Sunday, January 29, 2012

Photo of the Week! Gray Jay

Nikon D90, Nikkor 300mm f2.8, ISO 500, f8, 1/200

Chad and I are planing on heading to northern Minnesota later this week or  early next week. I thought I would share a photo from our last trip up north. This Gray Jay was flying back and forth from this perch to a much larger tree. We spend a couple of hours shooting trying various in flight and perch shots. As the light got lower and lower in the sky the snow started to fall. It became more difficult by the minute to keep the shutter speeds at a level to freeze motion. Anyway, we'll keep you all posted on our adventure!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Photo of the Week! Prepare for Flight

Nikon D90, 150-500mm @500mm, ISO 500, f7.1, 1/1250

Keeping up with my Trumpeter Swan theme this week; I made this image in Monticello, Minnesota where the swans congregation by the hundreds each winter. There is a power plant up river keeping the water mostly free of ice. Early mornings are my favorite time of day to photograph swans because of the added fog/mist from the warm water. This is a double edge sword however, the air temp is often below zero.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Photo of the Week! Misty Swans

Nikon D90, Sigma 150-500mm @500mm, ISO 400, f8, 1/640

A couple of weeks ago I drove up to my favorite swan location in Minnesota to photography Trumpeter Swans. To my disappointment I didn't see a single swan. I have been to this location several times and on a bad day there would be hundreds, swimming, flying, and sleeping. 

I went home and did the next best thing, process old files. I literally have thousands of swan images from years past. I came across this photo and thought, "how the heck did I miss this?" After changing the exposure a bit I was done with it. After that I decided to upload it to where is was my best received image to date.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Favorite Photo of 2011 by Chad Griggs

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f/4 AFS @ ISO 500, f/7.1, 1/2500
Oh it's that time of year again and this time the choice was fairly easy one. The Common Loon is Minnesota's official state bird and I always wanted to get a good photograph of one. Finding a Loon in Minnesota is not the issue. They can be found on most of Minnesota's 10,000+ lakes. The issue isn't even approaching them (for the most part). Loons in Minnesota are not nearly as skittish as many ducks such as the Ring-necked Duck. The tricky part is getting them in that perfect environment for the photo.

The light has to be at the correct angle to show details in their black feathers, but not too bright to over expose their white feathers. An ideal Loon photo for me also requires calm glassy water and of course a clean background. And if you add in some Loon behavior..? Oh my! This is the photo of the year, and I knew it right away!

More information about this photo

Monday, January 2, 2012

Favorite Photo of 2011 by Derek Griggs

Gooseberry Falls State Park, Minnesota
Gooseberry Falls State Park, MN
 Nikon D7000, 24mm, f13, ISO 200, 2 seconds

Choosing just one photo this year proved to be more difficult than I expected. Maybe it was because last year I had a clear favorite? Or I took better photos? I'm not sure. I can say that I had a great year of photography. It started with picking up a new camera (Nikon D7000). No, its not a pro camera body, however, It does produce excellent photos. My very first outing with it was at the Minneapolis Auto Show. Then it's true test came when I was visiting Pensacola, Florida. I was extremely impressed with the cameras speed and auto focus. The rest is history
Back in August, I headed north from my home to Gooseberry State Park in northern Minnesota. Gooseberry was my last stop on a one day adventure. As I arrived the clouds rolled in and harsh light was gone. As I was making my way down to the falls and passed a professional Canon photographer that was talking with several people. As I passed him he gave me a look like that I didn't know what I was doing as to say all the "good light" was gone. Well, it wasn't. I took my time moving around the falls to an area that I was alone. After some minor rock climbing and walking across rocks so my feet wouldn't get wet I arrived at this location. Then made my way to a small sand bar to set up my tripod.

On my trek back home all I could think about was how the images looked on the back on my camera. As soon as I got home I ran upstairs and started downloading the photos. I started processing an image without the log. Once I finished it, there was something missing, so moved onto the photo with the log. As I completed it, I knew that my long day trip was worth it!

I can't wait to see what 2012 brings! I'm hopeful that I can make it out to Yellowstone again this time for a spring trip among others. Have a great 2012!