Sunday, February 22, 2009

Upon Request to Keep It Going

Hal asked if I could update the blog since he was not going to be able to have internet for a couple of days.
The boys have headed out! They were heading to the county of Nemuro, East coast of Hokkaido to see if they could get a view of more Eagles, and well, let’s face it, who knows what they are going to run into? Now they are going even further into the “sticks” as he called it. I can’t wait to see more of his images!
As for Los Osos, it has started raining again and the wildflowers are surely going to be popping out with a vengeance here soon! Our daffodils are looking amazing in the garden, but I cannot wait to see the poppies and baby blue eyes this year.
For those of you down on the rain…remember…it’s good for the grapes!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for Hal’s next entry later this week!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Words of the Day - "Wind Chill Factor"

Another day almost finished here in northern Japan. Snow stopped late last night but the wind from the low pressure was still around today. We had gusts up to 42 knots with a wind chill of around -20 or so, beautiful shooting weather (as long as you dress appropriately.)

We left Kushiro this morning with the plan of heading up to Lake Kasharo. We made it most of the way before we were turned around by a little road closure. The blowing, drifting snow had yet to be fully cleared from the mountains and the avalanche danger was also relatively high. With lemons, we made lemonade and shot some landscape while working our way back towards the cranes.

Chilly shooting but good. The only little gotcha was when I decided I needed a better shot and launched off the side of the road into a "small" snow drift. I was rapidly up to my belly in snow as I fell into the drift. Not to be deterred I pressed on and found what I was after. Doug has a few great shots of me relatively buried in four feet of snow. Once again, good living.

The cranes arrived at Akan soon after we did and the show did not stop for the next 5 hours. Around 1400 they throw about 25 pounds of fish onto the snow to supplement the cranes' regular 250 pounds of corn. Cranes don't seem to be too big into the fish but the White Tailed Sea Eagles certainly are. We even had two Stellar's show up today. They were a bit shy and didn't venture too close.

Overall, I shot about 1400 images today and am still working through the sort phase of my workflow. I easily eliminated about 400 and will continue to whittle them down. Unreal shooting

I attached a few quick ones. Have not had time to process anything but a quick tonal range adjustment.

Tomorrow we'll try the lake again and then begin to head up the coast.

Internet access will be much spottier but I'll try and post when possible.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hokkaido Blizzard

Blizzard hit this morning around 0930. We were in place out at the Akan ranch when the snow began. I will admit shooting was a challenge. Exposure, focus, and composition were all tough given the conditions. The Canon gear was great today. The weather resistant design of both the bodies and lenses was put to the test and passed with flying colors. Fortunately, by the time we left there was ten inches of snow covering the ice. Why fortunately? Because the snow softened my fall as I went ass over tea kettle carrying two cameras, a 500 mm, a tripod, and a couple other lenses. I can report that no camera gear nor photographers were harmed during the production of this post. Good living.

Attached some shots from today. Did a real quick workflow since I am exhausted and must sleep soon. Looking forward to processing these and the other images I shot today.

Weather should be better tomorrow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quick from Japan

Finally arrived in Kushiro, Japan this afternoon. Spent last night in Tokyo and took a quick Japan Airlines flight a couple hours north. Left the airport and headed directly to Akan farm. Akan is one of the places here where you can easily photograph red crowned cranes. The red crowned are one of the rarest birds in the world with roughly 1,200 left in the wild. I was fortunate to see about 25% of the population this afternoon.

Expecting snow tomorrow so I should have some interesting shooting. I'll try and update as the week progresses.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Fay Sirkis Here

Fay Sirkis is here teaching a beginning Painter class. Fortunately, she brought some much needed rain and a bit cooler weather from the East Coast. We are a full house this week with all of the available seats taken. There are folks from all around the country here for the Fay experience. Should be a great week!

Still shooting birds and processing the new stuff along with shot from Artie's week and our recent trip to Homer, AK.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Back in Cali

"Can anyone Photoshop in the fish I missed?"
Back down in Los Osos and in class with Tim Grey. Overall, the Alaska trip was amazing. Although, Tim is good I cannot wait to get back up there in March.

I'll continue to post some of the images from the trip as I have time to process.