“Damn Nature, You Scary!”

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First off, I will say that I love snakes and I love birds of prey. So when we moved to south Florida, I was super excited to see so much wildlife in our backyard – pileated woodpeckers, swallowtail kites, black racer snakes, screech and great-horned owls… it’s been paradise!

We have two black racers that live on our yard – one in the front, one in the back (and I’m sure the above photo is a give-away as to how this story ends) – and I really valued them being in our yard! They’re very friendly and are great ecosystem managers. We also recently have been getting broad-winged hawks all over Ft. Myers, and we recently saw this young one hanging out on our daybed in the backyard. I was ecstatic to see such a beautiful raptor just chillin’ in our yard.

Well, yesterday I saw him (or her) swoop down into the yard, grab the smaller black racer, and perch on the daybed. Now, I’m a biologist, I understand how trophic food webs work. But it still broke my heart to see our awesome little snake writhing in the hawks claws, being torn apart. I know, I know, I’m sentimentalizing a snake… but I truly saw him as our little rat-manager buddy.

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I will also say, that in my entire life in Florida, I have never seen this happen, and literally in my own backyard! I was transfixed by the whole process, and alternated between almost throwing up, crying, and being amazed that this was happening in front of me (and seeing it through a 400mm lens made it even more astounding!).

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In trying to better understand this battle, we looked them up online. The broad-winged hawks are on their migration to South America and will sometimes spend their winters in the area. This amazing website describes it as such:

“One of the greatest spectacles of migration is a swirling flock of Broad-winged Hawks on their way to South America. Also known as ‘kettles,’ flocks can contain thousands of circling birds that evoke a vast cauldron being stirred with an invisible spoon.” Pretty damn amazing – it’s now on my bucket list!

So I put these photos in this post, not to highlight how damn scary and gruesome nature can be, but to show a warrior’s death. Even though it was hard to watch, this battle of life and death was a reminder of what a healthy ecosystem we have in our backyard. Hawks eating snakes is just a part of life, and I guess that even though it’s uncomfortable to watch, it’s reassuring that life does in fact go on.

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Stealing photos or just clueless?

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Who is Chasing Snowflakes and why do they have my photo!?

I recently read a blog post about how to reverse search for your own images. This is incredibly useful to see if your photos are being used without your permission. In following all the steps, found here, you can quickly see where your photos are.

Nine times out of ten my photos were where they were supposed to be. But in a few instances I found my photos, with the watermark removed, being used on someone else’s page. This raises the question as to whether the image is being blatantly stolen or just used out of admiration.

Recently a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers – an amazing group who promotes conservation through the lens – had one of his images stolen. He found his image being sold by another “artist” who even had it hanging in his gallery. This is obviously an egregious violation of rights on many levels. And it happens with increasing regularity. There are websites dedicated to calling these thieves out all over the internet.

But then there are the people who like a photo so much they want to put it on their Facebook, or other social media account. Are these people stealing your photo? What do you do if the watermark is removed? Or are they just clueless?

I found a few of my images on people’s blogs. If the watermark had still been there, I would have had no problem with it. I would have been flattered that someone I didn’t know wanted to share my image with the world. But in removing my watermark, my ownership of that image was also removed.

In conclusion, if you find an image you truly love, by all means share it with the world, but give that photographer their due credit. Make sure you know where that photo comes from. Maybe you found it through someone who removed the watermark, but at least do some research and make sure you aren’t infringing on copyright law. In my case, I wrote a polite email asking them to either take down the photo, or use it with my watermark. No one wants to involve the courts, but as photographers we work hard for our craft and are due the recognition for our art.

Brian Skerry

Alexis Meyer Photography:

A truly incredible interview with ILCP photographer Brian Skerry. Had to share!

Originally posted on True To Me Too:

Tiger Shark and Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry up close with a Tiger Shark. (Photo Mark Conlin)

I was having a hard time writing a summary for you because you do so many things, you’re a photojournalist for National Geographic Magazine, you’ve written several books including the upcoming From Above and Below: Man and the Sea, you’ve spoken at TED conferences, you’re the explorer in residence at the New England Aquarium, and you help found the New England Ocean Odyssey.  Can you try to sum it up for me?

It all generates from the fact that I’m a photojournalist.  I’ve been working for National Geographic Magazine for fifteen years and I specialize in making pictures and telling stories about ocean wildlife mostly.  There’s a blend of celebratory and sort of issue based coverage that I do, a lot of the stuff I do these days has an environmental or conservation theme…

View original 8,038 more words

Slogging through external photo websites

500px screen shot

500px screen shot

It seems like there are a million and one different ways to put your photos online. Websites, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Photoshelter, Photobucket… it’s almost like an entirely new language. And that’s just brushing the surface.

For a number of years I had a Zenfolio account, they do photo hosting as well as allowing you to create private portfolios for clients (the main reason I signed up). They have some really beautiful examples of websites that members have created. But after about a year, I realized that I hadn’t been using the site at all (when I received a few emails saying my account was going to be deleted – eep!).

I’d recently read an article about alternatives to Flickr that got me perusing the internet for some other options. I’ve had a pro Flickr account for 6 years, and will always have one. But I’ve also had accounts (or at least free trials) for  Photobucket, SmugMug, Photoshelter, Zenfolio, and now 500px.

I’m still on the free trial for 500px, but so far it seems superior to all the other sites I’ve tried. It mirrors Flickr in that you can upload photos with the option to create sets to organize said photos. Also like Flickr, people can comment on your photo and make it a favorite. Where it deviates however, is that there is also the option to vote for and like a photo. Upon uploading my 1st few photos, within minutes the community had begun providing feedback on the images – which was a welcome and surprising event.

There is also the option to create private, password protected sets of photos. This is the exact reason that I had used Zenfolio. It’s a must for client photos, and 500px makes it insanely simple to create a private photo set. Another added bonus is that you can link your photos to a market – essentially a very easy way to sell your photos.

The only downside I can see to 500px is the lack of the ability to customize your page. You can write a bio, upload a profile photo, link to your numerous other pages, etc. But you can’t customize the background and other such things, like Zenfolio provides for. But that aside, it’s a wonderful photography community and really fits exactly what I was looking for. Feel free to check out my page. And good luck slogging through all the great photo hosting sites out there! Hope this has been helpful.

Hawk in Four Mile Eco Cove

Hawk in Four Mile Eco Cove

1st exploration of Lee County’s wilderness offerings.
The 4 Mile Eco Cove is the closest park to our new house – and is actually right across the water from our street (it’s nice to see a stretch of land devoid of light at night). The boardwalks are great and we even saw baby raccoons, that were definitely not afraid of us. They have little huts set up in the Caloosahatchee RIver around the park, which will be excellent for paddling! Can’t wait to see what else is out there!

My 1st Photo

1st photo copy

I have an obsession with old photos – especially old family photos. So as I was digging through piles of photos, I found this one. I honestly remember taking this photo when I was about 6 or 7 years old. My dad called me outside to the pond and showed me this little frog hiding in the lily. I grabbed his film SLR (thinking back I don’t know if I’d trust a child with my camera around a body of water), laid on my stomach and took the shot.

I love it for its simplicity, and the fact that it’s the 1st photo I remember taking. I’ve since framed it and hung it in my office as a reminder of my long love of nature photography and for motivation to get out there and keep adding to my portfolio!

After a Long Hiatus: A Press Release

It has been so long since I last wrote on here! But that is mainly due to a my new job: as the Sierra Club’s FL Panther Critical Habitat Campaign Representative. Fighting developers, protecting habitat, saving species…. it’s my dream job! In the past 5 months, I have lived this job all hours of the day, which has left little time for photography, unfortunately.

However, I had to share my latest press release for the job. This impacts every person in FL who loves wildlife and green spaces. If not for the photographic opportunities in FL, and the deep appreciation of nature I developed as a kid thanks to that wilderness, I would not be who I am today. This shady deal would lessen species protection, so please share and inform the public!

Thanks!

Digital Photography School Article

Reflections over the Sounds

Wow, it has been an insanely long time since I’ve posted anything on here! I’m super embarrassed and a little sad that I’ve definitely let this slip in the chaos of life.

Well, here’s a link to a post by Digital Photography School that I have a few photos in
By the way, DPS is an incredible site to learn so much about photography! Hopefully this will be my motivation to get this thing going again! I miss photography and writing about it!

Incognito Camera Bag: Kelly Moore’s B-Hobo

Kelly Moore’s B-Hobo

I will admit – I am obsessed with camera bags. I already have a borderline hoarding problem with purses (some girls like shoes, I like bags), that I gleefully relish! I’ve always loved camera bags – with all the little pockets, dividers, straps – I’m a firm believer that there is a perfect camera bag for everyone’s needs. The problem is settling on just 1 need. The more dynamic the bag, the better.

So I’ve started seeing these camera bags for women that look like purses. They’re fashionable and don’t scream, “I have a huge DSLR in here!” They also double as regular purses, so you can have the usual purse things that we lug around (wallet, phone, glasses, etc.), while still being able to fit a camera and a spare lens. They seemed perfect. Read the rest of this entry

Cigar Seller

Cigar Seller

Last month I went to Key West for the 1st time – pretty sad since I’m a Floridian, born and raised. It was gorgeous – I loved the history and the kitschyness of it all. The weather wasn’t that great, but it did afford us the opportunity to walk everywhere and do all the touristy things that a blazing sun wouldn’t have allowed us to do.

We found a Mexican restaurant on Duval (which actually had incredible conch fritters and Sangria!), and across the street was this little old cigar seller. He seemed like such a unique person – a face with a history in a tiny shop, selling hand-made cigars in Key West. He was fascinating and I’m sure had some great stories.

I’ve always loved street photography, but am wary about taking people’s pictures. I’ve held off on taking pictures of people out of cultural respect, as well as just not having the courage to go up and ask permission. For this shot, I did the whole, “I’m not taking a photo – just looking through the lens,” – I think I need to work on my craftiness skills. I guess it’s a pretty common conundrum with photographers – how to approach a person without being disrespectful in taking their photo – and something I hope to work on in the future. This ended up being one of my favorite photos from the trip.

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