My World On A Friday Afternoon

Mule deer doe watching the sun rise.

 

This has been a quick week for me, despite having done much of nothing. I managed a mountain goat day trip with my friend Merlin. I took a one camera one lens combo this trip. The Nikon D7200 with the 70-200 f/4 VR. It took a bit to get used to it, as I seldom shoot with the D7200, despite the fact that it’s a pretty good small DSLR. It worked out fine.

In my slack time, which has been most anytime, I’ve been consolidating my photography articles to the Image Colorado Blog. The WordPress blog is slowly taking shape and I’m certain that by the end of this year it will begin to be my main entry point into the internet for things I like to blither about. Facebook is a hard habit to break, as a lot of folks follow me there.

I have republished one of my articles, A Primer for Achieving Sharp Focus With Telephoto Lenses.

I’ll keep pecking at it.

Doobie and I are bachelors this weekend. Trudy is in Red Feathers with her mother. I’m pretty boring to Doobie. There is a routine to our co-existence. We have a large yard so I make it a point to get him at least 30 minutes of high intensity running around like a crazy dog activity each day. All I have to do is go sit in the shade of a tree and watch. Doobie does all the work. He’s a heck of a dog. Nothing like sitting in the Summer shade with a Doobie.

One thing I hate about bachelor days is how I eat. I don’t cook for myself unless it’s a very simple and unhealthy meal. I don’t eat fast food either. That’s on my list of things to quit doing. I’m 95% successful, and it’s really a question of my self discipline. I have none.

I managed to get a half dozen stock photos up yesterday, taken on my singular photo day this past week. I’ve got a little print making to do sometime this weekend. That’s good, the printer has been idle for a few weeks.

Today’s photo is an old shot. I think I took it with a Canon EOS 5D and a Sigma 105mm Macro Lens. Yeah, a wildlife shot with a macro lens. It was early in the morning and a friend and I were walking over the ridge on Mt. Falcon to get wildflower shots. Thus the macro lens. As we peaked the ridge a group of mule deer ran in front of us in a line. It was a perfect setup and I just raised the camera and framed each of them as they passed through. I liked this one for the deer stopping long enough to look back in the direction of the sun. One of my personal favorites as it was totally by surprise and I had less than 5 seconds to get it all with no warning. The old Sigma 105mm EX DG Macro is a discontinued lens now, but without a doubt one of the best macro/prime/telephotos optically that I’ve ever seen. Sigma replaced it with an image stabilized version and ruined it. Good luck looking for a used copy, as people who have them don’t want to let them go. When they do come up, they aren’t cheap. They were less expensive brand new.

That about sums up my word on a Friday afternoon.

AI Feedback

Bull Moose in the Forest
Oh, what have we here?

 

I’ve been taking a break from photography and blogging these past few days getting my mental batteries recharged.

I’ve caught up on the car show dvr recordings. I’ve mowed and trimmed the lawn. I’ve watered the flowers. I’ve played “crazy doobie” more times than I can count. I have laundry running as I write this. There remains a long list of other tedious daily chores, none of which I’ll get to because I’m a lazy dog.

I turned the computer on Sunday long enough to do my FB photography group chores. It’s been sitting idle since. Today, I look for a photograph you haven’t seen.

A nice bull moose about to pounce on some wildflowers. I took this shot a few weeks back. One of hundreds I’ve only glanced at. I like this one. There’s an impending sense of action in this shot.

One thing about moose shots. In the Colorado forest, you get three colors. Blue (if there is sky), green (trees and grass) and brown (moose, dirt and tree trunks)  This limited natural color pallet drives Adobe stock’s “auto analyzer” crazy. It constantly flags moose photos as having some technical tonal/contrast problem. I click “ignore” and things move on along as planned.

I’ve never listened to AI feedback.

In Another Dimension

Cow Moose With Calf
Cow Moose With Calf.

 

Kicking back today with more stock photo editing and listening to Classical Music on the internet on the Italian station. Can’t understand a word they are saying but who cares. The music speaks to me. There’s something about classical that keeps the mind focused. I’ve always enjoyed it, particularly Baroque. Vivaldi and Bernini are simply sublime. If I could only have one album to listen to over and over, it would be Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Don’t need no stink’n Hip Hop, though Bebop will suffice quite nicely.

Classic Rock… Well I listen to it when on the road or at the cabin. I don’t think I need to hear Stairway to Heaven again though.

Country music is consumer music for the masses. I could care less about someone getting BBQ sauce on their white tee-shirt but Bluegrass is worth twice the price of admission. I generally avoid mainstream Country though.

Jazz. Really nice, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, that kind of Jazz. Kenny G can jump off a bridge and take his sax with him.

Blues. That’s what I’m talking about. The best American music is black music but some of the white guys have got the groove. Particularly Englishmen playing American Black Blues, ie Delta Blues. The English are more refined as musicians, but it’s still runner up to the originals. Ry Cooder, the best American white guy doing it I think.

New Wave (extinct now) sucked.

Electronic. (extinct now) was okay from some performers but excess and cross breeding ruined it. Walter/Wendy Carlos. Isao Tomita, pretty darn good but both died a few years ago.

Tangerine Dream, in another dimension.

 

 

 

 

All Things Must Pass

Photograph of a bull moose in Colorado
Bull Moose Grazing in a Water Lily Covered Lake

 

I’ve been offline for a few days, recovering from a marathon June and July in Northern Colorado. As usual, my photographic attention this summer has literally been focused on moose. With August still ahead, I’ve accumulated around 5,600 moose images this year. Last year’s harvest was over 8,000 moose shots. I’ll probably be close to that amount by the end of the season. These are edited keepers mind you. I normally weed out the unusable stuff. All of this makes for good mining for stock photos and this year has been no exception. The moose photos have been selling well so there is no reason to change course on subject matter.

I’ve been hosting moose photo tours since 2013 and I’ve decided that 2018 will be my last year of actively pursuing clients for tours and workshops. It’s been a fun ride; however, the logistics and rigor of doing these trips have been a challenge.  Being semi-retired, I’m not really needing the income so much as I have been enjoying the challenge and making new friends along the way, but it’s time to change gears to a more sedate and personal approach to my photography.

I have a Facebook group, North American Nature, Wildlife and Landscape Photographers Association, which has about 1,100 members. I founded this club in early 2013. It’s an online photography club of sorts and I personally know many of the members. Instead of hosting paying photo tours in the future, I’m going to begin organizing annual moose photo trips for the group. As time has progressed, I feel that I would enjoy making my knowledge available to like minded photographers, be they professionals or amateurs and sharing the experience with those interested. I’ve even given some thought to making the group an actual hands-on photography club based here in the Denver area. I’m a bit leery of this idea, as my experience with other photography/camera clubs in the area has been a hit and miss. I’ve never enjoyed the cliquish atmosphere some clubs have and quite honestly, the local clubs aren’t all that diverse. A lot of the same people are in different clubs and most clubs are focused on competition and not so much the art of photography. It feels repetitive and sometimes even boring.

What to do, what to do? Well, we do the next thing. I’ve always been prone to throw noodles at the wall and pick the ones that stick. I’m constantly cleaning noodles from the floor beneath that wall though. That’s okay, I have plenty of noodles. I’ll throw more.

I’ve been organizing my catalogs these past few days. With close to 30,000 moose photos, I’ve been stressing the limits of Adobe Lightroom so I’ve broken them down to separate catalogs based on the year. Lightroom likes this approach as once the photograph count gets around 10,000 images in a catalog it tends to slow things down on the computer. What this has done is force me to examine each year’s images again. I’ve got a lot of stuff that’s never been edited and I’m finding a lot of gems sitting in that pile of images. By keeping the catalog sizes down to manageable counts, I’m spending more time examining these previously ignored photos on a year by year basis.

At some point, I’ll drift from the realm of professional towards the realm of retired enthusiast. Well, I’ve kind of been doing that anyway, so this is in tune with my overall thinking these past few years. These down periods have a way of changing the mindset and my thinking is pointing me more to the art and enjoyment of photography and away from the art of business. I’m also getting back to writing more. I like writing. Now if only I can keep thinking of things to write about.

As George Harrison once wrote, “All Things Must Pass.”

A Shower And Shave

Photograph of a moose in the Colorado Rocky
Cow Moose Looking for Wildflowers

 

I’m back from the high country and with me comes a nice batch of photographs.

Had a wonderful time visiting with friends from the homeland. Cold evenings sitting on the deck of the cabin, swigging on a bottle of port wine, snorting shots of Kentucky Bourbon, telling stories that haven’t been told in 43 years. It doesn’t get any better than that. But, moose photos are the next best thing.

I took the visitors out for a day of moose hunting and it was awesome. We found this cow browsing through the dead-fall looking for something tasty. Those wildflowers are like candy to a moose. This girl obliged us and allowed us to get in close while she chomped on the goodies.

Time for a little R&R, then back to the wilderness to add to the portfolio.

But first, a shower and shave.

 

Taking Care of Business

Photograph of a moose calf
Shiras Moose Calf in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

 

These past few weeks have gone by fast. Mooseville has been serving fresh moose on demand.

Here it is a Saturday morning and I’ve had a few hours to go over the harvest from my recent efforts. The light consistent enough to get some really nice, well lit shots. These days I tend to take an attitude about the harvest, there are only three categories I sort my images by, useless, salable and anything I consider a “work of art.” I’ve taken a handful of photographs I would print and frame, many of the rest will produce. I am quite pleased.

If you’ve ever reheated cold coffee because it tastes better, you may have been a sailor. I can’t work at a computer without coffee and here in the cabin one doesn’t waste water. In the Navy, good coffee was day old coffee, anything older tended to rust your barnacles.

The photography has pretty much wound down now. I’m catching up on rest and visiting with Andy and Debbie. Andy and I grew up together as teenagers, he’s probably one of oldest continuous friends in my life minus family members. I think the base wavelengths of our brains haven’t altered so there is still total familiarity, at least from my perspective. We’ve spent the last two days in the SUV together and rehashed every memory from high school days in Kentucky, among other things. Debbie is from Nashville and a delightful lady. She’s been keeping notes about her travels. It’s a very nice feeling knowing that all seems well with my old friend after so many years of not interacting.

Over the years a lot of my friends had little or no interest in the “high school days.” When I graduated high school, I entered the Navy and began a family. I left Kentucky and most of everyone except family. I went to a couple of reunions, 5 & 10th I believe. Never thought about it after that, it was water under the bridge for me. That was 1975 and the years are adding up. My thinking has matured. People are beginning to drop off. Life wouldn’t be complete without going full circle to tie the whole thing together.

I had a piece of Derby Pie with my coffee for breakfast this morning. A gift from Andy and Debbie. Pies seem to be a reoccurring event in my life. I don’t know how that works but I’ll take it. Derby Pie is a pecan pie type thing infused with Kentucky Bourbon. It’s mostly visible to society around the time of the Kentucky Derby, however, those of us from Louisville consider it to be a food group.

I’ve met the day’s major points. Talked to the wife on the phone, bathed, uploaded stock photos and now writing in the blog. Taking Care of Business is playing on the oldies radio station. Radio, iPhone music and boring streaming television is what’s available for background noise. Radio is the choice this morning. I like to not have to fiddle with other things when I’m trying to concoct a blog post.

Here it is. All 537 or so words. That’s an honest writing effort.

Just as good as reheated coffee.

 

LaPoudre Pass

LaPoudre Pass

I haven’t had much time at a computer lately. An old friend from Kentucky and his lady from Tennessee are visiting with me this week and I’ve been showing them the mountains in Northern Colorado.

Lots of road work, lots of moose, lots of mountains, I’m finally getting a look at some of the images I’ve taken this week.

Here’s a photo taken Thursday morning on LaPoudre Pass, Colorado. It’s a beautiful place.

 

Nice Rack

Photograph of a bull moose in Colorado
Large bull moose in Northern Colorado

 

I’m back in Red Feathers this week and made a quick run to Mooseville on Tuesday afternoon.

I’m looking forward to one of my old friends visiting the Village for a few days so while I wait I’ll take advantage of the good weather and good moose.

Last night with the nearly full moon came the coyote. It was quite a treat to sit in the cabin listening to the howling of these lonesome creatures. I sat on the deck as they serenaded me for a couple of hours. They were fairly close, probably within 100 meters, lurking in the woods. They never showed themselves.

 

Back to Business

Moose Photogaphy by Gary Gray
Angry Bull Moose.

 

Today’s photograph of an angry young bull moose was taken in late May of this year in Red Feather Lakes.

Here it is, late July, and I’ve been spending a lot of time in Northern Colorado since late Spring. About one trip a week seems to be the average. I spend eight months of the year dreaming of getting back to the Northern Rockies and the high country. When it does arrive, the time seems to go too fast. Time compresses as we grow older.

I’m heading back to Red Feathers later today. This time I’ll be entertaining friends from Kentucky. I always like spending time with old friends. We began planning this last year during one of my visits to Kentucky. Trips like this get more difficult as we grow older, but when the opportunities arise, one must embrace them. I envision a few beers on the deck, a tour of the mountains and lots of catching up with a good friend from my childhood. Who knows when something like this will happen again. We aren’t getting any younger.

I hope to share some of the experience on the blog, so stay tuned.