What Are Invasive Species?

"Invasive species" or "introduced species" are terms that are used frequently in conservation circles. If you've heard these sayings before; perhaps, you heard it on a news broadcast or saw it on a sign. Maybe they were talking about a tree, a weed, a fish, or a bird. In all of these cases, the same… Continue reading What Are Invasive Species?

Bird Blinds Are Wildlife Photographers Friends

When looking at a map for a larger park, you may notice a pair of binoculars. When you look at the legend, it may say "Bird Blind" or "Wildlife Viewing." If you are a photographer, these places are well worth checking out. Observation areas are not all equipped for photographers. I've been to many wildlife… Continue reading Bird Blinds Are Wildlife Photographers Friends

Sometimes It’s Fun To Just Watch

Wildlife Photography is often about being ready to capture that perfect shot. You're eagerly peering through the viewfinder at your subject, and your finger is on the shutter release. You're tense, nervous, and excited. The shutter clicks and soon the animal takes off. Sometimes though, it's nice to sit back and enjoy watching your subject… Continue reading Sometimes It’s Fun To Just Watch

Keep an Eye on the Parents

Springtime is great for photographing young animals. Whether you're on the lookout for fawns, owlets, ducklings, or goslings, this is the time of year to find them. Different ecosystems are host to each of these young ones. But, they all share a common factor, protective parents. Youtube is rife with videos of people tangling with… Continue reading Keep an Eye on the Parents

Conservation Efforts Do Work

Trumpeter Swans are one of North America's great conservation stories. Through the 1800s, hunters prioritized Trumpeter Swans for their feathers and meat. Hunting combined with habitat destruction led to the near demise of the species. Bird Surveys of the Continental US in the 1930s were only able to locate 69 swans in Red Rock Lakes… Continue reading Conservation Efforts Do Work

Watch Your Lighting

Wintertime in Iowa means that your light conditions are constantly changing. There have been times where I have seen the weather change from cloudy to sunny and back in a matter of minutes. There are also many days that are overcast, and it is hard to draw out the details in your photography subjects. Elements… Continue reading Watch Your Lighting

Nature’s Heroes

Wildlife Photography is full of crazy adventures. Maybe one day, you're sitting in a hunting blind waiting for ducks to fly or swim in. The next day involves walking through the woods searching for owls. These are regular days for a wildlife photographer, but sometimes you come across something you didn't expect: an animal in… Continue reading Nature’s Heroes

Know Your Subject

Whether you are a beginner or an expert at wildlife photography, you will always benefit from learning more about the animals that you want to photograph. Simple information like what eco-systems a species is more likely to be found in or what times of the year you're more likely to see a species are essential… Continue reading Know Your Subject

Go Play in the Snow

I am not a big fan of going out into the aftermath of the cold, wet, winter snows. Unfortunately for me, those can be some of the best times for photography. When the sun is shining on the snow, it can highlight the beauty of different birds and objects. The contrast between the snow and… Continue reading Go Play in the Snow

Shades of Brown

The colors found in a picture can make it or break it. Sometimes, when out on a shoot it's hard to tell if a photo will have those rich color tones that will stand out from the crowd. This photo is one that I was not sure about until I got it off the camera… Continue reading Shades of Brown

Don’t Settle for a Snapshot

Landscape photography is vastly different from wildlife photography, as I have come to learn. This is not only because of the difference in subject matter. In wildlife photography, you are often at the mercy of the whims of the animal that you are trying to photograph. Sometimes, they fly or move away from that perfect… Continue reading Don’t Settle for a Snapshot

Play With Monochrome

Sometimes nature and the seasons are not your friends when it comes to photography. This is especially true in Iowa during the summer when photographing near water. Once the temperature rises, algae start to bloom in the waterways and can destroy a beautiful picture. All hope is not lost though and this picture is a… Continue reading Play With Monochrome

Brilliant Colors

My favorite thing about spring migration (other than the massive number of birds) is the brilliant plumage on the males. Wood Ducks are especially beautiful to see but can be quite skittish. That's where urban ponds and lakes can come into play. Birds that frequent these waters are generally more used to having humans close… Continue reading Brilliant Colors

Go Beyond the Bird Blind

Iowa has beautiful state parks and one that is relatively close to where I live is Walnut Woods State Park. One of the main features of this park for wildlife enthusiasts is the bird blind. Songbirds, woodpeckers, raccoons, and red foxes have all been known to make appearances there. It can become a habit to… Continue reading Go Beyond the Bird Blind

Patience is a Virtue

One of our favorite types of birds to photograph are owl. They come in many different species and looks. Some can be found in Iowa year-round and others only for a season. The Northern Saw-whet Owl is only found in Iowa during the winter months and can be hard to find because it is roughly… Continue reading Patience is a Virtue

Networking Can Lead to Great Finds

We never would have found this fox without the help of a friend. He knew that we were interested in finding foxes and let us know where one had been spotted in rural Iowa. Foxes have fairly large territories so even with a general location, it took several tries to find this one. It was… Continue reading Networking Can Lead to Great Finds

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Dirty

I don't like getting dirty. This doesn't mesh very well with wildlife photography, so I have to work to get over it. The reason for this is very simple. I want to get the best shot possible. The best shots of animals are those that are looking evenly at the animal. This means not shooting… Continue reading Don’t Be Afraid to Get Dirty

If You Want a Challenge, Chase a Butterfly

Every time you go to photograph a new type of animal, you find that you still have a lot to learn about wildlife photography. I was walking through the woods looking for birds and hoping for an owl. Instead I found a butterfly. I, in my ignorance, believed that it would be an easy shot… Continue reading If You Want a Challenge, Chase a Butterfly

Look Everywhere For Your Subject

I nearly missed this shot because I wasn't looking up. This adorable, little squirrel was curious about me but it only poked it's head out for a few seconds. This is a good reason to remind my fellow wildlife photographers to look up for subjects. In fact the other photographers that I was out with… Continue reading Look Everywhere For Your Subject

Seek out the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Just because a bird is a common sight for you doesn't mean that it's not unusual for someone else. American Robins (Turdus migratorius) can be found in Iowa year-round and so they are easy for me to overlook when I'm hunting for a subject. This bird has a striking gray and orange coloration that can… Continue reading Seek out the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

First Adventures in Photography

My brother-in-law, Doug, has been shooting amateur photography for years. He started with trains and planes and has now branched out into wildlife. His frog picture is one of my favorites. He normally goes out on the weekends with a friend, Eric. This fall he invited me along and the first outing was set for the first day of pheasant hunting season, October 31st.