Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Migrating Waterfowl

Gadwall Drake Wing Flap, Humber Bay, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm VR lens
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/640 sec

I have been spending some of time over the last week traveling between the cities of Barrie and Toronto, Ontario to photograph migrating waterfowl. Kempenfelt Bay on Lake Simcoe in Barrie had a mix of Common Loons and Pacific Loons in full winter plumage, while Humber Bay on Lake Ontario in Toronto was productive for Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, and Mallards. An alternate location to Humber Bay and located nearby is High Park, it turned out be productive for Wood Ducks, which are still hanging around due to our warmer than usual start to winter. This slow start to winter has also led to some late season fall colour that adds a lovely pop of colour to some situations as it reflects in the water. Here are a few of the images I created last week during these outings.

Mallard Drake, High Park, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/60 sec

 

Mallard Hen quacking, Humber Bay, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens
ISO 500, f8 @ 1640 sec

 

Common Loon (winter plumage), Kempenfelt Bay, Barrie, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens
ISO 800, f8 @ 1160 sec

 

Pacific Loon (winter plumage), Kemenfelt Bay, Barrie, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens
ISO 500, f8 1/250 sec

 

Northern Shoveler Drake, Humber Bay, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens
ISO 500, f8 1/2500 sec

 

Northern Shoveler Hen, Humber Bay, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens
ISO 500, f8 @1/500 sec

 

Wood Duck Drake, High Park, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/500 sec

 

Wood Duck Drake Wing Flap, High Park, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500. Nikon 200-500mm VR lens
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/1000 sec

 

Advertisements

On Tuesday November 14 at 7:30 p.m. I will be presenting my Ontario & Beyond: Wild Places Wild Faces program for the Photo Arts Club of Newmarket Camera Club at the Newmarket Communtiy Centre and Lions Hall located at 200 Doug Duncan Drive in Newmarket, Ontario. Non-members are welcome to attend the presentation for an entry fee of $5 per person. The presentation features tons of Ontario related imagery and info for those looking for new places to explore within our province as well as destinations that are further afield such as Cayman Brac and the Amazon Rainforest.

Hope to see you there 🙂

Yesterday I held the first Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop – Rusty Old Wrecks. We had beautiful over-cast conditions during the entire workshop and the forecasted rain held off for much of the day. There were six participants, eager to create images of these old dilapidated gems. I am looking forward to sharing the participant photos with you soon. I will be announcing a winter installment of this workshop as part of the Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop series, as well as a host of other awesome locations where folks can hone their photographic techniques and vision under the instruction of yours truly. Today’s post features some of the imagery that I created during the event as a way of showing the participant various compositional options for the enormous number of wrecks at the auto yard.

When I process my image files of the rusty old wrecks I often like to apply some Nik Detail Extractor, Nik Tonal Contrast, or Topaz Labs Clarity to enhance the grunginess of the rusted metal. Sometimes I add a touch of all three photoshop plug-ins to really grunge it up!

After applying a touch of grunge to the image files the only other step that I perform to optimize the photos is a simple “S” curve to pump up the level of contrast within the scene. The image directly above was a new find for me and I have created several Creative Edit options that I will share with you in a future blog post. Directly below is my favourite wreck at the auto yard. I just love the blues mixed in the the pinkish reds and the browns of the autumn grasses and weeds.

 

Ameerega trivittata, Chazuta, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Perhaps the biggest highlight of my recent trip the Cordillera Escalera region of Peru was having the opportunity to photograph several species of dart frogs within their natural habitat. Since dart frogs are a diurnal species, searching for them is made somewhat easier as we are doing so during the light of day. Often we encountered the frogs among the dry leaf litter on the jungle floor where their brilliant coloration really stands out. My go to set-up for photographing the dart frogs in the wild is the same set-up that I use here at home, in the wild or in my Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Workshops – a Nikon D500 with Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens and a Nikon SB400 Speedlight mounted on a Wimberlet F-2 Macro Bracket (the best macro bracket available today). To be more specific regarding my macro lens of choice, I use the Nikkor 105mm f2.8 D Micro Lens originally released in 1990 and now discontinued, but it is still a fantastic lens that focuses down to lifesize which is perfect for these tiny frogs.

The above photo of the Ameerega trivittata represents the largest dart frog we encountered, with this species being approximately one inch in length. The remainder of species encountered were not much larger than a thumbnail. Since the dart frogs are most often encountered on the jungle floor creating pleasing images of them means you to must get down to their level. Lying down among the leaf litter will, 99% of the time, yield the best perspective from which to photograph them.

Please note that I prefer to caption my dart frogs according to their scientific name. Not only is the most accurate means of identification, it is also less confusing as many of these dart frog species can have several common names.

 

Ameerega cainarachi, Chazuta, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

The below Ranitomeya imitator is actually a frog that mimics the coloration of dart frogs. These tiny frogs are completely harmless and incapable of producing toxins, yet their brilliant colors warn potential predators that perhaps they should stay away.

 

Ranitomeya imitator, Chazuta, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

My favorite encounter was with the Ranitomeya summersi we discovered during a grueling 8 kilometer hike through a large, multiple hectare reserve belonging to Understory Enterprises. Without the expertise of Understory Enterprises these dart frog images would have been very difficult to capture.

 

Ranitomeya summersi, Chazuta, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

The below images of Ameerega femorlais and Cryptophyllobates azuriventris were located on a short excursion in the jungle near Pongo, Peru. The Cryptophyllobates azuriventris was a particularly nice find as my guide indicated it was the first time he had found an adult specimen here in about 12 years.

 

Ameerega femoralis, Pongo, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Cryptophyllobates azuriventris, Pongo, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

During one of our night excursions along small streams within the Cordillera Escalera to search for tree frogs and insects we encountered several Hyloxalus nexipus sleeping on narrowed leaved plants over-hanging the streams. To create the below image sitting in the stream to gain the low perspective was required.

 

Hyloxalus nexipus, Tarapoto, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

WORKSHOP UPDATE

A quick update on the Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop – Understory Enterprises and yours truly have added a second date on Sunday November 26 in Mississauga, Ontario and there are only two spaces remaining for this event. We do not use wild caught specimens in these workshops, they are all captive bred here in Ontario at the Understory Enterprises breeding facility. These workshops give folks the incredible opportunity to photograph nature’s most colorful animals in a comfortable setting with natural set-ups. Click here for more information and click here to register yourself for this event.

© Barb Marszalek

Today’s post is featuring the imagery of participants from the Lake Traverse Photographic Workshop that was held in September. The caption for each image will indicate which participant captured each of the published photos. I selected the dates for this workshop to coincide with a new moon and hoped that we would have crystal clear skies photographing the starry night sky. We did! We were also blessed with a touch of autumn colour in the surrounding woodlands and the weather conditions prior to our arrival were perfect for getting various mushrooms and fungi to flourish.

In the first three images we see three different takes on how the participants captured the massive satellite dish at the Algonquin Radio Observatory. Barb Marszalek chose to capture the vertical orientation that also included mush of the Milky Way. John Weatherburn went for the horizontal view and also managed to capture much of the Milky Way. Finally in Dave Dennis’ mid-day image of the satellite dish he placed the sun directly behind the dish and went with a somewhat creative edit, which works quite nicely I think.

© John Weatherburn

 

© Dave Dennis

Our mornings were spent on the shore of Lake Traverse photographing sunrise. During September most mornings there is much mist rising from the lake as it cools down for the coming winter. At times there can be too much mist and focusing on details can be a very beneficial option. Workshop assistant extraordinaire Don Johnston alerted the participants as he captured a fabulous detail image of a group of reeds that were very close to shore, while Mandeep Bal created an iconic autumn in Algonquin sunrise by waiting for the sun to rise high enough in the sky to break through the persistent mist.

© Don Johnston

 

© Mandeep Bal

As mentioned earlier the conditions were ripe for mushrooms and fungi in the forest and Nijole Mockevicius found a beautiful coral fungi cluster on the forest floor and processed the image file beautifully to keep the natural whites of the fungi as they appeared.

© Nijole Mockevicius

Dave Dennis brought along some mini-people as props to create some fun images during the workshop and I just love how his hikier being chased by the bear turned out. Barb Marszalek brought some mini-wildlife subjects with her and loaned the bear to Dave. These look like so much fun I may have to buy myself some 🙂

© Dave Dennis

A very short walk from our base camp at the Algonquin Radio Observatory is the Petawawa River. I had hoped that I could guide folks upriver to the waterfall, but high water levels on the river this year made that an unsafe trek, so we photographed from the single lane bridge that gives a clear view of the rapids on the river. Barb Marszalek created the autumn scene of the Petawawa River below and framed the composition very nicely. In my honest opinion I think it belongs in a calendar 🙂

© Barb Marszalek

Mid-day cloud cover provided perfect conditions for the participants to work on intimate, autumn forest scenes. A small cluster of Aspen trees and Bracken Fern provided the ideal subject matter for such imagery. Don Johnston captured a lovely colour version and do note that Don was very careful not to let the aspen trunks merge with each other. John Weatherburn created an image very similar to that of Don Johnston, but John went for a B&W conversion that I find to be very effective as well.

© Don Johnston

 

© John Weatherburn

Mandeep Bal also chose to go with a B&W conversion of his minimalistic, but very effective capture of a small island in Lake Traverse. Dorion Liebgott photographed another iconic scene from Lake Traverse – fisherman among the rising mist. Dorion’s image illustrates just how thick the rising mist can get at times as you cannot see any of the land surrounding these fisherman. Finally Mark Kannegiesser created a wonderful and fun image of workshop participant Bruce Monick as he went out to explore the lake in a canoe during a break in the workshop activities. I must say Algonquin and canoes go so well together!

© Mandeep Bal

 

© Dorion Liebgott

 

© Mark Kannegiesser

Stay tuned for the upcoming announcement in early November for Lake Traverse 2018. Any folks that are interested in attending the 2018 Lake Traverse Photographic Workshop can notify me by clicking here to be added to the contact list.

 

 

 

Today I am announcing Teaching Moment Photographic Workshops with the first installment being Rusty Old Wrecks. These workshops will be a series of inexpensive, half day sessions that also give back! Just how will they give back – for every 5 Teaching Moment Photographic Workshops that you attend you will receive a $50 (Canadian currency) voucher redeemable on any future workshop that you attend.

Join me on Saturday November 4, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for the Rusty Old Wrecks Photographic Workshop being held at McClean’s Auto Wreckers, near Milton, Ontario. Whether you are relatively new to photography or looking for instruction to fine tune your craft this 4 hour workshop provides excellent subject matter with acres of old dilapidated cars and trucks to chose from. You will learn everything from the basics of good composition, using filters to your advantage, and the benefits of HDR photography. The cost of this workshop is $65 plus HST and must be paid in advance of the workshop date. To reserve your spot and to arrange payment please contacting me by clicking here. The maximum number of participants for this event is 10.

This workshop will run rain, shine, or snow.

Stay tuned for more Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop announcements soon.

Brooks Falls, Almaguin Highlands, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 200
f16 @ 0.5 sec

On Friday October the 13th I awoke at 5:00 a.m. to commence driving into Ontario’s Almaguin Highlands situated just north of the town of Huntsville. I was hoping for stunning autumn colour along the Magnetawan River at Brooks Falls, however, that was not to be as there was already some significant leaf fall in the area. Fall colour in Ontario has been a bit odd this year with some areas having stunning colour while other parts of seen dull colours, and some locales have even seen leaf fall without much colour change at all. Perhaps this has to do with our overly wet, cool summer. Nonetheless, I arrived at Brooks Falls and was pleased to see that the river was full and ragging.

My intention for this day’s outing was to explore several waterfalls with the Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero Distortion Lens. When using such an extreme wide angle lens getting the camera into the right position is very critical to success of the image. Strong foreground subjects are a must to grab the viewer’s attention. Often my chosen perspective for each image was not much more than about 12 inches from the rushing water, which added complications in having to deal with water spray and droplets of water hitting the front element of the lens. Before each frame that was captured I would give the lens a wipe with a micro fiber cleaning cloth. Patience and perseverance did result in several frames without water droplets being present.

When I had finished photographing Brooks Falls I ventured south to the Skeleton River in Rosseau, Ontario to a couple of waterfalls that I was certain would still have some nice colour due to the sugar maple trees that line the river banks. Below are the images created at both Skeleton Falls, and Hatchery Falls. Skeleton Falls is a little known waterfall that is accessed by hiking down a very step grade within the forest, while the more popular Hatchery Falls is accessed by a well worn foot path through easy terrain.

Skeleton Falls, Rosseau, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 0.6 sec

What is my most important piece of gear for photographing waterfall imagery? Hip waders. More often than not the best perspective to photograph many waterfalls is from within the river itself. River banks tend be messy environments with distracting elements such as twigs/branches intruding into the scene. By photographing from within the river you can often eliminate or at the very least reduce these distracting elements impact on the scene.

 

Hatchery Falls, Rosseau, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 0.3 sec

 

Hatchery Falls, Rosseau, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 1/4 sec

%d bloggers like this: