While working in Lightroom 5 the other day, I came across some images from Colorado taken in July 2011, that while they were interesting, just didn’t grab me in color. I have had an interest in understanding Black & White photography because of the opportunities it provides for mid-day shooting. I took some of these […]
As a young child, I was always fascinated by wildlife of any type and spent hours reading, watching and observing them whenever and wherever I could. My family would often take outings to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Zoo, and other state parks. My dad taught me how to listen for and spot wildlife, a skill that would prove most useful. My brother and I spent many hours wading in creeks and ponds catching turtles, fish, and snakes some were brought home and kept in aquariums for a while and then later released. In the summer of 1989, I took my mom's Canon A2E which had a broken meter and began to learn the basics of photography. I had to memorize the "sunny f/16 rule" and adapt. It forced me to learn some things I might not if the meter had worked properly. Later that summer, I was given a Canon 620 with a Canon 100-300 L lens which was a huge improvement from the broken A2E.
In August 1989, I went with my grandparents on a trip to Big Bend National Park in Texas where my passion for birds would be ignited. I photographed a large, drab, brown bird that seemed to me to be a sparrow on steroids. Having some familiarity with many bird families, I was perplexed by this particular bird. It was decided that if I were going to photograph subjects, I would like to know what species they were. Scanning the books at the Panther Junction headquarters in the park, I purchased a National Geographic Field Guide to Birds. The bird was a Canyon Towhee, probably one of the most plain birds in the United States; however, that bird started me on a journey that has led me some wonderful experiences across our great country.
The diversity of birds just in Big Bend was exciting and I began to photograph and identify a few. Most of my birding for the first few years was limited to what I could see through my camera and localities in and around my home as college kept me busy. In late 1990, I won a pair of binoculars in the Oklahoma City Zoo photography contest with a photo of a yawning cheetah! My first job out of college took me to Rapid City, South Dakota where I birded on my own, often spending quite a while observing a bird, taking in all the possible field marks, and then perusing a field guide until I could identify the bird. I spent a great deal of time photographing and birding in and around the Black Hills and Badlands National Park.
A new job opportunity in Austin, Texas found me relocating in April 1993 and it was here that my birding really began to take off. I traveled all around the state of Texas and the western United States. Unfortunately, my trusty Canon 620 broke and digital cameras were new and very expensive. My photography took a back seat to the joy of birding for many years. Four years in seminary and then starting a church really took a hit on my birding but eventually the time to get back into birding became available. In 2010, I realized that I had traveled to Alaska, Washington, California, Florida, New York, Arizona, and many other birding hotspots and that I had seen many amazing birds, animals and scenery all without a single photo.
It was in the summer of 2010 that I decided to acquire a digital camera (Canon T2i at the time) and pick up the trusty Canon 100-300 lens. It didn't take long for the passion for a great photo to return. In addition, a couple of friends are awesome photographers (Greg Lasley and Eric Isley) and they taught me a lot about macro photography. From there, I began to learn more and more until I realized that photographing birds, wildlife, macro and landscapes all bring me great joy. For this purpose, I have created this website in the hope of sharing some of what I have seen and captured with you.
When I am not photographing, I can be found at the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center in Langtry, Texas where I am blessed to be the Supervisor. I am usually enjoying time with my wonderful wife, Mel; my daughter Hannah and her husband, Jake; my son Luke; and my stepsons Tyler, Landry, and Joseph.
Entries by Lee
Don’t you love it when you buy something and find out you got a lot more than what you expected? I was looking for a wireless remote to use with my Canon bodies (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 7D, and Canon 1D Mark III) that would be programmable for night exposures and star trails. When […]
Things have really been busy around here lately with some travel to Oklahoma to see my brother and his family, plus we spent a couple of days at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge photographing landscapes, lizards, buffalo, elk, deer and birds. Be sure and sign up for my Spring in the Wichita Mountains Photography Workshop […]
Plain and simple, does it get any prettier than a nice adult Black-throated Sparrow? I first saw this species in Big Bend National Park back in August 1989 and I was instantly drawn to its bold plumage. Nothing like seeing this bird perched on blooming ocotillo singing its heart out. This adult was photographed at […]
I was in Uvalde these past few days checking out the Transition Ranch and I met the wonderful owners, Dr. Sandy & Leslee Kay Hurwitz. My purpose in traveling to the ranch was to investigate the possibility of hosting workshops at the location and possibly serving as a ranch guide. In reality, there is so […]
Yesterday I led 12 photographers from the Central Texas NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association) meetup group to the Zilker Botanical Gardens on Barton Springs Road. The focus of the trip was macro: flowers, dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies and whatever else we could turn up. I have found that when attempting macro photography, I am much […]
Well, it has been a bit since my last post, but that is about to change. Beginning Monday, you will see a new side to this website as I prepare for some exciting news. One part of this has been the development of a new logo. I loved my first log, but it only had […]
When photographing perched birds, I do my best to wait to press the shutter until the bird’s head is slightly angled toward me. Of course, there are other angles that can be pleasing as well; but in general, the head turned slightly towards the photographer will generally yield a much more pleasant photo. By being […]
In my previous post, we focused on how important it is for the bird photographer to know how to quickly and efficiently select the different AF area selection modes and AF points. In today’s post, I will discuss the benefits and uses of Aperture Priority (AV) exposure mode and Manual exposure mode and when to […]
I would say far and away one of the biggest challenges facing bird photographers is that many do not know how to use their camera body functions and controls quickly and without looking, if at all. And the impact this will have on your ability to quickly and easily make necessary changes as light and/or […]
While in west Texas this past weekend to run (2) Breeding Bird Survey Routes, we spent the night at Van Horn on Saturday, May 17th. Van Horn is located on IH 10 west between El Paso and Fort Stockton. This small town is primarily a way station for travelers on IH 10 but it does […]
This past weekend my wife and I conducted a couple of Breeding Bird Surveys for the USGS in Culberson County, Texas. We were privileged to have one route run right alongside Guadalupe Mountains National Park. While running the route and surveying for birds, I tried out the iPhone 5 panoramic camera for a few shots […]