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Archive for January, 2014

Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Capturing pleasing images of songbirds at my backyard bird feeding set-up in a pleasing pose is always a challenge. When I select perches to use I am always mindful of how I will position them during use. This is mostly because I prefer to capture the songbirds that frequent my set-up in such a pose whereby the tail feathers are not merging with the branch. Often the birds arrive on the perch and move about quickly, as a result I find it is best to pre-focus on the perch and when a suitable subject comes in for a landing a will fire off a burst of images. By doing so you are almost certain to capture an image with the tail raised up away from a merging position and you will likely get the head angle in a pleasing position too. One of the hardest birds to photograph at my set-up is the Northern Cardinal…try as I might I cannot get them up onto the perches, but they do frequent the snow covered ground below as they forage for any spilled seeds. Here are a few songbird images from my last sitting in the backyard photo blind a few days ago, as I took a break from my preparations for my upcoming trip to Cayman Brac in the Caribbean Sea. Hope you like the images 🙂

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

Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Black-capped Chickadee in Winter

Black-capped Chickadee in Winter

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter

 

 

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Windswept Snowscape

Windswept Snowscape

Today was a day of wickedly, wild winds, snow and numerous road closures. As the daylight began to fade I could not resist grabbing my Sony RX100 for a troll down the rural road that I live on and play around with a few compositions of windswept snow patterns amid the blowing snow. Above is my favorite image that I captured. Operating the tiny controls on the Sony RX100 is just a tad difficult with gloves on so I had to work quickly with bare hands, tucking them into my jacket pockets to warm up when I had the chance. After about ten minutes my hands were thoroughly frozen and it was time to head back into the house to warm them up.

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

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My Morning Breakfast

My Morning Breakfast

Today’s post will be a little different than most, and I will do my best to not come across sounding like a late night infomercial 🙂

I have been intrigued by the nutritional benefits that I have heard about from folks that are using the Nutri-Bullet. As a result, in December I decided that I would ask Santa Claus if he might bring me a Nutri-Bullet for Christmas. When Christmas arrived sure enough he had left one for me beneath the tree. A few days later I made a trip to the local grocery store to stock up on some fresh fruits and vegetables and began making my green smoothie for breakfast each morning. After having one of these smoothies each morning for the last three weeks I can honestly say that there are indeed incredible benefits to them. The Nutri-Bullet blends all the ingredients down so that the digestive system can easily extract the maximum amount of nutrients present within the concoction. In three short weeks I have dropped roughly 12 pounds, have noticeable increased energy, and have completely eliminated the need for my prescription medication for acid reflux. I have even been able to cut back on the amount of medication that I have to take for my asthma. I now honestly believe that if the body is getting the proper amount of nutrients that it requires then there will be a reduced dependency for such prescription medications, as the body will heal itself once it is receiving enough nutrients, and this is a simple and great tasting way to do so.

I doubt that I will be able to get back down to my high school weight :), but I do think that there are significant health benefits to the green smoothie. Here is what I am adding to mine that is pictured above: two handfuls of spinach, pear, apple, banana, pineapple, flax seeds, and almonds. Once the ingredients are added to the cup it takes less than 30 seconds to blend. Stay tuned for more great recipes 🙂

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Snowy Owl in a Snow Storm - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in a Snow Storm – Thornton, Ontario

Today amid snow squalls and strong winds I made another trek over to see the neighborhood snowy. As usual she was plunked down in the middle of a field that was planted with soy beans last summer. Most likely the field mice and meadow voles are foraging beneath the snow for spilled beans from the harvest, which is likely why this owl is so content on staying at this field, with the well stocked buffet.

To create this image I used a tripod mounted Nikon 80-400mm VR lens on a Nikon D800. After framing the scene accordingly I utilized the Live View function of the camera to manually focus on the owl. An ISO of 1250 was dialed in and an aperture of f16 @ 1/1000 second was used for the exposure, due to the high winds and my desire to enough depth of field for the owl and the distant trees, as well as wanting to capture some of the snow flakes in the air.

Hope you enjoy the images. Please do remember to click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

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Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park – Toronto

On Friday January 17th I decided to make the drive down to the Toronto region to search for Snowy Owls. This year we are experiencing record numbers of of Snowy Owls in Ontario as they have migrated down from their Arctic home.. My destination for the day was going to be Colonel Samuel Smith Park. Upon my arrival a strong wind was already picking up off the lake, which was sure to make things a little uncomfortable and cold. After much searching I came to realize that I was not going to have any luck at my chosen destination. After a few icy shoreline images I decided to head a little to the east and try my luck at Humber Bay Park – at least it is good for ducks and I can usually find a few co-operative Long-tailed Ducks, which also migrate down to this area from the high Arctic.

Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park – Toronto

Long-tailed Duck (formerly Old Squaw) at Humber Bay Park - Toronto

Long-tailed Duck (formerly Old Squaw) at Humber Bay Park – Toronto

Alas my day would come to an end and I would make the long trek home so that I could make it on time for a chiropractor appointment in Barrie and then pick-up my daughter when school ended for the day. After picking up my daughter, we began to drive home and wouldn’t you know it, not 5 kilometers from my home there are two Snowy Owls. As fate would have it I drove roughly 200 kilometers in search of Snowy Owls when they were virtually waiting at my doorstep, but had I stayed home I would not have captured my best image, to date, of a Long-tailed Drake.

On Friday evening and today as well, I went out to create some photos of these Snowy Owls and will continue to do so as long as they are wintering here. No more long drives to find them 🙂

Snowy Owl on Hydro Pole - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl on Hydro Pole – Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight – Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight – Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Winter Farm Field - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Winter Farm Field – Thornton, Ontario

 

 

 

 

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OPC PROFILE

The Winter 2014 issue of Outdoor Photography Canada Magazine, which just hit the newsstand, is featuring yours truly in the Profile section of the magazine. The Profile piece spans six pages and features ten of my images. I am very pleased and honored to be featured and interviewed for the current issue of this wonderful publication. If you have not yet checked out the magazine please do pick a copy up as you will find them to be full of useful tips and info by many of Canada’s top photographers. Whether you are looking to develop your skills as a photographer or find that next great photogenic location in Canada, Outdoor Photography Canada is the magazine for you. To read the on-line portion of the Profile / interview please click here and to read the full interview or to learn more about yours truly you can pick-up a copy of the magazine at your local newsstand or simply subscribe to Outdoor Photography Canada by clicking here.

Hope you enjoy the article 🙂

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Innisfil Creek In Winter - Sony RX100

Innisfil Creek In Winter – Sony RX100

The images in this post were all created today, handheld, with my new toy – a Sony RX100. This is an amazing 20 mega-pixel, point and shoot camera that will fit easily into my pocket. It is my intention to carry this little gem everywhere I go, so that I never miss another photo opportunity. I spent some time today playing around with it to familiarize myself with the controls and such because on February 3rd I depart for 10 days on the beautiful island of Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands. I will be using the Sony RX100 in an underwater housing for my explorations in the Caribbean Sea. I can’t wait! Iguanas, crabs, parrots, wading birds, caves, ocean-scapes, and frogs await 🙂 If any folks have previously visited Cayman Brac please do share any tidbits of info that you may think will be beneficial upon my arrival on the island. I have been busy doing as much research as I can, including studying the island on Google Earth, which is a great way to see what to expect prior to being there.

Each of these images were created using the Sony RX100’s RAW file option, which produces a stunning image with a file size of roughly 20 megabytes, and images created at ISO 800 are astonishingly clean – noise free. In the last image the macro setting was used – the Sony RX100 can focus down to 5cm; how is that for a macro lens?

I will post several more images with this lovely little gem before departing for Cayman Brac. Hope you like the first images created with this new toy 🙂

 

Woodland Stream in Winter - Sony RX100

Woodland Stream in Winter – Sony RX100

Lichens on Tree Trunk - Sony RX100

Lichens on Tree Trunk – Sony RX100

 

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