Guests - If You want access to member only forums on HSO. You will gain access only when you sign-in or Sign-Up on HotSpotOutdoors.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Steve Foss

Ya gotta dance in order to . . . well, you know!

43 posts in this topic

The timeless dance of the sharp-tailed grouse. Ken and I photographed 22 birds on a lek this morning.

It was a good day. smilesmile

All with the Canon 1D Mk3, Canon 300 f2.8, Canon 1.4 TC, iso from 1600 to 400, shutter speeds from 1/50 to 1/640, all at f4, tripod, Ai servo, center focus point, +1 exposure compensation.

Please excuse slight variations in color temp. I'm shooting a new camera in jpeg mode, and getting the color temp just right in changing light conditions without the RAW preview screen is an inexact science. I've got about 750 usable images, so these are only a quick skim off the top. I have some of birds fighting and flying and many others (as Ken does too, I'm sure). We hope you enjoy. God knows we did! gringrin

Of course, on the way down on Sunday we got pictures of eagles, sandhill cranes, pelicans wheeling, killdeers and quite a few others, but heck, that's another thread. Not to mention hours more work. smilesmile

3461372850_0ca5998b85_o.jpg

3460566975_d9eec60be9_b.jpg

3461372804_362e069537_o.jpg

3461372856_56388dbe48_o.jpg

3461372862_49f41aeeea_o.jpg

3460566973_a730268e63_o.jpg

3461372866_1961cc24e3_o.jpg

3461372870_fe1498bc66_o.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great shots, Steve! It was a good day. I've never watched sharpies dance before, so it was a doubly entertaining way to spend a Monday. Would also like to thank my friend Tom and wife Jan for their hospitality!

Sharpie-10.jpg

Sharpie-6.jpg

Sharpie-8.jpg

Sharpie-9.jpg

sharpie-1.jpg

sharpie-2.jpg

sharpie-4.jpg

sharpie-5.jpg

Mine taken with a Canon Mark II, 500mm f/4, 400 ISO f/4 and various shutter speeds, ec +2/3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These are great shots. I'm in McGregor this weekend and planning on seeing these guys perform their magic. Can't hardly wait!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahhh, sweet work, buddy. Yours totally pop!

Feels good when nature presents strong challenges to a well thought-out plan and the plan wins. The snow turned out to be quite a bonus, and the wind stayed where it was supposed to until it was supposed to. smilesmilesmile

What's up next? Muskoxen in the Thomsen River Delta? I'm in, but you gotta line that one up. I bet Tom would help. Heck, he'd do more than help! Tom and Jan, a big thank you! Soft beds and fresh Muffins at 4 a.m. don't suck! gringrin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:
What's up next? Muskoxen in the Thomsen River Delta?

It's either that or stone sheep along Muncho Lake! grin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not looking for an exact location, but where did you guys find them?

About a 35 minute drive south and west from Duluth. smilesmilesmile

Ken, stone sheep? You kidding me? C'mon man, its muskoxen or bust! gringrin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great stuff guys! Steve, cloudy conditions or shade and AWB I know on the Mark IIN gives you temp variations, you think it looks like the same situation on the Mark III?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great stuff guys! Steve, cloudy conditions or shade and AWB I know on the Mark IIN gives you temp variations, you think it looks like the same situation on the Mark III?

It doesn't matter to me in here. If I'm matching a series of images for a client I'll get real anal about color temp, but this ain't that. It's just friends posting for friends. smilesmile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, don't misunderstand me Steve, I am just asking if you find that to be true with the Mark III, I've never shot with one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Debbie,

Just got an email from buddy Tom who's mom (lives in MacGregor) watched 18 of 'em dancing next to her car this morning. Sorry, don't know exactly where, but within a short distance of town.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, don't misunderstand me Steve, I am just asking if you find that to be true with the Mark III, I've never shot with one.

Dan, I don't think I misunderstood you. I didn't think you were making a big deal about it, and I wasn't either. Cool? I mean, those smiley faces I use mean I'm smiling. confused

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You guys got a few keepers there. I shot from the blind in Cloquet last year, not too shabby of a location.

Hey Dan, if you ever want to shoot these closer to home let me know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those have awesome colors!

Ken,do you find the 500L a handfull or manageable? I test drove the 800L on Sat. and was impressed with the reach and focusing speed but the length was a little clumsy. It moved well on the Wimberley,but handholding while panning was awkward feeling. How do you like panning the 500?

I almost have the wife convinced. wink

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You guys got a few keepers there. I shot from the blind in Cloquet last year, not too shabby of a location.

It's OK. Nothing special. The grass it pretty tall for photogs, even though they say it's been mown, and the setting is nothing at all compared with the blinds from which I watched leks with 40 sharp-tails in N.D. They set up this Cloquet area blind 150 feet away from the lek, which doesn't suit photographers at all (the DNR tech I talked to said they have no interest in satisfying photographers), but we picked her up and moved her within 40 feet and the grouse were dancing right in front of us, just like they always did from 20 feet in N.D.

You want something done right . . . .

MM, for what it's worth, I don't own that 500 but have shot it many times over the last three years, both as loan/rental and CPS arrangements. I don't know what Ken has to say about it, but for my money it's the best combination of IQ and portability in the Canon supertele line. Doesn't hurt to have a strong left detoid musculature if you are right-handed, but at eight pounds it's really no problem for some.

Just my opinion. Rock on!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MM, It's managable. I didn't know how far we'd be from the grouse when we went out to the blind. I had my 300 f/2.8 on one body and a 1.4 TC in my pocket. Carried the 500 out just in case. As it was, I'm glad I had the 500. It's the first real shoot I've used it on and I was very happy with it. Only problem was the tripod I brought out was a light ball head and I couldn't trust it to sit by itself much. Kept one or two hands on it most of the shoot and it worked really well. I also used it hand held later in the day and wouldn't want to spend a lot of time doing it, but could swing and follow on a harrier pretty well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had no idea that the sharpies had so much color. The purple on the neck and the yellow eyebrows are surprising. The tails all fluffed up remind me of those decorations made out of tissue paper that you open up into wedding bells or Christmas bulbs. smile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never saw this side of the sharptails when living among them in ND. Spring was a go-go time. Awesome shots guys! grin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the Sharp-tailed Grouse lek locations in Tamarack Minnesota.

From I-35:

-take Hwy. 210 west from I-35 to the town of Tamarack.

-take CR 16 south for about 1/4 mile and the grouse are dancing either on the west or east side of CR 16

Also if you take CR 16 south. CR 16 will bend to the west and then bend to the south. At the crook of the road there is a dirt road that heads west. Take the dirt road and drive for nearly 2 miles and there is another lek coming to a farm house on the south side of the road.

Also if you take CR 16 north of Hwy 210 and drive thru Tamarack you will come to Kestrel Rd. Take Kestrel for a mile or so and there is another lek spot on the west side of the road. There is a house with some large spruce trees in front of the house. Look from Kestrel Rd on the south side of the home and the far west side of the home for the grouse.

In Sax-Zim Bog:

There is a lek with about 20 birds along Poplar Rd one mile south of Arkola Rd. You can view the grouse from Poplar Rd by look west. There is a small building that looks like a old out house and the grouse dance either behind the structure or in front of it. This is private property and you need permission to enter the field.

The other lek is along CR 29 about 1 1/2 miles north of CR 133. there is white modular home with horses and a lot of buildings around the home. On the northside of the home is a field that is over grown ( its use to me hayed every summer but its not over grown ) anyway the grouse lek is on the far east side of the field and you will need a spotting scope to view them. The grouse could of moved over to the Dart Rd on the east side of CR 29 as there is some fields over there as well.

There are also some Grouse leks in Moose Lake, MN but I do not have the directions for them but could get them from a birder if anyone needs directions.

There is also a blind for the public in Palo, MN just south of Aurora, MN and you can find the directions by asking the DNR.

There are also blinds for ST Grouse in Crex Meadows, WI and again you can reserve the blind by contacting the Crex Meadows Wildlife Refuge folks.

Leks are no secret but again the McGregor and the Sax Zim Bog leks are on private property but can be viewed from a distance from public roads. Just ask the landowner for permission and I am sure they will not have a problem with people setting up a portable blind to photograph them. IF you do get permission set the blind up in the afternoon not in lek area but just outside of the lek area. ( look for droppings to get a gauge of the lek circle ) then place the blind on the other ring of the lek. Enter the blind an hour before sunrise and wait for the birds to call and begin to dance!

Love the photos I seen so far!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ken - As part of a photo retreat weekend, I'm going out with a group Sunday AM to some blinds already set up in a farmer's field. I did this last year and had never seen anything so cool, so I'm going back again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Posts

    • Most of them will be liberals..   Ha ha ha...     Fake news ?   The direct result of a video...   I landed in sniper fire...   The stupidity of the American voter...     Hilborg...   Created, marketed and sold thru fake news to gullible libs across the country.    
    • And you still think something is not screwed up in this country!? I fear a great many people are headed for some very painful disappointments in the next couple years.
    • A 56 percent majority of Trump voters say that if a national media outlet reported that Trump said something untrue, they would be more inclined to believe him than the news outlet.
           
    • Here is some more business fueled by Trump and Uncle Bill type LIVs.   Fake News: How a Partying Macedonian Teen Earns Thousands Publishing Lies by ALEXANDER SMITH and VLADIMIR BANIC   VELES, Macedonia — Dimitri points to a picture on his Instagram showing a bar table decked with expensive champagne and sparklers.  It's from his 18th birthday just four months ago — a lavish party in his east European hometown that he says wouldn't have been possible without President-elect Donald Trump.  Dimitri — who asked NBC News not to use his real name — is one of dozens of teenagers in the Macedonian town of Veles who got rich during the U.S. presidential election producing fake news for millions on social media. The articles, sensationalist and often baseless, were posted to Facebook, drawing in armies of readers and earning fake-news writers money from penny-per-click advertising.  Dimitri says he's earned at least $60,000 in the past six months — far outstripping his parents' income and transforming his prospects in a town where the average annual wage is $4,800. He is one of the more successful fake news pushers in the area.  His main source of cash? Supporters of America's president-elect.  "Nothing can beat Trump's supporters when it comes to social media engagement," he says. "So that's why we stick with Trump."  Even with the presidential contest over and Google and Facebook's plans to crack down on fake news makers, money continues to pour in.  Posts about Hillary Clinton are also a hit — but only negative ones.  "I have mostly written about her emails, what is contained in her emails, the Benghazi tragedy, maybe her illness that she had," Dimitri adds, but now he's moved on to headlines like: "Trey Gowdy Revealed His EPIC Plan To Imprison Hillary Now That Election's Over, SHE IS DONE!"  Dimitri's sole aim is to make his stories go viral.  His most popular headlines during the election included: "JUST IN: Obama Illegally Transferred DOJ Money To Clinton Campaign!" and "BREAKING: Obama Confirms Refusal To Leave White House, He Will Stay In Power!"  The teenager is unrepentant about any influence his stories may have had on swaying public opinion.  "I didn't force anyone to give me money," he says. "People sell cigarettes, they sell alcohol. That's not illegal, why is my business illegal? If you sell cigarettes, cigarettes kill people. I didn't kill anyone." The same weekend that NBC spent with Dimitri, a gunman opened fire in a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. The shooter told police he was motivated by a fake news story. The pizzeria, Comet Ping Pong, was accused online of hosting a pedophile ring run by Democratic leaders. Asked about the incident this week, Dimitri claimed he wasn't familiar with the story nor the people who had spread it online.   A Modern Gold Rush The small, rust-belt town of Veles has found itself in the international spotlight after investigations by BuzzFeed and the Guardian traced more than 100 fake news domain names here.  The fake news bonanza couldn't have come against a more jarring backdrop. Once part of communist Yugoslavia, the Republic of Macedonia has a population of 2.1 million in a landlocked area about the size Vermont. Blanketed by rugged mountains, parts of the country have enjoyed a tourism surge in recent years. But vacationers won't find Veles in many travel guides. The town of 50,000 is almost an hour's drive down a lonely, crumbling highway from the capital, Skopje. Macedonia is landlocked by Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Greece. Google Maps Visitors are greeted by a distressed mosaic of red-roofed buildings, densely stacked onto a steep mountainside. Industrial smokestacks add to a wintry fog settling over the valley — though even their output has diminished after several recent factory closures.  Almost a quarter of Macedonians are currently unemployed — a rate around five times higher than in the U.S. But the burdens that weigh on Veles might also explain why it's become a global hotbed for fake news. High unemployment and a close-knit community meant that when Dimitri and others started making money, word quickly spread and everyone wanted a piece of the action.  Most teens here speak fluent English, allowing them to quickly navigate through reams of Western news sites and pinpoint potentially viral content.  Dimitri estimates there are now 300 locals dabbling in fake news, with at least 50 making "decent money," and around a dozen making "a lot." He says he's not quite at the top of the pecking order, but not far off.   But he is no scrappy teenager. Dimitri is bright, with an obvious aptitude for business.  He won't show NBC News his profile on Google AdSense, an online advertising service that allows websites to make money, to protect five other teenagers who asked him not to reveal aspects of their shared interests. He's also wary of revealing his full income, worried it will make him a target for thieves, or worse. However, he does show NBC News a digital receipt from Google showing he earned more than $8,000 from the web giant in September. He says this was just one of several advertising accounts, and claims his most successful streak — in the run-up to the election — saw him rake in $27,000 in just one month.  When asked for comment about the persistence of fake news even after the election, Facebook directed NBC News to a post from CEO Mark Zuckerberg last month in which he laid out the company's plan to tackle the phenomenon.  In an interview with TODAY on Thursday, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg acknowledged "there's a lot more to do."  Google outlined steps last month that it said would restrict advertising on websites that "misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information." The company did not respond to NBC News' requests for comment on this apparently still-flourishing industry. Dimitri says even after the election, while business is less brisk, his fake news is still highly profitable. Like any business, he's aware of the need to adapt. "This business updates every hour, every ten minutes, every minute," he says. "There are always news ideas, new types of generating new visitors and that's the thing we all want." So while newspapers across the globe are losing advertising revenue, Dimitri's empire of lies is thriving. He says he now employs three 15-year-olds, paying them the equivalent of $10 per day. As well as buying new laptops and paying cash to boost his posts on social media, he has also invested some of his earnings into real estate — a joint venture with his parents, who are more than happy with his success.   The Anatomy of a Lie As with many regular journalists, Dimitri starts his day by trawling the web looking for trending topics that he can harness to drive traffic to his websites. He copies his posts from other fake news websites, including many in the U.S., or takes content from mainstream media organizations before peppering them with invented details. He also posts provocative online polls such as: "Should Trump Deport All Refugees?" and: "Do you consider Donald Trump, the Jesus of America?" Most of this content is published on websites Dimitri has built to look like NBC News, Fox News, the Huffington Post and others. A fake news page run from Macedonia that is made to look like Huffington Post. To the untrained eye, fake headlines such as: "BREAKING: Obama Confirms Refusal To Leave White House, He Will Stay In Power!" look genuine. The only giveaway is the imitation URL.  From then on, it's a case of throwing as much mud at the wall and seeing what sticks. "The most-read news articles are usually the ones containing the click-bait words," Dimitri says. "The click bait words, as you know, are, 'Oh my god, breaking news, wow,' and usually something that has never been aired before. Because if the title just says, 'Today this happened, today that happened,' no one will open that." He and his collaborators post these stories to their Facebook pages dozens of times a day. Again, he would only show NBC News a Facebook page that he runs on his own, which has an impressive 86,000 likes. But he said the six pages run by his collective have amassed more than 3 million likes between them. "Say you produce ten lies a day, [the audience] is not going to believe ten lies, they are going to believe probably one or maximum two," he says. "Usually the lies about [Clinton's] emails and the lies about Hillary. The anti-Hillary posts were really good." Stories from USA Daily News 24, a fake news site registered in Veles, Macedonia. An Associated Press analysis using web intelligence service Domain Tools shows that USA Daily News 24 is one of roughly 200 U.S.-oriented sites registered in Veles, which has emerged as the unlikely hub for the distribution of disinformation on Facebook. Both stories shown here are bogus.  Dimitri says he has set up more than 50 domain names in six months, all in a bid to please Facebook's algorithm and get the maximum number of eyeballs on his posts. He claims in that time his posts have achieved some 40 million page views. "We stay up late and we don't sleep that much — I haven't slept good for a couple of months now," he says. "I have to go to school and then at night I have to work." He and his colleagues see the process as an art. At first they worked on a basis of trial-and-error. Now it comes naturally. "You see what people like and you just give it to them," he explains. "You see they like water, you give water, they like wine, you give wine. It's really simple." The challenge of engaging readers on social media is one familiar to most journalists. They have a formidable opponent in Dimitri and his peers; analysis by BuzzFeed after the election showed that fake news websites actually performed better than conventional press and television.  Dimitri is unequivocal about why the mainstream couldn't compete: "They're not allowed to lie."   Partying to the Tune of Fake News The influx of money has created a thriving party culture in Veles.  On Saturday, one local nightclub was barely keeping up with demand, as dozens of teens and young adults ordered ice buckets filled with large $35 bottles of vodka. In this new era, the purveyors of fake news are the coolest kids in the schoolyard.  "Since fake news started, girls are more interested in geeks than macho guys," says one 17-year-old girl standing at the bar.  The most successful fake-news publishers have "bought themselves houses, apartments, maybe invested in some real estate or in some businesses," according to Dimitri. "They have bought themselves cars, they have bought ... their girlfriends better cars, better places to live," he says. Keen to feed off this gold rush, the nightclub even plans to organize a club night on the same day that Google pays out its advertising money.  A nightclub in the Macedonian town of Veles where teenagers dabbling in fake news go to party. Following Google and Facebook's vow to clamp down on fake news, Dimitri says he knows people have lost tens of thousands after their accounts were shuttered. "When they started to shut down webpages, business went down," says 20-year-old Kiko, a bartender at the nightclub. The impact appears to have been short lived, however, judging by the healthy flow of local currency, the Macedonian denar, being shoved into the club's cash registers. Most people are cagey about admitting any direct involvement in fake news. But Tony, a 40-year-old taxi driver, says that every young person he knows — including his own son — is in on the act. "I've been doing this job for 18 years and I know everyone in the city," he says. "I know kids who are minors, 16 or 17 years old, and they bought BMWs after running these websites." Is he worried about his son making money from selling hoaxes online? "It's better to do this job than to go into the drug business," he says. Also unperturbed is Veles' mayor, Slavcho Chadiev. "Is it criminal activity? Not according to the law of Macedonia," he says during an interview in his office. "All that money went through the state system and everyone paid their taxes." He isn't bothered by accusations that Veles' teens swayed the U.S. election. In fact, he welcomes the idea. "Not as a mayor, but as a man and as a citizen, I'm glad if Veles contributed to the Republicans' victory and Trump's victory," he says.   A view of Veles in November.  Like many Macedonians, he blames recent Democratic administrations in Washington for not doing more to help their country's attempts to join the European Union and NATO. (Greece has blocked these efforts in a dispute over Macedonia's name — the country's official title at the United Nations is the cumbersome Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.) On the flip side, the mayor still remembers fondly when Republican President George W. Bush recognized his country's new title in 2004. What would he do if he encountered one of these fake news tycoons? "I would ask him, 'Are you looking for a job?' Because I have a lack of IT guys," he says, before admitting that the salary of less than $400 might not be attractive. Dimitri says his goal is to earn $1 million, and it's no surprise the young entrepreneur sees Trump as "a small role model." There's only one question that sees doubt creep into Dimitri's cocksure demeanor. When he copies posts from other fake news websites, does he worry he's being used as a pawn to spread propaganda? "When you buy a certain product, you don't know who created it," he says. "You don't know who creates your shoes, and there are rumors that small children in Africa create them." He adds: "Maybe I don't want to find out, because if I find out maybe I'm going to feel bad. Right now I'm feeling OK.
    • I WAS AGAINST IT!!!! If it wasn't for Jay Cutler, Mauer's, would by far be the worst contract in sports history!
    • striker for me...I have had the suit for 3 years now and absolutely love it.  I wear the inner jacket everyday and when I go ice fishing I never worry about being cold as the suit is as warm as can be and I know that if I were to have an unfortunate incident and fell in I will be floating on top! 
    • Goldman Sachs has been smiling all the way to the bank lately...   As noted by market legend Art Cashin, the director of floor operations at UBS and long-time trading veteran, Goldman Sachs, one of the 30 stocks making up the Dow Jones Industrial Average index, has been responsible for a huge amount of the increase in that index. From Cashin’s daily commentary on Wednesday (emphasis added): “The Dow closed up 35 points and almost 23 of those points came from Goldman Sachs (GS). In fact, our good friend and fellow trading veteran, Jim Brown, at Option Investor, points out that GS has rallied $57 since the election. That means that GS has provided 441 of the 1363 points that the Dow has rallied. In case your calculator batteries are dead, that’s about one third of the rally, all due to Goldman.“    
    • The bigfoot blocks the light just fine. I bought used so there were portions of it that were worn and had tiny holes, but even with that I could see great. Making sure your skirt is down properly and covering up the floor make a much bigger difference. I use EVA foam exercise tiles for the floor, light weight and shed the water well.

      This year I went around and patched up a bunch of those, I used something we had lying around called Gesso, but I am guessing white out would have worked fine. Let that dry and then went over it with a sharpie. I doubt it will make a difference in me getting a fish or not, but needed to fill some time with the late ice  .   I am fairly certain this is the style of interior that caused the issue of seeing lines in the hole.
  • Our Sponsors