Sunday, April 13, 2014

Photography ~ Old School

I have been a pro photographer for over 10 years its only been in the last few years that i could make more money supporting my family by going back to the Information Technology World (20 years experience in Application Development). I have pretty much done every kind of photography sports, fine art, landscapes and commercial but i enjoy Architecture, Landscapes and Still Life Photos the most.

Digital Photography really got me into commercial photography, actually getting paid to do it and making a living. But since i was a young child if have always loved the excitement of B&W Film Photography. My Dad has always been influential as he is also a pro photographer and has even photographed royalty , amazing landscapes (Greenland) and micro photography that has documented engine failures for the RAF.

The problem with Digital is that its becoming to instant and the value of the photograph gets lost. After a while the photographer gets lazy and just takes so many pictures hes bound to get one that's right... right ?

I have had a Hassleblad Medium format (120 Film) Camera for some time. i have one 50mm lens. For this Camera that's all i need. You get 12 shots per roll of film so it discipline the user in to composing the shot and taking great care in what they are taking a photograph off. When i wanted the film developing in the past I would give my film to my dad to process(he's brilliant) and then scan the negatives in. Moving to the USA meant i lost that, so then what to do with all this unprocessed film. If i send it away it will cost a fortune in development costs and may get lost. So on a recent visit to see family i got my dad to teach me how to develop my own film.

I also have 2 5x4 cameras (a studio 5x4 and a field 5x4 camera) that i want to use for landscapes again i just want to do black and white film and then scan it in for myself.

A Stream In Meltham , United Kingdom.

My Growing Sons in Meltham , United Kindom.

I have an idea for a study of taking a picture of every falconer in Oklahoma with their current bird. don't want it to be an action shot just a portrait. One of the Bird and One of the Falconer and his bird. It wont be color it will just be black and white.

There are two reasons for this, first it will be a permanent record for future generations to view. Digital is not permanent storage and files can easily be corrupted and lost, film is more permanent in that there will be always something to scan it it can be stored without worry of degrading (there are negatives over 100 years old)

So in the future there will be more B&W shots displayed on this blog

Friday, March 28, 2014

And that's it for this year

Photo By Latrell Olner

Its that time of the year where the days are getting lighter and the "honey do list" is starting to rack up. Commitments and compromises so that i can do this amazing sport start to take priority so with that in mind, on Sunday i decided it would be the last time we would go out for the year.

I have been contacted by a local Artist Jan Martin McGuire and her Husband James Hines as to whether they could tag along. I also decided i would like to take Bella my English Pointer out to see at 6 months how she would do. My amazing wife Latrell also agreed to come out with me even though it was her birthday.

We headed to copan not to hunt rabbits (as they have all started breeding) but to try some bird flights. I have a couple of Covey of quail that sometimes if I'm lucky we can bust. Quail Numbers are so amazingly down in Oklahoma that if you come across a covey it tends to take you by surprise. For Falconry Quail Season ends on March 31st. We are very fortunate in Oklahoma to get an extra month of Quail and Pheasant hunting at both the beginning and end of the regular quail season.

So we entered the field and started walking through brush. initially we didn't see much and things where looking pretty bleak. But then like other times it happened. One step towards some seed scattering weeds and a cop of small trees and suddenly there was hugh explosion of noise and flapping of wings 15 quail took to the air and it was glorious. As with before i think Jez gets overwhelmed by whats happening and took of from the T-Perch late. In the fall i will probably get some captive breed quail and bag him on a few to work on this.  A lost opportunity but very rewarding.

We then continued waling through tall grass that's is common to the copan area. Sparrows had started to pop up in the odd location. Normally on these flights Jez waits for them to put in and then he hits the ground hard. We had a few chases like this. The sparrows how ever have a plan , hit the grass and freeze like stones using there feathers to blend in and then running though the grass to safety. after looking and not finding anything we would move on.

The best flight of the day was not because it resulted in a English Sparrow from being caught but because of the the way it was caught. Jez chased after it like normal (over a distance of about 30 yards) and then struck it with his body knocking it to the ground and then did a 180 flip to turn around and grab it. I let him have his reward because i most defiantly want those types of flights

Bella had been with my wife so by this point we decided to let her run and see how they would react together. For a first time out they didn't do to bad. She's young and wants to chase birds so half the time she would end up pointing Jez and then the other half pointing something else.

So the plan for the summer is to get her (Bella) trained properly. Dog and Hawk used to one another and then hit the Quail and Pheasants fields in October.

This is my first season with a Harris and i got to say regardless of whether you think they are beginners birds or not they kill and catch stuff and a wide variety of things. Modern day hunting requires a Versitle Dog and also a Versitle hawk. I think i well eventually have the right combination.

So the final head count was .

  • 22 Rabbits.
  • 2 Virgina Rail
  • 50 Pack Rats.
  • 100 Mice and Voles
  • 12 English Sparrows.
For the first time in 5 years i have a freezer that's pretty full.

We have also had some good chases on Pheasant and Quail and a couple of chases on Dove and Duck.

So by my standards i couldn't be more pleased with a great year and a great hawk. I had thought about getting a second and hunting them in a cast but i decided to put that off for another year. My reasoning being 1 hawk takes a considerable amount of time , with Jez being a first year bird i want to build on what we have achieved so far rather than the distraction of a second bird. I want great hawks not average hawks. To get great hawks you have to put the time and miles in. I don't want a bird that just hunts lots of rabbits but will take other quarry and not just by luck or accident too.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

the Ultimate Dirthawkig boot

The ultimate dirt hawking boot should be able to with stand two seasons of thrashing briars , wood piles and pretty much anything. Because of a week ankle from breaking it when i was a teen ager ( chasing a girl called Niki at the Logos School in cyprus) i have increasingly needed a supportive boot.. This year i turned to Redhead brand.

I bought the redhead tracker 6" boot.

They was on sale for $90. Waterproof and very comfortable.

The laces where the first to break but that's to be expected and I'm on my third pair of laces.

The seam on the toes has come away.

the side seams have started to break.

So my quest this summer is to find the ultimate Dirthawking boot. I really want something that can withstand allot of abuse but last more than one season.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not much going on

The season is closing in fast. work once again got in the way and will do again at the end of the month. In a month im off to the UK for 2 weeks part work part family but by then ill have put Jez up for the molt. Finally managed to get out for a few hours sunday. we both enjoyed the chase and both ended up tired. Weather is now in the upper 70's . Rabbits are wise and weary chase are few in comparrions to a ew weeks ago.

My son has been taking Falconry classes in the UK. Its pretty awesome he has been able to do this. cant wait to see him in a few weeks.

Monday, February 24, 2014

OFA Winter Meet

I headed off to Fairview with Remington and Jez. This would be our first OFA meet and iw as quite excited and i was headed to a part of Oklahoma i had never visited before.

We arrived late in the evening set the tent up as the temps where going to be in the low 40's and i quickly got Remington and jez out for a hunt. I was in a a field that had been planted and had some alfalfa. There was no cover at all in this field and so we walked along the perimeters of the field but saw nothing. The sun set so Remington and i curled up in the tent. Remington growled at something int he night and then later we smelt that awesome smell of a skunk. By 500am the temperature suddenly dropped to 25c the dog and i retreated to the car and headed for some hot coffee and something to eat. I checked on Jez and he seemed to be ok so we headed of the meeting point at 8am.

I decided i didn't want to hang out with the normal dirt hawkers and people i have met before but to visit with the Long Wingers and people i had heard great things about. With that i meet with Mitch Wishom and Rob Rainey and we went off with Oscar Pack, David Price and Lee Granter. Our first outing was a few miles outside of fairview on a country road. Lee had got permission on some property but was concerned because he couldn't find any ducks. At that moment 25 lifted from a nearby pond and landed in one near by. None of the 3 birds flown cooperated in any fashion they either didn't like the number of people of the number of pointers in the filed. Ducks would be flushed and land on another pond and then the same would happen again back and forth. We then Meet up with Daniel Murry and Eric Pribill

David Price seemed to have an interesting flight with his bird but again no ducks in the bag. I started joking with them then saying for trying to convert me to the dark side and fly longwings this wasnt working very well. The laughing response that came back was i was being mean and too hard.

We then moved on to fly Rob Raineys Aplomondo Falcon a really pretty thing. We hoped to find some quail but the drought in this area had really taken its toll. I was up next as we tried something different with trying to fly Jez on small ponds with ducks we had one good flush after driving and walking around alot but Jez only half hearted went for them. He was 15 grams under at this point. Then it was time to head back and go to the meet dinner. I was amazed at the number of none OFA members there with lots of people i had never recognised.

Eric and his brother had offered for me to stay with them which was awesome of them to do so. So the rest of the evening was talking about falcons and drooling over a fine Prairie and Tundra. In the morning i wanted to head for Drummond Flats i had heard there was pheasant there. The wind was picking up but i thought i would give it a try. Sadly no one wanted to go with me ( 30 minute drive) and they really did miss out.

I arrived at a bunch of maze fields parked up and let Remington run. He pointed some Meadow Larks and some Pheasants. We got a flush of a couple of pheasants and at that point i decided to get Jez out.

We moved to anther field and flushed 12 pheasants in a massive explosion jez chased and put in after one but for some reason didn't connect. We tried re flushing but never got another. We also chased quite a few rabbits but the cover was pretty dense and Jez couldn't break through it. By this point the wind had really picked up. Just trying to hold the T-Perch up was hard and the gusts would pull jez of the perch. At that point a game warden turned up wanting to know what i was doing and wanted to see my permits, Nice enough guy but that the wind i decided then to call it a day

So my plan for next year is to really get Jez and Remington and Bella working together. Drummond is only 2hrs away and would make a great day trip. There is plenty of game there and it would be well worth going again.

I got to say the meet was very well organised with maps that could be loaded into GPS devices, A2 scaled maps of locations. There was plenty of ducks, rabbits, jacks and pheasants to please every one just a dam shame no one caught anything. The glass mountins are amazing and an awsome place to hunt. I learnt alot and found out alot about flying long wings , Thanks to all for letting me tag along

One other thing was on the way back. I dint often see a union jack flying in the middle of Oklahoma so i was interested in what was going on. I discovered a young teenage had passed in 2005 only 18 years old. he played guitar and was well loved. They had a chalk wall with lots of messages. So i left a message from one fellow Brit to another.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

30 minute hunt.

the wife was ill and today was going to be hit or miss. the weather gave us a break in higher than normal temperatures (30F) so i seized the opportunity to get out for a short while.

We where working along a tree line that we had already flushed one rabbit. Fresh rabbit sign was everywhere. The sign was all on fresh snow and it was amazing what was about. The first rabbit tried sneaking behind us but Jez was on it and the rabbit didn't get 10 feet. Because my wife was sick and we have three rowdy kids i decided to head home. We had been in the field exactly 15 minutes.
The second rabbit we flushed in front of us on the walk back it decided to run between to young spruce trees. Jez rolled it and hung on. the rabbit hadn't got 20 feet. 2 rabbits in 30 minutes.

This makes 20 and 21. My target was to reach 20. This is a young bird and i wasn't sure of the rabbit numbers in my area. Where we lived before this many rabbits would never have been in our wildest dreams. The variety of items this bird will go after just amazes me. In a few weeks i plan to fly him on Pheasant at the OFA winter meet that's being held in Fariview Oklahoma. I'm hoping the weather will warm up a little as we will be camping. I'm actually quite excited about going as this will be my first OFA meet.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

and that would be 19

So early Saturday we had sleet and drizzle. The result was ground that resembled an ICE rink on the roads. The air temps where high so I went hawking anyway. Jez flies best at 30+

We had some good chases; the brush was thick and his timing a little of from not flying for a week. It was interesting being in the middle of this field and hearing all the emergency vehicles running there sirens for people that had been driving too fast and now needed assistance but at the same time the peace from the field my hawk flying overhead seemed a little surreal.
Sunday I met up with Ryan Van Zants, Daniel Murray and a couple of their friends that were visiting from Canada. Duck is currently closed till mid Feb so they wanted to see some rabbit chases.  Jez ended up catching 2 rabbits (both by the head) and having some amazing flights on some other rabbits. I was hoping for a couple of bird flights but Jez seemed totally dialed into rabbits on the day. (Sorry No Pictures) So that drings his tally up to 19 Rabbits.
Monday I wanted to get a hunt in before the weather came in. We were expecting 6 inches of snow (which hasn’t materialized) nothing much was moving unless it was in deep brush. Jez tried but couldn’t quite connect we did catch a vole as a conciliation prize. The snow Tuesday should make spotting rabbits well. Hopefully we will get out again this week.