East Texas Naturalist Blog

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My Favorite Photos From 2018

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Usually, I post the photos in a blog but this year I have made a video instead. For me, it has been a fantastic year on so many levels. I have been so lucky with the opportunities that have been given me with the birds and other natural subjects. 

Living on the edge of Lone Star Lake gives me so many photography targets and makes it so easy to get "out there".  Of course, I'm only minutes from Lake O' the Pines as well. It is a quick run down the highway to get into a great birding area on LOP. Somehow, I manage to get over there fairly often as well.

Of course, I go other places. One of the more fun trips birding this year was going with the Tyler Audubon Society to Mineola. If I remember correctly we saw 60 species that day. 

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"My" Belted Kingfisher Is a Photography Expert

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Anyone who knows me probably is aware that I have a pair of Belted Kingfishers that I have been trying to photograph for over two years. These birds are my photographic nemesis.

While I see them frequently, I rarely get a "shot" at them with my camera. They normally are quite aware of my presence and, at first, I thought they were really shy/apprehensive. Through time I have decided that it is more nefarious than that. 

Let me explain that. 

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OH! OH! That's My Favorite! NO! That one! Favorite Photos - 2017

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I take thousands of photos each year - really. Out of that, there is a much smaller number that I end up keeping and an even smaller number that I post for others to see. 

Like last year, I went through all the pictures I took the previous year (2017) and picked out the ones that were my favorites.  That is harder than it sounds.  

Here are my favorites for last year. Please feel free to give feedback with a comment. 

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Going From "Nice picture" to OH! My gosh! That's beautiful!"

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For most of us self-taught photographers, there is a considerable learning curve as we begin to learn how to take "good" pictures. We normally progress a little at a time as we learn about exposure, light, composition, and increase our knowledge of behavior whether that be of people or animals, depending on our favored subject.  We progress to taking "good" pictures that others do occasionally admire. This often leads to a  plateau of competence. We continue taking "good" pictures and there is gradual, slight improvement as we learn more. But then, for some, there is a giant leap. All at once the pictures go for "good" to soaring to a whole new level. 

How fast we go through the process is highly variable with each individual and their circumstances. There are some who progress in a matter of a year or two; others take many years; and, of course, some never make the transition. 

Now, I do want to make something clear here. I am talking about self-taught photographers. Whether that means reading photography how-to books, watching YouTube videos, or just shooting and shooting pictures. There is a different curve for those who have more formal training. With formal photography education, there are certain steps that are taken and it naturally includes the factor that allows photographers to go to the next level of success.  Success being defined as taking exceptional photos. 

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Rainy Winter Day But the Birds Didn't Care

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The weatherman was wrong again. It was supposed to be over 70 degrees and lots of sunshine for at least most of the day. Well, the sun was out for a bit but then the clouds blew in. We didn't get anywhere near 70 degrees. Luckily the birds didn't care.  

Kristi Thomas and I, accompanied by fellow naturalist, Mickie Moore, and nine other who were mostly members of the Tyler Audubon Group, hit Lake O' the Pines on a pontoon boat. While these birding trips are always geared towards finding as many species of birds as we can, some of us were more interested in the Bald Eagle's nest and what was going on there. Of course, all the other birding was always fun and this was an exceptional day. Not only did we see over 30 species, it seemed that many didn't mind posing for us. 

Here are some of the photographs that I took today. 

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