Have a happy and safe 4th of July!
Have a happy and safe 4th of July!
Today marks one of the largest military achievements in modern history. 79 years ago Operation Overlord, the Allied plan to establish a foothold in occupied Europe, began. Thousands of naval ships launched one of the largest amphibious assaults on the beaches of Normandy, France. For months leading up to the invasion, disinformation was leaked out about the upcoming invasion to fool the German army to think the Allies would be landing in Calais. A complex series of fake vehicles made of rubber were even made to fool aerial reconnaissance over England and German Spies in the country. Britain was the staging ground for it all and it was one packed island before it was over.
Along with the men who went ashore on the landing crafts, were the Paratroopers that landed behind enemy lines in a joint effort to meet up with those on the ground and catch the Germans in between. It was a massively complex operation with many variables that could go wrong. Without the efforts of D-Day, the events and longevity of WWII would have been very different.
Many people helped to make this country what it is but did not live to see it become so great. Thank you to all who laid down their lives to secure our freedom.
I spent last Sunday enjoying a drive through Yellowstone where I hadn’t been for some time. The park has only been open a couple of weeks, but the remnants of the harsh winter are already visible. Carcasses lay across the land as Elk, Deer, and Bison who couldn’t handle the cold long winter perished. Nature is a cycle and while it is sad to see all the ungulate remains, the benefits of the dead are all the scavengers have plenty to eat. This particular Coyote didn’t seem to be interested in those carcasses but was sure intent on catching a mouse next to this creek. He walked up and down the creek for a good bit, pouncing occasionally as he was trying to find a meal. While I was watching he never did catch anything but he was photogenic.
I feel like one of my coworkers calling something cute but honestly, it’s the right word to describe this little guy. I was on my way back home from a fun day out and about in Madison Valley and I happened to see this Porcupine in a field just munching away. Spring finally arrived in Montana and the snow has melted away to reveal what’s growing in the ground. Well, I wasn’t equipped to photograph this Porcupine because all I had was the Nikon Z6 II and Nikkor Z 24-120 f/4 which doesn’t have the range even when I switched to DX from FX. Now seeing that the ground was an ugly brown and wanting to show more of this animal’s world I tried to get lower and to be on a more level area with it. The results were…..
Nope, I’m out of here. Oh well, a brown butt is better than one stuck with quills. Since I haven’t photographed Porcupines very much I considered this a win.
I remember writing this blog post last year and thinking to myself how amazing it is that so much time has passed since this reunion. Life has been quite the journey since then. Now I repost this and all I’m thinking is what the journey must’ve been like for these gentlemen.
11 years ago I went to Grimes Field in Urbana, OH for the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. It was an event like no other and it cemented my love of aviation. There were 20 of the flying B-25s in the world in one place at one time, it was the most ever seen together since WWII. Better than that four of the last surviving Doolittle Raiders were in attendance, along with Carol Glines an honorary raider, and one of the survivors of the USS Hornet CV-8 (I’m sorry to say I don’t recall his name at this time). Since then, Edward Saylor, Dick Cole, David Thatcher, and Thomas Griffin have all passed away with Dick Cole being the last of the raiders to fly north. Today marks the 81st anniversary of the raid that made them all famous.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, Roosevelt went to Congress to ask to declare a proclamation of war against Japan. Congress agreed and soon after Japan and Germany declared war on the US with the US declaring war on Germany. This would set off the United States’ involvement in WWII. Roosevelt went to his military leaders to devise a strike against Japan’s heart in response to Pearl Harbor. A submarine commander came up with the idea of launching bombers from a carrier to attack mainland Japan. It was a bold and highly dangerous plan in which the precious American fleet would have to go well into the domain of the far superior Japanese fleet. 16 B-25 bombers launched from the USS Hornet on April 18th, 1942, and bombed mainland Japan before flying further onto China where the planes were to be handed over to American allies in China for further use in the war. This did not happen as all but 1 plane crashed due to bad weather and nightfall. The one surviving plane landed in Russia and was confiscated. The history of the raid is fascinating and many historians have spent a lot of time researching and interviewing survivors from all nations. This blog post hardly does it justice. You can read an older post of mine here to learn a little more but I would advise you to pick up Carol Glines, the Doolittle Raid for a more in-depth account of events.
Lastly, while the anniversary of the Doolittle Raid has always been about the brave men that took part in the raid itself, being able to remember and honor those folks wouldn’t have been possible without volunteers like those of the Children of the Doolittle Raiders, National Museum of the United States Air Force, all the private museums that fly and maintain the B-25’s, all the folks that are involved with these planes and these functions, but most importantly are the veterans. If you see any of these people say thank you.
It seems to have become a tradition for me to photograph my friend’s wedding proposal. I can honestly say two things about this, I never expected that I would be asked to do that kind of photography and I am deeply honored that my friends not only asked me but also that I get to be there for that special moment. To this, I humbly say thank you!
Now the first thing that comes to mind when you get that question is, “What lens do I use?” That is a very good question because the intended needs to be surprised and if you show up with too much equipment, that might give the surprise away. In this case, I just going along under the pretense of a fun fishing outage which meant the Nikon Z6II and the Z 24-120 f/4S. This has essentially replaced the 24-70 f/2.8 that I have carried in my bag for a very long time but frankly, the focal range and the depth field of the Z 24-120 are just perfect for a lot of scenarios.
As I was saying the Z 24-120 is great for those wide shots where you are trying to capture a lot of information and then the tiniest of details like the light refracting in this diamond. Now I know that this lens has been out for a while and while I am a little behind the times, you know what that’s part of photography. You grow as time goes on and talk about your experiences so others can learn. The one other benefit I learned with this setup is I only have to carry one body and one lens while I’m out “fishing” and that makes it a heck of a lot easier on my back. It’s those little things that can make a big difference in the long run.
I’ve talked about this subject before because I enjoy it! When fish go into their spawning season they change color and the results can be some amazing photographs. I caught this beautiful Rainbow Trout over the weekend and I just couldn’t stop looking at all the colors it had. The dark red gill plate, the speckled back and the pumpkin belly just made my day. I used the Nikon Z6II and 24-120 Z f/4 at F/4 to focus just on the eye and blur out the rest of the fish to highlight the color but not all the detail of the rest of the fish. It’s days like this that make me want to stay on the water.
It feels like Spring is around the corner with the bluebird days and warmer temps but I wouldn’t count winter out yet. Anyone who has lived in Montana for more than a year knows that we can get snow storms until June but I think the days of negative double digits are over. People aren’t the only ones right enjoying the long days of sunshine. All of the furry critters out there are spending their days warming themselves in the sun. This Mountain Cottontail spent the morning lounging in the warm morning sun after spending a good time cleaning its paws and face. Unfortunately, it was pretty bright out at the time and the range of light between the dark green background and those dead grasses in the foreground meant I had to underexpose to avoid a lot of bad highlights. This meant losing a lot of the detail in the fur along the rabbit’s back. Still, a lesson was learned and a morning of fun still had.