We hit the Colorado elk rut at prime time to photograph elk behavior. We saw males fighting, bugling and tossing vegetation on their antlers, all in hopes of attracting females. Check out our trip report by clicking on this link: Trip Report Link
Tom and Cree celebrate the great images created by their community of photographers by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For August we selected a brown bear image created by Teri Manchen on our Brown Bear Safari . We hope you enjoy Teri’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to August 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Teri Manchen
The Story …
At first the mother bear was really far away. She started coming closer to us and I was excited to get the shot. I wished her cubs were in the image too. The were down at the end of a cove and then they walked right past us.
I was happy with the bear and the fish. The fish was on the ground and it was hard to tell if it was still alive. I liked how it lined up with the bear perfectly.
I was not afraid of the bear. I had done the same trip two years ago and had the same experience of getting close to grizzly bears. I was pretty calm. I just wanted to get the shot.
The last time I went to Katmai, I used aperture priority as my preferred shooting mode. This time I shot in manual mode to make sure my shutter speeds were high enough. This was also the first time I used auto ISO on Tom’s recommendation. It was exciting and it really works. Now I will use it a lot.
Nikon D5 with 200-500 Nikon zoom lens at 480mm
Manual mode with auto ISO F11, 1/2000 sec
Teri’stips for photographing brown bears:
Don’t be scared. You will get closer to the bears than you imagine. The first time I photographed brown bears was at Silver Salmon Creek. I was a tad afraid. We were in a buggy and a blond bear started chasing the cart. I was in the very back of the buggy closest to the bear. That experience was a bit nerve wracking. Now I realize that I can be close to bears and not worry when I’m photographing.
About Katmai National Park
I loved every part of Katmai National Park. You can’t imagine that you can walk so closely alongside the bears. It’s unreal. I liked looking for bears and finding them around almost bend of a creek.
The day when we saw 22 bears in one 360 view was amazing. We also had wonderful weather. We never had to put on our raincoats.
On Teri’s Horizon
Ouray, Colorado for fall color
Bucket list: Antarctica
There is one space left on a bear workshop for 2022 . Click here to read more . Our 2022 schedule is getting full, but we have openings for 2023. For our full schedule Click Here
We plan to post a new Ecuador Hummingbirds Workshop soon. Join the interest list
Tom and Cree celebrate the great images being created by their community of photographers each month by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For July we selected an image of a Broad-billed Hummingbird created by Suzanne McCann on our Arizona Hummingbirds Workshop. We hope you enjoy Suzanne’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to July 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Suzanne McCann
The Story …
The story behind this image is twofold. I went down to Madera Canyon not with the intent to simply take pretty pictures. I wanted to create folded notecards or photographs for the wall.
This drove the choice of background, white, because I can fit it into a lot of different wall spaces. During the pandemic I did my best to learn PhotoShop. The white background makes it easier to change out birds and flowers
The hummingbirds themselves were also a driving force for my images. Hummingbirds are spirit symbols in the cultures where hummingbirds are indigenous. Cultures have different interpretations of hummingbirds but they all point to what is good in the world: joy, freedom, prosperity, good luck, a sign from the heavens….a lot of different things, but all uplifting.
When I created the cards it was with the intent to show joy.
The Photo of the Month was originally a bird in one picture and a flower in another. I wanted to combine them into one photograph for a little girl’s room – my grand niece. I chose a gentle background with light pink to set the tone.
I also wanted to create an image that would tell a story for her future. Hummingbirds can fly forward and backward. They can stop on a dime and fly in one place until a situation gets better. They have endurance and determination. Their focus is on the good stuff – the nectar. They skip the thorns and the leaves and go to what is nourishing. Finally, they can be fiercely protective and be a warrior if needed. I wanted to show a girl that while there is pink and pretty and froth, there are also attributes of hummingbirds which are good life lessons
EXIF Data: Nikon D850 with 500mm PF len
Manual mode with flash F16, 1/200 sec, ISO 100
Suzanne’stips for creating hummingbird images:
They move so fast. Don’t be frustrated if you cannot get tack sharp birds in every photo.
I found it easier to focus using a remote trigger. My reflexes are not as quick as they used to be.
Also, go in with a plan. Figure out what you want to do with the photos ahead of time. Then you can decided what will yield the best results while shooting. For me that was choosing to use white backgrounds. Unlike photographing bears, with hummingbird images you can literally change the background color either before taking the image or afterwards with PhotoShop.
About Madera Canyon
The New York Times describes Madera Canyon as a Sky Island. It is incredibly special and just a short distance from Tucson. It is home to a wide variety of birds including hummingbirds. Just go a mile up the road and you will find different species.
You can be photographing hummingbirds and a wild turkey will come up to you to see what you are doing. Or a coatimundi.
Santa Rita Lodge is geared towards attracting birds and animals. They provide spaces for you to enjoy them. And for photographers to set things up.
On Suzanne’s Horizon
Bosque del Apache
Yellowstone in Winter
Arizona Hummingbirds in Madera Canyon
Hummingbirds in Ecuador
There are a few spaces left on our Arizona Hummingbirds Workshop in 2023. Click here to read more
Our 2021 schedule is full, but we have openings for 2022 and 2023, For our full schedule Click Here
Tom and Cree celebrate the great images being created by their community of photographers each month by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For June we selected an image of a coastal brown bear created by Rodger Israel on our Brown Bear Safari Workshop. We hope you enjoy Rodger’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to June 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Rodger Israel
The Story …
This is from the meadow at Lily Pond along the Katmai coast. We were sitting around on old logs, all hunkered together.
The bear decided to take a walk around us to check us out. I just waited for him to line up with the mountains to take the shot.
It was important to have the right lens with me. Everyone thinks of photographing bears with long glass. When the bear started approaching us I realized he was too close for the longer lenses. I switched over to shorter glass to get the environmental shot of the bear.
It was as close as I wanted to get to a bear. I would not have wanted to get closer.
EXIF Data: Nikon D850 with a 24-120mm F4 at 120mm
F8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 450
Rodger’stips for photographing coastal brown bears:
Wear your waders and don’t carry too much stuff.
About Katmai National Park
It is the ultimate bear experience. You can get close to the bears in their natural habitat. We were the only people there and the weather was nicer than I expected.
Katmai National Park is a wonderful combination of bears and scenery.
On Rodger’s Horizon
Northern Lights in Fairbanks
Australia and Tasmania
We have two bear workshops coming up in 2022. Check out our schedule : Click Here
Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created on our workshops by posting a photograph each month from one of our workshops that best captures the environment or people of that location. We decided to return to one of our three February workshops since we postponed our March workshop . We hope you enjoy Greg’s images as much as we do.
Congratulations to March’s photographer – Greg Ness
Every trip I go on, there are a few iconic photos I want to get. We’ve all seen snow monkeys with snow on their head…..that was what I had in my mind for this shoot.
The day before, we went up to the monkey pool and I got a good idea of what I needed to do for the shot. Tom and Cree took great efforts to make sure we were the first ones up at the pool. I knew I wanted a water-level photo….one were I was staring right into the monkey’s eyes.
I squeezed myself into the corner right on the lower platform near the pool. It was very uncomfortable. I stayed right there for two hours in the snow.
I used my 70-200 f/2.8 to blur the background. The shot settings worked great because the monkey was a little further away. I am used to shooting people’s faces with the 70-200 at f/2.8. There is a lot more depth to a monkey’s face with their deep-set eyes, and for some of the closer monkey photos, I wish I had shot more images at f/4 or f/5.6.
I got a lot of nice photos. This one spoke to me the most. It was the picture I had in my head.
My goal a few years ago was to visit all 7 continents and I have done that now. On this workshop, the combination of wildlife, people, landscapes, with cranes, monkeys and people photos peaked my interest. I knew I would get bored with just one or the other the whole time. I thought, “I’m going to stay engaged the whole time.”
It was end to end fun. It was so enjoyable. Japan impresses me more than any other country I have visited…..the locations and the efficiency. It is a big, beautiful world out there.
The Data: 1/500 sec, f/2.8, 200 mm, ISO 500
The Gear: Sony A7R IV, Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS;
Photo Tip from the Photographer:
Photography is such a personal thing. I never criticize other people’s work. I do not know what they want because I am not inside their head.
My tip is to know what you want to accomplish before you walk out the door. Your best chance of shooting good photos is to minimize the time you spend taking ordinary photos.
A recent example of this came up one morning in Torres del Paine in Chile. We were with a ranger looking for pumas and the weather was perfect for wildlife. Along the way we passed some wildflowers and two members of the group wanted to stop and take macro photos. That was the ordinary photo. To get the really good photo, we needed to stick with the plan we started with. We saw the pumas from far away, but were not able to get good photos. After you pursue the image you have in your head, there is plenty of time to shoot whatever you want.
Greg at the Imperial Palace:
This is a gorgeous scene, but I really wanted to emphasize the Imperial Palace in the photo. This is facing west. I had tried morning images, but because the sun was lighting up Nijubashi Bridge in the foreground, it really emphasized the bridge instead of the palace. I went to this location several times this day to check the lighting conditions. When I went at 3 PM, the light was perfect. The bridge was still beautiful, but the face of it wasn’t directly lit up by the sun.
After I took this photo, I decided to walk around the whole palace complex. It is about three miles around it from outside the moat. About halfway around, I noticed another bridge going over the moat with police and security people there. I saw that they were putting on formal white gloves, so I figured something was up. It was just a couple other people and me standing there, as this was not a typical tourist location. A short time late, ex-emperor, Akihito, was driven out of the palace complex with his rear window rolled down. I smiled at him and waved, and he waved back at me as I took his picture.
To see Greg’s photo on FB of former Emperor Akihito click here
On Greg’s Horizon:
Africa – Morocco
South America – coastal Brazil, Bolivia
Asia – Tibet
To see upcoming international photography workshops with TBPW click here
Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created on our workshops by posting a photograph each month from one of our workshops that best captures the environment or people of that location. With so many great images from Japan and our 2 Texas Birds Workshops, it was hard to choose. We hope you enjoy Alfredo’s image as much as we do.
Congratulations to February’s photographer – Alfredo Fayard
I love wildlife and photographing birds in particular. When I am photographing birds I usually use my Nikon D500 and a 200-500mm telephoto lens for birds in flight.
This workshop was my first time photographing from a blind. I drove down from Houston so I brought everything with me including a 500mm f4 lens and my new Nikon Z7. I had never used the Z7 for wildlife photography before. The pictures I loved the most came from this combination 500 F4 and the Nikon Z7.
I set up the camera in the blind at Laguna Seca Ranch with this new combination. I took my first pictures and fell in love with the color of the holy berries. I thought “That would be beautiful with cardinals.” At the time there were Green Jays and a few other birds on the perches so I waited for the cardinals to show up.
I saw that the backgrounds were disappearing (because of the f4 aperture). It reminded me of drawings from naturalists in the 1900’s before there were cameras. The drawings give the sense that there is nothing in the picture except birds and berries. I knew that when the cardinals came in that it would be beautiful.
I loved the variety of birds we saw. Laguna Seca Ranch was the most pictorial of the two ranches. The backgrounds just disappear because of the location of the vegetation. I would like to go back at another time of the year with different flowers and birds.
The roadrunner experience at Santa Clara Ranch was beautiful.
The Data: Nikon Z7 with 500mm F4 EXIF F4 1/1250 ISO 720
Photo Tip from the Photographer:
I went to the location with one idea of what equipment I would use. But I tried something different. The Nikon Z7 is not known for its speed as a wildlife camera. However, the resolution and details it produced were incredible. I did not realize this until I saw the images on my computer.
On the Horizon:
Costa Rica – I have been there several times before. Now I am looking forward to applying what I learned on this workshop to the jungles of Costa Rica,
To learn more about the Laguna Seca Ranch click here
To learn more about the Santa Clara Ranch click here
Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created on our workshops by posting a photograph each month from one of our workshops that best captures the environment or people of that location. With so many great images from Patagonia, it was hard to choose. We hope you enjoy Patricia’s image as much as we do. Please let us know what you think about our Photo of the Month posts!
Congratulations to December’s photographer – Patricia Solano
I was really nervous and excited for the shoot with all the horses. I was excited about what it may look like. I was nervous because I was surrounded by a lot of talented photographers. In a group I knew I would be vying for space and I am a small person.
I remember asking myself, “Holy crap! How am I going to shoot this?” Because I have done trips with Tom before, I knew I had to be on continuous (auto-focus) and shoot at a high shutter speed. I always shoot in manual so I was not thinking about aperture. I chose the 70-200mm lens to get the vista, but also to be able to zoom in as the horses came running at us.
As soon as I got to El Galpon, it spoke to me. It was a combination of the vistas, the horses and the macho men. The remoteness of the estancia made it peaceful and I just loved the spot. I love Patagonia and El Galpon was my favorite place in Patagonia.
Of course, the gauchos helped!
The Data: Sony ILCE-7R, 70-200mm lens 1/1000 at f6.3 ISO 1250 manual mode
Photo Tip from the Photographer:
I am on a steep learning curve as a photographer. I have learned that if you screw up, just forgive yourself. Even if it is a once in a lifetime shoot like we had at El Galpon.
On the Horizon:
Return to Cuba – outside of Havana
Return to India – the south this time
To learn more about the El Galpon Estancia in Patagonia where this photo was takenclick here