Tag Archives: Birds

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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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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Trumpeter Swans

Montana Birds

Trumpeter Swan, Montana

I had the opportunity last night to photograph Trumpeter Swans at the  Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge during a beautiful snowfall. I was using Canon’s new 7D MKII paired with the 500mm f4L IS II

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More from the Canon 7D mkII


Northern Flicker, Pacific Northwest

Here’s another 7DmkII image shot yesterday of a Northern Flicker in the Pacific Northwest. I shot this in very low light handholding the 70-200mm 2.8L IS II with the 2X III teleconverter. I used the 10fps frame rate of the 7DmkII to fire a burst increasing my odds of getting  a sharp image that wasn’t affected by the movement of my hands and the slow shutter speed. I pushed the ISO to 3200 and processed in Lightroom without adding any additional noise reduction beyond the default color noise reduction.

Canon 7D mkII  70-200mm 2.8L IS II, 2X III teleconverter  f5.6  1/180  ISO3200

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Geese and Fog

Birds in flight

Canada Geese and fog, Montana.

You never know when an image is going to happen, that’s one of the great things I love about photography, the unexpected. Yesterday morning after dropping my son off at school I spotted some patchy fog nearby and decided to investigate. Turns out some geese were getting ready to head out against some great backlight. I usually try to travel with a body and 100-400mm on my seat, just for these sort of occasions and glad I had it with me this time!

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American Kestrel

Bird Photography

American Kestrel

Good morning to be an American Kestrel, not such a good morning to be a mouse:)

Canon 1DX 500mm f4L II  f4 1/1500  ISO100

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Montana Birds

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat, Montana

Hung out with a bunch of these little guys last night as I was waiting in the cattails for the Sandhill Cranes to come in. I think the Common Yellowthroat is one of the coolest little song birds around and love when they arrive here in the spring.

Canon 1DX  500mm f4L IS , 1.4X    f8  1/3000  ISO800

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Bald Eagle

Montana Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle, Rocky Mountain Front

Sometimes when dealing with scenes of very high contrast and dynamic range, underexposing can help silhouette your subject and make an otherwise busy or poorly lit scene take on a whole new shape. To better isolate the tree and eagle I used a 1000mm focal length which helped remove distracting elements and also helped with composing a simpler shot.

Canon 5D MarkIII 500f4L IS, 2Xtc f11 1/1500 ISO800

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American White Pelican

Montana Birds

American White Pelican, Montana.

American White Pelican cruising over the Missouri River in central Montana.

Canon 7D  100-400mm 4.5-5.6L IS  f6.7  1/3000  ISO400

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