Study Group One

Bruce Finocchio

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  • Title:  Mexican Ground Squirrel Drinking
  • Goal: To capture a Mexican ground squirrel drinking at eye level. The water droplet was luck or being at the right place at the right moment, waiting for some behavior. 
  • Source: Canon 7D camera with a 600 mm f4.0 lens, shot at 1/5000 of second, at f6.3 aperture, and ISO 1000, Aperture priority setting with Partial metering, no flash.
  • Technique: It a blind at the Laguna Seca Ranch in the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas shooting at eye level to the pond, because the blind is below ground level.
  • Processing:    Normal dodging and burning on some aspects of the background to eliminate highlights. Processed through Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop CC and used the Viveza plugin, and a mid tone contrast technique to give the mid tones a little pop.

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I am a wildlife, nature, and scenic photographer. I now live in San Mateo, after spending most of my adult life in Millbrae. I previously worked full-time for Applied Biosystems and Life Technologies as a senior business analyst. I left this position a few years ago to concentrate on my true passion of nature photography. My Dad was a deer hunter and bought some property in Monterey County, so he could have a place of his own to go deer hunting. We have owned this property since 1946. I grew up spending my summers down there, following in my father's footsteps, hunting quail, dove, and black tailed deer--using a b-b gun, graduating up to a powerful hunting rifle. When I was eighteen I had to kill a black-tailed buck up close shooting him in the neck, since my first shot from afar had only wounded him. I saw death up close and personal, deciding from that moment on I didn't not want to be part of death, but to cherish life instead.

My friends and I do a lot of bird photography at my ranch in rural Monterey County, using photo blinds extensively; and recently we have built a few permanent ponds to attract wildlife.

I was a Minolta user, but switched to Canon in 2001. I used to shoot extensively with slide film; now I strictly use digital camera bodies, specifically the Canon 7D and 40D bodies, previously the Canon D1 Mark II and as backup the Canon 20D. I primarily use RAW capture, and process the images in Photoshop. I recently upgraded to CS5, and also have many external hard drives to store my raw files.

Check out Bruce's nature blog at and his website at