Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Block Creek Natural Area: 2010 Workshop and Upcoming Fall Season

My friends over at Block Creek Natural Area have provided two nuggets of information to pass along.

The first is that David Cardinal, renowned nature/travel photographer and workshop facilitator, will be doing a workshop on their ranch next spring. David's work is "on display" so to speak with an image of a Leopard in the current National Wildlife Foundation calendar. Tip top stuff considering that other photographers featured in the calendar include Art Morris and & Art Wolfe.

Dates for the workshop are from April 25th to May 1st--prime season for both the migrating birds as well as the year-round residents. Cost is $2250 and includes the workshop and local transportation. More information about this opportunity can be found on his page devoted to the workshop which includes a series of 20 images he made during the scouting trip for the workshop in late April this year. Mr. Cardinal is also doing a workshop in the Rio Grande Valley the week prior to the Block Creek workshop at some of the Lens & Land properties.

Additionally, Block Creek has opened their booking calendar for the fall season. With the ongoing drought in Texas and hundreds of thousands of birds migrating from North to South, food will be scarce. This should make places where food and water are available very active as the birds stock up on needed energy for their trip to Winter grounds. Sounds like a perfect storm for some outstanding photography opportunities.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Petersen Ranch

It is with great disappointment that I have to share that the Petersen Ranch is no longer available for photography. I visited the ranch last spring and had an incredible time. Bob Petersen is an outstanding steward of the land and an even better host. But as the saying goes, Life is what happens when we're making other plans.

And speaking of other plans, if you had plans of looking for a ranch to shoot at in that basic neck of the woods, there are a number of other fine ranches in that basic vicinity that all fall under the Hill Country Nature Photography alliance. Visit their website for more information.

American Goldfinch (Male), The Petersen Ranch, © 2008 Jim Miller

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

San Angelo and South Llano State Parks Update

A good friend & fellow blind photographer passed on the following information regarding these two shooting locations:

San Angelo State Park: Heavy numbers of doves (assuming that it's both White-winged and Mourning), though there are quite a few juveniles making the rounds. Specifically Northern Cardinals and Pyrrhuloxia, but also a young Curve-billed Thrasher. Also present in the blind area have been orioles and Northern Bobwhite Quail. This makes me happy as there were good numbers of juvenile quail from last year that were making the rounds before I left and I'm happy to hear that they're surviving the summer.

South Llano River State Park: The only thing really said was that the Painted Buntings are thick this year.

Thanks for the updates, Bill, even though in both cases it makes me yearn for home...

Image: Juvenile Northern Cardinal (male), San Angelo State Park (Sept 2008), © Jim Miller

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Where has the time gone? And where have I gone? And why am I talking in the 3rd person?

Okay, I've neglected this blog quite a bit, but I do have a reason (or an excuse). Back in early January I mentioned in this post that I took the Graduate Review Exam® and did really well. Well, for the purposes of this blog, I did too well. But for my life in general I did well enough, thank you. I was accepted for a very selective graduate degree program up in Ohio--one of 9 people in the country to get picked up for the program. No, it wasn't an MFA program in photography--that will have to wait for another few years...

But the time frame that I had to leave in was incredibly short. So short that I left the blog sitting idle while I got moving north and have been up to my neck in it since I arrived.

So what happens to the blog? Awful good question. Obviously my weekly trips to San Angelo State Park just aren't going to happen, though I am working some things in the background to hopefully make things better for y'all in the coming years.

I will be making semi-regular trips back to West Texas to take care of business and financial matters. And when I go back, undoubtedly my camera and tripod will be in tow. I expect that after I complete this degree program and meet the contractual obligations that came with it that I will be back somewhere in west Texas, most likely in San Angelo.

I have a small circle of photographer friends who have offered to periodically feed me information about what is going on in the blinds, but I am actively looking for others who will tell me about their experiences. You can always contact me through the address for the blog: blindblog@jmillerphoto.com. No need to be as verbose as I have been over the last year or so. A quick description of conditions at the blind and a list of what you saw and I will do the rest and provide you credit and a mention for your web site or online gallery (i.e. Flickr, Smug Mug, etc) to show off the images that you made.

I have also put the offer out to a number of the private ranches that offer blinds that I will publicize events going on at their ranches or even do status updates of what is showing up to their blinds at no cost. I'm a big fan of these folks and if I can add a little free advertising for these folks, all the much better.

I will also, as I come upon them, highlight similar birding structures where I am in Ohio and venturing into Indiana and Kentucky since both are very close. I have a line on one bird blind near Cincinnati and I am still exploring other possibilities, though admittedly my free time is very limited.

So stay tuned and send in your info...

Image: Green Heron, Eastwood Metropark, Dayton, Ohio ©2009 Jim Miller