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Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Tri-colored Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/640 sec

High-Key lighting in portraiture has a very classic look and feel in the resulting imagery, with bright white, distraction free backgrounds and minimal shadows on the intended subject. While on my recent trip to Cayman Brac I had a few opportunities to explore using this high key technique on some very co-operative birdlife that I encountered. Each of these high key images were created using the Nikkor 200-500mm lens on a Nikon D500. Each of the birds were photographed in a backlit situation whereby I simply dialed in additional exposure to open up the shadows, allowing the background to fall where it may, ignoring any blinkies (highlight warnings) on the background, but ensuring there were no blinkies on the subject. While making my initial edits to each of the images in Adobe Camera Raw I varied the amount of brightness in the backgrounds, allowing the endangered West Indian Whistling Duck portrait to be the brightest as I felt it complimented the lighter tone of the ducks feathers.

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

 

West Indian Whistling Duck, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm Lens
ISO 800
f8 @ 1/125 sec

 

Green Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm Lens
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/200 sec

 

Tri-colored Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm Lens
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/640 sec

 

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Tri-colored Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 410mm (650mm effective focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/100 sec

 

Aside from Cayman Brac being a premier location for photographing Brown Booby there are also a number of other bird species that are often easily photographed. One of my preferred locations on the island for bird photography is at the Westerly Ponds. As evening approaches many species of herons and ducks arrive at the ponds to seek shelter among the mangrove trees at night. Many heron and shorebird species can often be seen foraging along the sandy sections of shoreline as they search for fish, crabs, and mollusks. The threatened Cayman Brac Parrot is best discovered while slowly driving along the bluff road towards the lighthouse. Each time I have had success photographing these beautiful parrots I have found them among almond trees and most often I was alerted to their presence by noise as they are not the quietest of birds and will often be very vocal.

This post features some of my favorite bird images that I created during my two week trip to Cayman Brac. Please do remember to click on each photo to view the larger, sharper version.

 

Black-necked Stilt, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm effective focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/1250 sec

 

Royal Tern, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm effective focal length)
ISO 100
f8 @ 1/640 sec

 

Great Egret, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500 (1.3 sensor crop activated)
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (1000mm effective focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/160 sec

 

Cayman Brac Parrot, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 330mm (495mm effective focal length)
ISO 500
f8 @ 1/250 sec

 

Willet, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm effective focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/320 sec

 

Green Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 330mm (495mm effective focal length)
ISO 800
f5.6 @ 1/500 sec

 

Ruddy Turnstone, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm effective focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/1000 sec

 

Brown Booby with Chick, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D800
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 210mm
ISO 400
f11 @ 1/500 sec

 

Cayman Brac Parrot, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 360mm (540mm effective focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/400 sec

 

Green Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 260mm (390mm effective focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/320 sec

 

Tri-colored Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 250mm (375mm effective focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/3200 sec

 

Tri-colored Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 330mm (495mm effective focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/800 sec

 

Tri-colored Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 320mm (480mm effective focal length)
ISO 800
f10 @ 1/640 sec

 

Black-necked Stilt, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm effective focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/1000 sec

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Northern Shoveler drake Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens ISO 400, f8 @ 1/2500 sec

Northern Shoveler – drake
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/2500 sec

A couple of weeks ago I made my way down to Humber Bay Park in Toronto, along the Lake Ontario shoreline. I was pleased to see a beautiful Northern SHoveler drake in one of the ponds however, he was not being the most co-operative fellow. Yesterday I return for a follow-up visit to see if he was still hanging around. To my surprise there were numerous Northern Shoveler drakes present at the pond and they were being most co-operative. In roughly two hours I had created hundreds of image files of these ducks that have eluded me for a very long time. To gain the low angle perspective I laid down on one of the boardwalks beside the pond. This low perspective will give the resulting imagery a duck’s eye view and help create the soft out-of-focus background. Here is a selection of images created during yesterday’s visit.

Any folks that are interested in private-in-the-field instruction to hone their waterfowl photography skills can contact me at info@andrewmclachlan.ca to discuss booking a session for four hours of my undivided attention.

Northern Shoveler Drake Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500 VR Lens ISO 400, f8 @ 1/1600 sec

Northern Shoveler – drake
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500 VR Lens
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/1600 sec

 

Northern Shoveler Drake Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500 VR Lens ISO 400, f8 @ 1/2500 sec

Northern Shoveler – drake
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500 VR Lens
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/2500 sec

 

Northern Shoveler Drake - wing flap Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500 VR Lens ISO 400, f8 @ 1/2500 sec

Northern Shoveler – drake – wing flap
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500 VR Lens
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/2500 sec

 

Northern Shoveler Drake - wing flap Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500 VR Lens ISO 400, f8 @ 1/2500 sec

Northern Shoveler – drake – wing flap
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500 VR Lens
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/2500 sec

 

Northern Shoveler Drake Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500 VR Lens ISO 400, f8 @ 1/1250 sec

Northern Shoveler – drake
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500 VR Lens
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/1250 sec

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Sunset on Horseshoe Lake in Muskoka near the town of Rosseau, Ontario, Canada

Sunset on Horseshoe Lake in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Its hard to believe that another year has flown by and that we are now heading into 2016. It is also that time of year when I like to share with you some of my favorite images that I created throughout the past year. One of the highlights of the past year for me was to spend two weeks on the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac, where I quite literally spent more time in the ocean than I did on land, and while on land I spent much of that time photographing Brown Booby birds at the nest with chicks. The day before I boarded the plane for Cayman Brac I was rewarded with our resident, over-wintering Snowy Owl perching in a dead tree across the road from my home. I also spent quite a bit of time photographing frogs, as I usually do :), and created my most favorite Bullfrog-scape to date. My travels throughout much of the year was somewhat limited as I was staying closer to home to assist my elderly parents. I was however able to attend a personal invite to the Algonquin Radio Observatory on Lake Travers in Algonquin Provincial Park and do stay tuned as I will be setting up a workshop at this location during the summer months. In September I finally made the trek up to The Crack in Ontario’s Killarney Provincial Park despite a bad flare-up with my lower back and a bad right foot. My foot problem was corrected with a small surgical procedure that prevented me from doing much hiking in October and November, but I am all healed now and ready to hit the trails in 2016.

I hope you enjoy viewing these images again here in this Top 10 for 2015 post and do remember to click on each image to view the larger, sharper versions.

See ya in 2016 🙂

Happy New Year to all and safe travels to those of you who are traveling during this time.

Bullfrog (male) in wetland on Horseshoe Lake Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Bullfrog (male) in wetland on Horseshoe Lake
Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

 

Stonefish camouflaged on the ocean floor Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

Stonefish camouflaged on the ocean floor
Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

 

High-key Common Loon on Horseshoe Lake Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

High-key Common Loon on Horseshoe Lake
Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

 

Sunrise on Pollard Bay Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

Sunrise on Pollard Bay
Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

 

Snowy Owl in dead tree Thornton, Ontario, Canada

Snowy Owl in dead tree
Thornton, Ontario, Canada

 

Brown Booby (male) with chick Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

Brown Booby (male) with chick
Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

 

Octopus Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

Octopus
Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

 

The Crack over-looking Killarney Lake LaCloche Mountain Range Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

The Crack over-looking Killarney Lake
LaCloche Mountain Range
Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

 

Sunrise on Lake Travers Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Sunrise on Lake Travers
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

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Mallard drake Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 460mm ISO 400, f8 @ 1/640 sec.

Mallard (drake)
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 460mm
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/640 sec.

About one week ago I made a trip down to Humber Bay Park on the Lake Ontario shoreline in Toronto to see which waterfowl have shown up to over-winter at this location. Unfortunately, it was a rather quiet day without too much activity, however, the usual assortment of Mallards were hanging around. I was hoping to have an opportunity to try out the Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens on ducks in flight, but as I said it was a quiet day and the ducks were not being overly active. With the Mallard ducks it is very easy to lure them in for images – all you need to do is make a throwing motion with your arm as though you are throwing feed into the water for them and they will immediately swim in your direction – without fail.

I never pass up an opportunity to photograph the common wildlife subjects. We tend to pass up the chance to photograph the common species because they are too common. These species make great subjects to practice and improve technique, test new equipment, try new things, teach the younger generations about wildlife, etc…the list is endless and do note that elsewhere in the world they are not so common. Enjoying what we have at our doorstep can be very inspiring 🙂

Here is a few photos of the Mallard ducks created with the new Nikon 200-500mm VR lens. On another note, these images were created with the Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens firmly mounted to a Wimberley Sidekick, which I will be reviewing in an up-coming blog post soon.

Please click on each image to view the larger, sharper version.

Mallard hen Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 320mm ISO 800, f8 @ 1/320 sec

Mallard (hen)
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 320mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/320 sec

 

Mallard drake Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm ISO 800, f8 @ 1/640 sec.

Mallard (drake)
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/640 sec.

 

Mallard hen Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm ISO 800, f8 @ 1/500 sec.

Mallard (hen)
Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/500 sec.

 

Mallard drake - up-close & personal Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm ISO 800, f8 @ 1/200 sec.

Mallard (drake) – up-close & personal
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/200 sec.

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Common Loon - juvenile Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm ISO 1000, f9 @ 1/4000 sec

Common Loon – juvenile (Gavia immer)
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm
ISO 1000, f9 @ 1/4000 sec

Recently I have been using the new Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f5.6E ED VR Lens for my wildlife imagery and intimate landscape scenes. I will do a full review of the lens once I have had more time with it, but I must admit that so far I am lovin’ this lens – money well spent 🙂

On the weekend past, the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I was up at Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario to close-up the family cottage for the winter. Amid doing the various chores that needed tending to before closing up the cottage I noticed a juvenile Common Loon slowly making its way along the shoreline of the lake. I quickly grabbed my gear and jumped into the canoe and paddled towards the loon. This youngster will hang out on the lake for about another couple of weeks before flying to southern, coastal waters where it will remain for 2-3 years prior to flying north again. As I made my approach I slowed down to ensure I did not startle the loon and was glad to see that it was going to be a co-operative. Once I had the canoe into position I sat in the bottom of the canoe to gain a slightly lower perspective and photographed the loon while it swam about the canoe looking for a fish dinner below. On occasion the loon would come in almost too close to the canoe and I would have to wait for it to swim further away from my position. I experimented with using the lens in both the Full Frame format and the 1.5 DX Sensor Crop feature on the Nikon D800. I will select this sensor crop on the Nikon D800 when I wish for a little more “reach” as it will create an effective focal length that would be roughly the equivalent to adding a 1.4 Teleconverter onto the lens, however, there is no loss of f-stops. When working with the 1.5 DX Sensor Crop the 200-500mm lens becomes a 300-750mm lens.

Here is a sampling of some of the photos I created of this juvenile Common Loon with the new Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens. Please do remember to click on each image to view the sharper, larger versions.

Common Loon - juvenile Nikon D800, Nikon 200-555mm VR Lens @ 500mm ISO 800, f8 @ 1/1250 sec

Common Loon – juvenile (Gavia immer)
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/1250 sec

 

Common Loon - juvenile Nikon D800 (1.5 DX Sensor Crop selected) Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 440mm (660mm effective focal length) ISO 1000, f10 @ 1/1000 sec

Common Loon – juvenile (Gavia immer)
Nikon D800 (1.5 DX Sensor Crop selected)
Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 440mm (660mm effective focal length)
ISO 1000, f10 @ 1/1000 sec

 

Common Loon - juvenile Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 480 mm ISO 1000, f10 @ 1/1000 sec

Common Loon – juvenile (Gavia immer)
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 480 mm
ISO 1000, f10 @ 1/1000 sec

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Brown Booby (male) Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm ISO 400, f16 @ 1/125 second

Brown Booby (male)
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 400mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/125 sec.

During my visit to Cayman Brac in February 2014 I was able to photograph the Brown Booby colony on the island as they were incubating their eggs. I kept hoping that the eggs would hatch before I departed the island, but no such luck, so I planned my recent trip to be slightly later in to the nesting season to be assured of hatchlings at the nest.

Brown Booby pair at Nest Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 330mm ISO 800, f11 @ 1/250 second

Brown Booby pair at Nest
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 330mm
ISO 800, f11 @ 1/250 sec.

On Cayman Brac the Brown Booby nests at the very edge of the 144 foot bluff that dominates the east end of the tiny island (Cayman Brac is roughly 12 miles long and about 1 mile wide). My timing for my recent March 2015 visit was perfect as there were birds sitting on eggs, parents with chicks, and chicks that had began molting. Shortly before sunset I would make way to the trail that follows the edge of the bluff to photograph in the warm glow of the setting sun.

Brown Booby with Chick at the Nest Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 120mm ISO 200, f11 @ 1/500 second

Brown Booby with Chick at the Nest
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 120 mm
ISO 200, f11 @ 1/500 sec.

The experience of being able to sit and watch these majestic seabirds with their young at the very edge of the bluff is one I will not soon forget, nor is the sight of the fluffy, white chicks stretching their little wings that will one day enable them to glide over the ocean waves and plummet into the sea to catch their prey.

Brown Booby Chick Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 230mm ISO 100, f8 @1/250 second

Brown Booby Chick
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 230mm
ISO 100, f8 @1/250 sec.

During my two weeks on Cayman Brac I created several thousand photos of the Brown Booby. This post represents some of my most favorite images…hope you like them too 🙂

Do remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions.

Brown Booby Chick Molting Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm ISO 800, f8 @ 1/160 second

Brown Booby Chick Molting
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 400mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/160 sec.

Brown Booby Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 280mm ISO 1250, f8 @ 1/80 second

Brown Booby
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 280mm
ISO 1250, f8 @ 1/80 sec.

Brown Booby with Chick at the Nest Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 360mm ISO 200, f16 @ 1/250 second

Brown Booby with Chick at the Nest
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 360mm
ISO 200, f16 @ 1/250 sec.

Brown Booby with Chick at the Nest Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 330mm ISO 400, f11 @ 1/320 second

Brown Booby with Chick at the Nest
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 330mm
ISO 400, f11 @ 1/320 sec.

Brown Booby with Chick Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 400mm ISO 400, f16 @  1/250 sec.

Brown Booby with Chick
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 400mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/250 sec.

Brown Booby (female) Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 400mm ISO 200, f11 @ 1/500 sec.

Brown Booby (female)
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 400mm
ISO 200, f11 @ 1/500 sec.

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