Spring Begins

In spite of how winter has held it’s grip on the prairie, the longer days and warm sun have brought out a few song birds.

A sparrow perched on the elm tree in our front yard, basking in the sun.

A sparrow perched on the elm tree in our front yard, basking in the sun.

Cedar waxwings are sporting their finest feathers right now, their black masks making them look like brightly colored bandits.

Cedar waxwings are sporting their finest feathers right now, their black masks making them look like brightly colored bandits.

The bald eagles continue to escape the reach of my lens, but this Osprey posed neatly in a tree for me during an evening walk last night.

This osprey was perched unusually far from the water's edge at a nearby reservoir.

This osprey was perched unusually far from the water’s edge at a nearby reservoir.

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Spring is for Burning

PrairieBurn

Controlled (or prescribed) burns are an important part of prairie management for wildlife, reducing the amount of dead plant materials next to the ground, controlling unwanted weeds and insects, and giving the prairie new life. Today I had a front row view!

CedarFlames

Eastern red cedars can be invasive, and one way to reduce their impact is through prescribed burning.  This one went from fully engulfed in flames to ashes and a few wisps of smoke in less than a minute – it was impressive!

Accidentally Awesome

Great photographers spend a fair amount of time perfecting techniques that capture the individual personality of their subjects.  One of my favorite ways to photograph children, especially toddlers and pre-teens, is to catch them in candid moments when they don’t know I’m taking their picture.

Toddlers are notoriously wiggly or performing for the camera – and pre-teens… well, they’re different, although much the same!  Next time you’re taking pictures of your children at the zoo or at a birthday party, try focusing on them when they’re not looking, avoiding posing them or telling them to smile… and you may be very pleased with the results!

studying

I recently caught my pre-teen in a rare quiet moment of contemplation. Immediately after this photo was taken, his hands were up in front of his face, blocking himself from the camera’s view, and I ended up with about 5 blurry photos of his hands. The reward of course, was the first photo I took – one of my favorite photos of him.

Another technique I use for moving subjects, including wildlife (and toddlers… and pre-teens) is to utilize my camera’s burst function, which takes several photos in quick succession.  Over-using this can result in a LOT of photos to sort through, but it can also be a good way to capture small details you may not have noticed as you were just trying to get the shot.

This fawn was playing with his twin sister and mother in the snow near my office.  I was disappointed that I hadn't captured a photo of him running - but when I downloaded the photos from my camera, this one surprised me - I hadn't even noticed the snow clinging to his whiskers and nose!

This fawn was playing with his twin sister and mother in the snow near my office. I was disappointed that I hadn’t captured a photo of him running – but when I downloaded the photos from my camera, this one surprised me – I hadn’t even noticed the snow clinging to his whiskers and nose!

Taking Flight

Hawk

I’ve always been fascinated by raptors.  This young red-tailed hawk jumped from his perch
just as I focused my lens, the late morning light illuminating his tail feathers.

pintails taking flight

This shot took a little bit of tip-toeing and covered my boots in mud, but catching some
beautiful pintail ducks taking off was the highlight of the evening!

Snow Day Fun

MotherDaughter

The snowy scenery was too lovely to resist when we got our first sunshine after the storm, so I called upon these two lovely ladies to bundle up and have some mother-daughter fun!

Whitney

The snow set off Whitney’s beautiful wide smile perfectly.

Nicole

And Nicole is a natural in the outdoors!

footprints

Nicole suggested footprints in the snow, which turned out as a lovely testament
to the closeness these two beauties share.