ImageSpotlight: Whitetail Lip Curl

I’m back after a bit of a delay. 2016 has been an unbelievably busy year and I’ve had to sacrifice the time I would normally dedicate to my blog. One does what he must and while I had to do that…right now, I must share the following image with you.

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Whitetail Buck: The Flehman Response

This beautiful whitetail buck is exhibiting a behavior that many hunters and avid naturalists alike recognize and commonly refer to as…the lip curl. Technically, this is called the Flehman Response, which is a name derived from the German verb “to curl.” This is a breeding behavior that occurs between late October – early January in the USA based upon geographic location. Bucks in Northern states (e.g. Iowa) may hit peak breeding time in November whereas in South Texas, peak breeding occurs mid-December to early January. So what purpose does the lip curl serve? Basically, the lip curl exposes an organ in the nasal cavity and allows a buck to get a deep whiff of something. In this case, he is trying to get a deep whiff of a lady friend with whom he hopes to hook up with…if you know what I mean.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

2015 – Year In Pictures

I finally put a video up of my 2015 images. I start out thinking I’ll just put a top 12 but you know, I just get carried away sometimes. There are way more than 12 photos shared in my HurtNaturePhoto YouTube Video which I have linked for you. I’m very much a novice at putting together videos and I’m working with a very outdated workhorse of a computer. In fact, the Apple reps call it “Vintage” but it continues to perform. It is taxed on resources so I am unable to determine whether there is video compression due to my computer or something that occurs when I share the video to YouTube. The images are sharp but please let me know how they appear to you on video. Enjoy and thanks for watching it. — KEVIN

ImageSpotlight: Northern Bobwhite Quail

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Northern Bobwhite Quail.  Canon 7D MkII | Canon 70-200/2.8 + 1.4x | ISO 1600 | f7.1

 

What a way to end 2015. I found myself back in South Texas on the Santa Clara ranch and once again, that ranch did not disappoint. I still haven’t viewed all of the photographs as I’ve not downloaded all of them yet; however, I really enjoyed the reflection of these 3 northern bobwhite quail and just had to share. I cropped this to a panoramic format to emphasize the reflection in the pond. While the original format looks nice, I think the panorama is a better portrayal.

Speaking of reflections, as you look back on your 2015, I hope that you accomplished all of your personal and photographic goals. As you look toward 2016, challenge yourself to stretch your photography skills. Whether that is to learn a new technique, travel to a new destination, or focus on that nemesis subject, may 2016 be your year.

Until next year…good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

ImageSpotlight: Mexican Ground Squirrel

Mexican Ground Squirrel.  Canon 1DMkII | 500/4.5 | ISO 400

Mexican Ground Squirrel. Canon 1DMkII | 500/4.5 | ISO 400

This Mexican Ground Squirrel provided a most pleasing pose at one of the water holes located at the Campos Viejos Ranch. They are constantly on the alert and the sound of the shutter caused this fine specimen to pause as if to momentarily say….”one more click and I’ll jump”.

Campos Viejos is a premier hunting and photography ranch in South Texas. For further information about photographic opportunities there, contact ranch owner Hardy Jackson.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

Backyard Photo Safari

People are funny. I think most of us are guilty of living by the old adage of “the grass is always greener”. Fishermen are always thinking that the big fish is around the next creek; while hunters obviously seem to think the bucks are bigger on the neighboring ranch or they wouldn’t put their hunting blinds right on the fence line. And photographers…well, our next great image is just a photo safari away. Even if we are not booking flights to some remote destination, how many of us drive for hours to photograph a subject, completely overlooking the abundance of photographic gems to be had in our own backyard? Too often I’ve been guilty of this so I now make a conscious choice to regularly photograph at home. I’m not saying I never drive long distances anymore, or that I don’t go on photographic ventures in distant places. I do and hopefully will always be able to do so, but as I just stated there are many photographic opportunities to enjoy at home. Granted, my current backyard is a little under 2 acres, whereas my former backyard was a small suburban lot. Honestly, that really doesn’t matter. Once I made a deliberate effort, I was able to capture some great images at both homes. The thing I hope you take away from the photos I share in this post is this…great images can be captured anywhere. All you have to do is realize how green the grass is at your own home…so put away the computer, turn off the t.v., and go discover the wilderness on your backyard photo safari. You’ll be glad you did!

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. — KEVIN

The images below are just a small sample from my current backyard. Click on the images for a better view.

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Downy Woodpecker. Canon 7D | 500/4.5 | f8 | ISO320

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Carolina Chickadee. Canon 7D | 500/4.5 | f5.6 | ISO640

White-breasted Nuthatch. Canon 7D | 500/4.5 | Canon 580ex fill flash at -2 FEC

White-breasted Nuthatch. Canon 7D | 500/4.5 | Canon 580ex fill flash at -2 FEC

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Canon 7D | ISO 200 | 70-200/2.8

Pine Warbler.  Canon 7D | 500/4.5mm | f7.1 | ISO 800

Pine Warbler. Canon 7D | 500/4.5mm | f7.1 | ISO 800

Tufted Titmouse. Canon 7D | 500/4.5mm |f7.1 | ISO 800

Tufted Titmouse. Canon 7D | 500/4.5mm |f7.1 | ISO 800

Eastern Phoebe.  Canon 7D | 500/4.5 | f7.1 |ISO 800

Eastern Phoebe. Canon 7D | 500/4.5 | f7.1 |ISO 800

The images below are from my old suburban backyard in Texas, taken by myself or one of my children.

Black-crested Titmouse. Canon 1DsMkII | 500/4.5 | f 5.6 | ISO 200

Black-crested Titmouse. Canon 1DsMkII | 500/4.5 | f 5.6 | ISO 200

Yellow Sunflower: Flowering Plants Category.

Yellow Sunflower: Flowering Plants Category.

Canon 7D | 50/1.8 @ f18 | 30 sec exposure | ISO 200

Canon 7D | 50/1.8 @ f18 | 30 sec exposure | ISO 200

Butterfly. Canon 1DMkII | 135/2.0 + extension tube

Butterfly. Canon 1DMkII | 135/2.0 + extension tube

House Sparrow. Canon 1DsMkII | 500/4.5 | f5 | ISO 200

House Sparrow. Canon 1DsMkII | 500/4.5 | f5 | ISO 200

White-winged Dove. Canon 1DsMkII | 500/4.5 | f 6.3 | ISO 200

White-winged Dove. Canon 1DsMkII | 500/4.5 | f 6.3 | ISO 200

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Happy New Year: 2015

Whitetail. Canon 7D |  500/4.5 |  f5.6 | 1/320

Whitetail. Canon 7D | 500/4.5 | f5.6 | 1/320

It’s been awhile since I last posted on the blog. Life has simply been very busy. I visited Texas over the Christmas break and it was good to be back in the Lone Star State. I’ve sure missed that Texas BBQ. As you can imagine, I also visited a few of my favorite photographic spots while there. I’ll have more images to share once I download and go through them all. However, I simply wanted to share this one Whitetail buck and wish each of you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. Here’s to a wonderful photographic 2015.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. — KEVIN

 

Shoot Anyway!

Abandoned Catholic Church - Artistic

Abandoned Rural Church – Artistic.    Click on the image to fully appreciate.

Sometimes, you plan for a photo shoot and when the day arrives, the light is horrible. On this particular day, I was hoping to get a colorful sunset and awesome clouds but what I got instead was a dreary dull sky. Of course, I knew that was going to be my fortune as I was driving out to this rural church but I had set out to photograph it and I was not going to throw in the towel because mother nature was not her kindest. Of course, there were other options as these dull overcast days are a great time to shoot macro. But, I wanted that church and I’m just stubborn enough to go and shoot anyway. The image below was what I captured in camera and I’ll be the first to say, not the best. So, I put it in the files thinking that someday I might be able to do something with it.

Abandoned Rural Church.

Abandoned Rural Church.

Fast forward about 3 years and I finally decided that an image like this could potentially look good as a black & white. Having recently discovered Nik software’s Silver Effex Pro, I decided to have a go. I made numerous local contrast and structure adjustments to the sky and grass in front. I thought the fence was an eye sore so I removed it. I added a red filter to the entire scene then finished the processing in Photoshop. The image below was the black & white conversion. The image at the very top of this post was an artistic rendering using Photoshop’s Oil Filter, which I really enjoy using.

Abandoned Rural Church - B & W rendering in Silver Effex Pro.

Abandoned Rural Church – B & W rendering in Silver Effex Pro.

Of the three images, I favor the artistic rendering the most, but the grungy look in the B&W also works for me. So when the day comes to shoot and the light is anything but perfect….shoot anyway.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN