Archive for December, 2012

Boreal Chickadee_4256


I have been preparing my photo blind and bird feeders for another season of winter songbird photography and today I finally had a chance to go out and sit in the blind for a couple of hours to see what I might be able to capture. I was quite surprised to see this different looking chickadee land on one of my perches. It is not uncommon to have a great number of Black-capped Chickadees at my feeders throughout the day, but I have never seen one quite like this. Upon referring to my field guides I believe it may be a Boreal Chickadee.

During the course of last winter I had a lone, female red-bellied Woodpecker visiting my suet set-up and thought that this was most likely due to the warmer than usual winter we had last year. However, today I was pleased to she that she has returned and made a couple of lovely poses for me, which can be seen below.

Please remember to click on the photos to see the larger version.

Red-bellied Woodpecker_4234

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker_4231

Red-bellied Woodpecker

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Season’s Greetings

Winter sugar maple trees 7123


At this time of year I would like to extend a special thank-you to all who continue to show their support for my imagery here at the blog and to all those who have recently subscribed as well. At this time of year as we travel about to visit with friends and loved ones may all your travels be safe.

Wishing you all the very best for the holidays and the year ahead!



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Tamrac Expedition 8x

Tamrac Expedition 8x Photo / Laptop Backpack

I tend to shy away from using backpacks to carry my photo gear into the field due to problems with my lower back. With my persistent back trouble I often prefer to go with a lighter type of carrying system such as the Tamrac Pro Digital Zoom 10 and the Modular Accessory System (M.A.S.). However, there are times when carrying a backpack into the field just makes more sense. On longer forays into the wilderness I like to have a good selection of gear with me so that I am prepared for pretty much anything I may find along the way. There is nothing worse than encountering that once in a lifetime opportunity and not having the gear at hand to get the job done.

For several years my standard photo backpack was a Lowepro Photo Trekker. This pack served me well until one day while photographing at the Torrance Barrens near Gravenhurst, Ontario when I lifted the pack and the zippered failed sending all my gear crashing onto the granite bedrock at this location. I contacted Lowepro about the failure of the zipper and they immediately replaced my Photo Trekker with a more durable Pro Trekker AW II. This is a great pack with lots of storage capabilities, but I disliked carrying it on long hikes as it seemed heavy and I found my shoulders bothered me by the end of the day.

Since becoming sponsored by Tamrac Canada  and Gentec International, the distributor of Tamrac products in Canada, I have had the opportunity to use the Tamrac Expedition 8x Photo / Laptop Backpack. I can honestly say that I love the pack. It is very comfortable to wear on extended hikes and offers a great deal of storage capabilities for camera gear and other miscellaneous items that you may wish to carry into the field. One of the reasons I find this pack so comfortable is right from the get go this pack is much lighter than my Lowepro Pro Trekker AW II. I did not realize this until I picked up the old Lowepro pack the other day and thought that it seemed very heavy, even though the pack was empty. I decided to weigh the bags when they were empty and could not believe that the Tamrac Expedition 8x Photo / Laptop Backpack only weighed a touch over 7lbs. while the Lowepro Pro Trekker was weighing in at a hefty 11.5 pounds. Wow, a 5lb. plus difference when empty. That alone is a huge relief while heading down the trail with your assortment of camera gear.

Aside from carrying the pack on longer hikes where I want to have my full compliment of camera gear and accessories at the ready, I also prefer to use backpacks during winter excursions and situations where I may be working from the car. I can easily lay the pack in the back of my Subaru and have easy access to all my gear as I need to. And during winter excursions I simply find it easier to work from backpacks as I can lay them on the snow and access my gear while using the main flap to shield my gear when changing lenses or attaching filters, especially if it may be snowing at the time.

What exactly does the Tamrac Expedition 8x feature:

  • two winged accessory pockets featuring Tamrac’s patented Memory and Battery Management System.
  • the inside of the front flap contains three, zippered, Windowpane Mesh pockets for various accessories.
  • adjustable foam padded dividers to custom fit all of your photo gear.
  • LockDown Rain Flap on the main zippered to help protect your gear during inclement weather.
  • BioCurve Dual Pivoting waist belt for greater comfort.
  • Dual-Foam Comfort Pads for your back with Air Flow Channels to help keep your back cool and dry.
  • Quick Clip Tripod attachment system, although I never carry my tripod on the pack I will often use the tripod foot pocket to carry additional items.
  • a foam padded front pocket to carry 17 inch laptops – I will often use this pocket to carry my home-made reflectors and diffusers.
  • fully compatible with Tamrac’s Modular Accessory System (M.A.S.) and the Strap Accessory System ( S.A.S.) allowing you to further customize the pack to your individual needs.
  • easily carries two or three camera bodies and a complete assortment of lenses.

In the two additional images of the Tamrac Expedition 8x Photo / Laptop Backpack below you will see the thick padding that rests against your back while carrying the pack and the air-flow channels. You will also note the weather resistant zippers that protect items stored in the laptop pocket as well as items stashed in the two zippered wing pockets.

Tamrac Expedition 8x (1)

Tamrac Expedition 8x – the rearview (check out all the padding)

Tamrac Expedition 8x (3)

Tamrac Expedition 8x – weather resistant zippers

I can honestly say that the Tamrac Expedition 8x Photo / Laptop Backpack is a joy to carry in the field, even with my persistent back problems, and it offers me all the storage possibilities that I need when I am about to hit the trail for an extended day of photographing our natural world.  It is absolutely the most comfortable, well thought-out and designed backpack camera bag I have ever used to carry my assortment of photography gear. If by chance you are sitting on the fence about whether to purchase a backpack camera bag or are looking for a replacement bag I would seriously consider the Tamrac Expedition 8x Photo / Laptop Backpack. It is a lightweight pack made of extremely durable fabrics, designed to protect your camera gear from the elements. If you are worried that the Expedition 8x may be too much pack for you, please view the complete assortment of Expedition series of backpacks available here.

Please remember to click on each of the photos to view a larger sharper version.

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Clouds and God beams_2202

Crepuscular Rays

Been swamped lately not too mention switching my computer over to a much more powerful system which has not been going well at all. I decided to upgrade to Photoshop CS6 but need to contact Adobe due to verification failure warnings. You gotta love it when you download legitimate software, yet cannot install it, because after the license key is verified Adobe warns that the software “appears to be counterfeit.”  After trying to resolve this issue through the ‘chat’ feature of Adobe’s customer support center I have been informed that I need to call Adobe on Monday to fix this issue.

In the meantime, I thought I would share these images that were captured during the summer and processed just prior to my photoshop issues.

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

Autumn Sugar Maple Leaf_4067-Fractalius

A Fractalius Rendering of Autumn Sugar Maple Leaf on Interuppted Fern

Pattern in Granite_2109

Black & White  Swirling Pattern in Granite

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Snapping Turtle_1289


One from back in the summer during a visit to the Metropolitan Toronto Zoo. I see Common Snapping Turtles frequently during my travels and equally so when snorkeling in Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario but they never put on a show like this. This fella was not too impressed with me standing beside his large aquarium, and put on this threatening display to scare me off as he swam towards me. I was using my Nikon D800 with a 105 macro lens and a rubber lens hood attached to avoid scratching the aquarium’s glass. I then positioned the lens up to and parallel to the glass and was able to fire off two frames before the turtle closed its mouth.

While the turtle’s one eye is slightly out-of-focus I still think the gaping mouth makes this image work. What do you think? Do remember to click on the image to see the much larger version.

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