Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Lure of Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Snow Geese at Squaw Creek (Copyright © 2016 Dan Bush)

I can't believe that I went almost 45 years through my life without discovering Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge near Mound City, Missouri.  I lived so close to this place and never really gave it much thought until I went over one time in 2012 and was changed for life.   I couldn't believe the stunning vistas, sounds, and overall atmosphere that can be found there.   It is almost like going on an African safari when going  there.   Driving down into the refuge from the east just off of I-29 is like driving into a different land.   Seeing up to 2 million snow geese on the refuge take flight all at once is something that can never be forgotten.  Photographs or video never do it justice but I try.

Now I have never missed a migration and don't plan to do so.  I find myself visiting the refuge 2 or 3 times in the Fall and then again in the Spring.   I have even found myself purchasing lenses for the sole purpose of photographing birds rather than for my initial passion of photographing the night sky. 

I will keep adding more thoughts and images to this blog when time allows. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Know Your Subject by Revisiting

I believe that it is very important as a photographer to revist a subject or place many times.  I first began doing this with the Old Brick Church and cemetery that is located just a few miles northwest of Albany, Missouri.  I returned to this small church hundreds of times in all kinds of weather and lighting conditions throughout the years.  I soon began to really "know" the place and  began to experience it as it really is in all kinds of light and weather.  In return I have gotten many images that show the true character of the place.  This can take years to accomplish but is worth it.

One can't gain a real appreciation for the Grand Canyon, for instance, without seeing it in all aspects of lighting and weather conditions.  Photographers can't simply drive up to it in the middle of the day, hop out of the car and take a photo, and then drive away to see something else.  If one had the means it would be better to visit it many times or even stay there and take it all in and study it.

I have done this with many areas in Northwest Missouri including Elam Bend, Seat Conservation Area, and many old churches and cemeteries.  My most recent concentration has been to visit Grace Farms several times and park out front and catch a good sunrise behind it. I have gotten several shots this way that really shows the character of the place including this one here:

If one wants to really get a feel for the character of a place then one needs to revisit it many times.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Why Photograph the Moon

I continue to photograph the moon whenever I get the chance.  The last time I did so I questioned myself as to the reason for doing this.  I asked:  "Why are you continuing to take images of the moon?  It hasn't really changed in 3 billion years.  Don't all of my moon images look the same?"  I came up with several answers and have decided to keep doing so.  Here are a few reasons that I came up with:

  1. Even though there are technically better images of the moon out there for viewing or purchase there's nothing quite like having one you've taken yourself.
  2. Even though the moon itself hasn't changed in billions of years it definitely doesn't look the same each time it is observed....and I don't mean just the phases that it goes through either.  The skies of Earth are forever changing whether it be atmospheric steadiness, cloud cover variations, earthshine brightness, and  
  3. Technology allows me to continually improve upon my photography.  It is so much easier to get good quality photos of the moon these days than it used to be.  Now, with the digital age, I can review my work instantly and make corrections as needed.  So my pictures of the moon have gotten better because of this.
  4. It's fun.  Nothing is more peaceful and fun to me than to relax on a warm evening messing around with my equipment while observing the sky.  Some people like to fish.  I like to observe and photograph the sky.
  5. I might catch something interesting some day.  I've taken lots of images of planes in front of the moon for example.
Those are just some of the reasons that I continue to photograph the moon, and the sky in general too.  So, in keeping with my revelation, here's another image of the waxing gibbous moon that I took recently with my 6 inch f/8 refractor telescope from my backyard observatory here in Northern Missouri:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The New Missouri Skies Blog

This is a test of my new blog.  I hope that I get into this a little more than I got into Twitter and Facebook.  Sometimes people start these things all gung-ho  with the intention of updating them every day but I doubt that I will do that.  I have learned with Twitter that it's fun at first but later, when the newness wears off,  seems to become more of a chore and a source of guilt for having neglected it.   I do like the relative ease with which this blog is to update.

The image seen here is a recent shot that I took at sunset.  I really like the reds and oranges and the structure in the clouds.  It was a surprise that it happened as I thought that the approaching storm from the west would have cut off the light from the setting sun.  This sunset quickly "shut off", however, and just a few moments later the skies were dark and uninteresting.  It's amazing how fleeting some of natures wonders are.  I have been accused of faking some of these photos but I don't.  It would be 100 times harder to fake them than to actually just wait and take the picture when the opportunity arises.  Most of the scenes that I capture are taken when most people are in bed in the morning or inside eating during the evening.
I am always shooting views such as this.  I seem to get a bigger kick out of it than most people.  I'm not sure why I like shooting this type of stuff but I do.  I've been doing ever since I was a teenager.  This year I celebrate 30 years in the hobbies of Astronomy and Photography.  The Missouri Skies web site also celebrates 15 years online.

I hope this blog goes well.  Thanks for taking a look.

See more at:  Missouri Skies