Wildlife Photography In Montana's Centennial Valley (P1)

It is my pleasure to introduce you to William (Bill) Kleinfelder’s photography. Bill, Ron, and Mike spent several days this past month capturing some of the Centennial Valley’s treasures. Up before dawn and trailing in after dark, they spent many pains-taking hours pursuing their subjects and seeking the best lighting. As these photographs show, their hard work paid huge rewards!

Bill obviously loves capturing beauty. Nature photography is his self-proclaimed favorite. Like every other nature photographer, his hobby has become his passion - a passion obvious in his images’ detail and quality!

Many photos are of birds on the wing. Since Ron Bielefeld (Bill’s friend and the trip organizer) specializes in this field, Bill says he took advantage of opportunities to hone his skills.

The photography bug bites in various ways. Bill’s interest in photography came on dual roads. One came through his job working with the Optics group at Cape Canaveral, Florida tracking the launch of Long Range telescopes. The other came through his introduction to 35 mm photography several years back.

His current equipment includes a Canon 7D and 100 - 400 mm lens. For this trip he rented a 500mm lenses. Much of the time he also used a 1.4x extender. Combined with his camera’s crop factor, this bumped him up to 1120mm. No wonder he was able to capture such detail!

When not behind a camera, Bill enjoys spending time with his wife and son. His other hobbies include fishing and golfing. Copies of any of these photos as well as many more lovely images are available on Bill’s website at: wklein.smugmug.com. Enjoy!

It almost looks like he's dancing!

I believe these images were captured along the Northside Road, pretty close to the junction with Elk Lake Road. While the men could locate no young, these Long Billed Curlews were quite irritated at their presence - even to the point of diving toward their vehicle.

The men spent quite a bit of time around water. This series of photos of Gadwell Ducks was likely taken near Widgeon Pond.

Some photographers are purists. They focus on one subject or one medium - and, as a result, they learn to capture (or do) it extremely well. Others (like me) cannot overlook beauty (or something unusual). It must be captured - if possible. Obviously Bill, while intent on improving his art, has a bit of the second scenario too. He couldn't pass up the opportunity to photograph our local pronghorn!

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of the longer lens was the opportunity to capture wildlife in their more 'natural' attitudes. The Horned Lark (top) seems totally oblivious to Bill's presence. (Note the bug flying above its head). While the Golden Eye (center) is clearly upset by something, it is not Bill.

Bill says he captured this photo while pursuing waterfowl photos along Elk Lake. Apparently his presence stirred up a nesting Mallard who immediately began feigning to draw him away from her nest. However, this Golden Eye (although apparently unencumbered by young) became very upset with the Mallard. This 'evil eye' is directed toward another duck! And, the hawk (bottom) is so intent on whatever it is watching, I suspect it never knew it was posing for the camera.

So many pictures! So little time! This is a mere 'sampling' of the photos Bill shared with me. I plan to do at least one more post - just because there are too many more you just have to see! However, if you're enjoying the photos, please let me know. I have enough pictures to do at least two more posts if they are being enjoyed!

Lady of the Lake

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