Stephen Kirkpatrick

Friday, October 28, 2011

Searching For The "Moment"

It has been eight days since I loaded a new roll of film to start again my quest for the so called "perfect roll." 
Even though I have been out searching for the "moment" I have yet to expose a single frame. I am convinced 
that the first shot On A Roll sets the tone for the shots that follow, so it needs to be something special.

Yesterday afternoon did not produce that "moment" but the cool air, some early fall colors and wonderful clouds 
did provide some inspiration. It is amazing what sights like this do to my soul.

 Fall Color & Clouds

(photo taken with Nikon P7000)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's A Winner!

SANCTUARY: Mississippi's Coastal Plain

Captures First Place In  
International Self-Published Book Awards

Mississippi photographer Stephen Kirkpatrick’s latest book 
tops 262 international entries

Madison, Mississippi Sanctuary: Mississippi’s Coastal Plain, a coffee table book by husband and wife photography and writing team Stephen and Marlo Kirkpatrick, won first place in the nonfiction category of Writer’s Digest magazine’s 19th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards.

The international competition attracted 2,280 entries in nine categories, including 262 entries in the nonfiction category won by Sanctuary. Winners will be formally announced in the April 2012 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine and publicized on the magazine’s website,

Sanctuary focuses on the rare natural treasures of the Mississippi Coastal Plain, which extends from the Pascagoula watershed in Southeast Mississippi west toward the Pearl River and south into the Gulf of Mexico. In photographs and in words, Sanctuary reveals the fragile beauty and ecological importance of the area, and explains why it is so important to preserve the unique habitats and the rare, threatened, and endangered species that call the Mississippi Coastal Plain home.            

The 128-page book showcases Kirkpatrick’s stunning wildlife and nature photos, all shot in southern Mississippi and in the Gulf of Mexico. Text for the book was written by award-winning author Marlo Kirkpatrick, with Bill Porch of Porch Creative handling design.

The Sanctuary project was sponsored by several companies and organizations committed to preserving the Mississippi Coastal Plain. Lead sponsors include the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service, Southern AgCredit, Mississippi Power, The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service, and the George County Soil and Water Conservation District.

“We are so honored that Sanctuary was selected for this prestigious award,” said Stephen Kirkpatrick. “It’s rewarding not only to have our book recognized, but also to know that this award will bring more attention to the Mississippi Coastal Plain. The goal of the Sanctuary project was to raise awareness of the tremendous ecological importance of this small area of our state. Hopefully, this international award will help put the Mississippi Coastal Plain in the international spotlight.”

The International Self-Published Book Award is the latest of many top publishing awards captured by Stephen and Marlo Kirkpatrick. Honors won for previous books include the National Outdoor Book Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, three Southeastern Outdoor Press Association Book of the Year Awards, and two honorable mentions in the International Self-Published Book Awards.

Below are a few photographs from Sanctuary

Golden Club (Orontium aquaticum)

Sunrise over Pascagoula River
 Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)

   Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in Flight

Molly Miller (Scartella cristata)

Sunset Reflections - Grand Bay NWR

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Early Morning Light

Meadow Beauty (Rhexia virginica) in Dew

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in Snowfall  

Full Moon over Bayou Heron - Grand Bay NWR

Monday, October 24, 2011

FILM - Roll #1 Analysis

Below are the shots from On A Roll "My Backyard", attempt #1. I have included grades and thoughts from my previous posts (in blue.) The comments below them (in green) are my observations after seeing the developed film. In order to get these up quickly I copied the film with a Nikon P 7000 digital camera. The actual film appears slightly different from the photos below.

As I stated earlier, I am starting a new roll, this roll did not meet up to what I ultimately wanted. I would love to hear any comments you might have after seeing this first attempt.

1) Pearl River Swamp Sunrise  - (H)
Madison County, MS
July 6, 2011 - 6:01 am
Clear, 75 degrees
500mm w/2xTC, 1/40@f8, Two Tripods

Grade A+ 
Nice, powerful, misty sunrise.

Grade A+
This came out as I had envisioned.

2) Sawback Turtle on Snag and Reflection - (H)
Leake County, MS
July 7, 2011 - 5:27 pm
Partly Cloudy, 93 degrees
500mm, 1/200@f4, Tripod  

Grade A
The reflection should be good and the turtle 
should be easily visible on his precarious perch.

Grade A
As I envisioned.

3)  Long-jawed Orb Weaver Spider at Sunrise - (V)
Madison County, MS
July 8, 2011 - 6:17 am
Partly Cloudy, 82 degrees
180mm w/ET, 1/2500@f2.8, Tripod  - fuzzy focus

Grade A+ 
This was shot directly into the rising sun. I purposely 
shot it out of focus so the spider was not so graphic, 
but more of an eerie, fuzzy image.

Grade C
Not happy with the "soft focus" outcome.

4) Passionflowers - (H)
 Madison County, MS
July 15, 2011 - 4:34 pm
Cloudy, 83 degrees
60mm, 1/400@f5.6, Tripod  

Grade B 
A little bit of experimenting here. The edges of passionflowers
 look like wirey hairs. I focused tight on these fine elements and let the main part of the flower go totally out of focus. 
Should be interesting.

Grade A+
This is one of my favorites. Turned out just as I had hoped.

5) Alligator Resting in Swamp - (H)
Rankin County, MS
July 18, 2011, 3:48 pm
Cloudy/Sprinkling, 87 degrees
500mm, 1/80@f4, Tripod 

Grade B+
Because I was so close to this alligator, I composed this shot in an unbalanced way to include some duckweed and to lend a sense of place to the image.

Grade A
I like it.

6) Bullfrog (H)
Stone County
July 21, 2011, 7:11 am
Sunny, 80 degrees
500mm w/2xTC, 1/125@f8, Tripod 

Grade B 
I hope the warm, early morning light will give this shot life and highlight the bullfrog. 

Grade B-
The lighting on the slide is great. I wish I had placed the frog at the top of the frame with more foreground.

7) Pied-billed Grebe on Nest - (V)
Stone County
July 21, 2011, 7:46 am
Sunny, 81 degrees
500mm, 1/125@f8, Tripod

Grade A  
This was a hard one to shoot. The grebe was nervous on the nest and I had to compose and shoot very quickly. There was a white fragrant water lily flower in the foreground that I hope does not take over the shot. 
This is one I am anxious about.

Grade A+
I really liked the way this turned out.

8) BLANK !
Greene County
July 22, 2011,  7:38 am
Cloudy, 78 degrees
  putting in batteries

Grade F
What a stupid mistake.


9) Daisy Fleabane and Grasshopper - (V)
Madison County
July 29, 2011, 10:23 am
Cloudy, 90 degrees
180mm, 1/200@f7.1, Tripod

Grade B+
This image was an experiment of making the grasshopper a small part of the composition. The little white daisies may be 
too busy for the image. It was hard to compose and predict the depth of field I needed.

Grade B+
When the photo is enlarged the grasshopper is easier to see. The composition turned out as planned but I am a little disappointed in the final shot.

10) Trumpet Creeper and Clouds - (V)
Madison County
July 30, 2011, 11:29 am
Partly Cloudy, 90 degrees
17-35mm , 1/200@f14, Hand Held

Grade C
I think the white clouds in this photo are going to cause an underexposed (dark) image. I tried to compensate for it, but I am still concerned.

Grade C-
Just as I suspected, the contrast is too great. Wanted the orange, green and blue to really show.

11) Indigo Bunting Singing in Sunrise - (H)
Madison County
August 1, 2011, 6:28 am
Clear, 80 degrees
500mm w/2xTC, 1/4000@f8, Hand Held    (resting on tree limb)

Grade A-
I really have no way of knowing whether this image will be 
pleasing or not. As I shot it directly into the sun with such a long lens set up, it will be "hot." The light may swallow up the small bird. Just don't know.

Grade B
Well, the sun was too strong and burned up the singing bunting. Too bad, it had potential.

12) Eastern Box Turtles Mating - (H)
Madison County
August 1, 2011, 10:03 am
Clear, 90 degrees
17-35mm , 2.5 sec.@f22, Tripod

Grade B
This will be more of an "interesting" shot than a wonderfully lit and composed work of art. These turtles mating simply had to be photographed. Don't blame me, I was "forced" to do it.

Grade B-
It's OK but not "interesting" enough.

13) Bolete Pores - (H)
Madison County
August 2, 2011, 11:02 am
Clear, 90 degrees
60mm , 5 sec.@f32, Tripod

Grade A+
The underside of this particular fungi is wonderfully structured. The chambers, light/shadow, and design of the pores is graphically interesting. Long exposures can be deceiving.

Grade A+
Love it!

14) Sunrise and Canada Geese - (H)
Madison County
August 3, 2011, 6:20 am
Clear, 82 degrees
500mm , 1/250@f4, Tripod

Grade B+
The problem I had here was trying to capture the geese with their heads and necks visible. They were swimming 
straight away from me. Then, just as I was about to 
call off the shot, they started to turn. 

Grade A
The two pair of geese turned their heads and bodies in perfect position.

15) Red-tailed Hawk Panting - (H)
Madison County
August 4, 2011, 7:23 pm
Clear, 96 degrees
500mm w/2xTC , 1/200@f8, Tripod

Grade A
The heat was bad that day. This hawk was panting and trying to cool off with his wings open. The light is good here.

Grade A
Hard to see here but his eyes are focused and gleaming with the last rays of the hot sun.

16) White-tailed Deer - (H)
Madison County
August 18, 2011, 9:58 am
Clear, 87 degrees
500mm, 1/15@f4, Tripod

Grade B 
This is a very different kind of image for me, but I like it. The
focus is on some leaves in the foreground. The lighting was interesting and when the doe heard something and turned her head to look, I snapped the shutter.

Grade C
Don't like it. I wanted the deer much more out of focus.

17) Gulf Fritillary on Sunflower - (H)
Madison County
August 18, 2011, 10:53 am
Overcast, 89 degrees
17-35mm, 1/160@f5.6,  Hand Held

Grade C
This is another shot I am concerned about. The butterfly was moving so much I had to continually adjust for brightness and dark. The shot was quick and close focus, wide angle, so it is a "who knows" type of photo.

Grade B
The shot actually came out better than I thought. The blown out sky is distracting. It would have been nice for a bright blue sky instead of overcast.

18) Praying Mantis - (V)
Madison County
August 18, 2011, 4:00 pm
Cloudy, 81 degrees
180mm, 1/500@f5.6,  Tripod

Grade B+
It took forever to get this seemingly easy shot. Just when I would think I had it set up, the mantis would move. I was using a very shallow depth of field so focus was critical. To get the lens parallel with the mantis I had to lay my face on the ground. That made the sky come into the frame (which I did not want) so I repositioned several times. Oh, and there was a breeze gusting. Who knows?

Grade B
Came out nice.

19) Green Tree Frog Resting - (H)
Madison County
August 22, 2011, 3:52 pm
Clear, 99 degrees
60mm, 1/2@f13, Tripod

Grade A-
This was a very close-up shot with a horizontal composition. I want to see this one myself.

Grade F
Can't tell here but this shot is totally blurry from movement.

20) Ruby-throated Hummingbird - (H)
Madison County
August 22, 2011, 5:12 pm
Clear, 99 degrees
500mm, 1/40@f4, Tripod

Grade A
This should be a pleasing image if the touch of blue in sky shows through behind the bird. I was trying to catch his "ruby throat" shining, but he was moving his head a lot.

Grade B-
The shot came out a bit "softer" than I wanted.

21) Smooth Green Snake - (H)
Madison County
August 23, 2011, 6:57 am
Cloudy, 77 degrees
17-35mm, 1/10@f9, Tripod

Grade A
This was a cool moment when I found the snake. This is also the shot I was VERY distracted on because of the fawn walking up on me (see "Splendor In The Grass.") I'm curious about how the goldenrod foliage will look in the shot.

Grade B
Too busy. Shots I saw with the snake after this whole episode with the fawn was over were better. I was obviously very distracted. That's my story and I am sticking to it.

22) Purple Gallinule Searching - (V)
 Rankin County
August 24, 2011, 6:54 am
Clear, 77 degrees
500mm, 1/50@f4, Tripod

Grade B+
It was odd light, but the shot is really dependent upon whether or not I caught the tension of the bird as it focused on another bird coming into its territory.

Grade C-
I love this shot. However, there is a slight blur in the photo due to my tripod being on shaky ground (water.) Too bad, it would have been my favorite shot on the roll.

23)  Gray Squirrel - (H)
Madison County
August 24, 2011, 3:22 pm
Partly Cloudy, 94 degrees
500mm, 1/30@f4, Tripod

Grade C
This may be one that ruins this roll. My shutter speed was probably too slow to keep this from being technically good. Also, the foreground tree I liked at the time I shot, but it may be distracting. The light was also very flat, so....

Grade B-
This actually turned out better than I thought.

24)  White-tailed Deer - Doe & Fawn - (H)
Madison County
August 29, 2011, 12:23 pm
Clear, 94 degrees
500mm, 1/80@f4, Tripod

Grade A+
The heads of the doe and fawn were turned in opposite directions. There is a possibility of the light being "hot." I also noticed the fawn quickly moved its head about the same moment as I shot.

Grade C
The fawn's ears and head position ruined this. The light was also too "hot."

25)  Foxtail at Sunrise - (H)
Madison County
August 30, 2011, 6:58 am
Clear, 68 degrees
60mm, 1/125@f8, Tripod

Grade B+
Great light on dew-covered foxtails. This one depends on the mood the early morning light creates.

Grade B
It actually pleases me.

26)  Gulf Fritillaries and Dew - (V)
Madison County
September 7, 2011, 6:40 am
Clear, 54 degrees
60mm, 1/6@f25, Tripod

Grade A-
This was extremely hard to shoot because of the positioning of the butterflies low in the dew-covered grass. This was compounded by the fact that I found these after the sun was coming up, so the background may burn out.

Grade C-
Well, I was right. Should have passed on this one.

27)  Mud Snake (Farancia abacura) - (V)
Madison County
September 7, 2011, 5:05 pm
Clear, 76 degrees
17-35mm, 1.3 sec@f9, Tripod

Grade B+
Finding this mud snake was the first cool thing. Getting the shot set up with a shy snake and unbalanced light was the challenge.

Grade B-
Turned out as I had planned.

28)  Pearl River Sunrise - (H)
Madison County
September 8, 2011, 6:26 am
Clear, 54 degrees
17-35mm,  2.5 sec@f16, Tripod

Grade A
This should look good. The challenge was capturing the clouds at the peak of light.

Grade A
I did catch the premium light.

29)  Green Darner - (V)
Madison County
September 8, 2011, 7:55 am
Clear,  58 degrees
60mm, 1/3@f16, Tripod

Grade B-
Pretty straightforward shot. However, it was very low light, there was a slight breeze, and the dragonfly was resting on an unstable leaf.

Grade F
All of the above (very blurry), plus it was not interesting. Bad decision.

30)  Alligator at Moonrise - (V)
Madison County
September 12, 2011, 7:20 pm
Clear,  78 degrees
500mm, 1/13@f4, Tripod

Grade A
The slow shutter speed may be the killing factor here.

Grade A-
The slow shutter speed did lend a slight "fuzziness" to the shot, but it works.

31)  Strawberry Bush Seeds & Acorn- (V)
Madison County
September 16, 2011,  7:54 am
Clear,  56 degrees
60mm, 8 sec@f22, Tripod

Grade A-
Long exposures can sometimes fool you.

Grade B+
Turned out as planned.

32)  Decaying Fall Leaf - (H)
Madison County
September 26, 2011,  5:23 pm
Clear,  79 degrees
500mm, 1/200@f7.1, Tripod

Grade B+
This should be fine.

Grade B+
 The veins in the dead part of the primary leaf are wonderful.

33)  Canada Geese in Flight at Sunset - (H)
Madison County
September 26, 2011,  6:44 pm
Clear,  76 degrees
500mm, 1/500@f8, Hand Held

Grade A
I swung around and took this shot in an instant. The geese came in by surprise and my focus/composition time was an instasecond.

Grade C
I like the shot but the geese were too far away and being so small they got "burned out" by the sun.

34)  Praying Mantis and Dew - (H)
Madison County
October 1, 2011,  7:15 am
Clear,  47 degrees
60mm, 1/6@f16, Tripod

Grade A-
Should look good. After I shot this, I remembered I had already taken a mantis photo, a month and a half earlier. That is one of the problems/challenges of this whole process.

Grade A+
This shot turned out wonderful. The light was perfect and the mantis is soaked with dew.

****35) Foggy Sunrise - (H)
Madison County
October 5, 2011,  7:21 am
Clear,  51 degrees
60mm, 1/160@f16, Tripod

Grade A
This should be a nice shot. It just was not supposed to be "the end.”

Grade B+
Wonderful light but a little uninteresting.

So, On A Roll again.

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