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Archive for the ‘Wetlands’ Category

Water Lilies in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Water Lilies in Wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

All good things come to an end eventually. On July 31, 2019 I bid farewell to the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario as it was sold to new owners. I will miss the area dearly as it is where my love of nature photography took hold. It is where I began to explore woodlands, beaver ponds, and wetlands to gain the knowledge that has allowed me to photograph many of my most cherished images. It is also the place where I perfected my Bullfrog-scapes

After spending a couple of weeks there prior to the closing date of the sale I was lucky enough to be graced with numerous photographic opportunities, so there will be plenty more images to share in the coming weeks. During these two weeks it felt like all the wildlife I photographed over the years had come to bid farewell as I had so many amazing close-up encounters with many of the species that inhabit the lake, and surrounding forest.

I hope to return to the area at least once a year to continue to document the wildlife in the large wetland near the cottage property and to continue my explorations of the small lakes hidden in the forest, but for now here is a selection of imagery that I created during my last two weeks at the cottage. I do have many, many more unprocessed image files from Horseshoe Lake that I will continue to share as time and temperment allow 🙂

Sadly, after 35 years, this chapter of my life has come to an end. However, as one chapter closes another will open and it only takes one step to start that journey.

Stay tuned

Bullfrog_1847

Bullfrog in wetland habitat, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

 

Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta), Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Eastern Painted Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Horseshoe Lake_4124

Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Green Darner_573

Green Darner Dragonfly, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Common Loon (Gavia immer)

Common Loon, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Tree Swallows_9877

Tree Swallows, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Horseshoe Lake_4081

Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Bullfrog_1782-1

Over-under Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Common Merganser_0364

Common Merganser, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Milky Way, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Milky Way over Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

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Tiny Marsh teaching Workshop

Join me on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area for a short-notice Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop that focuses on photographing sunrise. Tiny Marsh is located near Elmvale, Ontario on the Tiny Flos Townline Road. With sunrise being at 6:15 a.m. we will meet in the parking lot at 5:30 a.m. This will allow us time to cover some basic information while we walk out along Trotter Dyke to our best vantage points for photographing sunrise. This event will conclude at roughly 11:00 a.m. Since this workshop focuses on photographing sunrise we will depart promptly along Trotter Dyke, so please do not be late arriving. I do recommend bringing both wide angle zooms and mid-range zooms to photograph sunrise at Tiny Marsh.

During this workshop you will learn the principles of photographing sunrise. Topics covered will include composition, filters, seeing the shot and much more. After sunrise is over we will continue to explore other areas of Tiny Marsh in search of more landscape opportunities as well as any wildlife / birdlife opportunities that we may find.

Tiny Marsh is a designated Important Birding Area (IBA) and at this time of year it is a major staging area for numerous waterfowl, geese, trumpeter swans and many other species of birds. While birds will not be our main focus of this workshop do note that there may be opportunities to photograph such species after sunrise. Bringing a long lens is highly recommended for both sunrise and wildlife / birdlife opportunities. While our chances of a stellar sunrise are at the mercy of the current weather pattern of the day, I have often been rewarded with splendid sunrises at Tiny Marsh. One of the best advantages of Tiny Marsh is that there is always something to photograph.

All walking trails at Tiny Marsh are flat and by no means strenuous. High water conditions this year will likely see the boardwalk trail flooded. I would advise waterproof boots in case we check out this section of the marsh.

The cost of this Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop is $65 plus applicable taxes. To register for this event please contact me here for further information. The maximum number of participants for this event is 8.

During Teaching Moment Photographic Workshops you will receive friendly, in-the-field instruction and guidance. Do remember that attending A Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop allows you to earn rewards – after attending 5 of these events you will receive a $50 discount on any future workshop of your choice!

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Amherst Island_1740

Sunrise, Amherst Island, Ontario

It is always fun to look back at this time of the year and reflect on the past year and the images that were created during my travels. In this post I am featuring my favorite photographs of 2018. All of the images featured in this blog post have been featured here over the course of the year with the exception of the opening sunrise image, which was created during a trip to Ontario’s Amherst Island a few days ago. As the sun rose the clouds took on the appearance of what resembled a blazing forest fire. It was a lovely sunrise to complete the year with 🙂

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the very best for a prosperous 2019!

Lake-Superior_7559

Daybreak, Lake Superior, Wawa, Ontario

Rock Iguana_8468

A critically endangered Cayman Brac Iguana, British West Indies

Ice Details, Ontario, Canada

Ice Crystal Details, Georgian Bay, Ontario

Bullfrog_2722

Over-Under Bullfrog, Parry Sound, Ontario

Caribbean Reef Squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea), Cayman Brac, British West Indies

Caribbean Reef Squid, Radar Reef, Cayman Brac, British West Indies

Skeleton River_9777

Skeleton River in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

Spring Peeper_6451

Spring Peeper, Parry Sound, Ontario

Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana), Grand Cayman, British West Indies

Southern Stingray, Grand Cayman, British West Indies

Storm Clouds Over Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada

Approaching Storm Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada

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Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing

After spending several additional days on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario in the provinces Muskoka District I experimented with some additional techniques to creating over/under or split shots of Bullfrogs within their wetland habitat on the lake. During my first attempts at creating these images I was a little frustrated by the amount of time I had to wipe water droplets off the front element of the Ewa Marine housing. This time around I decided to try an old underwater photography trick whereby rubbing a thin film of parafin wax over the element to help repell water droplets. Using an unscented, parafin wax votive candle to rub some wax onto the element and a dedicated micro fibre cleaning cloth that will be reserved for this purpose only I buffed the wax until it was well distributed and no longer visible, however, a very thin film of wax remained. This techinque did help to repell much of the water droplets that I found annoying during my first attempts. I did however, need to perform some minor cleaning of the housing’s element with the micro fibre cleaning cloth to eliminate droplets that would have been problematic for subsequent captures. The best technique still seems to be pre-planning the look of the image and slowly sink the camera below the water’s surface creating images as you to capture that perfect moment. If you raise the camera out of the water to create additional frames, after sinking it, it is most likely that water droplets will become problematic.

As with the previous post each of today’s featured images were created using the Nikon D500 with the Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens in an Ewa Marine Underwtaer Housing. Utilizing the Nikon D500’s Live View feature was indispensible to composing and focusing each of the scenes.

 

Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing

 

Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing

 

Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing

 

Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing

 

Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing

 

 

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Bullfrog in wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 1000
f16 @ 1/50 sec

I have long wanted to experiment with over-under, or also known as split shots, of Bullfrogs in their watery worlds. Several days ago I gave it a whirl for the first time and cannot wait to get back up to Horseshoe Lake to create more of these images. Each of these over-under images was created handheld from the canoe using the Nikon D500 and the Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens in an Ewa Marine Housing. Why did I use a crop sensor camera to create these images with the Laowa 15mm Wide Angle Macro, quite simply because the 15mm focal length will vignette horribly with a full frame camera inside the Ewa Marine bag. The 15mm focal length on a crop sensor camera works perfectly though. The Live View feature was activated to assist with composing and focusing each of the scenes. I was unsure how the Laowa lens would perform inside the Ewa Marine housing, but was more than pleased with the results, considering that the Laowa lens is a fully manual lens. The easiest was I found to capture these photos was to place the camera and lens inside the Ewa Marine housing but to not use the rail clamp to close the housing. This allows the top of the housing to remain open allowing my hand to easily focus the manual lens. The easiest way to ensure sharp focus while using the Laowa lens and Live View is to enlarge the view to 100% on the LCD screen and focus on the frog’s eyeball. To quickly enlarge the view to 100% over the frog’s eyeball I pre-position the Live View focusing sensor over where I want the frog’s eye to be positioned within the composition. I then press the center button on the Nikon D500’s multi selector to immediately attain a 100% view, allowing me to accurately focus on the frog’s eyeball and capture the intended frame.

I am often asked “How do I get so close to these frogs?” The answer – large bullfrogs tend to be more tolerant than the juveniles. A slow approach works best as do slow movements inside the canoe. Any sudden movement triggers a flight response. Once the canoe is in position beside a chosen subject I kneel down in the canoe and slowly move the camera into position. For many of these images the front of the lens is only about 2-3 inches away from the subject.

Bullfrog in wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 500
f16 @ 1/320 sec

 

Bullfrog in wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 500
f16 @ 1/640 sec

 

Bullfrog in wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 500
f16 @ 1/640 sec

 

Bullfrog in wetland at dusk, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 320
f16 @ 1/50 sec

 

Bullfrog in wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 800
f16 @ 1/500 sec

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Newly Emerging Leaves in Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens

Spring arrived very slowly to the Muskoka area this year, but nonetheless it has arrived in all it’s splendor. I am often drawn to the newly emerging leaves within the forest but on a bright sunny and cloudless day there is often too much contrast within the forest however, looking up changes the perspective to one that is quite photogenic and even allows the opportunity to incorporate the sun into the composition as I did with the above image using the Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens.

My most favourite past-time in spring includes getting out into the vernal ponds to photograph the various frogs that show up in vast numbers to breed. Although the frogs have been chorusing for a number of weeks I was unable to find time in my schedule to get out into the ponds until this past weekend. I was excited to finally get out and try my new home-made flash diffuser mentioned in the This Might Just Be The Best Flash Diffuser Ever! blog post. As I expected I was more than thrilled with the performance of the flash diffuser in the field. Due to the larger size of the diffuser I did have to be cautious with my approach to the frogs and be careful that the diffuser did not bump any corresponding branches or foliage that may disturb the frogs, thus interrupting their singing. Below are a few of the images I captured over the course of the weekend exploring the vernal ponds. During these excursions I was delighted to encounter a Wood Frog at one of the ponds. It has been a great number of years since I have seen a Wood Frog in the woodlands of Muskoka.

Spring Peeper chorusing
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens

The below image of the chorusing Spring Peeper was particularly challenging to photograph as he was singing beside a rather fresh pile of Moose scat. Positioning myself as I would normally do would have seen me laying in the scat, therefore, a different approach was much needed. To gain a low perspective and avoid the moose scat I utilized the Nikon D500’s tilting LCD screen so that I could hold the camera at ground level using LIve View to compose and capture the image.

Spring Peeper chorusing
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens

 

Wood Frog
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens

The below image of the Green Frog among Hair-cap Moss really illustrates the usefulness of the home-made diffuser. Under normal flash conditions there would be many unpleasant shadows created by a bare flash. The polystyrene diffuser softens the light, eliminating any and all harsh shadows.

Green Frog
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens

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Wood Duck Drake, Toronto, Ontario

On Tuesday, April 24th I conducted a private in-the-field Wood Duck workshop. We had bright over-cast light throughout much of the day, which in my opinion is great light for photographing this waterfowl species. At a couple of areas around the pond the early spring growth on the willow trees lining the shoreline was reflecting on the water with lovely yellowish tones, partially reminiscent of reflected autumn colours. We started the day early to take advantage of calm conditions on the water’s surface in hope of catching some nice reflections of the ducks as they swam through the calm water. We were rewarded nicely.

Being able to photograph tame Wood Ducks is a real treat as there is ample opportunity to capture tight portraits, wing-flaps, swimming imagery and feather details too. To book your very own, 4 hour, private in-the-field workshop please contact me by clicking here. Pricing information for a private in-the-field workshop can be found by clicking here. Let my expertise get you on location, ready to capture breath taking imagery of our beautiful waterfowl species. Learn how to achieve the correct exposure every time, elements of composition, head angle, light angle, anticipating the action, and so much more. Full day (8 hour) private workshops can also be arranged for those wishing to extend their in-the-field education (lunch will be provided)…please inquire.

 

Wood Duck Drake, Toronto, Ontario

 

Wood Duck Drake, Toronto, Ontario

 

Wood Duck Hen Wing-Flap, Toronto, Ontario

 

Wood Duck Hen Feather Details

 

Wood Duck Drake, Toronto, Ontario

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