Dave Cowell Photography: Blog https://www.davecowell.com/blog en-us (C) Dave Cowell Photography (Dave Cowell Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:04:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:04:00 GMT https://www.davecowell.com/img/s/v-12/u45964032-o438716340-50.jpg Dave Cowell Photography: Blog https://www.davecowell.com/blog 120 68 Turning point https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2016/6/turning-point I don’t know why this came into my head this morning, but it did so I thought I might share it with you.

Story time:

Years ago I was caravanning through Yellowstone with a Pro photographer when we came upon this coyote mousing a field.


I stopped, which caused the Pro to turn around to see what I had stopped for. They saw the coyote and said something to the effect of “I guess a coyote might make an OK calendar photo" Upon hearing that, the only thing that popped into my head was “What?” Needless to say I was a bit miffed by that, but that statement was a bit of a turning point in my growth as a nature photographer.

It made me realize that I never want to do this solely for money or let money, fame or any of that other crap influence my appreciation of nature or how I try and portray it. A coyote is a coyote and should be appreciated for what it is. It’s not a commodity whose only worth is what it can bring to my pocket.

To further reinforce that fact, I’ve decided that any and all profits from print sales on my website through the end of Labor Day will go straight to the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington Washington. I love the fact that this place rehabilitates all animals brought into their care, regardless of what it is. Sure they rehabilitate “cool” animals like weasels, owls and what-not, but what I really love about them is they also rehabilitate more common animals like mallard ducks, skunks and yes, even coyotes. All wildlife deserves a second chance, these folks give it to them.

So even if you don't want to buy a print, consider visiting their Website or Facebook Page to see what they are all about. If you like what you see, I'm sure they would appreciate a simple donation.


(Dave Cowell Photography) Arlington Sarvey care center washington wildlife https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2016/6/turning-point Sat, 11 Jun 2016 17:06:09 GMT
The Power of the Dog https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2014/1/the-power-of-the-dog

Cody, our dog of 15+ years. We love him dearly and already miss him more than words can describe.

Rest in peace buddy.


There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find--it's your own affair--
But...you've given your heart for a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!);
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart for the dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long--
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?


(Dave Cowell Photography) https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2014/1/the-power-of-the-dog Sat, 04 Jan 2014 20:15:32 GMT
A Day in My Life. 28 October 2013 https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2013/11/a-day-in-my-life-28-october-2013 28 October 2013 Fir Island Video Trip Report

(Dave Cowell Photography) Fir Geese Island Snow Vlog eared owl report short trip https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2013/11/a-day-in-my-life-28-october-2013 Thu, 07 Nov 2013 17:36:11 GMT
There are times in our lives... https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2013/2/there-are-times-in-our-lives ...when you sit up and take notice. Times when you know you the only place you should be is where you are right then and right there. All of the troubles and worries of day to day life fade. You are content, whole and not just living, but fully alive. This image represents one of those times in my life.


Misty Morning on The Flat


(Dave Cowell Photography) https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2013/2/there-are-times-in-our-lives Sun, 17 Feb 2013 09:32:29 GMT
Interesting! https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/6/interesting Spring is always a time of new life in our yard with parent birds bringing their fledglings to our feeders for a meal.  So far this year I’ve seen black-capped chickadees, red-breasted nuthatches, downy woodpeckers and hairy woodpeckers with their babies in our yard. Last week I saw what I thought was a large poofy oregon junco chick at the feeder with its parent. Well I saw them again today and came to the realization I was totally wrong with my initial assessment. What I though was a junco parent feeding its chick turns out to be something I've never seen before, something much more interesting…


…with that being said, once we hit 250 “Likes” on my Facebook page I’ll reveal what it was that I was actually observing in the yard. In addition to that, I’ll also do a print give-away in celebration of making it a quarter of the way to 1000 “likes”. I have a few 8x12 snowy owl prints done on the metallic paper I love so much, that the winner will get to pick and choose from.

(Dave Cowell Photography) https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/6/interesting Mon, 18 Jun 2012 18:43:34 GMT
Photography? https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/6/Photography Some things piss me off....some things really piss me off.


Like when someone takes an eagle photo with a drab background and places a pretty background behind it and then passes it off as if it was a single real photo. I wouldn't give a rats ass that these people do these things if they'd at least be honest about it.


That crap is not photography, it's digital manipulation and it's exactly the kind of bull shit that leads the lay person into thinking that photographers just use photoshop to get the colors or effects that they want. In most cases that couldn't be farther from the truth. It's dishonest, deceptive and leads people to believe that those of us who do plan and spend the time preparing to be in the right place at the right time during the right light are just some computer hacks that just piecemeal these photos up while sitting at a desk.


The eagle photo below has a pretty drab/plain background. Could I change it to something prettier if I wanted? Probably. Would I ever do that? Not a chance.


For those that disclose that type of manipulation, good for you. 

For those that don't and pass them off as real. Quit lying to your audience.

(Dave Cowell Photography) https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/6/Photography Sun, 03 Jun 2012 01:39:43 GMT
Come on guys! https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/3/come-on-guys Dave Cowell is a photographer based out of southern Puget Sound who gets irked when he finds web sites that are maintained by owners who choose to write their bio/about page in the third person. Dave feels that it gives a very impersonal feel to the web sites of those who choose to do so.


Several years ago when Dave decided to take the plunge and start a web site of his own, he wanted to give it a personal feel, which Dave thinks is essential in this day and age of self publishing. When asked why he feels this way, Dave’s response was “It’s 2012, people know that I maintain my own web site, people know that I maintain my Facebook page, why would I want to make it sound as if someone else was jabbering on about me in my bio/about page?”


Dave knows that some of his friends have web sites with their bios written in the third person and he wants them to know that this isn’t intended to perturb or upset them. Dave just simply doesn’t understand why those friends choose to use some mysterious voice to talk about themselves, when Dave knows darn well that it’s his friends who are talking about themselves in the third person. When asked what he would say to his friends about this, Dave’s response was “Come on guys!”

(Dave Cowell Photography) https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/3/come-on-guys Sun, 25 Mar 2012 19:52:44 GMT
Sliver of Light https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/2/Sliver-of-Light A flock of canada and cackling geese flying through the tiny bit of nice light I had yesterday at Nisqually NWR. The rest of the sky was socked in with clouds and I figured the day was a bust.


Canada Goose

Nisqually NWR

I tried to make the most of what’s presented to me at the time. On days like yesterday, more often than not, nothing presents itself. But from time to time you can make something of it. Moments such as those are like little unexpected Christmas presents to me.

(Dave Cowell Photography) geese nisqually nwr sunset https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/2/Sliver-of-Light Fri, 17 Feb 2012 19:04:17 GMT
Shoot From the Heart. https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/2/Shoot-From-the-Heart- Step out side of tradition and rip your tripod from the holes that others put there so long ago. Don’t just regurgitate what others have done before you. We all shoot the icons at one time or another, I still do sometimes. It’s a good learning experience to make your own spin on what others have done before you.  But what’s that saying about us when that becomes the norm? Take the iconic shot when it’s there, get it out of the way and then forget about it. Check it off “the list” and then make the rest of the photos you make there your own.

When I look at an artist’s body of work, from any of the disciplines, I want to see them in their work. I want to see how it speaks to their heart. I don’t want it to say what others would like it to say. It’s your voice in the photos that you make and they should be saying what you want them to say.  So say it. Tell your story the way you want it to be told. Stay true to yourself.

We (mostly guys) put way too much weight on the mechanics and specs of cameras, tripods, lenses and what-not. Today’s tools are probably the best they’ve ever been, quit worrying about the next best thing or upgrading and just shoot. Photography “rules,” while they can be a good guide, are secondary as well. What a vanilla world we would live in if we all shot by the “rules”. Both the rules and tools are just a means to an end. Learning how to use them can seem like a challenge initially, but translating and using them to tell your story should always be primary. That is where the real challenges arise.

Art isn’t objective, it’s subjective. Make it that way. If you tell your story through your heart, people will see it. Shoot from there and the story you want that photo to tell will shine though.

(Dave Cowell Photography) https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/2/Shoot-From-the-Heart- Fri, 17 Feb 2012 19:03:30 GMT
Normal, Everyday, Wonderful. https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/2/Normal--Everyday--Wonderful- It’s not a grand scene of some far off exotic location. It’s not a striking carnivore or a raptor tearing into their prey. It’s not even an unusual or seldom seen animal. It’s a common mallard duck.

Mallard Hen

If you live in an area that has ducks, you probably have mallards. They’re everywhere.  These ubiquitous birds served a good reminder to me the other day. They reminded me that we can find nature right outside our own front doors, if we are open to seeing it.

With all the photos of exotic place we see floating around the internet, I think we sometimes focus on what could be seen at some place across the country and we forget to look out of our own back doors and really appreciate what we have locally. While I enjoy traveling to new places and seeing new things, that mallard reminded me that I don’t need to make expeditions to the far corners of the globe in search of inspiration in nature. I can see it in my back yard every day if I want. I bet you’d see it at home too if you took the time to slow down and really look.

So, the next time you’re looking for inspiration in nature, take a minute and stop thinking about that trip to some far off location. Relax, take a look out your own back door, go for a walk close to home or make a short drive to a local park or preserve, and really concentrate on seeing what you already have around you. Who knows, maybe the beauty and inspiration you’re looking to photograph is closer than you think and it might even be found in a common mallard duck.

(Dave Cowell Photography) https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2012/2/Normal--Everyday--Wonderful- Fri, 17 Feb 2012 19:03:04 GMT
Here we go! https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2011/10/Here-we-go- I’ve been contemplating starting one of these for a while now. Initially, my motivation was to “get my name out there,” whatever that is supposed to mean. The web is so saturated with good nature photographers and their blogs as it is, I thought it would be kind of pointless. I’m still on the fence if this is worth my time or not. At any rate, I figured why not use this as a way to share some of my personal thoughts in regards to nature, the photography of it, and what ever else comes to mind. I won’t make a promise to please everyone with what I write, I will promise that I’ll share my honest thoughts and feelings on subjects that I think about. Hopefully those thoughts will interest you.

Welcome and enjoy!

(Dave Cowell Photography) https://www.davecowell.com/blog/2011/10/Here-we-go- Sat, 22 Oct 2011 20:52:34 GMT