Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Morning on the Refuge

I left early to be at Squaw Creek NWR at sunrise this morning. The forecast is for colder and wetter weather over the next few weeks, and I wanted to get the chance to shoot the birds before they migrated further south.

The morning stayed overcast, so the light wasn't great. Also, the geese are not roosting at the refuge. The water levels are low, with some of the marshes dry. The reports are that the geese are staying nearby as some deeper lakes.

But that didn't mean that there weren't lots of opportunities to see and photograph wildlife. There are over 100 swans on the refuge, tens, of not hundreds, of thousands of ducks, pelicans, coots and the local songbirds and deer as well. The slideshow below will show you the best images from the morning.

All images were taken with the Nikon D7000 / Nikkor 300mm f/4 / TC1.4 combination. Processing was done with PhotoMechanic / ACR / CS6 Photoshop.

Enjoy the birds !

Monday, December 3, 2012

Foggy Morning

Friday night the weather alerts were going off: "Heavy Fog Watch". Which to me meant a photo opportunity !

Saturday morning opened with some mist before dawn, and the fog grew deeper as dawn approached. I headed to a hillside meadow area that I had not visited before. The hillside faced the rising sun and I was hoping for a low lying mist filling the valley.

The fog was much more than that. At the peak it filled the valley and covered the hilltop to well above my head. It also drenched the grasses in a heavy dew.

The light changed and shifted as the morning went along. From a few peeks at color near dawn to a glow when the yellow sun started burning the fog away.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Football - Bethel @ Missouri Valley

The NAIA Football Championship Series quarterfinals were played on Saturday November 24th. The highest ranking team remaining in the playoffs are the Missouri Valley College Vikings from Marshall, MO. On Saturday they met the Bethel (TN) University Wildcats on their home field.

I had the opportunity to go to Marshall to photograph the game for the Bethel Wildcats. From the sidelines it was obvious that both teams were quality teams. The game was hard hitting but played within the rules. It was a close game with both defenses frustrating the opposing offenses.

The Vikings won the game 10-7, earning the opportunity to host another home game for this upcoming weekend's semifinals. A big difference in the game was that the Wildcats drove inside of the Vikings 10 yard line four times and the Vikings defense held, preventing them from scoring any points on those four opportunities.

The following are a few of my favorite images. My favorites from the game are found in this gallery, and the full portfolio is found here.


The technical part: a Nikon D7000 w/ Nikkor 300mm f/4 + TC1.4II, and a Nikon D90 w/ Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8. Post in PhotoMechanic and ACR7.3

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

At the Refuge

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge is north of Kansas City. It is a primary stop over in the fall for migrating waterfowl. This is the prime season to visit in order to observe and photograph the migratory birds. Right now there are over 200,000 snow geese, over 100,000 ducks and various other coming through such as swans, hawks, bald eagles and pelicans. You can see the latest count survey here. And along with the visitors there are many native wild residents.

It was a beautiful day in the 60's. The skies were clear and the breeze was gentle.

I hope you enjoy the images!

Late Sun

On Alert


Waxing Moon

The details: Nikon D7000 & Nikkor 300mm f/4 + TC1.4 (effective focal length 420mm). Post in PhotoMechanic, ACR 7.3 and CS6.

YES.... 'Waxing Moon' is a composite. But both images were shot with the same rig from the same location. I was not able to catch the geese crossing the moon, but I had several good images of geese and the moon and it was natural to combine the two. It was very easy as the scale was the same and sky colors matched almost exactly.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A New Season

With November here football is wrapping up at the small college level. One more week for NAIA schools and the playoffs begin the following weekend.

The first games of the basketball season began over the past week. I had my first opportunity to cover a game this weekend. Here are a few images from the game. Enjoy!

The details: Nikon D7000 & Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8. Post in Photo Mechanic and ACR 7

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pope's Creek

We are out exploring Southern Maryland this week. Thank you very much to Paula Marquis for showing and suggesting so many great places!

One that we've explored is a landing called Pope's Creek. The calling card is Cap't Billy's Crab Shack, but the photographic possibilities are grand too.

These images are from a morning visit that started foggy and broke open with some soft light as the sun rose. Enjoy!

All the images are taken with the D7000 and Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8. The first was processed in ACR and converted to B&W using Silver eFx Pro/CS6. The other images were done in ACR/CS6.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Early - Washington, D.C.

We're in the Washington, D.C. area this week visiting family and exploring the region.

We rose early and made the drive to the Lincoln Memorial, arriving about 45 minutes before sunrise. First benefit of leaving early is that you can park within blocks of the monument at this time of day this time of year! We were fortunate to have a very nice sunrise. But not a great one, as I will explain in a bit.

The major monuments and iconic buildings are well lit at night. You have to experiment with your focus and exposure, because the white marble objects are so reflective that if you use matrix metering your camera may overexpose the highlights trying to 'average' the very dark surroundings with the very bright building.

Here are some of my favorite images from the morning

The first two images are as shot, with a little help from ACR 7.2 and Photoshop CS6. The image of the Lincoln statue is a composite image to bring up the visibility of the exterior of the building without blowing out exposure due to the spotlights on the statue.

All were shot at ISO 100 with a Nikon D7000 and the 35-70mm f/2.8 at various exposure times.

Oh, the rest of the story... My plan for the shoot was a morning light image of the Lincoln Memorial. And it was developing nicely. I have a great image of the upper two-thirds of the building bathed in golden light... At which point the advancing shelf of clouds cut off the sunrise light. Oh, well ! Photography is a lot like fishing... Getting shut out on a photo outing is still a lot better than a day at work ! Enjoy the images !!

Monday, October 1, 2012


It was another great fall weekend in Kansas City. I shot the Central State Univ. vs. William Jewell College football game in Liberty on Saturday. This was an NCAA Division II game between two Great Lakes Valley Conference opponents.

One thing that quickly became apparent was that the match up between these two teams was going to be settled along the offensive and defensive lines.

Capturing these big men at their craft can be difficult. The action is often a tangle of limbs. But the communications staff from Central State had requested feature photos of many of their linemen. And I love the intensity of the images when you make a good capture in the heat of the play!

So this week's offering is a set of images of the Big Uglies at their work. Enjoy!!

These images are all D7000 / 300mm f/4 + TC 1.4. Post in PhotoMechanic and ACR

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Eyes Down Field

College football continues. We were out in Central Kansas visiting family and I was able to shoot the game at McPherson vs. Friends Univ.

It was a bright, high contrast day as you can tell. But I was able to capture several images of players working the ball down field.

Like several weeks ago there are images from both of of the bodies. I'm getting better at the quick switch from the long lens to the medium to near distance.

Nikon D7000 w/ 300mm f/4 + TC 1.4; Nikon D90 w/ 70-200mm f/2.8. Post with PhotoMechanic and ACR 7.1

Monday, September 3, 2012

More Weekend Sports !

I've spent another weekend shooting college sports. My photographic favorite for this weekend was the Park University @ Benedictine College Women's soccer match.

These ladies played an up-tempo and aggressive style of football. And the weather and light were perfect for shooting the game. Enjoy the images!

I've added a 300mm f/4 prime telephoto and a Black Rapids camera strap to my gear so I am shooting with two cameras at these activities. In this set there are images from both the D7000/300mm and the D90/70-200mm rigs. Post processing in PhotoMechanic 5 and ACR7

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Friday Night Lights !!

The fall sports season begins this weekend. I will have shot three events, High School Football, NAIA Men's Soccer and NAIA Football by the time I'm finished.

The opening event was the H.S. football game between the North Kansas City H.S. Hornets and the Kearney H.S. Bulldogs.

As with most high school stadium lighting and early evening starts the best light for photography was during the first half. The action moved quickly, and there was athletic ability on both sidelines. It was a good warm-up shoot, especially since I missed the jamboree last weekend.

Here are a few images from the game and the half time pageantry!

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 300mm f/4, PhotoMechanic 5.0 & ACR 7.1

Friday, August 3, 2012

My First Gallery Show

It was a great day! Thirteen months ago I was informed that I had been chosen as one of the selected artists to display in our local community art space.

Today, the photos went up in the display space and Tuesday night we have the official opening event.

This photo shows the west end of the display wall. There are a total of 21 pieces on display

I need to thank many persons and organizations. Thank you to the Gladstone Arts Commission for sponsoring the exhibits and choosing my work to be included. Thank you to the Gladstone Community Center and the City of Gladstone. Special thanks to Jenn Bohatyritz, the arts coordinator for the city for her assistance.

And a very special thanks to my wonderful wife Debbie. She tolerates the unannounced boxes with camera stuff from Amazon and vacations planned around getting up early to catch the sunrise. Thank you very much for our relationship of over 30 years.

If any of you are in the Kansas City area I invite you to come see my work. The Gladstone Community Center is located at 6901 N. Holmes, Gladstone, MO 64118. The center is open 7 days a week. Admission to see the display is free. The exhibit will be there until September 12th.

Dale Grosbach

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Street Music

I am often fascinated by the work of photographers who specialize in street photography, especially the 'environmental portrait'. I am still struggling with a personal hesitancy about 'intruding' on persons on the street for that kind of photography.

That's why I go looking for situations where the vibe on the street is 'look at me!'. Here in KC those people are commonly street musicians.

The City Market is an entertaining and personally exciting place for me. On summer Saturday mornings there are the farmers with their fresh vegetables, organic meats, etc. There is the spice merchant, the commercial fruit & veggie vendors and the Mediterranean grocer (fresh pita bread !). You can have a freshly grilled Italian sausage or a marvelous walnut danish (yay Bloom Bakery !!). It is a festival environment.

This year the Market has attracted a great number of musicians. There were at least six different groups of performers there on Saturday. And it was an eclectic group.

Here are some images of various aspects of the performance. Enjoy !


Magic Fingers

Up Close

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 55-105mm, post with ACR/CS6

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

High Plains Sunset

We've just completed a short trip to our family home on the High Plains. It was partially a working trip, but we were able to spend mornings and evenings out with the camera.

Most of the evenings were nondescript because of heat-generated thunderstorms that clouded the western horizon. But Saturday evening the clouds formed later and further southwest.

This is about 60 minutes prior to scheduled sundown. The far bank of cloud made for a higher horizon and allowed for the warm light to paint the underside of the nearer clouds.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8, post in ACR 7.1 & CS6 / Color eFex 4

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Union Station - Nighttime

Saturday night I was out shooting around Kansas City's Union Station. Built in 1914 it was Kansas City's transportation hub until the end of the rail era.

Abandoned in the 1980's it had seriouly eroded by the mid-1990's. An effort to restore the station to it's original glory was completed in 1999. Now is serves as a community gathering and entertainment venue for the region.

My eye was attracted to the edges and reflections of the exterior lights on the facade and seeing the ceiling detail through the windows.

This is not an HDR, but it is a composite image. The longer exposure is the primary base of the image with a shorter exposure of the portico 'painted' in to balance the exposure of the outer lights with the light from within the building.

Nikon D7000, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. Processing in ACR 7.1 and CS6

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Upgrading to CS6

Keeping up with the changes in the hardware and software around digital photography is always one of the challenges. With my day job being in business software I understand the benefit of adding features and fixing problems. As a user I understand the frustration of a new learning curve and the on-going expenses.

Liberty Memorial

My workflow prior to this latest cycle has been Photoshop-based. When I started with digital photography I adopted Photo Mechanic as my digital organizer and lightbox. Capture NX2 was my RAW converter. I used GIMP as the pixel editor. I had used Photoshop 5 to make some early attempts to composite or merge bracketed images. In time I did a trial down load of CS4 and was sold on the flexibility and the smooth interface. I own DxO, but found using a three package workflow, especially with TWO resource-intensive packages too slow for my tastes. The CS5 upgrade was an easy choice. The opportunity of Content-Aware Fill was the 'Aha' feature.

You might be asking "what about Lightroom"? I have never gotten started with LR, primarily for the cost of purchasing another package and time investment to relearn. But with the discussions on the improvements in the LR Develop module I was intrigued.

My post-processing mentors are split: one is an ACR guy and the other LR. Both recommended waiting until both the new LR4 and CS6 came out to make a decision on which new package to adopt. It was the LR guy who convinced me. He said since I already was comfortable with my Photo Mechanic - Adobe Camera Raw - Photoshop workflow I should invest in the CS6 upgrade to get the "Develop module" upgrade for ACR.

So, I've made the plunge! The new interface is nice. I'm looking forward to trying some of the new Photoshop features, like the improved crop tool. But ACR 7.1 was the reason for the upgrade. So I went looking for instruction.

I've found that the teaching community on the web for LR4 is more 'accessible' than that for ACR. But the underlying software is exactly the same and the interface is 90-95% identical. So I'm including the LR training in my reading. Michael Frye has a couple of very good videos here and here. Uwe Steinmueller has a good eBook on using Develop. Their landscape styles influence mine as well.

Western Auto

So I've begun teaching myself the new steps. I find the new controls clearer and more intuitive. I have to relearn where the starting points for various types of photos lie and rebuild my presets.

The images above are a couple of first efforts. Conversion in ACR 7.1 and post-processing with Silver eFex Pro and Color eFex Pro in CS6.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dragon Lanterns

We are spending time with family in the St. Louis area. When we arrived we heard about a special event. The Missouri Botanical Gardens are presenting a special exhibition this summer called Dragon Lanterns.

The exhibit is a group of silk-covered wire sculptures lit from within. Very pretty in the daylight, spectacular in the nighttime when lit. Here are a couple of examples:

You can see more images at this link: Dragon Lanterns

Nikon D7000 handheld, Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8, post in ACR for contrast, vibrance and crop.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Approaching Storm

Last weekend we were in McPherson, KS to celebrate my daughter's college graduation.

This is thunderstorm season on the plains. This storm rolled in on Saturday evening. This image is of the mammatus clouds that were on the leading edge of the storm. The wheat field will be ready to harvest in about a week if the forecast for hot weather holds.

Nikon D7000 w/ Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. Processing in ACR/CFX4/CS5

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Yellow Chalk

We visited a neighborhood festival yesterday that featured sidewalk chalk paintings. The style of the drawing ranged from simple scrawls from the small children to beautifully detailed works of chalk art.

To me this image of one of the artists captures the essence of an entertaining afternoon.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8, post in ACR/CS5/CFX