Monday, May 30, 2011

Epson Pano Awards Surprise

I'm excited to announce
that the following image "Aurora"
placed first in the open competition, nature category

As I wrote earlier this month, in the 2011 competition four of my images won awards, and I was very happy with that.

Now imagine my surprise as I opened my email a few days ago and found the following:

"Dear Susanne,

Congratulations!! You have placed first in the Open competition, Nature category with your image of the Northern Lights in Hudson Bay.

This year we received 3474 entries from 952 photographers in 62 countries, so you should be very proud of this achievement.

The top 50 images in each category will very soon be published on the website.[...]"

They have now published all the images and I would like to invite you to check  out their website and see all the great submissions. Just click here to go there directly.

Together with the seven best images of each category my image will be on display in an exhibition on the occasion of the PMA (Photo Marketing Association International) in Sydney this June.
Anyone going ?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Hummingbird Challenge

This last Sunday I had the pleasure to participate in a fun hummingbird photography workshop in the Santa Cruz Mountains, held by my dear friends Judy Bingman and Meggi Raeder.

Inspired by a similar workshop that Judy and I attended, Judy had converted her already bird friendly garden into a hummingbird paradise.
Together with Meggi, these both accomplished photographers as well as avid birders, put together a knowledgeable and fun program for photographers interested in hummingbird photography.

With plenty of hummers around, and different setups to choose from, everybody filled their memory cards fast.

I approached the photography part rather nonchalantly, just enjoying the nice weather and the chatting with fellow photographers. After all hummingbirds are not on top of my "wildlife I want to photograph" list.

BUT after filling my memory card with a lot of super sharp and colorful....hummingbird feeders instead of hummingbirds, I got thinking....

I photographed polar bears, penguins, seals, wolves.....and now these tiny birds with their big attitude make me look like a rookie??

Well, if you consider that they are the smallest birds on earth measuring only between 2,5 to 8 inches, weigh in average only as much as an U.S. penny, beat their wings between 40 and 80 times per second, can reach a speed of 30 mph and are the only birds that truly can fly backwards and upside down, it's no wonder they are not an easy catch.

Always happy to conquer a photographic challenge, I gave it a more serious try. I hope you enjoy the results as much as I did photographing the hummingbirds.

If you are interested in attending one of Meggi's and Judy's workshops, please click here for more information. The next "Photo Workshop: Hummingbirds" is scheduled for July 10th and possibly another one later in fall.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Epson International Photographic Pano Awards

I'm happy to announce that four of my submitted images earned awards at the second international Pano Awards. One Silver and three Bronze!

"The Epson International Pano Awards showcases the work of panoramic photographers worldwide and is the largest and most important competition for panoramic photography. "

There are two entry classes, one for amateurs (amateur) and one for professional photographers and amateurs (open), with two categories each, Nature and The Built Environment.

The awarded images were entered in the open competition Nature category.



Lightrays Palouse




El Capitan Storm


Saturday, May 7, 2011

May Conservation Tip


I was just leafing through the new Audubon Magazine when I stumbled upon a shocking article: Bad Shot by Ted Williams

Since I'm not a hunter I had no idea, that some, most?, hunters not only kill the animal they are shooting,  but in the long run other animals that share the same habitat, mostly birds.

By plumbism, lead poisoning.

Let me throw a few numbers at you...and some of my eagle images, to lighten the load...this is heavy reading:

" The U.S. geological Survey reports that as many as 400,000 lead shotgun pellets per acre are falling down on popular hunting fields, and that about 80,000 tons of lead accumulate each year on the nation's trap, skeet and target ranges." (2)

                                           Bald Eagle in Pine Tree

"Hunters shoot roughly 20 million mourning doves a year, but evidence suggests that nearly that many die from eating lead shot." (2)

                                            Bald Eagle with Hatchling


"There is, therefore, no doubt that millions of birds die annually worldwide from lead poisoning (in the U.S.A., around 3 000 000), this problem being most acute in marshland." (1)

                                 Juvenile Bald Eagle nibbling on plant   

"The University of Minnesota's Raptor Center in St. Paul received 117 lead poisoned bald eagles during the winter of 2009-2010" (2)

                                Curious juvenile Bald Eagle inspecting sundial

"Since 2000 there have been at least 276 documented cases of plumbism in condors.[ ]Numbers of free flying California Condors in the wild vary almost daily, but as of March 1, there were 369 left on the planet, including 177 in captivity." (2)

                                           On top

How does the lead get into the birds and what does it cause there?

Many birds mistake the pellets for the little stones or grit that they usually take in to grind food in their gizzards.
Vultures and Condors seek out the lead in carrion, because it feels like the bone they feed their chicks to maintain calcium levels.
Raptors ingest lead indirectly by hunting easier to catch poisoned small mammals, birds or fish, the latter poisoned by lead sinkers or ballast.

The lead then enters the digestion tract where they dissolve into lead salt. These are incorporated into the bloodstream and the rest of the body and accumulate in organs like the liver or kidneys causing physiological or behavioural changes.
No safe threshold for lead exposure has been discovered, meaning there is no known amount of lead that is too small to cause the body harm.

The lead poisoning problem due to lead ammunition is known since 1894, wouldn't it be time to make some changes????

If you have a moment, read the article, since it is really well written and gives a complex understanding of the topic, this is just a small abstract to raise awareness.


Help spread the word, you can share this blog on facebook or send a link to your friends and relatives, especially if they are hunt or fish.

If you hunt, switch to nontoxic ammunition.

If you fish, switch to nontoxic sinkers and jigheads.

Tell your legislators to oppose bills that would strip the EPA of authority to regulate ammunition and fishing tackle.

(1) Lead and lead toxicity in domestic and free living birdsAvian Pathology June 2010

(2) Bad Shot Incite, Audubon Magazine May-June 2011, Ted Williams