Ilford 200 ISO Black and white infrared film.

A r72 filter is used with this film. This filter is dark enough that you have to compose and focus your camera and then put the filter on. The working ISO with the filter in place is ISO 6 requiring slow shutter speeds. This makes it difficult to photograph on windy days, Chlorophyll reflects infrared causing trees and grass to photograph brighter. Water, which is cooler  and reflects little infrared, usually shows up black in infrared. Skies are always darker in infrared. Infrared photography can cut through haze.

Film b and white images tend to be grainy. This roll of fill was processed in D76 for 17 minutes at 70 degrees.

Iphone SE camera compared to equivalent Megapixel camera

I almost have a digital camera every where I go, but it really necessary? Are phone cameras getting good enough to replace standard point and shoot cameras? My comparison includes a Canon GX9. This is an older camera but it was the Cadillac of point and shoot cameras when it was first released. 

The Gx9 sports a 7-44 zoom lens with a maximum aperture of 2.8. It’s capable of shooting raw files. Best of all, the megapixel count is identical to the Iphone SE. Both are 12 megapixels. The Iphone SE has the same camera as the Iphone  6s. I prefer the smaller Iphone SE because it fits in a pocket better.

Images taken with the iphone were shot at ISO 25 at f 2.2. The Gx9 was set at ISO 100 at f/4. Shutter speeds were selected by the cameras and varied slightly but were high shutter speeds.

I shot similar photos with each camera, As the reader I want you to guess which is which. All files were captured as JPG’s with no modification. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Of course there are limitations when using a phone camera. They will not function as well in lower light and you don’t have zoom capability on many phones. However point and shoot cameras are also limited in low light. The GX9 can probably outdo the Iphone SE because of its raw file capability which allows more leeway in post processing. Of course the newest Iphone 7 also has raw file capability.

Lets see if you guessed right:

images A,F,Q,and X are from the Iphone SE.

Converting a camera to infrared

Last year I had a Fuji s3 converted to infrared. is the site that I visited and decided to utilize their services. I paid $275 for the conversion. Turn around was reasonably quick. It took about 10 days. There are a number of filter options available for conversion, If I remember correctly I went with a standard filter. I probably wouldn’t recommend using the Fuji S3 for conversion because its limited in doing a color balance once converted. The Fuji S2 cannot be converted due to the way the sensor is designed. You cannot use the original raw files to get the color effects wanted, unless you convert them to DNG files. Then by using Adobe’s DNG profile editor you can establish a profile for the Fuji camera and utilize the profile in camera raw. Results are good but the DNG file is not as large as the original raw file so you will be limited on how large you could print an image. The DNG files are around 17 mb when opened in Photoshop, Below are some sample photos taken this year.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

In general my best results were on days with cumulus clouds and locations that included water. Water is cool and doesn’t reflect much infrared. Therefore it appears darker in the photos. Chlorophyll reflects a lot of infrared so trees and grass will appear light in black and white infrared photos and will appear in false colors when shooting images in color. Colors can be manipulated by adjusting hue and saturation. Infrared photos really need to include something which reflects infrared or the images will be very bland. You can include people in the photos but there colors will not be natural.

New disease from eating Pork- You better watch out!

It’s been years since the mad cow scare but we may have something even bigger to worry about, Evidently pork isn’t as safe to eat as we think. In past years parasites such as Trichina and Pork tapeworm were of some concern but most of those problems have been eliminated at least in the United States.  A new protein had been found that acts similar to mad cow disease. It seems to be a problem in humans who have consumed pork for 10 or more years. Symptoms similar to Alzheimers and several other neurological diseases appear in those who are affected. Pork is quite prominent in Asia whereas it is rarely consumed in the Mideast. Researchers noticed the difference in the incidents of these neurological diseases when comparing the two populations. One of the symptoms is a sudden increase in temper in an infected individual. This is how the syndrome got the acronym POPS ( short for pissed of pig syndrome)  There is no cure for POPS so scientists recommend eating more chicken.

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Comparing Lumix g7 100-300mm lens to Canon 100-400 lens

My Canon 100-400 mm has always been my go to lens for wildlife photography, Unfortunately it is big  and bulky and can really wear you out if you drag it around all day. I recently purchased a used 100-300 mm Panasonic Lumix lens for my g7 which is a mirrorless camera. The Canon 10–400 weighs 55,4 ounces and a Canon body, the 50d weighs 1.8 lbs. The lens and camera body together total out at 5.3 lbs. The lumix g7 weighs 12.7 ounces and the 100-300 lens weighs  1.14 lbs . The lens and camera body total out under two pounds. If you are traveling. and on foot a lot,  the convenience of a lighter camera- lens combination is a major consideration.

If I were intending to make large prints I would definitely use the 100-400 Canon lens. On the other hand if am taking travel pics I’ll chose the lighter combination.

I opted to use the 50d with the Canon 100-400 because of a similar pixel count,  15.1 megapixels for the 50d versus the 16 megapixel count of the g7.

Below are comparisons of the 2 lenses. All images were raw and converted to jpg with no sharpening added. All photos were handheld and all images were taken at 800 ISO in order to get fast shutter speeds and f/stops with some depth of field. I took the photos handheld because that is the most likely way I will use both lenses.

The two images above were shot at maximum focal length. The 50d has a 1.6 crop factor making a 400 mm a 35 mm equivalent of 640 mm and the g7 has a crop factor of 2 making its 35 mm equivalence 600 mm. You will need to click on the photos to enlarge them in order to get a better idea how the lenses compare. On this image there was some atmospheric distortion due to the ground heating up from a warm sun.

The above two images are cropped to the actual pixels. Atmospheric distortion is obvious. The Canon 100-400 seems to hold up better.

Birds in flight are captured using continuous firing. The first image is full frame the second actual pixels, The image holds up better at a shorter focal length.

As you compare the canon lens you can see its a little sharper.

The canon works better for moving birds because you can track them better. With the mirrorless g7 an image appears in the viewfinder right after you shoot, blocking a live view.

Again comparing the canon and g7 the canon 100-400 has an edge.

I also did some tests using the g7 on continuous focus and continuous fire and I was relatively happy with the results.  The second picture is the actual pixel crop. Again, I reiterate the ability to follow a moving target with a mirrorless camera can be quite a challenge.

In conclusion I would recommend the g7 for travel and especially for photos that didn’t require tracking a moving object. The Canon 100-400 wins out but the cost is significantly different.

I paid under $400 (used) for the Panasonic lens and $1400 for the Canon lens which was new when I bought it.


Pheasant hunters – Flush dog or Pointer?


Brittany vs Springer

I’ve owned 6 Springers. Five hunted, three were excellent hunters, and one wouldn’t hunt at all. The dog I have now is a Brittany. H’es the one pictured on the left. I though he was a Springer when I bought him off of Craiglist. You can see by his color why he might have fooled me. When I hunted him I realized I had a different breed.

He ranged much farther out than any of my Springer”s and he pointed. It was a little unnerving to have him go out so far. Most Springer’s which are flush dogs tend to range pretty tight and seldom go beyond 30 yards. Tbone felt more comfortable ranging out 50-60 yards.

I am a bit prejudiced, but I believe the Springer Spaniel is the best choice for pheasant hunting. You will get more flushes from them because they put the pressure on the bird. Seldom do they point. They just put the pressure on and up the bird goes. My main complaint with pointers is they go on point and the pheasant runs off while their still pointing.

Granted unless you know your Springer well, you will get many more surprise fushes and you might miss a few more birds because of it.

I’ve had Tbone for 4 hunting seasons now so I am getting used to his style. He is an air scenter, sticking his nose up in the air and deciding where to go next. After he decides he bounds off full steam and starts ground scenting. He covers lots of territory in a very short period of time. That’s why I whistle trained him. He also sports an electronic collar if I can’t get his attention with a whistle.

My Springers on the hand stayed close enough to me I never used electronic collars with any of them. My Springers were ground scenters the majority of the time and would work the birds hard.

When Tbone gets a good scent his behavior changes. He moves quickly back and forth and if he stops, the scent is very near. If he stiffens up and drops his head a bit he is on point. I move in closer and if I’m lucky the bird sat tight and I’m going to get a very good shot. You have more warning when hunting over a pointer and you will get some really easy shots, but pheasants are tricky and they can still catch you by surprise when they flush. If a bird flushes right under you you have a maximum time of 3 seconds to shoot.

Springers will often flush birds so they fly left to right or right to left. I prefer those shots since more of the pheasant is a target exposing its head, body, and wings. Shots straight away are the hardest for me because if you shoot to early the bird will rise above the shot pattern.

For years I’ve taken my dogs out and tried to photograph them hunting. With Springer’s it is difficult because you never know which way the flush is coming from Pointers like Tbone will give you a chance to approach a bird and get fairly close flush photos. This especially important if you are using a gopro or wider angle lenses because the birds will appear fairly small in the video. Below is an example of a video done with Tbone

If I were to score my flushers versus my pointer I would have to say it is a matter of preference. I can enjoy hunting with both breeds. Anytime you can hunt with a trained dog you will have a good hunt.

53 years of hunting memories

WInter birds

My first pheasant hunt was in 1963. I was 15 years old and so excited that I couldn’t sleep the night before. I shot my first bird near Gibbon, Minnesota in Moltke township. My uncle Ed had a few good areas to hunt and my dad went with me. It is the only time he ever hunted with me and it was a memory I will always cherish. I can still remember the field that this first bird flushed from, I was sporting a borrowed 12 gauge single shot. The bird flushed into a stiff wind and my dad hollered shoot. I raised my gun aimed, pulled the trigger and by golly the bird dropped. I ran over to pick up the bird. Earlier that year I had hunted on my uncle Eldon’s farm with a borrowed 410 shotgun. I was walking a fence line when 3 roosters erupted. I shot and felt a powder charge hit my right eye. The firing pin had blown out the gun. I could hardly see out of the eye for several days. Fortunately no permanent damage occurred.

The following year I started hunting with two high school friends. None of us had a car so we would talk my mother into driving us out into the country and we would hunt all day and walk back into town. We had a great time but didn’t get a lot of birds. One time we were bored so we would throw one of our caps in the air and shoot at it.  A Weimaraner showed up and started hunting with us. All of a sudden our hunting improved. The dog followed us home. My dad new the farmer that owned the dog so he drove to the farm and returned the dog. We asked if the dog could hunt with us again. The farmer agreed. Our hunting year improved a lot. None of us were very good shots. I had purchased a single shot 16 gauge and my friends sported a 12 gauge single shot and the other a 12 gauge pump. The guy with the pump shot no more birds than the rest of us. He just used up more shells.

I purchased a Westernfield 12 gauge pump the fall of my junior year. I still use that gun today. It has been repaired a number of times. I estimate I shot 800 pheasants with it. I have no photographs of my early hunting years with the exception of one 8mm reel of film I took in 1965. I had a hunting dog of my own at the time it was a German short hair, named Penny. She had a good nose but wasn’t the smartest dog I ever owned.

Penny, my first hunting dog

I hunted in Southern Minnesota through the early 70’s. Habitat was being removed at a rapid pace by 1970. Many farms had sloughs on them. In the early 60’s the government subsidized the drainage of sloughs while at the same time paying the same farmer to  idle acres under the soil bank program. By the mid 1970’s most sloughs were gone. Flooding along rivers is more prevalent without the water capturing sloughs. Modern agriculture has literally destroyed wildlife populations in many parts of the mid west.

I graduated with Biology teaching degree. I accepted a teaching job in Leigh, NE. The abundant pheasant population was the main reason I took the job there. I could hear pheasants crowing all the way around the town when I walked up to school. Year one I hunted with other faculty members without a dog. On opening day the superintendent brought his black lab along. The dog got on a hot scent in the first field and took off. He spent most of the morning trying to track down his dog. I remember a lot of pheasants. Some of the hunters were complaining there just weren’t as many birds as last year.

My first Springer-Archie

The above picture is obviously a fake. It was taken on a farm where I took many pheasants. The owner of the property only farmed 160 acres and not very well, but the place was loaded with pheasants. His son a student of mine took the photo.  Hunting in the Leigh area was fabulous. I only  lived there for 3 years but it was some of the best hunting of my life. Since I was a teacher I had a lot of students whose parents farmed. It was easy to get access to private land. 

I got 35 pheasants one year. My Springer, Archie was the main reason. He was an aggressive hard hunting dog that never gave up. He was one of the few Springers  that I had that consistently retrieved birds.

The best hunting day I ever had came in 1974. I had moved to Fremont but still had lots of access to private land back in Leigh. I went with a party of four on opening weekend. I ended up shooting 9 birds that day. The main reason I did so well was my dog worked close with me.

Archie was my best hunting dog. He hunted until he was 13 and even then he often rooted up birds his younger son’s missed.

All three dogs hunted but Archie was the  main hunter. He hit the heaviest brush and was very persistent. Augie the black and white standing in the photo was lazy. He probably had a better nose than Archie but he didn’t like going into heavy cover. He was a good retriever however, probably because he was always out in the open and could see where the birds dropped.

By the early 80’s habitat was being removed a lot in the Leigh area and my access to landowners decreased. Some lost there farms during the rough Carter years. I did some hunting around Fremont and got permission from  a farmer in Herman to hunt. I got a few birds here or there but hunting was getting a lot tougher. 

By 1985 I was relying on an organization that identified farmers that would allow hunters ( yes, there were actually farmers that would let you hunt on their land) As a member you had access to their list and you could call a farmer and get permission to hunt. I found one farm around Wahoo that was quite productive. I hunted there 2 years and did quite well, but he lost his farm and the new owner removed all the cover.

Guido was my hunting dog at the time and he did quite well hunting the basins.

I kept looking for new places to hunt and found a great spot in the Clay Center area. I’d never hunted there and when I arrived at one of the sloughs I was surprised when I saw a bunch of pheasants flying across the road into the slough. Unfortunately there was a big sign saying steel shot only.  I didn’t have any steel shot. I had to go back to town and buy steel shot shells. Well I did that and returned that morning, I probably flushed over 100 birds. They were wild but I got my limit. I returned to that area for several more years but it was 150 miles away and I was looking for something closer.

The CRP program was instituted in 1985 and improved in 1990. Habitat improved. Hunting got better. My access to public land had disappeared, however. I found out that the Indian reservations on the east part of the state had pheasant hunting with a special reservation license. The Winnebago reservation had some good hunting. Thurston county had always been a good county for the birds. I hunted the reservation a number of years. It extended my hunting season by 2 weeks since their season started two weeks earlier than the states.

I’ve had a number of memorable hunting days but the one that stands out more than any is the hunt I had one December day.

That morning I decided to hunt a creek that lead to a patch of CRP. I barely reached the creek and a rooster flushed. I dropped him and crossed the creek to retrieved the bird. My dog Gudio was really working the brush of the small creek. Soon another ringneck flushed. I shot and missed. I walked another 100 yards or so and Guido flushed another bird and then a few seconds later another bird. He flushed some more singles and I dropped 2 more. By the time I was done He had flushed 10 single roosters and I had shot up a half a box of shells but I got my limit. To this day I have never had that many individual flushes in that short period of time.

The last year I hunted the Reservation was 2004. Habitat on the reservation was disappearing and pressure on the little habitat that was left was increasing. It wasn’t worth hunting there anymore.

Photo taken Winnebago Reservation

I always wanted to hunt South Dakota so I finally made my move. There was an add in the newspaper for pheasant hunting in Burke, South Dakota. I responded and set up a 3 day hunt.

I had Gudio and Cosmo as my hunting companions and they had a ball. The landowner would drive us around to various spots and we would proceed to hunt. Hunting was good and I normally limited out in several hours or less. The property also had some quail as well as grouse and Hungarian partridge. In all my years of hunting I only shot 2 partridge and I only recovered one of them.

I was down to one dog by 2006 but Cosmo was in his peak years and hunting was good in South Dakota. After 3 or 4 years I decided to try another South Dakota ranch. I found it in the magazine that South Dakota Game division mailed out. I was blown away when he drove me around his property showing me the  borders. Pheasants were flying up everywhere. At that time he had 3000 acres and they were loaded with birds. He let you hunt on your own and told you to be careful to stay on his property.

I’ve hunted the Dakotas for roughly 15 years. The hunting has been fabulous with the exception of 2012 a bad drought year. 

I’ve taken several friends hunting in South Dakota. Hunting costs are high. Trespass fees are $150 a day. Motels run roughly $100 day and the license is $120 for 10 days. I hunt South Dakota two different 4 day periods. To keep costs down I hunt public land on the first day. It has been difficult hunting public land although I did limit out one time on it.

Nebraska hunting is getting more difficult every year. This last year most of the birds I shot were released by Game and Parks on some of their properties. 

Since I’m getting older driving long distances to hunt and return the same day is just too tiring. I try to stay within 90 miles and often hunt for only 2 hours and return home. If there are birds around my Brittany, Tbone will find them. My best hunt and a memorable one was in the Tekamah area this year. It was on private property and I limited out in 20 minutes after flushing 7 roosters. I hunt this property once a year and pay to access it. The birds are all wild, no released  ones.

Hunting pheasants and photography are my two passions. I only regret that I don’t have many photos from the earlier years of hunting. I had a cheap kodak camera when i was in high school and it never dawned on me to take any photos when hunting. Today I always have at least one camera in my vehicle at all times. I have the phone of course but really prefer a camera.

I know my hunting days are limited. At least I will have the photos of those lovely days in the field.

50 years can go by pretty fast- Class Reunion Highlites

Our senior class was small it only had around 40 graduates. We lost some classmates from previous years for various reasons such as poor grades, behavior problems, etc. 22 graduates attended our 50th reunion held in New Ulm, Minnesota. We toured our old high school campus which no longer serves the high school. It is MLC a Lutheran College now. When we attended there was both a college and high school. The high school was moved to Wisconsin,

We had a get together at the Country Club on Friday, took a tour of the Campus on Saturday and finished of with a meal at the Kaiserhoff, Saturday evening.

Note: If you click on the images they will enlarge.

DMLHS Class of 66 reunion

DMLHS Class of 66

Several people attended Friday evening that could not make it for the Saturday events so I did a little photoshop work to include all the attendees in the same group photo.

My cousin Doug Enter and I were in the same class. I did not see him for almost 30 years and did not recognize him.


Doug Enter-Steve Bode DMLHS 66 50th Reunion

Doug Enter-Steve Bode
DMLHS 66 50th Reunion

I grabbed a few candid shots.

IMG_1734 IMG_1727 IMG_1726 IMG_1724 IMG_1723 IMG_1721 IMG_1720 IMG_1719 IMG_1718 IMG_1717 IMG_1716 IMG_1715 IMG_1714 IMG_1713 DSCF0509 DSCF0508 DSCF0507 DSCF0506 DSCF0498 DSCF0497

If any of the attendees had difficulty accessing the photos I put on “Box” this is another way to see them.


The making of a dog portrait (in this case dogs)

I’ve photographed my fair share of dogs. It’s all about speed when you work  with canines. They are a lot like a two year old with a relatively short attention span. Dogs are easily affected by any distractions in their environment so I prefer to photograph them in the studio. I prefer head shots when I can get them and I seldom use props with dogs. I feel props take away form the portrait. Most dogs react to a sudden noise such as a a squeak sound or a dog toy with a squeaker. I elevate my subject on a carpeted box that can be rotated several ways to get the proper height. By elevating the dog they can’t move around as much and you can get your studio lights to light their eyes properly. Most larger dogs are a little leery of being placed on a box and they may jump off several times. The secret is to get their attention quickly and take the shots quickly. Quite often my best photo is taken on the first or second shutter click. I seldom work with a dog beyond 10 minutes. They lose interest very quickly.

I ran into a guy at the park who had 3 gorgeous white huskies. I asked him if I could get some photos of them and invited him to my studio. When he arrived I asked him to bring one dog at a time in for pictures. Trying to photograph all 3 at once would have been a real challenge. I told him to bring in the easiest one to work with first and we would take the toughest one for last.

I preferred a high key portrait so I used a white background and a white base. The secret is to try to get proper lighting on the background to get a pure white, while not getting flare from the background as it reflects light toward the camera. I may have erred a bit on the underexposure side of the background but I got reasonable results.







The above 3 photos were the selections I made for a composite of the 3 dogs.  I had to blend and match the whites to get a decent composite which was a bit tricky.







I added vignettes to each photo to get a better blend.

White Huskies

White Huskies

I then added the individual images to the composite which I printed to a 20×24 for the client. He was thrilled with the photo.

White Huskies

White Huskies

I used a Photoshop add on filter called Lucis Art to produce a print that looked like an artist sketch. Below is a closeup of one dog using this filter.

Lucis Art - Husky

Lucis Art – Husky

Images done in Lucis Art have considerable impact when printed 16×20 or larger.

And now for something completely different- Digital Infrared

Joslyn Castle Omaha

Joslyn Castle Omaha

I’ve always been enamored by the false colors a photographer can get when shooting in infrared. Most modern digital cameras need modification in order to capture infrared.

The first thing you need to do is have a camera converted to infrared. The infrared filter in your camera is removed and a different filter is added. One company that is a leader in digital infrared conversions is LifePixel. I sent my Fuji S3 to LifePixel and a little over a week later I got my converted camera back.

Lake Wehrspann dog run

Lake Wehrspann dog run

I chose the Fuji S3 because its a camera I no longer use and it was on the list of cameras that could be converted. In order to get infrared, the camera has to be color balanced using a custom balance against green grass. Unfortunately the Fuji s3 doesn’t allow color balancing in this manner.


When an image first comes out of a converted Fuji s3 it looks like this. The camera has to be set on raw. Then the raw file needs to be converted to a DNG file using Adobe DNG converter. The next step is to import the DNG file into Adobe DNG Profile Editor. There is a tab called “Color Matrixes” that you need to click on and slide the temperature slider to 0. Then you export the profile and give it your camera name.

Joslyn Castle Omaha

Joslyn Castle Omaha

The DNG file needs to be opened in Adobe Photoshop in camera raw. Then you click on the camera calibration tab and go to camera profile and select the profile that you just saved. Then you go to the basic tab and click on white balance and select auto. If necessary other adjustments can be made in the basic mode. The above photo should be your result. Anything in blue or cyan is  green foilage which reflects infrared.


Colors can be manipulated by going to adjust Hue and Saturation and sliding the Hue slider back and forth until you get the desired color.


Joslyn Castle Omaha

Joslyn Castle Omaha


Joslyn Museum Omaha

Joslyn Museum Omaha

Con Agra Park Omaha

Con Agra Park Omaha

Ideally photos should be taken on a sunny day near the middle of the day to achieve maximum infrared. The variations you can end up with are quite interesting.

DSCF0090bv DSCF0091b

ConAgra Omaha

ConAgra Omaha

Conagra Park

Conagra Park

Any color infrared can be changed to b&w by using the b&w adjustment in Photoshop. Using the color sliders you can determine how bright foilage will appear