Judges First

Stephen Fisher Photography, Wildlife In Focus, Calf, Texas Photo RanchOK…I think most of you know I’m in the early stages of competing in the 2015 Wildlife In Focus Photo Contest. The support that I’m getting from friends and family is overwhelming. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

I keep getting asked to post some of my images that I plan to submit to the judges. I just can’t do that! I made the mistake of showing 2 of my 2013 images before the judging, and I think it might have hurt me. I’ve been pretty clear that I didn’t do as well as I wanted in that contest, and I don’t want ANYTHING working against me.

I’ve made a lot of images that I really like, but for various reasons they aren’t right for this competition. I have been showing them on Facebook, and will continue to do so.

I have maybe 10 possible “contest worthy” already selected. The odds of them making the final cut vary. I’ll be safe and keep them tucked away until the final 100 get submitted.

I don’t want to let the other photographers know what I’m doing! They’re good enough without my help…

 

 

 

 

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Let’s get Going

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, CalfOK…Another so-so day for me photography-wise. I spent most of yesterday out on the Texas Photo Ranch, and don’t have much in the way of production to show for it!

In all fairness, I did work with Wade Grassedonio cleaning up a couple of messes we had on the ranch. Both the Cactus and Coon Blinds were flooded with all of the recent rain. Wade and I pumped the water out of them, and we hope the wind will dry them out every more. Then we’ll have to go back in and shovel out all of the muck. Pretty glamorous huh!

I’ll be back out there today. My luck is due to change…

 

 

 

 

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A Morning Of Misses

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Northern Cardinal, WaterYesterday wasn’t one of those days that you wish wouldn’t end! I was out on the Texas Photo Ranch for a half day of shooting, and it was a morning of misses…

The two morning pit blinds were both flooded after all the rain we’ve been having! So I set up one of my pop-op blinds at the Cactus blind and shot from it for a couple of hours. I found myself “overglassed” and never seemed to be able to find the right combination.

I decided to drive around and see if I could find something. Nothing really caught my eye…

I stopped by the trailer to drop off a sleeping bag. I opened the door and saw something had been shredding the paper towels on the holder in the galley. I saw some mouse poop and new what was happening. I’m sure paper towel pieces make GREAT nesting material! I have a non-lethal plan for the mouse…

OK…So that was yesterday. I did go see “American Sniper” yesterday afternoon. I thought it was just an awesome movie. It was the best thing that happened to me on Sunday…

Today s  a new day…

 

 

 

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Making Progress

Stephen Fisher photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Saddled Horse, BarnOK…I’m 10 days into the 2015 Wildlife In Focus Photo Contest, and I think I’m making progress!

Even with the rainy, cold weather, I’ve got several images tucked away that MIGHT make my final portfolio of 100. I’ll keep shooting, and if I can come up with something better in that category, they will get replaced.

This is one of the horses the wranglers used for the recent cattle roundup. She was tied up just outside the old barn. They seem to patiently wait until one of the cowboys need to work some cattle over to the corrals. These horses are pretty efficient at that!

I’m enjoying this contest! Hunting down subjects in the 59 different categories, and trying to make extremely good images is both fun and challenging. Of course I want to win! I want the judges the appreciate and acknowledge both my hard work and skill. I can’t control that subjective part of the process.

Once I pick the final 100 images, it’s totally out of my control…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More Weather

Stephen Fisher Photography, Northern Cardinal, Texas Photo RanchMother Nature hasn’t been cooperating weather-wise lately! After the first week of the 2015 Wildlife In Focus, I’ve only been able shoot 4 or 4 1/2 days…

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a lucky guy to have that many shooting days in already. Some of the competitors haven’t even started yet, and some can only shoot on weekends.

I’m pretty pleased with several of my images already, and think that maybe two of them will make my final portfolio of 100 files.

This handsome male Northern Cardinal won’t make the cut. I like this image…and I think I can sell it. It’s just not going to make it to the judges. Since this is my second time competing, I feel like I have some insight into the critical task of picking the “right” images to submit.

Having said that, one of this year’s judges was on the panel in 2013. One of the other judges has both judged and competed before. They are going to be looking at a LOT of really good images, and mine need to grab their attention!

I’m having a good time…

 

 

 

 

 

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Change Of Plans

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Barn, RustI can control a LOT of things relative to my photography…but the weather isn’t one of them!

I drove out to the Texas Photo Ranch this morning in heavy rain. It had been raining hard in Rockport when I left, but sometimes the ranch misses a lot of the weather. Not today!

I was on the ranch by 6:00 am and it was raining. I sat in my Jeep for about an hour and a half hoping there would be a break. I wanted to catch a sunrise with the dark clouds…but it didn’t work out. I drove back to Rockport, and will spend the day processing images. I’m encouraged with some of my early production.

Tomorrows another day…

 

 

 

 

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Cows And More

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Cows, RanchI feel like I’m getting into the flow of this thing…

Yesterday was just glorious weather-wise! I spent most of the day driving around the Texas Photo Ranch scouting for opportunities to fill some of the 59 different categories I need to photograph. I won’t submit images in every category, but for now I’m looking for anything and everything!

The 2015 Wildlife In Focus Photo Contest isn’t totally about producing fine art photography. Don’t get me wrong…image quality is ALWAYS critical. My job as the photographer is to document the wildlife and ranch-life on the Texas Photo Ranch. Sometimes pulling back and trying to tell a story works…maybe!

Beef cattle are strange animals! They’re very skittish and VERY curious. I was walking around one of the pastures yesterday, and these guys were really checking me out. They wanted to see what I was doing out there. I liked the scene and made this image. It won’t be in my portfolio, but I enjoy it…

 

 

 

 

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Game Changer

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Cattle, WaterYesterday I posted an iPhone photo of a RV trailer that has been made available for me to use out on the Texas Photo Ranch. Charlie and Carol Kocurek have been kind enough to bring it out to the ranch…get it set up…and let me use it at will!

I can’t even begin to tell you how much this act of generosity will help me. I don’t want to sound like a whiner, but having a COMFORTABLE place to rest during the day is huge. It also provides me a place to spend the night, extending my shooting time. My place in Rockport is about 45 minutes away from the ranch. Now I can shoot much later in the day, and much earlier the next day, without that commute. For this OLD GUY…that is a “game changer”!

This idyllic pond is where Charlie placed the trailer. It’s one of my favorite spots on the ranch. This is going to be perfect…

 

 

 

 

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It’s A Mystery

Stephen Fisher Photography, Northern Cardinal, Texas Photo RanchI’ve tried to figure out how this could happen to me. It’s a mystery…and I don’t think I’ll ever know…

I regularly use three different Canon bodies while shooting in the 2015 Wildlife In Focus competition. I ONLY shoot in RAW format. And even if that wasn’t my habit, the WILPC folks require a RAW image for every submission.  As a matter of fact, I have NEVER consciously made a JPEG image with any of these bodies. I buy a new body…set it up to shoot RAW…and NEVER change that setting…EVER!

I used my Canon 5D III body and several lens combinations to shoot the cattle roundup at the Texas Photo Ranch last Friday and Saturday. I also used that body to make some landscape images the same two days. I was pretty sure I had made some pretty good images those two days…

I download my cards after every day’s shoot. I NEVER go to bed with images left on those cards. Friday night I was in a rush, so I downloaded the files and didn’t do any processing. Saturday evening I was downloading more files…and was paying more attention…and my heart sank! All of the images on the 5D III body were JPEGs…

Somehow…and I’ll never know how…that body changes from RAW to JPEG. It takes a conscious effort to make the change…and I didn’t do it. No one else had been around my gear. It”s a mystery…

Bottom line…I can’t use any of those JPEG images for this competition. On the bright side, I will be able to shoot the spring cattle roundup and get those shots. I’m just glad I caught this after a day and a half. It could have been a lot worse…

 

 

 

 

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Broke The Ice

Stephen Fisher Photography, Northern Cardinal, Texas Photo RanchFinally! It’s game on…

Day 1 of my participation in the 2015 Wildlife In Focus is over. Everything else being equal, it was a pretty good day. Shot a spectacular sunrise…a few birds…and something I wasn’t expecting yesterday.

There’s a pretty good sized beef cattle operation on the Texas Photo Ranch. Yesterday, Charlie Kocurek who owns the cattle had some wranglers in for a cattle roundup. It was an exciting afternoon watching these cowboys work the cattle. More on this later…

I was pretty rusty working the birds! It’s been a long time since I’ve shot birds, and it showed. I missed some potentially good shots just from not lack of practice. Shame on me…

I’m on my way back out there…

 

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