The Blooper Reel

Some days I have to laugh at all the things that can go wrong when I try to get good wildlife photos. Today is one of them.

I like to post images on this blog after I have overcome the odds to get a good photo or two. This has the potential to leave some mistaken impressions, such as:

– it’s easy for me to get good photos

– I actually know what I’m doing, or

– I just have a good camera (well actually I do but …)

The truth is a little more complicated. Somehow after trying to do everything right, I end up filling my camera with images that were not exactly what I had in mind.  Here are some examples from the last few months …

1. After searching extensively, I finally find some beautiful grass with a lovely blurred background. I carefully compose my photo and shoot it. When I look at the photo later, wouldn’t you know it, a bear has photo-bombed my prize grass._T6C8486

2. We take a special trip in search of Great Grey Owls and, against all odds, find one perched on a wire. I really want a shot in flight so I impatiently wait for it to fly away. It never occurred to me the owl would fly on the wrong side of the wire!_T6C2831

3. A beautiful coyote walks up right beside the truck where I am standing with camera in hand. I have the camera set automatically track the animal so it stays in constant, sharp focus. I thought it did a pretty good job of keeping the snow really sharp under the coyote’s nose! _T6C7512

4. After checking numerous times on an osprey, I finally find some activity. An osprey lands on the nest and promptly turns its back to me. Oh, well – another image for the mooning collection._T6C9691

5. Another beautiful tree I found._MG_9960

6. Automakers now provide systems that warn drivers before they back into something. Is it really too much to ask for just a little beep prior to decapitating wildlife? _T6C4015

7. Clearly there is something wrong with my camera with all these missing body parts._T6C5494

8. I scan the forest carefully since I’ve seen something moving. Eventually I determine two grizzlies are on the move in among the trees. The adrenaline builds since I’ve seen far too few grizzlies in my life. I move ahead to a partial opening and wait for the bear to appear. The camera avoids all the branches and focuses on the grizzly but I am left with a photo of a highly obstructed view of this amazing creature. I keep seeing snatches of movement and fur but get no more chances to shoot. I am left with a documentary shot. _MG_9583

9. I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve had an expensive camera in my hands attached to a good tripod, with correct settings to capture a bird in flight … and a pelican flies directly in front of me. Actually I do remember now – the number is 1.

I muster all my experience and knowledge to carefully track it since I expect the pelican to fly right in front of me. The camera tells me all systems are operating properly and it has established focus on the bird. When I look at the blurred pelican on the computer, the computer assures me the camera focused precisely on the bird with not one, but two, focus points. I feel comforted._T6C6025

10. Just another beautiful photo of a moose in a forest.  Trust me._MG_9651

11. Finally a clear shot of a black bear! The only problem is that a voracious appetite drives the bear to keep eating which means its head stays down, hidden in the grass behind an embankment …_MG_9798

I think the bear is lifting its head so fire off some shots just as a car drives by. If you look closely, you can see the bear through the windshield, just above the steering wheel. A classic wildlife photo!_MG_9817

I finally get a chance to shoot the bear with its head up and, wouldn’t you know it, a tree branch jumped out at the last possible minute. Another fail!_T6C0144

12. OK enough with bears. As darkness is really settling in, I spot two moose that are clear of all branches. I frantically adjust my ISO to ridiculous highs and drop my shutter speed so low it will be a miracle to save the shot. Wouldn’t you know it, the moose suddenly gets camera shy …_T6C5701

13. I basically never get to see a pelican, or any other substantial bird, catch its food. But finally the stars align in Grand Teton National Park! My camera settings are good enough to get some detail in the pelican’s feathers, I press the shutter just as it grabs a snack, throws it up and catches it before swallowing. Everything’s perfect except somehow the pelican turned its back on me. I don’t think anybody will notice that little detail …_T6C5927 _T6C5928 _T6C5929 _T6C5930

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Latest Comments

  1. Kerri Williams says:

    Been there. Done that. This is spectacular! The only thing I’ve learned about shooting wildlife is to laugh. A lot.

    Like

  2. Delft says:

    Lol. I’m so glad it happens to you too 🙂 Of course, all my animal shots look like this…

    P.S. The first one doesn’t count: the bear background shows the grass off beautifully.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Glad you enjoyed the bloopers – it’s probably a more accurate representation. Interestingly, I have actually come around to quite like that photo of grass. Strange.

      Like

  3. snappy~speak photo says:

    Way to be authentic! It’s very refreshing.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks – it’s actually a lot easier than trying to remember what I’m supposed to be. Besides I still make far too many mistakes to get too full of myself. Thanks for stopping by and viewing so many posts.

      Like

  4. Scott Marshall says:

    ha ha still laughing – it is good to be humble

    Like

  5. dda53 says:

    This brought back many memories that continue to happen. Makes me want to show some to my friends just to let them know every shot isn’t a keeper. I just have to smile when I look at mine. Enjoyed!

    Like

  6. Stefano says:

    Great, amusing and oh so very true post! 🙂

    Like

  7. mflahertyphoto says:

    Classic, a good reminder. Yes my ego is too big to do a similar post, but you already knew that! I actually like the camera shy moose shot. I think if you’re lacking pelican shots you should just go on vacation along the gulf coast of Florida. You can shoot old duffers fishing too!

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      I think there are a few things in Florida that I’m lacking. I might have to do that someday. I like the moose shot as well – it was a strange gesture!

      Like

  8. Deb W. Trotter says:

    Thanks for an amusing reminder of how hard you work to get the great shots!!

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Glad you were amused. I’m not sure I work that hard compared to others but I keep getting drawn back into it no matter how manner bloopers show up because every once in a while …

      Like

  9. caleephotography says:

    LOL!! This is too funny 😀 I especially love the beautiful grass and wildlife through a windshield!

    Like

  10. FeyGirl says:

    Hah, these are fantastic! And, replace with different animals… uncannily similar. 🙂

    Like

  11. remo1323 says:

    That was too funny. Enjoyed going through the post. Quite a few ouch moments 🙂

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Yes there were a few ouch moments and I still cringe a bit looking at them. Fortunately sometimes there were others that were salvageable. So glad you enjoyed it – appreciated the comment.

      Like

  12. The Earth Beneath My Feet says:

    Very comical, thanks for sharing.

    Like

  13. lexi says:

    What a great idea for a post. Too funny. Unfortunately, this looks like most of my photos.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Unfortunately this looks like most of my photos too! Thankfully there’s a few that look like they don’t belong to this set. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the humour. It was fun to do.

      Like

  14. Rejoice For The Day says:

    It was good to save those, the blooper reel made for a great post! I truly enjoyed seeing your less than perfect shots, or rather, the perfectly imperfect. 🙂

    Like

  15. dapontephotography says:

    Great post! Famous last words ” what happened the shot looked great on the back of the camera ” get it home and oh oh what happened was there some sort of focus corruption when the file was downloaded :-/

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Glad you liked it. When someone asks me I have good photos when I’m out shooting, I always say I don’t know until I see them on the computer. It’s funny how getting burned too many times does that to you. I like your focus corruption theory! Maybe that’s what’s been happening all along.

      Like

  16. Phil Lanoue says:

    I don’t know what you are doing wrong, I never have problems like that. My local wildlife along with tree branches *always* cooperate. Ha! Yeah right.
    Seriously though I really like your blooper reel, good thing you did not hit the Delete button on everything right?
    The nerve of that bear to photo bomb your grass picture! I would be furious!
    How about a feature on the camera that beeps whenever we are about to cut off heads or when weeds are just about to jump out on us?!

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      The whole time I was watching the pelican and editing the feeding sequence I kept thinking I almost got a Phil shot! Then reality set in! I think I need all the camera features you suggested and whatever bird charmer you use to make everyone co-operate!

      Glad you liked my musings and bloopers. It was fun to put my black humour to good use.

      Like

  17. hannele says:

    It’s great that you share shots like these, too – it shows that we’re all just human and no one takes good photos only. It might make the threshold lower for people to try nature photography, and shows a great deal of capacity of self-irony, which is always a good thing.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      I think anyone who keeps trying to chase wildlife must either develop some self-irony or drive themselves crazy since there are just so many things beyond a person’s control. I appreciate your thotful comments.

      Like

  18. mrsbearfoot says:

    Oh, this hits so close to home; really enjoyed it!

    Like

  19. vanbraman says:

    Great blooper reel and a great idea. I know that I am saving all mine for a reason. They may appear someday as well.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks so much. It’s a great release to show off the bloopers. I usually try to delete them all but they piled up on me. I’ll be looking for your bloopers.

      Like

  20. westerner54 says:

    Oh my gosh, just brilliant. Thanks, again, for making me smile.

    Like

  21. 1107photography says:

    LOL–Lyle, this one was awesome! If there is one characteristic I admire in all the talented photogs I follow, it’s a sense of humbleness regarding this elusive craft. There are SO many more ways things can go wrong, than right! Hats off, this really made me smile. 🙂

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      I value making people smile quite highly so I’m happy to hear that. There are so many things to keep a person humble in wildlife photography especially after trying to replicate some good shots. Glad you liked it.

      Like

  22. Karen Lilly says:

    My favourite post. Keep up the good work 🙂

    Like

  23. Cheryl says:

    Thanks. I needed that. I have as many fuzzy yellow fur shots as great monkeys. Nice to know your wand sometimes “misfires”. Still…great wildlife ops, even without the photos. 😉

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      I think I need a magic wand some days rather than a camera. Glad you enjoyed it. I had to vent a little but the truth is I probably appreciate the good shots so much more knowing all the challenges of getting there.

      Like

  24. Simone Lipscomb says:

    I feel your pain…..thanks for sharing these shots and your narrative. 100% true for many of us working with wildlife!!! I struggle with autofocus on my Nikon D800. Never have I had such focusing issues….my D300 never did this to me…is it a conspiracy? Just to drive photogs mad?

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Too bad you share the pain! Conspiracy or not it certainly has the capacity drive people mad at times. An industry person I talked to indicated that perhaps the focusing component of new cameras has not been able to keep up with all the other technology advancements in cameras. That made some sense to me since the problem seems to go beyond a particular camera or company.

      Like

  25. Victor Rakmil says:

    Perfect way to illustrate the reality of photographing in the wild!

    Like

  26. Mandy says:

    Giggling away over here. The photos may not be your best but the commentary is priceless.

    Like

  27. annethroop says:

    How true, how true! You made my day!

    Like

  28. morgenfuglen says:

    I love this post. So funny. I especially like the first bear photo. And the shy moose 😀

    Like

  29. Mike Powell says:

    I really enjoy your quirky sense of humor and this post reached new heights (or depths, depending on your perspective). Those of us who try to photograph wildlife can easily see ourselves and our photos in your work, as we think of all the time that we have achieved similar results. So we laugh at ourselves as we chuckle over your detailed explanations. In many ways, the posting reinforce to me the significance of luck in getting great shots. The perfect lighting, setup, and equipment still requires a cooperative subject and the animals are unpredictable enough that we keep returning, hoping that the next time we’ll get a better shot. (I especially liked the moose shot–he could have a posting of his own, perhaps with a caption contest.)

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      I have ruefully noted on a number of occasions that my life and my photography would be a lot simpler if I would enjoy other types of photography but the joys are just to much to pass up. It keeps me going through all the missed opportunities. Luck, unfortunately, is still a huge factor though it does add a level of drama to the whole thing. Lately I’ve been surprised that luck even extends to camera function since it doesn’t necessarily focus where it says it did. All of this makes me enjoy my good photos even more. Glad you liked my humour and the shy moose – that made me smile even while I was watching it live.

      Like

  30. Stephen G. Hipperson says:

    🙂 🙂 my illusions dashed! 😉 🙂 I don’t feel quite so useless now, thanks! 🙂

    Like

  31. Gunta says:

    This kind of made me think of the comments we left at Phil’s blog… where he beheaded the egret. Great and fun post. Love the sense of humor.

    Like

  32. itchierfeet says:

    Love this post! I really like the shy moose, or else he thinks his butt is a better view?!

    Like

  33. Karolyn Cooper says:

    Very entertaining post.

    Like

  34. ckponderings says:

    Great post! Some really nice images there too. I really like the first one – almost as if the impending doom has yet to be recognised. The moose shot (12) is a great one too – it’s the casualness that draws me in to this one; the moose doing what moose do! 😀

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks for the comments. I actually quite like the first photo even though it’s not what I planned and it’s the photo that inspired the post. Impending doom and casualness are great observations. Glad you liked the images.

      Like

  35. bearspawprint says:

    hahahaha Thank you

    Like

  36. melodylowes says:

    Ha! Love this post! Now I know that it takes more than a good camera and tripod… 🙂 Love the camera shy moose pose, and the propensity of trees to jump out at the last moment. (I thought I was the only one who had animals photo-bomb my perfectly set-up grass shots… Huge grin!!

    Like

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