Montana Spring Birds

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Montana.

It’s nice to see that spring has finally arrived! As on cue hundreds of yellow-headed blackbirds showed up last night near Helena, putting on an awesome show. It was great to finally see some color out there against our dull, brown, April landscapes we’ve had here in Montana. I’ll be out photographing sandhill cranes over the next couple weeks and hopefully I’ll have some more new Spring arrivals to share with you.

Canon 1DX  500mm f4L IS, 1.4X  f6.7  1/1500  ISO6400

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Happy Easter!

Spring Gosling

Domestic Goose Gosling

Finally home for a weekend here and enjoying every minute of it. Spring has arrived and looking forward to some great bird photography coming up and some new workshops. Happy Easter!

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Greater Sage-Grouse Workshop

Montana Sage-Grouse

Greater Sage-Grouse, Montana.

Just returned from an amazing trip up to northern Montana for our first ever Greater Sage-Grouse workshop. Thanks to Dennis Jorgensen at the World Wildlife Fund Northern Great Plains Office and friend and photographer Eric Rock for making this happen. We are looking at putting together another trip for Spring of 2015 and will have details soon.

What an amazing experience to spend each morning immersed in the Sage-Grouse’s habitat photographing an incredible bird in northern Montana’s beautiful, immense prairie. We had great dramatic spring weather and cool mornings adding nice elements to the images we were able to capture each day out on the Lek. We also saw our first long-billed curlew of the year and many other bird species around the area.

I am definitely looking forward to making this an annual workshop here in Montana and it will be a great way to continue to bring awareness and support to the Greater Sage-Grouse.

Canon 1DX  500mmf4L IS, 2X  f8  1/15  ISO6400

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Morning Light

Montana Landscapes

Sunrise in western Montana

I was going through my archives tonight and thought I would share an image I took a few years back in western Montana. I love those mornings when you get that perfect combination of fog and early morning light, creating a much more dramatic landscape in an otherwise average scene. A good example of how the power of light and elements can help transform and shape your images.

Canon 5D  70-200mm 2.8L  f8  1/400  ISO200

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Montana Birds

Mallard Drake, Montana

A mallard takes flight on a cold Montana morning.

Canon 1DX 70-200 2.8L IS II  f4.5  1/3000  ISO800

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Helena, Montana

Helena Montana Photography

Montana summer sunset. Helena, Montana.

At home busy editing this week and thought I would share this one from the archives. I took this just behind our house in our hometown of Helena on a perfect Montana summer night. The St. Helena Cathedral and Sleeping Giant Mountain are two of Helena’s popular landmarks.

Canon 5d markIII 70-200 2.8L IS II  f11  1/5  ISO100

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Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley Montana

Paradise Valley, Montana

I don’t usually shoot a lot of black and white, but sometimes there’s an image that just calls for it. I took this a couple weeks back in the Paradise Valley after a trip into Yellowstone National Park. On my way out I passed this scene of cows, trees, hills and mountains creating some interesting layers in a beautiful Montana late winter scene.

Canon 1DX 24-70mm 2.8L II  f11  1/350  ISO400

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Tundra Swans

Montana Tundra Swan

Tundra Swan in Central Montana

Be sure to be on the lookout for Tundra Swans! Many are arriving during this year’s spring migration in Montana.

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Freezeout Lake

Freezeout Lake Montana

Snow Geese. Freezeout Lake, Montana

Thousands of Snow Geese take flight this morning at Freezeout Lake near Fairfield, Montana. I really liked the sense of motion in this image. I took hundreds of shots early this morning of the geese rising up from the fields hoping to convey a sense of motion in all the chaos.

When panning with wildlife, birds can sometimes be a little trickier when trying to predict what the correct shutter speed should be to give it that right look and feel. With the birds erratic flight I will usually alternate between two or three different shutter speeds, usually  one of them will work. For this image 1/20 of second seemed to be fine, but I still had to shoot multiple frames just to get one that would work. I also had my lens resting on a beanbag to help track and stabilize.

Canon 1DX   500mm f4L IS 2Xtc   f38  1/20  ISO100

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Yellowstone Bluebirds

Yellowstone Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird, Yellowstone National Park

I thought this was a fitting photo for today showing our transition from winter to spring here in Montana. I took this on one of my last days in Yellowstone earlier this week.

Not only was this my first bluebird spotting of the year, but there were hundreds more in a flock with this little guy. It was cold, windy, and snowing, but absolutely wonderful watching hundreds of bluebirds land all around me on sagebrush and ground. The hardest part was choosing where to point my lens!

Canon 1DX  500mm f4L IS, 1.4X  f8  1/500  ISO1600


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