Archive for November, 2010


I have been rather busy the last few days, but today I was able to get out to my photography blind in the backyard for some winter songbird imagery. The blind is a cozy place to photograph songbirds around my home. It is well insulated and equipped with a small heater for the coldest of days. A small feeding station and the ability to change perches as needed makes it relatively easy to capture these various songbirds in “different” situations. I also make a point of offering various foods for these birds, so that their diet is varied and I usually don’t stock it every day, thus forcing the birds to forage for food. The day before I plan to shoot I can fill up the feeder and the birds are there for me when I am ready.

I find songbird photography to be particularly challenging. Most of these birds are in and out of the feeding station quickly. Today, I shot about 225 images, after editing out the obvious ones, worthy of the recycle bin, I deleted images that for one reason or another didn’t work for me. In the end, I will be keeping about 10 images, the rest will be deleted.

The Black-capped Chickadee above and the Blue Jay below are both from today’s shoot and the final Chickadee image below is from a previous day. This little fella is showing signs of aggression towards another chickadee that landed at the feeding station. I love catching cool blur shots of birds at my feeding station.

Hope you like the images.

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There always seems to be a lull in subjects to photograph in the time between autumn and winter…..or is there? I personally love this time of the year. This is when I await the frosty mornings, grab my macro lens and go photograph pre-winter details. Often there is very little colour remaining, but I love looking for patterns in the monochromatic leaves, that lay on the ground, coated in frost crystals. In my opinion, this time of year just can’t be beat for photographic opportunities. Hope you enjoy this selection of images.

Okay, this last one, below, isn’t monochromatic, but I love the ice crystals on the green aspen leaf.

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This past summer, while returning from my remote boreal forest trip, in Ontario’s far north, I stopped to spend an evening in Halfway Lake Provincial Park. As it turned out, sunset was rather disappointing and the evening was becoming rather breezy with the clouds moving somewhat swiftly across the sky. I walked back to my campsite for the evening on the shore of Raven Lake and noticed these trees and their reflection in the lake and thought they would be a good subject for a silhouette. To add a twist and create some interest to the image I decided to capture the passage of time by adding a 3 stop neutral density filter and shoot a series of exposures at several minutes until the flowing clouds looked just right.

While returning from the same trip I shot the image below on the shores of Georgian Bay in Parry Sound, Ontario. I took notice of these rocks out in the water while I sat eating supper along the shoreline. Again, I thought this would make another interesting subject for capturing time. A 3 stop neutral density filter and polarizer were used to create a 30 second exposure that would give the waves a smooth, mist-like quallity. Thus simplifying the composition and drawing attention to the rocks.

Hope you like the photos.

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Here is one of my favorites from the archives. I photographed this waterlily about two years ago in a wetland that is about a five minute paddle from my family’s cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. I handheld the camera over the side of the canoe, using my hotshoe bubble level ensure that all was square with the world. I shot many frames to get this composition as I was unable to look through the view finder without tipping the canoe. Live view, available on many of today’s cameras would certainly simplify this shot today. For an added twist to this favorite of mine, I converted it to black and white using Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro.

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With all the leaves finally off the trees around my rural home, I can’t wait to start shooting “tree skeletons” at sunrise and at sunset again. I think they make wonderful subjects and no two trees ever look the same. This tree was photographed one winter morning a few years ago, across the road from Tiny Marsh near Elmvale, Ontario. I was on my way to Tiny Marsh for some winter sunrise imagery and was about to pull into the parking lot at the visitor’s center when I noticed this beautiful pre-dawn light and fog that lay on the agricultural fields. Without hesitation, I abandoned my initial plans and took advantage of this great light while it lasted.

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One of my favorite photo destinations is Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area near Elmvale, Ontario. It is designated as an “Important Birding Area” (IBA) in Canada and is managed by Ducks Unlimited Canada. Many years ago I decided that this would become one location I would use for a personal project- shooting in-depth coverage. Being located only 40 minutes from my home makes it a relatively easy destination in all seasons regardless of weather conditions. I leave my house at such a time that I can be on location well before sunrise. Arriving for work early you might say. After capturing a few sunrise images I begin to work on my wildlife photography. Tiny Marsh has a large breeding population of Canada Geese and Black Terns as well as a few breeding pairs of Trumpeter Swans. This, however, only scratches the surface as to the wildlife inhabiting this wetland. This project will be ongoing for me. Tiny Marsh, despite its name, is very large in size. It gets its name from Tiny Township, the township in which it is located.

Shooting in-depth coverage will help you tell the story of a location should you wish to publish an article on a given subject and also improve your odds at image sales to publications should they run a feature on such a place too. Below are a few of my favorite images from time spent at Tiny Marsh throughout the years. I hope you enjoy them.

The above image was captured one autumn while waiting for sunrise. As it turned out, sunrise on this day was uneventful, however, I learned a valuable lesson on this day – always look behind you when shooting sunrise images.

Above is another reason to look behind yourself when shooting early in the morning. Most wildlife is most active at dawn and dusk and you never know who might be watching you. On this day, I heard grunting noises behind myself and turned around to see this curious otter family checking the new guy out.

The male Canada Goose above was less than impressed with my presence on the pathway where he and his mate decided to build their nest. Here he stands with his “hackles” raised as he threatens me should I move any closer.

A few years ago the marsh was drained by Ducks Unlimited Canada to improve the wetland and slowly water was re-introduced. This controlled drainage was to mimic what occurs naturally to wetlands. This image helps to tell the story of how Tiny Marsh was originally drained for agricultural purposes many, many years ago. Those attempts failed and eventually it was restored to its natural state.

A full moon setting at dawn in early spring.

One of the many beautiful Trumpeter swans that inhabit the wetlands at Tiny Marsh

One of my favorite seasons for photography is winter. Here a strong wind the day before had blown away enough snow to reveal the icy surface of the wetland, creating some foreground interest to this image. The dried plant life protruding from the ice and snow is wild rice.

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I have been busy over the last few days processing image files, while recovering from a rotten head and chest cold, from my fall colour photo shoot through eastern Ontario. One location I have always wanted to explore, but just never found the time to get there, is Bon Echo Provincial Park located near the village of Cloyne, Ontario. On this recent excursion, I found myself nearby about an hour before sunset so I decided to spend the night at this park. One of the parks most notable features is the 1.5 km, 100 m cliff that rises out of Mazinaw Lake. There are numerous ancient pictographs painted on this rock – one of the largest concentrations in North America. I look forward to visiting this park again when I can devote some time to photographing some of these pictographs.

All photos in this post of from sections of this most impressive cliff.

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