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Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 200 f16 @ 1/100

Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 200 – f16 @ 1/100

On the afternoon of August 22nd as a storm was approaching I ventured over to the North Shore Rugged Fitness Trail in Parry Sound, Ontario with the fisheye lens. This was my first visit to this section of the Georgian Bay shoreline and it will most certainly not be my last. In fact, I am planning to organize some landscape workshops at this location – stay tuned for more info on this. Georgian Bay is noted for its spectacular and photogenic scenery – a photographer’s paradise. The rugged and rocky terrain  has been carved by glaciers and battered by waves, which have led to some very cool rock formations and patterns. During my visit I had a blast using my new Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye lens for an up-close and personal look at some of the splendid vistas I encountered. For the image above I had to precariously position myself and my feet to avoid seeing my toes on the bottom edge. Below are a few additional images, all created with the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye lens.

Each of the images in this post received a touch of Nik’s Detail Extractor Tool from Color Efex 4. I will often use this tool on photographs that do have a significant amount of rugged and rocky terrain in them as it helps give the rock a nice boost in details.

Please remember to click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper version. And please take a moment to let me know which is your favorite.

Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens. ISO 200 f16 @ 1/125

Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens. ISO 200 – f16 @ 1/125

Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 100 f16 @ 1/100

Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 100 – f16 @ 1/100

As you can see in the above image, the sun came out and created a somewhat harsher than desired light on the scene. I did however feel that it was not all that bad, but that it would also be perfect for creating a black and white conversion with Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

Georgian Bay Shoreline Parry Sound, Ontraio. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens. ISO 100 f16 @ 1/100

Georgian Bay Shoreline Parry Sound, Ontraio. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens. ISO 100 – f16 @ 1/100

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Hatchery Falls, Muskoka, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma f2.8 EX DG 15mm Fisheye Lens. ISO 50 f22 @ 1/5 sec.

Hatchery Falls, Muskoka, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma f2.8 EX DG 15mm Fisheye Lens. ISO 50 f22 @ 1/5 sec.

 

I have just returned from a week away in the Parry Sound & Muskoka regions of Ontario where I had a blast using my newest and favorite photographic tool; the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens. On of my chosen destinations was Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River near the town of Rosseau. I had previously visited this waterfall during the winter months and wanted to return this summer and for the soon to come autumn scenes. I created several various compositions on this recent visit which I will share with you shortly. Do note that when the fisheye lens is positioned as square as possible with the world there is minimal distortion of the scene. My chosen perspective for this scene was determined after carefully studying the flow of the river and then ensuring that I captured the interesting detail as the river exits the composition.

Please remember to click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

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Sigma Fisheye_1952

The newest member of my tool kit arrived yesterday and will find a permanent home in my gear bag and will likely spend a lot of time affixed to my Nikon D800. For those folks who have been following along here for a while and for those who may have recently subscribed Gentec International the Canadian Distributor for Sigma lenses was kind enough to loan me the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens for a frog project I am working on and for my trip to Lake Superior Provincial Park in September 2013. You can read my review of this amazing lens here. Yours truly was also featured on the Sigma promotional card for this lens which can be seen here. In short, I have been so impressed with this lens and its versatility, not too mention how it expands one’s creativity, that I purchased this lens with my own hard earned money. I did not hesitate to get out today for a couple of quick images of a lovely field of rudbeckia flowers while I was in the town of Orillia visiting with my parents this afternoon.

Rudbeckia Flowers in Field, Orillia, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens, ISO 400, f11 @ 1/640

Rudbeckia Flowers in Field, Orillia, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens, ISO 400, f11 @ 1/640

 

Something Cool About Flowers

For those folks who love to photograph flowers and who like to create artistic renditions of their flower photos as well, be sure to check out the latest eBook by Denise Ippolito and Arthur MorrisThe Art of Flower Photography.” Based on my initial browse through of the eBook’s pages, I have to say WOW!!!

I will be away for the next week but promise to do a full review upon my return. Stay tuned for the complete review.

 

Please do click on the images above to see the larger, sharper versions of each.

 

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Aquarium Set-up_1173

Above you will see the temporary set-up that I used to create the Water Tiger images in the previous post. Click on the image to see the larger version and you will see that I have used a pair of clothes pegs to hold a small piece of cardboard that has been painted with greens and browns to try and get a pond water look onto the back wall of the aquarium. In the image above I used water-logged leaves as the substrate, which did work not bad but they do hold a lot of debris that can cloud the water. On my second attempt at using this set-up I opted for a sandy substrate that worked much better. By setting the small 2.5 gallon aquarium on the bucket photography was made so much easier and the dip net was essential for catching the various critters that I was able to photograph.

In the images below you will notice that some have relatively clean looking water. I achieved this by cloning out some of the larger particles that were in the water and also with a quick and dirty method discovered by reducing the structure and contrast sliders in Nik Viveza 2 to create the ‘clean’ look. Do note that the images with the sandy bottom yield a cleaner look. The debris in the frog photo (you shoulda known I could not resist the temptation for over-under froggie photos :) ), which is a result of the leafy substrate is acceptable to me as frog ponds are seldom crystal clear anyway.

Here are a few of the recent edits from the aquatic pond life set-up. Please let me know which is your favorite and don’t forget to click on each to see the larger, sharper versions.

Salamander Larva. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, ISO 50, f14 @

Salamander Larva. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400, ISO 100, f14 @ 1/60

Gray Tree Frog Tadpole. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, ISO 400, f20 @ 1/60

Gray Tree Frog Tadpole. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400,  ISO 400, f20 @ 1/60

Predaceous Diving Beetle Larva Breathing at Surface. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60

Predaceous Diving Beetle Larva Breathing at Surface. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400, ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60

Green Frog. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, ISO 500, f16 @ 1/125

Green Frog. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, ISO 500, f16 @ 1/125

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Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400                                                   ISO 400, f16 @ 1/100 sec.

Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400, ISO 400, f16 @ 1/100

Water Tiger is the common name given to the larval stage of the Predacious Diving Beetle. During my forays out to the frog ponds I often encounter bizarre, alien-like waterbugs, so recently I decided to use a small 2.5 gallon aquarium and and photograph a few of these interesting critters. The Water Tiger has a voracious appetite and will often devour tadpoles, salamander larva, other aquatic bugs, and small fish. The large sickle-like jaws allow them to over-power prey larger than themselves. My aquarium set-up was quite productive allowing me to successfully create numerous images of various subjects. I will share in a future post soon exactly what worked best for the set-up and how I processed each of the image files.

Please do click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions.

Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400, ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60

Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400, ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60

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The following is a series of images I created over a 5 minute time frame of a Common Loon on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. It was early morning as I paddled my canoe along shoreline of a quiet bay.  A large Snapping Turtle surfaced beside the canoe to check me out before slowly retreating back to the bottom of the lake. Next I saw a Common Loon was nearby, but I was not in a good position to photograph it, so I slowly paddled my way around for a better shooting angle. The loon had dove, but resurfaced nearby with a large rock bass in its bill. Over the next 5 minutes the loon appeared to play with the fish before swallowing it. I created countless images of the action and below are my favorite ones from the series.

Please do remember to click on each to see the larger, sharper version.

Common Loon with Rock Bass

Common Loon with Rock Bass

Common Loon Diving for Rock Bass After Dropping it

Common Loon diving for Rock Bass after dropping it

Common Loon Grabbing Rock Bass

Common Loon grabbing Rock Bass

Common Loon with a Firm Grasp of the Rock Bass

Common Loon with a firm grasp of the Rock Bass

Common Loon with the now dead Rock Bass

Common Loon with the now dead Rock Bass

Common Loon after swallowing the Rock Bass

Common Loon after swallowing the Rock Bass

Common Loon content after a hearty breakfast

Common Loon content after a hearty breakfast

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Bullfrog at Dawn on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Bullfrog at Dawn on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

During my last round of trips to photograph the Bullfrogs on Horseshoe Lake in Ontario’s Parry Sound region I was under close watch by one member of the resident beaver family that resides in the marsh. In fact, the Bullfrogs most often hang out in very close proximity to the active beaver lodge. Each evening as I would arrive at the wetland to photograph the frogs the beaver would swim out of the lodge and feast on the stems of the yellow pond lily leaves while seemingly watching my every move. I did think that the beaver was behaving a little differently than usual. Nonetheless I happily photographed the bullfrogs and was even lucky enough to catch an ambient light image of one of the males with it’s vocal sac inflated, and I love the blurred effect of the water beside the vibrating vocal sac.

Bullfrog_350

Bullfrog Chorusing

I was also able to work on some more of my frog-scapes with my Nikon 18-35mm lens, which quickly became my favorite lens for such imagery. The easiest and most effective way to create frog-scapes is to use a wide-angle lens with the Live View feature that is available on DSLRs today. I like to use a bubble level in the camera’s hot-shoe to ensure all is square with the world as well.

Bullfrog at Dusk on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Bullfrog at Dusk on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

On the week I departed from the cottage on Horseshoe Lake my brother Gregg had shown up to spend a week at the lake. A couple of days later he sent me a text message to inform me to be very careful of the beavers in the marsh. The large male beaver (see image below) charged my brother in the canoe as well as a couple of kids that were also nearby. As it turns out the beaver pups were now old enough to leave the den for under the protective eyes of their parents. Beavers can be very dangerous animals and should not be under-estimated. In May 2013, a Russian fisherman was killed when a beaver attacked him and severed a major artery. When I travel north to the cottage again next week I will need to be very careful of the beavers and be mindful of there whereabouts while I am with the Bullfrog.

Beaver in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Beaver in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Please remember to click on each of the photos to see the larger, sharper version.

 

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