Trying To Catch Up

Due to some family business, the photo opportunities have been limited. Add that nearly all post processing came to a halt as well, so “Trying To Catch Up” is quite fitting.

The family business caused me to miss one of the sessions of Kathy ODonnell’s Simple Portraits class and I really had to scramble to get images for the last class. I realize that some of you are accomplished people/portrait photographers but it is a new genre for this fella. I came away with an appreciation for the precision and need for planning/checking backgrounds/poses and all the details  that a good portrait requires. It certainly is different than many of the situations Molly and I run into with our bird and critter photography.

Luckily, our niece Brandi, a senior in high school, was visiting us, so a model was available. After working a previous session in the class with a 80mm lens with mixed results, I decided to use that popular “portrait lens” that I am most familar with…… a 500mm.

Hey, to me a 100-400 is a ‘short lens’ LOL

These were Brandi’s favorites…….. and we threw in some of our “regular fare”



After waiting out rain showers, I and a photographer, who shall remain nameless– see photo on left for the nameless one  🙂  , went to photograph the shorebirds at Heron Pond.

We found out that it is against the rules to get off the path ( there is no sign). The two park rangers that informed us of this rule were courteous, diplomatic and level headed.They were really nice people and were just doing their job. I have no hard feelings about them. I appreciate their professionalism.

Is the rule photographer friendly? Not really.

It appears that the policy favors bird watchers that want to look at birds from the parking lot with the aid of 20X-60x spotting scopes. For comparison, a 800mm lens (longest production lens available) is 16X without an extender. I was using a 500mm with and extender (700mm) which gave me 14X.

Like many serious photographers, I’ve invested in long lens to increase the distance I can stay back from the subjects without being in their danger zone. The photos from previous blog posts show birds relaxed and certainly not stressed. The shorebirds in these photos are from heavy crops but they ignored us even when we were “off the path”.I certainly don’t claim to be Daniel Boone, but I’ve had people come within 15 feet of where I’ve been camoed up and not know I was there until I spoke to them. I’ve also shot shorebirds at minimum focusing distance ( about 16-18 feet) as they approached me……not me approaching them and they did not seemed stressed.

It doesn’t matter. The rule is stay on the path.

I’m applying for a special use permit Monday and I’m confident that a common sense solution exists. If there isn’t one then I would suggest that anyone wanting quality photos wait until the Trumpeter Swans return ( end of October (26th) is the earliest my photo log shows)….. and bring a looonnnnngggg lens.  🙂

NOTE: The Heron and Pintail Pond areas are closed October 15 through April 15 as waterfowl refuge. The parking lot is open all year.

Gallery images– heavy crops due to distance so the quality suffers. Use your browsers BACK BUTTON to return to this page then view the next image or click each image to go to the next one.