Pam Walz Creative Photography: Blog en-us (C) Pam Walz Creative Photography (Pam Walz Creative Photography) Thu, 11 Apr 2024 18:56:00 GMT Thu, 11 Apr 2024 18:56:00 GMT Pam Walz Creative Photography: Blog 120 103 Red Knot April 8, 2024 I saw photos of a shorebird called a Red-Knot- they were taken during spring migration along the east coast of the USA. The birds displayed their breeding plumage-a reddish-brown color. I wanted to see these birds and take photos of them. Last year, in March, I went to Kiawah Island in South Carolina to find the birds. Although, I saw a flock of them on the beach, the breeding colors weren't prominent. This year, I planned a trip to Fort de Soto , Florida in April. I went to the park early on Monday morning (April 8, 2024). There was only a few people on the beach, and birds were everywhere. Some were Red-Knots with a rich reddish-brown color. I got low and took many photos of them, front lit in the early morning light. A dream realized - a triumph. Such a good feeling.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Thu, 11 Apr 2024 18:55:53 GMT
Nerja, Spain Drone 6/2/23 This drone shot did not just happen. I planned to be at this place, at this time and had completed hours of drone practice. I was ready and had the confidence to fly out over the sea. This morning in Nerja, Spain the conditions were right to get the shot- the light was low, the wind calm. No persons were around. Often, when I plan to take a photo, the conditions aren't favorable.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Drone Lowlight Seacoast Fri, 02 Jun 2023 19:13:11 GMT
Ship Drone Photo 9/10/22 I got my first drone about a year and one-half ago, a DJI Mini 2. I loved it; however, I knew I could get better photos if I upgraded to a DJI Mini 3 Pro, since it has a bigger sensor. I bought the new drone and today used it to take one of my all-time favorite photos of a ship entering the Duluth, MN. shipping canal. I had the drone in the sky and followed the ship as it entered the canal. I love this drone!

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) drone ship Sun, 11 Sep 2022 17:36:45 GMT
Minneapolis Storm Clouds 8/26/21 I saw low clouds moving fast through Minneapolis and immediately thought of doing a time-lapse. It was raining a bit, so I didn't want to carry my photo gear.

I took my phone and walked onto the Franklin Ave bridge where I had a good view of the city. I took photos and a couple of time-lapse videos. I opened one of the photos in Photoshop, cloned out orange highway cones, duplicated the layer and used screen blending mode masked to affect just the headlights on the vehicles. I darkened the sky, added contrast to the clouds and lightened the center buildings. Lastly, I increased the saturation of the yellows. I was done and happy that I went out in the rain.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Thu, 26 Aug 2021 20:24:57 GMT
Mountain Bluebird Feb.2 2021 One of my favorite subjects to photograph is birds in snow.This past December there were reports of a Mountain bluebird four miles from where I live. I thought the vibrant blue color of the bird in the white snow would make a nice photo. I tried looking for the bird a number of times with no luck, when I returned home I saw others photos of the bird. The fifth time I went to look for the bird the conditions were more favorable: I had more time, it was a mostly cloudy day, and it was warmer. I did get some photos of the bird in the snow, but my favorite was this one with the bird perched on a small branch next to the pond. 

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Tue, 02 Feb 2021 10:46:14 GMT
Snowshoe Hare Nov. 22, 2020 I saw photos of snowshoe hares, but had never seen one. I wanted to photograph one in the winter, when it's fur is white. I pictured a scene where the snowshoe hare would be sitting in an open area that was covered in snow. It would be difficult to do.

I would have to drive over three hours to a large desolate area in northern Minnesota with no guarantee of finding the hare. At the end of November, I drove to the area. When I got there, I relaxed and walked slowly, quietly in the woods at different areas looking for the hares. I had been looking for two hours before I saw a snowshoe hare. Shortly after I spotted it, it ran away-lost in the branches and bushes. I waited quietly, walked around until I saw it again. This time it sat on the ground partially obscured by branches. We looked at each other. I got down low and aimed the lens through the branches at its eye. I liked the photo because the eye was sharp and there was detail in the fur. I used manual mode and overexposed one stop since it was a large light colored object. 


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Thu, 26 Nov 2020 21:30:38 GMT
Common Merganser 9/08/20 It was cold- in the 30's (F) and very windy- when I went to the shore of Lake Superior to look for buff-breasted sandpipers. After I arrived and scanned the area with no luck, I decided to take photos of the Common Mergansers swimming close to shore. It was shortly after sunrise and the birds would be front lit with low light. I planned to hide behind a log, and use it as a tripod for my 600 mm lens. I returned to my vehicle, got my gear and set everything up as planned. The birds swam away, but after I settled into my spot; they returned. They were so close that it was difficult to find them in the viewfinder and get focused with only the log for a tripod. I did manage to get a few good photos.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sat, 12 Sep 2020 10:00:15 GMT
Monarch Butterfly July 21, 2021 My favorite butterflies to photograph are hairstreaks. I spent two days last weekend looking for them and saw none. I saw a Monarch and used an in-camera custom white balance to make the background colors look soft. I blurred the flowers in the background to make the photo look even softer and dreamier.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Tue, 21 Jul 2020 10:01:14 GMT
Long-tailed Ducks February 8, 2020 I wanted to photograph the Michigan lighthouses covered in ice, so I planned a January trip to Michigan. I also hoped to see long-tailed ducks; I checked E Bird every day and saw that the ducks were reported in the lighthouse canals where I would be going.

The lighthouse photos were disappointing because the winter wasn't cold enough to form ice along the Michigan shore.

At the Holland lighthouse I spotted long-tailed ducks in the entrance to the canal. I saw fishermen walk to the end of the narrow, icy pier. I followed them wearing ice cleats and carrying a tripod and 600mm lens. I got some photos of the ducks and while I was waiting and hoping they'd swim closer, a boat came through the canal. I watched the ducks fly away, out of sight.

I went back to the car, got a landscape lens and tripod. I stood on the pier close to the lighthouse; and while I was waiting for a long exposure to finish I saw two long-tailed ducks on the other side of a small building on the pier. Back to the car again to switch lenses and tripods. I hid behind the building on the pier and set up my rig, then moved to the front of the building to, hopefully get some photos. When I set the rig down, a railing on the pier was at the same height as the lens and blocked my view of the ducks. No! I moved quickly to an unobstructed spot; and as the ducks started to swim away I got some photos.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sat, 08 Feb 2020 10:18:41 GMT
Simple Images December 27, 2019   Some of my favorite photo images are those with simple compositions, and even desaturated tones, those with streaked clouds and smooth water. Even though these images are easy to look at, it is not always easy to achieve this look.

  I use a neutral density filter to make the water look smooth. When the water is smooth, reflections are more defined. I use Photoshop 2020 for my photo  edits to decrease the saturation of most colors, or maybe to add saturation in  a certain area. I use the camera raw filter for many edits: to add light in an area, to decrease contrast in an area, or to increase texture in an area. I like to decrease contrast and add haze to far elements, and to add light and definition to the near elements in an image. For this image I used a gray gradient with the soft light blend mode and the Nik High Key filter at a reduced opacity.

  To achieve simple compositions, it is often necessary to crop and clone out elements. I often use Nik Color Efex High Key filter to simplify elements. I keep experimenting with different filters and effects to get the look I want: simple, smooth, soft.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Fri, 27 Dec 2019 10:44:18 GMT
Butterfly Photo Art September 8, 2019 I spent the summer looking for butterflies for two reasons: I enjoy discovering ones I've never seen and to use butterfly photos to make art.

There are a number of techniques I used to do this: changing the camera's white balance to an infrared custom setting, blurring the background of the photos, changing the color of the background, adding a texture, adding another photo to the butterfly photo to make a composite. Once I started making the photos, ideas came to me. There were many creative possibilities. I used photoshop to edit the photos. Now it's September, and I'll have to wait until next summer to make more butterfly photo art.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sun, 08 Sep 2019 13:02:32 GMT
Bay-breasted Warbler May, 19, 2019 A Bay-breasted warbler is a bird I hoped to see. For the last three years during spring migration, I looked for the bird. No luck. Last Friday, I went to a place where I thought I might find some warblers migrating through the area. I walked up the hill and soon heard birds; they were warblers. I was busy photographing a Blackburnian warbler, then turned to walk farther up the hill. There, on a bush in front of me was a Bay-breasted warbler! I stopped, I became very quiet, as if I were in an art gallery looking at the Mona Lisa for the first time, and silently said to myself, "Bay-breasted warbler". Oh, it was beautiful and it stayed still long enough for me to get a photo. I always have such a good feeling when I see a bird that I've never seen before.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sun, 19 May 2019 09:52:13 GMT
Duluth Canal Ice Blur April 15, 2019 I drove, in the dark, from Minneapolis to Duluth, MN to be there a half-hour before sunrise- the blue hour. I went to the Duluth harbor canal to see if there were any ships coming in - sunrise, ships, lighthouse- I thought it would make a nice photo.

Before I unloaded all my gear, I took a peek at the scene. Ice floating in the canal! I knew a long exposure would blur the moving ice. I grabbed my tripod, backpack, and camera. I saw the steps to the pier covered in snow and ice. I held onto the handrail. Even though I was walking slowly, when I stepped onto the walkway, I fell. I was okay, just very sore.

I took a few photos without a filter, nice, not great. I then used a three stop Formatt Hi-tech ND filter, AV mode, ISO 100,f/16, 30 sec. exposure- much better. The ice had a nice flowing blur, the lighthouse was sharp and clear, the color vibrant. I was happy, even though the ship coming into the harbor was still too far out to be seen that well.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Mon, 15 Apr 2019 09:28:08 GMT
Hot Air Balloons February 2, 2019 I thought about the photo I wanted to shoot of hot air balloons before I went to the Hudson, WI balloon fest on February 2, 2019.

I had a plan: I would arrive early, stand on the bluff overlooking the river and bridge, and wait for the balloons to enter the scene.

I was there before the sun came up. The sky was hazy and had soft pink and blue tones. I took photos and waited and waited. No balloons. Someone told me that the balloons launched and were heading in the opposite direction from where I was.

I drove around and saw many balloons. By now the sun was up and the sky had lost the soft, pink tones. I took photos of individual balloons against a plain blue-gray sky. I knew these photos by themselves wouldn't be impressive. Maybe I could use them in a composite. 

I was driving home and an idea occurred to me to use one of the photos I took in the early morning as a background for the individual balloons. I knew it would be hard to make them blend into the sky.

I opened the background photo in photoshop and make adjustments until I was happy. I then took each individual balloon photo and composited them on the background photo. I used photoshop's blend-if function to do this. I adjusted the color, brightness and clarity of the balloons. Each balloon was resized and positioned where I wanted it in the background.

Lastly, I adjusted the contrast of the overall image. It worked! I created the photo I dreamed about.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sat, 02 Feb 2019 22:00:54 GMT
Bighorn Sheep January 2019 I read that there were bighorn sheep in the Topcock George near Lake Havasu City, Az. I looked at the map, located the gorge, and decided to hike there on a trip to Arizona in January, 2019.

I followed the directions on google maps. I was driving in the fast, left lane with cars behind me, when I was instructed to turn left where there was no road- I couldn't do it. It seems as if I'm always trying to do the impossible.

Instead I went to a place in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge where I saw nothing. Later, as I drove back to Lake Havasu City, I noticed that the turn off to Topcock Gorge was just an ATV  trail. I talked to some people who told me that they knew of no hiking trails in the gorge.

Two days later, I was at the marina on Lake Mead where I talked to a game warden, and asked him where I could go hiking or driving to see a bighorn sheep.He told me that they came down to the Boulder city, Nevada to eat grass. Jackpot!

At the park, I saw about twenty sheep. They were not skittish; they were waking around, eating grass, resting. I heard a young boy say, " They are enjoying life".I used a 400mm lens to get photos of the sheep that were better than I had imagined. It was a magic moment when I used my lens to look into the eyes of a bighorn sheep.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Tue, 29 Jan 2019 11:39:54 GMT
Snow Buntings Nov. 22. 2018 In the fall and early winter after the roadside weeds have turned brownish-yellow and it has snowed, I like to look for snow buntings. The brown, tan and white colors of the snow buntings match the surroundings and create a pleasing aesthetic. I would like to get a photo of them flying with the colors of the background in the photo. This is hard to do; they are small and fly fast. I was standing on the side of the road watching the snow buntings, when a car drove past and flushed them up into the trees. I stood still. They soon flew back and landed not too far from me. When they saw me, they flew away- except one. I quickly took photos of it while it looked back at me. Not my dream shot, but a good one. 

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Fri, 23 Nov 2018 05:53:44 GMT
Unexpected Horned Grebe 11/7/18 It's hard to find birds. One can drive for hours and not see anything. Sometimes it's better not to concentrate on finding a bird and just let them appear unexpectedly while looking at the landscape.

I went for a drive around Lake Gervais, north of St. Paul, MN. I was looking at a little peninsula jutting out into the lake and decided the composition was nice and that it would make a good long exposure photo. I had five minutes to wait for the exposure to finish, so I looked around the lake and noticed a bird that looked like a grebe- strange. I thought, "It's a red-necked grebe".

After the long exposure was complete, I got my telephoto lens and tripod. I took photos of the grebe, went back to the car and used I Bird to look up grebes. The bird that I saw was a horned grebe in non-breeding plumage- not a common bird near St. Paul, and the first one I had seen in winter plumage. Beautiful -  and I wasn't even looking for it.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Wed, 07 Nov 2018 20:41:00 GMT
Old Flour Mill October 2018 I never know what will happen when I go out to take photos- I like it this way. I carry lenses for all situations and scenes. Sunday morning I was driving around Otter Tail county, MN. looking for birds to photograph when I saw a sign for Phleps Mill. I thought there must be water flowing there, so I drove to the mill. I saw water flowing over a small dam and found a place to set my tripod. I put a 10 stop ND filter on my lens, shot a 1 minute exposure, and got a very nice photo with soft, smooth looking flowing water.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Wed, 03 Oct 2018 08:25:09 GMT
Chukar September 2018 I had never known that a Chukar existed until I saw a photo of one. It was a beautiful photo. I wanted to find that bird and photograph it. I planned a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah and noted that Chukars were reported on Antelope Island- north of Salt Lake City. I went to the visitor center on the island and asked about the bird. The woman at the desk told me, "They don't like people; they are only around in the early morning or late afternoon." I left and came back in the early morning, just after sunrise. I stopped at the visitor center, got out of my car and heard the chukars!  I walked in the direction of the sound. When the chukars heard me, they flushed up onto the rocks. I was able to get many photos of the birds front- lit with the soft, morning light. It felt so good to find a bird that I was looking for and to get a good photo of it.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Bird Chukar Fri, 07 Sep 2018 20:15:24 GMT
SanFrancisco May 2018 I wanted to take a photo of San Francisco early in the morning from Treasure Island. I had never been to San Francisco. I needed to scout the location the day before, so after picking up the rental car; I followed Google Maps directions to Treasure Island. The voice directions weren't working, so as I was driving on the Oakland Bay bridge I had to keep looking at my phone. The turn came up too fast; I was in the wrong lane and the exit speed was 15 mph. I missed it. It took me an hour to get turned around and get to the Island. When I arrived, the road along the shore overlooking San Francisco was closed. I left and went to my hotel, and kept thining about getting the photo. I decided the next morning that I would find a place to park my car, carry my gear and walk along the side of the road.  At 5 AM, I walked a mile, climbed over a guard rail, and walked in the grass to a point on a cliff overlooking the city. It was beautiful! When I think of San Francisco, I will always remember this morning.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) san francisco Tue, 29 May 2018 17:37:01 GMT
Driving to Santa Elena, Costa Rica March 2018 I wanted to see the Resplendent Quetzal bird, and I knew that it could be found in the Monteverde Cloud Forest of Costa Rica. I looked at the map of Costa Rica and saw that the nearest airport to Monteverde was in Liberia. I learned that the road to Santa Elena in Monteverde was bad and that an SUV would be needed. Just how bad the road was, I didn't know. Initially I followed a paved road, but when I started to drive at a higher elevation the paved road ended. The last 25 miles, I drove on a deeply rutted, gravel road with loose, sharp rocks. It was bad, and bad all the way.  I made it! In Santa Elena, I met a bird quide and hiked with him in the Curi Cancha Reserve until we found the Resplendent Quetzal.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Fri, 27 Apr 2018 07:21:31 GMT
Moon St. Paul 3/2/18 I thought about making this photo all winter, but it was just too cold for me to stand outside at six in the morning. I waited for it to warm up and set

up my rig a half hour before sunrise at Mounds Blvd. overlooking St. Paul, MN. Once I was happy with the composition, I started taking different exposures and finally used a thirteen second exposure for the image.

At home, I took the image into Photoshop and made a selection of the left side, copied it onto it's own layer, edited it to flip it horizontally. Now I had the curving arc of lights and part of the bridge on the right side of the image, creating a symmetry.  I then used a layer mask to hide the upper part of the symmetry.

I decreased the highlights with Adobe Camera Raw, made a selcetion of the central buildings and used NIK Viveza to increase the structure and brightness in this area. Next, I made a selection of the upper half of the building with the first sign - used the transform tool to make it larger and the move tool to position it.

I brought an image of a moon into Photoshop, made a selection of the moon, positioned it in the main image, scaled it smaller and decreaed the opacity.I used NIK Color Efex Indian Summer to saturate the lights, and NIK Darken/Lighten to add a slight vignette.  I liked it. Whew!

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Fri, 02 Mar 2018 07:26:15 GMT
Laysan Albatross 1/31/18 I recently visited Oahu, HI and heard there were nesting Laysan Albatrosses on the island. I had never seen these birds and wanted to go. I left my hotel room at 0530, drove for over an hour in the dark, and hiked five miles round trip while carrying a heavy telephoto lens. I must have seen about 30 of these amazing birds.

They can live to be sixty years old, only come ashore to breed, and have very long wingspans. I found them to have beautifully dark lined, penetrating eyes. I watched their breeding dances, saw them take off and land, and groom each other.

Hawaii works hard to protect these birds. At Ka'ena Point, where I hiked one has to enter through a gate, no dogs allowed, and  the nesting areas are roped off, but the birds are easy to view from the trail. I was so happy that I made the effort to go see these birds.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Wed, 31 Jan 2018 22:02:33 GMT
Long Exposure Photography 11/27/17 I love long exposure photography- it makes the water flowing around shores, waterfalls and rocks look smooth and silky. It also makes the clouds look streaked. For a year I've been trying to get good long exposure photos. At first I used a 10 stop variable density Hoya filter. This didn't work well during the day- there was too much vignetting. Next, I tried a 15 stop Lee filter. This was better, but there was still vignetting. I recently bought a Formatt Hi-tech 16 stop Infrared filter and I love it. It filters infrared light and this makes the colors look so nice. It comes with a light sealing case which prevents light  leaks and color shifts during long exposure times.  I have many ideas of how to use this filter and hopefully many fantastic photos!


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Mon, 27 Nov 2017 10:27:00 GMT
Flicker in Flight 9/22/17 I had seen photos of yellow-shafted Northern Flickers in flight with their wings spread and loved the photos. On a Saturday in September, I was walking in the woods and saw a Pileated Woodpecker high up in the trees. I tried to get a photo of it in flight- when I looked at the photo, it was not sharp. My shutter speed was only 1/2500s. The next day while I was walking in the woods, I saw some

Northern Flickers. I wanted to try to get a flight shot, so I raised my shutter speed to 1/3200s, Auto ISO, Manual mode. The trees blocked out a lot of light, so I knew my ISO would be quite high. I got the shot and it appeared acceptably sharp- not too much noise.

I looked at the file- The ISO was 12,800! I used Neat Image Pro Noise Reduction software to process the photo and the photo was beautiful. I remembered those photos of flickers and was happy to have my own.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:52:31 GMT
Saint Croix Bridge 8/7/17 Most of the time good shots just don't happen- some thought needs to go into planning an approach and deciding which lens and camera settings to use. Even with prior planning things often go wrong. I wanted to take a photo of the Saint Croix bridge once construction was completed in August 2017. I drove to Stillwater, MN multiple times to find a good vantage point. There is a park on a hill overlooking Stillwater and the bridge- the day I went to check the spot there was a race, too many people were in the park and there was no where to park. The first night the bridge opened and the lights were on, I had to work. The next day I saw a photo that someone took of the bridge from the park that I tried to check out. I was extremely disappointed. 

The next day I went to Stillwater early in the morning. I went to a spot next to the water, hoping to get a long exposure shot. I went to the park- in both places my 24-70 mm lens  and my 400mm lens just didn't give me the correct focal length for an attractive photo. Last fall I sold my 100-400 mm lens; what was I thinking? That was just the lens I needed now. I was so discouraged. I went home and looked at photos of bridges. I really liked the black and white photos of bridges in the fog. This morning when I woke and saw the forecast for fog, I knew I had to go back to the bridge. It was so foggy when I arrived the only hope I had of getting a shot was to park my car and walk onto the bridge and try to get a close up shot of the suspension cables. I got a few shots, processed one in black and white, added contrast and a selective blur. Wow! I liked it; I was happy. One good shot so far. I plan to go back in a few days to get more shots from different vantage points. Who knows what will happen- good shots don't happen every day.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Tue, 08 Aug 2017 19:48:23 GMT
Photo Published! 6/25/17 A photo of a Rough-legged Hawk that I shot is published in the June issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine. I was so happy to see my photo published. I would like to be outside every nice day looking for photo opportunities and getting the shot, however; this is not the only way to improve my photo skills. If I want to get amazing shots, I need to read about photography, spend time in Photoshop refining my skills and learn how to use plug-ins. I'm now 

excited to learn how to use the Alien Skin software plug-in and am always learning Photoshop techniques. I can see my photos improve, so it's worth the effort.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sun, 25 Jun 2017 08:45:00 GMT
Prairie Chickens and a Moose 5/2/17 I wanted to go to Crookston, MN to photograph the colorful prairie chickens doing their mating ritual displays. I called the Crookston chamber of commerce  and reserved a blind located on a lek (mating ground) in NW MN. Glacial Wildlife Refuge. I was told that I would be sent directions to the lek.  I would have to walk a mile in the dark on a very wet (three small streams of water) trail in the dark! I went to locate the site the day before I would go there. I got lost- during the day! I walked up a ridge to look out and finally saw the blind. 

The next morning I set off at 04:30, muck boots on, flashlight in hand ( to follow reflectors) and camera gear. As I walked, I flushed up ducks, it was that wet. I just hoped that I didn't sink too deep and ruin my camera gear. I finally made it to the lek. I told myself that the hike was better than sitting at home watching TV.

I was so quiet; I could hear the prairie chickens making a deep, loud sound. Since the trail was so wet, I abandoned my plan to use my Canon 600mm lens mounted on a tripod with flash bracket and flash. Instead I would have to use my  easier to carry Canon 400mm f/4 lens. At the last minute I remember that I had a flash bracket for it. Once in the dark blind, I could not get the flash head onto the bracket. Damn! I tried ten times. Later, in my hotel room where there was some light, I got the flash attached on the first try. So now I would have to wait until it was quite light before I got decent shots.

I watched the prairie chickens move around about 30 feet in front of the blind. I watched the males repeatedly raise their neck feathers above their heads and inflate their orange throat sacs. I got some good shots, but nothing great. As I watched the prairie chickens, a moose trotted past. A moose, unbelievable!

I will go back next year to a different lek where I don't have to walk so far.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Tue, 02 May 2017 19:54:37 GMT
Searching for the Rufous-Capped Warbler 4/22/17 This past winter I read that someone had found a rufous-capped warbler in the Florida Canyon near Green valley, AZ.

This is an uncommon bird for the United Sates, so I decided to look for it when I would be in AZ. in Feb. 2017. I had detailed directions to the place where the birds had been seen. I met a man in Green Valley and told him where I was going. He said, " Be careful, it's easy to get lost and the trail is steep and rocky". I thought that I would find the spot- I was wrong. I was not in the right spot the day I hiked up the trail; luckily, I met some people on the trail who knew the way. I followed them and we did not find the bird.

I returned to Az. this April and decided to look again. I hiked up the Florida Canyon in the early morning, following two persons who were also looking for the bird- again no luck. The next day I arrived at Battiste B and B in Hereford, AZ. The owner, Tony told me that he knew a guy who could help me find the Rufous-capped warbler in Hunter Canyon. This man had an excellent ear and could hear the birds before he saw them. We hiked up the canyon in ninety degree heat to a place where he had seen them- they weren't there. He said, " They are probably in the upper canyon". More hiking. Finally he heard them and "phished" them out of the bushes onto some higher tree limbs. What a joy to see a rufous-capped warbler! One moved around in the trees ten to twenty feet from me and I was able to get excellent photos.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sat, 22 Apr 2017 19:50:20 GMT
How I Got the Shot On March 5, 2017 I was driving on the Sawbill Trail in No. Minn. when I saw a flock of birds in the gravel on the side of the road. I pulled over to the side and stopped. I saw that they were Pine grosbeaks, birds that I don't see where I live in St. Paul, MN. I wanted to get a shot, but I didn't want to set up on a tripod or stand looking down on them. I sat down on the ground, used the front of my car as a back support, put my Canon 600mm f.4 lens between my knees and just sat and watched the birds. They started coming very close to me, as if they didn't know I was there. I got some good shots. At times there were so close, I couldn't even focus. Happy.




(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sun, 12 Mar 2017 21:03:21 GMT
Still Looking for a Short-eared Owl 2/7/16 For the past few months I have been hoping to get a photo of a short-eared owl. Yesterday I drove back to a place (for the third time) where one was reported. Still no luck.

I tried to enjoy the drive in the country by driving slowly on the dirt roads, sometimes listening to music that I like, always binoculars and photo gear ready.

I stopped for a pheasant on the side of the road eating gravel. I got out of the car, flight lens in hand hoping to get a

flight shot. As I walked closer, he took off too soon and I missed the shot.  I scanned the fence posts and small trees in the fields looking for owls. Off in the distance, I saw of herd of about twenty- five deer. This was an incredible sight for me since  I usually just see one or two. A flock of about twenty-five snow buntings flew up and away as my car approached. They were too far gone to get a photo. I came over a hill and to the right on the edge of the woods was a Red-tailed hawk eating a raccoon. Finally, I was able to get a good shot.

I continued to drive slowly and saw what I thought was a herd of reindeer! It was an elk farm. There must have been about fifty  elk- a beautiful, unusual sight for Minnesota. I took a photo of an antlered elk backlit in the sun.

Even though I saw no short-eared owls, I enjoyed the morning and will continue to look for them. There is so much that I find beautiful in the stark winter fields: short stubbles of corn husks in the snowy fields- rows of yellow and white contrasting colors, pale yellow grasses, weeds and thistles. Someday I will take the time to photograph this beauty.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Tue, 07 Feb 2017 06:26:00 GMT
Canon 5D Mark IV 1/25/17 I recently bought the Canon 5D MarkIV. I had been using the Canon 7D MarkII. The 5D has a resolution of 30.4

compared with  20.2 of the 7D. I have only had the opportunity to take a few shots of birds, but I have noticed the difference in detail and sharpness of my photos.  I was always hesitant to use high speed continuous shooting with the 7D when shooting RAW because the mirror slaps open and closed with each shot - this temporarily affects the AF.

With the 5D, I can switched to Silent continuous shooting drive mode where the mirror is locked up. Also, I love the 

 touch screen, particularly for image review where I can pinch and zoom to see image sharpness in a particular area. I don't shoot a lot of video; I heard the 5D isn't the best for video. As I continue to use the camera, I'm certain to discover more features that I like or not.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Wed, 25 Jan 2017 12:28:06 GMT
Photo Chasing 12/20/16 When I started this photography endeavor I told myself that I wanted it to be something that I enjoy- and I have.

There has been much to learn: exposure, exposure composition, autofocus modes, aperture, shutter speeds, ISO.

There has been many technical aspects related to my lens, cameras and speed lights. And there has been and still is a

lot to learn about digital photo editing. I took it step by step, kept practicing and learning and just trusted that I would get better as time passed- I did get better. Today I almost did something inelegant, and I almost did it twice. Someone 

reported that they had seen a short-eared owl. This is an owl that I have been wanting to see very much. It would require drive time, search time and photo time, in all- about three to four hours. I was tired and thought about going-twice.

The more I thought about it, I decided that it wasn't the right choice. I have a better plan to wake in the morning and go when I'm not tired, when the light is better, and when I can take my time and enjoy everything about it: the drive, the looking and hopefully the photographing.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Tue, 20 Dec 2016 18:55:37 GMT
Bolsa Chica California 12/16/16 I took a trip to Bolsa Chica wetlands near Huntington Beach, Ca. - a place where many birds winter. I saw a lot of shorebirds, raptors, waterfowl, and some small birds.  I found it to be a great place for flight photography since there are walking paths on cliffs overlooking large, open areas of water. Some of the birds that I saw: Burrowing owl, Anna's and Allen's hummingbirds, Calif. Towhee, Say's Phoebe, Peregrine Falcon, Cooper's hawk, Brown Pelican, Great Egret, Am. Kestrel. Am. Bittern, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Shearwaters, Willet, Black Turnstone, Long-billed Curlews, Red-throated loons, Western grebes, Northern Pintails, and many Gulls.

I stayed in Long Beach, rented a car, as drove south as far as Dana Pt. stopping at various points along the coast to photograph birds, piers, waves and the rocky coast. It felt so good to be outdoors hiking in the 60 degree temps.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Fri, 16 Dec 2016 06:39:31 GMT
Northern Shrike 11/16/16 Today was the first time that I've seen a Northern Shrike in Minnesota. I've been hearing of sightings for the past month, and 

have been hiking and driving looking for one, but have not seen one until today when I went for a walk at the Woodlake Nature Center in Minneapolis.  I wasn't even thinking about a Norther Shrike; I was looking for owls. On a trail, on a tree branch about

thirty feet ahead of me, I saw a bird. I raised my lens, looked, and saw a Northern Shrike! I was able to get five shots; the lighting wasn't the best, the bird was somewhat backlit and in the shade. I was able to make adjustments to the exposure, highlights, and shadows post-production and  finally had a good photo of the bird. Not great, but good.



(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Thu, 17 Nov 2016 08:26:02 GMT
Photo Walk 10/25/16 It was 39 degrees F today (Oct. 25, 2016) when I went for a hike. Someone reported that they had seen a Northern Shrike bird at a park which is an hour from where I live. I wanted to get a photo of this bird, but really didn't think that I would see anything at this park; however, I knew that I would have zero chance of seeing it if I stayed home. I found the park and started my hike. I scared two white-tailed deer from their resting place. I noticed that the trees were  bare, most of the leaves had fallen, and I noticed how quiet the woods were; most of the birds had left. The Northern Shrikes migrate down from Canada and some winter in Minnesota. I hiked for an hour and did not find the bird. I left and went to the Woodlake Nature Center in Minneapolis. Again, the woods were quiet. The day before I had seen Ruby-crowned Kinglets here. As I was leaving I heard the soft sounds of kinglets. I got some nice shots of a Golden-crowned Kinglet - it is such a sweet little bird. When I got home I looked at the Minnesota Birding site on Facebook. I saw a photo of a Northern Shrike that someone had posted earlier in the day- at a place fifteen minutes from where I live! The chase continues.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Wed, 26 Oct 2016 19:38:11 GMT
Challenges of Small Bird Photography 10/4/16 I spend a lot of time trying to take photos of small birds. The small warblers are so beautiful, but they move around so fast- it is difficult to get a good shot. I gave up trying to shoot these small birds with my camera and lens mounted on a tripod. I'm having more success using a hand-held Canon 400mm f/4 DO ISM 2 prime lens, with a 1.4 tele extender. It weighs 5 lbs- much less than my 600mm prime lens. It's important to keep the shutter speed to 750 or greater to get really sharp photos. I use manual mode- in AV mode the shutter speed drops too low. A shutter speed of 750 or greater will require a high ISO to get the proper exposure in low light. This introduces too much noise. So much noise that I'm often unable to correct it with post-production techniques.  B and H photo makes a flash bracket that fits on the camera and extends the Speedlite flash above the lens. This is necessary to prevent "steel eye" in the bird eyes.  Once I get this bracket and flash set up, shooting hand-held in low light won't be a problem. 

Another problem is deciding where to set the focus limiter switch. Sometimes it needs to be set at the closest setting,if the bird is close- if the bird moves away you miss the shot. The Full setting includes the minimum focus distance to infinity, so the will work for all ranges, but autofocus is slower. I'm always trying to decide what is best. Small bird photography is challenging, but so rewarding when one gets it right. 





(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Tue, 04 Oct 2016 10:18:59 GMT
Difficulties of Bird Photography 8/21/16 Only rarely do I go to a spot to photograph a bird that has been seen and get the shot. Usually, it's more complicated. This past week I went to a 

sod farm and saw some sandpipers in a field near a ditch covered with weeds. I was trying to get close and thought that I could walk through the ditch to get to the field. What I didn't realize was that the weeds were hiding how deep the ditch was and that it was filled with water. As I walked in the weeds, I sunk into muddy water which came over my knees. I was lucky that my gear didn't get wet. Yesterday I drove over an hour to a spot - it started to rain hard, more than the showers forecast. I turned around and came home.  Most of the good shots that I get are the unexpected ones. Maybe today I'll have better luck on the difficult trail to get a good shot.

(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sun, 21 Aug 2016 09:12:39 GMT
Birds 8/15/16 I never knew photography would lead me to an interest in birding. I just thought that I would try to take a  photo of a bird that I liked, but now I want to know the species - I could be looking at a rare bird. I just finished reading "Kingbird  Highway", by Kenn Kaufman. He and some birding friends

travelled 1000 miles to a place near Durango, Mexico to find an Eared Trogon.  They encountered difficulties and disappointments, but eventually found the bird. When Ken writes about finding the Eared Trogon nest and seeing a baby Eared Trogon looking at him, I got a shiver up my spine. I guess I'm becomming a birder.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Mon, 15 Aug 2016 07:26:58 GMT
Photo Ops 7/30/16 Photography is so interesting because one never knows what object will present itself as a photo op. One never knows how a photo will ultimately look.

I look at many photos, study photography, and photo editing. This prepares me for when I see something, then an idea comes to mind how I could edit

the photo.  I had a photo of a cresent moon that I took  a couple months ago. This morning I went out; it was still dark. I saw the St. Paul cathedral and decided to stop and take a photo.  It then came to mind that I could merge the moon photo and the cathedral photo. Since the sky was dark in both photos,

the two blended well. I was pleased.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sat, 30 Jul 2016 08:35:26 GMT
Safety First 6/23/15 Ever since I have seen a photo a cerulean warbler, I wanted to see one. I finally saw the bird this week at Miesville Ravine Park. I was unable to get a good photo, so I went back. It was very early in the morning about 6 AM when I drove into the ravine and noticed some birds on a pile of brush across the road. I stopped and set up my rig. I was standing there looking when I heard something breathing in the trees along the road next to my car. It was that close. I heard low grunts and breathing. Why didn't it run away? Listening to this was spooking me, so I left.  I went to Miesville Ravine Park-just a small place deep in the woods, where there is no cell phone service. I parked and walked along a trail to look for the cerulean warbler and was unable to find it. I heard a car stop. I was spooked again. Who was coming here at 6AM? A fisherman?  I walked back to my car,

got in and drove across the road to another parking area. I saw an old beat up Honda with a man slinked down behind the steering wheel. He wasn't getting out to go fishing. Was he a field worker killing time before work? Safety first, and I definitely did not feel safe here. I will have to look for the cerulean warbler in another place. The next day I went to Shaar's bluff, where I feel very safe and photographed an Orchard oriole.



(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Thu, 23 Jun 2016 09:35:21 GMT
Western Grebes 6/13/16 It wasn't by accident that I was able to see Western Grebes with newborn chicks on their backs. I thought about this for a year- in winter months I would dream about going to Lake Osakis to see these Western Grebe babies. I really had no idea what time of the summer the chicks would hatch. I guessed somewhere around the middle of June. A group of us arranged to go to Lake Osakis and rented a pontoon on June 12,2016.  At first, we didn't see the grebes with babies, then we went into some reedy areas and saw a number of females with babies. It was so amazing to see this- their little heads peeking out of the wing feathers. I took the time to make this happen and will always remember it.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Tue, 14 Jun 2016 06:46:17 GMT
Photo hunts 5/30/16 I'm always out driving, hiking around looking for photo opportunities whenever I can. Most of the time, I find nothing. However, sometimes I 

discover flowers and birds that I have never seen before, and if it weren't for photography I never would have made the effort to go look. I've

always lived in Minnesota and never saw bluebells growing wild- I discovered these on the North shore, near Two Harbors, MN. This week I 

saw a bird called a Scarlet Tanager. I looked for a year for this bird. Not only did I see the bird, but with some effort, got a beautiful photo. It's

so wonderful to discover these things.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Tue, 31 May 2016 00:53:57 GMT
Outdoors 5/16/16 I have a desire to capture beautiful nature photos. It's a challenge-I need to be outdoors a lot. I have gone hiking in the woods, and driving through wilderness areas because of my quest for a good photo. Yesterday I was alone for hours in a wilderness area. I discovered that as long as the sun was warm and the birds were singing that I was somewhere- someplace just as important as any other.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Mon, 16 May 2016 08:03:30 GMT
Jeweled Shooting Star. 5/3/16 I was so happy to have found the jeweled shooting star flower At Perrot State Park, Trempleau Wisconsin. It was in perfect bloom. I took my time taking photos of it, using my macro lens, and my speedlite. I got many good photos of it. The photo I liked the best was shot with a focal length 0f 560 mm, f/4. No speed light.



(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Tue, 03 May 2016 20:35:11 GMT
Galveston, TX 4/18/16 Last week I went to Galveston, TX hoping to see many birds during the Spring migration. I didn't see many; however, I saw some birds that I had never seen before: Blue Grosbeak, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Summer Tanager. I enjoyed driving around Galveston- stopping to take photos of the piers, and discovering old Galveston. There are many large, old homes that have a French Architectural influence. Wild flowers were in bloom,

so I was stopping by the roadside frequently to photograph them. I enjoyed talking to the other bird photographers that I met.




(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Mon, 18 Apr 2016 18:52:06 GMT
Wildflowers. April, 9 2016 Last week I was looking at photos of fields of Bluebonnets in Texas, and planning to visit the Houston Arboretum when I'm in Texas next week

to see Bluebonnets.  I discovered wild flowers blooming here in Minnesota while walking at the Northfield Arboretum. I found blue Silla blooming in the woods, got many photos, had fun editing them: adding Topaz glow, motion blurs, soft blurs and highlights. I was pleased with the results and was so excited about taking photos of wildflowers. I went to the Carpenter Nature Center on Friday and saw Prairie Smoke starting to bloom.

I got a good photo, and after editing was pleased with the result. I e-mailed the photo to Carpenter Nature Center. The woman working there thought it was gorgeous and wants to use it in their newsletter. I have a feeling I will be doing a lot of hiking looking for wildflowers.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sat, 09 Apr 2016 19:41:45 GMT
The Quest. April 2, 2016 The quest continues- that for a great photo. I met a man who was walking around with camera gear at the Coon Rapids dam area. I started a 

conversation with him and before long he told me, " I could do this all day." I know how he feels.  Today it is too windy and cold to hike. I just don't know what photo opportunities can be found. I have a plan to drive around in my car, with camera gear ready- looking. This past week while I was just

looking, I took a photo of a male bufflehead duck. The photo wasn't great until I edited it; the iridescent colors on the neck popped and it became a beautiful photo. One never knows what will present as a photo opportunity, so I go looking whenever I have the chance.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Sat, 02 Apr 2016 09:21:25 GMT
Florida 3/21/16 This past week I went to St. Petersburg/Tampa to photograph birds. The first morning- up early and still tired, I was driving to Bradenton Beach

when I saw a roadblock and a highway worker. I stopped. He told me, " The bridge is closed to Bradenton because of the fog. You have to go back to Tampa and take Interstate 4 East." This was a 40 mile detour in the fog and dark. I did not relax until I got to Bradenton. Once there, I enjoyed taking photos of the Royal terns on the beach.

My favorite place for bird photography was Fort de Soto State Park. I saw such a beautiful tern with a light pink breast (breeding plumage) and 

soft gray feathers. I marveled at the beauty of the world.

The last day at Fort de Soto , I was presented with a gift- the sighting of about ten American Avocets. They also had their breeding plumage.

I watched them for so long through the viewfinder, keeping my finger on the shutter button that my arm was sore. My favorite was that of a Ibis

catching a worm- I was surprised to see that I had captured  a photo of the worm suspended in it's open beak. Photography really does capture moments. I wonder what I will see this week in Minnesota.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Mon, 21 Mar 2016 18:16:06 GMT
February, 12, 2016 I returned from Texas yesterday. I was there eleven days talking photos. I'm already wanting to go out and look for more photo opportunities. I'm always on a quest to take an exquisitely, beautiful photo.

It takes courage- to get the shot. Although I was following the "Texas  Birding and Butterfly" map of the Rio Grande, I was told by the border patrol to leave an area- it wasn't safe. Most of the time I was driving along the US-Mexican border in rural areas. Often I was not sure where I would arrive, but most often I arrived at state parks and wildlife refuges where the people were nice and the birds interesting.  I would definitely recommend the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for bird photography.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Fri, 12 Feb 2016 21:35:32 GMT
February 5, 2016 On February 1st I went to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to take bird photos. I was not disappointed- I saw so many birds and animals that I'd

never seen before: armadillos, javelinas, chachalacas, fulvous whistling ducks, and others.

I had never seen a black-crested titmouse, so when I saw one, I rushed to get a photo and my tripod hit an overhead branch which broke apart the off-shoe flash cord. I tried to find a replacement in the nearest large city- McAllen, Texas and had no luck. For the next seven days, I had to 

take photos without the flash, and I missed many good shots when the birds were in the shade. 

Early this morning the mist was rising off a body of water that I was walking near. Ahead of me, I saw a coyote; as he turned his head to look back, I got the shot of the day. After trying for four days and I finally got a good shot of the black-crested titmouse. 


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) bird photography Texas Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:15:48 GMT
Jan. 28,2016 I enjoy the discovery process that happens when I go "photo-hunting". Last Saturday (1/23/16) I drove to Miesville, MN where there had been 

sightings of a Merlin. I was driving through that small town and saw a bird high on a wire. I was certain that it was the Merlin, so I turned my

car around and when I looked through the binoculars, I saw that it was a Kestrel! A Merlin, now a Kestrel. I guessed that there must be grain bins

in Miesville. I sat in my car because it was cold and because I didn't want to scare the bird. By aiming the lens out the window, I was able to get a

beautiful shot. I edited the photo in Photoshop and was surprised how well it looked.  One never knows what will be discovered when going out

to take a photo.


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Thu, 28 Jan 2016 20:45:49 GMT
Weekly Blog Jan. 20,2016 This is my first blog post. I enjoy taking outdoor photographs. I was posting them on Facebook. People were requesting to see more of my work, so I 

set up the domain name and website with  I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts about photography and also my experiences in the

field. I recently travelled to Arizona from Minnesota and saw so many birds that I'd never seen. I truly was in heaven driving the backroads of Tucson

photo-hunting.  A bobcat crossed the trail in front of me; this did not happen in a zoo!


(Pam Walz Creative Photography) Wed, 20 Jan 2016 20:45:00 GMT