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Category : Animals

11 Nov 2017

Pudge breaks in new holiday background

When my sister-in-law Penny opened The Hungry Hound in downtown Somerville 13 years ago, we decided to put in a dog portrait studio. I’ve photographed hundreds of dogs since then but her store grew and she needed the studio space for other things.

I recently launched LorenDogs.com for my dog photography business and I’ve set up a couple of studios in my office. Christmas cards are popular so one set has a festival holiday background featuring one of my office fireplaces. I got my seven-month-old puppy, Pudge, to try out the holiday set and she looks pretty good. If you want me to photograph your pup, check out LorenDogs.com

10 May 2017

Oregon’s coast is full of surprises

Today I drove from my sister’s house in Grants Pass north along Oregon’s coast on my way back to Portland. It is not the shortest or fastest route, Highway 101 along the coast is mostly two lanes and goes through lots of small towns. It wasn’t my first time but there is always something new to discover.

Highway 101 runs along the coast in many areas and there are incredible pulloffs for great views.  I stopped at one overlooking Haceta Head lighthouse which is they claim to be the most photographed lighthouse in America. I can’t say it is the most photographed but I can say t here aren’t any that are more  picturesque. It is a postcard photo, the easy kind to shoot so I don’t usually bother but it is fun to look at.

When I got out of the car I heard barking and it wasn’t dogs. I looked over the edge and 300 feet below were sea lions, maybe 200 of them. They were making quite a racket. The first thing that came to me was how to get down there. It didn’t take long to realize there was no way to climb down the cliffs and get near the beach, which is why the sea lions were there!

I had settle for shooting from above with my telephoto lens. There were on the rocks and swimming around in the water, they were fun to watch and I nearly forgot to make a shot of the lighthouse.

05 Jan 2017

Unexpected sighting while on a Florida beach

I went to a Ft. Meyers beach for sunrise today that is more populated by wildlife than people. There are lots of better beaches for sunbathers, so the only people that come to Bunches Beach are there to either walk, look at birds or photograph birds. Today there was a large group of bird watchers carrying binoculars and scopes, wearing their bird watching clothes and their boots. Which means they were going to mess up a lot of photos.

So I went the other direction on the beach. There weren’t as many birds and no people, but one great blue heron was working the surf to get a fish. Herons are one of my favorite birds to photograph. Their long necks make great shapes, it is either curled back as they relax or it gets taught when they have prey in sight. My heron today was standing in shallow water as small waves rolled in on. It didn’t move a whole lot so I tried lots of different shots, using different composition and placement of the bird in the photos. I decided to try some very slow shutter speed to see if I could get a unique effect blurring the incoming waves.

The heron had caught a good size fish was standing pretty still so I knew it would be sharp and the blurry water surrounded it. Of course, as soon as I make lots of setting changes the heron kind of turned around and a bald eagle came out of nowhere and stole the fish from the heron’s mouth. I was a bit dumbfounded knowing I didn’t have time to change camera settings and fired the camera anyway knowing that anything moving would be a blur even though the eagle was moving fast. I got cool wave effects but the two birds look like blurry blobs. It was fun knowing I was the only person to witness nature at its peak.

04 Jan 2017

Watching willets at Ding Darling

I love the name Ding Darling, it is a National Wildlife Refuge on Florida’s Sanibel Island and a great place for people to observe birds. I was named after a cartoonist who was instrumental in wildlife conservation in the early 1900’s and helped initiate the duck stamp program. The park has a four mile long Wildlife Drive where you can walk, bicycle or slowly drive your car and see wildlife in its natural habitat. I’ve been there several times and it always has something going on. The park claims to have 230 bird varieties visit and I think there are that many types of photographers too. The nice thing is it is easy to drive your car and not have to carry a ton of gear long distances.

This morning I found this group of willets. I’m not a birder and I can’t name a lot of birds, so I had to look this one up. They were fun to watch, they would come to attention as a group and they start milling around looking for food. I tried a long exposure to show some of their movement and I think it worked pretty well.

04 Dec 2016

A fun weekend of photographing eagles

c54i5565I took my Meetup.com groups to Conowingo Dam in Darlington, MD, for a fun weekend of photographing bald eagles. The eagles gather at the dam to grab stunned fish that come through the generators. There are eagles that live in the area and many migrate south as it gets colder up north. At one point I counted 89 eagles sitting on the bank across the river and there were many more on an island and our side of the river.

Eagles sit in trees along the bank and then swoop down and grab fish out of the water. Then many times other eagles try to steal the fish and aerial battles ensue.

There are probably more photographers than eagles, it is an amazing the amount of big lenses in use. Canon Pro Services brought a ton of equipment for us to use. A special thanks goes to Tony Kurdzuk of Canon for bringing the equipment and helping our people with their photos. Also thanks to Paul Fishkin who provided us with Benro and Induro tripods and heads.

 

21 Mar 2015

Lot’s of beauty in Florida

It has been a great week driving around Florida and shooting birds and scenery. I spent an extra day after the workshop to get some photos on the east coast but the weather didn’t cooperate for what I was wanting to shoot. But I got some editing done and here is the final slideshow from the week. There’s lots of beauty here in Florida.

20 Mar 2015

Last day of Florida photo workshop

7988Today was the end of a fun workshop I hosted in Florida. We went to Gatorland in Orlando, which is a crazy tourist spot that has a special relationship with nature. They have tons of gators, thus the name, but they also have a large rookery for birds that are surrounded by the gators. The gators keep the ground predators away from the eggs and the gators get the hatchlings that fall out of the nest and birds that build their nests a little too close to the water.

There are boardwalks through the rookery and an observation tower. The birds build their nests close to the ground and to the boardwalk, you could touch some of them if you really tried. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays they let photographers enter at 7:30 a.m. to get lots of shots before the public arrives at 10 a.m. There has been a crowd of photographers each time I’ve been there but it is a great place to get intimate shots of birds on the nest, flying around and, of course, gators.

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See photo gallery from Loren’s Florida photography workshop.

19 Mar 2015

Venice rookery: always full of birds

heron chicksI daydream a lot about what places must have looked like before humans decided to overdevelop the land. Florida has lots of open space in the middle but the coasts are packed with concrete and asphalt. In the lovely development of Venice, there is a little island in a little park that has been preserved by the Audubon Society and is a highly used bird rookery. Many types of birds build nests on the little island that is protected from predators by the gators in the water.

Since the pond is small, it doesn’t take a huge lens to get nice shots of birds on the nest, although I can’t have a big enough lens. I took the workshop here last night for the evening light and then this morning at sunrise. It didn’t disappoint as there was lots of nesting action, hatchlings yelling and birds bringing in nesting materials and food for the younguns.

I love the color that many of the birds get with their breeding plumage, like this anhinga, all in an effort to get a mate. It is funny that as soon as they have mated, they go back to their plain coloring.

See photo gallery from Loren’s Florida photography workshop.anahinga eye

19 Mar 2015

Our last night at the Florida Photography Workshop

eagle pairIt has been a fun week shooting around Florida with my workshop. Our last evening we went to Joe Overstreet Landing just south of Orlando. It isn’t anything remarkable, a five-mile dirt road that just happens to be lined with lots of wildlife and ends at a public boat landing on Lake Kissimmee. Eagles tend to hang out at the landing, so if eagles are around, I’m there. I can’t get enough.

I went last week to scout it and there was a fishing tournament going on and no birds to be found with all the boats running around. When we got to the landing today, there weren’t all the boats but there were two bald eagles sitting on posts at the end of the pier. How cool.

great horned owlAfter helping a hapless kid get his new boat on his trailer that his girlfriend jackknifed three times, we headed back down the dirt road and right away Fred spotted a great horned owl sitting on top of a utility pole. It was pretty high but another landed on a fence post, which made some nice shots. We continued on and soon there was a sandhill crane walking on the edge of the road. It didn’t mind if we shots some photos, so we did.

A little farther down the road three birds were working on some road kill. One was a bald eagle and the other two looked like mini bald eagles with black heads. It turns out they were Crested Caracaras, which were new to me. They were pretty shy and I didn’t get a good photo of them but they were fun to see.

See photo gallery from Loren’s Florida photography workshop.

17 Mar 2015

Ding Darling isn’t done

cormorant with eelThrough the years I’ve read about the great wildlife at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island near Fort Meyers, FL. You can drive through the refuge and go past several different habitats, but people say after a hurricane a few years ago, it isn’t the same. I’ve only been there twice in the last three years, but it is still pretty cool. I can only imagine what it must have been like before and I hope it comes back to full strength again soon.

But I took my Florida Photography Workshop there and shot some amazing stuff. Cormorants are pretty common but it was fun seeing one pop up from the water with an eel in its mouth and then watch as the cormorant maneuvered the long thing around so it could be swallowed head first. The cormorant flew to a nearby branch and looked like it had some good indigestion after downing the whole thing.

We were just about done when we saw a couple of other photographers stopped so we had to see what was there. It was a yellow crowned night heron in beautiful light and doing great breeding displays. It was my first time seeing one and the beauty of the bird is amazing. It was worth the trip.

See photo gallery from Loren’s Florida photography workshop.

Yellow crowned night heron

17 Mar 2015

Burrowing owls take over Cape Coral

1264There are these cute little owls called burrowing owls that live in Florida and other warm places. Like many species, development has encroached on their territory and their numbers have dwindled. Cape Coral boasts the largest concentration of the little critters and they are trying to protect them as much as they can, or so the say. The owls dig nests in the sandy soil and tend to return to the same place year after year. They don’t particularly like people or pets to get too close, their little heads start bobbing when they get nervous and they head back down their holes. PVC pipes have been constructed around more of the burrows, warning people to stay away. They can be found in parks, in church yards, around government buildings, in yards of homes and since owls are so smart, many are around the library. If someone wants to build on a lot that has a burrow, they can’t just fill it in, they have to get a permit first and then they can fill it in. Government encourages people to build around the burrows, but if you can’t, that’s OK, just kill them off.

See photo gallery from Loren’s Florida photography workshop.

16 Mar 2015

I’m not a birder but I like photographing them

egret reflectionI decided to host a photography workshop in Florida based around photographing birds, not because I get excited seeing birds but because I love the challenge of getting a special shot. A mug shot of a bird bores me. Seeing another photo of a bird sitting on a branch or looking around doesn’t do a thing for me. So I always strive to get something different, something that shows personality, something with composition, something that has more elements than just a bird. And I push that upon all my workshop participants.

line of pelicans

So I was happy today to get some decent shots during the first full day of the workshop. Yesterday afternoon we went to a preserve east of Orlando that was pretty nice. This morning we made the trek west of Orlando to a county park that is well known to birders and photographers and saw lots of different birds. We missed seeing a bobcat by five minutes, another photographer was happy to show us on his camera what we missed. A woman told us about a pond in Lakeland that has lots of friendly birds, like these pelicans, so we stopped there too.

You never know what is around the next corner, which is one of the things that keeps me heading outside.

See a photo gallery from Loren’s Florida photography workshop.

07 Dec 2014

Loving those bald eagles

The Catch

I am continually entranced by seeing bald eagles so today was nearly an overload. I hosted a workshop in Maryland where dozens of eagles nest and migrate. There is a large dam with a hydro-electric plant that is in the perfect location for eagles heading south as waters freeze up north. Of course, this year the north isn’t frozen yet, so there were only about 35 eagles flying around. Usually there is over 100, but I can’t complain about 35.

Eagle Eye LevelThey come to the dam because when it is generating power it sucks fish through the turbines which pulverized them or at least stuns them and thus they are easy targets for the eagles. It is such a thrill to see an eagle circling around and then diving down and grabbing a fish out of the water.

Since I was running the workshop, I didn’t take much time to shoot but I did get a few shots off. The weather was great today, sunny and cool unlike yesterday, which was the first day of the workshop. I did some “light painting” of a nearby lighthouse while the workshop attendees made some cool pictures. Light painting is a fun technique where you can light some pretty large objects with a flashlight while doing a long exposure. It was a cold, rainy night and since I was doing the light painting I didn’t shoot any pictures of the lighthouse. I did take time to get a shot of a nearby pier as darkness was settling in.

Blue Pier

03 Oct 2014

I saw a bald eagle

Eagle over Kent Pond

I’ve photographed dozens of bald eagles, but every time I see one, it is a new thrill for me. Maybe if I moved to Alaska I’d see them everyday and get bored with them, but being on the East Coast, the thrill is there.

During the Vermont Fall Foliage Workshop, we were shooting at a pond and I noticed a big bird flying on the other side. I then saw the white on the head and knew what it was. There aren’t many bald eagles in New England but a fisherman I was chatting with said there was a pair at the pond all summer. I then saw the other one looking like a speck in a tree in the distance.

The eagle was out on a joy ride, circling and soaring overhead for what seemed to be 10 minutes. My neck got stiff from looking up but it was real fun. It didn’t make for the best photo, but it still puts a smile on my face.

22 Aug 2014

A great final day in British Columbia

bc-2154My final day in British Columbia was a special one. We took a five hour ride on the Misty Isles sailboat throughout the islands of Desolation Sound. The highlight came quickly as a humpback whale surfaced about forty feet in front of the boat. A couple of other boats were in the area and we all cut our motors to watch the magnificent beast. The large whale came up several more times and then finally took in a big gulp of air and lifted its tail out of the water. Captain Mike said when the tail comes up they are using their body weight to dive deep and you won’t see them again for a long time.

bc-2140Smoke from distant forest fires created a haze in the surrounding mountains but they still were grand as they rose from the mainland. Captain Mike stopped the boat so everyone could go for a swim, it is a rare place where water is warm enough the swim while snow capped mountains loom nearby. As we were heading back, we saw a harbor seal and her pup sitting on some rocks, they were mighty cute.

bc-2106That night when my sister sister suggested that we go down to the beach I didn’t anticipate that a special life-long memory was going to happen.

There are organisms in the water that have the same glowing stuff as lightning bugs but it is only displayed when the water is stirred. I don’t know what causes bioluminescence, but it sure is cool.

Lynda and I sat there in the complete darkness of a cloudless and moonless night throwing rocks in the water and watching the splashes glow. It was a special time for me to be with my sister, who I don’t see nearly enough, together on a Canadian beach with only two lights visible on all the other islands as the Milky Way and billions of stars shining brightly above. There were, two lucky kids who grew up among the Indiana cornfields, tossing rocks, seeing the water twinkle and talking about how good ours lives are. I’m fortunate to have experienced it and will treasure that memory forever.

I am blessed.

Click to see my British Columbia photo gallery from the trip.