Montana’s National Bison Range

Montana Wildlife

Bison and Montana sky. Canon 5D markIII 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II. f8 1/1500 ISO400

It’s nice to be back doing some photography in Montana! It’s been a busy couple months getting caught up on print orders and traveling for workshops and now finally having a little time to sneak out for some photography in western Montana before I head back out. Things are looking spectacular out here right now and are only getting better. The National Bison Range is just a short drive from where we live in the Bitterroot and one of my favorite locations to photograph in the Mission Valley. Arrow-leaved balsamroots are in bloom, baby bison running around and snow still on the peaks. I only wish I had more time to spend here! Out last night I had some good luck with Yellow-headed blackbirds and some nice backlight work with the Bison. The light was also pretty nice on the Mission Mountains at sunset:) What I love about the Bison range is that even though it’s boundaries are small, it has so many rich elements in one area. The wildlife is usually within decent working distances, great bird habitat and you can’t beat the geography and the Missions as a backdrop. Lots of potential and you never know what you’re going to come away with. Looking forward to more trips this summer!

Montana Birds

Yellow-headed Blackbird. Canon 1DX, 500mm f4L IS II, 2X tc. f11 1/1500 ISO1600

Montana Sunset

Mission Mountain Sunset. Canon 5D markIII, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II. f11 1/20 ISO100

 

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Audubon Photography Awards

 

Sandhill Cranes

Very honored and excited to have my Sandhill Cranes image featured in the 2015 Audubon Photography Awards! This was a shot that took some work and patience( and luck!) to get, but is one of my favorites I have of Sandhill Cranes. The sequence of images below was pretty intense to watch and something I hadn’t witnessed before. This all took place with just a few minutes of the setting sun left and the encounter happened so fast it was hard to register what was captured. I had been hunkered down behind a sage bush waiting for a pair of nesting cranes to make an appearance and had been there for way too many hours and was just getting ready to call it quits. I decided to give it just five more minutes and sure enough the pair emerged and were quickly joined by a third. Within a few moments the third crane engaged in an aggressive display that sent feathers flying and had the two embattled in a aerial encounter that was pretty intense. When it was over, although both appeared shaking up with some feathers missing, neither of the two cranes appeared seriously injured and the third crane retreated and went his own way. When I returned home I was surprised to see what I had captured and pleasantly surprised with this particular frame as the light and position of the cranes all came together. Not only was it a memorable moment, but Sandhill Cranes hold a special place for me and are one of my favorite birds to photograph.

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Adobe Lightroom 6

Adobe Lightroom

Stay tuned, Adobe Lightroom 6 is coming today! Here’s a leaked review pcmag.com has of a few improvements and features Adobe has refined and added in the upcoming version. I’ll make sure to post a review in the coming weeks on how the new version fits in with my workflow and comparisons over version 5. The new version can be purchased standalone for $149.99 or you can download for free with Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription of $9.99 per month.

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Columbia River Gorge Workshop

Columbia River Gorge

Canon 5D mkIII, 100-400mm 4.5-5.6L IS II, f13 1 sec ISO 100

Looking forward to heading down to the Columbia River Gorge next week for my spring workshop as wildflowers are in bloom and water is flowing! Last week I was down on vacation scouting some new locations and found some great new spots and hidden gems I had no idea were there. Once you get off the beaten path, the Gorge reveals some amazing geography and beautiful falls. While I was down there I also had a lot of fun with Canon’s new 11-24mm which has been perfect for waterfalls and landscapes around the Gorge. The extra wide angle of view is still a little challenging to get used to and definitely requires a lot more thought when approaching certain subjects and scenes. But when you get it right, 11mm is pretty spectacular and can make for some pretty in-your-face foregrounds! I look forward to using it more on next week’s workshop. As for now, I’m back in Montana enjoying spring in the Rockies with our days alternating between 70 degrees and snow:) I hope to have some updates from my trips here soon while over in the Pacific Northwest. If you didn’t get a chance to get in on this year’s workshops, all of my 2016 workshops will be up and available later this week.

Columbia River Gorge

Canon 1DX, 11-24mm f4L, f19 .5 sec ISO100

Oregon Wildflowers

Canon 1DX 11-24mm f4L, f16 1/1000 ISO1600

Portland Japanese Garden

Canon 1DX, 11-24mm f4L, f16 1/90 ISO100

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Pacific Northwest Photography Workshops

Photography Workshops

I’m very excited for our upcoming 2015 Pacific Northwest Photography Workshops! This year I will be leading trips to some of my favorite locations at the Columbia River Gorge, Olympic National Park, and Washington’s Palouse. There’s only a few spots left on these so feel free to email me or visit my workshops page for details and to reserve your spot.

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Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Bison

Bison, Yellowstone. Canon 1DX 500mm f4L IS, 1.4X f8 1/750 ISO200

This last month I’ve had the pleasure of working with Natural Habitat Adventures on their Wolf Quest Photo Trips in Yellowstone National Park. We’ve had some amazing encounters so far and I look forward to sharing some images soon when I return home.

Weather throughout the west has been really warm and things are thawing rapidly in Yellowstone. Signs of spring are definitely here with bears out, migrating birds showing up, and remaining snow pack quickly disappearing.

This big bison was taken in the northeast corner of the park as he broke his way through some of the remaining deep snow on a cold morning in early March.

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Canon 11-24mm f/4L

5D markIII 11-24mm

Along with many other Canon users I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 11-24mm and it’s finally here! These are just a few of my initial thoughts so far and not a full in-depth review. Having a fair amount of experience with other Canon wide-angles, my use so far with the 11-24mm has given me a good sense on its quality and capabilities.

First off it’s big. This lens weighs close to my 70-200mm 2.8L IS II and its front heavy balance is very noticeable when handholding. The lens comes in at 2.6lbs, certainly a beast for a lens of this size, but necessary considering its huge front element and design. Continue reading »

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Great Blue Heron

Montana Wildlife

Great Blue Heron, Montana. Canon 1DX 500mm f4L IS II, 2Xtc III , f8 1/2000 ISO3200

Here’s a shot I captured last week of a Great Blue Heron fishing for breakfast in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley. You’ve got to be quick to catch these guys in action!

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Montana’s Race to the Sky

Montana Dog Sledding

As night falls, racers head out into Montana’s wilderness. Canon 5DmkIII 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II f5.6 1/180 ISO6400

Had a great time this weekend photographing the start to Montana’s Race to the Sky sled dog race over in Seeley Lake. Due to the insanely warm temperatures we’ve had around the west this winter, snow has been hard to find in some areas. Usually the race kicks off near Helena with another send off in Lincoln, but this year that definitely wasn’t happening. The teams took off near Seeley Lake with plenty of snow for the most part, but temperatures were still warm.

The race features both a 300 mile and 100 mile leg through Montana’s mountains and is also a qualifier for Alaska’s Iditirod. This year there were 29 teams participating in the race.

Shooting the race as night fell was challenging to say the least, especially with fast dogs and no light. I managed to pull off a few shots in the beginning, but as it got dark I had to get a little more creative

Sled Dogs

Dogs getting ready. Canon 5DMKIII 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II f5.6 1/500 ISO3200

Montana Winter Sports

Dogs harnessed and ready to go. Canon 1DX 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II f5.6 1/180 ISO6400

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World Wetlands Day

Snow Geese Audubon

Snow Geese, Freezeout Lake, Montana.

Happy World Wetlands Day!

Every spring hundreds of thousands of Snow Geese stopover at Montana’s Freezeout Lake and surrounding wetlands, creating an amazing display of birds against the Rocky Mountain Front. In little over a month we’ll be seeing scenes like this again.

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