Moving On

Stephen Fisher Photography, Green Jay, Texas Photo Ranch, Refugio TXI didn’t make it out of Houston yesterday. With everything thats been going on, I had some loose ends to clean up. But today, I’m heading for Rockport…

Weather-wise, it looks like I can squeeze in a couple days of shooting. Not even considering the HUGE need I have to get some keepers for the Wildlife In Focus Photo Contest, I just need some time on the Texas Photo Ranch with my camera gear.

Cheaper than therapy…





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That Was Fun…And It’s Not Over

Stephen Fisher Photography, American White Pelican, Rockport TXOK…This blog entry is a little different. As a rule, I don’t get too much into my personal life here. I try to keep this about my photography. But it’s hard to separate them sometimes. Actually this IS about my photography! The business side…

I’m a professional photographer…it’s what I do. It feels like I commit 110% of my time trying to make meaningful art and building the Stephen Fisher Photography brand. It’s hard. It’s competitive. But this is what I do…EVERYDAY!

I’ve been somewhat distracted the last three weeks or so after I got THE letter! My CPA and I have spent a LOT of time prepping for an IRS audit that happened yesterday morning downtown Houston. I keep good records for my business, and he’s a conservative guy who does things by the book. But still…getting that letter was a bummer!

Long story short…we’re not done. The initial meeting went fine. The Examining Officer was both very professional and cordial. We presented a bunch of documentation…but more is being requested. We’ll be back there at the end of this month for another…and hopefully final meeting.

Neither my CPA or I am worried about the outcome of this audit. It’s just the process that makes things uncomfortable. We’ll pull together the additional requested documents and present them. I’m confident that this will be the end of this saga…

So now I’m refocusing on the CREATIVE side of my photography. The weather hasn’t been great, so I don’t feel as if I missed a lot of shooting days. It’ll be good to get things back to normal…whatever normal is…





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Walk In The Woods

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Green Jay“Life” has been a distraction to my photography lately. Nothing serious…just a LOT of balls in the air right now!

I won’t bore everyone to death with the details of EVERYTHING going on because they’re all petty. No health issues…no personal issues…nothing even close to being life changing! Just busy “stuff” that keeps me from doing what I want to do. Actually they were keeping me from enjoying all of the blessings I have…

So I drove over to the Texas Photo Ranch to do some chores. It was GOOD for me! It was cold and extremely windy yesterday…certainly no opportunities for making contest quality images. But…the birds and mammals still need to be fed.

I checked all of the bird feeders at the Coon and Cactus blinds first. The feeders were still about half full, but we don’t want to risk them getting empty. The birds really need this easily attainable food source right now. Lots of bird activity at both of these feeders yesterday…

I then drove down to the resaca. The new Resaca Blind is as far back on the Texas Photo Ranch as you can go. The woods are very thick here with old Live Oaks surrounded by all kinds of lesser species. We’re actually starting to wear a trail through the woods down to the blind and feeders.

I was walking the trail carrying a 5 gallon pail of seed and it hit me. Why was I letting these issues distract me? Why not just take a day or so and get them all out of the way? I sat down on a log and figured it all out..

A walk in the woods did wonders for me yesterday…





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Patience Grasshopper

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Wildlife In Focus, Green JayThis weather is making me rethink a lot of things about my photography in general…and the Wildlife In Focus Photo Contest in particular.

I was hoping the Law of Large Numbers would work in my favor. The more times I’m out on the Texas Photo Ranch shooting…the better my chances of getting more contest-quality images. That made good sense to me, and I was more than willing and able to do that! Now…I’m thinking it’s time to reconsider.

There’s still PLENTY of time for me to generate a portfolio of 100 images to submit. We’re just a little over a month into this, and I do have some “keepers”. I wish I had more of course. But I’m very thankful for what I already have…VERY thankful! I’m still planning to get out on the ranch as often as possible…but maybe now with a little more purpose and focus (no pun intended!).

I’ve been reviewing some of my older images for ideas on set-ups that have worked for me in the past. The judges are POSITIVELY going to be looking for things different and unique.  Thats pretty hard to do. The folks that do well will be those that find that “something something” the judges haven’t already seen thousands of times. I need to find that…

(This is a Green Jay I photographed at the Texas Photo Ranch last year. I’ve always liked this shot, and taking another look at it last night provided me with an idea I want to try. Hope it works…)




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Back And Forth

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, Cowboys, Horses, Round up, CattleI’m juggling a LOT of balls right now! Strangely enough, everything feels relatively manageable…

The weather continues to negatively impact optimal shooting conditions at the Texas Photo Ranch. That doesn’t mean that there are NO opportunities for making contest-quality images, it’s just MUCH harder. All of these fronts passing through the Coastal Bend and the associated wind has kept a lot of the birds hunkered down. The good thing is that these conditions are effecting most of South Texas, so most of the other competitors are also dealing with this.

After checking/filling all of the feeders yesterday at the ranch, I drove back up to Houston. Progress is being made on getting this old Houston Heights house ready to put on the market. It’s been power washed and a lot of the caulking has been completed. It looks better already…and it hasn’t been painted yet! The same conditions that keep me from shooting is also keeping the painters from working.

So for today I’m going to tackle the garage! Pretty exciting task for a nature photographer…right? It’s one of those things that HAS to get done, so today I’ll give it some love. I hope I come out of this project unscathed…

This is an image I like a BUNCH! Unfortunately…it’s another roof my JPEG fiasco, so it’s not going to work for the Wildlife In Focus competition. This was made during the recent cattle round up. The sky really caught my eye. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…










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Come On

_H8A5085-EditCome on! We just need some sun here…

I shouldn’t complain. We’re not shoveling snow. It’s not freezing outside. But this weather isn’t great for making nature photographs.

I spent almost 6 hours yesterday on the Texas Photo Ranch. My plan was to work a new blind we created deep in the resaca. I wanted to be down there for 2 reasons. The woods are so thick that I thought it would help to knock down some of the wind. The second reason is that there are a LOT of Green Jays living in those woods!

This new blind is in the far southeast section of the ranch. It’s about as far away from the main gate as you can go. The gravel road turns into a dirt road and that turns into a pipeline access/cow trail. After parking, it’s about a 200 yard hike to the Resaca Blind. Pretty isolated back there…

The Green Jays are there…in BIG numbers! Instead of just coming to my setup early and leaving for hours, they just hang around. My problem yesterday was the light. I was using flash, but wasn’t getting the results I wanted. I think I might have picked up a couple of keepers…

The VERY positive news is that we have found where this band of jays live! The sun will come out someday…and I’ll be able to make the type of images I need for this contest. As a matter of fact, I’m heading back over there within the hour…

(This is an image of a Green Jay I made on the Texas Photo Ranch, but NOT yesterday. I’m not showing any potential contest quality images until after they get judged. What I’m attempting to do here is to give everyone some insight into my experiences while competing in a major photo competition.)




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Ready To Work

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo ranch, Horse, Trailer, Fog, MudI’m feeling a lot like this horse! Ready to go to work, but tied up and waiting…

Actually thats not true. I have a TON of things to take care of here in Houston. I got quite a bit accomplished yesterday. I shuffled papers around and got kinda-sorta organized. And today the painters show up. Maybe…

While it has NOTHING to do with photography, Sharon and I are getting our 90+ year old home here in the Houston Heights ready to sell. This house is the gating issue that is keeping us from having some type of a normal relationship. Once this house sells, Sharon will continue her work, but she will be based out of Rockport. it’ll be a good thing…

I’m missing being out on the Texas Photo Ranch! I have a commitment to the Grassedonio family to represent their ranch in the Wildlife In Focus Photo Contest. I have a lot of “shooting days” already under my belt, but feel somewhat guilty for being up here. They understand…and are fully supportive of the fact that I have responsibilities OTHER than making photos on their ranch. The truth of the matter is that there are LOTS of days left in this contest. We’ll be just fine…

This image is one of my “I can’t believe that I did this” photos. I spent half a day…an important day…shooting in JPEG instead of RAW! Every image submitted in the contest has to be shot in RAW. I still don’t know how that happened…but it did!





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Swimming Upstream

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, CattleSwimming upstream is usually not a good idea. After a while, bad things CAN happen!

But sometimes, finding your OWN way “there” is empowering. I think art is one of those ways…

You can be imaginative and original…or you can be imitative.

You can be a leader…or you can be a follower.

You can be restrained…or you can set yourself free.









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Stephen Fisher Photography, Northern Cardinal, Texas Photo RanchI’m taking a SHORT break from my “normal” routine…whatever normal is! Personal business is forcing me to get up to Houston this morning and take care of some things there. I should be back down here by the weekend.

I’m feeling pretty good about my production so far in the Wildlife In Focus Photo Contest. It’s hard to believe, but the first month of this competition is over! I’ve been out on the Texas Photo Ranch almost daily…and maybe a quick break is just what I need.

This year’s contest started a month earlier than the 2013 WIF. So I’m figuring it’s like getting a bonus month!

I’ll take advantage of this break…get some things done…and come back ready to shoot!



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Resaca Blind

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, ResacaWade Grassedonio and I have been looking for a location to put up a new photography blind…and we found it deep in the woods down by the resaca.

Stephen Fisher Photography, Texas Photo Ranch, ResacaThe Texas Photo Ranch is 3000 acres of diverse Texas landscape. Some gas and oil drilling recently forced Wade to temporarily abandon 2 of the 4 permanent pit blinds on the ranch. We’ve been doing just fine by using pop-up blinds and camouflage wraps as hides when needed. We both thought it would be good to look for other photo opportunities.

The new Resaca Blind (not really sure what Wade will end up calling this place!) is located in thick woods about 15 minutes from the main ranch gate. By the time you get to the place where we leave our vehicles, the road has become more of a trail. The image on the left shows how thick the woods are in this secluded part of the ranch.

It’s about a 200 yard hike through these woods to get to the Resaca Blind…and it’s beautiful! We placed a large pop-up blind in a dry creek bed that also serves as a high speed game trail. Wade and I put up a bird feeder and a game feeder a few days ago…and it’s working better than we could imagine.

We actually had Green Jays screaming at us as we worked to get the blind and feeders in position. On last Friday morning, Wade and I sat in the Resaca Blind for less than an hour to assess this spot. Within 15 minutes we had Green Jays on a crude perch right in front of us. Northern Cardinals, Doves, Wrens, Sparrows, and a deer came through this spot while we sat in the blind.

This is a totally different Texas Photo Ranch experience! It’s almost more fun just to stand out there and hear all of the wildlife activity. I’m looking forward to getting down there again soon…




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