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Tin Man Lee
Having fun in wildlife photography
Having fun in wildlife photography


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Birdie and the Beast

It was an uneventful day at Yellowstone. Our photo group saw a herd of bison in mid-day-- which means harsh light that's bad for photography.

Some of us didn't even walk out from the van. We have seen bison every single day in this whole trip. Well I went out anyways.

Then I saw this tiny cowbird which seemed to have no fear. She got pretty close to the bison.

Just in case anything might happen, I set up my camera and lens as the bison moved closer and closer.

Then this happened. The bison stick his tongue out that almost kissed the cowbird. The cowbird looked so shocked as she called with feather all up, and instantly flew to a few feet away. Literally there was less than an inch before the bison's tongue touched her.

After I got the shot, I looked around. No other photographers seemed to have witnessed this moment.

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Chubby Puffin Incoming:

This is not a penguin. This is an Atlantic puffin flying. I took this photo in Machias Seal Island, Maine, last year.

I remember a professional photographer once told me: Never tell people how many failed shots you have taken, just post the best one. Well, since I am not a professional... I have to confess, I have taken 1583 shots, all failed, to get this shot. I am pretty bad, ain't I?

Here are a 3 things to remember if you plan to go to Machias Seal Island, which is the only place to see Atlantic puffins in the US:

Remember to take Dramamine before you go: The boat ride is not for the faint of heart. I will tell more about this in later posts.

Bring the longest lens you have: I was told that I only need lenses thats shorter than 300mm. Well, if you want to get better shots with better background, bring your longest lens.

Prepare to get heatstroke: Groups of 4 would be assigned to each "blind"--a small house with tiny little window to view the puffins. The room really can only fit 4 people. You will be confined in the small room for an hour and a half. I felt so hot that the steam of my sweat fogged my glasses the whole time...

Settings for this photo:
Camera: Canon 1D Mark IV
Lens: Canon 500mm F4 IS
ISO: 800
Aperture: f/7.1
Speed: 1/3200s
Handheld: No space in the "blind" for tripod or even monopod. I handheld the almost 10 pound lens for more than an hour...
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