Car Blind? What the Heck is That!

Car Blind? A Hot Topic

There’s a fairly busy discussion going on at one of the popular nature photography forums concerning “the best color for a car blind.” This seemingly innocent question actually opens the door to a few interesting insights into nature photography today. For example, what the heck is a car blind?

Many “nature photographers” spend a good deal of time taking photos out of their car or truck windows. Many, if not most National Wildlife Refuges have a road called “Wild Life Drive.” There are many drives in National Parks that are known for providing a lot of looks at wildlife (the Cades Cove Loop road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park quickly comes to mind). Additionally, forest roads, state parks and even country roads may provide looks at wildlife and birds. So the vehicle you use to drive along these routes becomes your “car blind.”

Now you may be thinking, “it sounds like Bob has a little problem with this idea.” Well, yes and no. I’m as guilty as the next photographer of taking advantage of an opportunity if it presents its self. But usually when this happens it’s when I’m traveling from point A to point B and cross paths with a photo op. I really can’t fault anyone for taking the “car blind” approach, especially those with physical disabilities that make hiking, setting up a blind, etc. difficult or impossible. But there are draw-backs to this practice.

It should be obvious that the you’re going to see a lot of repetition of locations and point of view from the “car blind” crowd. After all, the use of the vehicle as your shooting platform limits the areas you can access and also dictates the shooting height of your photos. You’ll never get that nice, low perspective shooting out of a car or truck window.

The other disadvantage to this kind of approach to nature photography is the photographer isn’t really getting the true nature experience. There’s something special about spending time hiking along a trail or sitting for an hour or two in a hide that cannot be matched by restricting your outdoors adventure to the inside of your car. Plus the car-bound photographer isn’t getting the exercise that hiking through nature provides. A little walking is good for the heart, the mind and the entire body.

Perhaps I’ll tackle the question of what makes a good car blind in another post. Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with doing it. I just wanted to get people thinking a little about some of the advantages and draw-backs to using that as your primary nature photography method.

A typical whitetail deer shot taken out the window of a car.

Posted in Education, General Photography, Nature Photography, Photo Tip, Wildlife Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , |

The Buck Stops Here

I rolled out of bed early yesterday morning and headed for the woods with the hope of getting a few photos of Whitetail Deer. Eastern North Carolina isn’t one of those places where one can easily find wildlife willing to pose for photos. We don’t have a national park close by where the wildlife has been habituated to humans. Instead we have acres and acres of dense forest where every fall hunters armed with bow & arrow, muzzle loading rifles and modern firearms go hunting. When your impression of humans is that of a creature that hurls arrows and lead in your direction, standing pretty for a photo isn’t something you’re likely to do.

That’s not to say you can never get lucky and find a deer or two standing out in the open that you can get a photo of, but it’s a bit rare. There are also a few locations… “safe zones” if you will where you’re odds of getting in camera range is a bit better than it is in the National forest or National Wildlife Refuge. It pays to develop a bit of knowledge about the area you live in and the animals you wish to photograph.

Whitetail Deer in a forest along the North Carolina coast.

Whitetail "button buck."

Whitetail “button buck.”

Whitetail deer buck.

Posted in General Photography, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Art Sale on Fine Art America

A question I often hear from others photographers is “do you ever sell anything on Fine Art America.?” The answer is a resounding yes. Now don’t misunderstand me it’s not like I get a sale a week, or even every month, but I do make enough sale to make it worth the effort. Last night I had an order for a two really nice sized canvas prints. One print is being printed at 72″x48″… that’s 6 feet by 4 feet! The other is only slightly smaller. It always feels good when someone appreciates your art enough to make a purchase and hang it on their wall. If you’d like to see which photos were purchased just follow the links below.


http://fineartamerica.com/saleannouncement.html?id=837df07aa741ba434f569917e37617cf

http://fineartamerica.com/saleannouncement.html?id=b3fc4888f1b5db670e24a3056f712a3d

Posted in Business and Administration, News & Announcements, Uncategorized

Wild Horses in Black & White

Lately I’ve really been enjoying doing intimate crops of the wild horses. I especially find myself trying to make the eye the primary focus of the photo. Of course, in this case,” close-up” may be a good term for the image but it certainly isn’t accurate about how the photo was made. By using a “super-telephoto” lens it’s possible to make intimate portraits of these beautiful animals without getting too close to the horse.

I’ve also found my love for black & white imagery reinvigorated recently. Years before the digital photography age I had a love affair with black & white film. Grain, the noise of the film days, was considered a nice artistic addition to a good mono-tone photo. One of the nice things about digital photography is that every image can be both a black & white photo and a color shot. It’s all done in post processing. If you look at a number of different photographer’s work in black & white of similar subjects you’ll notice there will be differences. Some subtle. Some extreme. It’s simply a matter of the photographers expressing their artistic tastes. Here are my most recent takes on black & white equine fine art photography.

An intimate portrait of a wild horse.

Wild horse of the Carolina coast.

North Carolina wild horse in black & white

Detail shot of a wild mustang in black & white.

Posted in Banker Horses, General Photography, Nature Photography, Wild Horses, Wildlife Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

One More Shorebird – a Willet

It’s a rainy morning along the coast of North Carolina. I supposed I could suck it up and head out to try and make some images anyway, but I’m going to wimp out and stay inside instead! While raining days can make for some great photographic opportunities… and the dampness can help quiet your movements in the forest… I’m simply not in the mood to deal with rain today Instead I think I’ll share a few photos from an outing a few days ago, then work on a bit of marketing. Nice “high and dry” activities.

Today’s image offerings are of a Willet taken within the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve. As is often the case with my shorebird photographs, I took these images from my kayak. I like using the kayak for making these kinds of photographs because the birds are sometimes more tolerant of an approach from the water.

Willet at the mouth of Deep Creek and Taylors Creek, Beaufort, North Carolina

A classic Willet pose, one of the more common shorebirds found along the North Carolina coast.
Willet, Crystal Coast North Carolina.

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Limited Time Opportunities for Affordable Stretched Canvas Prints!

I’m currently offering three of my prints as stretched canvases at a special price. Two of the prints are available as 16×20″ sized prints. The third is being offered as a smaller 11×14″ wall piece. The larger pieces are selling for $65 each and the smaller canvas sells for $52. Anyone that’s purchased original art work for their home or office will realize these are very reasonable prices. The offer ends at 5:00 PM, October 12, 2013 and is limited to only 10 of each print. Below are links to the individual sale pages for these high quality canvas art prints.


http://fineartamerica.com/weeklypromotion.html?promotionid=127195

http://fineartamerica.com/weeklypromotion.html?promotionid=127194

http://fineartamerica.com/weeklypromotion.html?promotionid=127197

Posted in Business and Administration, News & Announcements

Greater Yellowlegs

I enjoy finding these birds when I’m out doing shorebird photography from kayak. One of the larger shorebirds, these are migrants. They travel to Canada for breeding in the Spring then winter in warmer climates… including the North Carolina coast. A somewhat similar looking and named bird, the Lesser Yellowlegs, is difficult to tell apart unless you find them together. The Greater is larger, has a slightly upturned bill that tends to be blue-gray near its base.

For shorebird photography I like to work from my kayak. Even though I’m approaching from the water, these birds can be a little skittish… ok, most shore birds can be a bit skittish… so a slow, careful approach is called for. The best bet is if you can let the wind and/or current drift you into camera range. If you need to paddle you need to keep the paddle movement to a minimum. Don’t make a direct approach of the bird is bound to take to wing.

Making photographs of small shorebirds from a kayak requires a long lens and hand holding rather than using a nice, sturdy tripod. The combination of a telephoto lens and hand holding the camera sets up a bit of risk of camera shake and motion blur. The trick is to keep the shutter speed fast to minimize the effects of this problem.

Greater Yellowlegs at Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve.

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Photo Tip, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Jonathan Livingston I Presume?

Perhaps the most often over looked bird by avian photographers, it seems the lowly seagull simply gets no respect. Considering “locals” use terms like “sky rats” to describe them I suppose it’s little wonder that we don’t bother pointing our lenses at them if there’s anything else around to photograph. Still, tourist find the fascinating. And really, who didn’t crack a smile during the movie “Finding Nemo” when all the gulls were chanting “mine… mine… mine?” Frankly I think these birds get a bit of a bad rap. They can make for interesting photographic subjects. So without further excuse or apology, here are a couple photos of a young laughing gull. I do hope you enjoy it.

A Young Laughing Gull on a Perch

Laughing gull along the Noth Carolina coast.

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Belted Kingfisher

Anyone that’s picked-up a camera equipped with a long telephoto lens to pursue making images of shore birds probably has a few stories to tell about their encounters with Belted Kingfishers. These handsome little birds are small, fast and ever so camera shy. For many avian photographers they are considered a “nemesis species,” a bird that’s really tough to get in front of the lens. I’ll readily confess that my success with these little guys is less than great. Count me among those that have been heard saying, “any photo of a Belted Kingfisher is a good photo of a Belted Kingfisher.” I got lucky this morning and managed to get within camera range in my kayak and squeeze off a few snaps of the shutter before my subject took to wing. Are these the best photos of a Kingfisher I’ve seen? Not by a long shot. But hey, they’re Kingfisher photos… so they’re good, right?

Belted Kingfisher at the Rachel Carson Estuarine Rerserve, Beaufort, NC

Belted Kingfisher with Little Blue Heron in the background.

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Portraits of Crystal Coast Wild Horses

In a lot of my wild horse photographs I choose to frame the animals loosely and to include a nice look at the environment in which they live. This gives the viewer and opportunity to better understand where these animals live and the challenges they face to survive. However I also like to frame tightly from time to time… to make more intimate portraits of these interesting animals. Closer examinations of the horses reveals their curiosity and their personalities. Hopefully such images provides the viewer with a little insight into why I find these creatures such interesting subjects and what motivates me to keep coming back to visit them again and again.

Portrait of a wild horse.

Wild horse in black & white

Posted in Banker Horses, General Photography, Nature Photography, Wild Horses Tagged , , , , , , , , , |
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