A mule deer runs around the back of the Scotts Bluff National Monument in the late afternoon.
One thing I wanted to work on in 2020 was becoming a better photographer. I’m an okay one right now. I know I can get better. It takes practice, thought about how to frame your picture and why you are taking the picture, and some more practice.
The following pictures are some examples of my work. I tried to convey what I was thinking and whether I succeeded or failed. I still have a lot of practicing to do.
It is difficult to photograph great horned owl babies. I wanted to get as much of their environment as possible and also hope to to get them in focus. There are a lot of limbs around them, which creates challenges.
This photo turned out almost as exactly as I wanted it. When you zoom in, the feathers on this hawk aren’t as clear as I’d like them to be, but I also have to remember the limitations of my own camera as well as myself at the moment.
Although I have a series of photos of the hawk taking flight, I think this one turned out the best.
After returning home, I decided to play a little bit with darker settings. Low light photographs are still difficult for me. I practiced on my cats. This picture of Puck turned out well. It took a while to get to this point, but my settings were 1/50 sec; f/5.6; ISO 400.
Puck is so photogenic. I had to stick a second one in here of him.
Inside our a/c unit on the second floor is a bird’s nest. Paul and I decided to leave it alone. I tried several shots before the bird flew away. This was the best one. It’s a crap photograph, but it also shows I’m still learning and trying to figure out how to make this photograph better. I ended up switching off of manual and to aperture priority. You can see a little bit of the blue on the bird. I got a little frustrated because I couldn’t work out what I needed to do to make photograph show the color of the bird. It was good the bird flew away because I really needed to stop before I got too angry. I’ll keep working at it and get a better shot one day.
Almost everything turned out perfect here. On a day where most of my pictures were crap, this one made me smile.
It was a windy evening when I came across this rabbit in the Oregon Trail Memorial Cemetery. I hope to be able to compensate for the wind in the future so it isn’t so evident on the rabbit’s fur. I am grateful that this rabbit continued to eat while watching me and letting me get so close to take pictures. As I practice, I expect to be able to have clearer shots of rabbits, even when they don’t let me get close to them.
My goal here was to have the single leaf be the only thing in focus. In that respect, I failed. I still got the leaf and you can see all its veins, but the overall goal of what I was trying to do didn’t quite work out. I also tried to get the leaf and branch in total focus, but that one failed spectacularly.
While out walking a part of the Oregon-California Trail through Robidoux Pass, I was struck by the juxtaposition of the current cow trail to the dirt road and how they appear to run into each other. There isn’t much of a lesson here for me. I just saw something, went, “huh” and took a picture of it.
Well, I got the wings. A moment before the bird was sitting on a branch. There isn’t much I can do when it decided to fly through the branches.
This is another shot of the great horned owl chilling in its nest. I was pleased with the opportunity to get a clear picture of the owl’s face when it was not blocked by the small branches.
On this day, the babies were alone, so I grabbed a couple of quick shots. I won’t be taking any more. They deserve to grow some more and learn how to be on their own. I will learn how to take better action shots with other fast animals around the Panhandle.
Mama great horned owl was a little ways down the road from her babies when I arrived this morning. She was keeping a hawk distracted and away from her nest.
The owl came to rest on a tree and watched the hawk for several moments before taking off into a nearby field. It swooped up and down as the hawk chased the owl. The went down low in a field before the owl rose up and flew straight toward its nest. The owl rest back in the nest, protecting its babies as the hawk flew south, rising in ever-growing circles as it eventually disappeared into the southern sky. The owl had won the battle this day. I hope to see its babies flying high later this summer.
Looking at the last two photographs, it is clear I have some work to do. While the photo of the owl flying is not a terrible picture, there is plenty of room for improvement. These two photographs were taken moments apart. My brain still doesn’t shift correctly to remember I need to change the settings for the next shot. As a result, the last photograph is overexposed in the bright, Nebraska sun. I’ll get there. I just need more practice.