Blog: Words and images

Male yellowthroat

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It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

I have a number of very good photos of Common Yellowthroats in my files, but this one stands out. The reason: It’s one of just a few that have the bird isolated against an uncluttered background.

Yellowthroats spend much of their time bouncing through fields, staying close to the ground as they search for insects to eat. That means the majority of my photographs show the bird against a background of plants or tangled branches.

Fleabane buds

It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

I’m quick to admit that the vast majority of flower photos in my files are what I call “happy accidents,” scenes captured when I’m out photographing wildlife.

Instead of using a macro (or close-up) lens, a tripod and flash units to provide controlled lighting, things I would do if I had planned to photograph flowers, I use the long, heavy 600 millimeter super telephoto lens and a 1.4x teleconverter that I carry when photographing wildlife.  …

House Wren

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It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

Photographing birds is difficult. 

They are quick. They are unpredictable. They are extremely aware of their surroundings and tend to fly off when approached. And they definitely don’t take direction from photographers (“Okay, now turn your head this way …”).

But with wrens the degree of difficulty increases significantly. It’s the second most difficult type of bird for me to photograph. …

Muddy claws

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It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

When I saw this squirrel resting on a rail fence in a local park on a late December morning I knew from its muddy claws that it had been involved in one of two activities: It had been digging in the muddy ground to bury food for future use, or it had been digging in the muddy ground to find food it had buried earlier.

Either way, I knew food had to be involved. …

Nuthatches: ‘Heads down’ view

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When I look through my collection of nuthatch photos I often need to recalibrate my brain. Many of the photos appear, at first glance, to be upside down. 

But the orientation of the photo is correct. That’s the world of the nuthatch, the subject of my featured gallery for June. It spends much of its life with its head pointing toward the ground, clinging to tree bark while looking for insects hiding in bark or for food it has hidden in the crevices.