On the Fourth of July, I tried out my MIOPS Lightning Trigger for the first time. My subject was (illegal) neighborhood fireworks. In Madera Canyon last week, I got a chance to test the MIOPS on real lightning and there was nothing illegal about it. And wow! It really works. I set up the camera on a tripod, manually focused, and the MIOPS did the rest. Every time it sensed a lightning strike it took a photograph. Despite it being Monsoon season, I didn’t capture any dramatic cloud to ground strikes but the MIOPS senses cloud to cloud lightning as well. This is one of the shots I got on my first attempt on our first day in Madera Canyon. It was also one of the first times I used the Nikon Z7 Mirrorless camera and the Z 24-70 f/2.8 lens. What a great combo.
Most of the hummingbirds surrounding us in Madera Canyon last week were Broad-billed Hummingbirds. The brilliantly colored feathers of the males make them seem like flying aquamarine and emerald jewels.
Nikon D5, Nikkor 500mm PF.
On the way back to the Santa Rita Lodge after dinner in Green Valley on Wednesday, we went out intending to photograph lightning but before the lightning show began, we were treated to a beautiful striated sunset with intense oranges and deep reds. I used my longest lens, the Nikkor 500mm PF and the Nikon Z7 with FTZ adaptor. The scene reminds me of photographs depicting atmospheric depth, only with clouds not mountains (except for the single stratum of mountain range at the bottom.
A visit to The Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia and Sonoita Creek Preserve south of Madera Canyon on Wednesday was quite an experience. We spent most of the day at the visitors center where the patio’s hummingbird feeders attracted lots of gorgeous hummers. This Violet-crowned Hummingbird was most cooperative and he had attitude! He appeared to be the dominant hummer in the area and for most of the day, he was the only Violet-crowned hummer there. Most of the other hummers there were Broad-billed hummers. When another Violet-crowned perched near one of the feeders, this tough guy stared him down and ultimately chased him off. Here he is, with his tough-guy stare, stretching and drying off after an incredible monsoon downpour that flooded the patio. Thunder was so loud after one lightning bolt that we all flinched at the sound. It must have struck something very close.
We took our hummingbird photo rigs with us to Patagonia. Nikon D5, 500mm PF lens, two SB5000 Speed lights with Impact soft boxes.
It’s been a Zwonderful week! I got a chance to try out my new Nikon Z7, Nikon’s new mirrorless camera. Until last week, I had no plans to get a Nikon Z mirrorless camera but circumstances change and I am now convinced that it is a perfect addition to my camera bag. I hadn’t planned to use the Z for wildlife but on Thursday, Moose convinced me to try it. And, I am pleased with the results.
I’ve been in Madera Canyon in Arizona. We saw at least a half dozen different species If hummingbird, including Broad-billed Hummingbirds, Rivoli’s Hummingbirds, Violet-crowned Hummingbirds, and a first for me, the Blue-Throated Hummingbird. The Rivoli’s and the Blue-throated are two of the largest hummingbirds in the US. We stayed at Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon and we did most of our shooting in the patio areas between our cabins. The Z7 won’t replace my Nikon D5 as my primary wildlife camera but it served me well on this trip and I captured some marvelous photographs using it with my Nikkor 500mm PF with the FTZ adaptor. In fact, one of my favorite shots from the trip is of a species that I saw for the first time, the Blue-throated Hummingbird.
On our first day in Montana, we visited the Old Sedan Church which, according to the sign in front, was established in 1898. It was on a slight knoll and the area was very sparsely populated. We were on a main road in the area but only a couple of cars drove by. I used my 14-24mm lens at 14mm to show the vastness of the threatening Montana skies and the isolation of the small church.
White barns seem to be all around Bozeman, Montana. This one stood out because of the field of giant white dandelions in front of it.
The sun was rising quickly and I was facing north concentrating on a landscape shot near Big Timber, MT. My colleagues were behind me taking turns shooting east on the railroad tracks as the sun rose perfectly centered between the tracks. When I turned around, I could see that I was missing the shot, and further realized that there was only room on the railroad track for one shooter. I was just a little late and I thought I was out of luck. When everyone else walked away, I took a shot anyway, knowing that the sun was no longer centered over the tracks. It wasn’t THE shot but I liked the scene. Lucky for me, that afternoon, we had a Digital Darkroom session, and Moose came to the rescue. He showed me how to use the clone stamp in Photoshop to nudge the sun back to dead center of the railroad tracks.
If you saw this blog yesterday, you might have noticed that I posted the identical photograph that I’m posting today. Well, it has been pointed out to me that the photograph I posted yesterday and claimed to be a sundown photograph is really a sunrise photograph. I took this photograph at 6:00 AM, MDT on July 10, 2019. I am actually facing north with the rising sun to my right. So, to set the record straight, I am reposting the same photograph with a correct title.