Monday, December 31, 2012

Game and a Maine Game Warden

Although I was expecting to capture game on the trail camera, I wasn't expecting to photograph a game warden. In Ohio, we've been calling our game protectors "wildlife officers" for a while, but Maine sticks with the traditional game warden moniker.

I was expecting to photograph deer. I was hoping for a buck with a huge rack, but this spike and two does will suffice. Deer started crossing here only during the rut in early November.

Only once in the five months did wild turkeys meander down this path, but when they did, they came in numbers.

And finally, on the night of October 11, I managed to grab a coyote. The quick trigger speed barely captured the coyote in the frame, presumably as it cruised nose to the ground from left to right.

All in all, this was a really fun thing to do and completely worth the five month wait. I do wish I would have captured animals more frequently, however, this camera was not baited. I would have liked to have captured a bobcat and a porcupine. Maybe images of those species will be on the memory card when I return once again to Maine? The camera is still there.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Five Months in Maine

Last summer I purchased a small trail camera and had it shipped to Maine before our summer trip to visit Megan's parents. I've become increasingly interested in trail cameras as they have become smaller, cheaper, and offered better image quaIity. I installed the camera this summer and baited it with canned tuna. Over the course of four days I was able to attract the resident chocolate labs, one small doe, a turkey, and finally, a family of raccoons.

I toyed with the decision of leaving the camera in Maine, not knowing when I would be back to retrieve the images. Rationalizing that I wouldn't get much use of the camera in our back yard in Columbus, I loaded the camera with a fresh set of lithium batteries and an empty memory card. I found a tree along the back driveway where it crossed a little ravine, in a location that my in-laws could check easily. The lace was far away from the house so that the dogs wouldn't constantly be running by. I set up the camera and off we went back to Ohio.

We returned a few days ago- needless to say I was pretty excited to retrieve the memory card- I'm sure I had a smug grin on my face when I saw the first few pictures as they downloaded onto my iPad.

Yep- that's what they call a Maine wood's dog. Or black bear. My inlaws have had their bird-feeder shepherd hooks bent to the ground, but they've never actually seen a bear. I'm not much of a mammalogist, but there's no doubt what we're looking at here. Only once did this bear appear in the five months of surveillance. And it's also interesting that this bear showed up only two days after I set up the camera. Perhaps h/she smelled the cans of tuna that were about 100 yards away? I do not know, but just perhaps, I got lucky.

In the coming days, I'll share more images from the camera.


Oh, yes- the camera I purchased was the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD. It sells for about $180 via Amazon.

Location:Otisfield, Maine

Monday, November 26, 2012

Moose visits Ohio

Dark-eyed Junco reaches for the seeds of Lamb's Quarters...Quinoa for the birds!
On November 22 I attended a lecture by Moose Peterson, one of the pioneers of digital wildlife photography.  Moose is a Nikon shooter who has recently been really getting in photographing WWII airplanes from other WWII airplanes.  Admittedly, before I went to his lecture, I wasn't one of his avid followers.  I wasn't sure I even wanted to plunk down the $20 bucks for a two hour talk.

However, it wasn't more than twenty minutes into his presentation that he really made a connection with me.  Moose has both a passion and understanding of both wildlife AND photography.  It's a passion for two things, when combined, creates something much bigger than a camera or a wildlife research study alone can produce.  Moose really is 2/3 wildlife biologist and 1/3 photographer.  He, perhaps more than anyone I've met, understands what it's like to be both a wildlife professional and a photographer.  I live in both of these worlds.  Needless to say, finding common ground with Moose and his work was just the spark I needed to get out my long telephoto lens more often.

After the talk, I learned about his BT Journal, a quarterly magazine for wildlife photographers.  The most recent "bonus" edition, available as an electronic only e-book, focused on a topic that Moose addressed in his talk.  His thesis is simple: the best place to learn wildlife photography is in our own backyards.  He gives tips for luring wildlife to any home, including high rise apartment buildings, and provides technical photography guidance as well.

A blue jay finds a cached pin-oak acorn in the furrows of our bur oak.
Needless to say, his special edition of the BT Journal reinvigorated my own passion for backyard wildlife photography. I spent Sunday looking out the windows of our house like I haven't done since Weston was a wee little baby, and I felt ten years younger to boot. And that my friend, was worth the $20 admission.

Thanks Moose!


Sunday, August 05, 2012

Forest Management: Seeing the Forest and the Trees

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History's 9th annual conservation symposium this year will focus this year on our forests.  The museum staff has lined up a great slate of field trips, speakers and workshops to help answer important questions about how we manage our forests in Ohio and beyond.  Guests include Dr. Cindy Hale, who will present a workshop on Thursday September 6 on the Invasive Earthworm Rapid Assessment Tool.  During the presentations of Friday September 7, guests include Dr. Joan Maloof, author of Among the Ancients:  Adventures in the Eastern Old-Growth Forests, and Dr. Michael Saunders, who will present "Ten Little Things to Increase Forest Resiliency".

And don't forget field trips, on Thursday and Saturday, including visits to Hadlock Preserve, Singer Lake, Grand River Terraces, and Cox Preserve, all fantastic areas harboring a great deal of biodiversity.  I'm not going to be able to make this years conference, and I feel like I'm going to miss quite a bit!  Sign up now at the museum's website.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve

It has been so long since I have sat down at this computer to upload an image here or to type anything that I have second guessed which clicks I need to make.  Could someone put a few drops of oil in the right places so I can get up and running again?

I have recently been working on my high dynamic range photography technique. There's nothing like a formal course to do this- I'm using my education funds to take an online class through Columbus StateConkle's Hollow State Nature Preserve proved the perfect spot for taking HDR photos.  The deep shadows of the gorge underneath the ledges can be brought to the light using HDR.  This image has made the rounds on facebook, but I wanted to post it here as well.  This space was getting rather dusty.  Ahh.....thank you, whomever found the oil can.  I'm starting to move again.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Honey Locust Dawn

Close-up of honey-locust silhouetted against a morning sunrise.  March 20th, Delaware, Ohio.

I'm alive- Yes, it's been a while.  I needed the break.  And I haven't been idle.  Megan and I took the boys to Orlando for a week in late February.  We didn't even go to Disney World, but we did spend plenty of time with Megan's parents, and the boys love being with 'Bah and Gram. 

Over the past month, I've been slowly developing a new site,  This site will feature my nature photography, offering both inspirational images as well as nature photography tips and gear recommendations.  Thank you for the bookmarks, follows, and subscriptions at


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Female Red-bellied woodpecker, showing a hint of her Red Belly

I think I learned from good buddy Jim McCormac that the red-bellied woodpecker was named back in the day when Ornithologists used guns, not binoculars, to get a closer look at birds.  The red belly of this species isn't obvious.  Here's a female red-bellied from Deer Haven Preserve.  You can just get a hint of the reddish feathers on her belly.  With the bird in the hand though, this feature might stand out fairly easily.

This concludes my bird series from Deer Haven Preserve.  I need some new pictures- I'll have to be creative and bring my camera to work, perhaps-  How about a week of mosses?


Monday, February 20, 2012

Lean & Mean

Dark-eyed Junco, Deer Haven Preserve, Delaware County
So normally, we're used to seeing dark-eyed juncos sitting on top a snow pack of about eight inches with their feathers all puffed up to keep them warm, right?  Not this virtually snowless winter- They're looking lean and mean.  Well, maybe not mean.  Perhaps cute is a better word.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Who Are You & Why Are You Taking My Picture?

I downloaded a few more pictures of my photo session of Deer Haven Preserve.  I was hoping to share with you an image of a female hairy woodpecker, but I wasn't happy with any of the shots that I got.  I was shooting with a low shutter speed.  I couldn't get my timing down to photograph her when she wasn't moving.  Oh well!

But I did find this gem- A male northern cardinal "caught in the act".


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cooper's Hawk

Immature Cooper's Hawk- Deer Haven Preserve, Delaware County, Ohio

Friday, February 10, 2012

Our State Bird

The Northern Cardinal, Ohio's state bird.  But did you know six other states claim the Northern Cardinal as their state bird as well?  I'm not sure when the Northern Cardinal became Ohio's state bird, but it's hard to think of any other species that would be a better choice. 


Monday, February 06, 2012

White-breasted Nuthatch

I'm alive!  Megan was just saying the other day that we just haven't been able to catch a break recently.  I suppose that's life with two little kids.  In the past month, we've all been sick.  Megan had a sinus infection for about a month, and I had one for two weeks.  The boys had colds, and Weston eventually developed an ear infection.  Fortunately, now that he has tubes, the infection is easily treated with drops.

I spent last Sunday afternoon at the Delaware Preservation Parks Deer Haven Preserve photographing birds and staffing the nature center.  There's a small stump about two feet away from the window glass that makes a wonderful way to see small birds close-up. Up until the Cooper's hawk made an appearance, this white-breasted nuthatch kept coming for more sunflower seeds.  If you haven't visited Deer Haven Preserve, it's a great place to watch and photograph feeder birds.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I'm not sure why, but there's something deep inside my soul that gives me the ability to stand on the side of a lake, river or stream all day long, and toss and retrieve a lure or bait for hours.  Until it gets dark. It's just so hard to put the fishing pole down. I can remember camping at Atwood Lake, in my early teens, getting eaten up by mosquitoes, basically doing the mosquito dance at dusk, until I absolutely couldn't stand it anymore.  I don't care what type of fish I catch, I have always loved fishing.  I can thank my dad and my grandfather for that passion.

They got me started at a pretty early age.  My earliest fishing memory is Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake Park, a private retreat area for Goodyear workers outside of Akron.  It isn't private anymore- in fact, it's now a state park.  But there, probably at the age of five or six I remember catching a tiny little bluegill and a nice fat crayfish.  The rest is history.

I don't remember my grandfather fishing very often.  He just didn't participate in the sport very much in retirement.  I think by that time, he put most of his effort into golf.  But when he passed on last February, I went through his THREE tackle boxes, and found some pretty amazing fishing tackle spanning decades of fishing history.  I've been going through it this weekend.  I'd like to select the most valuable and interesting pieces and mount them on a shadowbox to hang in the wall.  Heck, I think there's enough stuff to fill three shadow boxes.

Although I don't do it much anymore, fishing is something that first sparked my interest in nature and wild animals at a very young age.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Maine Glow

While we were visiting Megan's parents in Maine this past holiday season, I did what I always do there- I take plenty of photographs.  Since I've been going there five years now, I have to make a conscious effort to find new images.  It's SO easy to just take the same pictures year after year.

One late afternoon, just as the sun was dropping, I decided to walk through the woods surrounding their home..  The dominant trees of this particular area are balsam fir, white pine, hemlock, red oak and yellow birch.  Even though the light was really great, I couldn't find a subject that was interesting enough to my eye.  I then turned around, and noticed the small but specatular patches of light where the setting sun came through the forest.  I used my telephoto lens to single out these areas of reflected and refracted light, shooting straight into the sun.  Making sure I didn't look through the camera at the sun, I snapped several images that I was really happy with.  I've never quite made this type of photograph before here, but I am really pleased with these.  Yes, there are  plenty of lens flare, normally considered a "problem", but to me, the technical flaws are what makes these images interesting.

No matter what you're doing, be it looking for rare plants, searching for wildlife, or photographing the natural world, take time to look at things a different way- you never know what you might find.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Photography Exhibit January 21 - February 18 in Crestline, Ohio

I'm quite excited to announce that I'm going to be doing another photography show.   This time, I've received an invitation from Crawford Park District Director Bill Fisher to exhibit my work at Lowe-Volk park near Crestline, Ohio.  I'll be showing sixteen of my most compelling works (i hope).  I'll be at the nature center on Saturday January 21 for a reception.  I hope my friends in north central Ohio will be able to make it! 

 Here are the details from the Bucyrus Telegraph Forum:  

The Crawford Park District will begin its nature photography exhibit featuring native Ohioan Tom Arbour at 1 p.m. Jan. 21, providing an opportunity for visitors to meet Arbour and view samples of his work. The exhibit will be in Lowe-Volk Park Nature Center, 2401 Ohio 598. The nature photography exhibit will continue through Feb. 18.  Arbour is a wildlife research technician for the Ohio Division of Wildlife's Olentangy Wildlife Research Station. His interests include a wide variety of natural subjects, but he is particularly interested in close-ups of insects and sweeping landscapes. Although his work is primarily Ohio-based, he has a large body of work from his wife's home state of Maine. He has recently photographed nature subjects in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Carolina, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Arbour's photography has been exhibited at the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington and the ODNR headquarters in Columbus. His nature photographs have appeared in multiple ODNR publications and web pages. He is perhaps best known to Ohioans for his Ohio Nature Blog (www.ohio

I hope to see you on Saturday, January 21!


Thursday, January 05, 2012


Lately I've been showing photographs of the sunrise, but this evening, I photographed the evening sunset.   I was struck by the contrast between the natural lines created by the gnarled bur oak limbs and the crossing angles created by the contrails just above the horizon.