Michael John Balog: Blog https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Michael John Balog hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Sat, 08 May 2021 18:11:00 GMT Sat, 08 May 2021 18:11:00 GMT https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u987896481-o401773244-50.jpg Michael John Balog: Blog https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog 108 120 New Springtime Wildlife Images from Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2021/5/new-springtime-wildlife-images-from-wyoming      You know when springtime has really arrived in the Wind River Canyon, here in Wyoming, when it has finally stopped snowing!  But you really can tell when spring has begun when the baby Marmots pop-out of the ground.  Locally known as Rock Chucks, Yellow-bellied Marmots are either cute or a problem; depends whom is looking at them.  They are harmless mammals that live over three-quarters of their lives underground! 

     They also were a food source long ago in the American West; I was told.  You cannot deny that they are adorable, especially when they are only three days out of their deep-underground home, as in the photograph below; imaged this week with the Canon EOS M6 Mark II.

Four Baby Marmots in the Wind River CanyonFour Baby Marmots in the Wind River CanyonFour baby Yellow-bellied Marmots, also known as Rock Chucks, imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      For many people, even seeing a big male Wild Turkey in display can be a real event, and here in the Wind River Canyon the photograph in this Wind River Canyon Blog is a real first.  They are nesting nearby me and I see them fairly regularly, but to image an adult Tom in display is a unique first here in the canyon this springtime.

     The image was taken with the Canon M6 Mark 2, but at a distance of over 50 yards I had to make some adjustments in post-production.  He is a big adult male in full display....without stuffing mind you. Wind River Canyon, Wild Turkey male displayWind River Canyon, Wild Turkey male displayWild Turkey male in display imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      While I just love a turkey sandwich, they don't look very appetizing to me either!  And you should hear the sound they make.  I was told that the Wild Turkey doesn't taste any better than they look!

     One of my favorite wildlife subjects to photograph are the many finches we have here in the canyon.  In the springtime we have an abundance, and the Cassin's Finch is especially showing off their red-colors this spring.  I was using the big Tamron lens, 150-600mm G2 on my old favorite Canon 7D; hand-held, which is good exercise, too.  The shadows in the image give it an artistic look and really brings out the contrasts and the lovely reds; he is a real beauty. Cassin's Finch male, artisticCassin's Finch, Wind River CanyonCassin's finch male photographed in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      The songs of finches can be heard now throughout the Wind River Country, and here by our cabin in the canyon it is a wonderful way to try and forget all the troubles in the world right now.  Find a place near you and explore the sounds of nature's songs; you will understand and feel much better; trust me.......

     The production of the Wind River Canyon Blog and all photographic images is by me, Michael John Balog, resident of the canyon.  All cameras are Canon cameras, of course; most purchased used.  All content is protected by copyright including my website HogbatsPhotography.com.  Click and safely visit to see wild animals you have never seen, including many hummingbird photographs!


Thank you for your obviously valuable time; thank you

MjB 

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming finches Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com marmot Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wild turkey wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2021/5/new-springtime-wildlife-images-from-wyoming Sat, 08 May 2021 18:11:23 GMT
The Grandfather Tree https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2021/4/the-grandfather-tree      Long before mankind ever stepped foot in the Wind River Canyon, and gave one big river two different names, a pine-tree poked through the dirt near a boulder that had lain there for millennia.  The little cedar-tree flourished and its progeny spread in the canyon.  But, as time wills its power and drought takes its toll, the beautiful little cedar was green no more. 

     The twisted cedar stood there for a longer time then anyone can count and has been the sentinel that has withstood blizzards, windstorms, wildfires, forty-below and one hundred above!  Its grey gnarly branches reaching out and teasing even time itself.

     I have photographed this ancient dead cedar tree many times over more than twenty years, never being any happier with my attempt.  Monday it was 71 degrees, 3 a.m. Tuesday it was snowing hard, Wednesday sunny but cool, Thursday it was 70 again and the snow melted, and yesterday morning we had fresh snow yet again.  And the ancient cedar now had a blanket of fresh snow and the contrasts compelled me to try again; this time in monochrome. The Grandfather Tree in SnowThe Grandfather TreeOld twisted tree long dead and covered with early morning snow in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Springtime in the Wind River Canyon is marked by drastic fluctuations of weather so severe that it's hard to tell what season it really is.  Last week's weather is typical and not unusual at all; it will be 70 again today, Saturday.  Besides some grass greening, how does anyone in this wilderness tell what season it really is------without looking!

     I know the real signal when springtime sort-of arrives in Wyoming------sort-of.  The Marmots pop out of their holes-in-the-ground; they know Spring.  The Yellow-bellied Marmots (locally known as Rock Chucks, but they don't eat rocks!) disappeared in mid-August and have been underground since!  That is over seven months underground waiting for things to green up!!

     The adult males are the first to come up for air and something green to eat; it's been seven months.  They're fuzzy and look like little teddy bears; they are no trouble at all, but make for fun photo-ops.  If you were stuck in a hole for seven months and now there are a half dozen or so noisy baby marmots----you would need to be the first one out, too. Wyoming Yellow-bellied MarmotWyoming Yellow-bellied MarmotMarmot standing and watching me in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.       In all this crazy insanity you need to get out and treat yourself to a wilderness experience; get some mountain air.  Let it clean out your thoughts and meditate a little bit.  You will be surprised by how Mother Nature can heal a stilted mind.

Live long and prosper...........be smart.

All content production is by Michael John Balog and all rights are reserved. 

Visit safely my website----HogbatsPhotography.com for hordes of wildlife photographs, especially my favorite hummingbirds and Bighorn Sheep.

Both images were produced with the Canon EOS M6 Mark 2 camera.

Thank you very much for your valuable time, hope you will visit me in the Wind River
Canyon again soon.

MjB

 

 

 

 

    

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds of Wyoming black and white nature image HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog monochrome Nature Photography Thermopolis tree image wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2021/4/the-grandfather-tree Sat, 10 Apr 2021 17:53:46 GMT
Photographing Hummingbirds with Canon Cameras https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2021/3/photographing-hummingbirds-with-canon-cameras      A snowstorm came roaring through the Wind River Canyon last week and left a foot and a half of snow, but with warmer temperatures it has disappeared as quickly as it came galloping through the mountains.  These sudden changes in weather is not uncommon in Wyoming and in the month of March means Spring cannot be too far behind.  It all makes me anxious for Hummingbird Season, which is still quite a ways off; my particular favorite time-of-the-year.

     Choosing Canon cameras to photograph wild-nesting hummingbirds here in the mountains of Wyoming was no easy task at the time; I've been digitally imaging hummingbirds for a dozen years, now.  Digital was just beginning to rise to the level of the Kodachrome I'd loved for so many decades. 

     It wasn't just the digital cameras and lenses.  It meant computers, monitors, laptops, memory chips, expensive batteries, cables of all sorts, profiling those monitors, printers, ink cartridges, special paper, frames, framing, glass, plexiglass, camera bags, pricey software and a very understanding wife that is also a fan of my art. Rufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird baby photographed in-flight, Born in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      And art it truly is: I put far more time into a final piece than Picasso ever did; sorry, but it's true.  Learning how all of this crap fits together is all self taught; I could write a big book.  But the real key was my choice of Canon equipment from the very start.  The above baby Rufous hummingbird picture was imaged with a now ancient Canon digital camera; it was my first hummingbird work-of-art.

     You see, Canon makes cameras and lenses, but they also make the printers, ink cartridges, fine art printing paper and all the software that makes it all "talk" to one another, including your computer.  Of course as time goes on and experience and expertise rise, so do the prices and complications like outside software.  And don't forget the cost of getting the works out "there."  Galleries need money and they get their cut (30% - 35%)! 1st Place at the 49th Cody Art Show, Professional Division.Black-chinned Hummingbird, female, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming - 1st Place, 49th Cody Art ShowBlack-chinned Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Winner of the 1st Place Award at the 49thCody Art Show!      The above image is a first-place winner in the Cody Country Art League annual competition of a female Black-chinned hummingbird taken with a Canon 7D.  They are still great cameras for wildlife imagery, but resolution has gotten much better since; I still use them.

     Canon's L-series lenses are very good and are worth the expense.  My personal favorite is the fairly lightweight 70-200mm F/4L, which I now use on my Canon M6 Mark II camera-body.  At my age and experience I wanted a challenge and the M6 Mark 2 was a good choice; small, fast and very detailed images, as the photograph below will show. Black and white of a hummingbird and wildflowerWyoming Hummingbird Baby in MonochromeBaby hummingbird born in Wyoming imaged in monochrome with a wildflower in the Wind River Canyon.       The photo below is a color-image that shows just how fast technology has evolved and images detailed.  It was imaged at F/8, ISO 800 and a shutter-speed of 1/3200th of a second!  The picture is cropped from a larger digital file, yet the image is clear and brightly detailed. In-Flight Baby HummingbirdBaby Rufous Hummingbird In-FlightBaby Rufous hummingbird born in Wyoming imaged in-flight.      This isn't to say that any of this is particularly easy, it is not.  Reaction times need to be fast and precise; think video games.  But this is the real world and unpredictable from the very start.  A wild animal as fast as a hummingbird presents many challenges beyond that make-believe shoot-'em-up video game; this is the real world Neo.  

     It will be 100 degrees in the shade, sweat in my eyes, but it's a wonderfully magical experience, and completely frustrating at times.  I'll shoot thousands of images for that one that dazzles even me; and that's the one.  Or, I could shoot thousands of images and get nothing I love.  I may shoot ten thousand pictures and have no more than a few finished photographs to print----such is the life of a hummingbird photographer.  Then something like this can happen, and it is all worth the effort. Calliope Hummingbird PortraitCalliope Hummingbird PortraitCalliope Hummingbird photographic portrait of a male taken in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The above photograph is a Calliope hummingbird male that is smaller than my thumb!  The sun has come up behind him and has "blown-out" the background; the hummer is in the shade and the manual exposure was set for the Calliope in the shade, making the background appear white; a great trick that took me years to time just right.

     Liking your equipment is a good thing, and making it work to your satisfaction takes time, practice and loads of patience; sometimes the patience of a saint.  Canon has helped me make my visions come to fruition; awards and sales are just the gravy.  Just like Thanksgiving though, there is not enough gravy to go around; revel in your artwork.

     Thank you for your time and love of the hummingbirds.  My name is Michael John Balog and I live in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming and I photograph hummingbirds.  All wildlife stories and photographs are protected by copyright and all rights are reserved.

     Safely visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com for more hummingbird photographs and Bighorn Sheep, deer, orioles, bluebirds, vultures, eagles....... Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming  -  1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowRufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming - 1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowHummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, 1st Place-48th Cody Art Show. MjB

           

          

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Canon CANON CAMERA Canon EOS M6 Mark 2 Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird hummingbird photographs Hummingbird Photography Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2021/3/photographing-hummingbirds-with-canon-cameras Sun, 07 Mar 2021 22:49:11 GMT
New Downy Woodpecker Video from Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2021/2/new-downy-woodpecker-video-from-wyoming      A female Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) has spent an easy winter (so far) with us here in the Wind River Canyon.  I see her nearly every day, if I am paying close-enough attention to what is happening beyond the obvious crisis.  She is a beautiful, little woodpecker and the smallest in our country.  At half-a-foot long this downy is small and quick. 

     The other day I was outside to put back some firewood that a wild animal had knocked off "the wall."  I noticed this female downy woodpecker "working" on a log getting herself some lunch.  Hiding behind a juniper tree, I just watched her hammer away, motioning for my wife to sneak-a-peak, too. 

     Realizing I had an opportunity to produce some video of her with my Canon M6 Mark II, I made a quick retreat.  My Canon 70-200mm F/4L lens seems to spend a lot of time on this camera now, and it happened to be a good choice for a sneaky video documenting her feeding behavior; and yes, it is handheld, and looks like it, too! 

     The only sound to be heard was my heavy breathing, so I muted the obvious distraction in post-production; it sounded like a "crank" phone call anyway!   Downy Woodpecker VideoDowny Woodpecker video produced in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Our local Rock Mountain Downy Woodpeckers have less white 0n their wings than those in other regions of America; have you ever observed one yourself?  They resemble the Hairy Woodpeckers (Picoides villosus), but are much smaller as are their "tough-as-nails" beaks.  Because of this difference they do not compete for the same food sources.  Even among the same species, males and females have different sized beaks and don't compete for the same food; their only problem is the loss-of-habitat.  She is a wonderful and calming distraction in this time of mental craziness.

     Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog this month, I hope all are well.  As you would expect to see----All rights are reserved, of course.  It is noon at the moment and snowing and only 22 degrees!  Looks like maybe winter is back.

My name is Michael John Balog and I live in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.

Safely visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com for Hummingbirds, Bighorn Sheep and many other videos and images of Wyoming wildlife.

MjB Calliope Hummingbird PortraitCalliope Hummingbird PortraitCalliope Hummingbird photographic portrait of a male taken in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Calliope Hummingbird Downy Woodpecker Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon woodpecker woodpecker video Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2021/2/new-downy-woodpecker-video-from-wyoming Sun, 07 Feb 2021 19:11:54 GMT
Magical Moments with Wildlife https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2021/1/magical-moments-with-wildlife      There are moments when you are wandering through nature that something begins to happen, something magical.  It is probably beyond our abilities to explain the natural events before us; we feel it none-the-less.

     A memory of Mother Nature not soon forgotten, but this wilderness wildlife experience is a remembrance that may linger for a lifetime. 

     The way that wild animal just looked at you is an emotional experience that is yours alone.  That single moment in time changes the way we think and understand the wild world; it has changed us. 

    That single moment of eye-contact with that wild animal felt different somehow----didn't it? 

     You may not realize just how the wilderness and that wild animal has made you think a little differently; you have been changed by the experience.  The wilderness has made a difference in my life, too.

     When you looked in the eyes of that wild animal, you knew something had just happened between you.  I do not claim to know what just occurred either, but I have felt it many times here in the Wind River Canyon.

     Last Wednesday morning, I was on the way into town when I spotted a beautiful buck deer right next to the river.  The stag was laying down relaxing in the warming sunshine on a cold early January day.  Like your credit card, I never leave home without my camera; I grabbed it from my wife's lap after stopping the truck.  

     The buck didn't notice my presence at first while I pushed the shutter button.  Then those big ears of his belied my existence in his world.  The eye-contact was practically electric between us; we could both feel it, I knew.  A moment with a wild animal not soon forgotten; he is magnificent. Big Buck Mule Deer next to the Wind RiverMule Deer Stag near The Wind River, WyomingBig Mule Deer Buck laying down next to the Wind River in the state of Wyoming; great eye contact.      The camera was my favorite Canon EOS M6 Mark II with my favorite lens, the Canon 70-200mm F/4L; hand held, obviously.  Always shooting a RAW file, it was first worked in post-production in the latest version of Canon Digital Photo Professional, then sharpened in Topaz Labs Sharpen AI software, then "touched-up" and finished (metadata) in Lightroom.  

     Looking into his eyes makes it all worth while, and a wildlife experience not soon forgotten.  Get off of your sofa and go for a walk in a wilderness near you, it will change your life............I promise.

All content of my Wind River Canyon Blog and website HogbatsPhotography.com are protected by copyright and all rights are reserved.

*Be smart, be safe, live to tell about it.

I am Michael John Balog and I live in the Wind River Canyon here in Wyoming.

Thank you very much for your time!

     

   

 

 

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) CANON Canon EOS M6 Mark II conservation photography Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2021/1/magical-moments-with-wildlife Sun, 10 Jan 2021 19:36:31 GMT
Wyoming Hummingbird Christmas Card Gallery 2020 https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/12/wyoming-hummingbird-christmas-card-gallery-2020      "Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.  If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world."

                                                                              President Calvin Coolidge 

                                                                              December 25, 1927

     In these desperately troubling times, Christmas should be a season of true caring for one another, even among friends we may never meet.  Let us all think upon the wishes of others before ourselves this Holiday Season.

    

     All content is produced by Michael John Balog, resident of the magical Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming, and all hummingbird images were photographed in the canyon; all rights are reserved.

 

*Be smart, be safe, live to tell about it.

 

Merry Christmas

HogbatsPhotography.com 

 

MjB

 

 

 

 

                                                                              

                        

                                                                           

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Christmas Card Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird hummingbird images hummingbird photographs Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/12/wyoming-hummingbird-christmas-card-gallery-2020 Sat, 05 Dec 2020 19:45:27 GMT
New Monochrome Wildlife Images from Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/11/new-monochrome-wildlife-images-from-wyoming      In the midst of all this craziness in the world right now, it seems like a good time to sit down and delve into something truly creative that can soothe the mind and let our souls fly; or some crap like that.  An escape from reality can come from many a source, some are wonderful in nature; jumping off a cliff----not so much. 

     For those of my readers that keep up with this Wind River Canyon Blog the news only becomes more stressful.  The Mother Wild Turkey, the only one to ever nest here, was killed literally in the middle-of-the-road on Monday morning, the two remaining yearling wild turkeys are at the backdoor of my cabin each and every morning.  Their world is this unusual neighborhood in the center of the canyon with barking dangers all around.  They roost somewhere in the back every night.  Their mother taught them well, but the winters can be brutal at times here in the canyon; now I'm really involved.

     On a very long ride into town to get the mail, which is not delivered into the canyon, I spotted a small raptor early in the morning hunting for breakfast recently.  Raptors of any kind seldom cooperate for a good picture.  The images were striking and the contrasts were perfect to try something in monochrome; black and white.  I liked the way the branches framed the hunter and the contrasting greys were right on. Raptor in black and whiteRaptor in monochromeRaptor imaged in monochrome in the magical Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      The color version of the file was pretty, but the monochrome was a hammer blow of an image; time well spent away from the stresses of life....time for more.

     I wanted to create some more monochrome photographs of the "departed" Albino Bighorn Sheep known as "Snowflake" on the web.  They are images of a unique nature, being that an albino anything is highly unusual and we will never live to see another and, I am the only person on this planet with professional images of this one-of-a-kind wild animal.  

     There is a picture similar to this first one on my website HogbatsPhotography.com, but this unpublished photo is much sharper and the contrast between Snowflake and the other Bighorn Sheep is striking. Albino Bighorn Sheep RamAlbino Bighorn Sheep and Friends-monochromeAlbino Bighorn Sheep and other Rams in monochrome imaged in the magical Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The next image of the Albino Bighorn Sheep is another unpublished group picture of Snowflake.  Remember, this is "one-in-a-million" and he is gone now, shot by a hunter. Albino Bighorn Sheep Ram Portrait-monochromeAlbino Bighorn Sheep and Sleeping Rams-monochromePortrait of an Albino Bighorn Sheep known as Snowflake imaged in monochrome in Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      This image was sharpened with Topaz Labs AI Sharpen software, and it works fabulously; the eye contact with Snowflake is a bonus; the contrasts are terrific in monochrome.  

     The last black and white Bighorn Sheep photograph is one that I'd always wanted to create, but the emotions have been too strong to argue with.  After almost six years you'd think they would've past, but I spent more time with the Albino Bighorn than I did some family.  It is an image dear to my heart.....and hopefully yours, too. Albino Bighorn Sheep Portrait-monochromeAlbino Bighorn Sheep Portrait of Snowflake-monochromeAlbino Bighorn Sheep known as Snowflake, imaged in monochrome in the magical Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      When we survive in such interesting times as these, it's best to search out the creative side of your brain and try to forget the stresses of this crazy, historic time and make something beautiful that belies the stress we all live with in this nutty twenty-first century; go......create.

     Thank you for sharing your valuable time with me.  All images and wildlife stories are produced by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming and all rights are reserved.

Be smart, be safe, and live to tell about it.

For more monochrome Bighorn Sheep photographs, and pictures of hummingbirds, eagles, bluebirds, orioles and many more you've never seen, safely visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com

MjB

   

 

    

 

        

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Bighorn Sheep birds of Wyoming conservation photography Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rams Raptors Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/11/new-monochrome-wildlife-images-from-wyoming Sat, 07 Nov 2020 21:00:00 GMT
Frame-Grab of Young Wild Turkeys in Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/10/frame-grab-of-young-wild-turkeys-in-wyoming      As technology advances, so too are the different ways we may capture images of elusive wildlife.  Here in the Wind River Canyon, I have wild animals that are either crazy fast, or are just too shy or frightened to be photographed in the traditional methods.  So why not try something new?

     The one thing that I haven't tried is the "frame-grab" method of obtaining an image worthy of uploading to my wildlife website, HogbatsPhotography.com.  This technological image-making method has evolved where now it can fairly easily be done by software alone.  First, you shoot video of your intended subjects, which in my case are the young, fast and shy baby Wild Turkeys; which is a lot more difficult than you may at first think.

     I like my turkey with stuffing and sweet potatoes.  And that's the real problem here, everyone just loves a Wild Turkey; a little melted cheese on wheat.....Around here they must contend with coyotes, bobcats, cougars and domestic pets!  Wild Turkeys are generally elusive in nature.

     For those of you that don't keep up with my blog from here in the magical Wind River Canyon, I've finally had Wild Turkeys hatched in the canyon for the very first time!  A mom and her baby turkeys have been fattening up on my sunflower seeds; three times a day for several weeks now.  While they usually have 8 to 15 buff-colored eggs (according to Audubon), our Wild Turkey was seen with three babies, then one morning was observed with only two.  Seems a lot of things love turkey in the canyon!

     My videos were shot with the Canon EOS M6 Mark 2 camera and my favorite Canon 70-200mm F/4L lens.  The capture software is the "free" (you must own a Canon) software; Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.  From there you merely choose a frame that looks good to you and save it; a Tiff file is lossless and the best choice here.  I then ran the image through Topaz Labs AI Sharpen software, THEN Adobe Lightroom for post-production; to make it prettier for the eye of the viewer..... and me! 

     As I am now writing this Wind River Canyon Blog, the Wild Turkeys are here in my yard eating sunflowers seeds, yet again.  They still do not trust me completely; hey, I'm the guy with the seeds!  I really did have a turkey sandwich for lunch today.....

     The photograph below is of the two remaining young Wild Turkeys that were the first to ever be hatched (born?) in the Wind River Canyon; they cannot spend the winter in the canyon, however; it can get wicked out here. Frame-Grab of Young Wild Turkeys in WyomingYoung Wild TurkeysA frame-grab of young Wild Turkeys imaged in the magical Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Always suspicious, always cautious, and they run like the wind----just look at those feet; one of them slipped and fell on his butt while standing on my picnic table when I went out with seeds just yesterday, pretty funny stunt.....and yes, they can fly short distances.  I have a rare species of small squirrel (just one), that is scared silly of them, and yet the Wild Turkeys especially dislike the Magpies; competitors?

     The two little ones have a habit of sleeping on my back welcome mat, and pooping there!  In fact, there is now turkey turds virtually everywhere; and it's big.  "You know that you live in a wilderness area when you find Wild Turkey poop on your slippers".....funny stuff.

     Thank you for reading my stuff.  All content is produced by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon and all rights are reserved; unless you really want it.

*Be smart, be safe, live long and prosper.

MjB

 

  

         

 

 

     

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Canon Canon EOS M6 Mark 2 HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis Turkey Wild Turkey wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/10/frame-grab-of-young-wild-turkeys-in-wyoming Sat, 10 Oct 2020 22:23:52 GMT
New Wyoming Wild Turkey and American Goldfinch Baby Chicks Images https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/9/new-wyoming-wild-turkey-and-american-goldfinch-baby-chicks-images      Something amazing happened this year in the Wind River Canyon here in Wyoming.  Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) were born in the canyon for the very first time!  I never thought we would ever see Wild Turkeys hatched in the canyon; but, photographing them is another challenge that is wildly more impossible itself. 

     The mother Wild Turkey is crazy protective; everyone loves turkey; she will give a command that makes her babies virtually vanish right before your eyes and your camera.  While I've been following their sojourns for many months and shot-off hundreds of images, they still elude.  That is part of the fun of capturing wildlife photographs; the secret, quiet chase.  These are the very first images of wild turkeys photographed in the Wind River Canyon. Wild Turkey Mother and Chick, WyomingWild Turkey Mother and Chick, Wind River CanyonWild Turkey mom and a chick imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      This next image is of a wild turkey chick taken early one morning here in the canyon going over a stone wall. Baby Wild TurkeyBaby Wild TurkeyBaby Wild Turkey chick born in and imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.       Along Wyoming roadsides blooms a wild sunflower that easily propagate themselves and American Goldfinches (Carduelis tristis) just adore.  It's a great game observing them trying to get the small seeds from the flowers and capturing images without interfering with their behavior. 

     Of all the photographs I have taken in the past several weeks of the American Goldfinch doing their acrobatic routines with these yellow flowers, the one image in this Wind River Canyon Blog is an adorable favorite.  It's an adult male goldfinch teaching a couple of his chicks that these seeds are incredibly tasty.  Like your first childhood memories of pancakes, these young birds are learning quickly.  The image was shot before the sun came up (or down?) in the canyon; yellow birds are too highly reflective in direct sunshine. American Goldfinch male feeding 2 babiesAmerican GoldfinchesAmerican Goldfinch male feeding 2 baby Goldfinches in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      Not knowing that the American Goldfinch was such a good father and teacher made this nature-study that much more endearing; the image more inspiring.

     When Mother Nature touches your heart, you will carry the emotions and forever be changed by your observations.  Maybe this explains just some of our country's problems today; too many stresses and not enough of the natural world to soothe our hearts.

Thank you for the use of your time.

All content is protected by copyright and all rights are reserved; all content is created and produced by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon.

For more wildlife images from the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming, safely visit my website and you will see everything from hummingbirds to an Albino Bighorn Sheep----HogbatsPhotography.com

 

   

 

 

   

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Ameridcan Goldfinch baby birds birds birds of Wyoming Canon Canon EOS M6 Mark II Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis Wild Turkey wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/9/new-wyoming-wild-turkey-and-american-goldfinch-baby-chicks-images Sat, 05 Sep 2020 22:35:30 GMT
New Hummingbird Photographs Imaged in Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/8/new-hummingbird-photographs-imaged-in-wyoming      Last Monday the temperature reached an incredible 105 here in the Wind River Canyon; the digital thermometer read 103 yesterday!  This is heat down in this magical canyon we never see in August; in fact, it is unusual in July.  It's now drier than it usually is, and that is really saying it dryly.  But you didn't come here for a Wyoming weather report; did you?

     By this time the adult hummingbirds are long gone.  The daylight hours are getting shorter and they know before we all do that it's time to head south.  It gets cold quickly in the mountains around here, and if you're a hummingbird you'd rather not be caught in a freezing storm; it will happen sooner than later.  It's hot work photographing hummingbirds, unless it's before eight o'clock in the morning!  This first image was taken before eight in the morning when it's still quite cool. Wyoming Hummingbird Baby Rufous early in the morning.Wyoming Hummingbird Baby RufousBaby Rufous Hummingbird born in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming----photographed early in the morning.      On one of those blistering afternoons here in the canyon I was in my favorite high-hide photographing my hummingbirds, when I caught this young Rufous in-flight.  The new Canon EOS M6 Mark II performs wonderfully on crazy-fast hummingbirds, but the electronic viewfinder cannot keep up with the lightning-fast movement of these babies.  It looks odd to an old-timer like me; but it works and @ 14fps it is really quick; if you're quick!  Imaged @ 1/3,200th of a second @ F/8, ISO 800 in full, hot, sunshine. In-Flight Baby HummingbirdBaby Rufous Hummingbird In-FlightBaby Rufous hummingbird born in Wyoming imaged in-flight.      Never using flash of any kind when imaging hummingbirds is difficult many times over, but I refuse to subject them to extra stresses during nesting season; which is the only reason they are here in the Wind River Canyon.  This next picture is one I rarely give consideration to, but it shows off the wings of an angel @ 1/4,000th of a second, with her tongue out! Wyoming Hummingbird In-FlightWyoming Hummingbird, Wind River CanyonWyoming hummingbird photographed while in-flight landing on a nectar feeder in the Wind River Canyon.       This last new hummingbird image is a work of art, or are they all?  I put in loads more time and ended up liking the photo in monochrome.  The color version is fun, but the black and white (monochrome, duh) is an image that can stand on its own.  Because hummingbirds are known for their flashy color, the reductionist monochrome image is curiously interesting.  This image was shot Wednesday morning before the sun came up in the Wind River Canyon; he is guarding his food source.  When they do this they are deadly serious and fight to retain control; typical male behavior. Black and white of a hummingbird and wildflower in Wyoming.Wyoming Hummingbird Baby in MonochromeBaby hummingbird born in Wyoming imaged in monochrome with a wildflower.      At 1/320th of a second and F/4, ISO 1250 the depth-of-field is very shallow.  The focus-point needs to be on the birds' eye, the wildflower is not the subject at all, but adds that diagonal line across the image.  This is a baby Rufous hummingbird----born in Wyoming!

     I'd like to finish this Wind River Canyon Blog with something a little mushy.  I've been feeding the hummingbirds here in the canyon for a very long time.  There is a special kind of wonderful emotion when watching the way they respond to my homemade nectar; real sugar @ slightly stronger than 4 to 1.  All the sugar (25 pounds!), the work and feeders is a very small price to pay for such emotional satisfaction as this.  I am not kidding at all when saying that this is a great service to them and will make you feel wonderfully special; they remember and will return next year!

     Thank you for spending your time with me and my hummingbirds in the magical Wind River Canyon here in Wyoming.  Until next time----be safe, be smart.

     All content is protected by international copyright law and is produced by Michael John Balog; resident of the Wind River Canyon.  

     For more photographs of Hummingbirds, Orioles, Bluebirds, Bighorn Sheep and things you may never have seen, safely visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds of Wyoming Canon EOS M6 Mark 2 conservation photography Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/8/new-hummingbird-photographs-imaged-in-wyoming Sat, 08 Aug 2020 22:55:27 GMT
Unique Natural Stone Arch in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/7/unique-natural-stone-arch-in-the-wind-river-canyon-in-wyoming      Very early last Tuesday morning, July 7th, weather conditions seemed perfect; it was 57 degrees here in the Wind River Canyon; it would end up at 102 degrees!!  The new camera with great resolution, and the bazooka-sized telephoto lens would be put to the ultimate landscape photography test.  I had planned on imaging a natural-rock formation that had never been photographed like this before!

     It seems impossible that such an unusual and unique natural-rock formation had never been photographed like this before now, but it hadn't.  Access to the immediate area is severely restricted because it's inside the Wind River Indian Reservation and the difficulty in even finding the stone-arch.  

     The genuine truth is, so few people even know it is there at all!  Even people old enough to have known Moses personally do not know of the stone-arch in the Wind River Canyon.  It's far away from the highway, far up on the canyon's rim, and if you don't know where it is, you will never see it for yourself; yes, it's that difficult.  You also need a big telephoto lens and a camera with resolution that until recently has been wildly expensive.

     For those of you that roast in the heat of summer, morning temperatures like these in the mountains are quite normal; it's easy to enjoy such beautiful mornings; a good time to accomplish something you love.  I woke up my wife, she wanted to go with me; hurry up!

     Grabbing the big camera bag (a large contractor's tool bag) and the heavy aluminum tripod, we headed out the door.  We were going to "Windy Point" which is less than two miles away from our cabin.  I had a feeling this was going to be a perfect morning in the canyon.

     Having been to this spot many times before now, knowing about where I should set the tripod up.  The traffic was minimal because of the pandemic and work on a bridge nine miles to the north of where we were working; conditions were perfect.  Some fluffy clouds moved in and made the shoot play out just the way I could have hoped.

     Here's a tip----I used the touchscreen display and manually focused the lens @ 10x on the camera-back to get a more perfect picture at such a dramatic distance; I shot 67 images, this was my favorite.  Natural Rock Arch, Wind River Canyon, WyomingEye-of-the-Needle, Wind River CanyonRare-natural rock arch in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. 1st time ever close-photographed!     This obviously isn't your usual natural stone/rock arch.  The first question that came up years ago when I first shot this arch was, "How did this happen?"  It appears that a huge spire came down at exactly the right angle....or maybe something just fell away; your geology guess is as good as any other.  It definitely is a special geologic event worth seeing for yourself; here's how......

     Windy Point is the big, round, dangerous corner in the canyon that seems endless in bad weather; now stop at the pull-off to the north of this; bring binoculars, but you can see it without aid.  Now look way up and west; you've got it!  Few people have ever even viewed this weird arch.  A wonderful teacher was killed by a truck carrying 30,000 pounds of apples @ Windy Point in the winter many years ago; so be careful!  

Camera: Canon EOS M6 Mark II w/EVF

Lens: Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC G2

Software: Canon Digital Photo Professional, Topaz Labs AI Sharpen, Adobe Lightroom

Shot @ 600mm, the equivalent of over 19x power that the camera sees.

Now, get out of the house and get some fresh air.  Be careful, be safe, be smart.

All content is protected by copyright and all rights to content are.....mine.  Written by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.

Thank you for your time. 

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Canon Canon EOS M6 Mark 2 Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com landscape Landscape Photography Michael John Balog mountains natural rock arch Nature Photography rainbow bridge Tamron Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/7/unique-natural-stone-arch-in-the-wind-river-canyon-in-wyoming Sat, 11 Jul 2020 23:11:25 GMT
Wyoming's Largest Butterfly https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/6/wyomings-largest-butterfly      Let me take you away from all the world's problems for just a moment.  Follow me into a magical golden canyon where the stress of our life doesn't ever exist.  The early wildflowers are blooming again; mountains covered with huge yellow flowers.  Some wildflower species so small you've never even seen them for yourself.  The Wind River Canyon is wonderfully green and alive again, like the rebirth of a valuable emerald.

     The air is so fresh with the smell of juniper, cedar trees  and wildflowers it excites the senses like a drug supplied by Mother Nature.  I just wish it would be possible to include the air in this blog.

     The Wild Roses started blooming day-before-yesterday.  They're smaller than the domesticated varietals, but the smell of a wild rose is very intense; I promote their propagation; this results in rose hips, which is a great source of vitamin C. Wild Rose with Spider - Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Rose with Spider - Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Rose with Spider in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      At each end of our cabin are nesting pairs of House Wrens; they are very territorial and must be kept separated.  Every morning we are serenaded with their wonderful songs.  Females have been seen throwing out another's eggs. The Egg & I-#1The Egg & I-#1House Wren tossing an egg out of another birdhouse! The Egg & I-#2The Egg & I-#2House Wren watching the egg fall that she threw out of another nest!      A native plant that has a very long and ancient history flowers right here in the canyon, the Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).  It's been a medicine for as long as the written word.  It stops the flow of blood and is an antiseptic; used by Hannibal's doctors and native Americans. Yarrow in Wind River CanyonYarrow in Wind River CanyonYarrow wildflowers macro photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.       The Bullock's Orioles are nesting close by (three pair) and drink my homemade nectar from the hummingbird feeders.  And speaking of hummingbirds....there's a mating pair of Broad-tailed hummingbirds nesting and feeding here right now. Bullock's Oriole-Wind River Canyon,WyomingBullock's Oriole-Wind River Canyon,WyomingBullock's Oriole photographed in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      If you look over this way you will see the largest butterfly in all of Wyoming.  This is the Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) butterfly.  Around the Wind River Canyon they regularly have wingspans of six-plus inches!  Tiger Swallowtail photography rule number 351----Swallowtails are always on their way to someplace else....good luck. Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Dame's Rocket WildflowersWestern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Dame's Rocket WildflowersWestern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Dame's Rocket wildflowers photographed in the magical Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The flowers are called Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) and are fabulously great smelling.  They are also called a gilliflower and are native to Eurasia.  They are cultivated around the world and were introduced to America in the 17th century.  The green leaves are a valuable source of vitamin C and can be eaten in salads.  They are considered an invasive species in Colorado, but I don't know why; they are amazing and all the butterflies and wild bees love them.  Wait----there's the hummer. Broad-tailed Hummingbird In-FlightBroad-tailed Hummingbird In-FlightThe first time a Broad-tailed Hummingbird has been photographed in-flight in Wind River Canyon in Wyoming!      Since they are just over four inches in length, this photograph shows him off to his best.  His wing-beats have a very distinctive metallic sound you will never forget, and it's a sound that is found nowhere else in nature.

     When the Wind River Canyon finally comes alive in June it's a sight to behold, and the smells are dazzling to your olfactory senses.  Wish you were here..............

     Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.  All content was created by Michael John Balog and all rights are protected by international copyright laws.  

     For many more wildlife images from the Wind River Canyon, including more hummingbirds, Bighorn Sheep and a hundred birds, many wildflowers and wild animals you've never seen, safely visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com 

Be safe....be kind....be smart

MjB Calliope Hummingbird PortraitCalliope Hummingbird PortraitCalliope Hummingbird photographic portrait of a male taken in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.

      

 

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds butterflies Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Swallowtail butterfly Thermopolis Western Tiger Swallowtail wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/6/wyomings-largest-butterfly Sat, 06 Jun 2020 21:45:35 GMT
My Favorite Wyoming Wildflowers with New Photographs https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/5/my-favorite-wyoming-wildflowers-with-new-photographs      Last Wednesday morning, May the sixth, there was a high-cloud layer that was supposed to clear in the Wind River Canyon, where I live.  Springtime finally fell into the canyon after the normal cold and snowy April.  It's green down in the canyon now, even if you can still see dashes of snow on the western rim; it was 53 degrees.

     I slid on my wellies and grabbed a camera that could capture images of the early wildflowers that bloom in the Wind River Canyon.  Two of those I knew would be showing their colors this early are favorites of mine.  I buttoned up my trusty fave flannel shirt and headed up the mountainside, an early morning mountain breeze caressing my face.

     These types of photo sessions in the canyon are very strenuous; everything you would want to photograph is uphill!  Knowing where these wildflowers grow and bloom doesn't make it any easier.

     Making my way up the trail to a place where no trail exists, I headed higher; the incline is at least 45 degrees!  With a camera and large lens, this kind of hike in the canyon is difficult at it's very best, but it always clears my head and makes me smile at myself.  After an exhilarating climb I spotted my quarry....Shooting Stars in bloom!!

     With the incredible resolution of the new Canon M6 Mark II, what I was after was a macro closeup of the perfect Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia) wildflower.  As I was crawling around shooting pictures I spotted the perfect specimen, now lit by the warming sunshine. Wyoming Wildflowers, Shooting StarsShooting Star Wildflower closeup, Wind River CanyonShooting Star Wyoming wildflower closeup photographed in the Wind River Canyon.      My next early wildflower favorite is rarely seen in Wyoming, it's name alone explains why; the Foothill Death Camas (Toxicoscordion paniculatum).  All parts of this plant are poisonous; they are beautiful, but deadly.  I was lucky to find a perfect blooming specimen, after crawling (hiking?) across the mountain; it was ideal. Wyoming Wildflower, Foothill Death CamasFoothill Death Camas, Wind River CanyonFoothill Death Camus Wyoming wildflower imaged in the Wind River Canyon by Michael John Balog.      One quick question comes immediately to mind; does the ant have immunity from the poison, or does he have a death wish?  Do not touch these wildflowers if you see them; fair warning....

     As I was imaging wildflowers I spotted a specimen that I knew was not on my website HogbatsPhotography.com----Mountain Bluebells!  And a perfect grouping that had just opened up this morning.  Here in the Wind River Canyon they grow close to the ground, which in this case was on the side of a mountain!  Time for the "belly-roll imaging crawl."  Could be a new dance move, but it isn't. Mountain Bluebells wildflowers, Wind River CanyonMountain Bluebells wildflowers, Wind River CanyonMountain Bluebells Wyoming wildflowers captured in the Wind River Canyon by Michael John Balog.      These glorious wildflowers are slightly longer than one inch, and it is unusual to see them in such perfect shape.  I snapped off a few frames with the silent, single-shot electronic shutter; best with subjects that don't move....much.  

     I struggled down the canyon-side to the main trail and finally to the cabin.  Thirsty, hungry and in some pain, I was glad to sit down to a sandwich; God, I had a great time!  Wish you were here....

     All photographs were captured with the new and magical Canon EOS M6 Mark 2; it is truly a 21st century marvel of a camera; I highly recommend it.

     Software:  Canon Digital Photo Professional 4 (for the RAW files), Topaz Labs AI Sharpen, and of course Lightroom.

     All images and stories are true and produced by Michael John Balog (me) - resident of the Wind River Canyon and are protected by copyright.

     For amazing pictures of the hummingbirds, Bighorn Sheep and wild birds of the Wind River Canyon here in Wyoming, safely visit Hogbats Photography.  Seemingly non-profit................

Bighorn Sheep Rams MonochromeBighorn Sheep Rams head to headBighorn Sheep Rams butting heads in the Wind River Canyon imaged in monochrome. Thank you for your valuable time!

MjB

Be smart, be safe please.

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

    

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Canon Canon EOS M6 Mark 2 Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildflowers wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/5/my-favorite-wyoming-wildflowers-with-new-photographs Sat, 09 May 2020 19:36:00 GMT
A Steller's Jay Portrait Session with the Canon M6 Mark 2 https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/4/a-stellers-jay-portrait-session-with-the-canon-m6-mark-2      It is a very scary time in America's history, even here in the Wind River Canyon, I am fearful for us all.  Living on the dark-side-of-the-Moon does have it's advantages and diversions though.  I hope that this blog will take you on a virtual vacation from our nation's ills. 

     The Wind River Canyon has always been known as a magical place; I have felt it's healing powers personally.  To find a Bald Eagle flying past your window, or a Calliope hummingbird buzzing up to greet you, Mother Nature has a way of uplifting and healing the spirit in all of us. 

     Spring has finally begun to touch the canyon.  Interesting birds are being seen that haven't been seen in ages; migration is in full swing now.  And a fascinating bird arrived last month that hasn't been seen in the Wind River Canyon for years.  A Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) macrolopha, the central and southern Rockies species, has been at our feeding stations every day.

     This amazing bird has a soaring crest unlike anything else in Wyoming; it's black as midnight.  Yet, he sports a blue towards his bottom-half that is nothing short of the best blue sky you have ever seen in your life.  They are also known for their personable nature; this Jay gets along with people!

     This Steller's Jay has seen me several times a day for nearly a month, and three days ago he allowed me a photo session that I have genuinely dreamed of for years.  He relaxed his guard and away we went; my new Canon M6 Mark 2 in hand, of course.

     I'd been playing with the silent electronic shutter, but at one frame per push of the button it's not for wildlife photography.  Thankfully, I'd been thinking ahead and switched (in the software with the touch screen) to the mechanical one; at 14 frames-per-second it zooms like 6,000 dollar, over priced, pro cameras!  I highly recommend this small, 21st century wonder of a camera; wish I had one 40 years ago, duh.

     The photography session went very well.  He switched poses several times without my worthless help, as I very quietly clicked away.  Here is a way of really relaxing at home during a pandemic.  This first picture shows off his crazy crest. Steller's Jay PortraitSteller's Jay PortraitStellers's Jay portrait imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming, with a Canon M6 Mark 2 camera.      My wife Debra advised I use another shot besides the portrait, but the choice was a difficult one indeed.  I chose this one because it shows him off without those birdie-feet; who loves bird feet anyway?  What a beautiful species of bird to have visit us this fine Spring day. Steller's Jay, WyomingSteller's Jay, Wind River CanyonSteller's Jay photographed in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming with a Canon M6 Mark 2 camera.

     These are not composites or computer trick photography; he's the real thing.  More importantly, I am beginning to love this Canon camera.  The resolution of the Canon M6 Mark II is astounding; by any standards I have experienced in a half century of photographing nature, and a few people, too.  I don't have hands like Godzilla, but this computerized camera is a small dose of cool.  These are also the first pictures on my website HogbatsPhotography.com that were shot at ISO 1600!  As I said, this new mirrorless camera is terrific tech.  What a beautiful crested bird he really is, and what fun this shoot was.  

Lens - my favorite Canon 70-200mm F/4L with a Canon 1.4 extender III; a light and usable wildlife combination on the M6 Mk 2; with the adapter, of course.

Software - Canon Digital Photo Professional 4 & Lightroom; always shoot in RAW.

Thank you for this time you've spent reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.  All content was and is created by Michael John Balog; full-time resident of the canyon and is protected under international copyright laws.

Every one stay safe and healthy.

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

     

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Canon Canon M6 Mark Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Jay Michael John Balog Nature Photography Steller's Jay Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming wildlife https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/4/a-stellers-jay-portrait-session-with-the-canon-m6-mark-2 Sat, 11 Apr 2020 18:32:42 GMT
A Cooper's Hawk Imaging Mystery https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/3/a-coopers-hawk-imaging-mystery      When living in a wilderness you are exposed to its resident wild animals in a way that few people in America will ever experience.  You really are up close and personnel with wildlife that has little use for us humans.  They don't usually even care, they're just frightened of us.  But sometimes, just sometimes, something happens that cannot be explained away as serendipity.

     I have never been able explain these inexplicable and mysterious moments-in-time; and was told by an old American Indian quietly one night, "Don't question these moments you have with the animals, just accept them as gifts."  It can drive you crazy searching for answers that have no explanation.  He was correct, of course, but why did the Cooper's Hawk that had spent the entire winter hunting, sometimes very near, our feeding stations, suddenly give me the time I needed to photograph him in rare detail?

     We had seen him almost every day all winter; he probably had seen us even more with those amazing eyes.  At first I tried chasing him off, but he eats little birds, and we have a lot of them; and he is only one raptor, after all.  Taking his picture was an effort in futility; Wiley E. Coyote had it much easier.

     I knew that he would be leaving soon; mating season for raptors is upon us already.  I wanted more than the one photograph, taken from a distance, that was in my last Wind River Canyon Blog.  And one day last month, as he was just sitting there waiting after a breakfast victim, I grabbed the new mirrorless Canon M6 Mark 2 and quietly opened the kitchen door; and just walked outside into the deep snow here in the Wind River Canyon.

     Sure, he had seen me before, many times.  This time he just watched me as I walked slowly over towards him; his bright yellow eyes taking in my every footstep.  My wife always tells me the wild animal just "wanted his picture taken."  I suppose it's as good a theory as any other. Cooper's Hawk in The Wind River CanyonCooper's Hawk in The Wind River CanyonCooper's Hawk imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming; Canon M6 Mark 2 camera in use.      Did you notice the blood on his beautiful beak?  Take another look, and zoom in if you can.  This my friends is a true hunter.  And I moved in even closer, walking as silently as I was taught.  His yellow eyes watching my every step, with vision I can only begin to understand.  Does this hawk understand?  Why the trust after all these months?  He trusted me for many minutes; I actually turned away and walked back inside as he continued staring.  I left him be.....

     Taking portraits of wild birds is a great challenge.  All things must go perfectly and one of those moments would be a big help.  The resolution of the new Canon M6 Mark 2 is remarkable.  The color portrait is stunning, but I also worked it up in monochrome since the dark and light streaks were too tempting:  Which portrait do you like? Color or black and white? Cooper's Hawk in WyomingCooper's Hawk portrait imaged in Wind River CanyonCooper's Hawk color portrait imaged in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Cooper's Hawk in MonochromeCooper's Hawk Portrait in MonochromeCooper's Hawk portrait imaged in monochrome in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming by Michael John Balog.       Raptors have been revered since ancient times and with good reason.  Noble, strong, swift, agile, and yes.....beautiful.  A good hunter was an asset to the community and there are few as magical as a raptor.  

     Equipment-Canon M6 Mark 2 camera, Canon 70-200mm F/4L with 1.4 extender III; no tripod used; hand held; silent electronic shutter used.  Shot RAW and first worked in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4, Topaz Labs AI Sharpen and Lightroom.

     Safely visit my website to see hummingbirds, Bighorn Sheep, raptors and many more pictures of the amazing and abundant Wyoming wildlife from the Wind River Canyon----HogbatsPhotography.com

     Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.  I am Michael John Balog and I live in the Wind River Canyon.  All rights are reserved and all content is protected by copyright.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Canon Canon Camera Cooper's Hawk hawk Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography raptor raptor images raptor pictures Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/3/a-coopers-hawk-imaging-mystery Sat, 07 Mar 2020 23:55:57 GMT
Review of Canon EOS M6 Mark 2 with Wildlife Photographs https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/2/review-of-canon-eos-m6-mark-2-with-wildlife-photographs      While this is my usual wildlife blog from the Wind River Canyon here in Wyoming, this time around it contains a little something extra; a review of the new Canon EOS M6 Mark II mirrorless camera; and new wildlife images taken with this brand new camera.

     It was time for a new camera, but I wanted something different and especially challenging, since I'm bored stiff this time of the year.  We've had snow on the ground for months already and we're expecting a blizzard with more than a foot and a half expected out here in the canyon!  I've been using SLR (digital and film before that) type cameras for nearly a half century.  So let us push the envelope a little and go small and mirrorless.  

     The Canon M6 Mk II is a very small, high-tech camera that technologically speaking could not have existed in the last century or even the last decade.  It was released before the holidays.  It's smaller than the last paperback book you read; smaller than I expected to tell the truth.  The body of this Canon weighs slightly over 14 ounces naked.  It has a large touchscreen that is slightly adjustable with buttons, switches and knobs right where I'd want them to be; it's a Canon after all.  It contains a large 32.5-megapixel APS-C image sensor that gives clean images @ an ISO of 1600!

     Since my main interest has been and always will be the hummingbirds that nest in the Wind River Canyon every summer, I can hardly wait for them to return from their winter in Mexico.  I'll be able to shoot at shutter speeds that I've only dreamed of.  An excellent EVF (electronic viewfinder) is optional but shouldn't be.  A touchscreen is a great way of setting up and changing settings in a hurry, but is not the way to photograph wildlife in a wilderness.  The EVF is expensive but worth every penny, but it cannot refresh the screen as fast as the M6 Mk 2 can shoot images @ 14 fps!!  But without it you'll be taking important pictures staring at a small TV.  

     At 14 frames-per-second this shoots photographs as fast as some $6,000 pro cameras at a resolution that's outstanding.  Yes, the mechanical-shutter is very, very quiet; the electronic-shutter is totally silent, but is limited to just a one-shot button push....which I'm getting used to.  Without overstating this camera's ability, it's a supercomputer that takes pictures!

     A little something about the manual that comes in-the-box; it is totally worthless.  This Canon M6 Mark II is a very sophisticated, software-controlled camera that the very limited paper manual only barely hints at.  Download the real manual from the Canon website----it is 600 pages long!!!  And, I read ever single page.  If an owner doesn't, they're never going to really use this camera.  I did say something about Cabin Fever after all.  A cheap mount adapter (EF-EOS M) is needed for those of us that have "normal" Canon EF lenses.

     I first mounted the "bazooka" (a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens) to this little gem; it was too much lens and not enough camera for hand-holding such a monster lens, but worked fine on my old tripod.  Since wildlife moves easily in a forest (or snow) and a tripod doesn't, I finally mounted my favorite Canon 70-200mm F4-L lens; it was the perfect combination. Cooper's Hawk in WyomingCooper's Hawk, Wind River CanyonCooper's Hawk imaged in the Wind River Canyon with a Canon EOS M6 Mk 2 camera.      This Cooper's Hawk has been feeding around here for well over a month; he eats little birds and my feeding stations are like a cafe for this lightning fast raptor.  The silent electronic shutter meant it was easier to sneak around and get photographs of this amazing wild bird.  He has more than one leg....the other is being kept warm; which is not at all unusual behavior in this raptor species.

     Just 2 days ago I spotted one of the cutest wild animals anywhere in the Wild West from my kitchen window.  They're small but so is my new camera; and silent, too.  I crept out and shot image after image totally silent.  I crept closer like I was taught by the hunters of the wilderness, and got some great shots of a wild animal you've probably never seen----a meadow vole. Meadow Vole in WyomingThe Little VoleA cute little Vole-in-the-snow imaged in monochrome in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Meadow voles live under the snow this time of the year; underground when there is no snow.  Their tails are short and they are very fuzzy for warmth.  But, are they ever cute and cuddly?  He looks like something from the Henson Creature Shop.  In color this small fur-ball was just right, but in black and white (monochrome) it made the image cuter by elimination of distractions.  On the downside, they are food for just about anything that eats; thousands of them may live on a single acre!  And those eyes.........

     This new Canon M6 Mark 2 has been in my hands for only a month, but I find that it is a very powerful camera in a very small form-factor.  The touch screen is great for quick field software changes, as long as you don't have fingers the size of a cucumber.  The shutter speed of 14 fps is going to come in real handy when photographing birds in flight; the silent electronic shutter will get me even closer to the hummingbirds we all love so much.  I haven't even begun to touch on all of this camera's features.  I recommend purchasing this camera as a package deal; dedicated wide angle lens, EF lens adapter, EVF, battery, charger.....

    Photographs were shot RAW, and so should you.  Software I used--Canon Digital Photo Photo Professional 4; Topaz Labs AI Sharpen; Adobe Lightroom.  This Canon M6 Mk 2 camera is a very powerful little package at a very great price point.  It has vastly more resolution than any other Canon I've ever shot before....and cheaper, too.

     All content is protected by copyright and created by Michael John Balog (me) and I live in the magical Wind River Canyon.  

Thank you for reading the Wind River Canyon Blog

Visit HogbatsPhotography.com to safely observe the hummingbirds, Bighorn Sheep, and all the other wildlife of the Wind River Canyon.

1st Place at the 49th Cody Art Show, Professional Division.Black-chinned Hummingbird, female, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming - 1st Place, 49th Cody Art ShowBlack-chinned Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Winner of the 1st Place Award at the 49thCody Art Show!  

      

                   

 

 

 

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Canon Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird M6 Mark II Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife images wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/2/review-of-canon-eos-m6-mark-2-with-wildlife-photographs Sat, 01 Feb 2020 23:27:08 GMT
Baby Bighorn Sheep in Monochrome https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/1/baby-bighorn-sheep-in-monochrome      Everyone has great expectations about our future at the start of a New Year, and the numerical magic of 2020 seems especially poignant.  What will happen....will it be wonderful, or something else?  Good or bad?  Is the future a roll-of-the-dice; is it already set in stone?  Are any or all of these at all possible?  None at all?

     Personally, I've always hoped for the best, but smart enough to plan for the worst; when that eventually happens.  This old-man that lives in the magical Wind River Canyon has a little something that will make you realize that there may be some hope for the future after all----something wonderful, indeed. monochrome Baby Bighorn SheepThe Little Ones - Baby Bighorn SheepBaby Bighorn Sheep imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming in monochrome-black and white.     This is my new favorite photograph of the Bighorn Sheep that we see in the Wind River Canyon when they grace us with their presence.  It was a hard and long fight to get and process the color file; a RAW file in color is the best way of approaching a monochrome finished image.  I have so much more control of the final print than my Grandfather did in his darkroom over 60 years ago!  It's not any easier now, it just doesn't smell as bad as it did then.

     You can work your favorite color picture in black and white, then you will understand the underlying process that leads one to what fine art really is; and you've made it yours.  

May all of our dreams come to fruition.

Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.

I am Michael John Balog and I live in the Wind River Canyon.

Visit safely my website for images of hummingbirds, bluebirds, orioles, finches, eagles and of course Bighorn Sheep; HogbatsPhotography.com   

     

        

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Baby Bighorn baby Rams Bighorn Bighorn Sheep hogbats photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Wildlife https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2020/1/baby-bighorn-sheep-in-monochrome Sat, 04 Jan 2020 22:39:15 GMT
Bighorn Sheep Monochrome Slideshow Christmas Card https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/12/bighorn-sheep-monochrome-slideshow-christmas-card      I have always contended that it's easier for people to except monochrome wildlife photography (black and white) as art.  It's exciting to see that I've lived long enough to see its great resurgence. 

     Monochrome in the 21st century is more of an art than my Grandfather had in his darkroom; it can become quite involved with color-channels effecting grey-tones.  Shooting in color and over doing it in post-production, then moving on to converting it to black and white, and working till you have the look you desire is a real labor-of-love; and I do love it.

     The most iconic mammals that I get to photograph here in the Wind River Canyon, in central Wyoming, are the amazing and magical Bighorn Sheep.  They don't live here, in fact they don't live anywhere in particular----they are travelers, like you and me.  I must admit here that I've been influenced by the great work of David Yarrow; his wildlife images are spectacular and I envy his travels.  His large, limited-edition prints regularly sell for 70K!!!

     Here is a slideshow of my beloved Bighorn Sheep, all photographed right here in the Wind River Canyon, where live and breathe.  Merry Christmas to everyone that has ever loved one of mine.............      May everyone understand the love of the Christmas Season.  Thank you for your valuable time and viewing my life's pursuit.  

Michael John Balog - resident of the Wind River Canyon

     To see more of my wildlife photography and my wonderful hummingbirds, visit----HogbatsPhotography.com  a safe and child-friendly site.

 

MjB Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming  -  1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowRufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming - 1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowHummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, 1st Place-48th Cody Art Show.     

    

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Bighorn Sheep birds birds of Wyoming Christmas Card Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Ram Rams Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Wildlife https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/12/bighorn-sheep-monochrome-slideshow-christmas-card Sat, 07 Dec 2019 22:01:57 GMT
The Rare Little Ermine https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/11/the-rare-little-ermine      Winter arrived rather early this fall here in the Wind River Canyon; we were hit with two storms in quick succession that left a blanket of fresh snow, white and beautiful.  It's also the time of the year when a cute little weasel turns snow-white, except for the black Ermine - Stoat in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingErmine - Wind River Canyon, WyomingErmine, Stoat, Short-tailed weasel in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. paintbrush end-of-his-tail.  

     The Ermine or Stoat (Mustela erminea), also known as the Short-tailed weasel, turns absolutely snow-white in the fall; their tail-tip stays black, like the end of a paintbrush dipped in ink; they really are quite adorable.  But this is a true hunter that never digs its own home; it uses the den of its victims and lines its nest with their fur!  Here in the Wind River Canyon their main food source is the vole (voles are the food staple of many predators) and any other small furry animal the ermine can hunt down and kill.

     Don't feel bad if you haven't seen one; most people haven't ever observed one alive in nature either.  I say alive because their snow-white fur has historically been coveted by many; it is a status of monarchy and power even to this very day!  Leonardo da Vinci painted in 1490 the "Lady with an Ermine" which is a beautiful example of the rich pretending to "tame the beautiful hunter."  White of course is interpreted as a sign of purity; the thing would have torn her hand off!

     The ermine crossed into North America 500,000 years ago and are distributed circumboreal, meaning spread throughout the northern regions; there are considered to be 37 subspecies.  In colder climates, like here in Wyoming, they turn white in colder months.  

     The mythology surrounding this wild animal is truly a volume just by itself.  For instance----It was thought that the saliva of an ermine can kill a grown man!!  They are a real silent hunter as the photographs below show quite clearly. Ermine, Short-tailed weasel in The Wind River Canyon, WyomingErmine in The Wind River CanyonErmine (Stoat) hunting voles in the snow in The Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Ermine, "The Silent Hunter", Wind River Canyon, WyomingErmine, "The Hunter", Wind River Canyon, WyomingErmine, Stoat, Short-tailed weasel hunting in The Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      The real reason for the rare reference in the title of this Wind River Canyon Blog is that I recently realized that I haven't seen one hunting around the cabin in quite some time.  I know and read animal tracks and haven't seen any signs whatsoever.  Even with the eye of an eagle I just don't see many around.  Lots of voles for food, just not very many Stoats....I prefer the Ermine tag.

     Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog; I am Michael John Balog and produce all wildlife stories and photographs on HogbatsPhotography.com

To see more wildlife photographs from Wind River Canyon visit Hogbats Photography

MjB

   

 

 

     

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Ermine Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Short-tailed Weasel Stoat Thermopolis weasel wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/11/the-rare-little-ermine Sat, 02 Nov 2019 20:58:29 GMT
Wild Turkeys Are Back In The Wind River Canyon! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/10/wild-turkeys-are-back-in-the-wind-river-canyon      I didn't realize it had been five years since Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) had Wild Turkeys in my yard!Wild Turkeys, Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkeys In My Yard! Image in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. been running around my yard here in the Wind River Canyon.  We had two young toms that spent the summer with us back then; and it was a really fun time!  One memorable evening picnic had us eating buffalo while they ate corn & sunflower seeds right next to our table; guests you will never forget!  Then, just the other day, "Look----Wild Turkeys!"

     Sixteen wild turkeys were in our yard eating their way from the creek and headed north!!  I limped (a badly injured right foot) out my office door with a nearby camera in hand that had my favorite Canon lens, the 70-200mm F/4L attached.  Hobbling around our cabin I sort of met them as they were eating (they do an awful lot of eating) their way towards the rock wall; and what a group of wild turkeys they were. 

     An adult wild turkey has between 5,000 and 6,000 feathers; and they're bigger than you think!  The largest wild turkey weighed in at just over 37 pounds: we know because they are hunted every year, the other large birds are not.  And they are native to our country, and they do fly, but usually not more than a quarter-of-a-mile.  They live in the wild to an old age of 30 or more; which is an accomplishment when you've got nuts chasing you with guns.

     That "thing" on the males beak is called a snood; there, we all learned something new.  I can tell you from experience that they make a wide variety of vocalizations that I still cannot reproduce well.  And that eating all the time thing....they're omnivorous; they eat almost anything.  This probably accounts for the success of the species.

     Making my now famous double-whistle brought most of the 16 to a halt, and then they slowly started to leap over the rock wall.  One young tom was interested in me and my camera enough to actually come walking over to within less than ten feet; I took over four dozen photographs of him and his friends.  Then I did something I advise all people interested in the real world of wildlife to do----set the camera down and enjoy the ride.  

     You only go around once in life and you shouldn't enjoy it only through a viewfinder; it took me a long time to learn to just "see" an epic event in nature and smile.  And an encounter with wild turkeys is always a memorable event. My favorite photograph of the two encounters so far is below. Wild Turkeys in WyomingWild Turkeys in Wind River CanyonWild Turkeys imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. A portrait of a real Wild Turkey!      The RAW digital file was first worked in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4, and then sharpened with some new software from Topaz Labs, called Sharpen AI; it does a better job at optimizing the sharpening without those annoying black lines; the algorithm is big.  The image is then tweaked and metadata added in Adobe Lightroom.  Only special photographs get this treatment though.

     Now, some historical facts from Benjamin Franklin; he never publicly objected to the Bald Eagle as our national symbol.  In a letter to his daughter dated January 26, 1784 he wrote that the eagle was "a bird of bad morale character."  I personally have watched a bald eagle eating a road-kill dead cat in the middle of a farm road; a wild turkey would never. 

     Ben Franklin also said that others objected to the bald eagle because it looked too much like a turkey; and they do.  He did write that he wished the eagle had not been chosen, but he never publicly said so.  Besides....turkeys just taste so good with gravy and stuffing!  And they are just so damn ugly.  By contrast the bald eagle is a majestic raptor that is a true fisherman, usually; unless McDonald's is open.

Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.

I am Michael John Balog and I live in the Wind River Canyon.  All content of Hogbats
Photography is produced by me and is copyright protected.

Wild Turkey photograph, Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey Portrait, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Wild Turkey, "The Big Show" - Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey, "The Big Show" - Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey strutting his stuff in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. "I want people to fall in love with Mother Nature, not wonder what happened to her."

MjB

  

     

          

       

    

     

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Canon Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Meleagris gallopavo Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis Topaz Labs turkey Wild Turkey Wild Turkeys wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/10/wild-turkeys-are-back-in-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 05 Oct 2019 22:11:55 GMT
Wyoming Hummingbird Report Summer 2019 https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/9/wyoming-hummingbird-report-summer-2019      This year spring didn't want to arrive here in the Broad-tailed Hummingbird male photoBroad-tailed Hummingbird PortraitPortrait of a Broad-tailed Hummingbird male photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. Wind River Canyon or anywhere else in the Rocky Mountains.  I had hummingbird feeders out the end of April as always, and on May 1st we awoke to ten inches of snow!  The first hummingbird was observed on May 7th @ 6:56 pm and it was snowing on the high-rim of the canyon at the time; he was a hearty Broad-tailed hummingbird.  Bad weather in the high-country always chases them down here. 

     The next morning, May 8th, @ 8:45 the first Calliope hummingbird was observed.  He was obviously not habituated because even after 3 days he hadn't learn to sit down----a behavior that takes time to learn, usually from others of which there were none.  

     On May 11th a beautiful adult male Broad-tailed arrived and another was observed on May 14th and a female Broad-tailed arrived the next evening.  The portrait of the male Broad-tailed was taken on a cold, overcast morning later in May.  

     The very next day, May 16th @ 4:45 pm we had noisy hail of 1 inch in size!  I wrote in my journal that we had lots of heavy rain for 7 minutes; it was a cold, nasty time.  Two days later @ 4:40 pm I wrote, "cold rain 47 degrees, tough species."  On the 23rd of May @ 7:45 am we had cold, wet snow in the high-country, yet, there were the Broad-tailed hummingbirds feeding on my cold, wet nectar.  They sure are tough!

Black-chinned Hummingbird male violet-flashBlack-chinned Hummingbird maleBlack-chinned Hummingbird male violet-flash photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Which leads me into my next observation----the male Black-chinned hummingbirds never did arrive here in the Wind River Canyon this year.  They'd been arriving each of the past 6 spring seasons in a row----but not this year.  I swear I observed a female (or two?) during July through my lens.  They are easy to spot as the Black-chinned hummers have much longer beaks than any other species we ever see in Wyoming.  The Broad-tailed hummingbirds are very tough little birds, that's for sure; the Black-chinned obviously are not.

     The first day of summer, June 21st, it was cold and wet.  The temperature dropped 11 degrees in an hour before the storm; 51 degrees and rain.  I also wrote, "So far very few hummingbirds!"  It was that obvious to this seasoned hummingbird observer.

     The first Rufous hummingbird male was seen on July 1, right on schedule, never Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming  -  1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowRufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming - 1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowHummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, 1st Place-48th Cody Art Show. knowing what fun he missed in the snow.  Five days later @ 9 pm all four hummingbird feeders were very crazy busy; the hummingbird season had picked-up considerably.  

     On July 11 it finally hit 100 degrees here in the Wind River Canyon, nearly a month later than it has been in recent years.  The next day it rained quite hard, which is unusual.

     On July 22nd we had a storm roll-in out of the high-country.  It was a downpour, no it was more of a cloudburst; it can be a very dangerous situation in the mountains.  I noted at the end of the page that the adult male hummingbirds "are gone awfully early."  I wrote that the downpour was a disaster for the nesters.

     August 3rd was the hottest day of the year....only 101, which sounds hot, but is not.  We usually hit 100 in June in recent years and it gets only warmer, but to hit 101 as late as August is strange indeed.  I also noted that "not many hummingbirds left; very unusual situation."  

     Every summer I photograph a baby Rufous hummingbird that is born here in Wyoming, and this year was no exception.  He was on my favorite spot, near everyone's favorite feeder.  It was just before 6:30 in the morning!  A good time to image a portrait of a baby hummingbird.  I just sat down less than six feet away and blasted frame after frame when I saw a pose that was what I wanted; the sound of the camera never phased him, and it never does bother hummingbirds.  The photograph is below and is an exciting image of a young, and powerful little bird----he will fly down to the mountains of central Mexico----a snow-bird!  He will return next July when all Rufous arrive here in Wyoming. Wyoming Hummingbird baby born in the Wind River Canyon.Baby Rufous Hummingbird Summer 2019Rufous hummingbird baby born in Wyoming and photographed in the Wind River Canyon during the of summer 2019.      I love the shallow depth-of-field created by the f-stop of 4.5; this was handheld at 1/125th.  This little jewel was photographed with the amazing Canon 70-200mm f/4 L-series lens.  

     On the 13th of August I came down with a yucky summer cold someone brought home for me, that will remain nameless.  On the 19th it hit 100 degrees, very unusual this late in summer.  On September 2nd it hit 98 degrees, a very unusual temperature as we have had snow occasionally in early September.

     This Wyoming hummingbird season was without doubt the coldest in the 20-odd years I've been observing and/or photographing the Hummingbirds-of-the-Wind River Canyon.  There were observations that proved there was a lack of hummingbirds and their resulting offspring.  What does this mean for winter?  Probably nothing....or maybe I need to look into a bigger snowblower?

     Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog, all content was produced by Michael John Balog and HogbatsPhotography.com and is supposedly protected by international copyright laws.

     Below is everyone's favorite Baby Hummingbird photograph:  Believe it to be my first one, taken with the now ancient Canon 40D over 11 years ago. Rufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird baby photographed in-flight, Born in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. MjB

         

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Baby Hummingbird birds birds of Wyoming Calliope Calliope hummingbird Canon Canon lenes Canon photographs Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rufous Rufous Hummingbird Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/9/wyoming-hummingbird-report-summer-2019 Sat, 07 Sep 2019 22:30:38 GMT
The Case of the Curious Towhee and the hummingbirds https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/8/the-case-of-the-curious-towhee-and-the-hummingbirds      When first opening my eyes on a summer's morning here in the Wind River Canyon, my thoughts always drift to the day's work that I love so much; photographing the wild hummingbirds that come to nest in Wyoming.  It's always good to get a very early start to the day when imaging hummingbirds, they start their day at five-fifteen!  Check the nectar feeders to see whom is around and make a mental note; maybe write it down later.  Is there anything special going on, or somebody new to this isolated ecosystem.

     I was outside with my trusty tripod before the sun broke the eastern rim of the canyon on a beautiful morning recently.  We don't see the sun down here till nine-thirty in the morning during the summers; eleven-thirty in the dead of winter!  An early start means observing time till the sun "comes up." 

     In the shade of junipers I was photographing Rufous and Calliope hummingbirds early in the day when I had one of those feelings.  I've learned to respect these moments as they've sometimes paid dividends.  Swinging around my monster camera-rig I saw watching me from behind was an adult male Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus).  They used to be known as  the Rufous-sided Towhee, and some of my books still refer to them as such; they're probably old books---you know, those paper things.  

     He was beautiful but sitting in the shade, so I quickly lowered the shutter speed and fired away.  When I was sure of the quality of the digital file, I just spent some time looking at him looking at me. 

     And this is a good time for me to make a respectable point about spending time with Mother Nature in the wilderness.  Just take some small time to be quiet and take in the sounds and smells and vistas.  Too many just shoot through our nations wonderful parks and really never take the time to let the wild forests change our attitudes:  To let nature heal our very souls in these troubled times. Rufous-sided Spotted Towhee PortraitSpotted Towhee in the Wind River CanyonPortrait of a male Spotted Towhee imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      I'm sure you've noticed the color of his eyes by now.  The big joke around here is they must've stopped in Colorado on the way up.  They arrive every spring and nest in the canyon every summer; I've even spotted the spotted towhees mating-in-the-verge. 

     But it gets even funnier than that....the adults bring the baby towhees down to our feeders where they can fatten up on the sunflower seeds, and then the adults leave!  The baby towhees are then under my care and supervision till they finally leave in late October.  They're ground feeders and can't even use the two bird feeders at our "seed stations."  They are also food for the big snakes out here.  And yes, they are here right now just outside the kitchen door, and probably hungry again----I'll stop this and "drop some seeds."    

     He seems to be eating something that the sun is just lighting at the end of his beak, the sun just a spot on his magnificent breast.  But did I get a hummingbird picture?  Sure did, and I worked it in monochrome (black and white) which is something I rarely do with hummingbird photographs.  In this case I wanted the emphasis on the wings and tail, and not the distracting green reflection of his (a young male) feathers.   Black and White Hummingbird In-Flight Hummingbird In-Flight MonochromeHummingbird in-flight monochrome image from the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      The towhee was photographed at 1/250th at F/6.3, ISO 500 at 500mm.  The hummingbird was photographed at 1/3200th at F/8, ISO 500 at 329mm.  The camera was an aging Canon 7D with grip and a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens with both images; no outrageously expensive gear here.  Which leads me to a finer point----knowing the operation of your equipment like the back of your hand is more important than that $13,000 lens----if I can quote the Tinman, "But I'd still like to have one."  

     Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog from right here in the Wind River Canyon.  All content in Wind River Canyon Blog and HogbatsPhotography.com is produced by Michael John Balog and all rights are reserved.

MjB Hummingbirds fighting in WyomingRufous Hummingbirds Fighting, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbirds fightting in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.    

          

       

               

       

       

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Canon Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Tamron Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Wildlife https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/8/the-case-of-the-curious-towhee-and-the-hummingbirds Sat, 10 Aug 2019 22:50:12 GMT
My Rufous Hummingbirds https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/7/my-rufous-hummingbirds      Twenty years ago, early one summer morning before our sun burned its way down into this magical place, I was high on a ladder here in the Wind River Canyon.  We had just moved into our little cabin near the icy-cold spring-fed creek, and I was painting window trim.  I had already Rufous Hummingbird Photographed in-flight - Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird male in-flight - Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbird male photographed in-flight in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. seen a snake nearly as big as me, when to my surprise a hummingbird came right up to me!  As I worked, another hummingbird streaked near by!

     It didn't take an ornithological expert to figure out these were Rufous Hummingbirds; spelling is correct.  This species of hummingbird is known to be the most aggressive found anywhere in the Rocky Mountains!  And you can trust me, the reputation is very well deserved.  

     I'd fallen in love with hummingbirds as a child in the gardens of my grandmothers in the state of Ohio.  But the only species in the northeast is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  I was told that you couldn't take their picture.  They moved at a speed that no other bird had even thought of, and thus began a life-long obsession with the tiny jeweled birds.

     To make a long story short, film was an expensive waste of time as I watched some high school kid not giving a crap as my film came out of some machine he knew very little about!  A cool white-haired guy turned me on to an amazing new technology....digital.  It definitely wasn't cheaper than film, but now I had the power; and it changed my life as an artist. 

     You can never really control nature, as recent weather events factually prove, but, digital gave me a power of creativity that I had only known with paint and pencil.  I could do so many things with my nature and wildlife photographs, but that Rufous was a bit of a nightmare.  I shot so many frames that I wore out my first digital Canon camera!  Early one summer's morning a baby Rufous, just out of the nest that very morning, was making his debut.  To this day it is considered by some friends, and my doctor, to be my best image; I of course disagree.  What I just printed is my best, or maybe the next one?  The image is below---- Rufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird baby photographed in-flight, Born in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      Both male and female Rufous are aggressive and will challenge others for the rights to control one of my nectar feeders.  There's a reason that they're the color of Tigers!  And something else fascinating that is the result of hours of listening to them with my eyes closed; they have a language....I know, it sounds nuts.  But, the warnings that female gives to others as they near the feeder changes depending upon how close they get, or if she has to get up, or fight them!  This realization came to me as a strange understanding, on a sweaty afternoon, of something that maybe others did not know, or shouldn't........below is my favorite portrait of a male Rufous in his prime. Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming  -  1st Place - 48th Cody Art Show!Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming - 1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowHummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, 1st Place-48th Cody Art Show. Rufous Hummingbird in-flight!      This beautiful in-flight portrait won 1st Place at the Cody Country Art League's Cody Art Show.  As bizarre as it sounds, this picture represents over 200,000 digital RAW images, almost all of them tossed out because they were not "perfect."  I may be nuts for hummers, but my final photographs must be just right.  I hate some so much that they are on my website:-)  Photograph of one of those females is below---- Rufous Hummingbird, "female in flight" Wind River Canyon, WYRufous Hummingbird, "female in flight" Wind River Canyon, WYHummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming      Besides being an artistic decision, notice how curious these hummingbirds are.  This is not by accident, as they find us by pattern recognition.  Rufous usually arrive the first week of July in the Wind River Canyon, but they have been known to arrive earlier if the weather is warm and dry through their migration route; this year was cold, wet and yucky.  

     One of my dentists (i have 2) was high in the Wind River range when a hummingbird came right up to him, face to face as it were.  As astonished as he was, this behavior is typical and happens to me all the time; once in a while with a feeder in my hand, which is funny.  This type of image is what I love, but seldom get well.  Not because I don't know how, because they move like lightning.  To capture focus you've got to be quicker than quick with that shutter button. 

     Studying their behavior is almost akin to a full-time job, but a necessity none-the-less.  And one hummingbird behavior is so amazing and took me twelve years! to capture.  You see, Rufous males are aggressive no matter what their ages, and this causes interesting confrontations that are impossible to image with any equipment I can afford.  But last summer it all came together in a flash of a second, thanks in part to a new, used Tamron lens.  I couldn't believe I gotten it, I really was amazed:  A young male and an adult male Rufous competing for the same hummingbird feeder.  The entire "fight" lasted less than two seconds----three of the pictures from the sequence are below, in order as photographed. Hummingbirds fighting in-flight, WyomingRufous Hummingbirds Fighting, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbirds fighting in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Hummingbirds fighting in WyomingRufous Hummingbirds Fighting, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbirds fightting in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Wyoming Hummingbirds fighting in-flightRufous Hummingbirds Fighting, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbirds fightting in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures with an ability to fly like no other bird outside the Americas.  Why do so many people love hummingbirds even when they have never even observed a living bird?  They are super special, and the Rufous Hummingbirds are strong willed with a drive to succeed----just like the rest of us Americans.  They spend the winters in Mexico, and I would too if I could fly down like my Rufous Hummingbirds!

     Every speck of information in my Wind River Canyon Blog and my HogbatsPhotography.com website is protected by international copyright laws; I hope.  So until next time, thank you for reading about my favorite magical creatures.  I have many more interesting images of hummingbirds and, now I have four different species on  my website, and Bighorn Sheep, and mountains and other things that crawl around the Wind River Canyon, right here in the middle of Wyoming!

MjB Rufous Hummingbird Portrait (m) - Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird Portrait - Wind River CanyonPortrait of a Rufous Hummingbird male in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Remember.....this bird is the size of my thumb.....and my thumb isn't that big!

Goodbye from Wyoming

 

   

         

 

 

         

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Canon Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rufous Rufous Hummingbird Tamron Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/7/my-rufous-hummingbirds Sat, 27 Jul 2019 22:53:52 GMT
It Was A Long Cold Wyoming Spring https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/6/it-was-a-long-cold-wyoming-spring      Having lived in the middle of the Wind River Canyon for two decades now, I have experienced changes in weather conditions so wildly different that it seems crazy-nuts; but it's all true.  I've witnessed forty-below zero-plus temperatures, a condition where the air itself turns to crystals and glitters in the morning's sunshine like diamonds; beautiful, but deadly cold.  Yet, summer temperatures regularly reach over one hundred degrees, and are as dry as a desert wind.

     This year winter's grip didn't seem to want to ever let go.  Spring of '19 was cold and miserable, with snow, rain and cold winds; usually all in the same day.  We always get a 70's blip in April or even March, but this year....snow.  It never got warm and neither did I.  And something else happened that I never expected:  The Black-chinned Hummingbirds never did arrive here in the Wind River Canyon!  The Broad-tailed hummers came and nested here, but they are a very hardy bird species....for a hummingbird. Black-chinned Hummingbird male violet-flashBlack-chinned Hummingbird maleBlack-chinned Hummingbird male violet-flash photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. Broad-tailed Hummingbird male photoBroad-tailed Hummingbird PortraitPortrait of a Broad-tailed Hummingbird male photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The portrait of the Broad-tailed Hummingbird was taken this spring!  It is disappointing that the Black-chinned didn't make it here this spring, as they have the last six years!  Such is life. 

     The Bullock's Orioles did make it here this springtime, but not in their usual abundance.  Usually there are three mating pair nearby, but this year two females and one male that left in a hurry; I didn't get even a single photograph of a male oriole this year, and this has never happened before!

     Certain other bird species didn't arrive here or didn't stay for very long.  The grosbeaks came and went kind of all at the same time; they always nest here in the canyon.  The Lazuli Buntings are not here, and they always are here; they were here for a day or so.  I could go on, but it's all too boring describing what didn't happen because of climate change.

     So what does a wildlife photographer photograph when his favorite hummingbirds don't show in the spring?  Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) are a prolific bird species that thrive just about everywhere; maybe even on your neighborhood golf course, or the park where they hiss at you like a mad snake.  I knew a policeman that had them in his front yard. Getting to his front door was a lesson in running a gauntlet; the female was a real nasty bitch, too.  One day in a rush I backhanded her as she came at me like a spitting cobra; I was the only visitor that she never bothered again!!  Lesson learned....for both of us.

     We always have geese that nest just across the Wind River from us here in the canyon.  As soon as the goslings can swim, the parents (that mate for life like my wife and I) move the little geese away from the nesting area for safety concerns.  Canada Geese have between 4-8 eggs and rarely do you see goslings in numbers of eight; too many hungry things out in the wild.  So what do you know?  The new photograph in this week's Wind River Canyon Blog is a wonderful example of great goose parenting, I gather.  I have never photographed, or even seen, Canadian Geese with nine goslings!  Count them. Canadian Geese and nine GoslingsCanada Geese and Goslings, Wind River CanyonCanadian Geese and nine goslings photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      There are 11 geographical/regional races of Canada Goose.  They get smaller the farther north they go, with one rare species existing on only two small islands.  They seem pretty big around the Wind River Canyon, and they sure seem to have gotten something really right.

     The temperature was 97 degrees yesterday; so summer is finally here in Wyoming.  But, I was up on the Beartooth Pass on July 12th @ lunchtime once----in a whiteout blizzard!!!  We rolled down the windows and had a birthday snow-party in July!  Monday when we got back.....it was 102 down here; such is the fickle nature of weather in the Rocky Mountains.

     I hope you enjoyed this Wind River Canyon Blog.  Thank you for your time.  All content is produced by Michael John Balog and shall not be reproduced without consent.  The camera was a Canon 7D with grip and the lens was a Tamron 150-600 G2, my favorite bazooka.

     To see more Hummingbirds, and wildlife like Bighorn Sheep and Bluebirds, safely visit my website from the Wind River Canyon HogbatsPhotography.com

MjB

Two Bighorn Rams, WyomingTwo Bighorn Sheep RamsTwo Bighorn Sheep Rams in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.

 

 

   

 

   

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Canon geese goose goslings Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Tamron Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/6/it-was-a-long-cold-wyoming-spring Sat, 29 Jun 2019 21:51:55 GMT
The Ugliest Bird in Wyoming! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/6/the-ugliest-bird-in-wyoming      In this central part of the Wind River Canyon where I live, here in central Wyoming, is a unique ecosystem in many different facets.  It's the only part of the canyon that is open and inhabited by people, and this creates certain unusual wildlife stories.  For instance, vultures tend to inhabit this area and can be seen on a daily basis.  Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) are Mother Nature's garbage disposal and do a very good job of cleaning up things uneatable to anyone else.  They have an uncanny ability to find dead things; they cannot kill because their feet are more like that of a chicken than a raptor.

     Someone in the 18th century thought that turkey vultures looked like a lot like wild turkeys. A Turkey Vulture's Wingspan in WyomingTurkey Vulture WingspanTurkey Vulture wingspan imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.   Imagine their surprise at Thanksgiving!  These wild birds aren't just huge (wingspans of six feet!) but could be the definition of butt-ugly.  You can see them most summer days riding the thermals here in the Wind River Canyon.  They are always watching each other's back; just in case the owner of the dead thing they're eating comes back!  At night they lower their body temperature by about six degrees Celsius, so in the morning you may be lucky enough to see them warming up with wings spread wide. 

     Something fascinating I learned while researching this bird species; they live to be older than you think.  Two captive turkey vultures, as of 2015, were over 40 years old!  In the wild they probably cannot survive this long; lead poisoning from bullets-in-the-dead are a problem identified by Audubon. 

     A little over-a-week ago, I got to spend some quality time photographing, in high-definition, a vulture from a perfect blind; my open kitchen door!  I set up my favorite wildlife lens, the Tamron SP 150-600mm G2, on my old Giottos tripod.  I had the time to change settings and try different shots as the vulture did all sorts of vulture things.

     This first image I thought looked like the vulture was posing for a shot.  The lens was set to 600mm and was manually focused; F6.3, ISO 500. Wyoming Turkey Vulture ImageTurkey Vulture in the Wind River CanyonTurkey Vulture posing in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The other vulture image in this week's Wind River Canyon Blog I thought was more than fun.  He'd been cleaning himself after a meal and was "airing" out his flight-feathers; shaking things off as it were.  I swear I heard him say, "Look, I'm an airplane!"  Shot @ 500mm @ 1/500th of a second. Wyoming Turkey Vulture ImageTurkey Vulture, Wind River CanyonTurkey Vulture in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      You've heard the saying, haven't you?  "He's so ugly, he's cute."  Like the dog that looks like it's melting?  I'm sorry, but, ugly is ugly; and this bird qualifies easily.  But all his parts serve a very specific purpose----just look at that beak!  Clean and white, just like he'd used that new teeth whitener.  That head of his goes into places that I wouldn't want to stick my hand!!  His stomach processes deadly, yukky stuff with spellings I cannot even pronounce correctly.  

     To be able to soar the Wind River Canyon on warm summer breezes with wings bigger than I am would be....well, impossible, but what fun to imagine such a flight!

     For many more wildlife images from the Wind River Canyon, including hummingbirds and Bighorn Sheep, visit safely my website----HogbatPhotography.com.  All content is produced by Michael John Balog and is copyright protected and shall not be reproduced without permission.

Thank you for looking and reading my stuff.

MjB

                    

       

         

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis Turkey Vulture vulture vulture image wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/6/the-ugliest-bird-in-wyoming Sat, 08 Jun 2019 19:21:02 GMT
New Wyoming Hummingbird Photographic Portrait https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/5/new-wyoming-hummingbird-photographic-portrait      Three days ago, here in the Wind River Canyon, I scribbled down on a piece of paper the following report. 

     "I cannot believe that @ 37 degrees these Broad-tailed Hummingbirds (Selasphorus platycercus) are comfortable here.  It's 6:20 in the morning here in the Wind River Canyon.  A male Broad-tailed hummer is on the nectar feeder by my bedroom window in the ice-cold rain.  It has been snowing in the high-country all night and the rim of the canyon is fogged-in all around us.  The snowline is not far above our cabin; the new emerald-green of spring below the snow."

     Later that morning, in the cold rain/snow mix, I was outside taking photos of these beautiful Broad-tailed Hummingbirds.  There was a time, nearing twenty years now, that I thought we'd never even see one of these amazing creatures.  You want to know about Magical Beasts?  These little birds are the size of my thumb, but spend the winter months in central Mexico!  And now they are here in Wyoming----and it's snowing.

     The sound a Broad-tailed Hummingbird makes when flying is completely unmistakable.  It is a metallic humming-buzz that sounds like nothing else in Wyoming, or anywhere else for that matter; it's one of a kind.  I can walk outside and without even looking know if there are any in the area and how many; I think there are three mating pairs this year.  They are obviously the hardiest of all the hummingbird species (four) that nest here in the Wind River Canyon; they are always the earliest to arrive.

     One of the passions I have for wildlife photography is trying to make portraits of wild birds.  Not some picture of a bird-on-a-stick mind you (I've done that too), but a real portrait; like I've done for people.  The kind of portrait that flatters the subject or gives the viewer an insight into the mind of the model in the photo. 

     To make photographs like this with a wild bird takes patience that can become numbing beyond boredom; every species is a little different and may require a different approach.  I've found observation to be much more of an advantage, and intellectually stimulating, than most dry books on bird behavior.  My advice----spend much more time outside watching the birds and getting some fresh-air; taking notes will help; be professional. 

     You will find some species to be nearly impossible to approach, others will practically come to you!  A blind of some kind can help in this photographic endeavor; windows in my cabin are my favorite.  If you go slow and let the wild bird get to trust you, then you can try taking a picture----hummingbirds are perfect for this kind of trust.  They are approachable with patience and time:  I've actually been nose-to-beak with a Calliope Hummingbird, with no fear from either one of us!

     The photograph of the male Broad-tailed Hummingbird in this week's Wind River Canyon Blog was taken only yesterday morning!  The horrendous spring snowstorm was finally beginning to clear up, with a thin, lite cloud layer that made the light perfect for imaging a wild bird that has feathers resembling a million tiny mirrors.  Photographing hummingbirds in full sunshine is another set of skills entirely. 

     I used a big zoom lens on my old aluminum tripod and was only seven or eight feet away!  Hey, it's a really long zoom.  This male hummingbird obviously has been around humans before, and is comfortable being near people, as most hummingbirds will trust you with time.  Try sitting very still for a long, long time; like you stare at your phone, only even longer than that.  Here's my very first portrait of a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird.  If I seem crazy excited, it's because it has taken so long for all the stars to align properly; luck and lousy weather helps, too. Broad-tailed Hummingbird male photoBroad-tailed Hummingbird PortraitPortrait of a Broad-tailed Hummingbird male photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      If you can zoom-in on this hummingbird's gorget (named after the armor protecting the throat of a knight) you will witness something very special that Mother Nature usually keeps to herself.  A blind man once observed, when trying to see a blown-up photograph of one of my hummingbird images, that they resemble the scales of a fish....ruminate over that one once!

     Thank you for reading my true wildlife story from right here in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.  All rights are reserved and protected by international copyright laws, which don't mean much of anything these days.

     I am Michael John Balog, I live in the Wind River Canyon and all photographs, stories and post-production are produced by.....me.

     For many more wildlife photographs of hummingbirds from the Wind River Canyon safely visit my website----HogbatsPhotography.com

Thank you.

MjB

      

          

      

 

      

 

 

        

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Broad-tailed Hummingbird Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird hummingbird picture Michael John Balog Nature Photography Selasphorus platycercus Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/5/new-wyoming-hummingbird-photographic-portrait Sat, 25 May 2019 23:09:33 GMT
Wyoming Wildlife Babies https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/5/wyoming-wildlife-babies      The Wind River Canyon is a beautiful shade of green right now, the result of lots of snow and some recent rains; snow on the mountain peaks can be seen from where I'm sitting.  Under my shed a marmot family was having six little baby ground squirrels.  The big male had been there long enough we'd named him Elroy.  The little marmots are the size of a softball and are cute as can be described.  

     Last Saturday the mother carried each one of her babies by their butt-fur across my yard to a collection of boulders; they prefer to live deep under the ground below the safety of huge rocks----hence their western nickname, Rock Chuck.  They live in family groups and are very clean and quite amiable.  Yet, every day Elroy and a baby or three, and or the mother, come into my yard to eat my green grasses and hang-out for the day!  After a long and sickly winter it's been nice to spend quality time photographing these wild animals.  As always I recommend a sturdy tripod and a long zoom lens.

     This first image was exposed for the marmot baby in the shade, the direct sun blowing-out the rest of the image; monochrome (black and white) worked excellently to bring out the wild animal and the rest is just icing on the cake. Rock Chuck BabyYellow-bellied Marmot BabyImage of a Yellow-bellied Marmot baby in monochrome, photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Elroy likes to sit on top of the doghouse to get a better view; as they all do.  One of the baby marmots tried to follow dad up to the roof, but could only get as far as the century-old wagon wheel; too small.  A quick finger on the shutter-button gave me an image that is quite unique; a wild animal in an old wagon wheel.  It's a big digital file with lots of detail. Yellow-bellied Marmot Baby in a Wagon WheelYellow-bellied Marmot Baby in a Wagon WheelPhotograph of a baby Yellow-bellied Marmot posing in a century-old wagon wheel in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming; also known as a Rock Chuck.      Even here in Wyoming, most people have never seen a deer fawn in person.  It's like the kids in South Africa that have never seen a Rhino.  But I have to admit that a fawn is at times invisible.  You can walk several feet from a fawn and never see him; they blend into the mountain landscape that well.  The doe teaches her young to "hide" and not move a muscle till she returns----so if you're looking, you will not see the little deer.  If you do see a fawn----Please do not touch!!!  The mother doe will return, I can promise you that much.  One day just such an epic moment happened to me; the moral is to never go anywhere without a camera. Fawn-Wind River Canyon, WyomingFawn-Wind River Canyon, WyomingThis cute little fawn was hiding in the sage in Wyoming.      Last summer a fawn was orphaned just south of our cabin; the result of senseless speed at night.  The little guy showed up behind us and hung with some stags that didn't seem to care much, but taught him plenty I am sure.  During the rut he followed them across the Wind River where the doe hang out.  Early one morning I photographed the fawn with the bucks; a very unusual picture. Three Stags and the Orphaned Fawn, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming3 Stags and the Orphaned FawnThe three Mule Deer Stags and the Orphaned Fawn.      Bighorn Sheep can be seen in the Wind River Canyon once more; hunted to extinction in the canyon's ecosystem till they were reintroduced in 1995.  They are one of my favorite photographic subjects....when I can find them.  The little ones are a real treat to image; they are a joy that I cannot describe.  I feel so lucky....at times.  Here are several of my favorite baby Bighorn Sheep photos. Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, Four Bighorn Sheep EwesBighorn Sheep - Four Little Ladies, Wind River CanyonFour Female Bighorn Sheep in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Bighorn Sheep Baby - Wind River Canyon, WyomingBaby Bighorn Sheep - Wind River CanyonBaby Bighorn Sheep photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Ram and Baby Bighorn Sheep - Wind River Canyon, WyomingRam and Baby Bighorn Sheep - Wind River CanyonRam and Baby Bighorn Sheep photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      American Bison are commonly known as buffalo, and are huge creatures that can be very dangerous to your health; especially the mothers with their young.  They are so cute, but the mothers will crush your body till you are a red spot under the sage!  Early american settlers found them to be great with melted cheese, but the British wrote that they were "impossible to keep fenced in."  We have none in the canyon, but fifteen minutes away I can photograph baby buffalo. Wyoming Baby Buffalo PortraitWyoming Baby Buffalo PortraitA Photographic Portrait of a Baby American Bison in Wyoming. Nursing Baby American Buffalo, Wyoming.Nursing Baby Bison-Wyoming.Nursing Baby Bison in Hot Springs State Park, Wyoming.      Photographing baby birds is a sensitive subject for the Audubon Society.  They and I agree that taking pictures of baby birds in the nest can cause problems for many of them.  A disruption that they don't need, or want.  Some bird mothers will dive-bomb you or even attack and draw blood; you can look up the videos.  

     When baby hummingbirds leave their nest for the first time they arrive at one of my nectar feeders here in the Wind River Canyon.  Usually they don't even know or care if I'm there or not.  The shutter speeds need to be at nosebleed levels that my grandfather would have found astounding!  I have always had an attachment for hummingbirds ever since my first observation in Ohio many decades ago at my grandmother's home when I was but a child.  They are in my opinion the most interesting of all the birds.  Technology is only now beginning to unlock their secrets.  Here are a few of "my" favorite baby hummingbirds, born and imaged right here in the Wind River Canyon. Rufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird baby photographed in-flight, Born in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Wyoming Hummingbirds fighting in-flightRufous Hummingbirds Fighting, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbirds fighting, photographed in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Wyoming Baby HummingbirdRufous Hummingbird BabyA Rufous Hummingbird Baby imaged in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      Picasso once said, "I show people things they cannot see."  I like to fancy that I provide the same kind of excitement about nature in Wyoming.  These beautiful wild animals need our help and protection in a world where nothing matters anymore; not even life itself.

Until next time, keep your camera ready.

All content of my Wind River Canyon Blog is of my own creation and all rights are reserved.

Visit safely my website HogbatsPhotography.com for many more images of the wildlife of the Wind River Canyon here in the middle of Wyoming; the real wild west!

Thank you for your valuable time; I really mean it this time.

I am Michael John Balog and I live in the Wind River Canyon.

 

           

    

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) baby buffalo baby hummingbirds baby wildlife birds birds of Wyoming Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird hummingbird photography Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Hummingbirds https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/5/wyoming-wildlife-babies Sat, 11 May 2019 23:34:47 GMT
Wind River Canyon Spring 2019 https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/4/wind-river-canyon-spring-2019      I've been on an unintentional sabbatical for quite some time due to illnesses (list - flu, cold, food poisoning, and seemingly two more colds, the last with a sore throat), but spring is in the air here in Wyoming.  The Wind River Canyon is where I live and is greening up nicely....finally!  The snow can only be seen in the highest of the mountain peaks.  And I'm doing quite well, but I am going to need more than a bit of exercise.

     Springtime in the Wind River Canyon is well known for being more than a bit volatile.  But the very best sign that it's the first week of April is mostly an unknown natural phenomenon; even around here.  Every single year during the first week of April the Turkey Vultures show up!  Every....Single....Year....like they have a calendar or something.  The vultures are here for cleanup duty; to clean up after winter-kill, and afterbirth; Mother Nature's mess is their food source.  It's disgusting to be sure, but someone has to provide cleanup duty; as long as it's not me!!

     On April 9th it was 72 degrees and sunny; a beautiful day in the canyon.  That night we got cold rain that lasted all night and changed to icy snow that lasted all day.  We ended up with a lot of nasty, hard snow with a thick layer of glass beneath; fun stuff.  But all this cold-snow-melting leads to a sudden greening up of the Wind River Canyon.  It happens so suddenly that it seems like magic, but the canyon is well known for being a magical place where things just happen.

     For instance----I know when the Yellow-bellied Marmots give birth in the springtime.  The old males come up for air!  The noise and stink down deep where they spend the winter must be bloody awful, so up they come to the greening canyon; they are after all vegetarians.  The adorable baby marmots come up to the real world the first week of May; so I haven't seen them yet.  Here's a favorite video of a baby marmot that was born last year and now lives under my shed; we named him Elroy. Yellow-bellied Marmot Yearling VideoBaby Marmot video from the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Another sure sign of spring in the Wind River Canyon is the highly anticipated arrival of the House Wrens.  I have a wren house near my bedroom window and they are building their nest as I write this blog.  The song of the male is outstanding in every way, and changes over time with the mating cycle.  The female will line her nest with the softest of nature's things, and the male will sing songs to her....and us.  Just one of the many wonderful things about spring in the canyon.  Below is a favorite photograph of a female wren getting her nest ready for her eggs. House Wren, "Building the Nest"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingHouse Wren, "Building the Nest"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingHouse Wren Building Her Nest in The Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      Elroy is trimming my grass right now as I write this sentence.  I can see him from the old desk where I work and write.  "His boy, Elroy!"  funny

     There is a small spot in my yard, not far from the kitchen, where wild asparagus comes up every spring.  We don't eat the small patch, we let it go to seed.  This spring we have more than three dozen of the fast growing vegetables, that will eventually produce tiny yellow flowers on a five foot plant that looks like a Christmas tree!  Below is a photograph taken on April 13th of my wild asparagus....that I don't eat. Wild Young AsparagusWild Young AsparagusYoung wild asparagus imaged growing near my cabin in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Vultures are fascinating creatures that can smell their food even farther away than that fat guy waddling into the golden arches.  I read an article where the aeronautics professor wrote that if all conditions were met....Turkey Vultures could sail the thermals in the canyon----forever!  They are that perfectly designed for catching-the-wind.

     I'd always wanted to get a great photograph of the vulture's amazing wingspan (over 6 and a half feet!!) but their senses are many times that of ours, and it's usually difficult to approach them without being seen.  But lately they (12 of them) warm themselves up for the day's flying very near our cabin.  The other morning conditions were absolutely perfect, and I finally got the image I've been after for a long, long time.  That is an over six and a half foot wingspan!  But they are still ugly.........photo below. A Turkey Vulture's Wingspan in WyomingTurkey Vulture WingspanTurkey Vulture wingspan imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Thank you for reading, and hopefully enjoying this Wind River Canyon Blog.  All content is produced by Michael John Balog and all rights are reserved.  For many more wildlife photographs imaged in the Wind River Canyon safely visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com

1st Place at the 49th Cody Art Show, Professional Division.Black-chinned Hummingbird, female, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming - 1st Place, 49th Cody Art ShowBlack-chinned Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Winner of the 1st Place Award at the 49thCody Art Show!            

         

      

  

          

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/4/wind-river-canyon-spring-2019 Sat, 27 Apr 2019 21:40:11 GMT
Unseen Wildlife of the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/3/unseen-wildlife-of-the-wind-river-canyon      As travelers race through the Wind River Canyon at highway speeds, little do they know of the wildlife unseen in this isolated wilderness.  Even after twenty years living in this magical canyon, I'm constantly fascinated by the wildlife that live within it's golden walls-of-stone.  I've photo-documented over 110 species of birds, along with the Bighorn Sheep that are always on the move.

     During the snowy winters of Wyoming there is a really cute wild animal that makes tunnels and lives under all this snow.  Their tail is shorter and their ears smaller than the less adorable Mickey Mouse.  They have babies by the dozens (no fooling) and are the food for every meat-eater out in the wild.  Many people confuse them with an ugly underground, similarly named, distant relative.  When the snow does finally melt I have weird tunnels all over my yard, and all over the grassy hillsides.  These little wild animals are the Vole, also called meadow mice.  You may have seen Yellowstone coyotes, wolves and foxes hunting them in recent films on our National Park.  Here is a picture of two taken close-by our cabin. Meadow Vole; Voles in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.Meadow Vole, Wind River Canyon, WyomingTwo cute Meadow Voles in the snow, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      One female in a lab setting had over 80 babies in one year! There are over 155 species of Voles.  They are very prolific!  

     Many of the birds I photograph regularly are unseen even by the few people that live in the Wind River Canyon; they don't eat seeds.  But the really unusual visitors are those I see only once or those species that really aren't supposed to be here at all.  One of my favorites arrived during a blizzard, never to be seen again!  This Red Crossbill just sat there and let me crawl on my belly like a snow-snake to take this portrait; he just didn't seem to care. Red Crossbill-Wind River Canyon, WyomingRed Crossbill_A Portrait, Wind River CanyonRed Crossbill portrait photographed in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      I grew up in Cleveland and never thought I'd ever see a Blue Jay again, since they aren't nearly as far west as the canyon.  Yet one fall day two arrived to fatten up at my feeding stations.  It took some cunning and stealth to get the image I had in my mind, and they were only here for two days! First Blue Jay in the Wind River Canyon!Blue Jay in Wind River CanyonThe first Blue Jay ever photographed in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.       One day a bird was making a racket by the bird feeders!  I'd never seen one of these before; what is it?  I took lots of pictures while standing on a picnic table, then went to my books for identification.  It was a Pinon Jay and was never seen again.... Pinyon Jay - Wyoming, Wind River CanyonPinyon Jay - Wyoming, Wind River CanyonPinyon Jay Photograhed in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.       For three years in a row, every spring, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak spent several days here in the Wind River Canyon.  He was really out of his home base, as they are never even as far west as central Nebraska, yet here he was, that fabulous color on his breast was magnificent!! Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Wind River Canyon, WyomingRose-breasted Grosbeak, Wind River Canyon, WyomingRose-breasted Grosbeak photograph, a rare visitor to the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      I wish I had ten dollars for every time someone asked me, "How do I find Bighorn Sheep in the Wind River Canyon?"  (price has gone way up from that nickel thing)  Bighorn Sheep are travelers, as I like to call them.  My usual mystic response is, "I don't find Bighorn Sheep in the Wind River Canyon, they find me."  

     When I go out and search for them, I can't find a single Bighorn; where are they?  But as I keep an eye constantly open for wildlife, there are Bighorn Sheep down by the Wind River!  Look, there are eight on the hillside----look, there's several females, called ewes.  They travel constantly which makes finding them problematic in the huge Wind River Canyon.  Below is a selection from my Bighorn Sheep gallery on my website, HogbatsPhotography.com.  All these Bighorn Sheep were photographed here in the Wind River Canyon. Two Bighorn Rams, WyomingTwo Bighorn Sheep RamsTwo Bighorn Sheep Rams photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. Bighorn Sheep Jousting-Wind River Canyon, WyomingBighorn Sheep Jousting-Wind River Canyon, WyomingBighorn Sheep butting heads in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Bighorn Sheep, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBighorn Sheep, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBighorn Sheep Ram at Sunrise in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Bighorn Sheep Ram, WyomingWind River Canyon Bighorn RamBighorn Sheep Ram imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The littlest wild animals in America are seldom seen except for a mere glance that lasts only seconds at the very best.  These tiny birds are loved by everyone.  Most people cannot identify individual species of hummingbirds, yet they breed here in the canyon every single summer.  I have documented baby hummingbirds born here every year, and the FOUR species that are seen in the Wind River Canyon.  Here are photographs of the four male hummingbird species seen in the canyon; females and baby hummingbirds are very difficult to tell apart from one another. Black-chinned Hummingbird male violet-flashBlack-chinned Hummingbird maleBlack-chinned Hummingbird male violet-flash photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. Broad-tailed Hummingbird In-FlightBroad-tailed Hummingbird In-FlightThe first time a Broad-tailed Hummingbird has been photographed in-flight in Wind River Canyon in Wyoming! Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming  -  1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowRufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming - 1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowHummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, 1st Place-48th Cody Art Show. Calliope Hummingbird PortraitCalliope Hummingbird PortraitCalliope Hummingbird photographic portrait of a male taken in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      I could go on and on and on, but it would be much more educational for you to visit my wildlife website; it is very safe and I guarantee that you will learn and see things that you didn't know existed or haven't ever seen for yourself.  Click on this safe link for more wildlife from the Wind River Canyon in wild Wyoming----HogbatsPhotograpy.com     

Thank you for your valuable time and reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.

    

*Post Script:  Every year I receive a flu-shot, and this year I got the flu and it nearly ended my time here.  I've not written or photographed a thing in quite some time, and the winter has been really nasty here in the canyon.  After nearly three weeks I finally made it to my doctor, then stopped off for one of those expensive hamburgers; that night I had to deal with terrible food poisoning from a tasty, pink, under-cooked burger that I pointed out at the time to my wife!  With my resistance all messed up a rhino-virus has tried to run me over, too.  But it looks like I'll make it after all......   

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Bighorn Sheep birds birds of Wyoming Black-chinned Hummingbird Broad-tailed Hummingbird Calliope Hummingbird Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Hummingbird Images hummingbird photography Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rams Rufous Hummingbird Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/3/unseen-wildlife-of-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 16 Mar 2019 23:56:30 GMT
Portrait of a Hairy Woodpecker https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/2/portrait-of-a-hairy-woodpecker      Anyone who is familiar with my wildlife photography from here in the Wind River Canyon, knows of my obsession with trying to get "bird portraits."  It's really about trying to make these magical creatures more accessible.  My hope is that young people will make a connection and, love and protect Mother Nature the way we all should.  Plus, I love a good challenge, and this one proved to be a real pain in my butt.

     To create a portrait of a wild bird presents many obstacles, the least of which is the technology used to make the image.  Every species of wild bird is a learning experience for me.  I have many reference books and I always use a famous online encyclopedia; as in all things, knowledge is the key to understanding.  But you must put that new information to good use, which in the case of the male Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus), turned out to be much more difficult than I first thought it would be.

     Winters in Wyoming can be a very difficult place to photograph anything, especially a woodpecker that is well known for disliking humans.  The Downy Woodpecker looks amazingly like the Hairy Woodpecker, except for size they are very much look-a-likes, yet are not related; a process called convergent evolution.  The Hairy is much bigger in every way and when you've seen them both it becomes easy to differentiate the species; but the Hairy doesn't like people.

     I'd go out, I'd come in, I'd freeze my butt, I'd go out, again and again.  Observe, enjoy, freeze my pecans off.  At times it seemed like both male and female were playing some kind of hide-and-go-seek with rules I didn't understand; since last Fall!  Monday afternoon, the 11th of February, while playing this shy, hiding game with me, I finally got some sharp images I could really work with.  Now, the magic of 21st century computer post-production. Hairy Woodpecker male, WyomingPortrait of a Hairy WoodpeckerPortrait of a Hairy Woodpecker male imaged in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      Don't be afraid to edit out the extraneous parts of the image.  Keep it interesting and of course the "rule-of-thirds" should apply, or maybe not!  Break some rules if it moves you, which is what art is all about.  What does your picture say, what do you want it to say?  If you like it, that's what is most important.  It's easy to overdue things like saturation and sharpness, but again, it's yours.  Lecture over.......

     A few years ago, I was using one of my favorite "hides" in our cabin, when I spotted a mother Hairy Woodpecker feeding and teaching one of her sons.  It was unexpected and a real surprise; it was early morning in the Wind River Canyon.  A real beautiful moment that I was wildly lucky to witness and image. Hairy Woodpecker, Mother & Son in the Wind River Canyon,WyomingHairy Woodpecker, Mother & Son-Wind River Canyon,WyomingHairy Woodpeckers in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      We still have a lot of snow here in the canyon and a lot of birds that rely on us here.  North and south of us the snow is practically non-existent.  I am still looking for a hint of springtime; the Goldfinches are beginning to turn their colors yellow.  Below is a photograph of the notoriously friendly Downy Woodpecker for your comparison. Downy Woodpecker_female, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.Downy Woodpecker_female, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.Downy Woodpecker photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      Look a lot alike?  Everyone thinks so, too.  Notice the much smaller beak on the Downy.  The different beak sizes means they will not compete for the same food source.  Even males and females have different sized beaks, for the same reason.  Both the Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers are found most anywhere there are forests----where they are left, that is.  

     Thank you for your time and reading my true wildlife stories from the Wind River Canyon.  All content is protected by international copyright laws; hopefully.

Michael John Balog, Wind River Canyon Blog, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. 

 

"I want people to fall in love with Mother Nature, not wonder what happened to her."

MjB

 

      

     

         

 

 

  

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Downy Woodpecker education" Hairy Woodpecker Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon woodpecker Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/2/portrait-of-a-hairy-woodpecker Sat, 16 Feb 2019 23:09:21 GMT
New Wild Bird Images from Wyoming! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/2/new-wild-bird-images-from-wyoming      There are so many wild bird species that at one time or another make the Wind River Canyon their place of residence (over one hundred) that it's not always easy for me to figure out whom I've forgotten.  This particular Wind River Canyon Blog is about one I had forgot and one I had never even seen before this harsh winter!

     This first wild bird isn't even rare, and you've probably seen them if you "feed the birds."  They are scattered across America from coast to coast, but are not native, even though I thought so, too.  They were first introduced "back east" in the 1940's.  They are listed in my older bird books as Red House Finches, but are now listed in references as just House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)----but they're still red.

     I'd been out in the deep snow here in the canyon trying to get a decent photograph of the other bird in this blog, and shot this image of a beautiful, male House Finch in a juniper tree.  It was Wyoming cold outside!  My boots are rated to 80 below and my coat was made for the Swedish military, so only my fingers and batteries got cold.  It may be Ground Hog Day, but it's winter here, baby!! House Finch photographHouse Finch male, Wind River CanyonHouse Finch male wild bird photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The other wild bird was the one I was really after with my cameras, because we had never observed one in the Wind River Canyon before this winter.  And was it ever tough to get a decent image of this crazy, fast moving little brown bird.  Hand-held with the big zoom lens (Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2) it was way more difficult than a video game, and just as frustrating. 

     A Brown Creeper (Certhia americana), also known as the American Treecreeper, is a wild bird that moves like no other in the canyon.  It's herky-jerky movements, up and around trees, is really wild to try and follow at 500 plus millimeters of lens.  It was a real workout in the cold with that coat, and I must admit, a lot of fun! 

     Take notice of the curved bill, it's really unusual.  Brown Creepers are not interested in my sunflower seeds; they are interested in my suet blocks and the bugs in the trees.  This particular picture was the best at showing what these small wild birds (5.25 inches from beak to end of tail) really look like; in this case in the snow----I love the tilt of the head. Brown Creeper photographBrown Creeper, Wind River CanyonBrown Creeper wild bird imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The way this little bird runs up and around the trees at nearly the speed of lightning is a riot to try and follow with binoculars, even from a distance.  But I had little luck in getting great images when he was on the trees; which is the kind of challenge I relish, even in the winter.

     The "new" software I am now using for the RAW Canon image files is their free Digital Photo Professional; it's now closer to Adobe Lightroom, which I still use to tweak the final photographs. 

     Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.  All photographs, wildlife stories, and production of Michael John Balog's kid-friendly website HogbatsPhotography.com is protected by international copyright laws.

     For photographs of native-born Wyoming Hummingbirds and the Bighorn Sheep that visit the Wind River Canyon, click above to visit my safe website.

MjB

Calliope Hummingbird PortraitCalliope Hummingbird PortraitCalliope Hummingbird photographic portrait of a male taken in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.    

 

            

    

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) American Treecreeper birds birds of Wyoming Brown Creeper finch Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com House Finch Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/2/new-wild-bird-images-from-wyoming Sat, 02 Feb 2019 23:09:47 GMT
The Littlest Hummingbird https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/1/the-littlest-hummingbird      In a magical golden canyon, far from the prying eyes of humans, a very small hummingbird is born from a tiny egg high in a juniper tree.  The nest is so small you could almost touch your fingers around it, if you could ever find one.  The Mother Hummingbird also made a nest in this same place last summer, and the summer before that.  In fact, hummingbirds have been nesting in this golden canyon for as long as memory serves.  

     This tiny baby hummingbird is the smallest bird in the North American wilderness.  He will grow up to also be the smallest of birds, yet he will migrate the farthest of all the wild birds we know in our land.  This hummingbird is so small that few people have ever witnessed one in the wilds of Wyoming, but they are here even if you do not see them for yourself; yes, he is that small!

     This baby hummingbird was born in the month of July, when daytime temperatures are at their warmest, but in the mountains it can get quite cold at night.  Hummingbirds have always nested in this golden canyon in summer, because every living mammal needs a protein food source to grow up.  Hummingbirds are here for the bugs! the greatest of all of Mother Nature's yukky protein foods.

     This tiny baby hummingbird, born near the golden cliffs of the Wind River Canyon, is a bird that we are told shouldn't even be here at all; but they are born here none-the-less.  We don't need a drum-roll for this introduction.  This littlest of hummingbirds is the bejeweled Calliope (Stellula calliope) Hummingbird; a shy, quiet little wild bird, unlike the other species of hummers that mate in this Wyoming canyon.  They are not aggressive like the Rufous or the Black-chinned, or even the Broad-tailed Hummingbird that makes that metallic buzz here in this canyon during the summer's heat.   

     At times this shy little hummingbird is bullied by the other little buzzers, but their nesting is obviously successful because they return each and every summer.  The Calliope is not the first hummingbird to arrive in the canyon, or even the second.  The first to be seen is always the Broad-tailed in the month of May, followed shortly thereafter by the unreal Black-chinned.  The Calliopes will arrive in the canyon in the month of June, like the very aggressive Rufous Hummingbirds, that bully nearly everyone else.

     Because the littlest hummingbird is so small it makes for a difficult photographic portrait; it helps to get close, which takes patience and loads of time.  This particular hummingbird portrait was imaged on July 30th of last summer, yet was only finished this week in new software and just test-printed yesterday! 

     The print is sitting right here by my usual workstation here in the Wind River Canyon.  It didn't really take this long for post-production.  In this very cold and deep snowed winter I was bored out of my skull, which gives me time to work on photographs that I never had the time for in mid-summer.  I shoot thousands of images of hummingbirds during a typical summer; many are overlooked because I have to sleep sometimes----not very often----just sometimes.  

     The littlest hummingbird grows up to be a jewel that is smaller than some we've all seen recently on celebrities.  If you look at the rare ruby and emerald colors on this male Calliope Hummingbird you will understand why people like us get so excited by the most wonderful and magical wild animals on this or any other planet.  They move like lightning, yet look like the jewelry in those Robin's egg blue boxes from Tiffany's. Calliope Hummingbird Photographic PortraitCalliope Hummingbird PortraitCalliope Hummingbird photographic portrait of a male taken in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      This final image is not a computer software trick, even though you may at first think so.  The canyon is lit by the blazing summer mountain sunshine, yet, the Calliope male is in the shadow of my home, but only for several minutes!  The exposure is set manually for the hummingbird sitting in the shade and this means the entire background is blown-out by the sun and results in total white! 

     Timing is also key to this photographic image.  The Wind River Canyon must be completely in total sun, but the hummingbird has to be in the shade; I only have a few minutes before the one thousand miles-per-hour spin of the Earth ruins the image.  In full sunshine it is impossible to get this kind of sharpness and resolution of a hummingbird, because the way many of their feathers are constructed it results in what looks like pictures of a mirror.  I designed this idea for pictures of hummingbirds years ago, and it took me years to get the timing and exposure exactly correct. The green color on his breast is the reflection from the nearby pine that is still in the sun----but only for a few minutes more!  The gold in his wingtips is the filtered golden canyon light.

     How small is he really?  They are smaller than my thumb; and yours, too.  I have been so close to a male Calliope Hummingbird that we almost touched "noses"; I know them well and cannot wait for their return.  And for all the snow to melt!

     Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.  For many more intimate pictures of hummingbirds and the wildlife in the canyon, safely visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com.

     Michael John Balog is a resident of the Wind River Canyon here in the state of Wyoming and is the writer, photographer and producer of all content and is protected by international copyright laws.

 

MjB

 

 

 

    

     

       

 

 

    

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Calliope Calliope Hummingbird Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/1/the-littlest-hummingbird Sun, 20 Jan 2019 01:42:44 GMT
Stranded in a Blizzard in Wind River Canyon on New Years Eve https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/1/stranded-in-a-blizzard-in-wind-river-canyon-on-new-years-eve      Welcoming in a New Year in the Wind River Canyon can present some exciting opportunities for a great celebration, but this year we knew a snowstorm was moving in.  An old friend took flight just ahead of the snow, and it was good that he did, as it turned out.  Wyoming news predicted a few inches in the town just to the north of the canyon (Thermopolis); they received six inches.  The small-town (Shoshoni) twenty miles south from the middle of the canyon where we live received no snow at all! 

     We got blasted with well over a foot of snow with winds that howled in from the north all night long, then flipped directions as the blizzard moved on!  At 3 o'clock in the morning I swore a train was coming through the Wind River Canyon; it was just the wind trying to carve stone with snow; the sound was incredible.  Drifts of snow swirled around our cabin with whipped cream peaks of three feet by morning!  A two foot drift ran 85 feet all the way down the back of our canyon home and had the consistency of cement; the temperature was twelve below zero!!! 

     The Wind River Canyon was closed and wouldn't reopen till late in the morning of the brand New Year----we couldn't even get out of our yard without the help of the good neighbor with the bulldozer.

     In the winter here in the Wind River Canyon wildlife activity slows to a halt.  This gives me time to go through photograph files that I never had the time for in the summer, because I'm too busy with my hummingbirds.  Usually these pictures are shot during times of inactivity.  I may look at them or do some preliminary post-production, but the hummingbirds always get first priority.  While we were stranded by the deep-snow I found some photographs that stirred my creative juices, which is good because I have a lot of juices and I couldn't go anywhere anyway. Showy Milkweed Flowers and Bumblebee in Wyoming.Showy Milkweed Flowers and a BumblebeeShowy Milkweed flowers and Bumblebee photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The wonderfully complex wildflowers are Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) at their absolute height of bloom.  These wildflowers are considered to be some of the most complex of flowers and are comparable to Orchids in their complexity.  This image was photographed after a rare rain shower (look very closely) as the sun emerged.  Most species of Milkweed are toxic, yet it is the only food for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars!  I encourage their growth here in the Wind River Canyon.  These Milkweed wildflowers are some of the most wonderfully sweet smells anywhere in nature.

     Bumblebees have always fascinated me.  These furry, chubby little things buzz around doing their job and are friendlier than you'd first imagine.  First, it takes a lot to piss-off a bumblebee; they are usually easier to get along with than family:-)  But they have stingers without barbs, so if you make one mad he can sting you over and over and over.....the stinger doesn't stay in and the bumblebee doesn't die like a honeybee. 

     That fat bumblebee only lives one summer; they all die but the Queens.  Around here they bury themselves in the ground and go dormant; a time called diapause.  They reemerge in warmer months to start a new generation; they also make other young Queen bumblebees as well as drones.  

     Here in the Wind River Canyon it gets quite cold on late summer nights.  By early morning, even in mid-August, it may be 45 degrees Fahrenheit----the perfect temperature for petting bumblebees!  I know this sounds a bit nuts, but it's loads of fun.  A bumblebee will be stranded on wildflowers because of the temps and the cold makes them nearly immobile.  They "vibrate" to warm themselves up, no real danger there.  It's crazy fun to pet bumblebees, and I have taught others this weird pleasure of Mother Nature's magic. Milkweed, Wind River Canyon, WyomingMilkweed, Wind River Canyon, WyomingMilkweed photographed in black and white in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      It's definitely winter here in the Wind River Canyon, we've had two good snows that will be with us for a seemingly long time.  On the other hand, the icefalls in the canyon are the best in years; stop and take a look with your binoculars if you are near.

     Here's some good advice, go back and take another look at those pictures; you'll never know what you find when you've been stranded by a blizzard on Mars.  

     Thank you for your time and reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.  For more photographs of the wildlife from the ecosystem of the Wind River Canyon safely visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com.

     All content of Wind River Canyon Blog and HogbatsPhotography.com is produced by Michael John Balog, a resident of the canyon, and all rights are reserved and protected by internationally recognized copyright laws.  And if you believe that, I know this guy that has a bridge for sale.

     Happy New Year to everyone who loves and helps the wildlife; they really do need your help.

 

MjB

Wyoming Hummingbirds fighting in-flightRufous Hummingbirds Fighting, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbirds fightting in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.

       

     

    

 

 

 

      

 

 

 

    

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming bumblebee Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog milkweed Nature Photography Showy Milkweed Thermopolis wildflowers wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2019/1/stranded-in-a-blizzard-in-wind-river-canyon-on-new-years-eve Sat, 05 Jan 2019 23:23:54 GMT
Wind River Canyon Christmas Card 2018 https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/12/wind-river-canyon-christmas-card-2018      Christmas has always been a very special time of the year, when children's dreams and wishes really can come true.  It is the beauty in our hearts that make the Holidays a wonderful time.  Let us now smile and spread that Christmas joy and love.      The tune is called "Under the Mistletoe."  The black and white portrait of the Bald Eagle was photographed on November 27th:  I wanted it to look like it was done with a charcoal pencil in art class.  Thank you for your time and attention-----Merry Christmas from Michael and Debra right from "deep snow" Wind River Canyon, right in the middle of Wyoming.  

     All the birds in the Christmas picture gallery were photographed in the Wind River Canyon by Michael John Balog.  For more galleries filled with wonderful wild animals from the canyon's ecosystem, visit my safe website-----HogbatsPhotography.com

A Merry Christmas to Everyone!!!

 

MjB

 

 

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/12/wind-river-canyon-christmas-card-2018 Sat, 08 Dec 2018 21:37:29 GMT
Photographing Bird Portraits in Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/11/photographing-bird-portraits-in-wyoming      In my experience, nothing else in wildlife photography is quite as difficult as trying to image a portrait of a wild bird.  For one thing, most of them are very small and they don't take direction very well.  No matter what you say, they don't seem to understand English! Mountain Chickadee-Wind River Canyon, WyomingMountain Chickadee-Wind River Canyon, WyomingA Photographic Portrait of a Mountain Chickadee in the Winter, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.   If you think chasing around kids with a camera is tough, then a bird in the wild can become a real challenge that will tax your patience. 

     Some wild birds can be approached easily; you can walk right up to a Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli), and photographing other species can become a goal that may never be reached; the Golden Eagle comes to mind.  At times it seems that a bird just wants to have it's picture taken, which is ridiculous; it's usually just curiosity, take advantage; there is no substitute for building trust.  And photographs of some birds happen by serendipity----things just start to happen and I just go along for the imaging-ride; like the shoot with the Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) one winter's day.  I crawled on my belly in the snow! Red Crossbill-Wind River Canyon, WyomingRed Crossbill_A Portrait, Wind River CanyonRed Crossbill portrait photographed in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      Quite recently, I had just such quality time with a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias).  A long-telephoto lens and a sharp eye, and his weird trust, led to an exciting photographic adventure.  Working the image as I would for a person seemed appropriate, and flattering; even though the bird will never know it.  I've gotten pictures of Great Blue Herons in-flight, and that's tough enough, but this bird-portrait is a fascinating character study. Great Blue Heron Portrait, WyomingGreat Blue Heron PortraitGreat Blue Heron portrait photographed in the state of Wyoming.      Any quality camera with a good telephoto lens will do the trick.  My personal favorites are the 70-200mm f/4 lenses; they are light in weight and super sharp.  The newest infatuation is the modern-marvel Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens.  A long, long time ago a lens that can do what this lens does would have been a fantasy; and was.  Big lenses are heavy and they can be a real workout, for your body and your wallet!

     Now, the lecture on why we shouldn't irritate the birds, even though sometimes you must.  It's wrong to interrupt someone's dinner, but a celebrity (like a Bald Eagle) is fair game.  I'm sorry, but those are the rules.  Nesting birds are off limits, period; how would you feel?  And that's how I handle shoots with wild birds; I try to be nice and tactful.  The patience of a saint would help, yet sometimes things just explode and a fast finger on the shutter button gets the job done.  

     Some birds seem brave, others never will be.  Some wild birds just don't care you're there, others you may never see but for a moment.  Try to learn as much as you can about all of your portrait subjects, be they birds, Bighorn Sheep, or your kids playing baseball.  How will your photographic subject react when they see you with a camera?  Hummingbirds are my absolute favorite wildlife to photograph here in the Wind River Canyon; they move at the speed-of-light and have little fear of man. Wyoming Hummingbird, Rufous, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbird, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbird male on a branch in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Black-chinned Hummingbird male violet-flashBlack-chinned Hummingbird maleBlack-chinned Hummingbird male violet-flash photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. Wyoming Hummingbird In-FlightRufous Hummingbird In-Flight, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbird in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      It is interesting to note that the famous painter of birds, Mr. Audubon, painted pictures of birds that where dead!  Some species where sent to him from far away.  When you photograph a wild bird with your digital device, the bird still lives----that is something to discuss.

     I've said it before, "When you make a connection with a wild animal, you touch the face of Mother Nature."  Several years ago we had two Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) that spent the summer with us.  I moved cautiously as I introduced myself----this took days.  When they obviously trusted my presence, a special portrait was in order.  But there is a question, "Who decides who is ugly?"  Ben Franklin and most hunters will tell you that Wild Turkeys are smart, but nobody said they were at all cute. Wild Turkey, "Portrait of Tom"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey, "Portrait of Tom"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingPortrait of a Wild Turkey, Photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      Every snowy Wyoming winter I look forward to spring and the arrival of the House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon).  They're great singers, and are nearly as fearless as Chickadees; they are great fun to photograph.  I love listening to their songs in the morning while still in bed; interesting portraits abound. House Wren, Male, Portrait-Wind River Canyon, WyomingHouse Wren, Male, Portrait-Wind River Canyon, WyomingA Photographic Portrait of a male House Wren, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. House Wren with SpiderThe Spider and the WrenHouse Wren with a Spider she has for her babies photographed in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      As winter sets in, the American Robins (Turdus migratorius) gather together here in the canyon in unlikely flocks.  They are rowdy and eat lots of juniper berries, and the first name of their Latin-family name is completely true.  Wandering around these fragrant pines one late winter's day, a robin let me approach to an even more unlikely distance; it's still the best robin portrait I've ever gotten to this day! American Robin/Portrait ~ Wind River CanyonAmerican Robin/Portrait ~ Wind River CanyonPortrait of an American Robin-Photographed in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      It would be easy for me to let this blog go on and on, but it must end somewhere, so lets end it with the marvelous Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides).  I've got this secret spot where they come to nest----and wow, what a color!! Wyoming Mountain Bluebird 2016Wyoming Mountain Bluebird 2016Mountain Bluebird photographed in Wyoming. Mountain Bluebirds, Mating Pair - WyomingMountain Bluebirds, Mating Pair - WyomingPhotograph of Mountain Bluebird mating pair nesting in Wyoming.      I hope this Wind River Canyon Blog uplifts your Holiday Season wherever you are.  Sit and watch the wild birds....it's good for your health.  And thank you for reading my work.

     All my wildlife stories are true----my name is Michael John Balog and I live in the magical Wind River Canyon in snowy Wyoming.  All content in this blog and my website HogbatsPhotography.com is protected by international copyright laws recognized throughout the known universe, except by Klingon's.

 

MjB

             

        

            

 

      

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Black-chinned Hummingbird Bluebird Chickadee Crossbill Great Blue Heron Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com House Wren Hummingbird Michael John Balog Mountain Bluebird Nature Photography Robin Rufous Hummingbird Thermopolis Wild Turkey wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wren Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/11/photographing-bird-portraits-in-wyoming Sat, 24 Nov 2018 22:58:59 GMT
Wyoming Landscape - Autumn Foliage in the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/11/wyoming-landscape-autumn-foliage-in-the-wind-river-canyon      Autumn in Wyoming is usually just a bridge to a much colder season.  Suddenly the nights are freezing and the leaves disappear virtually overnight.  But, when we get a "spring-fall" and the temperatures stay warm the colors are really dramatic; this fall was just such a season.

     The temperatures weren't just warm this early autumn, it really was t-shirt weather in the Wind River Canyon.  We had very dry conditions and no snow to speak of; which is really weird.  Because of this the fall foliage colors were at their rarest display.  This wild fireworks of colors is really quite unique, and occurs maybe once in every ten years!

     The Wind River Canyon doesn't have an abundance of deciduous trees, but we do have a million leafy plants in a wide variety of colors.  Most years these autumnal colors are never seen by anyone until conditions are perfect.  In this one ideal fall few will ever stop to see these beautiful displays of autumn, and not a single person can even get close to the best of them.  To photograph these autumn colors in the Wind River Canyon requires extraordinary timing; the peak of color doesn't last very long.

     The photograph below was taken on October 9th and captures the absolute peak of this beautiful display of nature's colors in the Wind River Canyon.  I've been up to this place only a few times; it's that hard to get up there.  The pine tree in the center is a beauty designed by Mother Nature herself.  The dramatic autumnal colors are shown as I saw them and not exaggerated----this is a Wyoming Landscape at it's finest! Wyoming Landscape Fall FoliageFall Foliage in the Wind River CanyonFall foliage photograph of the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      This landscape of fall colors probably will not be repeated anytime soon, but with the reality of climate change, who knows?  The photograph was taken with a big, telephoto lens since it's the only way of capturing such a large beast from such a distance.  Mounted on a tripod the picture was taken from my yard; it's an amazing explosion of nature's colors....revel in it.

     Update:  For those of my readers that are wondering about the Orphan Fawn, he's just fine, now.  The little deer is on the other side of the Wind River here in the canyon; he followed the stags across the low-level river to mating grounds; this fawn is a survivor.  For those people that didn't see the photographs, here he is not long after his mother was killed just up the road from here; his spots are long gone now. Bambi in the Wind River CanyonOrphaned Fawn in the Wind River CanyonFawn who's Mother was killed in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Three Stags and the Orphaned Fawn, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming3 Stags and the Orphaned FawnThe three Mule Deer Stags and the Orphaned Fawn.      I wish this little miracle of Mother Nature's all the luck in the world----we'll be seeing him again, I hope.

Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog! 

     All content in my blogs and my website----HogbatsPhotography.com are protected by international copyright laws and all rights are reserved.  And if you believe that, I'll tell you another funny one.

My name is Michael John Balog and I live in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.

 

MjB

 

 

        

          

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) autumn colors deer fall foliage fawn Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com landscape landscape photography Michael John Balog Nature Photography Orphan Fawn Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/11/wyoming-landscape-autumn-foliage-in-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 10 Nov 2018 22:53:42 GMT
The Upside Down Birds https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/10/the-upside-down-birds      Imagine spending much of your life upside down; I get loopy just thinking about it.  Sure, as a kid I hung upside down on the monkey bars, just like everyone else eventually did.  I even remember one boy splitting his noggin falling from "way up there!"  There are certain people who make a living out of being upside down----but not for very long.  Yet, there are a couple of White-breasted Nuthatch, Wind River CanyonWhite-breasted Nuthatch, Wind River CanyonWhite-breasted Nuthatch photographed in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. birds in the magical Wind River Canyon that choose to spend much of their lives....upside down.

     As the leaves of the Wild Rose turn a beautiful dark red here in the canyon, two little wild birds migrate into one of Wyoming's most spectacular places.  These two species of birds are known as nuthatches----the Red-breasted Nuthatch, and the slightly larger White-breasted.  They are cute, friendly little birds that can easily fit into a child's hands, but seem to move like lightning from one branch to another juniper in a wink.

     Twenty years ago we never saw these birds around here, and ten years ago only seldom.  Now we are observing them here in the Wind River Canyon much more frequently; is this the "Final Frontier?"  But more importantly, why are they upside down so much?

     They forage for seeds and bugs that hide under the bark, but upside down?  I've watched and photographed them for hours, and you'd think they'd get dizzy and fall down like spinning children, but they never do.  This is why their nickname is the "Upside Down Birds."  How do they do this?  I don't have a rational explanation, but it's fun to watch them as they feed.  This also makes it fun to photograph them.

     On a cold October morning a Red-breasted was trying to keep warm, and the fluffed-up image has always been a favorite of mine; the photograph is below. Red-breasted Nuthatch-"October Morning"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingRed-breasted Nuthatch-"October Morning"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingRed-breasted Nuthatch trying to keep warm on a cold morning in October, photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      Early in the morning this week, as the sun began to turn the Wind River Canyon's cliffs a wonderful golden color, the first White-breasted Nuthatch arrived.  I dropped my coffee and grabbed a camera and shot out the door, and entered into a morning much colder than I realized.  No time to waste now, butch-up and take some shots while the opportunity is presenting itself; thank the imaging gods for eight frames-per-second!

     The picture below is one that's a bit different for me.  It was influenced by "you-know-who" and captures a White-breasted Nuthatch in his native environment as he sits still for a second, and only a second!  As it was a cold, fall morning I worked the white-balance a bit cooler, and it brought out wonderful colors.  These little birds have their breakfast here along with us every morning, all winter long. White-breasted Nuthatch, WyomingWhite-breasted Nuthatch, Wind River CanyonWhite-breasted Nuthatch photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Someone already asked me, "why didn't you photograph one upside down?"  My answer wasn't really supposed to be funny.  "It's hard enough to get a picture of one right side up."  So there he is, the "Upside Down Bird Right Side Up."

     Maybe that should be this winter's project, to get an image of an upside down bird upside down.....huh?

     All content of my Wind River Canyon Blog and my website HogbatsPhotography.com is protected by copyright and all rights are reserved.  But what do I know?

     Thank you for looking at this Wind River Canyon Blog.  

     My name is Michael John Balog and I photograph and write about the wildlife in the Wind River Canyon ecosystem.

         

      

     

         

         

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography nuthatch Red-breasted Nuthatch Thermopolis White-breasted Nuthatch wild birds wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/10/the-upside-down-birds Sat, 27 Oct 2018 21:55:14 GMT
New Photographs of Bighorn Sheep in the Wind River Canyon! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/10/new-photographs-of-bighorn-sheep-in-the-wind-river-canyon      It sounds quite cryptic but it's also true, "You don't find Bighorn Sheep in the Wind River Canyon, they find you!"  Remembering this doesn't really make it any easier to find these majestic wild animals.  Sure I've gone looking for them, and didn't find any.  Binoculars, telephoto lenses and many hours, and they simply cannot be found----and then I glance out a window here in the canyon, and there they are----Bighorn Rams!  It really is that simple.

     Late last week after lunch, one of those glances out a cabin window brought those Rams closer to my computer.  On the west side of the Wind River there were two adult Bighorn Rams!  No time to waste, get the adrenaline fired up and grab the Canon with the big telephoto lens, and get going!!!

     It was warm and sunny and I ran out the front door with the bazooka attached to my favorite camera with the battery-grip; it was going to be a great photo-op with lots of good cardio.  I followed a game-trail that the big stags have been matting down, lifting the big-rig above the sagebrush as I made my way down the hill and across the roadway, huffing and puffing and gasping for oxygen along the way.

     Two fishermen were just sitting down for lunch as I made my way down to the Wind River, which is quite low at the moment.  The grass that grows down by the river is taller than me, literally "high as an elephants eye."  But there's a path through this jungle made by who knows what, and every so often an opening above the wide Wind River.  I sat down in one of these grassy openings and thus began another incredible time with the Rams of the Wind River Canyon.

     The Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) were huge adult males with a ewe in tow, well fed and fat on the thick, west-side tall green grass; Rams exceed 300 pounds!  Bighorn Sheep are the last wild animals to mate in the Wind River Canyon; they haven't even started crashing their heads together yet.  Rams are strong, majestic beasts that are curious; as curious as me at times.  As they would eat and move I would move down river with them; I knew they could see me. Bighorn Sheep Ram, WyomingWind River Canyon Bighorn RamBighorn Sheep Ram photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      When a wild animal makes eye contact with you and acknowledges your existence, it's a high like no other in the world.  You've made a connection with the wild world where free has a different meaning.  They aren't tied down to payments, homes and credit cards.  Theirs is a kind of freedom we will never quite understand; freedom to survive a Wyoming winter.  When the temperature dips to 30 below zero and the wind is howling, they will be just fine.  

     In my experience here in the Wind River Canyon, Bighorn Sheep are travelers.  They go where and when they want, they have no time schedules.  You cannot ask a Ram to pose for you, or to turn "that way."  You get what they give you, and the real magic happens later, in my computer.  It used to be said that, "The real magic happens in the darkroom."  And I guess it still does.  By the time I made it back to my home, I'd shot over 350 frames!  What a fabulously stimulating afternoon I had.

     The photograph below is very unusual, as far as Bighorn Sheep pictures go.  The Rams were in an area with lots of leaves that had the colors of fall.  The Sun was right and the colors just came alive; I couldn't have planned it, or even imagined it.  I just love this picture of Bighorn Rams in the Wind River Canyon..... Two Bighorn Rams, WyomingTwo Bighorn Sheep RamsTwo Bighorn Sheep Rams photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      It's a genuine privilege to spend such intimate moments with such fascinating wildlife as Bighorn Sheep Rams in the Wind River Canyon.  To be able to capture such amazing moments and to able to share these true nature stories and pictures with you is a real internet honor.

Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.

     Safely visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com for more photographs of Bighorn Sheep, and hummingbirds, bluebirds, orioles, and all sorts of beautiful wildlife that live in the Wind River Canyon here in wild Wyoming.

All content is written and produced by Michael John Balog and is protected by copyright and all rights are reserved, which doesn't seem to mean much on this side of the galaxy.

 

"I want people to fall in love with Mother Nature, not wonder what happened to her."

MjB

 

               

  

    

 

    

      

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Bighorn Bighorn Rams Bighorn Sheep Bighorn Sheep Rams Hogbats Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rams Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Wildlife https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/10/new-photographs-of-bighorn-sheep-in-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 13 Oct 2018 20:00:00 GMT
Albino Bighorn Sheep Photography Gallery https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/9/albino-bighorn-sheep-photography-gallery      The rarest wild animal ever photographed in North America; there was only the one.  The only one you or I will ever see again.  This Albino Bighorn Sheep had a name, it came to me in a dream, his name was Snowflake.  He was famous once.....now he is infamous.

     The gallery below contains the only professional photographs ever taken of Snowflake, the Albino Bighorn Sheep.  All the photographs were imaged in the Wind River Canyon, which is in central Wyoming.  All the images were taken and produced by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon.  The photographs were taken over the years of his adult life.        "I knew that the many, many hours spent following Snowflake and his friends around the Wind River Canyon over the years were something very special.  An honor I cannot ever repay Mother Nature for such memorable times."

All content is protected by copyright and all rights are reserved.  

Click on Michael's website----HogbatsPhotography.com for safe viewing of wildlife photographs of hummingbirds, orioles, bluebirds and over a hundred other birds and mammals that live in the magical Wind River Canyon.

Thank you.

 

MjB

 

 

             

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Albino Albino animal Albino Bighorn Sheep Albino wildlife Bighorn Sheep Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Ram Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Wildlife https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/9/albino-bighorn-sheep-photography-gallery Sat, 29 Sep 2018 20:23:51 GMT
Wind River Canyon Blog News and Updates https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/9/wind-river-canyon-blog-news-and-updates      It's been extremely warm and dry in the Wind River Canyon.  We haven't had measurable rain since mid-summer and the temps are still hovering near 90 degrees, with no rain or snow in the forecast.  This is mid-September in Wyoming and it could be snowing right now, but instead it's downright sweaty-hot; not that we should complain but my snowblower is wondering what happened. 

     Despite this warm mountain weather, all the hummingbirds are long gone from the canyon; this is the Rocky Mountains and it may be 88 right now, but it could snow tomorrow.  Any smart hummingbird is on their way south!

Great Horned Owl, Red Bluffs-Thermopolis, WyomingGreat Horned Owl, Red Bluffs-Thermopolis, WyomingGreat Horned Owl photographed in the Red Bluffs, Thermopolis, Wyoming.      This morning I was awake long before the Sun.  As I finished shaving all the important things, a glance out the window shocked me back to reality----one of my Great Horned Owls was still hunting, even though it was after 5:30 in the morning!  How I managed to put on some clothes so quickly is a mystery.  I grabbed the Canon with the 70-200mm f/4L lens and raced out the kitchen door. 

     Never did observe the owl again, but near the spring-fed creek were the three big stags having an early breakfast, and with them was our little, orphaned Bambi.  He was still with the big buck deer, and they didn't seem to mind having him around.  The little fawn really doesn't have any other place to go, and it's heartwarming to see them putting up with the little orphaned fawn. 

     I'd wanted to photograph the four of them together, but usually mule deer feed at night and I had gotten absolutely nothing up till this morning.  Setting the ISO to 1000 and the shutter speed to 1/60th, f-stop was f/4; I hand-held multiple shots in the dim light; it was 5:44 in the morning!  The best of the bunch I worked in black and white, because color doesn't register on the sensor in such dim light, and a flash unit would have scared them off permanently!  I was finally able to document the orphaned fawn with his adopted trio of stags.   Three Stags and the Orphaned Fawn, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming3 Stags and the Orphaned FawnThe three Mule Deer Stags and the Orphaned Fawn.      For those readers that wonder if the little fawn can keep up with his big-buck baby sitters, have no fear, I've watched Bambi easily keeping up with these powerful stags.  Honestly....it's kind of a wildlife miracle, right here in the middle of the Wind River Canyon. 

     The true-tale wildlife story about this poor, orphaned Bambi can be seen and read in the Wind River Canyon Blog of September 1st----hit either safe-link to read about this fawn on my website, HogbatsPhotography.com.

Thank you for your time and reading my true wildlife stories.

     All content on my website HogbatsPhotography.com is protected by copyright and ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED!!!  Which unfortunately doesn't mean all that much in the 21st century.

     All photographs, videos and wildlife stories are produced by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon for two decades.

 

MjB

 

 

        

            

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Bambi birds birds of Wyoming black and white wildlife photograph deer fawn Hogbats Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog monochrome deer image mule deer Nature Photography orphaned fawn stags Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/9/wind-river-canyon-blog-news-and-updates Sat, 15 Sep 2018 22:46:25 GMT
Bambi in the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/9/bambi-in-the-wind-river-canyon      This is a true wildlife story from right here in-the-middle of the Wind River Canyon.  It cannot start out as a happy tale, but may finish with an uplifting ending.  No person will ever know the real ending of it though, they go where we will never be able follow.

     Several weeks ago, my wife informed me that on the way home she saw a deer dead just south of our cabin.  When you're driving in-the-dark in the state of Wyoming you are gambling, and the payoff is nothing short of horrid.  It was a female mule deer...known as a doe, and she'd been nursing!  The fawn was nowhere around.

     Then one warm canyon afternoon there he was, his white spots practically glowing in the blazing mountain sunshine; our Bambi, the lost fawn.  I sneaked out with the big Tamron lens, and while hiding behind some wild roses snapped off a few photographs.  I watched this lost fawn for quite some time.  You will never see a deer fawn out by itself, never.

     The very next morning this little spotted fawn was out eating greenery again.  It was a little too early for a fawn to be weaned, but this little one had no real choice in the matter.  Our little Bambi eventually wandered up into the junipers for some sleep.  I saw the fawn, out by itself, nearly every day and I always took some pictures while hiding behind those same wild rose bushes. Bambi in the Wind River CanyonOrphaned Fawn in the Wind River CanyonFawn who's Mother was killed in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      Late one night under our mercury light the big stags were down.  These big bucks are huge, well fed stags that are never hunted in the Wind River Canyon, so they are friendlier than deer almost anywhere else in Wyoming.  And guess who is with these mountain stags?  Our little Bambi, the lost fawn, found some relatives.  You would think that this was a great solution to the fawn's problem of having no mother, but buck deer are notoriously lousy mothers.

     The fawn tried to nuzzle up to the largest of the three stags and was shoved off several times.  A younger stag didn't seem to mind as much, but the biggest of the bucks actually turned, and under the big light shoved the little fawn away with his monster velvet antlers!  Bambi didn't seem to mind, and he walked back to the youngest.  I watched these stag deer with their tiny, spotted follower several nights in a row.  

     Then last weekend I came down with a terrible cold-virus; thought I was gonna die.  I tried to keep an eye out for our lost fawn and was more depressed when I didn't see any deer at all.  If anything is dead around the Wind River Canyon in warmer weather the vultures show up for dinner; none of the ugly vultures gathered.  I hoped that this was a sign our little orphaned fawn was still alive, but I hadn't seen him; he has two little nubs on his noggin.

     At six o'clock this very morning the stags were eating breakfast, and there was our little orphaned Bambi right beside the youngest of the bucks!  I watched from the kitchen door with an old pair of astronomy binoculars, then walked outside in my underwear!  I flashed an old Indian sign I'd learned from an old Indian, and the huge stag deer and I just exchanged eye contact; I had known his father, the buck on my website, HogbatsPhotography.com.  He had lost an eye fighting during the rut, and probably died of an infection.

     One advantage the orphaned fawn has is the protection he will inadvertently receive from these big buck deer.  He will learn from the stags the very best places to eat, and where to sleep in safety.  He may have trouble keeping up with the stags, but this too will make him stronger.  But as winter sets in he will not be able to follow the bucks up into the high-country.  As the mating season begins later this month, they will all run into a group of doe; the females will take him in I am sure.  Another true story of survival in the Wind River Canyon.

 

     Thank you for reading this week's Wind River Canyon Blog.  All the photographs and true wildlife stories on my blog, and on my website are protected by copyright laws that are ignored throughout the galaxy.  All rights are reserved anyway!  

     All content is produced by Michael John Balog who is a resident of the Wind River Canyon for two decades.

MjB

          

         

 

          

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Bambi deer fawn Hogbats Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/9/bambi-in-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 01 Sep 2018 22:08:38 GMT
Wyoming Hummingbirds Annual Summer Report 2018 https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/8/wyoming-hummingbirds-annual-summer-report-2018      Each summer, there are many hummingbirds that come to the Wind River Canyon in central Wyoming to nest.  "Hummingbird Season" actually starts much earlier then you would suspect in a supposedly cold Wyoming; a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus) was observed on May 8th @ 12:36 p.m. this spring.  A female was spotted four days later @ 7:15 p.m. and they spent time here with several others fattening up. Broad-tailed Hummingbird In-FlightBroad-tailed Hummingbird In-FlightThe first time a Broad-tailed Hummingbird has been photographed in-flight in Wind River Canyon in Wyoming!      On May 17th @ an early 7:39 a.m. the first male Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) was seen on the feeder near my favorite high-hide.  While the Broad-tailed Hummingbirds may or may not nest in the Wind River Canyon, the Black-chinned Hummingbirds come into the canyon to nest and make little hummingbirds; a species unknown in central Wyoming 20 years ago!  The new photograph below shows the elusive violet-flash of the Black-chinned Hummingbird's gorget; take note of the longer beak. Black-chinned Hummingbird male violet-flash of gorget.Black-chinned Hummingbird maleBlack-chinned Hummingbird male violet-flash photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.       The first Rufous Hummingbird, a male, was observed on June 27th @ 9 a.m.  The aggressive Rufous arrive in the Wind River Canyon a week earlier then they did two decades ago.  This summer the hummingbirds would arrive here in abundance.  We had more hummingbirds mating/nesting here this hummingbird season then we had seen in many years; they were emptying two-cup nectar feeders in a single day! 

     The Rufous are a successful species of hummingbird because of their adaptability and aggressiveness; they are widespread and nest throughout the Rocky Mountain region.  The photograph below was taken this mid-July and is not a computer trick; manual exposure and manual focus while the bird is in shade, and the canyon is blown-out by the early-morning sunshine. Wyoming Hummingbird, Rufous, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbird, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbird male on a branch in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      The last of the four species of hummingbirds that are seen in Wyoming and nest in the Wind River Canyon are the diminutive Calliope Hummingbirds (Stellula calliope).  They are North America's smallest bird, and the bird that actually migrates the farthest of all the birds in North America!  The Calliope has always been a favorite of mine; they are the smallest in class and the one most easily picked on by the big guys.  

     The new photograph of a male Calliope shown below was taken with the same manual settings as the picture of the male Rufous above, but was a real surprise.  I was trying to get an image of a baby Rufous when the male Calliope sat down for me; it was almost like he wanted his picture taken, too!  It's a sharp-focus photo of a very small bird indeed; he's smaller than 3 inches, like the end of your finger!!  His gorget is an amazing wine-red; the lite-green on his lower breast is the reflected green from a nearby sunlit pine; he is in shade. Calliope Hummingbird male portrait, WyomingCalliope Hummingbird, Wind River CanyonCalliope Hummingbird photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Dramatically changing weather conditions (storms & hurricanes) and habitat loss effect not only us, but also endanger the lives of the smallest and one of the most-loved of all the birds in America.  I believe that the hummingbird may be the metaphorical "canaries in the coalmine."  They are small and usually adaptable, yet, are easily effected by forest fires and loss of nesting habitat, just like people.  They are probably the most anticipated of all the birds around here, but the Black-chinned are breeding here each summer because of forest fires/loss of habitat in southern Colorado many years ago.  In conclusion, I'd say that summer 2018 was the best year for hummingbirds in quite some time in the state of Wyoming.

     

     Thank you for reading my new Wind River Canyon Blog.  All content on HogbatsPhotography.com is protected by copyright and ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED.

     

"I want people to fall in love with Mother Nature, not wonder what happened to her."

Michael John Balog is a resident of the Wind River Canyon              

           

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Black-chinned Broad-tailed Calliope Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rufous Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/8/wyoming-hummingbirds-annual-summer-report-2018 Sat, 18 Aug 2018 22:55:46 GMT
Wyoming Hummingbirds Fighting Photographs https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/8/wyoming-hummingbirds-fighting-photographs      It was one hundred degrees in my favorite high-hide.  The breeze blowing in my face felt more like the winds of the Sinai than the Wind River Canyon.  Every sunny afternoon I'm sitting in this spot with a camera on a tripod photographing the four species of hummingbirds that migrate into Wyoming to nest and breed for the summer.  

     Definitely hot and sweaty work; like a video game in the desert your reactions need to be fast and precise.  In portraiture photography the eyes need to be in sharp focus, even when your model moves at the speed of lightning; shooting over a thousand frames a week is not uncommon.  Each digital file needs to be looked at, just in case; the nights can be long.

     July thirtieth was blistering as usual in my hide, but I was to finally capture wild animal behavior that always seemed to be impossible.  I ought to know, as I've tried to catch hummingbirds fighting/jousting a million times, it just happens in the proverbial blink-of-an-eye.

     Anyone who has observed hummingbirds knows full well that they compete for food sources, and this competitiveness looks like a knockdown fight.  At times, like the knights of old, it even looks like they're jousting with those tremendous beaks; we've seen a male Calliope hummingbird that was blind in one eye; he disappeared quickly----probably ran into a tree! 

     Photographing this behavior is next to impossible, as it happens so quickly, and without a single warning "all hell breaks loose."  And in a fraction of a second it's over, and you didn't even get to pull focus.  I've never gotten close to what I had in my minds eye.  No image of this fighting behavior was as good as what I'd wanted, so I kept trying, a thousand times over; it all happens so quickly.....

     Last week I finally made it all happen and the three photographs in this week's Wind River Canyon Blog are a genuine thrill for me.  After the fraction of a second the camera unloaded it's burst of speed, I knew there was something special inside.  Something that I'd tried getting an image of for nearly two decades!! Hummingbirds fighting in-flight, WyomingRufous Hummingbirds Fighting, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbirds fighting in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Hummingbirds fighting in WyomingRufous Hummingbirds Fighting, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbirds fightting in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Wyoming Hummingbirds fighting in-flightRufous Hummingbirds Fighting, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbirds fightting in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      All of the fighting/jousting behavior that hummingbirds do is also quite essential.  Besides the obvious physical and flight development of the young (the hummingbird @ the bottom in the above images) they will compete for food sources the rest of their lives; a tagged female hummingbird was seen 12 years in a row!

     You don't need a camera that costs 6,000 dollars to shoot images like these (it was an old, used Canon) and the lens was not a 14 thousand dollar lens; a factory refurbished Tamron 150-600mm G2; the tripod and ball-head are nothing special, either.  All it really takes, I'm guessing here, is nearly two decades of constant dedication to my favorite sexy models----the Hummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon.

     All of the photographs, videos and wildlife stories in the Wind River Canyon Blog and HogbatsPhotography.com are produced & directed by Michael John Balog and are protected by international copyright laws ignored internationally.

Thank you.

Until next time, "keep your camera ready."

 

MjB

    

    

        

    

      

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird In-flight Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rufous Hummingbird Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Wildlife https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/8/wyoming-hummingbirds-fighting-photographs Sat, 04 Aug 2018 22:11:32 GMT
Wyoming Hummingbird Feeding Frenzy Video https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/7/wyoming-hummingbird-feeding-frenzy-video      Near dark in the Wind River Canyon an event happens that few have ever witnessed.  You see, hummingbirds expend so much energy during the day that at night they enter a state called torpor; a very deep sleep where a hummingbird will lower it's metabolic rate by as much as 95%!  Late in the evening, a hummingbird needs to eat just to make it through the night, and by morning the little buzzers are literally starving and need to find food quickly.  

     This situation of many hummingbirds needing and wanting to eat all at once leads to what is called by Shark Week, a feeding frenzy.  Imagine a dozen hungry sharks, or a dozen hungry tigers that are not interested in eating you!  Oh, and they are only the size of your thumb!!

     Late in the evening I like to spend some quality time with my hummingbirds (I am running 5 nectar feeders right now) and can stand two feet away from the busiest and experience this "hummingbird feeding frenzy" up close and almost scary.  I've taught others that the hummingbirds know how to fly, so don't flinch or be scared, at all; it can get really crazy, but it's loads of fun.  

     This wildlife excitement only happens when the light is lousy to shoot video.  I wanted to share this wildness with everyone.  The camcorder captures more light and color then my own eyes are capable of, but, the video isn't exactly Disney ready.  The hummingbird video below was shot with a Sony FDR-AX53 4K camcorder at 8:40 p.m.; just twenty minutes from complete darkness here in the Wind River Canyon in central Wyoming.  Just how many hummingbirds do I have in the canyon during the summer?  Multiply what you see by almost five! Hummingbird Feeding FrenzyWyoming Hummingbirds feeding frenzy video from the Wind River Canyon near dark.      The above video was shot last night.  It will let you experience some of the excitement of "hummingbird season" in the Wind River Canyon.  You will see four adult male Rufous (a rare event itself because of intense competition) and many babies and females of different species; keep your eye out 2/3 of the way through the minute-plus video to catch a glimpse of an adult Calliope Hummingbird in the top-left.  This is my 20th summer with the Wyoming Hummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon; it's been a hell-of-a-ride.

     Everything you will read or view in my Wind River Canyon Blog and my website HogbatsPhotography.com is protected under copyright laws ignored just about everywhere.

Thank you for your time.

Michael John Balog - Wind River Canyon

 

MjB

 

 

 

 

         

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) bird video birds birds of Wyoming Hogbats Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird hummingbird video Michael John Balog Nature Video Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wildlife video Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Wildlife Video https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/7/wyoming-hummingbird-feeding-frenzy-video Sat, 28 Jul 2018 21:25:54 GMT
New Wyoming Hummingbird Photographs! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/7/new-wyoming-hummingbird-photographs      There are so many hummingbirds in the Wind River Canyon right now that they drained their favorite feeder in less then 23 hours!  Running four busy hummingbird-feeders is a commitment, but it does pay rewards that can never be fully understood.  They have no natural enemies, other than stupid humans, that is, so they have little to fear in Wyoming; so few people.  

     Of course, these amazing birds would still be here without me; I'm just the hired help after all.  I guess I just make things a little bit easier, as should we all when it comes to the wild things.  There are so few unspoiled places left for wildlife to survive without the destructive nature of mankind, and that's my lecture for today's Wind River Canyon Blog.

     Two days ago, Thursday the 12th of July, I was in my favorite "high-hide" trying to take photographs of our hummingbirds.  It was so hot that the sweat was dripping in my eyes, making it difficult to see my hummers.  I tied a bandanna to my forehead and kept shooting away with my Canon on a tripod.  

     It is hot, laborious work....and I love it!  In between gulps of my cold-tea and maybe a dozen hummingbirds and a hundred frames, it started to happen.  One of the Rufous males was putting on a display; most likely not for me, but it seemed that way at the time.  With the Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens on the tripod set at 500mm, I let go with a burst @ 8 frames a second; and that's how long this hummingbird's display lasted----one second!!  One particular image was exactly what I had in my mind's eye; the photograph is below. Wyoming Hummingbird In-FlightRufous Hummingbird In-Flight, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbird male in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      Early this morning, Saturday the 14th of July, with the hummingbird-feeder near empty, I cleaned it, filled it with homemade nectar (pure-sugar water), and sat down with a camera and my old-favorite lens, the 70-200mm F/4L Canon. 

     After loads of patience and a few nasty words under my breath, I'd gotten the pictures I wanted of a male Rufous Hummingbird.  I shot these two photographs (because we couldn't decide which we liked more) with manual exposure settings & manual focus!  He was sitting on an ancient basket handle in the shade, the Sun blazing down on the Wind River Canyon behind him. 

     It took few extra brain cells to make these exposures of the bird correct, but dammit if it didn't work:  these pictures were shot and in post-production this morning!  They both show off the male's gorget (named after the neck-piece that protects a knight) to full affect.  Because we couldn't decide, both photographs are shown below. Wyoming Hummingbird, Rufous, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbird, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbird male on a branch in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Wyoming Hummingbird, male Rufous HummingbirdRufous Hummingbird male, Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbird male on a branch in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      Some people wonder why there are still manual settings on cameras, but this is a case in point.  As sophisticated as these cameras are, it couldn't get the exposure even close to being correct----I had tried that first!  The background is white because it's blown out completely by the sunlit Wind River Canyon, but it looks cool that way, doesn't it?  Five minutes later, with the Sun lighting him, these pictures would have looked completely different!!!

     Take notice of this male Rufous Hummingbird's tattered tail.  He is a knight, fighting other knights in the Wind River Canyon for the privilege of the company of a lady....or two.  Of the four species of hummingbirds we see in the Wind River Canyon, the Rufous is the most aggressive and dominant.  There seems to be a reason that the males are the color of the Tiger......

     Thank you for your time and reading my Wind River Canyon Blog from the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.  All photographs and wildlife stories are protected by copyright laws ignored throughout the known universe.

     *For many more hummingbird photographs and pictures of a hundred other species of Wyoming birds and Bighorn Sheep all photographed in the magical Wind River Canyon, visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com

Michael John Balog----Wind River Canyon----Wyoming

 

Thank You

 

MjB

 

 

             

 

           

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird hummingbird photograph hummingbird photography Hummingbirds Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rufous Rufous Hummingbird Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Hummingbirds Wyoming Wildlife https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/7/new-wyoming-hummingbird-photographs Sat, 14 Jul 2018 22:14:21 GMT
The Spider and the Wren https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/6/the-spider-and-the-wren      Many years ago I sort of inherited an old wren house.  It was broken and weathered severely but it had promise to become a home for tiny birds.  After cobbling the wooden birdhouse together I had another problem; where to put it.  

     As you may, or may not know, House Wrens are more than a little opinionated as to where a birdhouse for them is located, and of course what it is made of, and the size of the entrance; and the inside better be nice and clean!  The hole must be one and a quarter, no more, no less.  Natural wood is preferred, but the right wren house is the right birdhouse.  It's really about location, location, location; which is all any real estate agent needs to know.

     You cannot have two Wren houses any where near one another----period!  They are very territorial and will fight, and dispose of the competitions eggs and young on occasion----photos below are testament.

The Egg & I-#1The Egg & I-#1House Wren tossing an egg out of another birdhouse! The Egg & I-#2The Egg & I-#2House Wren watching the egg fall that she threw out of another nest!

     Very early one morning, at a time when we dream, I awoke knowing the perfect place to put the birdhouse; it had to be mounted under the eve within sight of my bedroom window.  Every year before spring arrives I unscrew the bottom panel and clean out the mess.  For many years now I have two families reared in this wren-house each season.  The male House Wren sings his lyrical song every morning in the Wind River Canyon while I dream to his music. 

House Wren Singing Video-Wind River Canyon, WyomingVideo of a House Wren singing his song in the quiet Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      I have photographs of baby wrens and even their parents feeding them.  I have photographs of the female lining her nest with feathers she found nearby....and every year I try for an image that has plagued me for ages:  a photograph of a female wren with a spider!!

House Wren-"Feeding Junior"-Wind River Canyon, WYHouse Wren-"Feeding Junior"-Wind River Canyon, WYHouse Wren Mother feeding her Baby Wren @ Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. House Wren Babies-Wind River Canyon, WyomingHouse Wren Babies-Wind River Canyon, WyomingHouse Wren Babies in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      House Wren, "Building the Nest"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingHouse Wren, "Building the Nest"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingHouse Wren Building Her Nest in The Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

     This spring I was determined to fulfill my yukky desire to photograph a wren with a spider that will make some people cringe.  I'd shot images every year but hated each and every picture, but this year I had an edge....a longer lens, oh, and more determination!  I hate spiders so this was not a labor of love; not at all.  The photograph below is the result of years of shooting hundreds of photos....and I still absolutely hate spiders!

House Wren with SpiderThe Spider and the WrenHouse Wren with a Spider she has for her babies photographed in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.

My caption for this photograph would be----"Oh, Mom....spiders again!"

     The baby House Wrens that were raised with the help of this big spider have already left the nest, and the male has another girlfriend already; all within the span of several weeks!  And every morning his brilliant songs continue.

     Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.  All wildlife stories and photographs on my website HogbatsPhotography.com are hopefully protected under copyright laws that are routinely ignored throughout the galaxy.  

Michael John Balog- wildlife photographer/writer

 

"Keep your camera ready!"      

     

 

      

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of Wyoming Hogbats Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Wildlife https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/6/the-spider-and-the-wren Sat, 30 Jun 2018 21:13:05 GMT
Wyoming Wildflowers 2018 https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/6/wyoming-wildflowers-2018      Not so long ago, I was on the south-end of the Wind River Canyon photographing wildflowers for my website HogbatsPhotography.com.  It was a warm June morning with not a single cloud in the Wyoming-blue sky.  In just over an hour I had images of 11 different species of wildflowers; the 12th, the Primrose, had wilted in the morning sun.  As I was making my way down the hillside with camera in-hand, my right foot slipped on the soft ground.  Since my right hand was occupied, I caught my slip/slide with my left hand----save the expensive camera!  

Yucca, Wind River CanyonYucca, Wind River CanyonYucca/Soapweed wildflowers blooming in the Wind River Canyon.       My left hand had landed on a small (hand sized) Yucca plant!  Native Americans used the sharp tips as sewing needles!!  I hollered some four-letter word and looked at my palm; it was covered with tiny, red pearls of blood; about nine or ten!  Apparently, I had received Mother Nature's acupuncture.  After slapping my hand to my yellow shirt, I looked at my palm and there was no more blood; I was surprised.  The rest of the way down was difficult but uneventful.  It's also called the soapweed, because with the roots you can make soap; a useful plant, and sharp!!!  The image on the left is a large Yucca (Yucca glauca) in bloom.  Deer just love the flowers.

 

 

Wyoming Indian Paintbrush, Wind River CanyonWyoming Indian Paintbrush, Wind River CanyonWyoming Indian Paintbrush wildflowers in the Wind River Canyon.       This is a photograph from that same morning of the famous Wyoming Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia).  It's kind of a semi-parasitic wildflower, because it cannot survive without the sagebrush and it's extensive root system.

     A lady once asked me why she couldn't buy seeds for the Indian Paintbrush flowers for her garden; she didn't like the answer.  Another woman told me she dug up paintbrush flowers and planted them in her garden; she wanted to know why they died; she didn't like the answer any more than the first dummy did.

 

 

 

Sego Lily, Wind River CanyonSego Lily, Wind River CanyonSego Lily wildflower in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.     This is the Sego Lily (Calochortus nuttallii) which is about the size of those small oranges; they are a real standout in the springtime.  The bulbs are edible; please don't eat them....there aren't that many around.  

     This is the state flower of Utah and is also called the Mormon Lily. 

     The Sego Lily is a beautiful wildflower in the Wyoming countryside.

 

 

 

 

Wyoming, Mouse-ear ChickweedMouse-ear Chickweed, Wind River CanyonMouse-ear Chickweed wildflowers in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.       This is one of my favorite Wyoming wildflowers, because it blooms in my front yard early in the spring.  It's name is the Mouse-ear Chickweed (Cerastium arvense).  The flowers are about the size of a thumbnail.  This image was taken right after a mountain rainstorm. 

    

     *If you click on any image it will open full-size in my website!

 

 

 

 

 

Horsetail Wildflower, WyomingSmooth Horsetail, Wind River CanyonSmooth Horsetail wildflower in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.       This weird looking thing grows down by the creek that runs through our property, here in the Wind River Canyon.  It took forever to figure out what they are, because it wasn't what we thought they were! 

      It's the Smooth Horsetail (Equisetum laevigatum).  Believe it or not, teabags of this is available from Amazon.  The Horsetail has medicinal qualities and has been used since ancient times for things like hair-growth and arthritis, but be cautious, it can have some real nasty side effects from what I've researched.  It was also used for scrubbing pans!

 

 

 

Alpine Bladderpod, Wind River CanyonAlpine Bladderpod, Wind River CanyonAlpine Bladderpod wildflower in the Wind River Canyon.       This bizarre plant is the seedpods of a most unremarkable, small yellow wildflower.  I always thought it looked like it came from Mars!  Even with three books it was impossible to identify without the use of searches, and searches, and searches.  

      This is called the Alpine Bladderpod (Lesquerella alpina).  It's weird and it's out here in Wyoming....

 

 

 

 

 

False Solomon's Seal, Wind River CanyonFalse Solomon's Seal, Wind River CanyonFalse Solomon's Seal wildflowers in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.       These beautiful wildflowers bloom on a hillside next to the creek not far from my cabin.  They are maybe ten inches tall and bloom early in the springtime.  These massive blossoms are the False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum).  They are "false" because they don't have the medicinal qualities of it's cousin.  

     They bloom on a hillside and it's challenging to photograph them; it requires some cheesy gymnastics....and not far from those are....

 

 

 

Star False Solomon's Seal, Wind River CanyonStar False Solomon's Seal, Wind River CanyonStar False Solomon's Seal wildflower in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.       These wildflowers grow not far from the above plants, but they stick to the more shaded and damp areas; they are the Star False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum stellataum).  The "star" part I get....They are few and far between and hard to find in the Wind River Canyon.

 

 

    

     Putting together an album of wildflowers for my website is more of a challenge than you'd think.  First is the photography itself, which takes some walking, climbing and maybe some bleeding!  To be honest, this is the part I like best of all.  All that fresh air and hiking is good for your mind and soul.  

     Second, identification can take many, many hours of research; I still don't know what some flowers are after years of wondering.  And most books have lousy photos or are difficult to find something in particular you're looking for.  A  Kindle book on "Wyoming Wildflowers" is a jumbled mess, but still a good read; sort of.  

     The real kicker is timing; there is always something blooming in the Wind River Canyon and Wyoming----you just have to be in the correct place at the right time.  Most of these wildflowers don't bloom for very long, and some are food for wildlife:  Deer just love the Yucca flowers; and no, I haven't tried them for myself.  If my timing is wrong, then I'll have wait till next year!  And to be perfectly honest with you, some wildflowers in the canyon I've never seen blooming; I know they're there but have never seen them for myself----right place, right time.

     I am going to try and write a blog about some more Wyoming wildflowers photographed in the Wind River Canyon----if I can get the timing correct.  One of my favorites is the Monkey flower, and it's blooming right now down by the creek.  

     My sage advice....get up....get out....and go for a hike in beautiful Wyoming; and stop to smell the Wild Roses, which are still blooming right now!

     All the nature stories in the Wind River Canyon Blog and the photographs therein, and all content of my website, including wildlife videos, are produced and directed by Michael John Balog and all rights are reserved.

     Please visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com for photographs of hummingbirds, bighorn sheep, bluebirds, orioles, and many, many more of the wild animals that live in the magical Wind River Canyon.

Thank you for reading my work.

 

MjB

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

        

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography nature stories thermopolis wildflower photographs wildflowers wildlife wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming wyoming wildflowers https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/6/wyoming-wildflowers-2018 Sat, 16 Jun 2018 23:44:07 GMT
Living with Marmots in the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/6/living-with-marmots-in-the-wind-river-canyon      The Wind River Canyon is a gorgeous emerald green right now.  Wildflowers are Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Wind River Canyon, WyomingRose-breasted Grosbeak, Wind River Canyon, WyomingRose-breasted Grosbeak, a rare visitor to the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. blooming, birds are singing and building nests, the buzz of hummingbirds can be heard, wild roses scent the morning breeze, and a tiny wren sings by my bedroom window.  The beautiful orange orioles are always a welcome sight each spring.  But most important of all, the babies of wild animals are glimpsed by the sharp eyed, or the very lucky.

     Everyone feeds the wild birds, yet sometimes there are unforeseen consequences.  We attract birds here in the canyon that may not be observed anywhere else; a Rose-breasted Grosbeak was seen here yesterday!  

     It really isn't our fault that others are attracted to the goodies we put out for the birds, even if they are really, really cute.

     After living with and photographing wild animals of all kinds for twenty years in the Wind River Canyon, something's changed.  While I'm not exactly Dr. Doolittle, I have been know to "talk to the animals" with my own unique sound and whistles.  Many birds come to know and trust me, and this is inspiring, to say the very least.  For the past two years I've been working with, and getting to know, the Marmots that live in the area.  It has taken untold hours of patience to get them to trust me even a little bit.  I suppose they have good reason not to trust anyone; they've been systematically slaughtered for over a century.

     Marmots are the most inoffensive of creatures; they're actually chubby ground squirrels.  They never seem to fight, even for a food source.  When the food is obviously limited, they never compete or argue, they share equally all the time; even in mixed age groups.  They don't growl or hiss competitively like domestic household pets.  Marmots share in a way that is atypically human, and they don't smell bad.  They seem to enjoy company and greet each other affectionately.  An older adult Marmot is always watching for trouble, and gives a crazy-loud whistle to warn the others of danger.  

     Imagine our surprise when they found the sunflower seeds we put out for the wild birds.  They're vegetarians and just love the seeds, and dry dog food that is mostly ground corn; which we thought was funny.  

     Last night I set up a photo-shoot with the baby Marmots that were born just a stone's throw away from my cabin door.  I worried that they might be frighted by the big, black lens and camera; stay calm and move slowly.  These young, baby Yellow-bellied Marmots just came out of their deep underground nests the first week in May.  They obviously trust me as I was only ten feet away; a place I've sat before with them and the adults. Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, 4 Marmot BabiesFour Marmot BabiesFour Marmot babies in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.       It was a lot of fun and a real-life natural high that only nature's wild things can deliver.  Living here in this magical canyon is a gift and sometimes even a surprise or four.  These baby Marmots are about the size of an eggplant, but a lot more adorable.  I used to "hunt" them, too; and I feel real guilty about that now that we are "Living with Marmots in the Wind River Canyon."

     Thank you for ingesting my Wind River Canyon Blog.  All wildlife stories, photographs, and videos on my website, HogbatsPhotography.com are produced by Michael John Balog and are protected by copyrights that are recognized throughout the known universe.

             

      

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/6/living-with-marmots-in-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 02 Jun 2018 22:51:42 GMT
The Incredible Broad-tailed Hummingbird in Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/5/the-incredible-broad-tailed-hummingbird-in-wyoming      The weather here in the Wind River Canyon has been exceptional for the past three months; Vulture, Dumb & Dumber-Wind River Canyon, WyomingVulture, Dumb & Dumber-Wind River Canyon, WyomingTwo Turkey Vultures in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. haven't had the snowblower out since the middle of February!  That in and of itself is a bit strange, but not that unusual in this century.  Little old ladies used to tell me about snowdrifts over their homes.  As kids they would sled down from the rooftops!  But this was a hundred years ago.  Now it is so warm that a little hummingbird is one of the first migrating birds to arrive in this golden canyon of Wyoming.

     Sure, there are birds that migrate into and through the canyon sooner; huge Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) always arrive in the Wind River Canyon the first week of April, but they are here to clean up nature's yucky mess. 

     Having learned long ago to put up the hummingbird feeders the last week of April for the Bullock's Orioles (Icterus bullockii); weather permitting.  Late at night I would see a hummingbird darting around in near darkness, a ruby flash of a gorget barely visible.  I would glimpse one this close to the Bullock's Oriole,male-Wind River Canyon, WyomingBullock's Oriole,male-Wind River Canyon, WyomingPortrait of a Male Bullock's Oriole, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. night, but never really see one:  I hoped to live long enough to photograph one here in the Wind River Canyon.

     The days of May are warm in Wyoming; in the mountains 70's are like a magic trick.  The nights even now are in the low 40's in the canyon, with deep snow in the high-country.  You'd think freezing temperatures would discourage a bird as small as your thumb from even getting near Wyoming in the month of May, but you'd be wrong! 

     On May 8th @ 12:36 p.m. a Broad-tailed Hummingbird male (Selasphorus platycercus) was eating lunch on the nectar feeder by my bedroom windows.  He hung around for a few brilliant days to "garbage up." 

     A few days after his arrival, a female was observed on another of the feeders.  Even though Broad-tailed Hummingbird Waving HelloBroad-tailed Hummingbird Waving HelloThe wings of a Broad-tailed Hummingbird imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. this particular hummingbird species is the largest of the four that nest in the Wind River Canyon, they can be the most shy and are bullied by the others at times; is this why they need to arrive earlier than other hummingbirds?

     It's a real challenge to photograph any living thing that is shy, let alone a bird that is faster than your car and smaller than a salt shaker.  But hummingbird photography is what got me into documenting the wildlife in the Wind River Canyon in the first place.  

     It's amazing that a hummingbird that winters in Mexico even wants to come to Wyoming when blizzards can and do happen, but, here they are.  This morning while having coffee, we enjoyed the company of a Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) male having his breakfast after a cold and very rainy night.  The Broad-tailed now arrives before the buntings, the grosbeaks, the orioles.....even many of the Snow Birds!  

     Last summer, after nearly two decades, I finally got the photograph of a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird in-flight that was my fantasy.  I got the picture of him from my favorite "high-hide."  It's a secret spot that has yielded three first place awards at the  annual Cody Art Show!  I feel that it is a privilege to be able photograph these incredible hummingbirds, in this, one of their nesting places in Wyoming.   Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, Broad-tailed Hummingbird In-FlightBroad-tailed Hummingbird In-FlightThe first time a Broad-tailed Hummingbird has been photographed in-flight in Wind River Canyon in Wyoming!      He was imaged @ 1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 400 with my old-favorite Canon 70-200mm f/4L; a lightweight and super-sharp lens.  Honestly, I've shot many hundreds of frames to get this one that I can work in post-production and love enough to put on my website HogbatsPhotography.com.

     The other two hummingbird species traditionally have arrived in early in July; Calliope (Stellula calliope) and the Rufous (Selasphorus rufus).   Callliope Hummingbird, "In Flight" - Wind River Canyon, WYCallliope Hummingbird, "In Flight" - Wind River Canyon, WYCalliope Hummingbird in-flight photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming  -  1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowRufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming - 1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowHummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, 1st Place-48th Cody Art Show.      The Calliope Hummingbird (upper photo) is the smallest migrating bird in North America, the Rufous Hummingbird (duh, lower photo) is three and three-quarter inches of tiger attitude; hence the color, I guess.  We won't be seeing either of these species till mid-June at the earliest.  They have both been migrating into the canyon earlier than a decade and a Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, Black-chinned Hummingbird, PortraitBlack-chinned Hummingbird, Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBlack-chinned Hummingbird Portrait. half ago.  Even at the smallest level climate change seems to be effecting the behavior of wildlife; these are my own observations in the Wind River Canyon.

     For those readers that have never seen a Black-chinned Hummingbird up close and personal, here is my favorite picture of a male; remember that he is the size of your thumb!

     To steal a phrase from a favorite film; hummingbirds are magical creatures and it is easy to become fascinated by them, and I hope you will, too.

 

     Thank you for reading this week's Wind River Canyon Blog about a few of my favorite things.  All wildlife stories and photographs are the creation of Michael John Balog and are protected by international copyright laws recognized by everyone but crooks.

 

MjB   

                

             

     

       

 

 

       

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming black-chinned broad-tailed calliope hogbats hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com hummingbird hummingbirds in-flight michael john balog nature photography rufous thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/5/the-incredible-broad-tailed-hummingbird-in-wyoming Sat, 19 May 2018 23:34:00 GMT
New Hawk Photographs from the Wind River Canyon! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/5/new-hawk-photographs-from-the-wind-river-canyon      "Keep your camera ready" isn't just a snappy saying that I've written in my Wind River Canyon Blog many times, it's a steadfast rule when you live in the wild places of Wyoming; wildlife tends to appear like magic.  For instance, two days ago, Thursday, May 3rd, I had been out of the shower for a short time and noticed a hawk on an electric pole, maybe a hundred yards away!

     While watching this raptor scan the field for prey, he opened his wings and sailed down like a parachute, almost in slow-motion.  My mouth dropped open as I lost sight of this hawk; a beautiful winged display to be sure.  A very short time later, I don't know how long, he reappeared in the air, huge wings catching the afternoon canyon breeze.  

     I couldn't do much through a window at that distance, and I was mostly naked, and that's sure to scare away any raptor.  Slipping on some slippers and grabbing my favorite flannel shirt, I headed for my big-rig camera case; which is near a backdoor of the cabin.  Making some quick adjustments to my camera (ISO and shutter speed) I raced out the screen door still half undressed.  

     It was a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) and he landed on the top of a pine tree about half-way between where he'd been and my back, which was up against the house.  Setting the Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 @ 500mm, I watched this gorgeous raptor as the image-stabilization kept the image sharp in my mind, too.  Even after chasing raptors with cameras for twenty years now, my heart still races at the sight of these fascinating birds.

     This raptor saw me as I watched him through the lens; it seemed time for him to leave; I was ready with my finger on the shutter button.  It's said on Wall Street that timing is everything, and it's the same for wildlife photography.  As this spectacular bird took to the air, I let loose with a burst of 8 frames per second till the hawk was too far away to be of interest.

     Of the more than a dozen frames I had, only two blew me away!  The first two digital files of this hawk taking off were really cool, and I worked them in my usual wildlife manner; Digital Photo Professional, then Lightroom.  Couldn't decide which photo I like better, my wife couldn't either, so I printed them both large (12" by 13") to get a real look @ the pictures. Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, Red-tailed Hawk in-FlightRed-tailed Hawk In-Flight, Wind River CanyonRed-tailed Hawk in-flight in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Wyoming Red-tailed Hawk in-flight in the Wind River Canyon.Red-tailed Hawk In-Flight, Wind River CanyonRed-tailed Hawk in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      This morning we were watching pine tree pollen swirling in the Wind River Canyon, like smoke from a forest fire, as the sun broke the eastern rim of the canyon; puffs of it rising like a blown-out candle.  The Red-tailed Hawk in the photographs has knocked off a couple of these tiny pods and the lens/camera captured these very small modules of allergy induced sneezes in my wife.  The tail of the hawk in the second image is in fine display, and his wingtips like fingers touching the canyon wind.

     In summation, real wildlife photography is not something that poses for you.  Wild animals are working for survival in a world that's more difficult for them than ever before.  They are assaulted from all sides by our civilization; many will not be here for our grandchildren.

     Thank you for your time and reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.  All these true wildlife stories and photographs are created and produced by Michael John Balog, and are protected by copyright laws recognized throughout the galaxy.

Till next time...."keep your camera ready."  Maybe keep some clothes nearby, too!

 

MjB

 

     

      

      

 

     

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) bird photography birds birds of wyoming canon hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography tamron thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/5/new-hawk-photographs-from-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 05 May 2018 22:03:49 GMT
Do Birds Kiss? https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/4/do-birds-kiss      Living in a magical canyon in Wyoming is an education in and of itself.  Wildlife and birds live out their lives literally right in my backyard.  If I want to learn something new about the way nature really works, all I need do is walk over to a window and maybe see something that will make a cool journal entry----better yet, get your butt up and go outside!

     Nearly twenty years have already gone by since I took up residence in the Wind River Canyon, and the title of this weeks' Wind River Canyon Blog is an interesting one for me, as I have always had a keen interest in the psychology of all things:  Do Birds Kiss?  

     Up until my college years I would have probably laughed at the title of this blog; maybe your smiling right now.  But the implications of animals having emotions and even sharing those feelings with another seems alien; think about your favorite pet.  People read all sorts of emotions into their cats and dogs, but are they real? 

     We had a big sled-dog named Elvis that was smarter than some people I know, and he knew what he wanted, but was he really showing emotion when this 122 pound sled-dog wanted to "snuggle" or when he would bring his leash over to me?  Does that big hairy cat really truly love you?  My grandma swore that her little dog was trying to tell her something----"Get me out of this damn dryer!"  I contend the dog wanted to be bitten by that rattlesnake!

     Over 115 species of birds spend some of their lives here in the canyon, and I've observed instances of feelings and emotions in some of these birds.  Some show a crazy-keen interest in their young (i.e. Bullock's Orioles come to mind), others seem to care little for their offspring; any of this sound like someone you know?  But, kissing.....?

     If they weren't sharing a sunflower seed, then what were they doing?  I've witnessed this behavior in finches here in the Wind River Canyon many, many times.  Sometimes the behavior seems aggressive, but most of the time, not.  A lot like the kids in the backseat at the prom, it's hard to tell what's going to happen next.  But what are these birds doing anyway!! Two Cassin's Finches in Wyoming.Kissing Cassin's FinchesCassin's Finches kissing in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      None of this conjecture really explains what these two finches are actually experiencing at this moment.  It's springtime and mating season is here in the Wind River Canyon again, which could easily explain this kissing behavior, if you can believe in that sort of thing.  It seems to be tender enough, considering that those beaks can crack open a seed.

     This old man now feels the rhythm of nature in ways I could never have imagined before I sat down by the creek and let time slip away.  Untold thousands of hours have been spent observing and photographing the behavior of the wildlife and rhythms of the Wind River Canyon.  The canyon is showing green again, after a very mild winter here. 

     I had the Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 on a tripod, and was using our cabin as a blind last week, when I finally photographed a pair of Cassin's Finches in the act of bird-kissing.  A lot of patience and a fast finger really are a big help.  

     Find a wild green-place near where you live and sit down and try not to think; hard to do?  Now, just observe and keep quiet as the field mouse.  What do you see, now?  What do you hear?  Listen closer and you will hear and see impossible things; beautiful things.  This is how I first found a place where Mountain Bluebirds come to nest.  An unexpected thrill each and every spring.  I'd like to think some birds kiss....and you? Wyoming Mountain Bluebird In-FlightMountain Bluebird In-FlightWyoming Mountain Bluebird In-Flight Photographed in Wyoming.      All photographs and wildlife stories on HogbatsPhotography.com are protected under galactic copyright agreements and can only be used by permission of Michael John Balog.

Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.

 

MjB

 

 

                    

 

 

 

     

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography tamron thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/4/do-birds-kiss Sat, 21 Apr 2018 22:01:05 GMT
The Dancing Marmots of the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/4/the-dancing-marmots-of-the-wind-river-canyon      For many, many years I have tried in vain to capture a particular image of an animal behavior here in the Wind River Canyon.  The mammal itself isn't rare in Wyoming and is considered a pest by many people, most of whom have no intimate knowledge of these vegetarian teddy bears. 

     Observing these chubby members of the ground squirrel family that live near our cabin is fascinating and sometimes quite amusing.  This Wind River Canyon Blog is about the hidden life of the Yellow-bellied Marmot (Marmota flaviventris); a ground squirrel that can weigh twelve pounds!

     They have been poisoned, shot to pieces, their homes bull dosed over, and as I found out from many of my American Indian friends....."very tasty if cooked right."  And the answer to your next obvious question is NO, I haven't eaten any "Rock Chuck"; the colloquial name for these fat and furry animals.

     A famous woman in a nearby town asked me pointedly one day, "Where do they go in the winter?"  I told her that they really didn't GO anywhere:  Yellow-bellied Marmots spend three-quarters of their life underground and hibernate for eight months!  Later that day, when I was mulling over the information I'd given her about the life of a Rock Chuck in Wyoming, it seemed a lot funnier if I would have told her they took a bus to Arizona in the winter:)

     Spring after spring and year after year I'd try to get a good picture of the Marmots wrestling or dancing together; a behavior others have witnessed but never photographed.  It looks like they're wrestling but it seems more fun to think of them as dancing.  Young and old alike participate in this "dancing" and it doesn't seem like it has anything to do with dominance behavior. 

     I've witnessed uncounted times in the green field, two rock chucks doing a wrestle/dance together.  Different ages, different sexes and different sizes, they all do this slightly wild dance.  It sometimes seems a little violent but there is never any blood, just this wild dance number without a tune.  It's intimate to be sure and nigh impossible to photograph because it is always too far away and it's all happening to a quick beat.  But this all changed with the monster Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens; now I could peek in on them with out being in the way. Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, Yellow-bellied MarmotsMarmots Wrestling in Wind River CanyonYellow-bellied Marmots wrestling and dancing in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Hiding behind some wild roses last week gave me the chance to try once again to image these cute, little ground squirrels doing their morning dance.  If you've ever been to a big city dance club, it looks like that; violent but isn't really; they're just having fun.  The "Tamzooka" was hand held, because that's the way I like to work, besides, it's just a good workout.

     The lens was zoomed in at 450mm, 1/640th @ f/6.3, ISO 400.  Tamron's image stabilization worked flawlessly and helped me concentrate on my models dancing instead of the image dancing in my viewfinder.  For those who think IS is just for low-light situations, it isn't....it is very helpful when you are studying just such a wildlife situation with a telephoto lens; it holds the image still so you can concentrate your mind on the animal's behavior instead of the wobble in the viewfinder.

     One final bit of information about these cute, ground squirrels; their lifespan is fifteen years.  They dig giant holes in the ground near boulders for protection from predators, and will try and eat the veggies you're growing in your garden; now, if I can only keep them from digging huge holes in MY yard!!

     Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog direct from Wyoming.  Until next time, keep your camera ready.

     All photographs, images, and wildlife stories are produced by Michael John Balog and Hogbats Photography and are protected by copyrights known throughout the galaxy. Yellow-bellied Marmot yearling, Wind River Canyon, WyomingYellow-bellied Marmot yearling, Wind River CanyonYellow-bellied Marmot yearling in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. MjB

 

        

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com marmot marmots michael john balog nature photography rock chuck thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming yellow-bellied marmots https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/4/the-dancing-marmots-of-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 07 Apr 2018 22:55:36 GMT
Springtime in Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/3/springtime-in-wyoming      As the northeast part of our country has been experiencing blizzards after snowstorms (four-in-a-row), out here in Wyoming the past month has been exceptionally nice.  Here in the Wind River Canyon it has been hitting 71 degrees lately; not a record but a wonderful late-February early-March in the mountains. 

     The finches have just started to sing their songs, and bird migration into the canyon hasn't yet started.  The snow is mostly gone except for those hidden, northern hills where the sun cannot reach; every night everything freezes.  As I write this Wind River Canyon Blog it's mid-60's with a mind blowing blue sky this afternoon.  All this great Wyoming spring weather has given me time to work-out with (test) my new zoom lens.

     Just in time for this warm Rocky Mountain weather came a certified-refurbished Tamron SP150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 zoom lens....and I'm only going to write that long name down this once!  The price was great even if the warranty wasn't; such is the life of the starving artist.  It's honestly a real thrill to have a monster lens like this in my old, arthritic hands.  At one time a lens like this would have been unimaginable, or rather, just a dream.

     This super-zoom Tamron seemed real heavy at first in the field; the lens itself weighs nearly four and a half pounds!  After several weeks of daily use it all seems somehow lighter now.  Does this mean I'm getting stronger, or am I just getting used to carrying this tech-log around the canyon?  In any case, it slowly became easier.  Bottom line----used correctly, in steady hands this monster lens is a modern marvel, but it does take a commitment.

     This first picture is of one of my favorite wildlife models.  He is a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) that I've known and photographed since he was an ugly, brown raptor.  He was photographed on the morning of March 16th @ 1/1600, f/8, ISO 400. Wyoming Bald EagleWyoming Bald EagleBald Eagle in-flight imaged in the Wind River Canyon.      The eagle was photographed on a tripod, which is highly recommended with the Tamron 150-600mm lens.  The zoom was locked in at 500mm, which is a great feature.  He is a real beauty!!

     This next bird picture was imaged last Wednesday afternoon and was hand-held @ 400mm, 1/1000th, f/7.1, ISO 400 and is one of our favorite birds that reside all year long in the Wind River Canyon, a Townsend's Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi), the most northern of the mountain-forest thrushes.  They eat juniper-berries in the winter here in the canyon, and can hover when they are feeding on their favorite food....flying bugs!  This photo is crazy sharp thanks to the new Tamron. Townsend's Solitaire photographed in the beautiful Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.Townsend's Solitaire, Wind River CanyonTownsend's Solitaire imaged in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.       As I wrote in my last blog, this Tamron is a heavy beast of a lens for the casual user, but a real magic trick of technology that at one time would have seemed impossible at any price, let alone the low price I paid.  And as summer very slowly approaches, I will practice every day in anticipation of my very favorite time of the year....hummingbird season!

     Thank you for reading about the wildlife and photography from the Wind River Canyon in wonderful Wyoming.  All content of  Wind River Canyon Blog and HogbatsPhotography.com are protected under copyright and is produced by Michael John Balog. 

We could use some snow!

MjB

Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming  -  1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowRufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming - 1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowHummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, 1st Place-48th Cody Art Show.  

 

 

 

 

 

        

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com hummingbird michael john balog nature photography tamron thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/3/springtime-in-wyoming Sat, 24 Mar 2018 21:44:03 GMT
A Red-tailed Hawk and a New Zoom Lens in Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/3/a-red-tailed-hawk-and-a-new-zoom-lens-in-wyoming      Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) are neither rare nor endangered and are widespread from Alaska to Central America, yet, when was the last time you got a good glimpse of one?  Here in the Wind River Canyon they nest in the same crazy-high spot on the cliffs; unreachable for anyone without wings.  We've watched them rebuilding the same nest year after year, sometimes through a large astronomical telescope.  Raging spring blizzards have literally tore them from the cliffs, and they are back again this season for more of the same; seventy-five percent never make it past their first year!

     After the amazingly lucky incident with the Bobcat here in the canyon last month, I knew that it was time to acquire one of those new super-telephoto zooms.  Six months of research and guy-drooling led me to the one lens that was a cutting edge design, but affordable.  The big prime white lenses from Canon cost as much as a late-model car (example - 600mm f/4 = $12,999.00).  A week and a half ago I received a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC G2----a real mouthful and a handful.  I settled for a certified refurbished that was just over 1K; a real bargain.

     With a half-century of experience, I can truly say that this new hyper-telephoto lens is a 21st century marvel; it is also a real commitment.  This is not a lens for the casual photographer, as online reviews show quite clearly.  It is very heavy compared to anything the weekender would need or want to carry around.  At 500 and 600 millimeter it is a magical beast that will wear-out the arms of anyone but a muscle-boy.  My shoulders were pleasingly sore after the first afternoon; I already feel my muscles getting stronger.

     I opened the boxes at my doctors office and went outside to test the lens for a few minutes on a dog and some buildings.  After some intense acupuncture I headed home to my cabin in the Wind River Canyon.  A male Red-tailed Hawk adult was on an electric pole and took flight when I exited the truck.  The underside of their wings are unusually beautiful and the photograph below is from that shoot; I had the new lens in my hands less than 10 minutes!  The zoom setting was maxed out at 600mm----1/1250, F/6.3 and ISO400. Red-tailed Hawk In-Flight, Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.Red-tailed Hawk In-Flight, Wind River CanyonRed-tailed Hawk in-flight in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.       It's the time of the year when raptors are defending territories.  A Red-tailed Hawk has been terrorizing small game in my section of the canyon and rebuilding the nest up on the "cliffs near the clouds."  Needing to keep "an eye peeled" at all times isn't convenient but does reap rewards.  Doing most of my photography handheld means exercising my arms and shoulders with the Tamron.  Keep in mind that the lens gets longer like Pinocchio's nose when you zoom higher!

     Yesterday morning he was hunting voles near the cabin, so I quietly ran out a backdoor to a juniper that I knew from experience would hide me till I took my shots.  I slid left and let the camera do it's thing.  RAPTOR SECRET #2 ---- birds of prey always do "number 2" before they take flight!  The best frame is below and shows him in-flight.  For those tech-geeks, the vignettes were added by me in Lightroom and is not present in the RAW files.  Lens was set at 500mm, 1/1250, F/11, and ISO 400. Red-tailed Hawk In-Flight, Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.Red-tailed Hawk In-Flight, Wind River CanyonRed-tailed Hawk in-flight in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, photographed with a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens.      Taking wildlife pictures in Wyoming can be a challenge; everything you want to photograph is a mile away!  The new Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC G2 lens is terrific and a delight to use.  The features and sharpness are professional and will come in handy here in the Wind River Canyon.  And I can feel my biceps getting stronger every day!

     The Wind River Canyon Blog and all the photographs on HogbatsPhotography.com are produced by Michael John Balog and are protected by international copyright laws.  

     To see Wyoming Hummingbirds photographed in the Wind River Canyon just hit this link to visit my gallery of hummingbirds on my website----Hummingbirds----you will see things you've never seen before....I promise.

Thank you for your time.

MjB     

 

 

      

        

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of prey birds of wyoming hawk hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com hummingbird michael john balog nature photography raptor raptors red-tailed hawk tamron 150-600mm g2 thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/3/a-red-tailed-hawk-and-a-new-zoom-lens-in-wyoming Sat, 10 Mar 2018 23:18:27 GMT
My First Image of a Bobcat in the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/2/my-first-image-of-a-bobcat-in-the-wind-river-canyon      An old friend was visiting us here in the Wind River Canyon the last week during some sub-zero temperatures and a blizzard that came howling through.  Last Wednesday morning when he finally got around to starting his late-model truck....it wouldn't.  When you live on the Dark Side of the Moon you must be prepared.  A battery charger would do the trick, and we went back to watching the Olympics.

     Glancing at the clock, I walked over to the door and took a look.  The gauge looked fine and plunked back down into the couch and told him he probably could try starting his truck.  When he finally came back inside he just stood there for a moment; I asked him, "Did it start-up?"  My friend said yes, and that he was going to take his dog for a ride.  I hadn't been out of the cabin in days, except to blow the snow out of the driveway, so I bummed a ride with his black-dog that has no tail!

     Grabbing my favorite lens we headed south, which is up-river in the Wind River Canyon.  It was late-afternoon but portions of the canyon were already in shadow, this being the dead of winter.

     As he drove through the three tunnels and past the camping area, I saw a large mammal with a fuzzy tail on the other side of the Wind River; it was hunting!  I photographed a coyote a few days earlier across the river from the cabin.  My assumption at that particular moment was really, really wrong; it was not a coyote!

     When the lens snapped to focus, I realized just as fast that I had serendipity on my side again; this was a big, male Bobcat!!  He was hunting voles in the deep snow as the sun was threatening to disappear behind the canyon's rim.  Boy, did I ever luck out!  In nearly twenty years living in the canyon I had never seen a Bobcat; less than five minutes and sixty frames later it was all over, way too soon.

     I cannot afford one of those giant, crazy-expensive super-telephoto lenses, and I just hoped my 70-200mm f/4L Canon with the 1.4 extender would be enough to document such an amazing wildcat.  I knew that there was a lot of computer work ahead of me, one way or the other. Bobcat imaged in The Wind River Canyon.Bobcat in The Wind River CanyonBobcat photographed in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      A Bobcat (Lynx rufus) is one really big kitty.  The largest wild Bobcat weighed in at an astounding 49 pounds, with unsubstantiated reports of 60 pounds!  They are 4 feet from head to the base of their stubby-tail, and usually hunt during twilight.  This male is just over two feet at the shoulder.  The oldest wild Bobcat lived 16 years, and a zoo-captive lived twice that; which goes to show how difficult living in the wild can be for wildlife.  A Bobcat has large retractable claws and have been known to take down prey as large as a deer!

     As I got back into my friend's truck I told him, "That was stupid lucky to see a Bobcat like that in the canyon!"  He said, "Like hitting the lottery?"  I told him quietly, just over the storm of the engine, "Yea, like that...."

    

     All wildlife stories and photographs in the Wind River Canyon Blog and my website  HogbatsPhotography.com are produced by Michael John Balog and are protected by copyright laws observed throughout this galaxy!!!

     Thank you for reading my blog about photographing wildlife in the Wind River Canyon in the wilds of the state of Wyoming.

 

MjB

 

      

    

      

      

 

 

    

    

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) big cats bobcat hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com lynx rufus michael john balog nature photography thermopolis wildcat wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/2/my-first-image-of-a-bobcat-in-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 24 Feb 2018 22:37:02 GMT
A Hawk Arrives in the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/2/a-hawk-arrives-in-the-wind-river-canyon      One early morning, not too long ago, while watching the stock-market do its morning dance from my bedroom in the Wind River Canyon, I spotted a raptor arced in-flight.  The white from under its large wings easily visible against the dark-green pines.  As the hawk curled its flight pattern it landed on a man-made perch; an electric pole.  He was at least a quarter of a mile away from my cabin. 

     When you live in the mountains it's best to keep a pair of binoculars near every window, and I grabbed the ancient-monster pair of 10 by 50's on the speaker.  He was a long way away, but it was definitely not a Red-tailed Hawk; this one seemed bigger.  I didn't recognize the species of this raptor, but it was now hunting in our stretch of the canyon.  

     Over the next week I spotted this raptor several times a day here in the Wind River Canyon, but seldom did it come hunting close enough for my meager lens.  At the moment I'm still shopping for an affordable lens with a long reach, so I loaded up the best thing I have available; an L-series 70-200mm Canon with a 1.4 III extender.  It doesn't have the reach but it does have great sharpness....it'll have to do I told myself.

     I had a handful of photographic opportunities over the week of it's presence here, but identifying the species of this hawk turned out to be as difficult as photographing him.  I had several great shots in which to i.d. this raptor; it was a late-stage juvenile, Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus).   Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, Rough-legged HawkRough-legged Hawk, Wind River CanyonRough-legged Hawk photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      This particular image is one that illustrates how raptors have adapted.  It's more interesting than the usual in-flight photo, which I also took during his time here in the canyon.  This is a large bird with a wingspan over 4 and a half feet!  It seemingly hovers when hunting the voles that live all through the canyon.  This hawk showed almost as much patience hunting for his food as I did hunting for a picture.

     About a week of observing this raptor hunting our area of the Wind River Canyon and I noted one afternoon this hawk had moved on.  No raptor has ever stayed and hunted this stretch of the canyon for very long; it's not for lack of small game, that's for sure!  It seems to me that if you can fly on such wings, you should travel far.

     As a side-note....early this week, from this same window, I watched a female Bighorn Sheep moseying down the Wind River, eating and drinking along her way as she moved north in the Wind River Canyon.

     This Wind River Canyon Blog is produced by Michael John Balog and all rights are reserved, as are all of the wildlife photographs & true wildlife stories on my website-----HogbatsPhotography.com

Thank you for your valuable time.

 

MjB

      

 

 

           

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hawk hogbats hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography raptor rough-legged hawk thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/2/a-hawk-arrives-in-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 10 Feb 2018 22:21:21 GMT
Wyoming Winter Birds https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/wyoming-winter-birds      Wintertime in Wyoming can be wildly brutal, or the weather can be like it is right now, here in the Wind River Canyon, with blue sky, no clouds and the temperature at 44 degrees.  The last of our snow is melting fast.  I've personally seen 42 below zero with wind chills at a staggering 70 something below!  The one thing to keep in mind is that it can only get better.....

     The above weather report is a definition of the hearty birds that reside in my ecological niche of Wyoming, specifically the Wind River Canyon.  Sure, we do get scary storms driven by mountain winds that can kill, or you could go snow-blind without your sunglasses.  And trust me when I say that frostbite hurts like hell itself.  Camera batteries quit, lenses frost over, and the color of my fingertips became an odd shade of blue!

     The most surprising bird that spends winters in the canyon is our American Robin (Turdus migratorius).  I couldn't possibly have come up with a funnier Latin-name!  They spend the winter here because of the easy food source; millions of juniper berries.  One winter afternoon I had one that allowed me to get stupid close; it's a favorite photograph of mine. American Robin/Portrait ~ Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.American Robin/Portrait ~ Wind River CanyonPortrait of an American Robin-Photographed in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.     One of my favorite Wyoming winter birds is the Townsend's Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi), because their whistle and song can be heard all winter long.  Their winter food source is the same as the robin; juniper berries.  In warm months they catch bugs in mid-air.  They also can hover in mid-air while snatching flying bugs or snagging a juniper berry.  While it's only for a few seconds at best, it really is a sight to see; and so far impossible for me to photograph.  The photograph below was taken right after a blizzard swept through the Wind River Canyon. Townsend's Solitaire-Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.Townsend's Solitaire-Wind River Canyon-WYTownsend's Solitaire with Juniper Berry in Wyoming.     Several finch species spend all year in the canyon Cassin's Finch, Male in Bloom, Wind River Canyon, WyomingCassin's Finch, Male in Bloom, Wind River Canyon, WyomingCassin's Finch, Male in Bloom this Spring, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. eating sunflower seeds from my bird feeders, but in winter they are surprisingly dull in appearance.  The House Finch, Cassin's Finch, and American Goldfinch are regulars at my bird feeders.  In springtime the male's plumage blooms, but in winter they make boring models.  Here is a male Cassin's Finch in full spring bloom.

     I purchased a clear-plastic bird feeder that attaches to a window with suction-cups.  For months there was no interest in it at all, no matter what I put in it.  As the weather turned to snow several of the finches now use it as their breakfast spot, and we have our coffee two feet away; they've learned not to fear us.

     One day after an especially nasty blizzard a bird showed up that even I had never seen before in the Wind River Canyon----a Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra).  I ended up on my belly in the snow mere feet away, so close that a portrait of him was now easily possible.  I had never seen one before and have never seen one since. Red Crossbill-Wind River Canyon, WyomingRed Crossbill_A Portrait, Wind River CanyonRed Crossbill portrait photographed in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      In winter, Canadian Geese (Branta canadensis) can be seen from the windows of my cabin overlooking the Wind River.  They are a common bird and seen nation-wide, so an uncommon bird-photo seems appropriate.  I had in mind the work of a popular woman artist, and this was the real challenge; work the software accordingly. Canadian Geese, In Flight, Wind River Canyon,WyomingCanadian Geese, In Flight-Wind River Canyon,WyomingCanadian Geese in flight in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      My favorite winter bird is the famously brave Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli).  They don't seem to be afraid of much, and sit impatiently nearby as I refill their feeder, calling to me to hurry up; everyone loves a chickadee.  When I'm bored, cold and lonely it's great to spend time with them----it's better than a cup of coffee. Mountain Chickadee - Wind River Canyon, WyomingMountain Chickadee - Wind River Canyon, WyomingMountain Chickadee in the Snow-Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.       On a winter's day, if you are sneaky, you may be able to catch a glimpse of a bird digging a hole in a tree or maybe even in the ground.  They are in the woodpecker family, a family of birds that may be seen in Wyoming and the canyon.  Woodpeckers are not in the abundance they once were, mainly due to loss-of-habitat.  The species that I've seen and gotten to photograph in the Wind River Canyon are the Red-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus), the Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus), and my personal little favorite the Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens).  If you listen closely and are very lucky, it's possible to hear them hammering away at a tree in the Wind River Canyon. Northern Flicker, Red-Shafted - Wind River Canyon, WyomingNorthern Flicker, Red-Shafted - Wind River Canyon, WyomingNorthern "Red-shafted" Flicker photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Hairy Woodpecker, Mother & Son-Wind River Canyon,WyomingHairy Woodpecker, Mother & Son-Wind River Canyon,WyomingHairy Woodpeckers in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Downy Woodpecker (m), Wind River Canyon, WyomingDowny Woodpecker (m), Wind River Canyon, WyomingA beautiful male Downy Woodpecker in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      I've never really attempted to photograph ducks in the canyon, due to cost considerations of giant lenses, and honestly a lack of interest on my part.  But this all adds up to a yearly winter's obsession of mine; trying to photograph Bald Eagles in the Wind River Canyon.  While they don't nest in the canyon, they do hunt for fish up and down the Wind River; and this is the challenge.  They sometimes fly right over my house, yet try and find one when you want one, which is the real trick in photographing Bald Eagles in the canyon.  Keep an eye open at all times, and hope luck is on your side; and it won't be.  Here are a few Bald Eagle photographs that are favorites. Bald Eagle, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBald Eagle, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBald Eagle in-Flight photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. Bald Eagle, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBald Eagle, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBald Eagle in The Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Bald Eagle, Valentine's Day, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBald Eagle, Valentine's Day, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBald Eagle photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming, by Michael John Balog - HogbatsPhotography.com       One winter we had a rare-bird show up and he spent the entire winter with us.  He was really out of his usual territory, and it surprised the daylights out of us.  Every day we would look forward to seeing him at our feeders.  Anything blue in the winter is exciting, except those fingertips.  It was a beautiful specimen of a Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri). Steller's Jay-Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, photographed by Michael John Balog.Steller's Jay-Wind River Canyon, WyomingSteller's Jay photographed in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      Some winters we see them, some winters we don't, and we don't know why.  They're small and cute and fun to photograph.  They really like the suet blocks I get for the birds, and they are not much bigger than my real obsession, hummingbirds.  I'm blogging now about the adorable Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis), we also have the White-breasted Nuthatch, but I have never seen one in the winter.  They are known as the "upside-down bird" for a reason; they are acrobats on the pines, running up and down the branches and trunks. Red-breasted Nuthatch, Wind River CanyonRed-breasted Nuthatch, Wind River CanyonRed-breasted Nuthatch male in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. Red-breasted Nuthatch-"October Morning"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingRed-breasted Nuthatch-"October Morning"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingRed-breasted Nuthatch trying to keep warm on a cold morning in October, photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.       This isn't every winter wild bird I've ever seen in the Wind River Canyon, and I probably skipped over somebody in this Wind River Canyon Blog.  I enjoy winter here in the canyon; it's amazingly beautiful, but eventually it's always nice when spring finally arrives!

     All photographs and wildlife stories are produced by Michael John Balog and all copyrights belong to the artist.  Visit www.HogbatsPhotography.com for more images of wild birds, Bighorn Sheep and hummingbirds all photographed in Wyoming and the magical Wind River Canyon. 

Thank you for your valuable time!

 

MjB

 

 

 

   

 

 

        

 

 

        

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/wyoming-winter-birds Sun, 28 Jan 2018 01:03:09 GMT
The Rarest Wild Animal You Will Ever See A Photograph Of https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/the-rarest-wild-animal-you-will-ever-see-a-photograph-of      When writing a blog entitled, "The Rarest Wild Animal You Will Ever See A Photograph Of," it pays to be entirely sure of the facts.  An albino anything is a rare beast and they don't survive in nature for very long; lacking in pigmentation does have it's health concerns.  Just finding an albino wild animal is "one-in-a-million."  In this 21st century self-centered culture anything of value is quickly taken, and a snow-white wild animal is definitely an easy target.

     It has been a decade since I'd first heard rumors about an albino Bighorn Sheep in and around the Wind River Canyon where I live.  While photographing Bighorn Sheep one afternoon, a retired game warden, who had been involved with their reintroduction in 1995,  said he'd heard about one that had been born nearby.  He wondered if I'd seen this albino Bighorn Sheep....I hadn't.  Then one day, there he was with the other Rams he ran with!

     This group of Rams came and went with the wind, and if I searched for them they seemed invisible.  I like to tell people that, "You don't find Bighorn Sheep in the Wind River Canyon, they find you!"  When they would make an appearance I'd dash out the door with a camera of some kind, and spend as much time as I was able----it was a crazy thrill!

     In the middle-of-the-night, after an especially exciting cession with this albino Ram, I had a dream.  It was so vivid that it still haunts me to this very day.  This Albino Bighorn Sheep was to be called "Snowflake."  I went to visit a wise Shoshone Indian I knew for answers.  

     This American Indian listened to my dream and saw the photographs I'd already taken of this very rare Bighorn Ram.  His sage advice was indeed wise, he said to me, "Don't question this gift and where it came from; accept this dream as a gift."  This Albino Bighorn Sheep was known thereafter as "Snowflake."

     One day I received an email from an acquaintance, and I knew from the link what it was.  A well know Wyoming newspaper had a photo of the woman that shot and killed Snowflake, his bloody body draped across her lap!  I didn't take the news very well; I cried like a child.  I'd spent more time with this Albino Bighorn Sheep and his friends then I'd spent with some family members.  And now he was dead, and I had the only professional photographs ever taken of Snowflake the Albino Bighorn Sheep.

     It has been just over three years since Snowflake was hunted down.  I still don't understand how a person could kill a Unicorn.  This is the only Albino Bighorn Sheep (take notice of his pink nose and hooves) any of us will ever see in our lives.  It was a very rare privilege to have spent so much time with such a unique wild animal.

    

     All photographs and wildlife stories are produced by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming, and are protected under international copyright laws.

     For more wildlife stories from the state of Wyoming-----visit Wind River Canyon Blog or my website HogbatsPhotography.com.  

*Thank you for indulging me with your time.

 

MjB

 

                      

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/the-rarest-wild-animal-you-will-ever-see-a-photograph-of Sat, 06 Jan 2018 22:39:30 GMT
The Wind River Canyon Christmas Card https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/the-wind-river-canyon-christmas-card

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the magical Wind River Canyon.

Thank You to everyone that visited my website in 2017!!

 

The music you hear during the Hummingbird Slideshow is "Under the Mistletoe"

 

*Click on this link to visit Hogbats Photography in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming!

*Click on this link to read my Wind River Canyon Blog.

 

     All photography and wildlife stories are written and produced by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon, and all rights are protected by international copyright laws.

 

Thank You!

 

MjB

 

*The Wind River Canyon Blog will return right after a very Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com hummingbird michael john balog nature photography thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/the-wind-river-canyon-christmas-card Sun, 17 Dec 2017 18:40:33 GMT
My Cute Little Nuthatch Wildlife Story https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/my-cute-little-nuthatch-wildlife-story      Last week, while writing my Wind River Canyon Blog, there was a small plink off the picture windows near where my old desk resides.  It wasn't a plunk, or a thud, it was definitely just a plink, and a small one at that.  I hopped up and looked out a window, and down there on the dry grass was a small bird in a decidedly spread-eagle position.  

     I knew what the little bird was right away.  But my photographing this species a thousand times didn't help this poor, little guy.  This bird-in-distress was a Red-breasted Nuthatch; a cute little bird species.  Running out the front door and heading down the steps I witnessed something even I had never seen----another Nuthatch flew down and landed close to his injured "friend."  It was just a moment, but the reaction from the other bird is was one that seemed to indicate the advanced trait of empathy....maybe he was just worried.

     Kneeling down, I picked up this little male and gave him the "Woodsman's Once Over" and his beak was perfect, and his eyes undamaged; a birds' eye often times will sustain an injury and will even swell-up shut:  His eyes were clear and fine.  He seemed a little loopy, but his neck was not broken; the usual cause of death from smacking into a window.

     Holding this Red-breasted Nuthatch in my hand was a real treat, but the circumstances surrounding this first meeting could have been a bit better for him.  Nonetheless, I whistled to him and enjoyed our first "talk."  After too short a time I placed him on a nearby boulder and raced into the house for a camera.  

     What surprised me the most from the resulting photo-shoot was how much he hated the click of my Canon.  Most birds and wildlife tend to ignore the sound, or barely take notice, but this male Nuthatch just hated it!  I took my time, and all too soon our time was up; he had to go....and I knew it. Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, Red-breasted NuthatchRed-breasted Nuthatch, Wind River CanyonRed-breasted Nuthatch male in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The first thing you'll notice are the size of his feet!  Red-breasted Nuthatches spend most of their life running up and down trees....upside down.  They are a quickly moving, acrobatic little bird and rather difficult to image well, so this was a real treat of a shoot.  The darker "red" color is indicative of the male; the blue-grey is not over-saturated.  They eat bugs, seeds, my sunflower seeds, and they just love a suet block (available anywhere birdseed is sold).  

     Speaking of suet blocks, I put mine in a plastic-coated wire cage that are relatively cheap and come with a small chain for hanging them up.  Our Wind River Canyon raccoons took a liking to the suet blocks!  One morning I found ours on the ground and empty!  The small chain had bent from the weight of the fat raccoon, so I reloaded another block and bent the chain back.  I figured everything would be just fine.  The next morning the chain was still attached to the tree....but the new suet block and cage holding it were long gone!  A long search didn't help.

     After buying a new cage for another suet block, I engineered it a little differently.  I mounted it upside down to the tree by screws after removing the soft-metal chain.  Now I could hang on it and the suet cage would stay put!  Several weeks later the suet block cage is still on the old, dead tree where the bird feeder is also hung, and I locked it closed with a small climbing link.  The claw marks from the raccoons on the tree trunk are very funny.  And yes, they have knocked down the bird feeder, too.

     Back to the Nuthatch wildlife story....they were first named in 1766 by Carl Linnaeus, and are small at 4.5 inches from "head to tail."  They weigh just a third of an ounce!  About the size of a very, very, fat hummingbird.  But the real story is the close-up I wanted to capture of the feather structure of his wings.  I worked the digital file like an art project, as I do most everything now.  The result was so cool I uploaded it to my website----www.HogbatsPhotography.com. Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, Detail of Red-breasted Nuthatch Wing!Detail of Red-breasted Nuthatch, Wind River CanyonClose-up detail of the feathers of a Red-breasted Nuthatch, Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      All too soon it was apparent it was time for him to leave.  I took the camera from my eye, and watched him fly.  I stood there for a moment in thought, then turned and went inside to finish my writing.  

     *Thank you for reading the Wind River Canyon Blog.  All rights to the story and the photographs are protected under international copyright laws and created by Michael John Balog and Hogbats Photography.

 

MjB

 

           

              

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/my-cute-little-nuthatch-wildlife-story Sat, 09 Dec 2017 23:03:01 GMT
My Cabin in the Woods https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/my-cabin-in-the-woods Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, Chimney RockWyoming, Wind River Canyon, Chimney RockChimney Rock in beautiful Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      I saw the Wind River Canyon, for the first time, in my fourteenth year.  Coming from the suburbs of Cleveland, "The Heart of Rock & Roll," it was like moving to the Moon.  The old-folks thought if the kids couldn't hear or buy rock music they could all be brainwashed; it didn't work, of course.  Late at night there was a radio-station in Oklahoma that jacked-up the power and played searing rock:  I would fall asleep with a radio under my pillow!

     Wyoming is a different place entirely, and that may be my best description.  The air is clean and the people are friendly in a way that can be disarming to travelers.  An editor at the Cody newspaper once asked me, "Why are people so friendly in Wyoming?"  I told him, "It's the altitude....lack of oxygen to the brain."  We both had a good laugh.

     There's a freedom to the air, a freedom to the open-spaces, and the mountains free your heart like few places in this country.  Mother Nature isn't just on display in Wyoming, she lives out here somewhere. All you have to do to find her is to spend some time in the high-country; mountain air cleans out all the stressful crap of the 21st century.                                                                Wind River Canyon, WyomingWind River Canyon, WyomingThe Tepees in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

     From that late-day in July so many years ago, I knew that someday I wanted to live in the Wind River Canyon.  It was even written in a book I have...."The Wind River Canyon is a magical place."  And truly it is quite special.  The weather can change dramatically, and I mean dramatically. 

     It has been unseasonably warm for late-November and early-December, yet it has snowed three times this fall in the canyon.  We've seen 35-below zero in the canyon, with winds that could run you over, but today we could see temps near 60.  Next week my tongue could freeze to the fence-post, or I could get a sunburn, but what my tongue would be..........

     Early in the morning the cliffs are painted with gold, the air whispers the scent of juniper, and the creek sings it's tunes just beyond my backdoor.  I've photographed and cataloged more than 110 species of birds in the Wind River Canyon, and stupid-lucky enough to have spent lots of time with Bighorn Sheep:  Including the rarest of the rare, an Albino Bighorn Sheep named "Snowflake."

Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming  -  1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowRufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming - 1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowHummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, 1st Place-48th Cody Art Show.      I've watched the Aurora wash across the canyon's dark sky; the Moon in eclipse framed by the cliffs, and this summer's fabulous, total solar eclipse.  The mountains of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, the great Andromeda Galaxy, the Orion Nebula and too many deep-sky objects to name individually have all been seen from these darkest of skies.  And yet the tiny hummingbirds that come to nest in the Wind River Canyon every summer are my real favorites to photograph.

     *Hummingbirds are not my interest, they are my obsession.

     When I'm not feeling well and my colitis is flaring up, there's a special place down by the creek----my favorite spot on planet Earth, that seems to make me better.  The spring water brings life not only to the canyon, but to me.  This spot makes me feel better no matter what the cause, and I've witnessed many wonderful things while sitting by the rushing waters. 

     Big stags were seen relaxing in my front yard this fall, and raccoons, ermine, owls and many creepy, crawlies are seen often.  Bald Eagles fly over my cabin and I've heard the cry of the Golden Eagle echoing here.  Life is abundant in the Wind River Canyon. Wind River Canyon - Monochrome with TrainWind River Canyon - Monochrome with TrainMonochrome Landscape of Wind River Canyon with Train, Wyoming.       The sound of the trains rumbling through the canyon makes me smile, a love I got from staying with Nana and Gramps as a child in Ohio.  The sound of an owl hooting at 3 o'clock in the morning is amazing.  The sound of a hummingbird gets my heart to racing.  The sound of thunder echoing back and forth in the canyon should be witnessed, but right now it's as quiet as the field mice I see at night.  

Chipmunk, Wind River Canyon, WyomingChipmunk, Wind River Canyon, WyomingPhotographic Portrait of a Chipmunk in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      As I've been known to say, "The Wind River Canyon is a dynamic place to live."  Landslides, slippery roads, "Chief falling rock", blizzards, dumb drivers, no mail, 103 degrees or below zero, it all makes the canyon an interesting place to live.  If the day's news gets you down, as it always will, go for a walk in the canyon.  Clear your mind of troubles, and you will find Mother Nature at your side....or a chipmunk!

     Don't for a moment think I'm rich, the land values around here are low----and I'm not rich.  It's difficult to make a great living when you live out here, in the "middle-of-nowhere."  But I get paid in ways few can ever really understand, my images just hint at this.  Nature will change your life, just give her a chance.

 All images and stories are the property of Michael John Balog and Hogbats Photography and are protected by international copyright laws, such as they are.

Visit my website, www.HogbatsPhotography.com for many more wonderful wildlife and nature photographs from the Wind River Canyon and Wyoming.

Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.

 

MjB 

 

 

    

      

              

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com hummingbird landscape michael john balog nature photography rufous hummingbird thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming wyoming landscape https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/my-cabin-in-the-woods Sat, 02 Dec 2017 22:41:18 GMT
The Summer I Spent with the Wild Turkeys https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/the-summer-i-spent-with-the-wild-turkeys Wild Turkeys, Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkeys, Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkeys In My Yard, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.       Everyone has heard about the elusiveness and intelligence of the Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), and it's common knowledge that Ben Franklin admired this unfortunately tasty wild bird.  I've met many hunters that have never even got a shot off at one, or saw one for that matter.  Yet on a warm day in April in the Wind River Canyon, several years ago, these two showed up in my backyard here in the canyon.

     I wasn't just surprised, I was startled; Wild Turkeys had never been seen in the Wind River Canyon in the last half century, or so I was told.  I have a lot of respect for the Wild Turkey:  I had a knockdown fight with a huge, male Wild Turkey a year earlier that left nasty, red welts on my chest!  These two monsters in my yard did scare me a bit....so, I was admittedly cautious at first.

     With any wild animal it's important to know all there is about your prey; like to stay far away from wildlife that can eat you!  Eventually, going out the front door seemed like a good solution.  They could see me coming from quite a distance, and I would have lots of cement to run-off in my Nike's.  But my very first meeting didn't turn out that way.  These two Wild Turkeys were friendly towards me....weirdly so.  We quickly became fast friends. Wild Turkey, "The Big Show" - Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey, "The Big Show" - Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey strutting his stuff this Spring in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

     These two led a charmed life that summer; traffic would stop as they crossed the road in the morning, and me with my heart in my throat watching from a window!  A big cup of sunflower seeds shaken, and my "famous" double whistle, and they would literally come running up the driveway.  We went through this feeding ritual twice every day, with me sitting right next to them.

     One very memorable July evening, we barbecued two Buffalo fillets, and our two Wild Turkeys ate their dinner right next to the picnic table where we were having ours.  It was a crazy, exciting summer's evening.  

     One of my favorite things to photograph are portraits of birds.  Some birds cooperate, some will never, ever; so you use sneaky tactics, like hide yourself.  With these two it wasn't even a challenge, it was more like photographing well behaved children.  I made the most out of the sharpness and color; to make my model really shine! Wild Turkey, "Portrait of Tom"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey, "Portrait of Tom"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingPortrait of a Wild Turkey, Photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      One afternoon I thought it would be cool if I could capture a wildlife photograph that was the "essence of attitude."  You know, the tough side of my friends, the Wild Turkeys.  There were moments throughout the summer when it was obvious they needed time alone, and that was the pose I wanted----that look.  Keep the image-stabilization on and concentrate on the expression of your subject, be it child or wild animal.  As it turns out, again, it wasn't all that difficult; I was sitting four feet away! Wild Turkey Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey Portrait, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      It's true that all good things come to an end, and I knew that these two were going to have to leave the Wind River Canyon for safer winter lands.  We were left with wonderful memories of two of the most amazing wild creatures on this planet; like the afternoon a male Rufous Hummingbird and a Wild Turkey met for the very first time in wildlife history! 

     As the hummingbird buzzed from above the outstretched neck of the Wild Turkey, they stared at each other.  No Wild Turkey had ever been this close to a hummingbird, and I am sure that no Rufous Hummingbird had ever seen a Wild Turkey!  My jaw dropped as I watched these two crazy, different birds look each other over.  What were they thinking?  They're both birds, but one weighs as much as a nickel, and the other could feed an entire family for a week!

     My wife talked about how she hoped they would return to the Wind River Canyon to visit us, but we never saw them again.  A semi-truck insanely plowed through a large flock of Wild Turkeys that winter on the far-western side of Hot Springs County, killing many, many birds.  To this very day it's hard to forget "The Summer I Spent with the Wild Turkeys."

     Wind River Canyon Blog and photographs are produced by Michael John Balog and all rights are summarily reserved, or so it may seem.

*Thank you for your time.  And yes, I still like a good Turkey sandwich.

 

MjB

 

          

 

 

 

      

    

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography thermopolis turkey wild turkey wild turkeys wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/the-summer-i-spent-with-the-wild-turkeys Sat, 11 Nov 2017 22:43:36 GMT
The First Blue Jay in the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/10/the-first-blue-jay-in-the-wind-river-canyon      Had a freak accident last week that made it impossible for me to write my Wind River Canyon Blog; I tried to jam three of my four fingers through the back of my left hand!  My hand blew-up like a pumpkin.  It wasn't very pretty.  Hand is doing better now, thank you.

     A quick blizzard came blasting through the Wind River Canyon last Thursday morning, it was quick and cold with hurricane force winds to accompany the snow.  It really didn't leave all that much snow, but as these kinds of storms always do, it drove migrating wildlife down into the relative safety of the canyon.  

     The Wind River Canyon in central Wyoming runs north-south.  Birds often use the canyon as a "rest-stop" on their migration, so we sometimes see birds that probably shouldn't even be here at all!  Also, some species are expanding their territories.  This is usually because they are thriving and flourishing, or loss of their historical habitat forces them to "adopt" newer lands to breed and feed.  Sometimes we can't even figure out what a bird is doing here at all, or how they got here. 

     As the storm made a fast, cold and windy exit late Thursday morning, I noticed a flash of blue out of the corner-of-my-eye.  We don't have birds that are royal-blue in the Wind River Canyon this time of the year.  Now, here is a reason to get my butt off the sofa!  What was that?

     I didn't have to wait long at all for the answer.  It was a bird that has never been seen in the Wind River Canyon before!  I couldn't believe my luck....I haven't seen a Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) since my childhood growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio!  Everything I read, and all of the literature and maps showed that Blue Jays shouldn't be this far west.  I did find professorial information that stated that Blue Jays are moving westward....guess they are, or at least these two tried.  They are still here Saturday afternoon as I write this week's Wind River Canyon Blog. First Blue Jay in the Wind River Canyon.Blue Jay in Wind River CanyonThe first Blue Jay ever photographed in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      I spent all day yesterday photographing these spectacular Blue Jays from one of my favorite hides.  After ending up with over 100 good image files and three long and cold sessions, I was going to have my hands full in post-production.  Just like photographing a human model, I had so many dozens of poses....how do I choose just one?

    *This is a question all photographers face at one time or another----which is the best image, and how do I pick just one?  The structure of the image itself eliminates many of the pictures; is the pose right?  Do other elements in your photo add or subtract from your subject?  Can I chop them out?  Rule-of-thirds?  Can I cut or splice the image into what my mind would like to envision?  Is there a catch-light in the eyes of my model?  This is a most important artistic element and lends life to your subject.  Is the lighting right?  Is the color right, or can I fix it in post?  Is the face and eyes sharper than sharp?  Nobody likes a blurry anything.  Does your model look alive?  Does the picture stop and make you look?  Will others like my picture?  Will others like my picture.......

     After the first million times, these decisions about your photographs don't get any easier; the questions just get a little easier to ask.  Did I make the right artistic choices?  Will you?  I find that never being satisfied helps, but this too seems a little nuts at times.  Wildlife photography started being an "art-project" a long time ago for me; it's also a huge learning experience that I really enjoy.  This has all brought me much closer to my understanding and acceptance of the way Mother Nature really works; it's not a mystery....it's a beautiful thing.

    

     All content in the Wind River Canyon Blog, including the story and images, are protected under international copyright laws and was created by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon.

     For many more photographs of beautiful birds and wildlife imaged in the Wind River Canyon ecosystem, visit www.HogbatsPhotography.com.

Thank you for your support!

MjB

 

           

             

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming blue jay hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/10/the-first-blue-jay-in-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 28 Oct 2017 21:43:38 GMT
Monarch Butterfly Born in the Wind River Canyon and Video! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/10/monarch-butterfly-born-in-the-wind-river-canyon-and-video Wind River Canyon Monarch Butterfly ChrysalisMonarch Butterfly ChrysalisMonarch Butterfly chrysalis in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      When you live in the wilds of Wyoming, you can let your yard "go wild" and not feel too guilty about it; it does have many advantages.  My back feels all the better for it, and on my fabulously, great smelling milkweed we get Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus). 

     Up until last Wednesday I'd never found a chrysalis:  I'd looked for them in vain over the years.  When I wasn't searching for anything in particular to photograph on such a warm fall day....there was a chrysalis hidden under a golden milkweed leaf!

     This was an opportunity too good to pass up, and now I could shoot video of a Monarch born in the Wind River Canyon.  While photographing the chrysalis, a juvenile American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) was making it clear he wanted attention, or at least it seemed that way at the time.  The creek is only ten feet away from where the chrysalis was, and he was making a racket!  I had my boots on, so I hopped into the icy creek and got the best pictures ever of a Dipper.

     On Thursday, I checked up on the chrysalis and nothing seemed to be happening, so I started work on the chrysalis and Dipper photos.  Wow, what a beautiful, warm day in the Wind River Canyon!  Maybe I should check on the chrysalis....all too late.  She, and it is a female, was already out of her confinement.  I ran up from the creek to get the camcorder, shot some scenes, then ran back up to the cabin to get my "finger pinching" antique tripod.

     Ending with over forty 4K shots after the Sun disappeared over the rim of the canyon, it was getting cold and fast.  I left the Monarch where she was for the night.  In the morning the butterfly was right where I'd left her.  She was getting her stout wings ready for the long migration south, which could cover "thousands of miles!"  I wanted one more photo....just my beautiful, Monarch butterfly with her wings spread.  Wind River Canyon Monarch ButterflyWind River Canyon Monarch ButterflyA Monarch Butterfly just out of her chrysalis in the Wind River Canyon.      With over forty scenes shot in 4K video, the post-production editing was going to be a bigger job then I'd ever tackled before.  It took me over six hours yesterday just to edit and compile the video!  This one minute and four second "nature documentary" has twelve cuts.  None of them over the ten second edit rule:  Keep your edited scenes short and try and make a story out of them.  Enjoy, I know I did.....the sound in the background is the cold, rushing creek. Wind River Canyon Monarch ButterflyA Monarch Butterfly just emerged from her chrysalis in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Around noon my little Monarch butterfly left the creek-side on her amazing trip south.  I wish her all the luck in the world.  This morning, Saturday, October 14th a blizzard blew into the Wind River Canyon with a vengeance; as I write this Wind River Canyon Blog the skies are clear and blue again.

     The canyon is a magical place, and this is just one more wildlife story among the many I have witnessed over the years.  Yet, large corporations are inadvertently killing the milkweed these Monarch butterflies must have to survive.  This isn't an argument.....it is a question.

Thank you for your valuable time.

All content in this Wind River Canyon Blog, including photographs, video, and story were produced by Michael John Balog and all rights are reserved.

 

MjB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) butterfly hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog monarch butterfly nature photography thermopolis wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/10/monarch-butterfly-born-in-the-wind-river-canyon-and-video Sat, 14 Oct 2017 22:19:04 GMT
A Cool Photo I Missed https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/10/a-cool-photo-i-missed      You'd think the living would be all "Hawaiian Mellow" out here, and at times it's more like being in Middle Earth, then anyplace else I can ever think of.  But, when it's Hummingbird Season I get little sleep and become just a little obsessed over my quarry.  So, there are photographs that I miss, throw out, forget, misplace, dump....

     As I was going through some digital files from this summer, I came upon something quite unique and special.  In two decades, I've never seen anything quite like this in the Wind River Canyon.  I'd actually finished it and forgot it just as fast, in my usual rush to capture images of the breeding hummingbirds before they leave for their winter digs.

     Orioles nest and breed right here in the middle of the Wind River Canyon every year, and I always enjoy the "hunt" with my camera.  Bullock's Orioles (Icterus bullockii) are somewhat shy by nature, and not at all easy to photograph well.  They relish the homemade nectar in my hummingbird feeders, and there are weeks that both orioles and hummingbirds compete at the same feeders.  At times it can get a little weird around here.  The orioles are much bigger, and the hummingbirds don't like it, but the competition doesn't last long. Bullock's Orioles, two female juvenilesBullock's Orioles, The Twins (f)Two Bullock's Oriole females born in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      This forgotten image is of two young female Bullock's Orioles that were born right here in the canyon, not far from our cabin.  The parents show the kids where they can get something to eat, and then head for points south, leaving the young birds to fend for themselves.  These two sisters hung around together and I saw them many times, every day; competition usually keeps them apart and competing for food.  In fact, this was the last day they came to their favorite feeder; the next day they left on their long migration.

 

To all the people who read my Wind River Canyon Blog....thank you!

 

All images and wildlife stories in the Wind River Canyon Blog and Hogbats Photography are produced by Michael John Balog and all rights are reserved.

 

Till next week, "Keep your camera ready!"

 

MjB

 

 

 

        

     

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/10/a-cool-photo-i-missed Sat, 07 Oct 2017 21:40:45 GMT
Hummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon Summer 2017 Observations https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/hummingbirds-of-the-wind-river-canyon-summer-2017-observations Broad-tailed Hummingbird In-FlightBroad-tailed Hummingbird In-FlightThe first time a Broad-tailed Hummingbird has been photographed in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming!      In the nearly two decades that I've been photographing and studying the hummingbirds that migrate through or nest in the Wind River Canyon in central Wyoming, Summer 2017 was the longest "Hummingbird Season" by far.  A written journal of such things was not my idea, but it was a very good one. 

     Ten years ago I didn't put out the hummingbird feeders till mid-June, and that's when we'd see the first hummingbirds.  I started to put them out the first week of May when I realized that Bullock's Orioles wanted to use them long before my hummingbirds even arrived:  Bullock's Orioles now nest nearby every year! 

     Hummingbirds started arriving early also, and subsequently each Spring they seemed to be here in the Wind River Canyon a little bit earlier.  As in all of Wyoming everything is weather dependent, of course.  As the weather starts to break I noticed we were getting more hummingbirds migrating through the canyon.

     My first observation of a hummingbird in 2017 was on May 6th @ 6:15 p.m.  It was no more than a glimpse; it was a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird!  This was nearly two weeks earlier than previous sightings, but it was not the last.  Even with the cold and wet Spring they were in the area.  Snow in the high-country always forces birds down into the Wind River Canyon, and my hummingbird feeders now provide an excellent depot along their migratory route.

Black-chinned Hummingbird, Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBlack-chinned Hummingbird, Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBlack-chinned Hummingbird portrait imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      On the 19th of May @ 2:08 in the afternoon I observed the first of the Black-chinned Hummingbirds to arrive in the canyon.  Males always arrive first to establish their territories, and this year was no different.  Four days later I made notations on both male and female Broad-tailed and Black-chinned Hummingbirds; this was the earliest I have ever witnessed breeding hummers in the Wind River Canyon!  I wrote, "I must be doing something right."

     The rocket-like back and forth display of the male Black-chinned Hummingbird is an amazing thing to witness, and it happened right in front of my living room window on June 4th @ 7 p.m.

Rufous Hummingbird male, Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird male, Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird male in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      Historically, its been noted by myself and a few people in the town of Thermopolis, 12 miles away, that the Rufous and Calliope species of hummingbirds don't arrive till the first week of July, but this is no longer the case in the Wind River Canyon.  The first Calliope Hummingbird, a male, was observed on the 14th of June!  This is crazy early, but there was a time when the hummingbird feeders wouldn't have been put out yet.  The first Rufous Hummingbird was noted in my journal on the 27th of June, and they have never been seen in the canyon this early....ever!  

     *My advice to hummingbird lovers everywhere is this----"Get your hummingbird feeders out early, much earlier than you think necessary."  They may be migrating through your area and you don't even know it.

     The photograph at the top of this Wind River Canyon Blog is a realization of a fantasy from my "bucket list."  I never thought I'd ever even see a Broad-tailed Hummingbird in the Wind River Canyon!  Imaging a male in-flight was more fantasy then any reality I could imagine, but on August 7th all things came into focus:  The first photograph of a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird in-flight ever taken in the Wind River Canyon; maybe even Wyoming?

     Learning through experience to leave the hummingbird feeders up and clean past Labor Day weekend, we would always see migrating hummers every day, but not for very long.  This year we saw a young female Broad-tailed waiting for a cold, rainy storm to move through.  We saw her every morning while having coffee, even when the temperature was only 40 degrees and there was snow on the rim of the Wind River Canyon!  Last Wednesday the 27th of September she stopped by her favorite feeder for the last time....the weather had cleared.

     In case you haven't read last week's Wind River Canyon Blog, the video below introduces the canyon and this cute, little hummingbird; all in cold, nasty Wyoming weather. September Morning and the HummingbirdA cold September morning and a hummingbird migrates through the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      You learn an awful lot when you live out in the wilds of Wyoming, if you're paying any attention at all.  I've learned to put out the hummingbird feeders the last week of April, unless it's snowing down in the canyon!  Leave them up late, later than you think....books say to leave up the hummingbird feeders two weeks after you see the last one.  Please keep the sugar water clean, as things can grow in your homemade nectar in the hot sun.  If you put in your time, you will be paid back a million times over, that's a promise from a "hummingbird fanatic."

     *Below I included something new for the Wind River Canyon Blog....a slideshow of my Hummingbird Gallery from my Hogbats Photography website, all photographed in the Wind River Canyon.       All content of the Wind River Canyon Blog is created by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon, and all rights are reserved.  

Thank you.

MjB
   

 

 

 

 

              

             

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming black-chinned hummingbird broad-tailed hummingbird hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com hummingbird hummingbird video michael john balog nature photography rufous hummingbird slideshow thermopolis video wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wildlife video wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/hummingbirds-of-the-wind-river-canyon-summer-2017-observations Sat, 30 Sep 2017 23:55:37 GMT
Early Morning September Wyoming Hummingbird Video https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/early-morning-september-wyoming-hummingbird-video      The Wind River Canyon has been described in publications as being magical, but living here is much more so.  It's a "beautifully dynamic" place to make one's home.  We were dealing with unusually warm weather in the 90's, and yesterday morning we had snow in the high-country.

     Tuesday night at 11:30 I glanced out my bathroom window as I always do.  Something dark in the tall, dry grass; I can't make out what it is.  Grabbing the nearby binoculars, I see under the lights a huge, buck deer laying down and looking my direction; his antlers nearly filling my field of vision.  He rises a few minutes later and meets up with his nearly identical double.  And under the distant reach of my mercury light, I am treated to these two bucks jousting near midnight!

     Watching these two bucks, now rivals, sparing in the canyon was an epic event I hope never to forget, but probably will as my hair continues to fall out.  

     This morning it was 40 degrees down here, and snowing up on the rim of the canyon.  At 8:30 this foggy, cold morning over coffee we see a fat and healthy hummingbird (young female Broad-tailed) on the dining room nectar feeder!  I leave them up to help out the late migrating hummers; but this late?  It's bloody cold and we still are seeing hummingbirds, and have been.

     I already had on my favorite flannel shirt, so after putting on a pair of wool fingerless gloves, I headed out into the cold with the camcorder on the finger-pinching tripod.  I almost forgot to put on my old cowboy hat.  

     Moving as close as I've learned I can get away with young hummingbirds, I shot scene after scene as she ate breakfast and zoomed back and forth to her "favorite spot."  After moving inside to warm up, I watched her zipping around this cold Wyoming canyon till she continued on her long, epic journey:  Here is a little 30 second video of a foggy, cold September morning in the Wind River Canyon....and a hummingbird, too! September Morning and the HummingbirdA cold September morning and a hummingbird migrates through the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.       Even to this day, mail is not delivered to the Wind River Canyon.  Blizzards move in like a herd of wild horses, and the landslides/mudslides are still easily visible.  But Bald Eagles and Hummingbirds share the same flight paths, and Bighorn Sheep were in my backyard two weeks ago!  The Wind River Canyon is indeed a dynamic and magical place.

     Till next time...."Keep your camera (and camcorder) ready!"

     The Wind River Canyon Blog and all its contents are under copyright protection.  This week's video and all contents of Hogbats Photography are the creation of Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.

 

Thank you.

 

MjB

          

 

 

 

  

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com hummingbird hummingbird video landscape michael john balog nature photography thermopolis video wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wildlife video wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming wyoming landscape https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/early-morning-september-wyoming-hummingbird-video Sat, 23 Sep 2017 23:32:24 GMT
New Baby Bighorn Sheep Video! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/new-baby-bighorn-sheep-video      It's unusual for Bighorn Sheep to be seen near the few homes in the beautiful Wind River Canyon, an event worth streaking out the backdoor.  Walking into the kitchen in my skivvies to refill my iced tea, I observed a couple of Bighorns having lunch.  Since I was almost naked and didn't want to "scare away" the Bighorns, I shot-back to my bedroom to put on some clothes! 

     Without really looking I tried to put on a pair of shorts, and couldn't pull them up!  I'd gotten both feet in the same leg hole in my haste.  After yelling out a few chosen phrases, I rearranged the shorts and put on a "quiet" shirt (grey).  Running down the hallway I grabbed my 4K camcorder and headed out a backdoor....quietly.

     Hopping over the wall, and standing by a few juniper, I opened the EVF (electronic view finder) and started videoing the mother and daughter Bighorn Sheep.  The little-one is a female that is three months old; they are born in June; latest of the hoofed wild animals in Wyoming.  With my heart running a race and my breathing trying to keep up, it was difficult to keep the cam as steady as I wanted in telephoto; forgot to grab a tripod!  I shot some more "footage" then ran back into the cabin to retrieve one.

     Mental note----use a tripod with the camcorder when shooting something with the zoom lens in telephoto anything.  The tripod is a 1960's iron finger pincher that someone gave me, but it works.  Shooting as much as I could till the ewe and her baby decided it was time to leave, I bid them a fond adios.  You will just love these two Bighorn.... Bighorn Sheep in my Backyard!Bighorn Sheep, a Ewe and her baby, near my backdoor in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      As I've said before, "I know why movie editors get awards."  It's a long, creative process that yields results; in this case 46 seconds of it.  It was very hot for the first-half of September, so take note of the "heat waves."  Also notice the yellow butterflies flying around.  

     Why this ewe decided to take her baby Bighorn down into my neighborhood is a mystery, as so many things that wildlife sometimes do.  It's a thrill being able to video these amazing wild animals in the Wind River Canyon.  I wish I could for the next thousand years....c'est la vie...."such is life."

     For those that need to know, the 4K camcorder is a Sony FDR-AX53.

     Wind River Canyon Blog and all of its contents are copyrighted and protected under international law and was created and produced by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.

Thank you for your time.

 

MjB

 

   

 

 

             

        

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) baby bighorn sheep video bighorn sheep bighorn sheep video ewe hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature video thermopolis wildlife wildlife stories wildlife video wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming wyoming wildlife https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/new-baby-bighorn-sheep-video Sat, 16 Sep 2017 22:47:11 GMT
Photographing Raptors In-Flight https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/photographing-raptors-in-flight      The most difficult thing to do with your camera is to try photographing a bird in-flight; I'm not the first one that wrote this.  An infamous writer-photographer with Shutterbug magazine, by the name of Joe Farace, wrote about this more than a decade ago.  And he wasn't pulling your telephoto lens!

     Over a half century of playing with cameras I've worked in nearly every genre, and nothing moves with the speed of a single bird.  Kids run around and yell, but they usually understand some sort of language; or a stuffed animal.  Family portraits and weddings are notoriously Red-tailed Hawk In-Flight, Wind River Canyon, WyomingRed-tailed Hawk In-FlightRed-tailed Hawk in-flight photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. stressful, but they can be cooperative with a little help.  Portraiture and landscapes just sit there and don't move much.  But nothing challenges eye-hand coordination, and your sanity, quite like trying to image a bird in-flight.

     My favorite birds to photograph are the hummingbirds, as anyone who has seen my website can attest----HogbatsPhotography.com.  But there is nothing like getting a great image of a raptor, especially in-flight.  Their power and grace are unmatched in nature:  Just look at history to see how many nations have used raptors as symbols of their power and influence.  Just finding a raptor can be a real challenge, which of course is your first challenge.

     Finding a raptor may be your first problem, some others seem obvious.  A camera that can shoot many frames-per-second is unfortunately a lot of help.  That twelve thousand dollar telephoto lens I fantasize about is not really necessary, and I do with a lot, lot less.  The pictures in this week's Wind River Canyon Blog were taken with a Canon 300mm f/4 L-series that was purchased used, and has since quit working after years of use.  What was the name of that repair service?

     A shutter speed of 1/1250th was used for these Red-tailed Hawk photos; faster is always better with birds....or running children.  The exposure should be on the raptor, as all else is unimportant to you at that moment.  Secret Tip #1----raptors almost always poop before they take flight!  Hey, lighter is better when you gotta fly.

     Personally I never use a tripod in these circumstances, as I find they just hinder my ability to "get the shot."  My preference is the old-west sheriff's way; just be a good shot.  This kind of eye-hand coordination takes practice.  So practice on anything that moves....a flower in the wind, that bee, that butterfly, a moving car, a running child; anything that moves can be good practice.  This will also make you a much better photographer.  And holding up that telephoto lens will give your muscles a workout! Red-tailed Hawk In-Flight, Wind River Canyon, WyomingRed-tailed Hawk In-Flight, Wind River CanyonRed-tailed Hawk in-flight photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      Every teacher of photography wants you to shoot his way.  I'm here to tell you that what works for you is the correct way.  Image-stabilization is something I use every day here in the Wind River Canyon.  I find that holding down the shutter button half way helps me concentrate on my subject, be it bird or kid; it's also faster to the shot.  Yet, shooting hummingbirds in-flight it is nearly useless!

     As for software, I suggest first using the manufacturers software that came with your camera, as it is made for their RAW files; always shoot RAW....it's much easier to manipulate your images that way.  Don't be afraid to cutout the parts of the picture you don't like:  Too much sky....cut it out, too much of that tree....cut it out.  Make your images great.  I prefer Adobe Lightroom for post-production, your preferences may vary.  Make Your Work Art!

Practice makes you better.  Practice.  Practice.  Practice.

     Wind River Canyon Blog and all images are the work of Michael John Balog, Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming, and all rights are reserved.  Thank you for reading the Wind River Canyon Blog this week.

 

MjB

 

 

      

           

    

           

    

    

     

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds in-flight birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com in-flight michael john balog nature photography raptor red-tailed hawk thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/photographing-raptors-in-flight Sat, 09 Sep 2017 22:29:07 GMT
The Amazing Calliope Hummingbird https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/the-amazing-calliope-hummingbird Callliope Hummingbird, "In Flight" - Wind River Canyon, WYCallliope Hummingbird, "In Flight" - Wind River Canyon, WYCalliope Hummingbird in-flight photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      The Calliope Hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope) is the smallest breeding bird in the United States, yet they're considered to be the tiniest, long distance migrating bird in the world!  Their migration route may take them over 5,000 miles each year!  

     What's even more amazing is their metabolic rate increases over 16 times when they're hovering, and they're smaller than my thumb! What's really cool is they nest each summer right here in the Wind River Canyon, where I get to try photographing these "little jewels."

     The Calliope had a previous scientific name of Stellula calliope and can still be "Googled" by that name alone; Stella means "little star."  In Ancient Greek, Calliope means "beautiful-voiced" and was the muse of eloquence and epic-poetry.  The Greek philosopher Ovid refers to her as the "Chief of all Muses" and she was believed to be Homer's muse for the Odyssey and the Iliad.

     These amazing little hummingbirds are actually quite territorial; I've seen them chase off Robins, Magpies and even Chipmunks.  Yet I've been so close to a male Calliope that we almost touched "noses."  That beautiful reddish-magenta gorget (a piece of armor protecting the throat) can be flared in a mating display that is truly epic. Artistic Photographic Portrait of a Calliope Hummingbird in WyomingCalliope Hummingbird Portrait - Wind River CanyonPortrait of a Calliope Hummingbird in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      Hummingbirds are crazy difficult to photograph, and that's no exaggeration, but, Calliope hummingbirds are one of four species we observe in the Wind River Canyon, and they are not the most aggressive; that title belongs to the Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus).  Their population is estimated to be 4.5 million birds, which sounds like a lot but isn't.  All of them winter in southwest Mexico in the pine forests of the mountains, while I sit and watch it snow! Calliope Hummingbird female, Wind River Canyon, WyomingCalliope Hummingbird, female, Wind River Canyon, WyomingCalliope Hummingbird female photographed in-flight in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

     The hummingbird-portrait photograph on the left is a female Calliope in-flight.  It was accomplished by manually focusing on a spot she comes and goes from a nectar feeder, then shooting away.  A camera with a good "burst-rate" is a must, but be forewarned, in fifteen years of digitally doing this, it's the best picture of a female Calliope I've got!  She has better things to do than pose for me.

     It's September 2nd and all the hummingbirds have left the Wind River Canyon, except for a few young birds migrating through.  I always feel a little "let down" when they leave for their long trip south, but I know that they will be back next Spring, to nest and breed in the magical Wind River Canyon. Calliope Hummingbird, Male, Wind River Canyon, WyomingCalliope Hummingbird Male In-Flight, Wind River Canyon, WyomingCalliope Hummingbird male photographed in-flight in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.

     Wind River Canyon Blog and all it's contents and photographs are protected by international copyright laws....which don't really mean much anyway.

All photographs and writing by Michael John Balog, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

Thank you for reading and viewing my work. Calliope Hummingbird,male-Wind River Canyon, WyomingCalliope Hummingbird male-Wind River CanyonA Beautiful male Calliope Hummingbird in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

MjB

 

 

          

 

 

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming calliope calliope hummingbird hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com hummingbird michael john balog nature photography selasphorus calliope stellula calliope thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/the-amazing-calliope-hummingbird Sat, 02 Sep 2017 22:40:53 GMT
Solar Eclipse Totality Panorama Photograph! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/8/solar-eclipse-totality-panorama-photograph      My interest in astronomy began when my grandfather took me to the baseball field across the street from their home in a little place called Maple Heights.  He was an intelligent man who taught me an awful lot; like how to pee standing up!  That night, with a white refractor telescope, we looked at the Earth's Moon and, I was hooked like a trout:  I was five years old.

     Taking astronomy in college seemed like a given, but I majored in psychology.  At one point in my life I owned an observatory with two Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes.  I've been planning for the August 21st Total Eclipse of the Sun for longer than most of you have been on this planet, but where to view it from?  

     Living in the Wind River Canyon, in the state of Wyoming, meant we would get slightly over 90 seconds of totality right here at our cabin!  Wanting a little more time in totality was one thing, but we would have to leave the canyon for traffic problems never experienced in Wyoming. I naturally planned for the eclipse-of-the-sun right here in the magical Wind River Canyon:  I made the correct choice.

     A keen interest in solar science led me to a glass solar-filter and hydrogen-alpha filter sets years ago, and of course my hummingbird and wildlife photography experience would be loads of help in hopefully imaging this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event.

     Ending up with almost 200 photographs that needed many hours of work, I enjoyed every, single minute.  Working the best images in the Canon software, then Lightroom, I ended up with several phases-of-the-eclipse.  My observant wife suggested I make a panorama:  I used Canon's Photo Stitch.  I tried to make the photograph interesting. Panorama of the Eclipse of the Sun!Solar Eclipse Totality PanoramaA panorama of the Total Solar Eclipse of August 21st, 2017 photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The photograph on the left was designed to accent the red hydrogen-alpha prominences; the middle image was worked to accent the sun's corona, and is actually in black and white; the right image is the best of the diamond ring effect.  I was very surprised how easy it was to see the red, solar eruptions with the naked-eye.  

     All this being said, the Total Eclipse of the Sun was a very moving experience.  And YES, I am planning for the next one.....where?

     The words and photographs in my Wind River Canyon Blog are copyrighted and protected by international law----big deal.

All work by Michael John Balog of the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.

Thank you for reading and viewing my Wind River Canyon Blog.

Till next week, "Keep your camera ready!"

 

 

MjB

 

 

 

        

 

         

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com landscape michael john balog nature photography panorama solar eclipse solar photography thermopolis total eclipse of the sun wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming wyoming landscape https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/8/solar-eclipse-totality-panorama-photograph Sat, 26 Aug 2017 21:07:15 GMT
Wyoming Baby Hummingbirds https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/8/wyoming-baby-hummingbirds   Baby Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon, WY - 2nd Place - 47th Cody Art ShowBaby Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon, WY - 2nd Place - 47th Cody Art ShowBaby Rufous Hummingbird photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming - 2nd Place Winner - 47th Cody Art Show.     When you think about the state of Wyoming, and you make your top ten list, hummingbirds probably don't even come to mind.  Yet, Wyoming is an important ecological niche in the nesting, breeding and migration of hummingbirds.  I know this for a fact after nearly twenty years of photographing hummingbirds in the Wind River Canyon.  No other person in Wyoming has spent as much time with hummingbirds and their young as I have.

     Lesson #1 - Hummingbirds have a language.  This revelation startled me one afternoon a few years ago. Doing something unusual while standing near a favorite nectar feeder on a hot afternoon watching the adult female hummingbirds....I closed my eyes and just listened.  

     The adult female, that was controlling this particular feeder, made a different sound that depended on how the others approached "her" hummingbird feeder.  If the approaching hummer came near, her warning was different than if the bird tried to sit down, and different still if the bird just swooped by.  If she had to stop eating and chase the other bird away, it was a completely different set of "clicks and chirps."  That afternoon I counted four distinct warnings.  

     Lesson #2 - Hummingbirds must to learn to sit-down and eat.  It's easy to tell if a hummingbird is "wild" or "domesticated."  They must hover while feeding from wildflowers in nature, and learn to sit-down at my hummingbird feeders; and there is a learning curve; and just like in humans, some are slow learners.  

     If you watch hummingbirds closely, it's easy to tell which have been born near man-made feeders, and which are too stupid to sit down.  They'll be hovering while the others are sitting and then maybe there is that moment.  During migration, which is going on right now, it's easy to observe which hummingbirds haven't been using human-made feeders, and which have.

     Lesson #3 - Hummingbirds are very curious and fearless little birds.  I always supposed that speed and agility gave them their bravery, but after spending two decades of summers with them I've come to believe it's much, much more.  Unlike so many of the hundred-plus species in the Wind River Canyon, hummingbirds will come right over for a look; me, you, the dog, wild turkeys once, and even their own reflections.  Pattern recognition is how they learn to return to this canyon every year, so they look at everything.  Nothing can eat a hummingbird, so what's to fear?

     Lesson #4 - Baby Hummingbirds are easier to approach than you'd think, and they don't just eat my homemade nectar.  A baby anything is afraid of everything, but not hummingbirds.  A young Rufous Hummingbird wants and needs to control a food source, you on the other hand are not food.  All mammals need a protein source.  Hummingbirds are in the Wind River Canyon for the little bugs; a good protein, but not to my liking.

     Lesson #5 - Photographing hummingbirds is a lot like playing video games.  Reactions need to be lightning quick, so you must know your equipment without glancing down.  I'll shoot hundreds of frames in an afternoon, for that one that may be special.  Yet, my favorite part of summer in the canyon is photographing baby hummingbirds----go slow and concentrate, and do it again, and again, and again.....the two baby hummingbird images below were imaged this month. Wyoming Baby HummingbirdRufous Hummingbird Baby Summer 2017A Rufous Hummingbird Baby imaged Summer 2017 in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Hummingbird Baby Born in Wind River Canyon-Summer 2017Hummingbird Baby Born in Wind River Canyon-Summer 2017Baby Rufous Hummingbird born in Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming, Summer 2017      These are two different Baby Hummingbirds that were born right here in the Wind River Canyon.  They were photographed in the wild and are not "set-up" shots; I shoot images of them wherever they sit.  I do not "put up sticks" for them to sit on, and I have never needed to use a blind with a young hummer.  They are baby Rufous Hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus); they were both imaged early in the morning.  Because they are Rufous they are usually the species exhibiting this behavior, but not always.  A book is the only way of trying to I.D. a species, and sometimes even I am confounded, since interbreeding is apparently common in nature.

     Lesson #6 - Hummingbirds are not in Wyoming and the Wind River Canyon because I make nectar and religiously keep the feeders clean and full.  This is a great place to raise your young if you are a hummingbird, and my "sugar-water" (4-parts water/1-plus part real sugar) is just a nice way of helping them and being a part of their "life-cycle."  I don't interfere any more than I have to, and they don't seem to mind a bit!

     Lesson #7 - Hummingbirds and their young do indeed migrate very long distances, and they don't fly on the backs of geese; as one crazy insisted to me one day!  Geese don't come up this way in the hot summers, hummingbirds do.  When we see geese migrating north in the Fall, the hummingbirds are already far to the warmer southern states.  They are incredible little jewels of a bird, and have amazing capabilities.

     It would be very easy for me to go on and on about hummingbirds, as there is nothing else in all of nature that rivals their beauty and flying skills; enjoy them I do, and so will you.  The video below, if you haven't seen it, is of a young hummingbird just outside my place in the Wind River Canyon. Hummingbird Baby VideoVideo documentary of a baby Rufous Hummingbird that was born in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. All content in my Wind River Canyon Blog was created by me and all rights are reserved.

Michael John Balog, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

Thank you for reading and viewing my work.

 

MjB

                        

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) bird video birds birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com hummingbird hummingbird video michael john balog nature photography rufous hummingbird thermopolis video wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/8/wyoming-baby-hummingbirds Sat, 19 Aug 2017 22:37:22 GMT
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds in the Wind River Canyon! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/8/broad-tailed-hummingbirds-in-the-wind-river-canyon      It's been nearly twenty years since I was high atop that ladder with a paintbrush in my hand, when the first hummingbird flew by and changed my worthless life forever.  I hauled out an old 35mm film camera and tried in vain to get some hummingbird pictures.  But film is not the best medium for a creative endeavor, when your valuable photos are in the hands of a boy that's locked in a small room!  Then, through some weird twist of fate, a very nice fella introduced me to the new world of digital photography.  Now, I was the one with the control of my pictures.

     Having a "bucket list" is all well and good, but in my wildest photographer's dreams I couldn't have imagined where my Wind River Canyon hummingbirds would take me.  Winning numerous awards, and my website HogbatsPhotography.com, reviewed in Shutterbug magazine no less, was more than I could've even dreamed up.  

     My dedication to the nectar feeders brought in nesting Rufous and Calliope Hummingbirds.  But late at night, here in the canyon, I caught glimpses of hummers that weren't supposed to be here at all; at least according to the experts in the books!  A flash of ruby-red near dark was all we ever saw, but I knew what these hummingbirds were; Broad-tailed Hummingbirds (Selasphorus platycercus).  I hoped that someday I could get them to nest in the Wind River Canyon, which has come true, but a good image of an adult male Broad-tailed has always eluded me.

     The Broad-tailed Hummingbird is emerald-green with a ruby-rose gorget that makes him stand out from the crowd.  They are a shy species that are easily dominated by the Tiger-colored Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), whose name and color identify it's attitude.  Yet, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird's wings make a sound that dances in the mountain air like bells.  I wanted to capture an image of one, but never even had much of an opportunity.  With the good breeding population of hummingbirds down in this canyon, we hardly got more than a glimpse of a male Broad-tailed.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird Waving HelloBroad-tailed Hummingbird Waving HelloThe wings of a Broad-tailed Hummingbird imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Monday afternoon my fortune changed while waiting in one of my favorite spots to photograph hummingbirds.  A male Broad-tailed was stopping by the feeder near my bedroom at regular intervals; mainly to avoid confronting the young, male Rufous' that are everywhere this time of the summer.  After almost two decades of photographing hummingbirds in the Wind River Canyon, didn't I deserve a break?  

     When you try and photograph hummingbirds in the wilds of Wyoming, without the aid of flash-units, you take what these magical, little birds give you. Somehow you will never get what you really want....take what it is they give you. This is wildlife photography rule number 74!

     When the little four inch darling (he's the size of your thumb) would swing around for a snack on my sugar-nectar I was ready; or so I thought.  The clatter of the mirror slapping up and down on modern DLSR cameras is enough to frighten your grandmother; hummingbirds aren't too happy about that sound, either.  But, nineteen years and a lot of four letter words later, I finally got a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird in-flight imaged right here in the Wind River Canyon!  As a very rich car salesman once told me, "Sometimes I amaze even myself." Broad-tailed Hummingbird In-Flight imaged in Wyoming!Broad-tailed Hummingbird In-FlightThe first time a Broad-tailed Hummingbird has been photographed in-flight in Wind River Canyon in Wyoming!      Everything must be going right for you to photograph a hummingbird in-flight.  Lots of sunshine, a steady hand, video game-like reflexes, and more patience than seems humanly possible.  I can't afford one of the new silent mirrorless, magical pro-cameras that shoot 20 fps; I have a couple of well-used Canon 7D bodies.  As a very old and very famous photographer wrote, "It's not the camera you use, it's who's behind the camera."  I'm living proof that you don't have to be wealthy to photograph wildlife; just very, very persistent.

*Live for the moment & maybe a hummingbird will fly into your heart.

     Wind River Canyon Blog and all photographs are the property of Hogbats Photography and Michael John Balog; oh, and all rights are reserved----"not that that mean a hill of moose muffins."

 

MjB

    

       

          

           

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming broad-tailed hummingbird hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com hummingbird michael john balog nature photography selasphorus platycercus thermopolis wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/8/broad-tailed-hummingbirds-in-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 12 Aug 2017 20:53:05 GMT
The Great American Goldfinch https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/8/the-great-american-goldfinch      The American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) is aptly named, because these ubiquitous little finches can be seen across the United States.  They are smaller than a sparrow, yet at certain times of the year they are difficult to miss.  The breeding males are a bright yellow with black cap and black & white wing markings; their beaks turn a bright orange during nesting season.  The females also brighten-up considerably during the warmer months and become a beautiful golden color.  They nest in the Wind River Canyon and also spend the winters here.  The American Goldfinch was first described in 1758 in the 10th edition of a book titled Systema Naturae by Linnaeus.  

     The American Goldfinch is the only finch in the subfamily to completely molt, which is why I have such a hard time differentiating them from other finches in the Wind River Canyon winter months.  They are one of the strictest vegetarians of the bird world according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  These small, yellow finches are granivorous; they prefer to eat seeds, like that skinny girl up the street.  There are four subspecies in America.  If you want to bring in the American Goldfinch into your yard, they prefer Niger seeds; commonly and wrongly called thistle seed.

     I ran into an interesting fact while doing some final research into the life of these little finches: Cowbirds are known to lay their eggs in other species nests, devastating the life of the other bird's young.  Yet Cowbirds cannot successfully grow up in an American Goldfinch's nest; it's thought that the seed-based diet is not nutritious enough! American Goldfinch in WyomingAmerican Goldfinch in the Wind River CanyonAn American Goldfinch eating seeds from a flower in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      Yellow is the most difficult color to photograph in the sunshine.  It will overwhelm a digital sensor quite easily, which is only now why I finally have a good photograph of an American Goldfinch.  Sure, I would photograph, or try, every summer in the canyon; I never liked the results enough to put one on my Wind River Canyon website Hogbats Photography.  

     Just the other day, I was having coffee under the juniper when guess who appeared?  As I've written repeatedly in this Wind River Canyon Blog----"Keep your camera ready!"  Mother Nature will always be willing to give you something interesting, so be ready.  The above image was shot with manual settings, to get the yellow correctly exposed:  Settings were 1/800 @ f/10, ISO 400, shot with my favorite 70-200mm L f/4 Canon lens.  

     Basically, I just sat on my homemade bench and shot away till I finally got it right.  Which is a good lesson in persistence, as I've been trying to get a good picture of the great American Goldfinch for (I'm embarrassed to say) a decade and a half!  I have other pictures of him up-side-down wrestling seeds from the flowers from this shoot, but I needed an identifying photo, not one that was cute or funny.  They will probably end up on my Twitter feed @Hogbats.

     Hope you learned a little something from this week's Wind River Canyon blog.  Now, get out of the house and go visit Mother Nature!  It's been proven by science and technology to lessen the stress of 21st century science and technology.

     All the written words and photographs in my blogs are protected by U.S. copyright laws and all rights are reserved, but that doesn't amount to a hill of Buffalo muffins, so spread the word!

     Thank you once again for taking the time to read about wildlife in the Wind River Canyon in the state Wyoming.  

Michael John Balog-Wind River Canyon-Wyoming

 

MjB   

     

 

   
 

 

     

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography thermopolis wildflowers wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/8/the-great-american-goldfinch Sat, 05 Aug 2017 22:07:50 GMT
Brand New Hummingbird Baby Video Summer 2017 https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/brand-new-hummingbird-baby-video-summer-2017      It's that time of the summer again in the Wind River Canyon.  The baby hummingbirds are out of their nests and are everywhere!  I've already gone through twelve pounds of sugar this season, and our little jeweled-buzzers will be here in the canyon for another month!  Many of the adult male hummingbirds have started their long journey south, with many more moving through the Wind River Canyon daily.  

     The canyon has become a breeding-nesting area for four different species of hummingbirds, largely thanks to my psycho-dedication to these magical creatures.  Rufous, Calliope, Black-chinned, and Broad-tailed hummingbirds are all seen and photographed in the Wind River Canyon here in central Wyoming.  Audubon says that most of these species are not supposed to be here....but, I'd like to inform you that they're here to party every summer in the canyon!

     Yesterday morning, just after six o'clock, I set up the video rig to get some fresh footage of a male hummingbird baby acting like the tough-guy in the neighborhood.  They're loads of fun when they try to be the canyon hooligan, and they're quite vocal about it, too.  

     In this new wildlife video you'll see this young, male Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) give warnings, scratch an itch, stick out his tongue, fly-in and take-off twice, ruffle his feathers and give a huge stretch; oh, and poop!  

     It's very early in the morning, and the colors are of course a bit muted....almost pastel in nature.  The early morning summer traffic through the Wind River Canyon can be heard from time to time.  My new hummingbird video has more cuts in it than any I've tried before, and it's a chore!  But, my subjects are beautiful and vibrant, and full of life.  

     Please keep in mind, while watching this new hummingbird video, that he is the size of your thumb!  This assumes you don't have a thumb like Shrek.  Watch for how his breathing shakes the limb he's sitting on, and the cute little shuffle he does.  I hope you enjoy this baby hummingbird video as much as I love Hummingbirds. Hummingbird Baby Video Summer 2017Video documentary of a baby Rufous Hummingbird that was born in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      This new hummingbird video is produced and never directed by Michael John Balog.  This Wind River Canyon Blog is written by Mike and all rights are reserved.

     For many more photographs and videos of hummingbirds, Bighorn Sheep, and other wildlife from the Wind River Canyon visit www.HogbatsPhotography.com.

     This hummingbird video was originally shot in 4K with a Sony FDR-AX53 camcorder on an ancient 1960's, finger pinching, metal tripod.  

*Thank you for your interest in my beloved hummingbirds.

MjB

 

     

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) birds birds of wyoming hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com hummingbird michael john balog nature video rufous hummingbird thermopolis wildlife wildlife stories wildlife video wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/brand-new-hummingbird-baby-video-summer-2017 Sun, 30 Jul 2017 01:07:42 GMT
Helicopter Putting Out a Forest Fire in Wind River Canyon with Video! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/helicopter-putting-out-a-forest-fire-in-wind-river-canyon-with-video      I was watching an old Bugs Bunny cartoon late last night.  It was near midnight and even Bugs couldn't keep my eyes from drooping; I needed sleep.  Shutting off the TV, the only light on in my bedroom in the Wind River Canyon, I started to crawl into bed.  For some reason I turned around and walked to the north windows; it was just a strange feeling; my Grandmother used to get them, too.  Flinging open the curtain I saw a horrible sight....a forest fire on the eastern rim of the canyon!  It's the side we live on!!

     As they say, my heart went into my throat; I started to panic.  Waking my wife Deb, we streaked (ran) out of our home to watch the forest fire.  This isn't my first forest fire, I was here in 2000 when hundreds of thousands of acres burned.  That fire was stopped by the railroad line going through the Wind River Canyon, and strangely enough, no wind.  This forest fire was a gunshot from our beloved cabin!  

     It was another cool night in the canyon, and that was a good thing.  We sat and watched the fire burn juniper and cedar trees, throwing flames and sparks seventy feet into the night!  As we sat and ate our stress like a midnight snack, we made plans as to what was going to be thrown into the old truck.  Times like these are when difficult decisions need to be made; do I have to leave the "dirty magazine" collection?  It is fun to laugh about it all now.

     Around three in the morning it became obvious that we may have been spared the worst of all home owner's fears.  This forest fire was "laying down" way faster than we could have hoped....could it stay this way?  Could I even get any sleep?  

     Early this morning, while shooting video of baby hummingbirds, I realized I could have shot video of the forest fire at night!  It never even occurred to me...."the sum of all fears."  "Maybe next time" seemed like a stupid thing to even think, let alone say out loud.

     This morning a helicopter started dropping water from the Wind River onto the smoldering pines.  I put this video together tonight, because, this is the first time anyone has ever seen a chopper dropping river water on a forest fire in the Wind River Canyon.  I pray we'll never have another chance like this again.  Here is the minute and a half video of today's events in the Wind River Canyon....right here in Wyoming. Helicopter on Forest Fire in Wind River CanyonHelicopter putting out forest fire in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. First time ever observed and videoed in the Wind River Canyon!      While living in the Wind River Canyon, I've experienced hail as large a lady's fist, floods, landslides, forest fires, mudslides, boulders splashing into the Wind River at one in the morning, an earthquake, screaming blizzards, and the only road closed for four days!  It is a dynamic place to live, that's for sure!  And I wouldn't have it any other way; we just love this magical Wind River Canyon....well, except for the snakes!

     Wind River Canyon Blog, photography and videography by Michael John Balog; all rights are reserved.  Visit www.HogbatsPhotography.com for more videos from the Wind River Canyon, and many photographs of hummingbirds and wildlife from the canyon and Wyoming.

Thank you for reading my real-life stories from the Wind River Canyon.

MjB

                 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) forest fire helicopter hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com michael john balog nature photography thermopolis video wildlife stories wind river canyon wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/helicopter-putting-out-a-forest-fire-in-wind-river-canyon-with-video Sun, 23 Jul 2017 02:47:15 GMT
Nature Video of Bumblebees on Horse Mint from Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/nature-video-of-bumblebees-on-horse-mint-from-wind-river-canyon      After the landslides of 2015 bumblebees were practically nonexistent in the Wind River Canyon; few were to be observed anywhere.  All the mud and water washed the bumbles out of existence it seemed.  Their absence was obvious....and last summer was only slightly better for the large, friendly bees.  

     This summer is a completely different story all together.  We have a hive near our cabin in the canyon, and baby bumblebees are literally everywhere!  They may scare the hell out of people, but in my experience bumbles are easy to approach.  Lately, I've been teaching people how to "pet-a-bumblebee."  All it takes is a steady hand and a lot of bravery; I've never been stung or even threatened by one.  They have a lot of work to do and, stroking their "bee-fur" is outrageously good fun.  It's also a great introduction to the weird world of entomology; you know, the study of bugs.

     Over 250 species of Bumblebees are known, but due to loss of habitat and pesticides their numbers in the wild are declining.  They are such good pollinators, but not good honey producers, that over a million bumblebee nests are produced each year in at least 30 factories around the globe!  You may have heard that bumblebees cannot fly.  Bumblebees can fly, because their wings encounter dynamic stall in every oscillation cycle.  

     In the Wind River Canyon, the bumblebee's favorite summer wildflowers are known as Horse Mint, scientifically as the Nettleleaf Giant Hyssop (Agastache urticifolia).  A member of the huge mint family of plants, the horse mint is very prolific in the canyon, and will bloom into November, even with snow on the tiny flowers!

     The nature video below was shot, edited and produced early this very morning, before our Sun rose over the rim of the canyon.  And yes, I did "pet" a few bumblebees today. Bumblebee on HorsemintVideo of Bumblebees on wildflowers Horsemint in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.       This nature video and, the Wind River Canyon Blog, was written, directed, edited and produced by Michael John Balog, and all rights are reserved by the author.  Please respect the work of others.

     For many more videos and photographs of the wild animals and birds of the Wind River Canyon, including many hummingbird photos, visit www.HogbatsPhotography.com

Once again....thank you for reading about the wilds of Wyoming.

MjB 

 

 

     

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) bees bumblebees hogbats photography hogbatsphotography.com horsemint michael john balog nature photography nature video thermopolis wildflowers wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wildlife video wind river canyon wind river canyon blog wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/nature-video-of-bumblebees-on-horse-mint-from-wind-river-canyon Sun, 16 Jul 2017 21:22:02 GMT
Orioles Nesting in Wyoming with a Video! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/orioles-nesting-in-wyoming-with-a-video      It's been nearly two decades since I put up the first hummingbird feeder in the Wind River Canyon here in the Wild West of Wyoming.  After being surprised by the first hummingbird while painting, it seemed a great idea to help the little buzzers out.  Then, one crazy-hot and dry summer day a bright orange bird tried to feed on the nectar feeder!  He was bigger than a finch, but much smaller than a robin; but was he orange!  

     Obviously, it was a Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii) that wanted the sugar-water from the hummingbird feeder.  He couldn't get his much larger beak in the tiny opening of the feeder I'd purchased, but he gave it a valiant try anyway; I just sat and starred, amazed at this beautiful orange bird, and his little darting tongue.  I knew that I needed to come up with a solution for him.

     After purchasing a plastic hummingbird feeder with larger openings, my little oriole came to visit many times during the day; and someone else showed up!  The bird was yellow and silver-grey....stately and stunning; it turned out to be the female Bullock's Oriole!

     Old wives-tales still survive to this day that say female birds are drab, and I would just like to say that the female Bullock's Oriole definitely isn't.  When researching this "new" bird it was a shock to know it was a female oriole.

     Now, nearly twenty years later and nearly four hundred pounds of sugar have gone by, and the orioles breed in the Wind River Canyon every year.  We always have multiple nesting pairs in this part of the canyon; this year is no different.  

Bullock's Oriole,female-Wind River Canyon, WyomingBullock's Oriole,female-Wind River Canyon, WyomingPortrait of a Bullock's Oriole female in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Bullock's Oriole,male-Wind River Canyon, WyomingBullock's Oriole,male-Wind River Canyon, WyomingPortrait of a Male Bullock's Oriole, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

     Despite the fact that observers across our country saw things differently, the books listed Bullock's Orioles in the same Baltimore category.  They may have interbred in the Plains of America at one time, but the species are distinctly different and are now listed as separate species.  You will never see a Baltimore Oriole in Wyoming, or a Bullock's Oriole east of the Mississippi.

     The nests of our orioles are fascinating, suspended and woven wonders of nature's architecture.  They survive horrible wind and rain in the Wind River Canyon that you might think would destroy their nests; they survive even canyon weather disasters.  They are lined with fur from my sled dogs. Bullock's Oriole female Singing on a Hummingbird feeder in the Wind River CanyonVideo of a Bullock's Oriole female singing on a hummingbird feeder in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      The video above is a rare treat....a female oriole singing a tune....just for you!

     I now put up hummingbird (nectar) feeders the first day of May, sometimes earlier if weather permits.  And wouldn't you know, an oriole and hummingbird arrive almost simultaneously now, but they will never, ever eat at the same table; the tiny hummingbirds are intimidated by the "huge" size of the orioles:  Like me trying to eat at the same table with a Denver Bronco's lineman. Bullock's Oriole male imaged in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.Bullock's Oriole-Wind River Canyon,WyomingBullock's Oriole male photographed in Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.    Every year we are amazed at the marvelous beauty of these animated birds; at times they seem like they should have "made-in-china" labels on them.  But they are truly one of Mother Nature's most beautiful aviators.  And they nest and breed every year in the Wind River Canyon....right here in Wyoming.

*Wind River Canyon Blog, and all photographs and videos are produced by Michael John Balog----all rights are reserved.  

For many more wildlife photographs from the Wind River Canyon, including Bighorn Sheep and hummingbirds, visit www.HogbatsPhotography.com.

And thank you for your time.

MjB

   

 

 

 

   

 

 


 

       

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Bullock's Oriole Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Oriole Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wyoming birds birds of Wyoming video wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wildlife video https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/orioles-nesting-in-wyoming-with-a-video Sun, 09 Jul 2017 15:15:01 GMT
Wyoming Black-chinned Hummingbirds! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/wyoming-black-chinned-hummingbirds      Readers of my Wind River Canyon Blog will already be aware that we have something in the Wind River Canyon that even the National Audubon Society says are not in Wyoming.  If you've glanced at the title of this week's blog than you already know the answer:  Black-chinned Black-chinned Hummingbird, Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBlack-chinned Hummingbird, Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBlack-chinned Hummingbird Portrait. Hummingbirds (Archilochus alexandri) nest in the canyon and have for many years now!

     I guess it all started when their usual southern Colorado nesting sites were devastated by forest-fires years ago.  All of a sudden a few Black-chinned Hummingbirds arrived in the Wind River Canyon, and I was more than just thrilled; I never thought I'd ever be able to photograph this species in the canyon.  They weren't supposed to be in Wyoming!  

     The first Black-chinned Hummingbird male (male hummingbirds always arrive first) to arrive in the canyon this year was observed on May 19th at 2:08 in the afternoon; very early even for them.  If they are successful in reproducing, and they are less than half the time, they will return the following year.  I must be doing something right after all.

     Living in the Wind River Canyon with wildlife thriving all around is great fun.  You observe behaviors that remain unseen by almost everyone; it's like knowing and learning a secret language.  Black-chinned Hummingbirds, for instance, are a shy species, yet are sometimes stupid curious.  Every year I have instances where a male will come right up to my face and hover for a few seconds; an eternity in the day of a hummingbird that has spent the winter months in Mexico!

     In most species, and not just hummingbirds, the female is the easiest to get acquainted with, and the best place to start doing wildlife photography:  Things that can eat you are the exception!....don't forget this valuable rule.  Anyway, female hummingbirds are always great fun in the Wind River Canyon.  I even won a 1st Place Award @ the Cody Art Show with a female Black-chinned Hummingbird in-flight a few years ago. 1st Place at the 49th Cody Art Show, Professional Division.Black-chinned Hummingbird, female, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming - 1st Place, 49th Cody Art ShowBlack-chinned Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Winner of the 1st Place Award at the 49thCody Art Show!      The very first year that the Black-chinned Hummingbirds nested in the Wind River Canyon Black-chinned Hummingbird Baby, immature, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBlack-chinned Hummingbird, immature, Wind River Canyon, WyomingThe First Baby Black-chinned Hummingbird Born in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming! I knew that I was on an important mission----try and photograph the first baby Black-chinned Hummingbird to be born in the canyon!  

     After weeks of waiting and daily planning an opportunity presented itself.  This tiny bird, born right here in the Wind River Canon in Wyoming, was waiting for me one day.  I know that this baby-hummingbird wasn't posing for me, but it sure seemed like he was.  

     Not being enthralled with the results didn't matter; I documented an important first:  The first Black-chinned Hummingbird born in the Wind River Canyon!

     Other hummingbirds arrived in the canyon early this year, too.  A Calliope Hummingbird male was first observed on June 14th, much earlier than their usual "first week in July schedule."  And the aggressive Rufous Hummingbird was first seen on the 27th of June, and they never have been observed in the Wind River Canyon this early!  What this early arrival of hummingbirds in Wyoming means is a mystery. Callliope Hummingbird, "In Flight" - Wind River Canyon, WYCallliope Hummingbird, "In Flight" - Wind River Canyon, WYCalliope Hummingbird photographed in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. Rufous Hummingbird Photographed in Flight - Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird male in Flight - Wind River CanyonRufous Hummingbird male photographed in flight in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

     Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures, and they are real and living and mating right here in Wyoming!  For many more photographs of hummingbirds taken right here in the Wind River Canyon visit my website----www.HogbatsPhotography.com.

     All my photographs and the Wind River Canyon Blog are protected by copyrights and all rights are reserved.  Please respect the artwork of others..........

Thank you for your time!

Michael John Balog, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming

MjB

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Black-chinned Black-chinned Hummingbird Hogbats Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rufous Hummingbird Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wyoming birds birds of Wyoming wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/wyoming-black-chinned-hummingbirds Sun, 02 Jul 2017 18:45:19 GMT
A Wyoming Wildlife Pronghorn Antelope Story https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/6/a-wyoming-wildlife-pronghorn-antelope-story      Immediately after my acupuncture appointment last Wednesday I intended to try and Wyoming Mountain BluebirdWyoming Mountain BluebirdMountain Bluebird photographed in Wyoming. photograph a Mountain Bluebird that was in my favorite "secret spot."  The sky-blue beauty was there, because I'd spotted him the evening before.  And to be honest....this area is the best place to observe the famous Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) near the Wind River Canyon or the nearby town of Thermopolis that I know of personally.  

     I've photographed Bluebirds and paintbrush wildflowers at this hidden place for years, with results that speak of the wild nature that lies so close to civilization, yet remains relatively unknown to most people that live in town.  It's a quiet place near a lot of summer craziness.

     It was a blistering late-morning, and too hot for any self-respecting Bluebird to be chasing bugs around.  But not far away was someone I'd heard rumors about lately, a Pronghorn Antelope (Antelocapra americana). 

     Without any doubt the Wyoming Pronghorn Antelope is the fastest land-animal in North America, and one of the most interesting evolutionary adaptations.  Everything about an antelope is designed for speed.  From their padded hooves and lightweight skeletal structure, right down to their hollow fur, they are built for speed.  Their horns are aerodynamic like a jet; they look and run like a Corvette through the sagebrush.  But they are running from an enemy that no longer exists in Wyoming.  You see, they are running that fast from a Cheetah!  And no, there are no Cheetahs in Wyoming....anymore.  Now they run at over fifty miles-an-hour because it is fun to go fast.

     A trick I picked up hunting with old-men long ago proved it's worth once again.  Antelope are curious by nature, and I know this to be true.  You walk at an angle towards your prey, not directly to them.  You will get closer to the wild animal without disturbing them; closer for your shot.  And this Pronghorn was more nosy than most I've had experience with.  He was also in the "Buffalo Pastures" where antelope are seldom seen.  It was exhilarating good fun, but was all over too soon. Pronghorn Antelope photographed in Wyoming.Wyoming Pronghorn AntelopeA curious Pronghorn Antelope male photographed in Wyoming.      "Any idiot can shoot wildlife with a gun."  I've seen it a thousand times in the twenty-odd years I owned a motel in Wyoming, including some very unpleasant ones that still stick in my memories.  It's way more satisfying to shoot wild animals with a camera; just educate yourself, and be cautious.

     The new antelope photo was shot with my favorite lens, the Canon 70-200mm L f/4 @ 1/800, f/7.1, ISO 200.  Software was Canon and Lightroom. 

     All photographs and experiences written about in the Wind River Canyon Blog are by Michael John Balog:  All rights are reserved!

Michael is a resident of the Wind River Canyon for nearly two decades.

*For more wildlife photographs, and especially hummingbird photos, click-on this link to my website....Hogbats Photography.

Thank You!

MjB

 

 

 

         

       

 

          

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Antelope Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Pronghorn Antelope Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wyoming birds birds of Wyoming wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/6/a-wyoming-wildlife-pronghorn-antelope-story Sun, 25 Jun 2017 16:27:24 GMT
Wyoming Bog Orchids and the Hidden Waterfalls Video https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/6/wyoming-bog-orchids-and-the-hidden-waterfalls-video      There's a little island at the lower-end of the spring-fed creek that runs through my place in the Wind River Canyon.  For years, I've watched these strange wildflowers bloom on this little island-in-the-creek here in Wyoming.  They are around a foot tall, with long spear-like leaves in a most striking green.  The wildflowers are greenish, yet somewhat white, and run in columns up the bright stem.  I never knew what they were until I did the research recently.  

     I had never noticed these Wyoming wildflowers growing anywhere else in the canyon's ecosystem, but they had to exist somewhere; they tend to blend-in to their environment and remain unseen.  

     These fascinating wildflowers turn out to be Orchids!  Bog Orchids (Platanthera aquilonis) are their name.  I was a little disappointed.....their name could have been cooler!

     The photograph below was taken by me on the icy-cold creek the other day.  The small spider gives some context to the small (1/4th inch) size of these orchids; and they smell wonderful. Bog Orchids and the SpiderBog Orchids in the Wind River CanyonBog Orchids and the spider in Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Early this morning, I shot some video segments of Bog Orchids blooming by waterfalls that very few people have ever seen.  The editing was finished only a short time ago.  This is an amazing, isolated spot in the Wind River Canyon, and a short-documentary I thought you'd enjoy this great day in mid-June. Bog Orchids and the Waterfall_Wind River CanyonBog Orchids and the hidden waterfalls of the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      All photography, videography and writing of the Wind River Canyon Blog by Michael John Balog----all rights are reserved.

     Visit the Hogbats Photography website for many more wildflowers, hummingbirds, wild animals, and birds of the Wind River Canyon.

     Thank you for reading and viewing my Wind River Canyon Blog this week.  And remember to "keep your camera ready."

MjB

   

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Bog Orchids Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Landscape Michael John Balog Nature Photography Orchid Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wyoming Wyoming Landscape wildflowers wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/6/wyoming-bog-orchids-and-the-hidden-waterfalls-video Sun, 18 Jun 2017 19:11:23 GMT
New Marmot Yearling Video! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/6/new-marmot-yearling-video      A little over a month ago, four little heads popped out of some boulders a stones throw from my backdoor.  Yellow-bellied Marmots are indigenous to Wyoming and we of course have them living in the Wind River Canyon.  Marmots in Wyoming can be very large, with the old males weighing in at over 11 pounds!  But the baby Marmots look like something a child would have in their bedroom; they are very cute, indeed.  

     The weather had been cold and wet at times, but I made it my goal to try and get close to these Marmots, or as they are known in the Wild West, "Rock Chucks."  They don't like the cold, so Yellow-bellied Marmot yearling, Wind River CanyonYellow-bellied Marmot yearling, Wind River CanyonYellow-bellied Marmot yearling in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. when I would see them out of their den it was an opportunity.  I donned my "outfit" and used my double-whistle to identify myself each and every time.  The big male left immediately after the yearlings came out for their "first-light," but the mother was always on patrol-duty.  

     After a loyal month of being wet and cold, I'd made an acquaintance.  This one little Marmot was curiously friendly towards me, and I took lots photographs of the group:  Many more are on Twitter @ Hogbats.

     It didn't take a palm-to-the-head to realize that putting together a video had to be next, if given the right access to his time.  I've learned quite a bit after my time with the "Chucks":  Males are only good for one thing; big surprise there!  All good mothers all over this blue-marble are something to admire.  Kids are always curious about most things.  It's bloody-cold in the morning in Wyoming....even in June!  Marmots have several places they will live and move often:  The video below is of my new acquaintance. Yellow-bellied Marmot YearlingBaby Marmot video from the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Marmots in the west have not been treated very well, as I've written about their slaughter in another of my Wind River Canyon Blog.  Without a healthy predator population they will over-populate a nice neighborhood; there is no perfectly, easy solution.  Yellow-bellied Marmots spend most of their lives underground, and are cute; what more do you need to know?

Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog, and watching my new wildlife video.

All photographs and videos are produced by Michael John Balog, all rights are reserved.

See Wyoming Hummingbirds and other wildlife photographed in the Wind River Canyon near my cabin----hit this link Hogbats Photography.

MjB

       

 

       

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Marmot Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rock Chuck Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wyoming Yellow-bellied Marmot wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/6/new-marmot-yearling-video Sat, 10 Jun 2017 20:24:49 GMT
Wind River Canyon Blog is Back Online! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/6/wind-river-canyon-blog-is-back-online      As it turns out, it's impossible to work on a creative endeavor at the only "good-public" internet access within a hundred miles of my little place in the Wind River Canyon; in Wyoming, just in case you've forgotten where.  The only internet I could get here in the canyon was a dreadful satellite connection that became unusable for my blog; I couldn't even get to the software to program my website, HogbatsPhotography.com.  

     A local McDonald's has the best WiFi around this "dark-side-of-the-Moon," but just try and write a short story down there!  Forget the smells, which are distracting enough, or the crowds, which seem to come in tsunamis.  As I was finishing up a short story that took longer than expected, the internet started going on and off with the regularity of a button-pusher!  It was irritating to be sure, but made me laugh out loud; and reach for another fry again....and again; which is another problem altogether.  

     Feeling defeated by the lack of technology, and I really like to work at my little desk in the Wind River Canyon, I did the human thing....I took time-off.  You could say that I gave up, but I really needed a break after writing a weekly short story for two and a half years; so I gave it up.

     We finally received a much needed hardware upgrade by HughesNet early this week, and I now have an internet speed that I'd only dreamed of for many years....it still costs way too much----"such is life."

Black-chinned Hummingbird, Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBlack-chinned Hummingbird, Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBlack-chinned Hummingbird Portrait.      Now for the real reason I write the Wind River Canyon Blog; life in a Wyoming canyon and all the fun stuff of living in the mountains of the Wild West.  It's very green and lush right now in the canyon, and the wildlife are busy.  Black-chinned Hummingbirds arrived early this Spring, I saw the first one May 19th, a male on my dining-room feeder.  A female was spotted only four days later.  I've observed Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, but, I don't know if they're moving through or nesting here like the Black-chinned, or the Rufous and Calliope Hummingbirds that arrive the first week of July.

     We watched with friends and family as melting Spring snow brought down large boulders with loud, echoing crashes throughout the Wind River Canyon last month.  But the Bullock's Orioles are here as always, and are nesting close by the cabin.  And I worked every single day with 4 cute, little Yellow-bellied Marmots that popped out one morning within sight of my kitchen windows.  I use my notorious double-whistle to identify my presence, and one little "Rock Chuck" in particular responded with curiosity.  Just yesterday afternoon I whistled near his new "townhouse" and the others scattered into their deep-holes, but he came out to see me with a trust that is very unusual. Yellow-bellied Marmot yearling, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.Yellow-bellied Marmot yearling, Wind River CanyonYellow-bellied Marmot yearling in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming, also known as a Rock Chuck.      The Wind River is very high right now as they ready Boysen Lake for the huge snow-pack melt to come from the Wind River Mountains.  This time-of-the-year the canyon vibrates with life and the river and creeks attract wild animals and birds of all kinds.  Yesterday's hike up a nearby trail was intoxicating.  The smell of juniper, cedar, and wildflowers gorging the clean-air with an air-freshener better than any from a can!  Drive through the Wind River Canyon....and stop!  Take a little of your precious time and see what amazing things that Mother Nature is doing in the Wind River Canyon.

     Writing and all photographs by Michael John Balog, resident of the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming----all rights reserved.  

     Visit the only documentation of the hummingbirds and wildlife in the Wind River Canyon @ www.HogbatsPhotography.com

Thank you for reading my blog....I really mean it....thank you.

MjB

 

    

      

    

   

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Black-chinned Hummingbird Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rock Chuck Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wyoming Yellow-bellied Marmot birds birds of Wyoming wildlife wildlife blog wildlife photography wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/6/wind-river-canyon-blog-is-back-online Sat, 03 Jun 2017 21:34:58 GMT
Whipping Snow and The Golden Eagle https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/2/whipping-snow-and-the-golden-eagle      High in the mountains of Wyoming, where no person lives, it's the depths of a terrible winter storm.  The winds don't just howl, they shatter the sky and the snow tears at your face.  A Golden Eagle still hunts for it's prey.  And in some strange coincidence my finger is on the shutter button.

     While  photographing the snow being torn from the Wind River Canyon's rim, another of these "magical canyon moments" just starts to happen.  

     I see Golden Eagles all the time here in the Wind River Canyon, always up high, hunting the places no person has ever seen.  It's cool watching the snow being driven off the mountain cliffs, the eagle flying into the frame is just pure Mountain Bliss; god it's cold here! Blowing Snow and The Golden Eagle, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.Whipping Snow and The Golden EagleA black and white landscape of blowing snow and a Golden Eagle in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      All photography and writing of the Wind River Canyon Blog by Michael John Balog; Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming....all rights reserved.

Visit Wyoming & The Wind River Canyon on Twitter----@Hogbats 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Eagle Golden Eagle Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Landscape Michael John Balog Nature Photography Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wyoming Wyoming Landscape birds birds of Wyoming wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2017/2/whipping-snow-and-the-golden-eagle Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:21:54 GMT
Bighorn Sheep Down By The Wind River Video! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/bighorn-sheep-down-by-the-wind-river-video      Yesterday was another magical day in the Wind River Canyon.  As I've written before, "You don't find Bighorn Sheep in the canyon, they find you."  I was in a northern room of our cabin watching the Olympics when I spotted the Bighorn down by the Wind River and, grabbed my new Sony FDR-AX53 4K camcorder and ran out the front door, down the hill and across the road to the Wind River.  The tall grass is literally high-as-an-elephants-eye, and so green and lush it's intoxicating....God, I love this place.

     There were five of the Ewes (females) out for an afternoon together.  It was about time I got to really use the new 4K cam in-the-field with time pressure.  The new Sony works well, even under stress and a "can't-miss-this" video opportunity.  I shot a dozen video segments @ 100mps; which will probably mean nothing to you.  The resulting files are HUGE, but the resolution is very good considering the lens is "small."  By small I mean compared to my white telephoto lenses for my DSLR cameras.  

     I still cannot get to the programming for my website through my Hughesnet connection in the Wind River Canyon, and I have NO other option.  So here I sit, freezing to death, at the McDonald's twelve miles away!  

     This video, that I edited together late yesterday, is the best Bighorn Sheep-in-the-Wind River Canyon film ever put together.  It was an emotional experience to sit in the deep grass by the Wind River and film such lovely wildlife.  I've had many people ask me how they can see the Bighorn Sheep in the canyon.  I can't find them when I want to......but now I have a new video for all those people, like me, that think the Bighorn Sheep are invisible most of the time!

     I wish I could include the emotions that course through my body and mind when such wildlife moments happen in the canyon.  But as good as today's technology is, the feelings are your own.  Watch how a little Bighorn Sheep finally notices me on the river's edge.  These are amazingly rarer moments on this blue marble than ever before.  I fervently hope that future generation can enjoy these "wildlife moments" and not just see them in old videos. Bighorn Sheep Down By The Wind RiverBighorn Sheep down by the Wind River in the Wind River Canyon, in the state of Wyoming. All writing of my Wind River Canyon Blog and photography by Michael John Balog - Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming----All Rights Reserved.  Visit my website www.HogbatsPhotography.com    

Thank you and, I hope your summer is going as good as mine.

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Bighorn Sheep Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wyoming wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/bighorn-sheep-down-by-the-wind-river-video Sun, 07 Aug 2016 19:17:22 GMT
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar Video! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/7/monarch-butterfly-caterpillar-video      Miss writing my Wind River Canyon Blog I do; kind of sound like Yoda, I do.  I'm writing this at the McDonald's in Thermopolis, because my Hughesnet satellite internet connection in the canyon is too bloody slow!  I can't even get to the programming for my website through their very, very slow service.  I was told by a smart technician on Friday afternoon that their "eye-in-the-sky" is very old, and doesn't work at all well.  So, now when I want to write a blog or upload anything to my website www.HogbatsPhotography.com, I will need to drive the 12 miles into town; the new Hughesnet satellite is not due to be shot into space till December!!  Till then programming my website will now require even more effort.

     Last week, I uploaded a really cool video of a Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar to my YouTube channel.  I shot it in 4K with my new birthday present (to myself), a Sony FDR-AX53 camcorder----review to follow; at some later time.  It's done in a macro-look, and the caterpillar is obviously hungry; a Towhee wild bird and my old sled dog are singing in the background.  I then opened a Twitter account and, got the shock of my life, when I got a "flood" of email about the nature video!  I'm hooked on Twitter already, and I can get to it at the cabin in the Wind River Canyon; some good news, at least.  

     The Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar video is only 30 seconds long....don't miss clicking on it below.  These blogs are obviously going to be a bit shorter:  I don't want to spend an eternity around those amazing french fries; I wasn't even compensated for blogging that! Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar eating a Milkweed FlowerMonarch Butterfly caterpillar eating a milkweed flower; a Towhee and my Sled Dog singing in the background.      I would sincerely like to thank all my readers that have stuck around though my technical disappearing act the last few weeks.  We have a flood of hummingbirds this year and, they are all very early this season.  I hope to use my new 4K camcorder and get something interesting.  

Michael John Balog, Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

MjB

     

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wyoming birds birds of Wyoming nature video wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/7/monarch-butterfly-caterpillar-video Sun, 03 Jul 2016 17:45:00 GMT
Having Issues with Internet from Space! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/6/having-issues-with-internet-from-space      I am having problems with my satellite internet connection; hardware issues I assume.  Now I need an engineer to stop by the Wind River Canyon.  Will be back on my blogging as soon as possible.  In the meantime, visit my YouTube channel for a few new videos.  I am at the Thermopolis McDonald's doing this blog.

Thank you goes out to all my readers; will be back!

 

Michael John Balog

Wyoming Hummingbird, Baby Rufous, Wind River CanyonWyoming Hummingbird, Baby Rufous, Wind River CanyonA Young Rufous Hummingbird born in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, sticking out his tongue!   

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/6/having-issues-with-internet-from-space Wed, 29 Jun 2016 17:26:49 GMT
Black-chinned Hummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/6/black-chinned-hummingbirds-of-the-wind-river-canyon      In my wildest dreams, it would not have been possible to imagine Black-chinned Hummingbirds migrating into, and nesting in, the Wind River Canyon.  You see, they're not supposed to be here at all, so I never thought I'd see one except on someone else's website.  All of the bird-books have maps that will tell you that Black-chinned Hummingbirds are not nesting here.  That would have been the case, except for the forest fires that ravaged southern Colorado years ago.  

     Everyone in the country saw the fires rape the land that year down there.  It devastated beautiful pine forests and homes; destroying prime habitat for many wild animals.  People will rebuild, but where would the wildlife go?  Forests take many years to reach a point where they can support certain bird species again----and I wondered.  

     I didn't have to wonder for very long where the hummingbirds would migrate.  One day in the month of May a little male hummingbird showed up; on the surface not too surprising.  But our hummers (Rufous and Calliope) don't arrive until the very first week of July!  He sat Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, male Black-chinned Hummingbird.Black-chinned Hummingbird, Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBlack-chinned Hummingbird portrait photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. on the electric wire to our little cabin here in the canyon, not far from a popular feeder for the Orioles.  I looked up as he looked down, then he broke the sound barrier as he came over to get a little of my home-made nectar.

     It must have been some sight as I sat there with my mouth hanging open.  I'll never forget the rush of emotions as I sat mere feet away from the very first Black-chinned Hummingbird to ever visit the Wind River Canyon!  What startled me was that this tiny little hummingbird, the size of my thumb, had no fear at all of me.  He wasn't afraid and we slowly got familiar with one another; it was a magical summer, that's for sure.  

     Would they be back next year?  Would they find someplace closer?  Was the Wind River Canyon a favorable spot for them?  I read that Black-chinned Hummingbird nesting and reproductive attempts fail nearly two-thirds of the time, mostly due to predators and people's 1st Place at the 49th Cody Art Show, Professional Division.Black-chinned Hummingbird, female, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming - 1st Place, 49th Cody Art ShowBlack-chinned Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Winner of the 1st Place Award at the 49thCody Art Show! cats.  We saw the baby hummers on our feeders that very first summer----they were successful, but would this be enough to encourage them to return?

     With many, many long hours at my favorite "high-hide" photographing hummingbirds, I got an amazing image "in-flight" of the very first Black-chinned female hummingbird to nest in the canyon.

     This photograph took first-place honors at the Cody Art Show the following summer.  The month of May, that same year, the Black-chinned Hummingbirds returned----they liked it here! and they have returned every year since.  They are here, and nesting right now, as I write this week's Wind River Canyon Blog. Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, Black-chinned Hummingbird Baby.The 1st Black-chinned Hummingbird born in the Wind River CanyonBaby Black-chinned Hummingbird born in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.  

     In my 14 years of experience documenting hummingbirds digitally here in the canyon, I find that of the four species that nest and reproduce here, the Black-chinned males are the most curious of the hummingbirds.  This tiny, little piece of flying magic will dart right up to me, and look me up and down.  This happens every year, and it's a startling experience to have this little jet airplane blast over to see me.  Other people have experienced this here, too.  

     When a wild creature shows this much curiosity and lack of fear, it gives people a nice, warm feeling about Mother Nature.  My wife says that they are trying to thank me for giving them a fine place to spend the summers.  I like to think we started a trend; the picture above is a Black-chinned baby hummingbird---- the first born in the Wind River Canyon!

     

     All photographs, wildlife stories, and the Wind River Canyon Blog by Michael John Balog, Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon....Wyoming; all rights reserved.

     

     For many more award-winning hummingbird images, visit my website, www.HogbatsPhotography.com 

 

Thank you

 

 

 

 

       

       

 

 

   

       

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Black-chinned Hummingbird Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wyoming birds birds of Wyoming wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/6/black-chinned-hummingbirds-of-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 11 Jun 2016 22:03:37 GMT
Wyoming Wildflower Education https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/6/wyoming-wildflower-education      As the days heat up in the Wind River Canyon, wildflowers begin to bloom, and there is always something blooming till it gets quite cold around here.  One beautiful white grouping of wildflowers has always caught my lens.  I didn't know what they were, just that they were eye candy and challenging to "get right."  Of course, now I must research these wildflowers and just maybe pass along some knowledge gained from my journeys here in this Wyoming canyon. Wyoming Wildflowers, Foothill Death Camas, Wind River CanyonWyoming Wildflowers, Foothill Death Camas, Wind River CanyonFoothill Death Camas wildflower photographed in Wyoming.

     It's a big surprise that those lovely, white wildflowers are actually called Foothill Death Camas.  It took me several days to finalize the identification, and make sure of the I.D.  But, Foothill Death Camas?  This can't be a good thing, and it isn't.  All parts of this lovely, white wildflower are poison, even the dark colored bulbs are poison.  Wildlife avoids these flowers, as do livestock, because they taste bad!  They may be pretty, but they're a deadly addition to the wildflower catalog of the Wind River Canyon.  

     As you can see, they are a group of white flowers with yellow stamens that are quite prominent; the stems always being light-green.  They usually stand above most other wildflowers in the area, and there is nothing else that resembles them in the way they grow; a tall/dome-shaped growth pattern.  The real lesson here being, "Don't just pick up a weed to chew on!"

     Our next Wyoming wildflower is one of my personal favorites, and a flower that is truly a western dazzler.  They are widespread in the west, but were unknown till Lewis and Clark cataloged them in 1806 in Montana.  They are tall, blue and gorgeous (like aliens from that movie) and should not be missed.  These are the Silvery Lupine wildflowers.  Silvery Lupine blooms are a foot tall and catch the early sunlight in a magical way.  There's not much more to say about these pretty wildflowers, but, don't confuse them with the tall, purple things; these are blue with a touch of red----here, in the Wind River Canyon. Wyoming Wildflower, Silvery Lupine, Wind River CanyonWyoming Wildflower, Silvery Lupine, Wind River CanyonWyoming Wildflower Silvery Lupine photographed in the Wind River Canyon.

     The Chokecherry is a food for many wild birds and furry animals in the Wind River Canyon, but they were also a food staple for many Native-American Indians.  When these pretty, white flowers turn to red berries, they look great, but taste awful.  When the berries turn very dark, then, they are ready to pick....if you can beat the birds!  The Chokecherry is a large bush with the flowers forming a "short hotdog shape."  They grow best in shadier areas with access to water, like we all do, I guess....

     Here is a surprising fact that came up in my research on the Chokecherry----when the green leaves dry they release cyanide! you read that right----cyanide!!!  Ten to twenty pounds of the dried leaves can kill a horse; I can only imagine how this information came about.  So, the next time you're out picking Chokecherries, tie up your pony someplace farther away.  The photograph below was taken in my own Wind River Canyon yard, down by the creek. Chokecherry, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.Chokecherry, Wind River CanyonChokecherry Wyoming Wildflowers photographed in the Wind River Canyon.      Every time I finally make an identification of a wildflower that is giving me oodles of trouble, I photograph three more that are not in my three ebooks!  The Foothill Death Camas took me a week till I was absolutely sure; I mean, it is poisonous, I had to be sure.  Other wildflowers are known to just about everyone, some growing in the Wind River Canyon have never been imaged before:  A few shouldn't even be here at all.  I have three right now that are driving be nuts, because there is no photo or description anywhere, but eventually technology will triumph----or I'll upload another book.

     At the moment, we have hummingbirds and orioles on our nectar feeders; they are nesting here in the Wind River Canyon.  It's fun to sit with coffee in the morning as the Sun breaks the eastern rim of the canyon, a Black-chinned Hummingbird coming in for breakfast.  Our Bullock's Orioles just love my homemade sugar-mix (one-part real sugar/four parts water), it seems to make the orange of the male and, the yellow of the female, even brighter; it sure makes them crazy.

     Thank you for reading this week's Wind River Canyon Blog, I hope we all learned something this week.  Till next Saturday's blog...."Keep your camera ready!"

*All images and real-life stories by Michael John Balog/Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.  All rights reserved.

*Visit www.HogbatsPhotography.com for award-winning hummingbird images and much, much more of Wyoming's wildlife and wildflowers. 

 

MjB Black-chinned Hummingbird, Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBlack-chinned Hummingbird, Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBlack-chinned Hummingbird Portrait imaged in Wyoming.  

      

            

            

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Camas" Chokecherry Death Foothill Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Silvery Lupine Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming wildflowers, birds birds of Wyoming nature stories wildflowers wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/6/wyoming-wildflower-education Sat, 04 Jun 2016 22:14:43 GMT
New Wyoming Wildflower Images! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/5/new-wyoming-wildflower-images      On a beautiful and steep northern hillside, here in the Wind River Canyon, where wildflowers bloom within sight of my kitchen window, a stream runs ice-cold and clear.  Hopping over the spring-fed creek the other morning, I made my way slowly up the forty-five degree slope to a group of wildflowers blooming.  By the time I finally made my way up the damp-hill, and sat down among the flowers, I was out-of-breath.  Sitting there in the morning sunshine, huffing and puffing, the canyon opening up before me, I started to feel wonderful.  There were a dozen different species of wildflowers blooming all around me----I wish I could somehow wedge these feelings of elation with Mother Nature into this week's Wind River Canyon Blog. Wyoming Wildflower, Yellow SalsifyYellow Salsify, Goat's Beard, Wind River Canyon, WyomingYellow Salsify Wyoming Wildflower photographed in the Wind River Canyon.

     Our first new wildflower can be seen throughout Wyoming, and will continue flowering throughout the summer.  They are a member of the sunflower family, and are quite photogenic; they are known by a number of names because of their widespread nature. These are the Yellow Salsify or more commonly known as the Goat's Beard.  If you've been lucky enough to have hiked around the west, you've probably seen these flowers.  Their seed pods resemble giant dandelions and are fun to "let fly" into the wind.  They are not known as being edible, though the roots can be eaten; they are considered to be an invasive species.

     Our next flower is also yellow, and is blooming right now in the Wind River Canyon.  Native Americans and early-settlers found all parts of the plant to be edible, especially the large tap-roots.  They bloom early in large clusters all over the mountainsides here in the canyon.  The Arrowleaf Balamroot are large wildflowers that attract bugs of all kinds.  They are easily mistaken for Mule's Ears, which have thinner petals and shiny leaves.  The large leaves of the Arrowleaf Balsamroot are fuzzy and light gray-green.  This example sports a bug that is zoned-out on pollen.   Arrowleaf Balsamroot Wildflower, Wind River CanyonArrowleaf Balsamroot Wildflower, Wind River CanyonWyoming Wildflower Arrowleaf Balsamroot photographed in the Wind River Canyon.

     Let us now enter the world of the unknown wildflowers.  I find and photograph a wildflower here in the canyon, and of course I don't know what it is.  The three ebooks I've uploaded from Amazon are absolutely no help, yet they are about wildflowers of the Rocky Mountains!  A search of epic proportions yields nothing, but I don't give up.  For two weeks, I look at pictures of wildflowers and cannot find out what the hell this bloom is.  This very morning at six I can Wyoming Wildflowers, Red Dead-nettle, Wind River CanyonWyoming Wildflowers, Red Dead-nettle, Wind River CanyonWyoming Wildflower, Red Dead-nettle, photographed in the Wind River Canyon. not sleep; the pink flowers look like miniature orchids, the plant, however, does not.  So I sleepily search again, and again.........today, I finally figured out what this unknown wildflower is called----a Red Dead-nettle.

     Dead because the fuzzy-leaves do not sting like other nettles.  The young leaves are edible and can be used in stirfry or salads as a spring vegetable.  The tiny, pink flowers do look like orchids.  But I must say that it doesn't really look all that appetizing, but they are pretty.  The Red Dead-nettle is blooming at this very moment down by the Wind River here in the canyon.  They seem to prefer a spot in the shadier areas near the river.  Nothing else in the Wind River Canyon looks like these wildflowers!

     I am very slowly becoming an expert on the wildflowers of the Wind River Canyon, but there are several that cannot be identified at this time.  It drives me nuts that it's so difficult to find what the names are.  The research I do is usually quite extensive, but I'm no botanist.  It's the "art-of-the-wildflower" that interests me.

     Next week I will blog about three more Wyoming Wildflowers from the Wind River Canyon, till then, "Keep looking down!"  

*All photographs and writing by Michael John Balog/Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming----all rights reserved.

 

MjB
Wyoming Wildflowers, Shooting Stars - Wind River Canyon, WyomingWyoming Wildflowers, Shooting Stars - Wind River CanyonWildflowers, Shooting Stars photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

 

 

                       

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Wildflowers pink wildflowers wildflowers yellow wildflowers https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/5/new-wyoming-wildflower-images Sat, 28 May 2016 23:05:36 GMT
Visiting the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/5/visiting-the-wind-river-canyon      The Wind River Canyon is located in central Wyoming, less than 150 miles southeast Wind River Canyon, WyomingWind River Canyon, WyomingThe Tepees in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. of Yellowstone National Park. While not exactly a destination, except for the few real fishermen, it's widely considered to be the most beautiful ride through a canyon in the state.  The Wind River runs wild and clean, the fishing obviously blue-ribbon. Most of the Wind River Canyon is located inside the Wind River Indian Reservation and special permits are required. Whitewater rafting is available, and I can tell you from personnel experience that it's a trip not to miss, it's an amazing experience; this from a guy that lives in the canyon.  Most people, however, never see any more of the canyon than a fleeting glance as they blast through at 70 mph.   Ram and Baby Bighorn Sheep - Wind River Canyon, WyomingRam and Baby Bighorn Sheep - Wind River CanyonRam and Baby Bighorn Sheep photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

     It's too bad that everyone is in such a hurry, as the Wind River Canyon ecosystem is unique to central Wyoming.  

     Bring along a good pair of binoculars and just maybe you'll spot a family of Bighorn Sheep. The Bighorn are travelers and I've spent many, many dozens of hours hiking and photographing them in the canyon.  In my experience Bighorn Sheep are difficult to spot and only mildly interested in humans.  To spend quality time with such spectacular wild animals is a privilege and a real rush.  Certain days past are singed into my memory, and not forgotten; if you're lucky enough to see them for yourself, you will understand. Vulture, Wind River Canyon, WyomingTurkey Vultures, Dumb & Dumber-Wind River Canyon, WyomingTwo Turkey Vultures photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Bald Eagle, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBald Eagle, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBald Eagle photographed in The Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

     Depending on the time of the year, Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles may be spotted by the keen-eyed visitor to the Wind River Canyon.  These wild raptors are difficult to find and even more difficult to photograph; I've spent an eternity chasing them around in the cold.  In the summer our vultures can easily be mistaken for eagles by the uninitiated. Unlike eagles, vultures are rarely seen alone in the canyon, and closeup one is regal, while the other----not so much.

Wyoming Hummingbird, Young Male Rufous - 2nd Place 2015 Cody Art Show - Photographed in Wind River CanyonWyoming Hummingbird, Young Male Rufous - 2nd Place 2015 Cody Art Show - Photographed in Wind River CanyonHummingbird born & photographed in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. This picture won 2nd Place in the Professional Division @ the 2015 Cody Art Show.      I've photographed more than 120 different species of birds in the Wind River Canyon, and I am sure there are some I may never get to.  My favorites are the four nesting species of hummingbirds:  My summers are planned around their breeding cycle.  A few of our favorites are the Lazuli Buntings, Bullock's Orioles, hawks, owls, woodpeckers, eagles, vultures, Mountain Bluebirds.....well, you get the picture.  

     It's been written the Wind River Canyon is a magical place, and I can personally testify to this.  But to experience this wild place requires you stop and pull over.  Breathe in the clean mountain air; hike down to the Wind River.  Maybe you'll spot the funniest bird in the canyon, the American Dipper; he dances better than you.  

     Last week I saw our buck deer in velvet, the older buck lost a left eye since I last saw him in the fall, probably from sparring.  Even with his one good eye he remembered me; nature can be cruel.  There are beaver in the Wind River Canyon, but they don't like mid-day sun.  Elk can be viewed with binoculars when the herd is near Boysen Peak; we've stopped counting at 60 when the herd makes their rounds several times a year. Rare White Shooting Star Wildflowers - Wind River CanyonRare White Shooting Star Wildflowers - Wind River CanyonRare White Shooting Stars wildflowers-Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.  

     When the weather is not freezing, something is blooming in the Wind River Canyon.  There is always somebody flowering here, including flowers that I still haven't been able to identify.  I have two flowers in photographs that are not in either of two books on flowers of the Rocky Mountain Region.  The challenge now is to somehow figure out what they are.  

     My personnel favorite wildflowers are the Shooting Stars, especially the more rare white.  The Shooting Stars are blooming right now.  

     I've blogged recently about caves in the canyon, and many can easily be seen, but many will never be seen by human eyes.  You're not really supposed to climb here, but there really is nobody to stop you, and I've never been questioned.  You certainly cannot miss the landslides/mudslides that occurred last year, they changed the Wind River Canyon forever, but this is how the canyon was formed in the first place; I was here, and yes, it was frightening.  It was a fascinating thing to witness....and live through.

     At the northern end of the Wind River Canyon, the Wind River magically changes to the Bighorn River; it's called the "Wedding of the Waters."  It really is the same river, just the people over there didn't know it was the same river as the one over here, and nobody wanted to change their mind; I think it's funny.  At the southern end of the canyon is the Boysen Dam and the lake; it's a big lake, so bring your boat, the fishing is great, too.  But most of all, this is what the Wind River Canyon is all about............ Wind River Canyon Landscape, WyomingWyoming Landscape-Wind River CanyonWind River Canyon Landscape Photograph, Wyoming.      Of course, there is Chimney Rock to look out for, and others that have no name at all.  There is a large stone arch, easily seen, at a place called "Windy Point."  It's known as the "Eye-of-the-Needle" and is on the other side of the river.  There are three tunnels for cars, and tunnels that trains blast through.

     I wish that space allowed for me to write all about the wonderful things that the Wind River Canyon has in store for you.  Just take some valuable time and stop to enjoy one of the most exciting wild places in Wyoming.  And just maybe you will see one of my hummingbirds.

 

*Wind River Canyon Blog and all photographs by Michael John Balog/Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.  All rights reserved.

*Visit www.HogbatsPhotography.com for many more wild bird, wildlife and landscape photographs of the Wind River Canyon. 

 

MjB Bighorn Sheep, "Portrait of The Ram", Wind River Canyon, WyomingBighorn Sheep, "Portrait of The Ram", Wind River Canyon, WyomingPhotographic Portrait of a Bighorn Sheep in The Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

  

      

 

 

        

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Bighorn Sheep Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Landscape Michael John Balog Nature Photography Rufous Hummingbird Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wyoming Wyoming Landscape birds birds of Wyoming wildflowers wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/5/visiting-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 21 May 2016 21:07:25 GMT
The Most Beautiful Birdsong in Wyoming https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/5/the-most-beautiful-birdsong-in-wyoming Hummingbird Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingHummingbird Portrait, Wind River Canyon, WyomingHummingbird Portrait from HogbatsPhotography.com, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      In the Wind River Canyon, where I live and write the Wind River Canyon Blog, it's spring when certain birds start to migrate into the canyon. Yesterday, Friday the 13th, I observed the very first hummingbird of the season, a Broad-tailed female, on one of the nectar feeders; this is the earliest I've ever seen a hummingbird in the Wind River Canyon!  She was driven down into the canyon by the extreme cold of the high-country; it was just before 5:30 in the evening:  She is actually on her way north.  Two days Bullock's Oriole, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBullock's Oriole, Wind River Canyon, WyomingBullock's Oriole photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. earlier, the first Orioles (Bullock's Orioles-male) were observed on these very same feeders.  I always put a couple out on the 1st of May for these very special bright-orange birds.

     Bullock's Orioles are fiercely territorial, both male and female will defend their ground and a certain nectar feeder will remain their own.  They love the sugar/nectar that I make in my kitchen, but the feeders must have openings that are large enough for them to shove their substantial beaks into.  The male's song is great, but nothing to write a blog about.  Here is a short video of a young female Oriole on a hummingbird feeder giving us a beautiful little song; give her a listen, it's less than a minute! Bullock's Oriole female Singing on a Hummingbird feeder in the Wind River CanyonVideo of an Oriole female singing on a hummingbird feeder in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      The Wyoming state bird, the Meadow Lark, has without doubt the loudest birdsong in the state and can easily be heard from quite a long-distance; they're singing right now, so get out of the house and go for a hike.  I've never seen one in the Wind River Canyon, and I couldn't begin to explain why; I've had many people ask me.  Their recognizable birdsong is loud and wonderful.

     In my crazy-long experience in the field, usually with a camera, my favorite birdsong has got House Wren, "Building the Nest"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingHouse Wren, "Building the Nest"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingHouse Wren Building Her Nest in The Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. to be the male House Wren.  Just the other day, I was sitting with my eyes closed listening to the singing talents of an energetic little Wren.  In between his vocalizations he was trying to make another male leave the area....at warp-speed!  For hours they will chase each other around at speeds that defy all logic; it's easy to mistake their territorial flights/fights as a hummingbird's, they move that fast.  Yet, once it started to rain/snow they gave up all territorial behavior, and nest building by the uninterested female stopped cold:  On this cool Saturday, the 14th of May, none of the three Wrens are around at all.  Once it warms up next week all singing and nest building will begin again.  

     The male Wren's birdsong is wonderfully complex, and changes slightly when a female chooses his birdhouse; it changes slightly again when the young are in need of protection; he warns others off with his singing talents.  Yet, they're a trusting little bird that you can sit nearby and close your eyes for a listen, too.  Here is a video of a male House Wren doing what he does best....give it a listen....or come visit me in the Wind River Canyon to hear one for yourself. House Wren Birdsong Video-Wind River Canyon, WyomingVideo of a House Wren singing his birdsong in the quiet Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      All over America birds are singing right now, with many more to come.  Find a nice wilderness area near you, wherever you are, and just sit and listen.  The call of a wild bird, or even the hoot of an Owl, will enter your soul with a magic beyond understanding.  You will be different somehow, and this is the real power of Mother Nature----the power to make us all better caretakers of this little blue marble we call Earth.  Take the precious time to let a birdsong entertain you, and see for yourself how a little bird can make all the difference in brightening your day.

     *All photographs, videos and writing of the Wind River Canyon Blog by Michael John Balog/Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.  All rights reserved.

Thank you.

 

MjB
1st Place Winner in the Professional Division at the 50th annual Cody Art Show!Broad-tailed Hummingbird, (f), 1st Place, 50th Cody Art Show - Photographed in Wind River CanyonBroad-tailed Hummingbird "Landing in Wyoming" in the Wind River Canyon. This photograph won 1st Place in the Professional Division @ the 2015 Cody Art Show----Cody, Wyoming. This is a black &white selenium print by Michael John Balog.                      

 

 

 

 

 

       

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Broad-tailed Hummingbird Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wren Wyoming birds birds of Wyoming wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories wildlife video https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/5/the-most-beautiful-birdsong-in-wyoming Sat, 14 May 2016 22:46:33 GMT
Wyoming Panorama of the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/5/wyoming-panorama-of-the-wind-river-canyon      Putting together a panorama landscape image requires planning and knowledge of just about everything; a little experience often goes a long way in these circumstances.  Wanting to put together a panorama of the Wind River Canyon for quite some time, I couldn't get over the "where" factor.  It's a big canyon, but a panorama landscape requires a certain amount of space for the photograph to work effectively.   

     I'd planned on trying out my panorama landscape idea for yesterday, but wildfire smoke from Canada put an end to that great idea, then it started to rain!  It poured sometime after midnight this morning, and is still raining right now as I write this Wind River Canyon Blog.  The canyon is wonderfully green right now, and the migrating birds are starting to arrive.  I motivated myself right out the door this morning in the rain; camera under my jacket as I drove the truck up the Wind River Canyon.

     You really should use a tripod when putting together a panorama image, but I've made them without one!  My favorite, which is not on my Hogbats Photography website, is of the Buffalo in Lamar Valley in Yellowstone; it too was hand held.  Without a tripod you need steady hands and an idea.  It also pays to understand the way panoramic "stitch" software works, and I'm no expert----so here goes.  

     I took three photos side-by-side of my intended Wyoming landscape this morning, overlapping the images ever so slightly.  This is harder to do effectively when hand-holding your camera, remember; I shot RAW as this is the best way to manipulate the files.  I opened the picture files in my camera's software (Canon Digital Photo Professional in this case) and worked the landscape images the way I wanted them to look----but, you must work all the photos exactly the same way or the panorama "stitch" software will not recognize the adjoining pixels from image to image.  I read recently that the panorama software accomplishes millions of computations when putting together the three pictures!  I saved in a tiff file, then worked each of the three files in an HDR (high-dynamic range); also included in Canon's software; now you have three huge files/pictures.

     Canon's supplied software also includes panorama "stitch" software that is effective, simple, albeit crude.  The tiff-file panorama Wind River Canyon landscape image that resulted from this morning's wet and beautiful shoot was over 212 megabytes!!  I then opened the tiff-file in Adobe Lightroom to tweak the image further, adding sharpening and dialing down the bright upper-altitude fog.  The jpeg image saved is still over 42 megabytes!  Remember, this was photographed just this very morning in the Wind River Canyon, here in Wild Wyoming.   Wind River Canyon Panorama Spring 2016Wind River Canyon Panorama Spring 2016Three Image HDR Panorama of the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.      You can see some of last spring's landslides that are active again, even as I write this week's blog, the high-altitude fog and rain giving the image/picture a "fresh-look."  I wish I could include the "smell-of-the-air" in this panorama landscape:  It awakens the senses like some kind of drug, all supplied by Mother Nature.  The ancient canyon-stone foundation on the left-side (from the early 50's?) is the only one like it in the entire Wind River Canyon.  If you can zoom-in on the panorama image, you may also notice certain anomalies left by the movement of fog and software goofs where the pictures are "stitched" together.

     We had a family medical emergency that stopped my daily photographic routine the last couple of weeks, and I just couldn't find the motivation to write the Wind River Canyon Blog last week; hopefully everything fine.

     Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you learned a little something.  Try a panorama of something, you will be surprised at the results----trust me, it's easier than it sounds.

*All images and writing by Michael John Balog/Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.  Visit HogbatsPhotography.com for award-winning hummingbird images and many more wildlife photographs documenting life in the Wind River Canyon.

 

MjB       

                     

 

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Landscape Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wind River Canyon Blog Wyoming Wyoming Landscape panorama panorama landscape wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/5/wyoming-panorama-of-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 07 May 2016 23:08:44 GMT
Photographing Wyoming Fog in the Wind River Canyon https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/4/photographing-wyoming-fog-in-the-wind-river-canyon      Typical spring weather middle-of-this-week blasted the Wyoming high-country with snow, but the snowline never reached down to my cabin in the Wind River Canyon; it was just too warm down in the "bottom-of-the-freezer."  The next morning as the Sun tried to warm up the mountains high-altitude fog rolled into the canyon.  I was told by a few elders long ago that before the Boysen Dam fog was a rarity in the Wind River Canyon.  It's not all that common now, but when fog occurs it's an event worth photographing.  

     With newly fallen snow in the upper reaches of the canyon, and fog swirling through the valley, the Sun was like a laser at times, which makes for uneven exposures.  I've got blue sky and now I don't, there's the Sun, now it's dark.  Weather changing by the second is challenging even for digital photography.  I had blues deep and dark, and whites beyond bright, all in the same photograph.  What I really wanted was that mysterious fog swirling around the pine trees, with the tall canyon cliffs in the background.

     Going through all the digital files later-in-the-day revealed one picture that caught my artist's eye; this file had potential for mystery.  It had all the elements I'd searched for in thousands of files over the years, but it didn't move me!  I played with the sliders in my camera's software till I tired and finally went to bed.  At it again the next day and, trying black and white, revealed possibilities.  A green filter brought out the hidden trees on the far cliffs, and made the closer trees stand out more.  I took down the brightness of the fog a little and opened up the shadows, then took down the contrast and brightened the entire exposure----saved as a Tiff file and quit for the day.  

     Yesterday I opened up the picture in Lightroom and sharpened the image a little, then hit the button for B&W Contrast Low.  Tweaking the black and white sliders revealed details in the image and the swirling fog.  The pines on the far canyon cliffs can be seen through the high-altitude fog.  The photograph shows a bit of the magic the Wind River Canyon has in abundance. Why did monochrome (black and white in photographers language) please the eye?  Why does it work this time and not all the time?  How do I know when to use black and white? Wind River Canyon Foggy Spring MorningWyoming, Wind River Canyon-Foggy MorningA foggy morning in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      A black and white image has always been easier to accept as fine art.  When taking portraits of people I always work my favorite file in monochrome, and it's amazing what black and white can reveal.  There's a timelessness to a black and white image, be it nature or person.  We all know black and white pictures are from long ago, and this it seems is the real magic, and the reason for the resurgence in the popularity of these images.  

     Courses on photography and film always start out in the age of black and white; many schools still teach the ancient photographic art of black and white with all the stinky chemicals.  In the twenty-first century a black and white image is different, and you notice it, and this is what advertisers just love and why you are seeing monochromatic pictures more than ever before.  But is it ART and who gets to choose if it's color or black and white?  Since it's common knowledge that everybody is a critic, the answer is everyone!

     There is no ART RULE #6 that can teach you when to use b&w, sometimes it just seems appropriate and works great, and then there's those other times.  You may be wrong, but you'll never know unless you try it.  I personally love the monochromatic image, but without color the black and white images would mean nothing; they wouldn't be special anymore.  

     Always shoot in color, and this is for two good reasons.  If you shoot pictures in black and white you cannot make the image in color later, even if you want to.  A color file can be worked both ways, a monochromatic image cannot.  The other reason is that most "experts" teach that the color digital file makes for a better black and white image.  Depending on how severe you work the color file the monochromatic image will change appearance; you can add as much mood as you want for the b&w conversion later.  Experiment with monochromatic images for yourself and lets see what happens.......but is it art?

     Wind River Canyon Blog and all images by Michael John Balog/Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

     Visit www.HogbatsPhotography.com for award-winning hummingbird photographs and other birds and wildlife images from the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

Thank you for taking the time to peruse my work.

MjB

1st Place Winner in the Professional Division at the 50th annual Cody Art Show!Broad-tailed Hummingbird, (f), 1st Place, 50th Cody Art Show - Photographed in Wind River CanyonBroad-tailed Hummingbird "Landing in Wyoming" in the Wind River Canyon. This photograph won 1st Place in the Professional Division @ the 2015 Cody Art Show----Cody, Wyoming. This is a black &white selenium print by Michael John Balog.

                             

         

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Landscape Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wyoming Wyoming Landscape wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/4/photographing-wyoming-fog-in-the-wind-river-canyon Sat, 23 Apr 2016 23:28:28 GMT
Brand-New Mountain Bluebird Photographs with a Story! https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/4/brand-new-mountain-bluebird-photographs-with-a-story      In a magical mountain kingdom the King was searching for a birthday gift, a special gift for his Queen.  This year above all others the gift had to be special.  The jewels and dresses were indeed most stunning, but they were not special enough, not this year.  He needed a gift, that when anyone saw it, they would remember his beautiful Queen.  So, the King went to see his greatest Wizard; maybe he could conjure up a gift so special everyone would gasp, since he could think of nothing.  

     The great Wizard sat and thought deep thoughts under the garden junipers.  He knew the King's special gift should be the color of the bluest sky, yet everyone in the magical mountain kingdom should be able to enjoy the gift, too.  And then suddenly it came to him........

     As the Queen opened the rainbow-box, with the ribbon of the purest gold, she wondered what gift the King had given her this year.  Almost silently they rose from the rainbow-box, birds the color of a springtime sky!  They weren't just the blue of the sky, they were all the blues of any beautiful sky anyone had ever seen----they were the Mountain Bluebirds (Sialia currucoides), a gift so very special, indeed.

     I know of a very special place where Mountain Bluebirds nest.  This place is not far from the Wyoming Mountain Bluebird 2016Wyoming Mountain Bluebird 2016Mountain Bluebird photographed in Wyoming. Wind River Canyon here in central Wyoming.  I've known of this nesting spot for several years, and it's apparently a secret.  A back-road that is seldom traveled runs nearby, and no one seems to notice the sapphire-blue Mountain Bluebird at all; just me and my out-of-place telephoto lens.  Yet, spending lots of time waiting and waiting, and following around this stunning male Bluebird has been entirely a huge thrill; as it always is.  

     I love those moments when he comes near to me for a visit----male Mountain Bluebirds are so very curious and friendly.  It could be he's just wondering who's invading his large territory, but it's a visit none-the-less.  I've had many, many encounters with these fascinating birds, and it never ceases to amaze me just how easy it is to observe one, yet very few people have ever seen one for themselves; maybe this is for the best----the best for my Mountain Bluebirds.

          Deb and I were on a date-night when we stopped for a visit with my Mountain Bluebirds very recently.  The beautiful male came right over, then behind me as I spun around for these photographs.  He sat and "posed" for these images, to my utter amazement.  Deb said he seemed to know his picture was being taken; I'm sure he wasn't afraid of me, or ever has been.  The picture of him in-flight was me being prepared for his "stage-left" exit by leaning on the shutter button, when I sensed his moment-of-departure.  This is a combination of learning and practice, with a lot of luck thrown in.   Wyoming Mountain Bluebird In-Flight 2016Wyoming Mountain Bluebird In-Flight 2016Wyoming Mountain Bluebird In-Flight Photographed in Wyoming.

     Moments like these cannot easily be explained, and shouldn't be.  When you're out in nature, and wildlife is as curious of you as you are of them, revel in it.  Be aware that a curious Mountain Bluebird is not the same thing as a curious mother Buffalo.  A thoughtful wildlife observer learns best; the others learn the hard way----learn about nature & be safe!  Till next week, thank you for reading this week's Wind River Canyon Blog.

Wind River Canyon Blog and all Photographs/copyright 2016/Michael John Balog, Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

 

MjB 

Rufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird baby photographed in-flight, Born in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

 

     

          

 

 

 

*equipment - Canon 7D w/Canon battery-grip; Canon 300mm f/4 lens, tripod ring in-place as a thumb-brace; Canon 1.4 extender III; hand-held/no tripod used.  Canon Digital Photo Professional and Adobe Lightroom used for basic adjustments.  

       

                

              

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Bluebirds Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Hummingbird Michael John Balog Mountain Bluebirds Nature Photography Thermopolis Wind River Canyon Wyoming birds birds of Wyoming nature story wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/4/brand-new-mountain-bluebird-photographs-with-a-story Sat, 16 Apr 2016 21:18:49 GMT
Unique Birds of the Wind River Canyon Part 3 https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/4/unique-birds-of-the-wind-river-canyon-part-3      In this, the last episode of Unique Birds of the Wind River Canyon, we will be discussing Wild Turkey, Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey, Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. the largest birds to ever "walk" into the canyon.  In fact, they are the largest wild bird in North America, and when these two came into our lives it was absolutely, crazy nuts.  I'd spotted a group of Wild Turkeys moving through the Fall before, and got one good picture in the middle of a nasty storm. They had never been seen in the Wind River Canyon, but these were Wild Turkeys, and they were in my yard!  All too soon they were gone, and we thought that was that.

     The following Spring two Wild Turkeys just showed up at our cabin and started eating the sunflower seeds, so I carefully tiptoed and threw out some more.  I had a knockdown match with a male during mating season years earlier:  The rich lady with the mansion wanted him and his harem out of her yard, and he didn't want to leave; he left me with some well deserved welts on my belly.  So I approached these two with lots and lots of caution.  Using the same Wild Turkeys, Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkeys, Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkeys In My Yard; Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. techniques one would use to approach a dog, I moved slow and low and never made eye contact....at first.

     The two Wild Turkeys were gone after they were full, but were back that same afternoon; this was my one chance to snap some photos, or so I thought at the time.  My heart was racing at a thousand miles-an-hour as I got so very close, and they seemed almost tame!  The next morning they were at our backdoor looking for food.  They came around every single day, sometimes twice; and this went on daily for six months.  They nearly got killed in the roadway several times as I held my breath, but somehow the "geniuses" survived a Summer in the canyon, and I got acquainted with two of the most amazing creatures on this planet.  

Wild Turkey, "The Big Show" - Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey, "The Big Show" - Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey strutting his stuff this Spring in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      These two Wild Turkeys were friendly and even lovable.  When I would see them coming down the driveway all I had to do was shake the cup of seed, and they would run over to me and make sounds that seemed to indicate they were happy.  Cracked corn was also one of their favorites....they were almost members of the family----heck, we saw them more than family.

     We had picnics that Summer with those two Turkeys; as invited guests of course.  And I got to photograph Wild Turkeys from three feet away, nearly every day!  I shot some video and got some portraits, and sat mere feet away as they slept under a juniper in the heat of the afternoon.  But when the weather started to turn colder, they were gone.  They didn't return last summer, and they were missed by everyone.  Ben Franklin was right....they're really cool! Wild Turkey, "Portrait of Tom"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingWild Turkey, "Portrait of Tom"-Wind River Canyon, WyomingPortrait of a Wild Turkey, Photographed in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Pinyon Jay - Wyoming, Wind River CanyonPinyon Jay - Wyoming, Wind River CanyonPinyon Jay Photograhed in Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      Early last year, early in the month of May, I was outside with a camera on a cold afternoon when I heard a familiar squawk.  Not a squawk that anyone had ever heard in the Wind River Canyon mind you, but a bird sound that reminded me of the Blue Jays of my youth in Ohio; but here in the canyon?  It couldn't be.  And it wasn't----he was lighter blue and even noisier; I didn't even know what species he was.  I shot away with my camera, and at one point was standing on top of the picnic table for a better angle, in dim, lousy light.  I got the frames I wanted and more, as he stuffed himself for his voyage to who knows where.

     That night as I uploaded the picture files I looked him up, turns out he is known as a Pinyon Jay.  Not exactly rare in Wyoming, but never seen around here.  Will he return this May?  Will we see him again someday?  No one knows for sure, but I'll keep an eye peeled.

     And that's it for this three-part series about Unique Birds of the Wind River Canyon, I hope somebody learned something.  I've been spending quality time with one of the most beautiful birds in Wyoming this week, the fabulous Mountain Bluebirds.  So, next week my Wind River Canyon Blog will contain two brand-new photographs of the bluest thing flying anywhere.  

     These magical moments are brought to you by Mother Nature and lots of luck.  I would like to take this time to thank all my regular readers----please pass on all that you have learned.

     Wind River Canyon Blog and all images by Michael John Balog, Hogbats Photography, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming----all rights reserved.

 

MjB

Rufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird Baby, Born in the Wind River Canyon, WyomingRufous Hummingbird baby photographed in-flight, Born in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

              

        

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hogbatsphotography@outlook.com (Michael John Balog) Hogbats Photography HogbatsPhotography.com Michael John Balog Nature Photography Thermopolis Wild Turkey Wind River Canyon Wyoming birds birds of Wyoming wildlife wildlife photography wildlife stories https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/4/unique-birds-of-the-wind-river-canyon-part-3 Sat, 09 Apr 2016 20:48:11 GMT
Unique Birds of the Wind River Canyon part 2 https://www.hogbatsphotography.com/blog/2016/4/unique-birds-of-the-wind-river-canyon-part-2      One of the highest points of my life has been the time I've spent with the breeding hummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon.  Hummingbirds aren't just special creatures that most people never glimpse except in the blink-of-an-eye; they are the closest thing to real magic that you'll ever know.  The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest, long-distance traveler in the western hemisphere, and they nest here in the canyon every summer.  Nearly eighteen years ago I was up on a ladder when I saw my first one----it was the beginning of a quest for answers that I had not questions for.

     We had two species of hummingbirds nesting in the Wind River Canyon at that time, the aforementioned Calliope and the famously aggressive Rufous.  But very late in the evening, close to darkness in the dry heat of summer, I would see a Broad-tailed Hummingbird at one of my feeders.  At first I wasn't sure if I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.  It was all over too soon and I had to wait until next summer, ten months from then!  You see, hummingbirds are in the Wind River Canyon for just two months, maybe a little bit more----it's a long wait.  My fervent wish was that someday I could get them to nest here.

     Then forest fires ran across southern Colorado and the Black-chinned Hummingbirds had 1st Place at the 49th Cody Art Show, Professional Division.Black-chinned Hummingbird, female, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming - 1st Place, 49th Cody Art ShowBlack-chinned Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Winner of the 1st Place Award at the 49thCody Art Show! lost their historical breeding grounds.  Suddenly in June of 2013, early for hummers, a male Black-chinned Hummingbird arrived in the Wind River Canyon; I was beyond ecstatic.  Every book told me they shouldn't be here, yet here they were drinking my home-made nectar!  That summer I made friends with a breeding female Black-chinned.  She trusted my presence and I made full use of her trust in me----her in-flight portrait won me 1st Place at the 2014 Cody Art Show:  Her photo is the one on the right.  Now, the Black-chinned Hummingbirds nest in the Wind River Canyon every summer, but the Broad-tailed hummers still teased my eyes so late at night.

     The following summer my insane wish finally came true, along with the Calliope, Rufous and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds came, too!  I couldn't believe it, but what got them to finally stay here and nest?  I'd like to think is was the great conditions I provided for them to party the summer in the canyon....but I'll never know.  As is usual with hummingbirds, a female was ready to have her picture took.  She would come in for a landing at my favorite photography-hide and I saw the photo I wanted in my head long before I ever Broad-tailed Hummingbird, (f), 1st Place 2015 Cody Art Show - Photographed in Wind River CanyonBroad-tailed Hummingbird,