Near Miss

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Scissor Tail Flycatcher,Not another “near miss”! This happens to me way too often…

The 2015 Wildlife In Focus Photography Contest has a LOT of rules…a WHOLE lot! Thats fine. The rules are the same for everyone. I’m not complaining…about most of them.

I like this species a LOT! And honestly…until a couple of days ago…I’d never made a Scissor Tail Flycatcher image I’d show publicly. Earlier this week I finally figured out how to make some decent files of these guys. As a matter of fact, I have about a dozen files I’m considering putting in my final portfolio.

BUT…This is one of them I like…and can’t use it! One of the rules is that the image must be a least 6 megapixels in size. They say it’s because of print quality issues, but I’ve had lots of small files successfully printed…

How did this happen? My Canon 1Dx produces full framed files about 18 megapixels in size. I caught this bird leaving the wire and he/she was positioned on the left side of the frame. I just didn’t pan fast enough to get it centered in the frame. There’s no way to move the bird in the file with a crop…I’m out of room on the left!

Can this be fixed in Photoshop? Yes…easily. I can just add some canvas on the left side, or I could move the bird with the Content Aware – Move feature. Unfortunately…this just isn’t allowed in the contest.

The good thing is that I still have those OTHER 12 files to choose from…

 

 

 

 

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Good Day

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Scissor Tail FlycatcherFor the first time…in a LONG time…I had a little light to work with yesterday!

It wasn’t perfect, but at least the sun was breaking through the gray gloom that has been the norm for the last month. I had my best shooting day in a long time. Thank goodness…

A lot of the flood waters have started to recede off of the Texas Photo Ranch. Don’t get me wrong. There’s as much water on the ranch than I’ve ever seen, and the weather folks are saying more is coming in. It’s getting harder and harder for me to keep saying “We need the rain”!

I made about 3 thousand clicks yesterday. I got all of them downloaded last night, and plan to spend a big part of today working through them and doing some serious culling. The really good news is that I’m positive I filled a few empty categories for the contest. Thats a GOOD thing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More Weather

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Cattle, Round UpI’m sure the rain and inclement weather is effecting just about EVERY competitior in the 2015 Wildlife In Focus Photography Contest. It certainly has left me somewhat anxious…

We have less than a month left in this competition, and then it’s time to submit 100 of the very best photos in as many categories as possible. Well…I don’t have 100 images that I’m proud of right now!

There’s still plenty of time to add to the portfolio, but the weather has to cooperate. I haven’t been out to the ranch in several days. I can only imagine that the roads are awful…and the blinds have flooded. This isn’t the first time this has happened, so we know what we need to do…

I’m more than ready to get back to work! I’m hoping to get back there Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday and Thursday are looking like we might be able to shoot. We’ll see…

 

 

 

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Texas Photo Ranch

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Ranch Landscapes, SunrisesYesterday Wade Grassedonio, owner of the Texas Photo Ranch, announced that he was no longer soliciting photographer’s access to the ranch. I knew this was coming, but seeing it in print really hit home for me…

I completely understand his decision. He’ll never say this, but the amount of work and capital required to keep this operation going just wasn’t economically feasible. And then there’s the stress of hoping and praying the guests have a “world class experience” when they visit. Mother Nature makes those decisions! Sometimes the bird activity is unbelievably good, and sometimes it isn’t. This is in spite of the required hard work of maintaining the photo blinds and keeping all of the feeders stocked with seed. No one on this Earth can control the weather…

Wade did leave the gate…no pun intended…open for a new business model at the ranch. He mentioned opening it up for special occasions and photography workshops. I personally think this is a GREAT idea, and that it will be a viable option. I know for a fact that the majority of the blinds and the daily feeding will continue to be maintained. I know this because Wade and I will continue shooting out there as much as possible.

I love this ranch! I’m so proud to have represented both the Texas Photo Ranch and the Grassedonio Family in the 2013 and 2015 Wildlife In Focus contests. I’ve been out there so much over the last 4 years that it feels like home to me! They’ve ALWAYS treated me like family…

So let’s wait to see what happens. Private photography instruction and photographic workshops are definitely available. Knowing Wade like I do, something more manageable and even better will come out of this…

 

 

 

 

 

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Number 2

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, BullsBefore becoming associated with the Texas Photo Ranch, I had never spent much time around beef cattle. They’re an interesting species…

The heifers tend to stay in groups…some large…some just a cow or three. They eat, rest, and tend to their calves. Very curious…yet cautious. Independent…but needy.

The bulls are a completely different story! They more or less live a solitary life…unless they’re working. Their “job” is to find heifers coming into estrus…cover them…and keep the herd growing a calf at a time. They seem to like their work…

Bulls aren’t cute and cuddly like the calves. They are massive…and can be sort of aggressive. This is number 2. I’m pretty leery of this BIG boy…with cause!

I was in a pop up blind one afternoon working a corn feeder looking for birds and mammals coming in to eat. A pop up blind has small windows covered with camo netting. I’m sitting in the blind and see number 2 working his way over to me. He keeps getting closer and closer. I can even hear him breathing. And then he starts that classical “pawing in the dirt” behavior. Look…I didn’t grow up on a ranch…but I know a problem when I see it!

This is really starting to worry me. Is he going to run right over me? Is this the way it ends? I survived Viet Nam, but end up trampled to death by a HUGE mean bull. Well…long story short…number 2 finally ambles off to go to “work”. I start breathing again and leave…FAST!

I caught number 2 relaxing under this tree the other day. Alone…as usual. I got out of my Jeep and started to get closer to him. All of a sudden he jumps up and just stares at me. I punched off several shots and made it back to the Jeep. I’ve learned my lesson…

 

 

 

 

Posted in Photography

Good Week

Stephen Fisher Photography, Northern Cardinal, Male, Texas Photo RanchThis has been a very good week for me…

I was able to add images into several previously empty categories!  Psychologically…thats HUGE for me. With just over a month left in the 2015 Wildlife In Focus competition, I really need to get going.

I reviewed my category entries last night, and I think I’m in pretty good shape. I do have categories with NOTHING in them still, but I come up with an image or two most days that might make the final portfolio of 100 images. Even if I have images in a category, I’m always looking to upgrade them with something better…

Not that it REALLY matters what I think. The judges are the ones whose opinion actually counts. I used to fall into the trap of trying to figure out what they might…or might not…like. Now I just shoot for me. If I like it…it goes in. If the judges end up NOT liking my images…I’m OK with that. Thats just the way it is in photo competitions…

 

 

 

 

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Yes…

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Red-Wing BlackbirdI knew they’ve been on the Texas Photo Ranch for a couple of weeks! I could hear them, but…

Yesterday I had Buntings come to the Cactus Blind. A male Indigo came in BRIEFLY…but I was able to make a couple of potentially usable images of this gorgeous bird.

I also had a VERY cooperative female Painted Bunting spend some time preening at the blind water. These females are beautiful…brilliant green feathers sparkling in the sun.

I’m sorry I can’t post any Bunting images yet. It’s a very competitive category in the Wildlife In Focus Photography Contest, and I just can’t tip my hand.

I did get an image of this handsome male Red-Winged Blackbird. I think he’s demonstrating some real attitude…

 

 

 

 

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Told You So…

Stephen Fisher Photography, Northern Bobwhite, Texas Photo RanchI just knew that May was going to start out fast and furious for me!

I mentioned yesterday that I had reviewed over 3 years of EXIF data on images that I’ve made at the Texas Photo Ranch. By far, May has ALWAYS been the most productive month for me. Well…yesterday was a VERY good day!

I saw several species for the first time this year. I had this Northern Bobwhite come to a brush pile near the Coon Blind. This bird was a solo, and was just singing it’s heart out. I’m pretty sure he was looking for a mate.

These are just beautiful birds, and I’m glad to share this one with you. Fortunately…I did get another file or 2 out of the 300 images I made of him that will be reserved for the judges to see first…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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But Who’s Counting

Stephen Fisher Photography, Black Crested Titmouse, Texas Photo RanchOK…So there are 44 shooting days left in the 2015 Wildlife In Focus Photography Contest! But who’s counting? Well for one, I am…

As of yesterday, I’m half way to filling my portfolio of 100 images. Am I concerned? Not really. I’ve review the EXIF data on all of the images I’ve made at the Texas Photo Ranch over the last 4 years, and May is definitely the BEST month.

So my plan is to hit it pretty hard until the June 15 deadline. If I’m there…and the birds are there…I think I can make something happen…

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On The Ranch

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, CalvesWhenever I open the swing arm gate and enter the Texas Photo Ranch, I send owner Wade Grassedonio an “OTR” text message. That way he knows that I’m “on the ranch”. It felt so good yesterday to send Wade the message…

Yesterday was my first day back shooting in a while, and I had a pretty productive day. I spent the morning in the Cactus Blind and was rewarded with some decent images of several species that I needed for the contest. I didn’t get the Painted Buntings that I want/need, but I’m thankful for what came in to my setup. It was a good morning…

After lunch, I drove the ranch and shot from my Jeep. I came across some Wild Turkeys and Scissor Tailed Flycatchers. Cattle Egrets were all over the ranch with the grazing cattle. I found this little guy napping in the warm afternoon sun!

It felt good to be back to work! Can’t wait to get back there today…

 

 

 

 

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