirrh Mountains up close, Kennecott smokestack in view, Stansbury Mountains in the background. Beautiful day.