Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Keep Everything

Today I couldn't have been happier than I was when I found this NOT WORTH KEEPING SHOT that I took a few years ago. I went looking through 3 PC's, CD's and DVD's and was ready to dig out my external hard drive trying to find this series of shots from MAY 2007 and was about to give-up and move on with my life when, BINGO, it appeared !

It was with about 50 other pictures worth keeping, burned to a DVD and sitting on top of a fridge in my favorite bar. So, much for my secret filing system. Anyway, why I was looking for the files has something to do with a magazine that was going to publish the shots, but, went out of business, instead. So, if I could find the pictures and story, maybe, just maybe, I could stay in business awhile longer!

Once, a long time ago I read another wildlife photographer's comments about keeping everything. I even tried it for awhile (just deleting really horrible shots), but soon the GigaBytes start piling-up and eating up space, even when you're burning DVD's and using an external hard drive. So, once a month, or so, I go back through and delete like a mad man.

But, twice in the past few months, I've found out exactly what the old wildlife Dude was talking about. Just a few weeks ago I was telling a friend of mine about some extinct pigeon the bird folks need a picture of. I had the damn thing, a good shot of one, but threw it away because it was sitting on a telephone wire and I like my wildlife shots to be in the wild !

From now on I'm keeping everything !

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where I've Been

This past week, or so, I've been visiting the field in this photo and I'll probably spend the rest of the month staking-out this site. Maybe next month, too.
What you see is pretty much the view I'll have while waiting for a wild boar to roam into my viewfinder. I'd like to get on a lower level; like eyeball-level with the pig, but, I'm not sure how friendly they are !
The field is actually a pineapple field and these are some very expensive pineapples, supposedly very sweet ( Peach-flavored, some of the locals claim). They're covered with black netting and the base of the plants has rows of black plastic covering the ground, so you can't see the pineapples, but they're there and ripening. And wild boars love them !
The farmer has a shotgun and will use it when the time is right. I don't really want to take a picture of a pig getting shot, so, I convinced him to let me have a crack at shooting with a camera first and promised him an award-winning photo before he goes blasting-away like Elmer Fudd after Bugs Bunny.
So, besides getting up at 4:30 every morning, going to the field, swatting mosquitoes, watching sunrise and going hours without coffee and cigarettes, I stake-out this spot and wander around
taking test shots from different directions and look for signs of the pigs being in the neighborhood.
Rainy season started today and it'll probably be wet out there for the next few weeks, but I have to get this shoot done when I can. When the pineapples are ready for the pigs to eat, I'll be there waiting for them. And the farmer will be next, unless somebody throws rocks at them and scares them away after I'm done shooting !

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Know Better

Sometimes a wildlife photographer shouldn't be allowed to go to the big city. This past weekend I shot everything but wlidlife, but sometimes other missions take priority; like trying to earn a living.
Saturday was a Mud Festival shoot and Sunday was Dragonboat Races, all part of the weeklong holiday called Dragon Week in Japan.
For the past week, I've been trying to figure out some Word 2007 program to make my life easier and Billybob Gates and the Microsoft heathens have been installing all kinds of Explorer stuff to make my PC run faster and the print on the screen smaller to make me stay up later at night squinting at the screen.
So, staying up late and waking up early to go shoot festivals got the better of me and my cameras. I should have known better, no, I DO KNOW BETTER; I just got stupid.
Wildlife photographers always keep their lenses clean and make sure there's no dust on their sensor. As a force of habit, I always clean my sensor ecerytime I change lenses-ALWAYS!!!
Well, I went to switch lenses the day of the mud fest and it was around 4AM. I took out my cleaning kit and removed my big zoom to replace it with a smaller zoom. Covered the lens I removed and grabbed my mini-turkey baster to blast air on my sensor. Turned the power switch on my camera to raise the mirror and the dang thing tells me there's no battery in it !
My batteries were charging for the busy weekend. So, I figure it won't hurt to skip cleaning the sensor (just this one time) and slapped the lens in.
Two great days of bright, sunny weather. I had plenty of spare batteries and Gigabytes of extra SD cards. Lots of action and hundreds of great shots. I kept the same lens in the camera all weekend and just made sure the outside of the lens stayed clean. Still have lots of photos to process on a rainy day, but, it didn't take long to discover: I HAD DUST ON MY SENSOR ALL WEEKEND !
The photo above was easy to fix. I cropped it so the dust didn't show. Some of the other photos won't be so easy to fix. Dust can be removed by cloning it out. That means buying another progam and spending more time squinting at a computer monitor !