Be Prepared

The two photographs are from a recent trip this past summer to Wyoming.  Typically when photographing working cowboys I will have two camera bodies on me at all times.  One is typically outfitted with a telephoto zoom.  The other camera is usually equipped with  a wider zoom lens.  Between the two camera bodies and lenses I will generally have a focal range between 24mm to 400mm covered.

There are times when the actions gets a bit closer than planned.  That is where the versatility of the wide zoom comes into play.  I actually prefer the look and feel of the action photographs with the wider angle of view as it pulls the viewer more into the photograph.  It does mean that you do have to be fairly close to the action as I believe it is imperative to be as close as possible to a foreground element as the wide angle will push the background elements further away.


The opportunity doesn’t always present itself but working with horses and cattle is unpredictable which is why I make sure to be prepared so I can react to the action that presents itself.  The first opportunity I ever had to photograph working cowboys was way back in 1981.  Yes, during the days of film.  Needless to say I have learned from experience.  Having beautiful morning light in which to photograph is icing on the cake.

Look Into My Eyes

Just having a little fun with the Fuji X-T1 at the Mortenson Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I spent the early part of the week photographing with my Nikon gear but shot with my the Fuji gear the last couple of days to put the new and improved autofocus to the test.  I will be sharing my thoughts as well as images in a later post.

Of course who can turn down the opportunity to photograph a young white faced cow.  The Fuji X-T1 has an articulating screen, meaning that it is not fixed and can be flipped up and down.  This allows one to get the camera at a very low angle without contorting your body to look through the view finder or fixed screen like on the majority of other cameras.  It definitely makes composing images from low angles a lot easer.  This youngster was curious as to what I was up to and took a brief pause from a late afternoon snack to check out camera.


The Stage is Set

I am often asked how I photograph a lot of my images in such beautiful light.  First of all if means that one must get up early and stay out late.  Early morning and late afternoon are often referred to by many photographers as the golden hour.  This is the time of day when the landscaped is bathed in the beautiful golden light with long shadows because the sun is low in the sky, just above the horizon.

The next is to find a stage.  By that I find a subject within that beautiful light.  In the case of photographing wildlife I essentially find the background first along with a clean foreground.  Once I find the scene and have an idea as to how I want to compose the scene I wait patiently for my subject to come into the scene.  To summarize the stage is set and I wait for my main subject to come onto the stage.

The image above of the elk that I photographed last year in Rocky Mountain National Park is a good example. I setup my tripod and composed the image where the beautiful light was located.  At the time I setup the elk was off to the left in shade.  In other words the elk was in boring light.  I patiently waited, hoping the elk would make its way into fading afternoon light.  Sometimes I try to employ the Jedi mind control but it never seems to work.  I eventually got luck and the elk made his way into a spot bathed in the beautiful golden light.  People ask but what if the elk doesn’t come into the beautiful light then what do you do?  If that is the case then you just enjoy the moment of being in the great outdoors and enjoy these beautiful critters.