Rain

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Wildlife In Focus, Sunrise, Dirt Roads, Puddles, ReflectionsRain was something every competitor had to deal with throughout the 2015 Wildlife In Focus Photography Contest. Not just an occasional shower…but days and days of mega rain!

Some days it was impossible to get around the ranch. There are no paved roads on the Texas Photo Ranch…not a one! Big oil tankers frequently come out to empty the holding tanks, and they left ruts that were difficult…if not impossible…to navigate. Some of the roads were completely flooded…

Mother Nature has a way of challenging us…but she is also generous. All of the rain provided the moisture for a spectacular wildflower season! While a category of it’s own, I used wildflowers in a lot of the images I submitted in my final portfolio.

The rain also provided opportunities for reflections. This is an image of a road on the ranch crossing Snake Creek. It’s a low spot on the ranch, and this road frequently floods. This morning the water had receded and left a big puddle. The reflection of the trees and the sunrise in the water caught my eye. It made my portfolio in the sunrise/sunset category. I liked it then…and I still like it!

 

 

 

 

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Jasper

Stephen Fisher Photography, Terrier Mix, DogMeet Jasper. He’s a 6 month old Terrier mix. 30 days ago he was living alone in a restaurant parking lot at a marina. Not any more…Jasper won the lottery!

We were meeting our friends from Chicago (they have a home in Rockport also) for dinner at Paradise Key…a popular marina restaurant in Rockport. Sharon and I arrived first and noticed this dirty little dog scrounging around the parking lot. Sharon immediately wanted to pick him up and do “something”. Look…we already have 3 Italian Greyhounds. Enough is enough…

I convinced her to call the animal control folks. We have a “no kill” Humane Society in our town, so I thought he’d stand a good chance of getting adopted. She made the call and that was that.

We were sitting where we could see the part of the parking lot. Our friend’s pulled up…got out of their car…and started to head for the entrance. After disappearing from view for a few minutes, they walked in with Jasper! It’s a pet friendly place, so our server asked if the dog would like some water. She said this little guy had been around for over a week, and wouldn’t let anyone grab him.

Long story short…Jasper is living the good life. He’s been groomed, neutered, had all of his vaccinations, and is living in a penthouse condo with a loving family. This couple has a much older Golden Retriever who has accepted Jasper. We saw Jasper last week and he is a precious puppy. His life will never be the same…and neither will our friend’s!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Something Different

Stephen Fisher Photography, Chicago, Skyline, Clouds, SkyscrapersI needed a vacation! it was time to get out of “Mayberry” for a few days and get to the big city…

We have some dear friends who have an unbelievable penthouse condo in Chicago. It’s on the 32nd floor overlooking downtown, the Chicago River, and Lake Michigan. They were kind enough to invite Sharon and I up for a visit…and we quickly accepted!

My photography 99.9% of the time is coastal nature. I had planned to force myself out of my comfort zone and try to do some urban work. It’s not like I was burned out or anything, but I have been feeling the urge to try something different. Well…Chicago is different than Rockport!

The weather didn’t really cooperate. Honestly, we saw the sun for MAYBE 15 minutes over the 4 days we were there. Thats OK. I was working on technique and just trying to get more familiar with a new body I’ve been using. I certainly didn’t get to shoot as much as I would have liked, but I had a great time trying.

This image was made from our friend’s patio. Thats Millennium Park and Lakeshore Boulevard behind these residential buildings lining the Chicago River. For a guy who lives in a town with NO 3 story buildings…it was something to see. From a technical perspective this image is exactly what I wanted to achieve. The scene speaks for itself. I’m very please with it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Water Street

Stephen Fisher Photography, Aransas Bay, Rockport TX, Water Street, Piers, SunriseI’m glad that I went out yesterday morning. I’ve been having some back issues the last week or so, and just haven’t been able to get shooting. Yesterday morning was special…

I got all my gear set up in the dark, sat on my folding stool, and waited. I had my Canon 5Ds R, a 17-40mm lens, and a Lee Filters polarizer with me. There were a lot of clouds, so I was pretty sure something interesting might just happen. I started clicking before the sun broke over the horizon. Finally the sun made it up…but I decided to wait until it was obscured by the clouds. Click…click…click…

This file is a three exposure bracketed composite. I took a 1/5 second, 1/10 second, and a 4/10 second file all at f/18 with an ISO of 50. Back in my studio I blended these three files and finished it up in Lightroom 5. I’m pretty happy with this one…

 

 

 

 

 

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Flycatchers

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Wildlife In Focus, Scissor-tailed FlycatcherShow me a fence on a Texas ranch and I’ll show you a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher!

A11-3-013While this species is easy to see, they’re hard to photograph. And even harder to photograph well. In the 2013 Wildlife In Focus contest I didn’t have a single image of this species to submit. For the 2015 contest, I submitted all three of these flycatchers.

These birds are so much fun to watch! They’re always busy. Ranchers like them because they eat a lot of grasshoppers, mosquitos, and other insects harmful to crops.

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Wildlife In Focus, Scissor-tailed FlycatcherSo I just don’t know if any of these three images will make the book. I’d like to think so, but I’ve been disappointed in the past. Maybe this time I’ll do something in this category…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Photography

Be Different

Stephen Fisher Photography, Rockport TX, Rockport Harbor, Boats, CloudsRockport is a small community located on the Coastal Bend of Texas. It’s beautiful here on the coast, and the opportunities for photography are limitless.

I know of at least 5 or 6 places here in town that EVERY photographer…local or tourist…always shoots. And rightfully so! Every town, park, highway, and marina has iconic spots that attract the crowds.

These iconic spots are usually easy to get to. They’re convenient. It really doesn’t take much effort to stand where 1000’s of people have stood. That certainly doesn’t mean the spot isn’t scenic. And I would encourage everyone to shoot every one of them…

The problem with shooting iconic spots is that LOTS of people have made that shot. If you’re going to do this, you had better bring your “A” game if you want your image noted. Your photo is going to be compared to everyone else’s photo…

So…why not break out of being imitative and be creative? Move your feet…turnaround…find a different angle…shoot the scenic backlit! Make it yours.

Be different…

 

 

 

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Gators

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Wildlife In Focus, Alligators, MossHaving access to the Texas Photo Ranch for almost 4 years now has allowed me the opportunity to see a lot of alligators! Being around these guys so much has allowed a lot of the fear I originally had of them to change to Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Wildlife In Focus, Alligators, Mossrespect. I still give them my complete attention when I’m around these guys…

One of the categories in the Wildlife In Focus contest is alligators. We’ve seen some real monsters out on the ranch. Some 12+ footers make the Texas Photo Ranch their home.

These are the 3 files I entered in the 2015 WIF contest. I really tried to get something different this year, I wanted a lot more than just an alligator looking like a log in the water.

 

 

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Wildlife In Focus, Alligators, MossThese are some “up close and personal” images of this magnificent species. Win or not, I’m proud and happy with them…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What To Do

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Wildlife In Focus, Cow, Cattle, Cattle Egret, FlowersFrom the very first time I saw this image I’ve been smitten with it! The problem for me was I didn’t know what to do with it…

I was driving on the Texas Photo Ranch one afternoon and saw this Cattle Egret riding on this cow’s back. By it’s self, this isn’t really that unusual. There are LOTS of cattle and Cattle Egrets on the ranch. And it’s not unusual to see then engaged in this symbiotic relationship. The cows stir up insects as they graze and the egrets eat those insects. It’s not a complicated relationship.

I had a Canon 5D Mark III with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached in the front seat of my Jeep. The cow and egret were in a field on the right side of the unpaved road. I knew I had to hurry, so I just leaned over the passenger side and made the image through the open window. One shot…that’s all I was able to make.

Of course the bird IMMEDIATELY flew away and the cow raised her head. It was over. I didn’t know if I made the shot or not. I didn’t even chimp (sneak a look on the LCD screen on the back of the camera) the file right then. As a matter of fact, I completely forgot about the engagement…

That evening as I was processing my day’s production, I found this! It was EXACTLY what I wanted to capture…and it was a single exposure.I really didn’t know what to do with it. Which category? Does it work?

I entered this image in the Land Operations category for the 2015 Wildlife In Focus. I’m hopeful…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Photo Bomb

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Wildlife In Focus, Red-winged Blackbird, PerchI haven’t the slightest idea how the judges in the 2015 Wildlife In Focus contest will like this image of 2 Red-winged Blackbirds. I love it…

This image was made at the Cactus Blind on the Texas Photo Ranch. We had a LOT of “blackbirds” of various species working the feeders at this blind. Blackbirds are a favorite of mine. I like their somewhat “sinister” look!

I chose a perch I thought would compliment these species. Weesatch (or huisache) trees have branches with character…twisted with BIG thorns. They’re strong, so a rather small branch could easily provide enough support for these birds.

Satisfied with my setup, I climbed down into the blind and got my Canon 1Dx body and 400mm lens placed on my Gitzo tripod. It didn’t take long for the birds to start entering the scene. I thought the bird on the perch would make a nice portrait, so I started clicking away. It was a very active session…

I returned to Rockport later that afternoon and started to process the day’s files. I can’t even begin to tell you how I felt when I first saw this image! My first thoughts were “please please please please be in focus”! It was…and it made my contest portfolio. If the judges are looking for something different, I may be on to something with this one…

 

 

 

 

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Humor

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Wildlife In Focus, Cow, PasteurAnother of the 59 different categories in the 2015 Wildlife In Focus contest was humor. As if photography isn’t subjective enough on it’s own, try to pick something you think three other people will consider funny!

About a month or so ago I did a post I called Number 2.  Number 2 is one of the bulls Charlie Kocurek keeps at the Texas Photo Ranch to do what bulls do. Not growing up on a ranch, I early on asked Charlie if his bulls would be a problem for me while I was out making images. He said “no problem…except for Number 2″!  Long story short, I was out in one of the fields in a flimsy pop up blind. I hear some snorting, sneak a peek out to my right, and see Number 2 checking me out.  Follow the Number 2 link above to read what happened…

Well, this is a cow I was photographing when Number 2 scared me to death. I got back to my studio and was processing the files when this one came up. The look on her face probably matched mine when we both saw Number 2. Now I think it’s”kinda sorta” funny…

 

 

 

 

 

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