Category Archives: wildlife photography

Persistence Pays Off


I know how difficult it can be to photograph roadrunners – I’ve tried for years – but I’m always not ready when they cross the road in front of my car! Seriously – when I have my camera/long lens in the passenger seat, ready, I never see one. But put the camera away, and I cross paths with about 2-3 a day when driving around the desert. Thankfully, this year, I was on foot with my Tamron 150-600mm lens, ‘stalking’ cactus wren building a nest, when I heard the call – no not that call – but the call of the male roadrunner. It was behind me, and I slowly and carefully backtracked to the dirt road to try and spot it. And there is was, running away from me, again – but it would stop and look back, and I played the game – walking when it walked, stopping when it stopped, and each time gaining a little on the space between us. Slowly, it felt I was no longer a threat, and it started to come back towards me, ironically, and then hopped up on this rock. It bowed it’s head in a courtship gesture, cooing to it’s partner hiding somewhere in the bushes. The plan was to offer her the gift of this lizard. But in the few moments it perched on the rock, I managed a series of images and I was so grateful! The whole process took about 40 minutes, but patience paid off, as it usually can, in capturing this moment.

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Grace and Beauty


I’m on an Alaska theme currently – but that’s because I’m editing my huge collection of images from all my past photo tours I’ve led on the M/V Delphinus with Dolphin Charters. It’s been an incredible journey – the whole of it – in all parts of southeast Alaska, aka the Inside Passage, since 2007!

One year, on our last day, we were heading towards Juneau, Continue reading »

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Me Looking at you looking at me



Grizzly bears typically don’t make eye contact unless they are challenging or being challenged. They walk past each other and are fully alert and communicating something with their walk/body language, but they don’t usually look at each other directly. They do the same with humans, where they have habituated to us; in the places I go to photograph bears in Alaska, they walk by and look at you with a ‘passing gaze’; we call it ‘studied indifference’. But the cubs? well, that’s another story!! They haven’t learned that trait, or perfected it, and they will look at us with wonder and curiosity, like this little one. You have to wonder what it was thinking as it watched us. I know we were all thinking ‘how cute’ but what do bears think about us, if anything?

I know as nature photographers we’re not supposed to anthropomorphize wild animals, but come on – how can you look at this bear cub and not think about a teddy bear? When the cubs sit like this, they look like giant teddy bears, and you want to go up and scratch their ears or something. Of course that would not be a great idea, lol, but it sure makes me connect to them.

I’ll be leading another small-group photo tour in August 2017 to photograph bears.  I’m taking deposits now, with an early bird discount. See the webpage for more info.

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Also posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, nature photography, workshops & photo tours

House Finches in Flight



They say practice makes perfect, but in this case, I think I simply got lucky!! I was practicing, however, over and over again, to capture these house finches as they skirmished in the air. A nearby feeder was their target and they’d squabble and land on this barrel cactus and it was great fun to watch and to photograph! I won’t tell you how many images I threw away – because the wings weren’t right, or birds overlapped, or half of the bird was great and the other half, well, wasn’t even in the frame! lol. But with persistence, and patience, I managed to get a few that I liked, like this image. The most fun was that I spent the time with my good friend Wendy Kaveney, who has been practicing this herself in her desert backyard outside of Phoenix, Arizona. It was a great time, and we’d spend each morning watching the birds and photographing Gila woodpeckers, Gilded Flickers, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrashers, Mourning Doves, Verdins, Quail, and the sneaky Harris Antelope Squirrel who’d get into the food, too.

I recalibrated my Tamron 150-600mm lens with the Lens Align Kit and I’m so glad I did. If you think you don’t need to do that with your long lenses you bought, think again! I was able to make mine even more accurate by doing the test.

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