Readers’ wildlife photos

August 3, 2015 • 7:45 am

Those readers who sent me wildlife photos before I left, please bear with me before I get to the backlog. The pile of mail I have to deal with is beyond belief.  So today, enjoy yesterday’s batch of photos from Stephen Barnard in Paradise, Idaho. His email was called “not hummingbirds,” and the caption was this:

Here are some photos of a Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) feeding on Callibaetis mayflies. The first four are a sequence and the last is a Callibaetis-eye view of what’s coming up.






32 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Marvelous. That last one is especially special.
    As for hummingbirds, I suppose it is the case that they nest somewhere farther south so it would not be practical to branch out with them by photographing their nesting behavior.

  2. I love the stealth you captured with this series. Beautiful fish…from your description it can almost be a ‘pet’.

  3. These fish are very spooky. The water is shallow, clear, slow-moving, and the fish are hunted by herons, eagles, ospreys, pelicans, and otters (and me). This particular fish feeds right off the near side bank, coming out from undercover of an algae mat to pick off insects. I have an elevated view. If I just walked out there with a camera I might see the fish once before it spooked.

    So, when I see that the fish is feeding, I set up the camera with the big lens on a tripod, trying to do it quickly while he’s hiding, making sure the settings are where I want them. Then I retreat out-of-sight and wait. When the fish starts feeding regularly, I creep up on hands and knees, keeping my profile below that critical angle. I can see the fish but it can’t see me. When I reach the tripod I wait for it to hide and then stand up to use the camera.

      1. As an image maker myself I realize that it takes a lot of creative effort to make good images. Imagine a painter working for hours, days, or longer on a painting.

      2. haha “then I stand up …”

        There’s a critical angle below which the fish can’t see. It’s called Snell’s Window, after Snell’s Law. It’s determined by about a 96 degree angle upward from the fish’s point of view, defining a window, on and above the surface, where the fish can see. Everything else is black (to the fish). This is due to refraction.

        The cool trick, to a fisherman’s or photographer’s advantage, is that you can still see the fish when it can’t see you.

          1. The fish sees a full 180 degree view within Snell’s Window, but anything close to the edge is so distorted it’s pretty much negligible. The rule of thumb for fishermen is to keep your profile no more than 20 degrees above the horizon.

          2. The camera was well within Snell’s Window, but the fish was accustomed to it. Fish are more sensitive to movement than anything else, which is why herons are masters of stalking. My profile added to the camera’s didn’t bother the fish as long as I stood still.

            1. Wikipedia: Although named after Dutch astronomer Willebrord Snellius (1580–1626), the law was first accurately described by the scientist Ibn Sahl at the Baghdad court in 984. Credit the Muslims.

    1. I admit that if I saw you doing this I would definitely wonder why. What’s that guy doing? Oh, nothing, just sneaking up on fish.

  4. Are you sure that’s not a hummingbird? Small, fast-flying, very agile. Fits many of the characteristics of a hummingbird “kind” to me.

    (Sgn) A. Creationist Idiot

    Oh, forgot the obligatory “therefore god”.

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