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From the West: Time for a File Cleanup


Kind of like “Smelling the Roses” — the cottontail not only smelled the flowers, it seemed to think they tasted good also. This and the following two images were a fortunate happening on a local hiking trail, we also saw coyote, hummingbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds and even a turtle or two. I carried a digital SLR with a 70-300mm zoom telephoto lens. It is very useful for all kinds of photography. I’ve used a so-called “full frame” sensor camera here and ... Read More »

From the West: A Walk on the Wild Side – Photography in a Zoo

great horned owl and cholla

  Visiting the Sonora Desert Museum south of Tucson last week I was surprised at the variety of photo opportunities, especially a morning presentation by a group from Raptor Free Flight. Beautiful birds in flight and with careful planning and a few camera and lens tweaks, the presentation really worked for bird flight photography and the spectators enjoyed a great time as well.   Raptor Free Flight team member Wally Hestermann shown here with a great performing red-tailed hawk. Released from a ... Read More »

From the West: Great Lenses, Great Cameras


  When I mention “great lenses, great cameras” I’m talking about the tremendous and continuing progress in camera and lens design and even the lower prices that make owning the new technologies possible. My son in Omaha is a devoted photographer and my source for the latest information, especially on the so-called “four thirds” and “micro four thirds” sensor size cameras and the trainloads of new lenses that will fit on most of the cameras. He even loaned a lens, ... Read More »

Darn That Fog


Waking to a landscape covered in hoarfrost is a photographer’s dream. Hoarfrost’s creation is a simple combination of water vapor in the air and cold temperatures. The vapor source, however, can range from atmospheric fog to steam fog rising from water that is warmer than the air above it. You can’t always look at the forecast and plan for it, but it doesn’t take a degree in meteorology to know that when overnight lows dip to -16 degrees, you can ... Read More »

From the West: Finding a Cure for the Blues

American Avocet

                  Friday was one of those grey, cold days here in the west and I’ll admit my mood pretty much matched the weather. Thursday’s 87-degree weather turned to Friday’s high temperatures in the mid 40s, and since I hadn’t been out to photograph for several weeks, the camera called. I ran into a real cast of characters on the Sandhill marshes and nearby, the first was a Black-necked Stilt, then an American ... Read More »

From the West: Wednesday’s Musky

Bob Jatczak with Wednesday's musky

What a coincidence, Monday’s arrival of the May, 2012 NEBRASKAland and Wednesday’s fishing trip into the Nebraska Sandhills. Author Jeff Kurrus wrote what turned out to be a very timely article on Nebraska’s musky population: The State of the Musky Address, Nebraska’s 50-inch Niche in the May NEBland. It arrived on Monday here in Alliance and my fishing partner Bob Jatczak of Alliance and I had already scheduled a fishing trip into the Nebraska SandHills, not for a musky, but ... Read More »

From the West: “Serious Photography?”

Classical two-story soddy in the Niobrara River Valley.

Seriously, I don’t consider myself a “serious photographer”, but I have been on record in the past that photography enthusiasts should learn about the history of photography and especially about the meaningful photography made by the “masters”since photography was invented in 1836 and 1837 France. Even the most un-serious of us can practice and prepare our skills on whatever subjects are available and be more confident when we do collide with possible images that stir some inner emotion. The three ... Read More »

From the West: Pronghorn on the Prairie

Pronghorn on the prairie north of Crawford

Nothing too special today, other than I’m really enjoying using a new, fairly inexpensive (everything’s relative) telephoto lens for wildlife photography. I’d made the popular “circle tour” north of Fort Robinson State Park out into the Oglala National Grasslands last week, with some of the gumbo roads (see below) still showing the impact of melting snow. The “unofficial circle tour” is popular with northern Panhandle visitors throughout much of the year and the many attractions include wildlife photography, rock hunting ... Read More »

From the West: Digital Exposures Problem Solved

Snake River and extreme contrasts

Returning somewhat to the subject of my last blog, photographing during the contrasty lighting of over head-sunlight, here is an example from yesterday. The Snake River image here is very contrasty, brilliant whites — back-lit white water and deep, dark shadows. Again, I’m amazed at the contrast range that can be captured by the digital sensor. This is a “straight-forward” image, without PhotoShop, the white balance and a few other tweaks performed in LightRoom’s develop module. The camera was a DSLR, ... Read More »

From the West: Spring is Around the Corner

Back-lit wings

Tuesday was an “out roaming”, looking-for-photos day. I drove east through the Sandhills, just a blush of green grass growing where the snow piled heavier this winter. Small groups of mule deer were enjoying the fresh growth. I hiked into the Snake River Canyon below Merritt Reservoir, pretty difficult to wax too creative with the mid-day sun turning on the high contrast. The canyon must be getting steeper, 35 to 40 years ago it seemed easier to climb. There were ... Read More »