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Old Jun 27, 2004, 11:46 PM   #1
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This was taken in the same area as the deer, the day before. Kind of the same story, just rolled down the window and poked the lens out the window. May animals won't run away if you are quiet and stay in your vehicle. Step outside and they are gone! I think that the blur in the foreground distracts and pretty well ruins the photo.
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Old Jun 28, 2004, 10:15 AM   #2
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Hey, I think that's a pretty decent photo of a Spruce Grouse, philby. The erect and alert posture is good. It looks as though you used a mirror lens, no? One might be able to photoshop that bright green vegetatation out of the foreground to reduce the distraction. However, I don't think that good bird photos necessarily require an unobstructed full view of the bird, and that vegetation oftens gives a more natural look to the scene.

I have photographed several Blue Grouse over the past few weeks and none of my recent shots have the good lighting that yours does. As you mention, approaching them on foot usually causes them to flush or run, so they aren't such simple birds to photograph. I recently came upon a Gunnison Sage Grouse, the most endangered grouse in North America, and a life bird for me. The female was hiding under a sage with her back exposed to bright sunlight and her head in the deep shade. I spot focused on her eye and got a well exposed shot of her head, but everything else was washed out. Oh well, I'll just have to try again, good photos of wild Gunnison Sage Grouse are very rare and walking up on one could many take days of work. That's the nature of wildlife photography, take what you can get and hope another opportunity comes along.

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Old Jun 28, 2004, 10:26 AM   #3
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Very nice photo, philby! I agree with hummer's comments about the vegetation in the front of the picture. It would be pretty easy to use PS to remove the dead vegetation that overlaps the grouse's side, though.

Hummer: My experience with blue grouse, from 28 years ago when I used to hunt them in the mountains of Montana, was that they would indeed flush when you initially come close to them. But their habit was to flush and fly 50-100 feet or so into the branches of a close tree, whereupon I could walk right up to the tree they'd flushed to and bag 'em, as they didn't seem to flush a second time (dumb... or?). Yeah, I know, not very sporting - I haven't hunted them since. I think you could use this behavior to your advantage in photographing them.
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Old Jun 28, 2004, 11:44 AM   #4
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I don't think the forground plant ruins the shot at all (it doesn't add anything either.) I certainly wouldn't worry about it. I've only seen roughed grouse once in the wild and never any of the other types. This is a lovely shot, I know I'd be happy if I'd taken it.

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Old Jun 29, 2004, 8:46 PM   #5
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Thank you for your comments. I think that it is a good shot. The only thing that doesn't work as well as I would like in the photo is the little plant in the front. The thin yarrow like stalks doesn't bother me. I have thought of going back and taking a photo of that particular hemlock seedling, in focus, and copying it into the scene, but perhaps I should be happy with it as it is.
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