Even though the moment only lasted just a few seconds, I felt a special connection with this specific long-tailed weasel. As it peeked up out of the hole, it appeared to be just as interested in me as I was with him/her. One of my main objectives with my photography is to establish an emotional connection between the subject and the viewer. This photo was very special to me because the low profile and eye contact establish this emotional connection. The way the weasel peeked up in what appears to be a flower bed, the soft tones of the flowers, and with both the foreground and background blurred, everything takes your eyes directly to the subject. It captures the moment and thus made this photo one of my personal favorites.
How I got the shot
The photo was taken on an overcast day, which helped soften the image and eliminate shadows. It also helped as I was not as concerned with the sun angle. The challenge was with the speed and unpredictability of weasels. There were three young weasel’s that consistently played each morning out on a soccer field. I spent a couple of days getting to know their behavior and tendencies, which helped me anticipate where they might reappear and allowed me to pre-position my heavy lens. The key to the shot was getting low and dirty, which was also a challenge, as I continued to lose focus because the grass was higher than the weasels.
What I used
This photo was taken with a Nikon D5 and a Nikkor 500mm f/4 prime lens. I used a Gitzo tripod with a Wimberley WH-200 Gimbal Tripod Head II with Quick Release Base. I used Lightroom for color and white balance adjustments. My settings were f/5.0 at 1/1000 second / ISO 2000. I also used Topaz DeNoise AI for noise reduction and sharpening.
I call Northern California home and have always had a passion for conservation and photography. My love for wildlife has always driven my interest in photography, as I love to document and share with others. A few years back I decided to wind down my career in technology to spend more time on my photography. My primary focus is on birds and mammals, but I have recently started expanding into landscape, cityscapes, and astrophotography. My favorite location is anywhere outdoors. However, I do enjoy the abundance of wildlife and nature in Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Alaska.
Even though I spent 25 years working in the technology industry as a finance controller and in business development, my true love has always been nature. My initial field of study in college was wildlife and forestry. To pay my way through college, I spent my summers working for the Forest Service as a firefighter and then as a logging truck driver. I have had many hobbies throughout my life, such as scuba diving, kayaking and I have a private pilot’s license. I have always had a camera and enjoyed photography. While living in Bangalore, India, with my family and working for a tech company, I purchased my first digital camera and started photographing birds. My passion has only grown, and now I am doing nature photography full-time.
My photographic journey
My first published photos were of the California forest fires taken with my Pentax K1000 when I was a firefighter in college. I took this hobby to the next level after I purchased my first DSLR while living in India for three years. I have worked with many professional guides who have inspired my photography and helped me grow my skills. Specifically, Matthew Studebaker, Alan Murphy, Cindy Goeddel, and Jeff Vanuga have been instrumental in my growth as a photographer.
NANPA and me
I joined NANPA in 2017 and have participated in several NANPA Regional Events, such as Yellowstone in Winter and Astrophotography in Arches National Park. Through these workshops I have built some wonderful friendships, and have expanded on my skills. In 2019 I was recognized in the Showcase 250 for the first time. In 2021 I was honored with Best-in-Category: Birds and was on the cover of Expressions.