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Archive for June, 2012

 

The photographs accompanying today’s post mark the some of the last photos taken with my Nikon D200 and the last post for a couple of weeks. After a very long wait my newly purchased Nikon D800 has finally arrived and I will be heading out the door to have some fun with the new camera. Why did I upgrade? Certainly not because the D200 was not taking great images but quite simply, I require a new tool to capture the images I want, and I believe that the Nikon D800 will allow me to do just that. In the coming weeks we will see :)  The two images in today’s post are from Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area located neat Elmvale, Ontario. Do note in the last image I should have captured this photo a few seconds earlier when the highest part of the cloud formation was directly above the tallest tree on the right side of the image.

I hope everybody has a safe, fun-filled Canada Day weekend and to my friends south of the border, all the best on July 4 :)

Please click on each image to view a much larger version of the photos.

See you soon!

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On a recent early morning trip to Ontario’s Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area for some sunrise photography (more on that shortly), I also made my way over to the boardwalk trail for some frog photography. I was hoping for lots of Leopard Frogs but none were to be found, however, there were many Green Frogs. The wetland surrounding the boardwalk at Tiny Marsh has lots of duckweed growing in the water now and this makes for some lovely images of frogs, as they poke their heads above the water’s surface.

The Green Frog in this post was located rather close to the edge of the boardwalk and very cooperative too. The problem here was that the light was too dark to handhold my Nikon 105mm Micro lens, at the desired aperture of f-16, for a decent image and using my trusty Nikon SB400 Speedlight was ruining this scene as it was creating numerous unpleasant highlights throughout the duckweed. The solution to photographing this frog was to use my tripod mounted Nikon 80-400mm VR lens, but the minimum focusing distance of this lens is roughly 7 feet and this frog was only about 2 inches in length – how would I do that? Well this is where I have to breakdown and admit that I was forced to make a switch to Canon :) A Canon 500D Close-up lens to be exact. This close-up lens, with 77mm threads, is essentially a double element filter that simply screws onto the front of the lens as any filter would normally do, but it reduces the focusing distance of the lens drastically, allowing the 80-400mm VR lens to be used as a macro lens whenever I need it to, at a fraction of the weight and price of carrying an additional lens into the field. A polarizing filter was also attached to the front of the Canon close-up filter to reduce much of the undesirable glare from the duckweed.

Alternately, as I sit here writing this blog post I am charging the battery for my newly purchased Nikon D800. If I had this camera in my hands last week when I visited Tiny Marsh, I most likely would have cranked up the ISO and fired away with the handheld 105mm micro lens. Ain’t technology grand :)

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While they may not be everybody’s cup of tea, Six-spotted Fishing Spiders are often found in frog ponds and they are very easy, and they are usually rather co-operative photographic subjects. While out in the ponds it is hard to pass up such interesting and cool looking critters that are easily photographed. In fact, last year several of the spider images I captured while photographing frogs and toads were featured in a children’s nature magazine, and one of the images was used as a double-page spread. Such ‘b-roll’ images also help to tell the story of life in the frog pond. A simple set-up of camera, macro lens, and a small flash on a user friendly flash bracket such as the Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket to hold the flash out over the lens will do the trick every time. To read more about this set-up please refer to my earlier blog post regarding this set-up here.

Most often Six-spotted Fishing Spiders will rest on the water’s surface with their back legs hanging onto a cattail leaf or other vegetation on the surface of the pond. If my approach is to quick they will usually follow a cattail stem down to the bottom of the pond and rise to the surface again once they think the danger has passed. These very interesting spiders will frequently prey upon tadpoles and aquatic insect larvae. The first image below you will notice a small tadpole clinging to the cattail leaf beside one of the spider’s legs. In the above image note how the spider was positioned within the frame, so that the front legs are extending out into the two lower corners of the image to help create some symmetrical balance for the spider’s body being centered within the composition. Below you will see three additional images of Six-spotted Spiders including one carrying an egg sac.

Please click on each image to view a much larger version of these very interesting arachnids.

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Regardless of whether I am heading out for a day of photography or just driving down to the local grocery store, my camera is most often sitting on the front passenger seat of the car, ready for anything I may see along the way. I seldom leave home without it. My home is about 2 miles down a country road, just off of a small two-lane highway, and often as I drive out to the highway I will see Turkey Vultures, Bobolinks, Horned Larks, and numerous other bird species sitting on the weathered, cedar fence posts that line the farm fields. Many times the birds fly off when the car comes to a stop, but sometimes I get lucky and they sit still for a few frames. I have often seen Upland Sandpipers foraging among the grasses of the hay fields while I take my dog for her daily walk, but I have never really tried to photograph them as they have always seemed rather skittish.

On Friday I packed my camera in the car as I drove my daughter to her final practice for her dance recital on Saturday. As we made our way home from the dance practice, I noticed this Upland Sandpiper sitting on a fence post. I continued to drive along the road a little further so that when I turned the car around I would not disturb the bird. Once I turned the car around I also rolled down the windows in preparation for pulling up alongside of the bird. Once I had the car in position, I shut off the engine and was able to fire off about 30 frames before the bird flew out across the neighboring field. Using my car as a blind and never leaving home without my camera were the two key factors in these successful photographs of a beautiful bird. I selected an aperture of f-8 on my Nikon 80-400mm VR lens to render the bird and the fence post as sharp as possible but keep the poster-like background of out of focus field grasses.

Please remember to click on the images to see a much larger version.

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As most folks know, who follow my blog, I live in a rural region of south-central Ontario. On over-cast days, when time permits I enjoy driving around the ‘neighborhood’ in search of various farming-type images, particularly cattle and horses. Images of cattle and horses often look more pleasing in the even light of an over-cast day. I have a large collection of un-edited horse photos to optimize. Since it has been raining most of this weekend I chose to process a few horse images to share with you on this day. Horse often make me think of the Old West, when folks didn’t depend on gasoline to travel, and they remind me of old Clint Eastwood movies too :) Hope you enjoy this collection of recently processed horse photos.

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High Falls on the Muskoka River

Please note: starting with this post you can now ‘click-to-enlarge’ on each of the images in this post and all future posts to see much larger versions of the images. I hope you enjoy this updated feature of the blog and look forward to hearing your thoughts on the new views. :)

High Falls has long been one of most impressive waterfalls in Ontario’s Muskoka Region. It is easily located near the town of Bracebridge. A few years ago the town of Bracebridge began diverting much of the flow, especially in winter, for hydro-electric power, but this has by no means lessened the photographic possibilities that abound at this location. In my opinion it has actually created more photographic opportunities, especially the intimate variety of landscapes. The reduced flow has also exposed some wonderful rock formations for intimate views of the remaining cascades that can be found here, however, one must keep in  mind that the exposed rocks have been smoothed over time, by the constant flow of water and can be quite slippery and even dangerous if folks do not proceed with caution. On Friday, I drove an hour and a half north of my home, in the wee hours of the morning, to arrive at first light, and hopefully well ahead of the predicted rainfall. I was able to get in about three hours of photography before the rains arrived and forced me to pack up and head for home.

When I arrive on site, setting-up my tripod is often one of the last steps I take when photographing a scene. First and foremost I will walk around, camera in hand, and frame possible image opportunities. Once I find the compositions I want I will then position my tripod to capture the scenes I have chosen. Each of the images in this post was photograph using a Nikon polarizing filter on my 12-24mm lens. This polarizing filter is designed to eliminate vignetting on wide angle lenses such as the 12-24mm lens. The polarizing filter is also the absolute, must-have filter for landscape photography.

New to this post is the ‘click-to-enlarge’ feature for each of the images posted. Please click on each image to view the larger version and take a moment to let me know which is your favorite and why.

High Falls on the Muskoka River

High Falls on the Muskoka River

High Falls on the Muskoka River

Little High Falls on Pott’s Creek

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