This blog and website have moved. If you like to visit my new website and blog please use the new URL:
Mein Blog und die Webseite sind umgezogen. Bitte nutze den folgenden Link wenn du weiterhin Fotos und Berichte über die Natur entlang des Mississippi sehen möchtest.
The old URL (exnerimages.com) will lead you only back to this site. If you had a bookmark for this website in your web browser please replace the old bookmark with the new URL.
I have posted photos and have written little stories about nature and photography here in this blog since February 6, 2010. It is hard to believe that I wrote 685 posts in a language that is not my native one and probably posted about twice as many photos during the last five years…
Who cares? It is about what someone finds here, learns here, or just enjoys to see in this photography blog. This all comes to an end now. Period!! 😉 Well, the word “here” in the headline suggests that there is something that may follow…;-)
I have switched to a different platform to publish my photography work. During the last five years my website was hosted by GoDaddy and and I used WordPress to do all the posting, publishing, and getting on peoples nerves. There are reasons why I’m doing this but I don’t want to bore you with this crap. If you like to know, send me a message and I will be happy to fill you in with the details. My new website is hosted by Squarespace, a cloud based website host.
So, what is going to change for you, my dear visitors and friends of this website and blog? Not much!! Here are some technical hints how things will be handled during this period of transition.:
1. For now, please continue visiting this website exnerimages.com. After you get here, click on the link below:
and your request will be forwarded to the front page of the new website.
You will there find my blog and portfolio galleries in a different, much more modern style and new layout. (While I’m writing this, I’m so excited to move on to a new level!! 😉 ) The last three post have been published there (silently!) already, so you will not miss any reference to a previous post.
2. In a next step I will try to move all my old posts to the new site, so hopefully nothing of my “wisdom” gets lost… 😉 I also will create a totally new IOWA WILDLIFE GALLERY. This will be hopefully again a source for information and help to identify birds and critters.
3. Finally, I will link my domain “exnerimages.com” to the new website. With other words, not much will change for you in order to reach my blog and website. The domain will be the same as it is right now!
If you have visited the new site and you have something to share about it, hey, let us all know what’s wrong or how you like it… Your ideas, critique, and impressions are more than welcome!
I stopped briefly at lock & dam #14 today on my way back home from a business trip. Unfortunately it was just about the same time when a big field of clouds moved in from the west that covered the sun. You could tell that the quality of light dropped from one minute to the next or from gorgeous light to stupid gray. I counted six Bald Eagles sitting in the trees and about three times more photographers who waited more or less patiently for the birds to come down and start some fishing action. The eagles didn’t leave the trees at all while I was there and shooting against a gray sky wasn’t really what I had in mind.
Sometimes we have to accept that we come home with nothing on the memory card, but if we don’t try we will miss the opportunities that come at another time. Today’s photo was made almost exactly one year ago and the metadata of the image reveal that it was even almost the same time, between 3 and 4 o’clock. It can be a fine line between success and coming back with nothing in your hands…
Every winter when I go out shooting Bald Eagles for the first time in the season I get reminded how important it is to practice proper shooting techniques. There is no lack of Ring-billed Gulls along the Mississippi and when the eagles decide to sit just quiet in the trees I just aim for the gulls in order to use my time the best. If you have a high keeper rate while shooting gulls, getting a sharp image of a Bald Eagle in flight seems to be a piece of cake in comparison. The flight pattern of the eagles is a lot more predictable. The goal is always to make the image right in camera so that no crop has to be applied in post process at home. That doesn’t always happen but with the gulls I keep only the shots that are full size.
After my arrival at lock & dam #14 in LeClaire, Iowa last Sunday I went straight for the place where the gulls were fishing. My keeper rate was very low in the beginning but improved over time and finally there were a few pictures that I even liked.
This is how the morning greeted us today. Before I swung the snow shovel for a couple hours I had to make a few clicks from the balcony of our house. It was the wonderful pattern that the snow had created in our trees I was after. As Joan always says with a twinkle in her eyes…”Ich liebe Winter!!”… 😉
I remember when I made my first photo of a Bald Eagle sitting in a tree somewhere along the Mississippi River. The picture was taken from far away and I had to crop the heck out of the image to make it work and spent a lot of time in post process. Now, a few thousand shots later, I still have room for improvement, a process that will probably never end. But it isn’t anymore so much about getting all the technical aspects right, that has moved to a different level of consciousness, but it is about to find a good gesture or to catch the right moment that tells the story about the eagles better than the last photo.
The first image makes us believing that an eagle catches the fish with its bill, but they don’t, they still use their talons to get the fish out of the water. I caught the brief moment right after the catch when the Bald Eagle picked up the fish from the talons and started eating it. They don’t do that with the bigger fish but a little one is gobbled down immediately like a snack.
The gesture of the bird in the second photo tells the photographer, you better be ready and lock the focus on, if you want to make the click during the moment the eagle makes a catch. It also shows where the difficulty lies at a location like lock and dam #14 in LeClaire. There are many structures in the background that can ruin an otherwise perfect shot but sometimes they also can help to tell the story.
As mentioned yesterday we had ideal shooting conditions at lock and dam #14 in LeClaire, Iowa at the Mississippi River. It is always depending what direction you point the lens but in some instances the sky appeared in an almost unreal blue. I don’t tinker with colors in my wildlife photography and in that regard it’s true WYSIWYG what you see here in the blog or elsewhere.
I enjoyed the company of our friends Jeanne and Dave at dam #14. It is nice to shoot together with someone who has the same or similar interests and Dave likes to make photographs about nature, farm buildings and equipment, as well as portraits. He writes about different aspects of life and posts his photos in a blog almost every day, check it out if you like. http://updedesignsblog.com
It was the first time that I saw an American White Pelican in January here in Iowa. Burt Gearhart, the photographer who made a presentation about the wildlife around LeClaire yesterday, had some pictures of pelicans in his slideshow and it was new to me that they come up that far north during the winter. What a pleasure to see that majestic bird flying in!!! I know most of my American friends have a biased view if it comes to the Bald Eagle, the National bird of the United States, but hey, the pelican isn’t bad either… 😉 I can watch them soaring for hours with their incredible wing span of up to 110 inches (bis zu 2,79 m) and never get tired of it. The pelican’s fishing frenzy has been documented a few times here in the blog ( http://exnerimages.com/?s=pelicans ) but making this photo of a single pelican in flight in January here in Iowa is priceless…
Warm weather and a blue sky made for decent shooting conditions today and it was just good to go out again and try to shoot some Bald Eagles at the Mississippi River. I went down south to LeClaire, Iowa, to lock & dam 14, where the chances are usually much better to get really close to the birds than at any of the other dams north of it. During the winter, when big parts of the mighty Mississippi are often covered with ice, many Bald Eagles concentrate near the dams at the river in order to feed, because below the dams is always some open water no matter how cold it is.
It was also nice to see my photography friends Linda, Jeanne & Dave, and Burt Gearhart again. Burt made a slide show presentation about Bald Eagle and wildlife photography in LeClaire and that was well received by the audience.
After that, back at the river, we tried to take advantage of the great late afternoon light. It was my first shooting this season and I felt a bit “rusty” due to the lack of practice. Not all dreams came true today, the eagles were kinda lazy, but we had our chances and tried to make the best out of it…
Reevaluating the results of previous shootings is part of my endeavors to improve as a photographer. This shooting took place last Christmas in a park in Cherokee, Iowa. I liked the mood of this warm winter day and I thought that the photo shown in my blog post from December 26, 2014 carried the story the best. Looking over the remaining pictures again made me change my mind. How could I miss the colors of the surrounding sky, reflected in the water of the hole in the ice? I don’t know, but if I make a print, it will be today’s photo that will be pinned to the wall…
Hi gang! As usual, it is not just laziness that prevents me from posting here but a heavy travel and work schedule. Haven’t shot much during last week, but what the heck, thoughts go through my mind and the beginning of a new year is always a good time to reflect on the previous work and the things that occupy my little brain.
Today’s photo “Division fence” was shot during a walk at last Christmas in Cherokee, Iowa. I saw this industrial made fence near the trail in a public park that we like to visit. The fence itself lacks charm in my books but it was the light that hit the hillside and that drew my attention. Suddenly all the lines made sense and the low sun above the horizon on this almost snowless winter day lifted the ugly fence out of the ordinary…
It is bitterly cold here in Iowa at the moment but on the positive side the cold weather brings lots of Northern Cardinals to the yard and its feeders. I don’t think we have ever seen so many at the same time. I counted 20 birds on one side of the house today but there were probably some more on the other side and up in the trees. Cardinals are monogamous and solitary nesters during the summer but in the winter time they flock obviously together to larger “conclaves”.
The cardinals show up at the feeders before sunrise and they are the last ones that leave the feeders in the evening. Catching them with the camera at these times requires the use of a flash light. I try to keep my shutter speed slow so that there is a little light in the background left and it is not just all black. The bluish snow cover in the background of this photo helps to tell the story about what season and time this picture was made. It doesn’t say ‘summertime’, doesn’t it? Under these circumstances not every shot is a keeper but the contrast between the black face mask and the bill helps to maintain focus.