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My first field trip during Winter Wings was with Paul Bannick in and around the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.

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I paid close attention to his every word in yesterday’s workshop, so my camera was ready and I was ready!

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About a dozen photographers had plenty of room to spread out in our school bus that took us to the first eagle sighting.

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Still early, a bit dark, we had learned how to let more light into our sensors and clicked away as the pair of eagles came and went from their nest.

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It was difficult to choose which images to share out of the many I took.

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The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge was amazing in spite of overcast skies and threat of rain.

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We watched swans and geese take off and land, especially after an eagle ‘fly by’.

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There were literally thousands of Tundra Swans and Greater White-fronted Geese.

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Tundra Swans are another of my favorites.

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We saw a few Sandhill Cranes and lucky us, we caught them dancing!

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I didn’t count the Bald Eagles but they were plentiful … and as usual in a group, fighting over food.

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There were also thousands of Snow Geese.

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They were especially sensitive to eagle fly overs and took off at every sighting of a Bald Eagle.

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They usually landed not too distant from where they left.

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Looks like a pair of Tundra Swans having some alone time away from the group.

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I have a series from this incident…a Great Horned Owl flew across a field then landed in the grass where we could barely see him.  A Northern Harrier buzzed overhead & dove near the owl several times.  Can you see the owl?  He’s directly below the Northern Harrier in this shot, hidden by grass.

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There was a plethora of Red-tailed Hawks floating in the sky for us to capture.steider-studios-field-trip-bannick-2-17-17-18

Bald Eagles and other raptors perch on utility poles.  Generally there is only one bird per pole, so this shot with an adult and juvenile Bald Eagle was fun to see.

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To my delight we also found a Rough-legged Hawk!  I am getting to know this raptor quite well.

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Another Red-tail ~ a juvenile that hasn’t fully developed his red tail yet.

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I had to yell “stop the bus!” when I saw this coyote in a field.  I rarely can grab my camera in time at home when I see them and he was so beautiful.

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He stood there posing for a bit then ran off with a glance over his shoulder.

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Our last stop for the day was back in Klamath Falls where Black-capped Night Herons roost in trees along the Link River near the Favell Museum.

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We noticed Barrow’s Goldeneye in the river as we watched the herons…

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…and a few interesting Mallard hybrids!

Later in the afternoon I enjoyed a class learning intermediate and advanced raptor ID that I am most grateful for!  My next post will chronicle a fabulous field trip in search of raptors.

Our keynote speaker that night was Chas Glatzer.  My friend and I sat in the back, expecting to leave early because we were so tired from a full day that began at 5am.  We were literally the last to leave.  We didn’t want to miss an opportunity to talk with and thank Chas for an exceptional presentation.  I love that all three keynote speakers are ethical about capturing their wildlife shots.  Chas’s parting words still ring in my ear as it applies to wildlife photography, “Do the right thing”.

I don’t think I’ve addressed ethics in my posts, but if you haven’t thought about it I would never bait my subject or interfere with its life in any way.  I don’t whistle, rustle the brush or do anything that would turn its attention away from eating, feeding it’s young, sleeping, hunting or even just to direct it’s attention to me.  I’m truly grateful and appreciate any opportunity I have to see birds and wildlife; and love sharing what I capture with you.

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New Year’s Day 2015

January 3, 2015

Steider Studios.Juvenile Bald Eagle in flight.Lyle Point.1.1.15

As in years past I took a New Year’s Day hike to enjoy nature & see what interesting critters I could find outside, in spite of the cold 13º when I left the house.

Steider Studios.Bingen Pond

It was a gorgeous sunny clear day and a friend was willing to brave the cold with me.  We started at Bingen Marina, looking for swans at the Pond.

Steider Studios.Quail at Bingen Marina

There wasn’t a swan in site, but we found a flurry of activity from Quails scavenging for food under the fallen leaves near the picnic tables.

Steider Studios.Quail Group at Bingen Marina

Usually they manage to hide in brush before I can grab my camera so I was happy to catch them. I should’ve counted, but I think there were at least a dozen!

Steider Studios.Lewis's Woodpecker at Rowland Lake.1.1.15

We made a quick stop at Rowland Lake where we watched two pair of Lewis’s Woodpeckers.

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I love these gorgeous birds and am always thrilled to see them.  Other than the woodpeckers, it was fairly quiet at the lake.

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A couple dozen waterfowl swam on the south side of Rowland Lake.  Until they heard my car stop.

Steider Studios.Juvenile Bald Eagle in tree.Lyle Point.1.1.15

This time of year, the main event is Bald Eagles!  This juvenile was pretty close to the road, but camouflaged by all the branches.

Steider Studios.Juvenile Bald Eagle eating.Lyle Point.1.1.15

No wonder he stayed and let me photograph, he didn’t want to leave his breakfast!

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Another Bald Eagle juvenile near the beach let me get pretty close.  He seemed just as curious about me as I was about him.

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Balfour was our next stop as that’s where many Eagles congregate.  I counted close to two dozen eagles, mostly soaring high overhead.  It’s difficult to get close enough for great photography at Balfour.

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This juvenile at was pretty close to the hiking path and I love the contrast of blue sky.

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My biggest surprise at Balfour was finding my first Acorn Woodpecker. I sure hope he’s still there when I return so I can get a better picture.  He was so fast, I just took what I could get of him!

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Our last stop of the day was the Hood River Marina where a flock of sweet little Goldfinches were lunching on a tree by the river.

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Our last bird of the day, was a Great Blue Heron who let us take his portrait.  We crept as close as we dared, then left him in peace.

Happy New Year everyone!  I think my goal for this year is to inspire you to get out and enjoy nature more!!  xoxoxo

Great Blue Heron photo-bombs Swans at Bingen Pond.

Great Blue Heron photo-bombs Swans at Bingen Pond.

I love how this Great Blue Heron photo-bombed my Swan shot.

Ring-necked Ducks in a 'fly by' with Swan at Bingen Pond.

Ring-necked Ducks in a ‘fly by’ with Swan at Bingen Pond.

Today I went back to the Bingen Marina hoping for a couple of do-overs because my camera settings got skewed a couple of days ago and of course I didn’t notice.

Great Blue Heron at Bingen Marina near the pond.

Great Blue Heron at Bingen Marina near the pond.

But you know there are never do-overs in photography or life – only new opportunities!

Red tailed Hawk overlooking Bingen Pond.

Red tailed Hawk overlooking Bingen Pond.

New opportunities are always on my horizon.  In one way or another.

Scrub Jay at Bingen Marina.

Scrub Jay at Bingen Marina.

Wasn’t it just 20 days ago I spoke of wanting more time.

Sparrow at Bingen Marina

Sparrow at Bingen Marina

I should have remembered that saying “Be careful what you wish for”.

American Kestrel on Snowden Road.

American Kestrel on Snowden Road.

Due to a family emergency, I cancelled all upcoming art shows and put my online shops on vacation.

Merganser Taking Off in the Klickitat River.

Merganser Taking Off in the Klickitat River.

I spent 10 days at Providence-Portland Medical-Center with a loved one.

Trio of Juvenile Eagles at Lyle Point.

Trio of Juvenile Eagles at Lyle Point.

I am full of gratitude that we are all on the road to recovery now, but what a nightmare it was.

Juvenile Bald Eagle in flight at Lyle Point.

Juvenile Bald Eagle in flight at Lyle Point.

I left thank you notes all over that hospital.

Juvenile Bald Eagle in flight, Lyle Point

Juvenile Bald Eagle in flight, Lyle Point

The RNs, CNAs, Docs, Food Service people, Cleaning Crew – even the Cafeteria Staff were enormously compassionate and kind to me and my family.

Scrub Jay at Bingen Marina

Scrub Jay at Bingen Marina

They are the ‘Earthly Angels’ among us.

Steider Studios.Juvenile Bald Eagle at Balfour

Steider Studios.Juvenile Bald Eagle at Balfour

Many heartfelt thanks also went out to family and friends who held us up in prayer and good thoughts.  Sent daily (sometimes hourly) messages.  Brought me food.  Sent us a Christmas tree!  I love you all!!

Northern Flicker at Balfour.

Northern Flicker at Balfour.

Back at the ‘Ranch’, I am trying to do nothing but enjoy precious time with my loved ones.

Bald Eagle on a snag along the Columbia River.

Bald Eagle on a snag along the Columbia River.

I’m thinking 2015 will be quite different from my usual mach speed, ‘say yes to everything’ way of working.

American Wigeon at Bingen Marina.

American Wigeon at Bingen Marina.

Not sure yet how I’ll accomplish that, but I look forward to giving it a try.

I think this is a Greater Scaup at the Hood River Marina.

I think this is a Greater Scaup at the Hood River Marina.

And it felt REALLY good to take a deep breath, get out in fresh air and back to nature with my camera just two days ago.

Bald Eagle in Flight at Balfour.

Bald Eagle in Flight at Balfour.

Wishing you & yours a 2015 that is everything you hope for.

Happy New Year

January 1, 2014

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I had a glorious ending to 2013 and a fabulous beginning to 2014 chasing eagles along the Columbia River.  They congregate where the Klickitat River meets the Columbia River.

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Fog has covered the river most days with sun breaks from time to time.  I’ve been traversing the Columbia near Lyle daily this last week and plan to continue until the eagles are gone.

Steider Studios:  Juvenile Bald Eagle.1.1.14

Today, eagle expert Tim Pitz led a small group of us on an ‘Eagle Outing’ along the Balfour trail from the Memaloose Tasting Room in Lyle.  To our astonishment, this juvenile stayed perched on the trail while our group carefully and quietly made our way around her.  Tim pointed out the blood still on her talons and her swollen crop indicating she had just eaten.

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Prior to the event I was at the water’s edge looking for a Kingfisher that I recently discovered.  He didn’t disappoint.  I was lucky to see him dive in the water twice just after his call that sounds like maniacal laughter.

Steider Studios: Bonus Bird.Kingfisher

Here’s another shot of him from a few days ago when I first discovered him.

Steider Studios:  Goose in Flight

After today’s event the river had filled up with people fishing so I headed home.  Stopped at the Bingen Marina in time to catch some geese flying off, but I saw no more eagles.

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Yesterday I was lucky to catch this hawk flying.  I’m told it’s a juvenile Red tail.

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A couple days ago a juvenile bald eagle graced me with his presence.

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The same day I was lucky to have this bald eagle fly right in front of me.

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And this motley juvenile was the only eagle on the beach while I searched for the Kingfisher.

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Yesterday a friend and I missed this heron hiding in a tree as we hiked by.  Fortunately her husband pointed him out to us as we hiked back out!

Steider Studios:  End of County Road

The last few days have been amazing.  I’m so lucky to live here, in the Columbia River  Gorge.  I can’t wait to see what unfolds tomorrow!  And I really can’t wait until my new Tamron 150-600mm lens arrives!

Chasing Eagles

January 12, 2012

When people ask “what inspires you?” I want to show them photos I’ve taken near my home in the Columbia River Gorge.    The Pacific Northwest is full of spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife, but this area defines rugged awe-inspiring beauty.

Today I was awake, dressed and in town before sunrise, sitting in a parking lot along the Columbia River waiting for friends.   I was graced with pink skies as the sun woke up, framing Mt. Hood with a splendor that took my breath away.

What were we doing so early,  you ask?  Heading to the Klickitat River where eagles can be counted in the dozens on some days, we were hoping for a lively show this morning.

Last week I counted 16 in the same spot and watched in amazement as they soared overhead, singing to one another.  This morning there were only six, but we were thrilled to spot them in surrounding trees.

Did I mention it was 20 degrees?  We were cold, so stayed less than an hour before our fingers were too numb to push our shutter buttons.

Back in our semi-warm car, we drove to the head of the Klickitat River where it flows into the Columbia.

We counted five young eagles, but no white headed birds.  Four were sitting on a slag and the fifth was soaring over the sandbar.

Our next stop was Doug’s Beach, where I’ve seen eagles perched on tree tops next to the Columbia River.

We saw three bald eagles flying against the canyons, but my camera would not reach that far, so I shot photos of us instead.

We crossed the Columbia and traveled west to Meyer Park, another great eagle watching spot, but there were none to be seen on the Oregon side of the river this morning.

If you look close, you can see ice surrounding the inlet.

Our last stop of the day was the Hood River Marina where a flock of geese congregated on the expanse of lawn between the museum and DMV.  No eagles, but big birds nonetheless.

My friends tell me I need to upgrade my point & shoot to a DSLR.  They’re right, but if I don’t get back to the studio I won’t have anything to trade for the $$$ I need for that upgrade!

Take flight.  Get inspired.  Be creative.  Chase eagles.

If you like this post, sign up to receive an email for future posts so you don’t miss anything.  It’s easy, just click the box at the top right of this page that says ‘Sign me up!’ and type in your email.  It’s right under the yellow close-up photo of my work.

Taking off

I am amazed at how busy this season has started out!  I’ll tell you about that in a minute, but first I want to talk about my play date.   I love big birds and when I see one (anywhere, anytime) I pull over, grab my always-close-at-hand-camera and take as many photos as the bird allows.  Mind you, this is a point and shoot camera…a good one, but nonetheless not one that can really capture a great shot unless the bird happens to be very close.  My friend Charlene feels the same way about stopping to photograph birds … or anything else for that matter, so I promised her a play date for her birthday.  She has a great camera with a telephoto lens, and I can hardly wait to see her photos.  I’ll share them with you by editing those she sends into the bottom of this post.

Through the branches, we could see 5 eagles

We found a great spot close to the Columbia River, but off the beaten path where a dozen or so eagles were soaring and circling a food source.  It was cold but clear and the thrill of watching and trying to photograph them made us forget about everything else.  In a way it was frustrating trying to get my little camera to do something it wasn’t made to do, so rather than fight it, I decided to enjoy the ride and shot what I could.

Landing strip

As you can see, this shot is blurry, but it was incredible to watch these large birds, symbols of freedom, land one after the other onto this tall, narrow snag.

Woolly Bear

As we left, I found something my camera was very good at photographing, a Woolly Bear!

The Dalles Dam

And a petty landscape.  We stopped for lunch at The Bistro, inside Waters Edge Health and Fitness Center where we happened to meet the director, who graciously showed us around.  It’s a wonderful facility including a spa, conference center, excercise room and so much more.

Back in the studio I have way too many projects going on.  Several private commissions, a couple of public and educational proposals just finished up and sent out, as well as gearing up for a busy ‘show’ season.

If you’re in the Hood River area, please stop into Good News Gardening during the month of March where Charlene Fort and I are sharing a wall to display our glass. I’ll have butterflies, fairies, ladybugs and wallpockets. What more could you want for the garden or to hold your garden’s treasures?  Have a bite to eat with friends at the cafe.  Oh, and they have plants too!

The end of March you’ll find me heading to Las Vegas for the big Glass Craft and Bead Expo.  I know I’ll see many of you there – be sure to say ‘hi’ when you see me!  You’re welcome to stop into my classroom in the late afternoon when we’re finishing up from our day’s work.  Better yet, sign up for a class!

The Pines Tasting Room in Hood River will be hosting a show in which all participating artists from the Gorge Artists Open Studios tour are featured.  You can stop in during the First Friday opening on April 1st, or anytime during the month of April to see an example of the studio tour artist’s work.  Taste some fabulous wine while you’re there!

Bite of the Gorge” takes place on April 9th, a feast of a fundraiser for Columbia Gorge Arts in Education.  Most artists paint a ceramic plate for the event, but I’ve been donating glass plates.  I’m better at glass than I am at painting ceramic and I want them to have my best.  Taste and silently bid on art.  Fun!

April closes with the huge Oregon Glass Guild “Glass Gallery” in Portland.  April 29 through May 1st.   There’s more….too much more, so for now, I’ll go back to creating glass to fill all my upcoming events.

Don’t forget, when Charlene sends her eagle photos, I’ll post them here.

By the way, if you like my posts, please feel free to click the appropriate buttons below to share with your friends!

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