Journal

July 11, 2017 - Colorado

I traveled to Gunnison County, Colorado in mid-April of this year to photograph the rarest North American grouse, the Gunnison Sage-Grouse. I've been trying to find a way to access the highly protected lek sites of this species for several years now, and at times this seemed like an impossible task. But persistence paid off, and with a bit of help from friendly locals, I was finally able to get the photos I'd been hoping for. I now have photos of ten of the twelve grouse species found in North America, but those ten include all the most difficult species, and I don't anticipate having too much trouble photographing the remaining two (Ruffed and Sooty Grouse) as soon as I have a chance to spend some time in good habitat for those species.

Gunnison Sage-Grouse

Despite being significantly smaller and exhibiting some plumage differences, the Gunnison Sage-Grouse was not recognized as a species separate from the more widespread Greater Sage-Grouse until 2000.

July 9, 2017 - California

Photos from two brief trips to California in March are now posted. Both trips were centered around the Bay Area, though I also went south along the coast as far as Monterey. Along the way I got some nice photos of raptors and falcons, and also had a few good sessions with waterfowl and shorebirds.

Black Oystercatcher

Waves crash behind a Black Oystercatcher on the California coast.

I'm still working on getting my website updated after nearly a year of photography. Next up will be photos from a grouse trip to Colorado in April.

July 7, 2017 - O'ahu Underwater

About 71% of our planet is covered by water, but until recently I hadn't really seen what lies below the surface. I've been spending more and more time exploring the marine world since getting my scuba certification a couple years ago, though, and have also started doing some underwater photography. My first set of underwater photos, from a trip last fall to O'ahu, are now posted, and more photos from Florida and Bonaire will be coming whenever I find time to process them.

Spotted Eagle Ray

A Spotted Eagle Ray glides above the sandy ocean floor. Including the tail, these guys can reach lengths of up to 16 feet!

The gear used for underwater photography is quite different from what I use for my normal bird photography, with much shortert focal lengths and no high speed flash. Learning how to create good images underwater has been challenging, but at least my subjects have been cooperative. For a photographer used to stalking wary birds and photographing from a distance with long telephoto lenses, it's almost unbelievable to swim right up to a fish and take photos from mere inches away.

Arc-Eye Hawkfish

An Arc-Eye Hawkfish perches atop the reef, waiting for prey to swim by.

So far my approach to composing underwater photos has been similar to photographing birds, since that's what I know best. Most serious underwater photography seems to take a different style, though, which in some ways is more akin to landscape photography, with less emphasis on telephoto portraits and more attention given to close-up wide-angle photos. Perhaps I will experiment more with different compositional styles in my future dive trips.

Green Sea Turtle cleaning station

Green Sea Turtles habitually visit traditional "cleaning stations" where reef fish wait to eat algae that otherwise would collect and grow on the turtle's shell and flippers. Goldring Surgeonfish attend to a turtle in this photo.

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