Touch the Heavens

Touch the Heavens

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.”   Anne Frank

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The Hidden Draw (Creating Depth of Field)

The Hidden Drawword

Early March on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park was cold and brought the unexpected surprise of snow.  Most of us think of the Grand Canyon as a high desert and are surprised to see pictures of the canyon in snow.  Although the cold and snow was not something I was thrilled about I took full advantage of the opportunity.  Here the canyon stretches for miles disappearing into the fog.

In order to capture the vastness of the Grand Canyon I took a seat on a rock in order to get lower to the ground and stabilize myself.  By placing myself lower and getting the trees and bushes in the picture it gives the viewer a new perspective.  I don’t usually use people so I use pieces of nature to give a perception of size.  The snow also allows the viewer to feel the coolness of the moment.  Shooting from different angles in the same places can create uniquely different photos.  So give it a try.

Take a Hike

Grand Canyon

Take a Hike: Grand Canyon National Park VIDEO

Here is something new that I have started.  After having several people ask me to start documenting some of my stories and sharing my adventures I started a YouTube series called Take a Hike.  This is the newest episode based around my trip to the Grand Canyon.  Take a look at my other episodes.

Discovering Yourself and the Outdoors

Encountering Yellowstone’s Wildlife

Yellowstone’s Changing Weather

Photographing Sunrise

Dust Over Samburu

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I am usually not a fan of shooting directly into the sun, especially when there is not any cloud cover that helps shade the harshness of the light.  However, sometimes you have to take a chance.  It may not always work, but sometimes with persistence you get lucky.  Shooting int the dry scrub of Samburu National Reserve in Kenya called for taking that chance.

I wanted to attempt to capture the feeling of the atmosphere and environment that can be found in Samburu.  As the wind picked up in the evening dust and sand began to swirl across the landscape.  The sun setting behind a hill and the haze created by the sand helped cut the harshness of the light from the sun.  It also added a little bit of a natural blurry effect to the picture.  Although there was not a cloud in the sky the small windstorm created the perfect conditions to try shooting toward the sun.  For my style of shooting the best filters are natural elements.

Bird at Sunset

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Sunset and sunrise are a great time to get out and photograph.  In Kansas the wide open spaces allow a photographer to see for miles.  Even when I am not planning on spending much time in the field I do try to get out to find the a good spot in the mornings and evenings when I am home.  The flat land and vast spaces can create some amazing colors.

In this shot I was set up trying to capture the vibrant colors of the sunset with the land and fences silhouetted in the scene.  As I was shooting this bird landed on a fencepost within my eyesight.  I got it focused in my camera and started shooting as the sun went down.  The bird silhouetted in the orange clear sky made for a striking image in what I thought would be an uneventful night.

“Open Spaces”

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On a recent visit back to my home state of Kansas for a break from school in Tennessee I spent quite a bit of my time on the country roads photographing.  Kansas offers fascinating landscape photography potential.  The vast openness of the land leads to endless skies.  As the sun slid from behind the clouds and before it disappeared behind the horizon it broke perfectly to light the dead winter grass into a golden brown.  The color only lasted a few minutes, but gave great opportunity for amazing shots.

No matter where I travel I always try to find time for sunsets and sunrises.  Sometimes the best views are in your own backyard.  Enjoy and Keep Exploring!

Photographing Bald Eagles: The Catch

the catchwordsOver the last several weeks I have been taking short trips to Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge in northwest Missouri to try to photograph bald eagles that are migrating south following the other bird migrations.  It reminds me of my first experience trying to photograph the birds in the wild.  I have spent many long hours in the field trying to photograph different species of animals, but I must say that photographing bald eagles has taught me more about patience than any other animal I have photographed.

During the school year I spend most of my time in western Tennessee.  Often on weekends I will drive down to Shiloh National Military Park to walk the battlefield and photograph.  Last spring I learned about a nesting pair of eagles that call the park home during the spring.  My first day to make my attempt I arrived at the park just as the sun was beginning to rise.  I drove the park and then found the nest where I made myself comfortable for the next 8 hours or so.  After spending the day attempting to capture the birds I did not come home with anything that I felt was worthwhile.

The following week I headed back out to make another attempt.  It was my last weekend in Tennessee before I had to head back to Kansas for the summer.  I arrived early in the morning and prepared myself for a long day in the field.  I photographed as the birds came back and forth from the nest feeding the eaglet.  After spending the day in the field I decided to pack up in the late afternoon.  I was unsure if I had anything worthwhile, but I knew there was a god chance I had something.  When I got home I discovered this photograph of the female coming into the nest with a trout from the Tennessee River.

I must admit that there is something that comes over you when you are close to these majestic birds.  I have been extremely lucky to photograph some pretty amazing wildlife, but bald eagles are special.  There is something about the thrill that comes over me when I am close to these birds.  Shots like this make the long hours in the field worth every minute.  These experiences also are what make me go back for more.  The main lesson I learn from these birds is to be patient and tenacious.    Keep shooting and keep exploring!