Great Horned Owl’s Nest

A few days ago, a friend called me to tell me he knew where there was a Great Horned Owl nest with babies. I was T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D! Like many people, the Great Horned Owl is my favorite raptor. (Yes, I know you all thought it was the American Bald Eagle, but it’s actually the Great Horned Owl. Eagles are just easier to find!) So much so, that my logo prominently displays one. Yet, I’ve never seen a Great Horned Owl in the wild, . . . until today!

Today the mother owl wasn’t in sight, but you could hear her hooting nearby. We watched and watched for her, but she never appeared in the nest. The baby was quite active though. It appears there’s only one fledgling in the clutch. So I got some cute photos of the baby for today.

Here’s something my rennie friends might find interesting. While researching the scientific name for the Great Horned Owl, which happpens to be Bubo Virginianus, I learned that the latter part of the name is named after the Virgin Queen, her majesty Queen Elizabeth I.

A special thanks goes out to that friend who called me to let me know about this photo opportunity. Thanks dude!


Scented Gary Fong Lightspheres?

So today at the camera store that I work at, a co-worker was showing a customer speedlight diffusers. After showing the customer a few different options, he reached for the Gary Fong Lightsphere. He took it out of the box and handed it to the customer, who immediately “sniffed” the lightsphere. With a puzzled look, my co-worker asked something like “what . . . does it smell good”? Then he suggested that all Gary Fong Lightspheres should be scented. He thinks cinnamon would be a good scent for a lightsphere. LOL! Now my thoughts are that since the Lightspheres look like tupperware, the scents offered should be food flavored. So what would your favorite scent be?! Comment with your thoughts. LOL!

On another note, a few days ago at the store, I was talking to a regular customer via phone who I’ll call “Fred”, and Fred told me about his last trip to Lock and Dam 14 in Iowa to photograph eagles. He said that while he was there, he was talking to another photographer who I’ll call “Tom”, that he met there, and that my name came up because they both know me from the camera store. Tom told Fred about my eagle photography, and Fred for some reason was not yet aware that I took eagle photos. Later in the conversation, I mentioned my website @, and then he said he’s seen my website and that he DOES know my eagle photography. Just another example of a total stranger who’s seen my website, didn’t remember my name, but remembered my brand. This is a direct result of the social networking I do, because Fred and I had only ever talked a couple times at the store, yet somehow, my website was presented to him somewhere online, and he clicked on it. It’s kinda cool when you know it’s working . . . . .

Photographer nearly drowns today . . . . .

At around 12:30PM on Thursday March 18th, one of our customers at the camera store was doing some shooting at Starved Rock. He was taking photos of those waterfalls everyone has pictures of. He had his backpack loaded up with all his gear, about 30lbs worth. Had his Canon 50D with battery grip and 24 – 105 around his neck with it’s camera strap. At one point, he was standing along the waters edge, and went to crouch down (like a baseball catcher), and suddenly one of his feet slipped, and he slid right into the water. He was in over his head immediately! Yet he knew he had to keep his camera above water so he kept his hands up over his head, keeping his camera dry for a few seconds. But this customer couldn’t swim, so he had to drop his hands and let the camera strap do it’s job so he could try to paddle himself above water. He had the current pulling him, and he doesn’t know how to swim, and that 30lb pack on his back! After struggling for quite some time, he managed to get to the top of the water, and roll himself onto his back. Now here’s the amazing part. He said that suddenly he was floating on his back, so he’s convinced it’s because his large Tamrac backpack was keeping him afloat. All the foam padding in it was keeping him afloat, because he sure as heck didn’t know how to float on his back. So now he’s floating, but he’s still struggling to get back to shore because the current is pulling him away from shore. It’s been a 2 to 3 minutes now in ice cold water. Then a family walking by noticed him, and the husband/father ran down and jumped in after him. The husband/father dragged him back to shore, and they both survived the ordeal.

Is that a story or what?! I heard this story around 5PM when the customer arrived at our store with his camera gear, so he could send it in for repair. Shit. I think I’d have waited until tomorrow! Anyway, so he’s telling us the whole story of why his camera bag and all his equipment is soaked right there in the store. And check this out, . . . when he bought the camera and lenses from us, he bought the “no fault” warranty, so it will all be repaired or replaced for free. Sweeeeeeeet. One of my photographer friends was at the store picking up some equipment, and he suggested to the guy that he should tell his story to Tamrac and see if they do anything for him since the bag probably saved his life. I’ll let you know in a future blog if I hear of anything happening on that front.

So the moral of the story is to always buy Tamrac backpacks, and always buy the no-fault warranty! 🙂 Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.

Expanding My Horizons

Well, I haven’t blogged in a while, so here’s an update. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting about my photography over the winter, and have decided to expand my scope of photography to a couple of new aspects. Since I don’t do weddings, don’t have a studio, and don’t photograph babies, I don’t make a lot of money from my photography, and I need it to start to supplement my income. Weddings and babies are probably the best market to get involved in if you want to make money, but I just don’t get excited about that kind of photography. So here are my plans for expanding my scope.

The first is that I’m going to try to get accepted at Getty Images as a stock photographer. I’m already accepted at Alamy Images, but I haven’t made any money there, and they’re just to broad as to the type of images they accept. I’ve met a photographer who has been successful with Getty, and he’s been kind enough to share some of his experience with me. With stock photo, I’ve learned that photos that sell, are conceptual. Not just beautiful photographs you take, but photographs that you brainstorm, plan, and create. I need to have 10 photographs for my submission, and I’ve already got 2 of them. I’m planning my third currently. It’s kinda fun, but it’s a lot of work. The benefit of all this, is that large corporations shop for images at Getty, and when you have enough images there, when a company licenses them, you get a recurring revenue check each month for the duration of the license. Plus, you get to list the companies on your resume. That photographer who’s shared his experience with me lists MTV and NBC on his resume.

I’m also going to try to start photographing kids sports this spring, so if you have a son or daughter in sports, give me a call or send me a message. I know photographer’s who’ve made thousands last year just photographing kids sports, and selling their images on SmugMug. The hard part here, is my day job. My schedule is so irratic, that I can’t plan anything. I just need to do my best on my days off to find a baseball game, or some other sport to photograph in the area, and hand out business cards while I’m there. I’ve photographed kids sports in the past, and I’m pretty good at it, but I haven’t marketed that business. So now I’ll make that a focus, and see what happens.