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Jim Almquist

Panthrcat the background I used for shooting

27 posts in this topic

This is my background shot at 100 and 400 with the front and the back in focus. This is also afternoon with clouds so the color is a little different then in the morning with sun. The only food is at the bottom of the feeder and I have branches off both sides.Soon the Goldfinch's will be here and all the grass will be green and not brown so it should make for some nice shots.

100 front focus

IMG_6165.jpg

100 back focus

IMG_6164.jpg

400 front focus

IMG_6167.jpg

400 back focus

IMG_6166.jpg

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wow that looks simple enough.. thanks Jim for posting these for me,, I am so frustrated!! I want to get out and take some pics of wildlife but no idea how to go about it exactly,, it's not as simple as going out for a "ride" and getting shots,, it's about finding a spot and sitting. isn't it.

I think now is a great time to do that too, let me explain.

the ice is still on the lakes, but it's starting to melt around the creek mouths and things, so I am thinking of situating myself (with a blind built of sticks and cover) and sitting there where the open water will attract birds, eagles, otters, mink and beaver... because once the lakes open up, the wildlife will be tougher to get... am I right?

I'm off Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday... I hope to get out for at least a day for this.

thanks Jim!

Sue

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it's not as simple as going out for a "ride" and getting shots,, it's about finding a spot and sitting. isn't it.

Exactly. People imagine nature photographers hike miles and miles to exotic locations as though they are long distance specialists running marathons. But really what we do more than anything else, when we want an image that really resonates, is to find a location that is gorgeous in its own right, and then stake it out. The more time you spend in a voluptuous setting, the more likely a subject will step/swim/fly into that setting and complete the dream.

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thank you for this post Steve,, I have been thinking of a few areas I can go to, and "stake" for photographs of wildlife,, who knows what sorts of things will come out of the woods... how long will a gal have to sit,, depends on what I'm willing to do eh? I have a camo tent,, will that work or will that work against me?

Sue

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Sue, a camo tent can work wonders in a backyard feeder setting, where the birds are used to some level of human activity but shy away from a person standing right out there in front of God and everyone.

Those blinds also can work nicely in some wild settings, but I and my clients have found that simply putting yourself in camo and learning the habits of your subjects (developing the patience to be still is important too) counts for more. The good news is that, while this is a learning process, the process itself offers great rewards. At every turn there is a new lesson and a fresh view, no matter how long you work at it. smilesmile

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well I have to say Steve, I just visited your HSOforum, and WOW!! what gorgeous images you have in there! the wildlife is out of this world, the birds, beautiful! and the landscapes stunning.

I'm gonna suit up in my camo gear, and take off for a day,, should head out when it's still dark.. yes? and get the early morning movement?

however did you get such beautiful shots of the pine martin? he's a dandy!!

Sue

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Sue, it's not bad to head out while it's still dark. It's better to spend a few days scouting locations without worrying about taking photographs (although of course you still have your camera ready in case a pine marten whose time has come leaps out and gives you a toothy leer). gringrin

You scout locations (paying close attention to light angles) so you can come back later and plop your bad self down on the ground and hope that somethig amazing walks into the frame when the light is gorgeous. smilesmile

Thanks for the kudos on the images, BTW. It's always important to hear from people who value your work.

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well as an avid outdoorswoman I have a few places in mind that I might sit at,, got one north of town here, that was great for deer hunting last fall, saw some wolves up that way too.. there's an creek up there, that I managed to get some shots of a mink last year.. I think the slope into the creek will be lit well,, I might walk in a ways, and sit there.

I guess that's the only way I'm gonna get wildlife shots eh? by sitting patiently, and hoping? lol

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Jim, that's a great set up for getting a nice creamy looking background.

Sue, looks like you've got all the makin's for getting some good shots - good gear, lots of environmental possibilities and a learning attitude! Lookin' forward to the results!

Steve, did I just see post #18000?

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Steve, did I just see post #18000?

LOL and I made him do it!!!

yea I think I'm ok with the gear department, and the patience, it's just about finding the right spot to go and sitting now I guess.

Steve, I found your newest additions and man I'm in awe.

I have another question about wolves. I'm terrified of them and bears,, that's one thing that keeps me from wandering the woods,, I used to do a fair bit of geocaching, but quit due to this silly fear of mine,, my hubby is an outdoorsy guy too, and he thinks I am over-reacting.. what do you all think?

Steve, you have some lovely images of wolves,, obviously wild wolves, any tips you might want to share? have they ever gotten threatening with you?

Sue

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I know Steve will have some stories, but I have a couple of my own. I've shot a bear with a water hose at 5 paces, and had a wolf on one side of my half open vehicle window sniffing at me. Steve and I had a wolf come within about 20 or 25 feet last fall, and it would have kept coming if Steve didn't yell at it. I've been close to both many times and have never felt threatened. Not that I'd turn my back on one that close!

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ah so you 'n Steve are buddies then,, ok gotcha,, and you've both been that close? wow, that kinda makes me shiver.. I'm looking for a buddy, I don't like heading out alone,, for a few reasons.

a bear with a water hose? um,, guess this was at home, was it? I can't see you guys carrying along a backpack of water and hose for this purpose, I would think there would be other methods of deterent,, no? LOL

Sue

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the water hose incident was at home when I was workin' on a sidewalk. I have slapped 'em with a canoe paddle on Hatchet Lake and been literally nose to nose with a cub hanging onto a tree as I turned a corner on a trail. Honestly, moose are more unpredictable and I have been chased into a tree by one!

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well unfortunately for me (in this area) our moose populations are so down, I'll be surprised if we ever get an opportunity to see another one. sad but true. :-(

deer and bear in my yard all the time, but for me, I live in town, and the backgrounds are nowhere near what Jim posted for me here. houses, garages, cars,, hydro lines,, uhg!!! we are selling our house this year,, hope to be out by fall, and are currently looking for something in the country!! oh man, I am pumped about that!! I'll be able to find myself a little nitch, and get a blind set up, and will be able to take pics till my hearts content!! that's my dream at any rate. lol

Sue

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For me the biggest challenge is getting good light and a good background and with all the trees in the yard. I am also working on a setup for evening light which will involve the kids playhouse. When you are out scouting you can also look for interesting branches that would dress up your shots or would at least change them a little in color. Steve and Ken have given you some great advice so now its time to get out before all the summer birds arrive.

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I enjoyed reading through this post and learning just a little bit more. Since I've gotten more serious about taking decent pictures, I "see" more and am more aware of my surroundings. While I still have a long ways to go, I do notice the quality of my picutres have gotten better.

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it's not as simple as going out for a "ride" and getting shots

But, sometimes it is. wink Some of my best raptor shots have been acquired in this manner. I sometimes like to drive around an area that is frequented more heavily with hawks. Sometimes, I'll spot one sitting in a tree, pull over and try and sneak up a bit closer. This rarely works, but just like anything else, luck can be an important factor. My best hawk in flight shot happened this way. I got my best Meadowlark shot, just driving the country roads. He was sitting on a fence post and I was able to position my car so I could get the nicest background. My best deer shot was from my car. Also, driving around sloughs this time of the year, can yield some nice shots of Red-winged Blackbirds and Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Although, my best song bird shots came from staking out feeders. Both methods can work very well.

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Sue, two simple pieces of gear can help ease your fears about wolves and bears. I'm not worried at all about wolves or bears, but you just never know.

When I was out hiking the wilderness Pow Wow Trail in autumn, I had wolves howl 200 yards away when I made my first night camp along Superstition Lake, and they howled off and on all night long and into the next morning, sometimes closer than 200 yards but never more than half a mile off. I was sleeping in a type of tent that had no floor, and as I lay there writing in my notebook by lantern light I kept expecting a wolfish nose to poke under the tent to get a sniff. It was a wonderful night, since wolves were a big reason I moved to Ely.

You can bring strong pepper spray, which will deter bears and to some degree wolves (and any two-legged predators). It's a little uncertain how much impact pepper spray has on wolves. I saw one report that indicated someone sprayed an aggressive wolf and it didn't stop the animal, although the report didn't say how strong the pepper spray was. If you get the kind marketed as a bear deterrent, it'll be quite strong. This was a wild wolf habituated to being fed by people, so it had lost its wariness of mankind and when it approached a person with the expectation of being fed and didn't get food, it got aggressive. Pepper spray is well documented as an effective bear deterrent.

What the staff at the International Wolf Center here in Ely do when the wolves are in a fight that looks dangerous is blow a blast with a horn-in-a-can. That piercing loud noise knocks the wolves right to the ground, they say.

All that being said, it's nice to have a friend along. I do a lot of my work by myself, and like it that way, but I also go out with Ken a lot, and that's great fun in a different way. Not to mention it eases your mind to have a companion out in the woods. It's not easy to find someone who you work well with when it comes to photography. So many different styles of shooting, and all. If you can find a photog buddy you get on well with, you are ahead of the game.

And Ken is dead right about the moose. I'll walk toward a bear or a wolf if I want to get a tighter photograph, but you won't see me approach a cow and calf. Those cows are very protective, and it's well known that combo is the most dangerous animal combo up here. The rutting bulls can be very unpredictable in the fall, too. I have a friend who was out deer hunting and played ring around the rosey with a big bull, who he kept at a little distance by dodging around trees as the moose chased him. He could legally have shot the moose to protect himself even though the season was closed but chose to try to evade instead. After a few minutes of this the moose gave up and walked off.

Ken, 18,000 = a lot of B.S. gringrin

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Quote:
Ken, 18,000 = a lot of B.S. grin grin

More than knee deep, I assure you!

Sue, check out your local Canadian ordinances on pepper spray. In 2006 my buddy Tom and I canoed the length of the Albany River to Hudson Bay and wanted some safety measures along for bears in camp. At the border they charged me $20 and let me bring my 12 gauge shotgun in, but confiscated our pepper spray. Couldn't figure that one out. Maybe you or Stu have some insight on that for us southern neighbors. smile

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Even whitetail deer are more dangerous than wolves or bears. There are more attacks by deer than any other animal, in the U.S.

Also, I've heard there is only 1 documented attack by a wolf, in all North American history. And this was just a few years ago. Black bears are generally [me] cats. They would rather run, than confront a human. Usually, just throwing something at them, will send them on their way. Of course, just like people, there is always the aggressive one.

Just remember, never run from any animal. That will trigger their instinctive mechanism and they will chase you, and you can't outrun them. I saw a guy almost get chased down by a grizzly bear in Alaska. He was salmon fishing a river and a grizzly was heading his way. The fisherman picked up his pole and was starting to run. The bear was also quickening his pace. Believe me, I had my camera ready. whistle A ranger saw this and yelled at the guy to stop and walk away slowly. That was all it took. The bear lost interest.

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Mike, you are right on, man. Those deer can be nasty! Ken, yikes! I'd forgotten all about pepper spray and Canada.

I've got a 2002 case history that details 80 human/wolf encounters. It was put out by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. It covers mostly Canada and Alaska, with a handful of encounters in NE Minnesota.

The report indicates there were 16 cases in which non-rabid, aggressive wolves attacked and bit people. None was life-threatening, but in six cases the bites were severe. In most cases in which wolves were aggressive or actually attacked, they were either sick, were defending a denning area or had been habituated to being fed by humans. According to a report I read, the wolves who killed the guy up in Canada a few years ago also had been food-habituated.

Documentation also doesn't exist for people with an oral tradition, simply because they had no written language, but Indian and Inuit people recount incidents in which wolves have attacked them. Barry Lopez mentions this in "Of Wolves and Men," a fantastic read if wolves are an interest.

The Alaska Fish and Game report is good stuff for people in wolf country. You can download it here.

Both my close encounters with wolves were spurred by outside factors. The black wolf I photographed at point blank range a couple autumns ago is part of a pack along the Fernberg Road that's often seen, and at least one person out that way feeds that pack regularly in his/her back yard. Not a good idea at all. So this wolf was used to people, did not fear them, and had come to associate people with food. Bad combination. Sooner or later it wouldn't surprise me to hear of someone being attacked by one of that pack. When I dropped to my knees to get a lower angle to photograph the black wolf, she immediately took a step toward me and gave me the head-down "assessment stare" to decide whether I was prey or not. In general (as well as not running from a predator as Mike pointed out), it's a bad idea with wolves, black bears and mountain lions to be low to the ground during an encounter. Be tall, be big, be confident.

The second encounter, the one Ken mentioned, happened because the car that pulled up right behind us as the wolf was trotting toward us on the Echo Trail had a little yap-yap dog barking like crazy, and the wolf's attention was riveted on the dog, which would have made a tasty evening snack for Mr. Canis Lupus. Wolves often kill and eat dogs, and one way to court a wolf encounter is to bring your dog with you into the woods.

Anyway, I've seen wolves out in the woods and along the roads many, many times since moving up here, and they almost always vanish at top speed before a person can get a camera up.

Sorry this has morphed into a wolf discussion (and forgive me for being long-winded about my favorite animal). frownfrown I guess if Jim and Sue are OK with that, it's OK. smilesmile

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I've got a 2002 case history that details 80 human/wolf encounters. It was put out by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. It covers mostly Canada and Alaska, with a handful of encounters in NE Minnesota.

I guess my source was a bit off. shocked I read this several years ago, but don't remember where. Maybe they were referring to just the lower 48, and the handful in MN has happened since then. Either way, it's nothing that should deter us from enjoying the outdoors in wolf country. I'd be more fearful of a pack of wild dogs. They have far less intelligence.

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Yeah, up to a few years ago you could still read or hear the claim from some wolf lovers and publications that "there has never been a documented case in North America of a healthy wild wolf attacking a person." The attack/killing in Canada a few years ago put an end to that claim. In fact, as Lopez and the Alaska report have demonstrated, it was a misleading claim from the start.

I agree wholeheartedly that there's little risk of attack from wolves, and that it shouldn't keep us from getting out there and experiencing it all. smilesmile

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