The Bird is the Word

Northern Shoveler Ducks In Flight

Out again this morning to photograph the birds at the “tree in the lake.”

The main idea of course is to get a little shutter time in on the Nikon D500. The resulting bird photographs are all destined to the microstock catalogs.

I discovered yesterday that the D500 was consistently under-exposing images in matrix metering mode by about 1 stop. I had noticed this issue earlier but didn’t think much of it until I got to editing a few hundred shots and observed how often it was happening. It was happening all the time, so last night I dialed in a correction value for the exposure and tested the results today.

We be good. The correction value appears to be doing the trick. As to why it was underexposing, I have no clue. Some cameras are just weird. I’m not going to send it back to Nikon for analysis, as I need it for next week’s trip to Monte Vista. I’ve had other cameras that had difficulty with exposure, more commonly over-exposing. At least I’m paying attention.

I’ve ripped off about 1,000 live action shots these past two days and I think I have the camera figured out quite well. It’s a good camera. Thoese 20.7 megapixel images are the perfect size for stock images, as I don’t have to size them down below 30 megabytes, which is the file size limit on some of the microstock sites. I normally don’t do a lot of cropping, and when I do I try to keep the image dimensions to at least 10 megapixels. The D500 has enough crop room to allow that result.

I also managed to get over 20 stock images between yesterday and this morning. There are probably a few more worthy candidates in the batch, but I have’t gone through them all yet.

I’m getting sales hits on the European microstock sites now that the images have been online for a few days. It’s looking promising, should help keep the profits up above last year. Gotta have more sales this year than last year, that’s a given. Right now, I’m on track for a record sales year, but it’s still early. You never know what is going to happen in the world that impacts this business.

Still Frozen

Red-tailed hawk hunting for prey on the high plains of Colorado.

I made a trip out today to reconnoiter the local lakes, all of which turned out to still be mostly frozen. I need to fill in some gaps in the bird catalog with a few different species of ducks and such, but there wasn’t much of that going to happen. I also walked about a mile along the South Platte River near Littleton, and what few waterfowl were there were at a distance and not excited about me being near them. The only interesting thing along the river was my chat with a guy hiking in to go fishing. I used to fish the lakes at South Platte Park many years ago. It was a favorite place to take the kids when they were youngsters. I caught some mongo-huge mackinaw trout in those lakes too. If I were still into fishing, I’d probably be better served to go drop a line in the water than lugging around camera gear at frozen lakes. That would require me getting a fishing license though, and I haven’t had a fishing license in over 15 years. Don’t need one in Red Feather Lakes, as all the lakes are private.

Still, a worthy trip though. The weather was mostly clear and in the mid-50’s. A welcome break from the frozen world of January here in Colorado. And, I needed the exercise.

Since I have no photos from the day, here’s a photo of a red-tailed hawk taken on this very same day in 2017.

Old photos are what you get when it’s still frozen.


Winter Runs Long in Colorado

Flight of Canada Geese

The Bomb Cyclone moved through the state this past week. As a result of yet another snow storm, I postponed my trip to Monte Vista for 7 days. I’ll be heading out on this upcoming Monday with the hope that the weather reports are accurate and the Sandhill Cranes are still alive and well, and in great numbers.

I did manage to get out on Friday along with my travel partner to practice our techniques for photographing large birds in cold weather.  Geese and Great Blue Heron, plus a few more ducks on a still frozen lake. My friend is an amateur photographer with great enthusiasm, but his skills get a little rusty so I’ve been working with him to dial in his mental game. It’s been paying off. I think he’ll do fine.

It isn’t like Colorado doesn’t get snow in mid-March. In fact, March is the most snowy month of the year here. The weather can’t be reasoned with, only understood and endured.

Endure we shall because Winter runs long in Colorado.

Out and About, Just Duck’n Around

The Arctic freeze has begun to break here in the Denver area.

A bit colder and more frozen than a typical year in the Central Rockies has contributed a great deal to my laziness.  Sooner or later the laws of physics will take hold and it will warm up.

Yesterday was a warm day and a friend of mine and I decided to go investigate the local lakes to see what waterfowl had migrated into the metropolitan area.  While we found plenty of frozen lakes, there was an obvious change of season in progress and with that change of season comes the normal migratory species of ducks.

Here is a quick look at a few of the ducks we found.

It was good practice too, as I’ve been lazy with the photography and this change of weather has allowed me to get my photographic eye back in tune with bird photography in preparation for my upcoming trip to Monte Vista.

These will all be uploaded to the stock photography catalogs, as duck photos do sell from time to time.

The day of exploration was also a good opportunity to grab lunch with a friend.

Mostly, we spent the day “Duck’n Around”

Common Goldeneye

Lesser Scaup Male

Lesser Scaup Female

Mallard Drake

Mallard Hen and Mallard Drake

Gadwall Male