Acorn Woodpeckers and Their Granary Tree

October 25, 2020 at 6:36 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, San Luis Obispo County, Video, Wildlife) ()

Male acorn woodpecker at granary tree

Acorn woodpeckers abound in this part of California, which is known for its oak savannahs. Blue and valley oak are the most common, with valley oak tending to be larger and the blue oaks more likely to grow on hillsides.

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Tule Elk at Their Finest

September 15, 2018 at 2:48 pm (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Video, Wildlife) (, , )

The biggest herd of elk I’ve ever seen under control of one alpha male was along the Pacific Coast Highway just north of San Simeon, California the first week of September. He ruled over 35 cows and half-grown calves, with 10 other bulls – some with huge racks – grazed peacefully. One scrawny male challenged him while I was there. Take a look.

The first part of the video was in mid-afternoon, so the heat waves interfered with the quality. But I returned an hour before sunset for the best light, and they were closer to the road. A few horses even joined them in grazing.

He spent a lot of time rounding up his harem in a fairly tight bunch, so no interloper could snatch them away.

The testosterone keeps the bulls pretty wound up, and he made a few mating attempts with a cow who seemed receptive. It seems the females also mount the males as well, which could be a sign of affection and desire. Watch the video if you don’t believe me. Read the rest of this entry »

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Monarch Grove, Pismo Beach

February 5, 2018 at 8:00 am (Butterflies, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Video) (, , , , )


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Most of us will never make it to the wintering site of millions of monarch butterflies in Mexico, but smaller groves of migrating monarchs make their winter stopover in several places on the California Coast. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Tornado Kind of Day

October 22, 2017 at 11:52 am (Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Time-lapse, Video) (, , , , )

Funnel cloud forming

We didn’t actually see a tornado, but we almost did. This funnel cloud shaped up very nicely as viewed from Chattanooga, Oklahoma around 6 p.m., Oct. 21. My photographer friend recognized a storm spotter vehicle and we turned around to follow. As the squall line came in, it looked like some snaggle-toothed clouds were trying to make themselves into tornadoes, which had been predicted. (Technically, they aren’t tornadoes until they touch the ground.)

This funnel took about 3 minutes to form in the video, but I condensed it to 30 seconds. It didn’t quite have the energy to reach the ground, but we received a tornado warning on our phones as we watched it. The spotter (you can see the vehicle on the horizon to the right) may have called it in. We made it back to Lawton before severe thunderstorms hit, but this squall line formed around five small tornadoes in the area before the evening was over.

Thunderclouds from Hackberry Flat

Our initial plan that day was to visit Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge to see the sandhill cranes, but the dire weather predictions made us stay closer to home. I’m glad we did. We visited a small state park an hour north, then headed to Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area.

My friend is doing a photo collection of Oklahoma murals, so we stopped in Cordell so he could add this one.

Ornate box turtle

This ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata, was found wandering in a cemetery. The red eyes mean it’s a male. Female eyes are yellowish brown.

He checked me out every so often to decide if I was safe.

We also saw a coyote on top of hay bales.

Red tail hawk

At Hackberry Flat we began to hear thunder in the distance. It was sunny and breezy and we looked around, surprised. The skies took on a great deal of drama as the cold front met with the warm, humid air to the north and west of us.

The red-tailed hawk added its own flair to the wind-blown backdrop.

Cotton fields surrounded the area, and at times looked like snow.

The skies changed by the minute. We knew we should head home, but we squeezed in as much photography as we could. The severe weather was to our north and moving away from us.

Little tails threaded down from the wall cloud now and then, then were reabsorbed. We made it back to Lawton before we were hit with thunderstorms from this supercell. The KSWO-7 meterologists were busy busy busy last night keeping track of the little tornadoes and large hail in our viewing area, but thankfully all we got at my house was wind and rain.

Another Oklahoma experience!

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Total Eclipse of the Sun

September 3, 2017 at 4:02 pm (Nature, Nature photography, Night Sky, Photography, Time-lapse, Video) (, , , , )

Solar eclipse as viewed from the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary along the banks of the Platte River, Gibbon, Nebraska, August 21. I used a Nikon D750 with an 80-400mm lens for the stills and the video of the eclipse’s ending, and a Nikon D600 and Canon SX60 for landscape videos. A solar filter was used on the lens prior to totality.

Since I live a day’s drive from the path of totality of the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, I decided to make the trip to near Kearney, Nebraska to see what may be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Booming Grounds

April 7, 2017 at 7:40 am (Bird photography, Nature, Nature photography, Video)

The dance and song of the greater prairie chicken in Nebraska is worth the long trip to see this!

The machine-gun fire of still camera shutters obscures the woowoowoo “booming” but if you turn up the volume you can hear its constant drone in the background. There were two dozen males on this lek in Nebraska sounding off and putting on a display for the three hens that finally flew in.

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Seattle Women’s March video

January 29, 2017 at 1:36 pm (Seattle, Video) (, , , )

I thought I posted this already.

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Critters of the Wichitas – Videos

May 20, 2016 at 7:15 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Video, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife) (, , )

Fort Sill Army post and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge share the same habitat and the same wildlife. These birds in the video were at Fort Sill’s Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area, which borders the refuge.

The refuge also has a herd of purebred Texas longhorn cattle, which sometimes use the road to get from one grazing area to another, to the delight of visitors. Although they aren’t “wildlife” they are very popular, and simply the most beautiful and unique cattle around.

Several prairie dog towns allow easy viewing of the native black-tailed prairie dogs. Their pups were out by April, grazing on grasses and seeds, and their tails tend to show the black tips more than their parents tails do.

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Riders in the Sand

November 28, 2015 at 8:54 am (National Parks, Video) (, , , )


I just happened to be in a great spot to photograph these trail riders returning from an extended ride at White Sands National Monument, New Mexico.  I had been looking for a vantage point to photograph the sunset without any of the numerous people in the picture.  But I didn’t mind these people, not one bit. Read the rest of this entry »

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Simple Tips to Better Photography

August 1, 2015 at 12:06 pm (Bird photography, Black-and-White Photography, Colorado, Colorado birds, Dinosaur National Monument, fine art photography, Infrared Photography, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Time-lapse, Video, Wildflowers, Wildlife) (, , , )

Sunset at Mid-Hills campground

Visual Poetry

When I was an interpretive park ranger at Dinosaur National Monument last summer, I created a photography program to give amateur photographers ideas on how to improve their vacation photos.  The “Simple Tips to Better Photography” was a non-technical tutorial on the art of seeing. With today’s do-it-all-for-you digital cameras, most of the technical stuff is already done by the camera, and often done quite well.

But what snapshooters need to learn most is what I call visual poetry.  They need to learn how to make a compelling photograph.  Too many people don’t use their telephoto lenses to their best advantage, and that is one of the most important tools they have to capture the compelling part of the photograph.

Although this presentation is focused on landscape and nature photography, the same can be said about photographing people.

I began my presentation with a discussion about visual poetry, adapted for general audiences: Read the rest of this entry »

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