Close to Home

A photographer once remarked that to make a good picture, you must go where the pictures are - or something to that effect. I thought it would be fun to share some photographs I have made within a few hundred feet of my house. Sometimes you just can’t get out. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have made quite a few photographs where I didn’t need to go very far at all. So, here are some of my favorite photographs that I have made very close to - or even inside - my home. There are pictures wherever you are.

Behind the House

I live near an open space, which is a formally defined and maintained area that is to remain undeveloped. These open spaces are meant to “provide access to magnificent views, wildlife corridors, and natural beauty.”

Prairie Dogs

There are many black-tailed prairie dogs in the open space behind my house. Photographing prairie dogs is not like shooting squirrels. Prairie dogs interact with each other in what can seemingly be very human ways. When the young ones start to emerge from their burrows - that’s when the best photographs can be made. I expect to spend more time next spring watching them and recording their antics.

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The nearby open space as mentioned above serves as a wildlife corridor, and with many prairie dogs, mice, pets, and other animals, coyotes are seen often. With a long telephoto lens it’s not too hard to get a close-in shot. The trick is to not disturb the coyote. Occasionally, I’ve seen a pair together. Sometimes at night one can hear several coyotes making a racket near the prairie dog burrows. A flashlight shined in the direction of the prairie dog burrows often shows many pairs of eyes.

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Hawks are fairly common in the area. And for years after I moved here I heard owls at night. But it was only last year that I stumbled upon a couple of Great Horned Owls one day, and just before Christmas last year that I saw my first Bald Eagle in the open space.

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Here are a few photographs I’ve made from outside near my house (but which don’t fall into the other categories). Fresh snowfall can bring several great opportunities, depending on the kind of snowfall (big flakes or little flakes, near freezing or much colder, foggy conditions or clear skies …). “Frosted Foliage” is one of my favorite photographs, and also a favorite of visitors to The Walnut Gallery on First Friday Art Walks. I had printed one of these on metallic paper and framed it in a custom frame that I built out of birds-eye maple. It was glazed with Tru-Vue Museum Glass It was a beautiful piece and sold quickly.

The sky holds some photographic challenges as well. The Moon is a great target when there is something unique going on, such as an eclipse, or when clouds are present to give scale. The hyped-up “Super Blood Moon Eclipse” of January 2019 was a captivating sight throughout the night.

Since I live near an airport, occasionally I get some interesting aircraft flying overhead. Sometimes old warbirds. Sometimes firefighting aircraft.

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In the Garden

Peonies, irises, roses, firewheels, tulips, and lilies grow in my garden and sometimes offer some great opportunities for photography.

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Inside the House

Sometimes I get an idea for a photograph that needs to be made in my studio. Still life photographs of flowers are one of those things. Portraits of people are another. And then there are opportunity shots of my cat, Khaleesi.

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