Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer": Blog en-us (C) Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer" (Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") Tue, 19 Dec 2017 07:11:00 GMT Tue, 19 Dec 2017 07:11:00 GMT Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer": Blog 96 120 Kolarivision - Will I Ever Learn? Currently my infrared camera was a Canon 10D that I had Kolarivision
convert. You can see my gripes back in 2016.

After almost two years I decided to give them another try with my
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV...especially since they were offering a $50

Couldn't get any worse than the last time right? Well, read on.

On November 25, 2017 I placed my order. I picked a 850nn
filter. Regular price was $250. Shipping via UPS was $25.
With my discount, the final invoice came to $225.

One positive so far. In 2016 they shipped my camera via
USPS. Now it looks like they use UPS. Thank Goodness!

I shipped the camera out to them on November 27. They
received the camera that Thursday.

Remember, they boast about their average 5 day turnaround

On December 11 I receive an email from them. My camera
isn't working. It's either due to my camera (impossible) or
they have a dead battery. They ask me if I could send them
a battery. What? you only have one of those batteries? Yep.
So I had to mail them one of my extras.

They tell me I'm at the top of the list as long as my battery
works. Well, geez, I hope I'm at the top of the list.

Thankfully, the battery worked. The camera shipped out on
December 18. So I asked them for a tracking number? Seemed
easy enough. Nope. What do I get? A copy of my order form.
Thanks, that helps...NOT!

Please, take my advice...send your camera to Lifepixel. If this
company doesn't have their act together by now, they never will.
BTW, I looked up their address...looks like its run out of a residential


(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") doug west doug west bird photography doug west photography infrared conversion kolarivision Tue, 19 Dec 2017 07:10:59 GMT
Adios DPP For years I've used Canon's Digital Photo Professional when it came to
processing my Raw files. The program is simple and it works.

For those same amount of years I left Adobe Lightroom alone.
The program was just to bulky and complicated for me. I hate

During one of our lunch breaks, Matthew Studebaker demonstrated
on how he processed one of his images using Lightroom. I have
to admit, I was pretty impressed.

Since Lightroom is included with my Photoshop subscription, I
decided to give it another chance. All I can is, wow. The control
I have over processing simply blows DPP away. I still hate its
cataloging and I'm not to keen on how difficult it is to export,
but I supposed I can learn to live with that.

So its Lightroom for me for now on...or until something else
comes along :)


(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") cleveland photographic society doug west doug west bird photography doug west photography doug west photography, llc Tue, 14 Jun 2016 07:36:03 GMT
Matthew Studebaker's Northeast Ohio Photo Tour This past weekend I wrapped up four days of shooting on Matthew Studebaker's photo tour.
I was last with Matthew in 2014. For 2016, I didn't think it could get any better than 2014.
Boy was I wrong.

After four days of shooting, it took me at least another four days to go through all of my
images. I counted roughly 30 different species. That's crazy! A person could spend a week
at Magee Marsh and not see anything close to that number.

Weather was crazy!

Thursday was nice as the temps reached around 70. After that, each day saw a drop in
the temperature. Friday there was rain in the area, but Matthew was able to keep us out
of it (there were two other photographers on the trip). The best part, no sun, so we ended
up shooting almost non stop the whole day.

Saturday it was primarily Orioles, my favorite part. We were near the lake. It was windy, cold
and rainy. Luckily we were in blinds. Despite the lousy weather, it didn't stop the Orioles from
coming out.

Sunday was interesting to say the least. The morning started off with a mixture of snow and
sleet...yes, snow. But the further south we moved, the more it turned to just rain. We shot
mostly at the Killbuck Marsh where it was mostly cloudy. But it was cold. I wore my winter
coat the whole day. Whacky.

So to come away with all of these images with this crazy weather is really remarkable. Plus,
nobody puts more into this than Matthew. Most tours/workshops, you usually go to one or
two plays in the morning and one or two plays in the afternoon. Not on Matthew's tour. I
gave up counting on how many different locations we went to. What he does is so much
tougher. To come away with anything is truly remarkable.

He added a Grassland tour this year. I had to chose between that one and the warblers.
I'm just sorry I couldn't attend both. The only reason why I didn't choose the Grassland tour
was because it was so close to the July 4th week, and getting time off might've been tough.

Here's one of the images I captured...

Hooded Warbler - Doug West PhotographyHooded Warbler - Doug West PhotographyHooded Warbler - Doug West Photography

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") doug west doug west bird photography doug west photography doug west photography, llc Mon, 23 May 2016 05:26:56 GMT
B&O Railways About a year and half ago, I gave one of my Birds are People Too
presentations to the Cleveland Photographic Society in Broadview

I came away quite impressed with the club. My intent was to join,
but didn't get around to it until about a week ago. I could've joined
a group that held their meetings a lot closer to where I live, but
those meetings were held on Tuesdays. The CPS meetings were held
on Fridays (my day off).

Another thing that impressed me about the CPS were the number of
events they held for their members. I went to my first one this
past Sunday at the B&O Railways. I figured since these were just
trains and the threat of snow, there wouldn't be to many people
there. Boy was I wrong! I arrived 20 minutes early and I almost
didn't have a place to park.

As far as photographing trains for the first time, I think I did pretty
good. The only challenge was trying to get a clean shot without another
photographer in it :)

Because of the age of these trains, I wanted that old time feel. So
I purposely used a high ISO for grain. For post processing I used
my NIK Filters to give it that look, which ended up working really well
since the sky was basically white due to the snow, matching with
what you'd see from photos shot in the 60's or earlier.


(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") cleveland photographic society cps doug west doug west bird photography doug west photography doug west photography, llc trains Fri, 15 Apr 2016 09:22:53 GMT
FIELD ETIQUETTE FOR NATURE PHOTOGRAPHERS Back in 2006 when I was first getting interested in bird photography,
I was always emailing questions to Arthur Morris and he would always

One of the questions I had was about field etiquette while out in the
field. At the time, there was really nothing out there in print that dealt
with that subject.

So why not ask the best?

Below was his response, which took a quite deal of time for him to
write. I was also honored that it appeared in his Birds as Art Bulletin
#210 (

Here's the article, which I think I everybody should know and follow
and will never get old...



I received the e-mail below a few days ago:


Hope you don’t think is to dumb of a question J Being a beginner in bird photography, what’s the etiquette for approaching other photographers that are already on location capturing birds?  For example…you’re on a beach photographing a pelican. I’m coming up from behind.  Do I ask if it’s ok to approach?  Stand behind you at a safe distance?  Go somewhere else?   Do something else?   The reason I ask is, the last thing I want to do is lose a chance for the other guy cause I approached incorrectly, or maybe clicked my shutter (or flash) before he did…causing the bird to take off.   Thanks,  Doug


I realized that this topic is one that I discuss often with my IPT groups but that I had never written specifically about it… So I did.  Thanks Doug!


Field Etiquette for Nature Photographers


I was walking along a narrow path next to the lagoon.  About 50 yards ahead of me there were two American Oystercatchers foraging.  The only problem was that 35 yards ahead of me a photographer lay on his belly photographing the pair.  They were catching big worms and the light was lovely…  What to do?  The guy on the wet sand was facing away and was not aware that I was there.  If I called to him (to ask if I could join him) I risked scaring the birds away.  So I stood there for 30 minutes and watched enviously.  Finally I decided that I would join him by starting my crawl from way back so as not to flush the birds. 


I advanced slowly a few yards, remaining well outside of this species usual circle of fear.  I slowly and carefully got down on one knee and the birds did not notice me, but as I lowered myself to the prone position, one of the birds (to my dismay) screamed its strident alarm call.  Both birds leaned forward and took flight. I felt absolutely terrible and was about to explain that I had waited for half an hour when the photographer turned towards me and exclaimed, “Artie, it’s great to see you!”  Then Tim Fitzharris (friend, well-known professional nature photographer, and one of the folks who inspired me early on) reached into an upper pocket, grabbed his walkie-talkie, raised his wife (who was in their small motor home nearby with their son Jesse), and said, “Joy, you would not believe whom I met while crawling in the mud.” 


Folks are usually not so glad to see you when you scare their subjects away…


You are walking down a desolate beach when you see a photographer working a beautiful Reddish Egret, a species you have dreamed of photographing.  What to do?  First off, as we saw in the example above, you need to stay well back.  If you opt to leave the photographer and his subject, be sure to give both a wide berth while passing them.  Many photographers think, “I will be polite and walk around this situation,” and then they choose a route that flushes the bird (or especially, the flock of birds; it is usually easier to approach a single bird than it is to approach a flock: scare one, scare all…) As a general rule, plan your route by doubling the distance that you think necessary to avoid flushing the subject(s). 


You have another option if the photographer is aware of your presence.  You can then ask as quietly as possible or gesture by pointing appropriately to indicate “Can I join you?”  If they nod or assent, you need to be especially careful as to how you make your approach. First, you must consider your route.  Approaching from directly behind the photographer is almost always best.  You can actually hide behind the person who was there first as you make your approach.   If the photographer is standing, you need to keep the front leg of your tripod low; it is often best to carry your tripod in front of you (rather than on your shoulder).  And you need to move slowly, very slowly.  I am often amazed at folks who think that “slowly” means to walk as if you were in a supermarket…  If you are walking through shallow water or muck or algae, listen to your footsteps.  By doing so and placing each foot down carefully you can make your approach much less obtrusive. 


If the photographer is kneeling you need to get on your knees while you are well back and then make your approach slowly.  If the photographer is down on his belly, you need to get down on your belly, again, while you are well back, and crawl your way in.  Walking right up to a photographer who is either kneeling or crawling is unconscionable.  In all cases your number one concern must be to avoid flushing the subject or the flock. 


If there is only one flock of birds in sight, and there are several photographers already in position, then you have a bit more freedom; you can approach carefully without asking, but again, you need to take great care to avoid flushing the flock. There are many grey areas here…  In some situations, as with an obviously tame bird, you can simply approach without much concern.  An example might be a fisherman-friendly Great Blue Heron that is used to being in close proximity to humans. As with all aspects of photography, knowing your subject is of tantamount importance.  If I came across someone photographing a Horned Lark while lying flat on the grass I would never even consider approaching as this species is notoriously flighty. 


If you encounter a tour group that is photographing the only birds on the beach, then joining them would—in my opinion—be appropriate.  If, however, they are tossing fish to attract the birds, then it might be inappropriate to join them unless you ask or are invited to do so.  An option would be to take a position well behind the group while using a longer lens.  And, by the way, if you are a member of a tour group, the restrictions on approaching birds or animals being photographed by another member of the group are greatly relaxed.  That said, be sure to move slowly and to get low if need be.  And if you are a member of a tour group, it is imperative that you be doubly considerate of other photographers who are not part of your group


(At Homer, Alaska, this past March I spent more than $1,400 on fish for the Bald Eagles; herring is a healthy eagle snack.  Many photographers, certainly more than a dozen, followed my group around the Spit as if they were members of the group.  They joined right in, often getting in front of the folks in my group.  Though I did not say a word—except to those who carelessly stepped in front of others—I firmly believe that their behavior was inappropriate.  When folks are paying for a service, it’s rude to intrude.) 


In all group situations, it is imperative to be aware of the position of the others in the group.  If someone is looking through their viewfinder at a subject, you are not free to walk in front of them as you please.  To do so is very inconsiderate.  You can either walk behind them or, you can ask them if it would be OK for you to pass.  When I want to get by someone quickly, I often stand just outside the field of view and say “Say when…” implying that they should let me know when it is OK to pass. 


If you want to walk in front of someone who is changing teleconverters or chatting with a friend then you can do so with impunity.  I saw a woman at the Venice Rookery berate another photographer for walking in front of her tripod mounted lens (even though the complaining photographer was more than 10 feet away from her lens! If you are photographing with a group, and you opt to stay well back from the subject or the flock while everyone else is photographing the same subjects from much closer range, it is usually best for you to adjust your position in response to the folks up front changing their positions.   I have seen folks photographing from hundreds of yards away chastise other photographers who were working a tame subject from much closer range.    If you choose to stay well back, you are the one who needs to move a bit…


If you have worked hard to get close to a great subject or a flock of birds (working the edge of a flock is usually best…), be sure to exit as carefully as you approached so that you do not disturb the birds.  And that is true whether you are by yourself or with a large group.  I have –countless times in a variety of situations—seen a selfish photographer who is finished working a bird or a group of birds simply stand up when they were done thus flushing the bird(s).  That is like saying, “I am done and I do not care at all about you or the birds…”  


If you are photographing migrant songbirds in wooded areas or edges (such as The Tip at Point Pelee National Park near Leamington, Ontario or at the Convention Center on Padre Island, TX), the guidelines are quite different.  If there are several photographers around, it is pretty much open season as the warblers, tanagers, vireos, and the rest of the cast are usually intent on feeding and are pretty much oblivious to our movements.  Be sure, however, to move slowly, to be fairly quiet, and to avoid cutting in front of others.  In such situations the birds move to the next bush or fly away pretty much when they are ready to…  On the other hand, if there is a single photographer in the woods working a thrush—they are usually quite skittish, it is usually be best to take another path and search for your own bird.  Another option would be to stand quietly and hope that the bird moves towards your position. 


Here are some guidelines when photographing from your vehicle on a refuge tour route or a shoreline with vehicle access (like East Beach at Fort DeSoto Park in St. Petersburg, FL.)  If the car in front of you is close to a skittish subject, it is best to either give them a few minutes with the subject before trying to get into position, or, if possible, to pass them without scaring off the subject.    If in doubt, it is best to give them a few minutes with the subject before you attempt to go by them.  If you are sure that the bird or animal is tame, you can approach at any time.  When you do approach, do so slowly and with extreme care.  It is best to approach subjects with your telephoto lens in place on the window; raising the lens and sticking it out the window once you are close to the subject will often frighten it away.  Here’s another fine point: if you position your vehicle in front of the car that was on the scene first and the animal moves towards you position, you are not obligated to move your vehicle.  If the other driver is savvy, they will simply pull ahead of you and hope—as is often the case—that the subject continues to move in the same direction. 


Under no circumstances is it permissible to leave your vehicle and approach a photographer working from their vehicle.   At Merritt Island, I had just pulled up to a huge flock of White Pelicans doing their group feeding thing in a pool right next to the road when a car pulled up behind me.  The guy got out with an intermediate telephoto lens and the birds all flew away, about two miles away… And a few days ago at DeSoto I had a group of five American Avocets right outside my car.  Another photographer left his vehicle, walked several hundred yards towards my position with his big lens on his shoulder, and scared all the birds away.  You gotta love it.  When the inevitable occurs, it is fine—if you are comfortable doing so—to let the offender know politely that their behavior was inappropriate.  No matter how egregious the offense, screaming or cursing will not help the situation at all. 


It goes without saying that we all must follow the rules when working in controlled areas.  If the signs say “Stay on the Path,” then we must stay on the path.  If the sign says “Area Closed,” then we must not enter.  To do otherwise gives all photographers a black mark.  (At present, because of the actions of a relatively few, many refuge managers consider all photographers criminals.)  If you encounter another photographer breaking the rules or you might consider informing them as politely as possible that their behavior is improper.  If the other photographer ignores your request, it is best to move on. You might consider jotting down a description or better yet, a license plate number, and letting the authorities know what you observed.  When doing so you are—in my opinion—obligated to leave your contact information. 


The suggestions above are only guidelines (but they are based on 23 years of field experience).  There are surely lots of grey areas and close calls.  At all times it is best to obey the posted rules, to be considerate of others and the subjects that they are photographing, and to remember that no image is worth disregarding the welfare of the creature that we are photographing. 

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") bird photography etiquette doug west doug west bird photography doug west photography doug west photography, llc field etiquette nature field etiquette Thu, 24 Mar 2016 07:19:17 GMT
Shooting at the Great Blue Heron Rookery on Bath Road Great Blue Heron - Bath Road RookeryGreat Blue Heron - Bath Road Rookerygreat blue heron at the Bath Road Rookery.
photographed by Doug West Photography, the bird photographer.

To mark the "beginning" of bird photography for the new year, I
usually trek to Bath Road, where the Great Blue Heron Rookery
is (Cuyahoga County Valley). The Heron's aren't as populated as
a decade a go, but there's still quite a few.

Every February the males arrive. During this time they claim their
nest and wait for the females to arrive, which is late February,
early March.

I usually make it out in February, but thanks to a car accident, I
didn't make it out until March 12, 2016.

The forecast was partly cloudy. Unfortunately, it was mostly sunny.
This is pretty much the kiss of death in the morning. Why? The sun
is almost at your face at a 10am position.

There were lots of 'photographers' there. What's sad is, nobody had
a clue on what they were doing. Everyone of them, and I do mean
everyone, were shooting directly into the sun.

The best way to shoot was to focus on this one particular tree that
sat more in the back. With the right body turn, the Herons would be
nicely front lighted...which is how I made the image for this post.

One photographer asked that a 500? Nope. Is that 7d Mark II?
Nope. Is that an APS-C sensor? Nope. I was afraid his next question
would be if my tripod had four legs :)

This was almost my first time to really try out my new 1DX. The camera
performed flawlessly, especially in flight. I also didn't miss the reach of
the Canon 1D Mark IV. Shooting from the parking lot, I started off with
my Canon 1.4x III teleconverter, but that ended up being too much.
I ended up shooting just with the 600.

I'm gonna enjoy this year!

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") bath road bird blue heron doug west doug west bird photography doug west photography doug west photography, llc great blue heron great blue heron rookery heron rookery photography Sun, 13 Mar 2016 15:25:07 GMT
My Canon EOS 1DX Arrived! My Canon EOS 1DX was due to arrive on Wednesday from Canada. I was
actually expecting it Thursday, cause, who knows what could happen when
it comes to crossing the border. Needless to say, I was surprised when the
mailman arrived Tuesday.

The camera was in great condition and I couldn't wait to start using it.
I was actually surprised that the body was larger than my Mark IV.
The menus? Simply, there's a bunch. So my next purchase is one of
Art Morris'  fine guides.

One of the first things I tried was taking an image with my 1d Mark IV
and from the same spot, with the 1DX. I wanted to see the difference
between a cropped sensor and a full frame sensor.

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV vs Canon EOS 1DXCrop sensor compare by Doug West, bird photographer.

While I do see the difference, I really don't see the BIG deal. I mean,
just step forward a couple of feet to shorten the discrepancy.

That's all I really had time for. Hopefully I can get out this weekend
and really put it through its paces.

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") backyard doug west doug west bird photography doug west photography doug west photography, llc photography Wed, 09 Mar 2016 08:32:01 GMT
My "New" Canon EOS 1DX The Canon EOS 1DX for Doug WestThe Canon EOS 1DX for Doug West (not the actual camera I'm getting)

With my refund money coming in, it was time to start looking for a used
Canon EOS 1DX. Originally, I was interested in the newer Canon EOS
5DSR, but after using the 1D body for years and doing quite fine with
the images I've already captured, I eliminated that camera.

On average, the 1DX is going for $3400-$3500, roughly. Average
shutter count would normally be over 100,000. Every once in awhile,
a 1DX would show up closer to $3000, but that was usually associated
with a higher shutter count and/or the body in bad condition.

Imagine my surprise when I saw one listed for under $3200, with a
brand new shutter, with ONLY 1500 clicks on it!

The first person who owned it, not the one currently selling it, just
decided to get a new shutter when it approached 110,000. There was
nothing wrong with it.

Great news for me! Obviously I jumped on it.


(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") backyard doug west doug west bird photography doug west photography doug west photography, llc photography Fri, 04 Mar 2016 11:48:35 GMT
Bird Feeder Part 2 I think I finally squirrel proofed my bird feeder!

I purchased two sections of PVC pipe from Lowe's (4 inch diameter).
Then I placed those two sections over the metal pole. Because of
the diameter of the pipe, the squirrels have a hard time wrapping their
little paws around. I also squirted some Pam on the pipes, so its even

I also placed a slinky on top of the pipe. So if the squirrel did make his
way past the pipe, he'd grab the Slinky and fall to the ground.

Figuring more is better, I also placed an 18 inch baffle between the
Slinky and the feeder. I also sprayed that with Pam.

After a couple of days, zero squirrels have reached the top of my

I'm pretty sure the birds love me :)


(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") backyard bird doug west doug west photography doug west photography, llc infrared conversion photography Mon, 29 Feb 2016 08:38:51 GMT
Stay Away from For my backyard bird photography, I was looking for a company to
create a poster size print to be used as my background. The size had
to be 24x36. So I googled and came across

I thought, great, these guys are fast!

So I ordered one 24x36 print to test them out.

Boy did they flunk!!

I placed my order on February 2, 2016. The date I'm 'supposed' to
get my print? FEBRUARY 22nd!!!

My God, I could cut down a tree and make my own paper faster than
this! Shoot, I've ordered six canvas prints larger than this from India,
and those arrived within a week.

If they're looking for a mascot, a turtle would be perfect.

So stay away from these guys like the plague. Other places might
charge more, but at least you don't have to wait a month.

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") backyard doug west doug west bird photography doug west photography doug west photography, llc Mon, 15 Feb 2016 06:07:34 GMT
Backyard Feeder Setups Even though Spring isn't for a couple of more months, with the unseasonably
warm weather we've had this winter, I've started planning my backyard
setup for photographing birds.

In 2015 I basically used two tree limbs, each attached to a Christmas tree
stand, with seed on top.

It worked, but not without issues.

One was size. The perch was big enough for the larger birds, like a woodpecker.
But if a smaller bird landed, let's say a Chickadee, the perch would be too

The second were those darn squirrels. Enough said on that.

This year I have a different plan.

I'll be using a single platform feeder on a 6 foot pole. To hold different perches,
I've attached a wooden ruler to the side of the feeder. The ruler has different
size holes, so I can interchange branches with ease.

To combat the squirrels I've read that they can't climb pvc pipe. So after I've
inserted the pole, I'm going to surround it with pvc pipe. For extra protection,
I'm going to use Vaseline or grease to make it even more slippery. I'm also
going to attempt to attach four baffles underneath the feeder at each corner.

The bird bath I have is going to remain unchanged except I'm going to lean
a limb/log  against it. This should give the birds a landing spot, before diving
into the water.

For backgrounds, I'm having large posters made of different colors and textures
to be placed behind the feeder. The poster will probably be attached to a light
stand or two via clamps.

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") backyard bird doug west doug west bird photographer doug west photography doug west photography, llc euclid ohio photography Fri, 05 Feb 2016 10:47:26 GMT
Matthew Studebaker - Northern Ohio Songbirds Pretty excited since I signed up for my second Matthew Studebaker Photo Tour
called Northern Ohio Songbirds. This year its May 12 thru the 15th.

While hundreds upon hundreds of people will be elbow to elbow at Magee Marsh
looking for warblers, I'll be photographing quite a few more different species in
Cuyahoga Valley, surrounded only by a few photographers. The whole experience
is so much more enjoyable when you don't have an elbow in your ear :)

I think I wrote about this last year, but it deserves to be repeated, Matt knows
his birds and their songs. It still amazes me how he can be driving down a road
at 35 mph and pick out the sound of a Cerulean Warbler, an Indigo Bunting, etc.
All I hear is car noise :)

My favorite part is the last day. When I was on the tour in 2014, Matt made
arrangements with a property owner to allow us to setup blinds and feeders to
attract Orioles. And its just not Orioles. The surprise for me were the Hummingbirds
that also appeared. I think I could've spent all four days in that area without any

Matthew also added a new tour called Ohio Grasslands on July 6-9. I wanted to
go to that one also, but with it being so close to July 4th, I doubt I'd get that
time off.

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") doug west doug west bird photographer doug west bird photography doug west photography matthew studebaker orioles warblers Wed, 27 Jan 2016 07:52:01 GMT
Infrared Conversion with Kolari Vision To expand on my photography I decided to get back into infrared. Before my interest
in bird photography I had a Canon 20D converted to infrared by Life Pixel. Eventually
I sold the converted 20D.

I ended up buying a Canon 10D with a battery grip dirt cheap.

Instead of sending my camera in to Life Pixel, I decided on Kolari Vision. Art Morris
and Denise Ippolito used them and were happy, so I figured why not? Kolari had
a number of advantages over Life Pixel. One was their five day turnaround time
(Life Pixel was 10 days). The second was Kolari would calibrate one lens for free
(Life Pixel had a small fee). The third was Kolari was $10 cheaper thanks to a coupon.
I've also emailed them a few times and they always replied by the next day.

After going back and forth, I finally decided on the 720 filter. I liked the option of
having a colored sky or changing it to all black and white.

I packed up my 10D and 24-105 lens and shipped it out via FedEx. The package
arrived on 1/15/16.

I estimated that if they started it the next week and with a few days for shipping, I'd
get it back by 1/30, which is when I needed it.

After six working days, the status still read 'camera received'. I started to get a little
nervous, since a lens was involved. So I emailed them on 1/25 and asked for a status.
They replied it was being worked on now. The status still shows 'Camera Received'.

Finally got a notice that it was shipped...via USPS! That irks me. I used FedEx to ship
it to them so it gets the extra care and protection. Then they turnaround and ship it
via USPS!

If anything, I'd like to see their website updated so it provides an accurate account of where
my order actually stands. Their ordering process should include an option of whether or not
a lens is being sent in. Even though they say to just send it in, I'd still like some type of proof.
They should also probably change their turnaround time to 10 days.

I should've stuck with Life Pixel.

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") doug west doug west bird photographer doug west bird photography doug west photography doug west photography, llc infrared infrared conversion ohio Wed, 27 Jan 2016 07:33:44 GMT
Ashtabula Covered Bridge Festival! October 10-11 is my annual participation as a vendor at the Ashtabula
Covered Bridge Festival. This year, instead of at the fairgrounds, the
festival will be in downtown Jefferson, OH.

I'll be in the Community Building selling my canvas prints.

I'm also only selling 8x10 matted prints. No more 4x6's or other
sizes. Besides being too much to carry and keep up to date with,
its hard to make money only selling something for $1.

So hopefully, if a customer thinks my 24x36's are too expensive,
they'll be happy with an 8x10.

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") Tue, 06 Oct 2015 11:19:33 GMT
Castalia, OH I'm originally from Fremont, OH. When I was a kid there were two places
I'd visit to feed the ducks...Castalia and Green Springs.


Castalia is kind of unique cause the pond never freezes. So there's a great
chance in seeing ducks year round.


I haven't been back to Castalia for some 30 or 40 years. I only remembered
it cause of a guide a photographer friend of mine wrote mentioned it.


So I decided to stop by on my way for a visit this past Saturday.


I couldn't have asked for better conditions. The sun was at my back and
there were ducks and swans everywhere.


The best part of the visit were the backgrounds. If you've followed my bird
photography, you know the background is the most important feature for me,
well, a sharp picture also helps.


Because of the surround trees, blue skies, etc. I was able to capture my
waterfowl with a few different colored backgrounds.


In this first example the water was reflecting off the blue sky...

This next one, this part of the pond was catching the sun as it started to rise in the morning...

Finally, the reflection of the green from the trees hitting the pond...

The thing to remember is, you really have to LOOK for these colors. If you just stand in one spot, you're going to
miss these opportunities. You have to change your angles and see how the pond changes. For me, I saw the
colors above.

Also, these areas of color are more like strips of color. You have to have the patience to wait for your subject to
hit that strip and when it does, snap away.


One other bit of attention to your subject! There were two swans at the pond. The swan I followed
the most was the one with the open mouth. Why? He was the more jittery of the two. The swan with the green
background was just happy to float along, but the other one...he was bobbing his neck every which way, making
noises at anything that came near. By following him I got the most intriguing captures.


Equipment...As usual I used my Canon 1D Mark IV with Canon 600 I F4 lens. I also brought my 24-105...and
boy am I glad that I did. The 600 was actually more lens than I needed. Something in the 400-500 range would've
been a lot easier. The ducks got so close I ended up switching between my 600 and 24-105 a few times....usually
due to this one duck who was actually fascinated by the sound of my shutter. He would constantly run up to where
I was.


The 600 was mounted to my Wimberley V1 Head, which was mounted to the Induro CT-304 tripod.


BTW, I've had the Induro since April, which is when I bought it after reading Denise Ippolito's review. I can honestly
say I haven't missed my Gitzo one bit. This is one great tripod. Of course, they stopped production on them :).

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") . castalia castalia, OH doug west doug west photography doug west photography, llc oh ohio Mon, 24 Aug 2015 06:35:07 GMT
Canvas Prints...The Good and the Ugly Canvas Prints...The Good and the Ugly

With the Ashtabula Covered Bridge Festival coming up in
October, I decided to make a switch on my display. Instead
of carrying 25 to 30 framed prints, which was heavy, bulky
and not to mentioned proned to scratches no matter how careful
I was, I was changing to canvas.

The canvas prints would be larger, but I'd only need half as
many. That meant more space in my suv. Plus the canvas prints
were a whole lot lighter.

Always looking for the best deal, here are the companies I
tried and my thoughts.


CVS ( - F+

My first online order went great. They had free shipping to
the store. Had my 24x36 within the week. The print itself
looked great.

After that, it all went downhill.

I received an email offering 50% off all their canvas prints
by a certain date. This was great for me cause the expiration
date was one day later than my payday and I could basically get
two prints for the price of one.

A few days later I received another email from CVS, offering 40%,
but this was for everything. I didn't pay no mind to that.

When it came time to order my next set of canvas prints, I entered
the code for the 50%. The site didn't accept it. What the site did
accept was the 40%. I figured 40% off of something is better than 0%.

I still thought they should honor their 50%. So I wrote to their customer
service. Two weeks went by, not a peep. So I posted my problem on CVS'
Facebook page.

Their response was for me to call them. Excuse me? Call them? How about
you return and answer my email?

Then it got worse.

When I went to their photo part of the web site, I was greeted to a message
saying that the 3rd party company they use for credit card processing was

They never sent a warning to their customers, no news on the event. Basically
I found this out by accident.

Normally when sites get hacked, they're back up in a few days, if not sooner.
A month later, they're STILL down.

Again, I posted on their Facebook page if they had an estimate on when they
might be back up. They refused to answer my question. Instead they danced
around it by saying they appreciate my patience...huh...and they're working
on it.

Well, you keep working on it and I'll take my business elsewhere.


Easy Canvas Prints ( - C

This company offered 60% off their prints. So a 24x36 was around $103 (vs the
industry average of about $150) for a 3/4 frame. BTW, if you offer 60% off
all the time, I don't consider that a sale.

I decided to try them next.

Their ordering process is buggy, at best. The only thing that went right was
me choosing what size I wanted.

The next screen is the image upload and where it fell apart.

The text says the file limit is 20mb. So I uploaded a 24x36 at 10mb.
The preview screen on the right told me my upload was to big, it had to be,
get this, under 50mb....uh, which one is it guys?

After downsizing my image multiple times and getting the same response, I wrote
to their customer service.

Unlike CVS, at least these guys wrote back. Unfortunately to get my image uploaded,
I had to jump thru hoops which included a link to upload larger files. That just
didn't make sense. If your original upload screen can't handle a 5mb file, but the
link you sent me does, why not swap the two?

No thanks. I didn't want to go thru that every time I had to place an order.

I'd give this company a C. The price is right. The site is easy to navigate. They're
customer service cares about you. Its just their upload doesn't work. - C+

Oh boy, what a bunch of losers.

I found these guys in Outdoor Photography magazine. They were offering buy 1 print,
get 3 free. Great! Nope.

First, you had to buy a coupon for the price of the first piece. No problem, except
the largest they went was 20x30. Minor problem, but hey, for 3 free, why not?

On their site they mention it takes 5 to 10 business days to process your order. That's
pretty long in this age, but again, I keep telling myself, I'm getting four prints
for the price of one. Plus, surely it wouldn't actually take THAT long, right? Wrong!

Twelve business days later I wrote their customer service wondering on the status. They
wrote back within 24 hours. Unfortunately, they don't read what they write. Cause they
gave me the same excuse...5 to 10 business days. Hello! Its been 12 days!

So as soon as I get my prints...bye bye to these guys.

Would I ever be happy?


In fact, the company I'm going to write about next...they've fulfilled two of my orders,
all coming from India compared to 0 from

Grade for C+. At least I was able to order from them. It'll just be
nice to get the prints before 2016.


Canvas Champ - - A+++++++

This company I actually found by accident. I was reading some old discussions on an
art fair site and saw this site mentioned.

The company is in the United States, but they print and ship from India. Don't let that
scare you. In my two orders I've placed so far, they've both been at my doorstep in less
than a week!

The first shock I got was their prices. A 24x36 canvas with a 3/4 frame was $44...yes...$44!
I can't tell you how many times I looked at their site to make sure I wasn't misreading
something. They do offer finishing for only about $5. Still, compared to the lowest price
I've found to date? This price was unbelievable.

Before I placed a big order, I was going to try out one first.

Their ordering from start to finish was a breeze! I had no problems whatsoever. Shipping?
Try around $10...from India (UPS)!

I figured I'd see my canvas in 2-3 weeks. I was shocked to get a UPS tracking number...the
next day!

From ordering to my home...less than a week. I think it took me longer to remove all the
tape from the box, it was packaged that well.

The canvas itself was simply perfect.

I found my company!

I placed a second order for four more 24x36 canvas prints. Just like the first order, it'll
be in my living room within 7 days.

Grade? A+ baby!

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:05:12 GMT
What a vacation! I just concluded 10 days of vacation. Of course most of those days were spent out
in the field.

One of the places I went was the Lakeshore Reservation. My main goal were Orioles,
which I did get, but the big surprise was the Yellow Warbler that I added to my

Also went out to Sandy Ridge Reservation again for the Bald Eagles. Unfortunately
I was hit with some of the thickest fog of the year. But I was able to create some
great avianscapes using those conditions. In fact, the one I created with the fog,
marsh and a Great Blue Heron actually got more likes on my Facebook page than
my Eagle picture.

Another day I headed for Ira Road to photograph Bobolinks. For some strange reason
they were staying away, so I wasn't as successful as years past. I did get a Meadowlark
singing its head off.

The last day I went to Magee Marsh. As usual, there was a small city on the boardwalk,
so maneuvering was pretty much a lost cause. I mostly hung around on the outside and
was able to get a few shots that I was happy with.

(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") Fri, 15 May 2015 07:38:02 GMT
Sandy Ridge Reservation This past Saturday (April 18, 2015) I visited the Sandy Ridge Reservation.
Unfortunately it was a sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. Usually this
wouldn't be a problem, but since the park doesn't open up until 8am, the
amount of time to shoot is greatly diminished. Also with the sun out, that
pretty much makes half of the marsh useless.

Even with that, I had a great day of shooting. The tree swallows were out
in full force.

There was a Sandhill Crane, but even using my 600 with the 1.4x made
getting a quality image impossible.

But the best moment came as I was leaving...the resident Bald Eagle
decided it was feeding time for the baby eagles and came out of his nest
for food. Got some great images, but they couldn've been sooo much better
without the sun being at the eagle's back.


(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") Mon, 20 Apr 2015 06:39:34 GMT
Big Announcement Coming for Doug West the Bird Photographer! The timing is perfect because of the Ashtabula Covered Bridge Festival
I'll be at during the second weekend of October.

All I can say is, this is something I've wanted for such a very long, long
(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") Mon, 20 Apr 2015 06:26:09 GMT
Ooops...forgot the big news for Doug West the Bird Photographer on my big news!

As of September, my photography is officially a business!

I am now Doug West Photography, LLC.

Bird photography will always be my primary objective, but I wanted
to open up the possibility of making more money by offering other
photography services, so I figured this was a good time to do it.]]>
(Doug West Photography, LLC - "The Bird Photographer") Mon, 20 Apr 2015 06:25:41 GMT