Joseph Choi Photography

  • Sun, 21 Jul 2019 19:36:40 +0000

    Burrowing Owl And June Bug

    According to All about bird ID description, “Burrowing Owls are small owls with long legs and short tails. The head is rounded and does not have ear tufts. They can be founded in glass land, deserts, or dry area with little vegetation.” Unlike other owls, they live in an underground hole dug by prairie dogs. The Ontario Airport and the Salton Sea are the known locations in Southern California to the bird photographers. And I have seen many photos of the small owls taken by fellow photographers from those spots.


    Fortunately, the first time in life in September 2018,  I had a chance to take a picture of Burrowing Owls in Ontario, which is only 20 miles away from my home.  I took a family of owls, the photo below, that came out of the underground nest and perched to take sun-bath in the morning.


    Recently I returned to Ontario. I took dynamic photos of owls that in flight and hunting June Bugs. Speaking of June Bug, “it derives the name from the fact that adult June bugs emerge from the soil at the end of spring in May or the beginning of the summer in June.”


    As a matter of fact, June bug became a significant food resource throughout the summer to the owls.  Otherwise, many bird photographers are dying to capture the moment of hunting June bugs. I was one of them. Every weekend, I went to the spot to get the best shot.  Taking a picture of the owls in flight is very difficult. and it demands a lot of patience for the right timing. The photo that I posted above is a lucky shot. It seems to be the owl grabbed a June bug in the claw.  The photo below reveals the moment after hunting. It definitely shows a June Bug in the owl’s mouth. It’s not a perfect picture but I’m glad that I finally have one.


    For the photographing Burring Owls, I used Nikon D500 with Nikon 300mm PF F4 telephoto lens. If you want to see more owl photos, please visit my website at



  • Tue, 12 Feb 2019 19:52:44 +0000

    A Monster Storm at Yosemite

    Yose_4033Highway 140, West Entrance to Yosemite National Park, California

    I went to Yosemite Wednesday, Feb. 6 after a monster winter storm dumped 2 feet of snow Tuesday alone in valley. The West Entrance reopened by noon on Wednesday after 2 days shut down. Snow chains were required to put on unless 4×4 wheels.

    yose_4050-2A photographer at Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

    Yose_1081Yosemite Valley Chapel in Snow, Yosemite National Park, California

    yose_4185-2El Capitan at Sunset, Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park, CA

    After cruising around the valley floor and taking beautiful winter landscape pictures, I ended up at Tunnel View which my favorite spot all time at sunset.  I didn’t expect to take this epic, a stripe of light hitting the rock after disappointing cloudy sunset few minutes earlier. I was about to leave the tunnel view, removed all gears and tripod set-up. But I was stunned by a band of orange which lighting up the side of mountain where my car faced.  I turned around to the right and looked straight at the El Capitan where a stripe of light just reached. I grabbed a camera and rushed to take a couple of shots handheld. The orange light lasted about 6 minutes till it disappear.

    I was so lucky to get this awesome shot and have  learned a lesson again. Never leave early till 30 minutes after sun went down. I will long remember the epic moment.

  • Wed, 30 Jan 2019 18:05:25 +0000

    The Split Second between Life and Death in Wildlife


    By every Thanksgiving, Vermilion Flycatchers migrate to warm Southern California, San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine, for the winter. One day, I was standing next to the tall tree which favorable to Vermilion Flycatchers. Suddenly, unfamiliar bird that I never seen it before, landed on that high perch. I shot more than 10 frames of image. One of photos revealed a split second of eating a Dragonfly by Merlin, which is a smallest falcon. I was stunned by the image that I never seen it before, and this is why the mysterious nature of wildlife kept me on field. By the way, Merlin is a small falcon which eats small song birds and shorebirds. Other prey includes large insects such as Dragonfly, bats, and small mammals.

    Next two images show the before and after


    Merlin just landed with a Dragonfly.



    Merlin bites off the head, now it’s in her mouse.

  • Wed, 26 Oct 2016 05:19:20 +0000

    Fall Color in The Eastern Sierra


    Every fall, for the past three years. I drove up to the town Bishop to see the fall colors in the Eastern Sierra.  It wasn’t exceptional this year, and I hoped that the fall foliage  might be better than previous years after enough rains dropped over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the past winter and spring. According to scientific study, the amount of moisture in the soil affects autumn colors. A warm wet spring, favorable summer weather, and warm sunny fall days with cool nights should produce the most brilliant autumn colors. Meanwhile, unlike other years, we joined our members of amateur photo club which, and stayed at a campsite in Bishop from Oct. 8 to Oct. 9. For this trip, my mom  and younger brother joined. We left home by 7:00 in the morning, and arrived that campsite by 1:00 in the afternoon. After having brief lunch, we took route 168, and drove up to the Lake Sabrina  which sits on 9128 feet elevation.



    Lake Sabrina

    It was Saturday afternoon, and so crowded with many visitors. Among the visitors are seasonal photographers alike us. The fall colors seems to be a bit passed the peak, but the Yellow Aspen Tree colors were  still vibrant especially on the Lake Sabrina Road which next to the Bishop Creek.  The back-sunlight brightened the color of Aspen Tree leaves as you see in the picture. I was really pleased taking many photos of it.




    Intake II

    Our next stop was the Intake II Lake, a couple of miles down from the Lake Sabrina. I was first time in the Intake II Lake. It was a hidden gem which so beautiful. The size of the lake is a lot smaller than the Lake Sabrina, but was very photogenic. We saw not only fall color watchers but also many people who enjoying the trout fishing, some people were on the deck or in a  floating boat.



    Convict Lake

    Next early morning, we headed for the Convict Lake which about 37 miles north on the highway 395 near the town of  Mammoth Lakes. We were expecting to taking beautiful sunrise photos. The reflection of Convict Lake at sunrise time is so beautiful and well-known  to the photographers. Here is the photo that I took that morning. It’s the best shot among other photos taken  from this unforgettable trip to the Eastern Sierra.

  • Wed, 20 Jul 2016 16:23:30 +0000

    Scenic Byway 12, Utah

    July 21, 2016

    I’m a photo enthusiast and the western part of US  landscape always has been my ultimate destination.  In the past month, June 29, I had a chance  to drive up to the Capital Reef National Park by the Scenic Byway 12, which one of the most scenic highways in America. The Scenic Byway 12, also known as Utah Highway 12, passes through the Red Rock Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and it arrives at Torrey in the Capital Reef National Park. It’s about 110 miles from the Bryce Canyon and takes about 2 hours by a car.


    Natural Bridge, Bryce Canyon.

    Bryce Canyon National Park is a must stop, and I drove all the way up to the Natural Bridge. In November, 2015, I had a chance to see the Natural Bridge first time when it snowed, but unfortunately missed it due to the heavy snow and road block.  This time I was very pleased to eyewitness the beauty of nature with crimson color.


    Castle with an American Flag

    The roadside scenery along the Highway 12 is beautiful and I found myself many interesting rock formations. The huge and sheer cliff rock which looks like a castle built on the top with a tiny American flag posted was one of them.


    The Head of Rocks Overlook

    There are two major viewpoints within nicely paved parking lot. The Head of Rocks Overlook is definitely the one you must stop by. It provides expansive views out across the Escalante Canyons where colorful slickrock stretches almost as far as the eye can see. Some 168 million years ago, the geological formation of this area was sand dunes, but it is now being transformed to sand stone. Don’t forget to take out your camera, and taking photos all direction. Guarantee that you’ll have a wonderful moment of shutter clicking time.


    Boynton Overlook

    Boynton Overlook is another stop briefly after the Head of Rocks. It gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the riparian area along the twisting Escalante River. According to the given information it provides habitats for birds and animal. However, I hadn’t noticed any waters running at the bottom of the canyon but only green vegetation.

    In conclusion, the Scenic Byway 12 is mind-blowing and you should try on if you are heading for the Capital Reef National Park. However, be aware of that there are many open ranches are across the road, especially 30 miles of proximity before Torrey. Cows are everywhere in the middle of road, and I had a little accident hitting a cow at a rainy dark night. You must report it to the Utah Highway patrol if you hit a cow. If you don’t, it’s a hit n run. As far as you have an insurance, it will take care of you. The best way to avoiding cow is not driving at night. Drive safely, and thank you for reading my first blog posting.

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