Bergman Slough Super Moon

Coyotoes howl in the distance as the frost super moon rises over Bergman Slough. Smoke from a prairie fire lingers in the air to enhance the mysterious aura of the night.

Starved Rock Canyon Walls

Deep inside Illinois Canyon, the glowing St. Peter Sandstone cracked walls surround a burnt-out tree. Once a home to birds, insects and small animals, the charred tree truck now precariously rises above fallen autumn leaves in an attempt to make its last stand.

Inside Ottawa Canyon, green tarnished boulders fall like teardrops from the the glowing St. Peter Sandstone canyon walls. Autumn leaves and a surviving fern surround the sandstone rubble.

American Bird Conservancy Report

I am especially thankful when I see one of my photographs on a magazine cover. This photograph of a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was on American Bird Conservancy’s 2016 Annual Report. The photographed was taken at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Cook County on a springtime rosebud tree.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a relative of the American Robin. The obvious difference is their unmistakable colors; a crimson breast on a white chest framed by its black head and wings. Along with its colors the other way to identify a Rose-breasted Grosbeak is through its song. When you think you hear a robin listen a little closer, if you hear “an extra sweetness to their song as if the bird had operatic training” it’s the Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Click on the link to see the American Bird Conservancy 2016 Annual Report.

Eagle Visions

By looking through an imaginative lens, the allure of unaesthetic images can be freed to create an alternative vision. The different perspective unlocks the unseen beauty of these eagles.

Three Amigos

Red sky at night, eagles’ delight. Read more ›

Backwards Tuxedo in a Straw Colored Hat

The bobolink travels over 12,500 miles from southern South America to spend some time at Springbrook Prairie in DuPage County. Its beautiful plumage, often described as a “backwards tuxedo”, a white back and black underparts along with a straw colored yellow hat on its head make it a unique songbird in North America.

Like many other birds, the bobolink is diminishing in numbers. Poisonous pesticides and shrinking habitats are taking a great toll on the bobolink and most other birds.

Backwards Tuxedo

A bobolink perches on a dying goldenrod stem in an emerald grassland. The bobolink has a white back and black underparts, similar to wearing a tuxedo backwards, along with a brilliant straw-colored patch on its head. The colors of this bubbling, virtuosic songbird make it unique in North America. Read more ›

Bird on a Wire

A white dove on a wire dreams of places to go and things to see in the wild blue yonder.

A white dove on a wire dreams of places to go and things to see in the wild blue yonder.

Queen Anne’s Lace

Whether you consider the Queen Anne’s Lace invasive or an elegant delight, its delicate beauty is a sight to behold. The bright white flowers of the Queen Anne’s Lace can be found almost anywhere, lining our Midwestern highways or in open prairies. Their pink petals surround tiny lace like flowers which in turn hid an almost unseen a solitary purple flower that blossoms in its center. The next time you are out for a drive, look at the road edges, I am sure you’ll see the Queen swaying in the wind.
Queen Anne's Lace

Secrets for Gorgeous Flower Photos

Woodland flowers seem to bring life back to the world after a long, cold, and sometimes drab winter. Their subtle beauty in a rough and rugged environment make these flowers a rewarding challenge to photograph. I recently shared many of my tips and techniques in the Shutterstock Blog article 6 Photographers Share Their Secrets for Gorgeous Flower Photos.

The most important advice that I can give anyone who photographs (or just enjoys being) in a natural environment is to leave the area as untouched and pristine as when you arrived. Never leave evidence of human intrusion, this will help keep the environment healthy and thriving for many years to come.

The wildflowers pictured above are woodland phlox that were sprouting over a fallen tree. I noticed these flower as I was walking on a forest trail. To the left of the log (and out of the photograph) was a batch of poison ivy that I carefully avoided. As I stated previously, their are may challenges photographing wildflowers but the results can be extremely rewarding.

Springtime Robins

Recently, I was fortunate enough to be asked by Shutterstock Blog to share some tips for photographing my favorite springtime subjects. Immediately what came to my mind were birds. Birds are wonderful to photograph in the springtime because they are so active. Whether they are migrating through an area, feeding off of the newly blossomed trees or building new nests, birds are always a delight to watch and photograph. One of my most treasured experiences as a photographer was sharing time with a family of nesting robins. To my delight the robins paid no attention to me and continually fed their young a steady diet of worms.

The photograph to the left is one that Shutterstock Blog used for the article. Along with the image, I provided several tips and techniques that I took advantage of while photographing the robins. The article, Photographers Share Tips on the Best Springtime Subjects includes my thoughts as well as the techniques and ideas of several other photographers who also enjoy springtime photography.

Attracting Hummingbirds and Orioles

A ruby throated hummingbird hovers over a solitary bright red monarda blossom in our backyard. We planted bee balm (monarda), trumpet vine (campsis radicans) and butterfly bush (buddleia) in our garden with the specific intention of attracting hummingbirds. With the use of some additional sugar water feeders, hummingbirds are in are backyard throughout late spring, summer and finally into early autumn. Initially attracted to the sugar water, the hummingbirds will eventually forego the feeders and sip the nectar from the flower blossoms. To show their appreciation of our gardening efforts, these tiny acrobats hover and dance for us all summer long. Link to Audubon’s Guide to Attracting Hummingbirds and Orioles to find more information about creating your own hummingbird garden.