Slow Start

stephenfisherphotography.com, shorebird, sunWell…my 2017 Wildlife In Focus photography contest efforts are off to a VERY slow start. Mother Nature isn’t cooperating…

I went out to the River Ranch early Sunday January 15, 2017 more as a symbolic act than anything. It was cloudy with little if any light. I got in my blind at the Family Pond and tried to shoot some ducks…but no luck. I packed up and drove all around the ranch just to see if something might happen. It didn’t…

Monday and today were much of the same. It looks like tomorrow’s weather might be better. Hope so…

This is an image of a LBB (little brown bird!) I made several years ago.His posture is how I feel. Standing around waiting…

 

 

 

Cue Up The “Rocky” Theme

stephenfisherphotography.com, River Ranch, Refugio County Texas, Resaca, CloudsOK…So tomorrow is January 15, 2017. The 2017 Wildlife In Focus photography contest begins tonight at midnight. No…I won’t be out on the River Ranch at midnight, but I sure plan to be there at first light Sunday morning!

Like I’ve mentioned before, I almost decided not to compete this year. The 2013 and 2015 contests were so-so for me. Both years I though I had presented a pretty darn good portfolio of images. Unfortunately, the judges didn’t go crazy over them. Yes…I have images in both of the Wildlife In Focus books from those contests, I even had 2 category first places in 2015. But…

Tomorrow I’m going to go out to the River Ranch and pay homage to those 3000 beautiful South Texas acres of diverse land. I plan to drive around in my Jeep and just enjoy the scenery. Make some plans…see whats’ happening…and just get back in contest shooting mode. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow…

This is an image of one of my favorite spots at the River Ranch. There’s a resaca of the Mission River that courses through part of the ranch. The amount of water it holds is a function of Mother Nature. Right now it’s has a lot of water…as it did when I made this image 2 years ago. I like this image a LOT! It failed to place in the 2015 contest. Like I said…it’s a tough contest!

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Ready

Stephen Fisher Photography, River Ranch, Refugio County Texas, Oak TreeActually…I am ready!

This Sunday, January 15, 2017, the 2017 Wildlife In Focus photography contest starts. This biennial competition is frankly a real grinder. The competition is fierce…and gets more so every 2 years.

This will be the third of these I’ve competed in, and probably my last. My performance in the 2013 and 2015 contests were so-so. In spite of this, the Grassedonio family has allowed me to represent their beautiful ranch again. My friend Wade Grassedonio will also be competing again this year. We will not be shooting as a team, but Wade and I will continue to help each other out as needed. Sometimes it’s nice to know that there’s another human being around the 3000 acres of the River Ranch.

There have been some rules changes for 2017 contest that I feel will help me. Historically no localized editing was allowed in this competition…only global edits. Having the ability to make some localized adjustments should make for even better photographs. Photographers still are restricted from adding or subtracting anything to/from their images. It’s a good rules change…

I get asked a lot about the Wildlife In Focus competition. People want to know everything from “Am I good enough to compete?” to “What’s it like out there every day?”. Here’s what I’m going to do this year. I’ll be blogging throughout the entire contest this year. I promise to be as honest and straightforward as I can with chronicling exact what it’s like to compete in a major photography competition. Maybe it’ll make for a good read…I hope so.

OK…Let me tell you about this majestic old oak tree out on the River Ranch. I drive by it every day I’m out on the ranch. It’s probably 200 yards off one of the dirt roads out there. I wonder how old it is? How many storms has it endured? And on and on and on…

It’s just a spectacular old tree..

 

 

Johnson Ranch

Stephen Fisher Photography, St. Charles Bay, Sunrise, Boat House, CloudsPhotography has replaced a lot of other things in my life that used to be relatively important to me. If I don’t mind saying so myself, I work pretty had at my craft. Yet it doesn’t seem like work. It’s what I do…

There will be more photographs taken and shared in 2017 than in the entire history of photography. If you don’t believe that, you probably don’t have a Facebook account. We are visually bombarded daily with photographs…some great…some not so great. When I was a kid, magazines like Life and National Geographic were the main source for my viewing photographs. Today…the internet allows us unlimited access to billions of photographs every day. And the Smart Phone industry has created billions of “photographers” in the world. Everyone is a photographer today! And believe it or not coming from me, that’s a good thing.

Most artists, and that includes artists working in all mediums, strive to develop their own unique “style”. It’s what differentiates their work from the pack. With those billions of other artists out there, the pack is HUGE! I think I was blessed with having a “good eye” for photography. The proverbial “good eye” is an elusive term that means different things to different people. For me it means seeing things in a compositional manner that many others don’t see. But with today’s market overflowing with photographers…that’s just not enough!

I see photography as a 50% blend of capture and 50% editing. Both are equally important to me. I try to use my editing skills as a differentiating element in my photography. Editing is something I LOVE to do. It makes me feel more artistic! So I spend a lot of time editing my work. I’m trying to combine my “good eye” with better than average editing skills to break away from that “pacK”. I want to develop my very own…and hopefully recognizable…style. And to build on that, I want it to be a style that is pleasing not only to me, but to others. Not all styles are good! It’s a process that takes time and commitment…

So what about this image. I made this file around Thanksgiving 2016 out at the Johnson Ranch (Crane House Retreat) near Lamar, TX. I posted several others from this shoot on Facebook, and they were well received. Early this morning I was going though some images from that day and found this file. I decided to work it up with some new editing techniques I’m using, and I’m pleased with it. It’s a step closer to a “style” I would like associated with my art. It’s real and it’s honest. And thats what I want for me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough Love

Whooping Cranes, ColtI certainly don’t pretend to be an expert on many things…certainly not Whooping Cranes. But…I think it is fair to say that I’ve seen more cranes than the average person. I live in Rockport, TX, and thats where the Whooping Cranes come every winter. And this is something I’ve NEVER seen…

We had the opportunity to observe a family of three Whooping Cranes forge for Wolfberries and Blue Crabs for several hours. Both were plentiful, and the female adult and the colt were constantly moving and eating. The male crane remained close, but spent a lot of the time scanning for other cranes attempting to enter their territory.

All of a sudden the colt just laid down in the marsh and appeared to sleep. I have never ever seen a crane lay down. I’ve seen them resting on one leg, I’ve seen them sleeping standing up. But never laying down. Maybe I’m wrong, but…

The female crane noticed her colt down and made a few calls to it. When the colt didn’t respond, she walked over and gave him a peck with her beak. The colt finally stood again and resumed eating. I guess the colt had just worn itself out and wanted to rest. “Mom” had other plans…

 

 

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