Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Cayman Brac

Join yours truly on the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac from February 17 to February 21, 2020 for my second land-based photo tour of this rugged tropical paradise.

I was pleased to have world famous bird photographer Arthur Morris attend my first-ever photo tour on Cayman Brac. What did Arthur have to say about the trip;

A friend and I had the pleasure of attending Andrew’s Cayman Brac workshop in February 2018. With his extensive local knowledge and local contacts he was able to put us in great position every morning and afternoon. Andrew was great at helping this old man with his gear. And he was punctual and cordial as well as knowledgeable. We made a zillion great images of Brown Boobies doing all sorts of things from flying to courting to copulating to sitting on eggs to tending and feeding chicks sized from tiny ones to big ones. You can see the Brown Booby images by visiting www.BIRDSASART-Blog.com, typing either “Cayman Brac” of “Brown Booby” in the little white box on the trop right of each blog post page, and then hitting the search icon.

The main objective of this photo tour will be photographing nesting Brown Booby however, epic sunrises looking out over the Caribbean Sea at the base of the 140 foot bluff will not be over-looked, nor will the abstract opportunities inside many of Cayman Brac’s caves. During this time of year it is also possible to photograph numerous species of herons, endangered West Indian Whistling Duck, endangered Cayman Brac Parrot, as well as the critically endangered Cayman Brac Iguana.

During the mid-day hours when conditions are not particularly suitable for land based photography participants can explore the island on their own, grab some rest and relaxation, or accompany me on snorkeling excursions at numerous shore diving sites. These snorkel excursions are a great way to try your hand at underwater photography. I can provide advice on how best to get your gear into the water for those that are interested in this option.

Participants are expected to have a good understanding of their camera system and should be prepared for walking distances at some locations of 1-2 kilometres. While much of the terrain we will be walking over is easy it is important to note that there are other sections where it is uneven due to Cayman Brac’s eroded limestome coast. In some areas the eroded limestone is quite jagged and not for the faint of heart. You are responsible for your own safety at all times. Please do not hesitate to inquire if you have any concerns.

Please note that all fees for this photo tour are indicated in US dollars.

Photo Tour Rate

• $1275.00 US Currency ( a signed waiver of liability form must accompany payment)

Accommodation and meals (aside from the farewell dinner) are not included with this Photo Tour. I will be using the Carib Sands Condominiums as my home base and do recommend that participants book there accommodation there as well, although you are welcome to explore other rental opportunities on the island. With condominium rentals you are also responsible for your own toiletries, etc. Indicated below are the rates for condo rentals through Carib Sands (contact info will be provided to those interested in registering):

• Per night in a one bedroom condo US$200

• Per night in a two bedroom condo US$260

• Per night in a three bedroom condo US$385

Itinerary:

February 17:

6:00 p.m. meet and greet at the Carib Sands Pool

February 18 to 21:

6:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. morning session for sunrise and bird life (various locations depending on weather conditions)

9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. free time or complimentary snorkel excursions

3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. evening session for sunset and bird life (various locations depending on weather conditions)

February 21

Farewell Dinner at 7:00 p.m. (rough time estimate – to be confirmed the day of)

What’s Included:

• In-the-field photographic instruction

• Transportation for photo tour participants during excursions (departing from Carib Sands)

• In-the-field image review

• Farewell dinner on February 21

• Complimentary snorkel excursions for interested attendees

• Free WiFi at Condominium

What’s Not Included:

• All flights to and from Cayman Brac

• Accommodations

• Meals

• Drinks

• Transportation outside of the photo tour excursions (folks attending daily snorkel excursions will be provided transportation based on availability)

• Masks, Fins, and Snorkels

Cayman Brac 2020 is open to a maximum of 4 participants. No minimum number required.

To reserve your spot in this photo tour your payment of $1275.00 USD is due now. At the time of booking a signed waiver form will be required and will be emailed to interested participants so that they can return the signed forms with their cheque made payable to: Andrew McLachlan. Please contact me via email by clicking here to reserve your spot today.

Cancellation Policy (Photo Tour Rate Only):

120 days prior to tour date full refund less cancellation fee of $500 US

Less than 120 days no refund. It is recommended that you purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

 

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) kits

Several days ago I made a visit to a Red Fox den with 6 kits in the litter. Prior to visiting the location I deliberately delayed my arrival until the last half an hour of sunlight. Not only does wildlife become more active at the edge of the day, but the light is low on the horizon and thus much softer, without the harsh shadows of mid-day conditions.

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) kits at play

My timing was perfect as the litter of 6 was out playing and exploring the surrounding area. They were not the slightest bit concerned with my presence and I was able to create numerous compositions in the short time I spent with them.

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) kits at the den

The kits are a good size at this time of year and almost the same size as their mother. Perhaps this is an early litter or our spring weather has been so horrible, with cold temps and snow flurries, that I have finally ventured out to photograph foxes at the den later than in previous years.

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) kit at the den

All photographs in this post were created with a hand-held Nikon D500 and Nikkor 200-500mm lens with an ISO of either 500 or 800. The latter being selected as the daylight began to fade away quickly.

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) kit

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Snowy Owl_6905

Snowy Owl in Flight (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

Over the last couple of days we have received several inches of heavy, wet snow around my home, which has coated the trees and turned the area into a lovely, winter wonderland. I was excited to get out and explore the surrounding farmland near my home for scenics as well as snowy owls. Every year several snowy owls over-winter on the farmland around my home. They gather to feast on mice and meadow voles that are scavenging the soy beans and corn that is spilled during harvest. Pictured above is the only image I have been able to create of a snowy owl so far this year. I do like the over-the-shoulder stare that the owl is giving me as it flies out over one of the fields.

Pictured below are a few of the scenic images that were created during my search for the snowy owls.  My choice of lenses for these images was the Nikon 200-500mm lens or the Nikon 28-300mm lens on either my Nikon D500 or Nikon D800 body.

Winter Tree_6947

Winter Tree in Snow Storm (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

 

Winter Farm_9041

Winter Farm Scenic (Nikon D800 & Nikon 28-300mm Lens)

 

Winter Tree_6932

Winter Tree (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

Winter Trees_6980

Winter Trees (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

Winter Trees_6941

Winter Trees (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

 

Read Full Post »

Brown Booby in flight, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 90mm
ISO 500, f6.3 @ 1/5000 sec.

Originally released in August of 2010 the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens has to be one the most versatile lenses available. Often you can find this lens in the used gear department for approximately $700 CDN. Like most folks, before I purchased this lens for my own gear bag I read several on-line reviews. I did not believe that the lens could really be as bad as folks were leading on. Here is a selection of some items that I noted during my internet readings:

  • softness in the center, sharpening up out towards the corners, and the some more corner softness
  • stopped-down results are downright blurry at the telephoto end of 300mm @ ƒ/36)
  • the 28-300 isn’t a really sharp lens and the corners are mush
  • zoom range exhibited shockingly poor off-axis image quality
  • is not a pro level lens nor one I’d use for critical shoots
  • I’m assuming this lens was defective as I couldn’t get a sharp picture no matter how hard I tried

I determined that in order to find out for myself I would need to add this lens to my gear bag. Right before I boarded the plane for my Cayman Brac Photo Tour in February I did just that. It is now one of my most favorite lenses. The lens does have one annoying habit, or at least my copy does. When the lens is pointed downward the zoom creep is very evident. Nonetheless, my honest opinion is that this lens does produce stellar results when good technique and creative vision is applied. Often I can be found in-the-field with my 28-300mm lens attached to one of my Nikons ready to capture those fleeting moments where changing lenses is not an option. The 28-300mm range is perfect for such circumstances.

I have never been one to trust the so-called internet experts. I much prefer to take gear out into the field and put it to the test. A real world review illustrating the quality of the lens with photographic examples.

Having the ability to zoom from 28mm to 300mm is a definite plus. On Cayman Brac I was able to photograph nesting Brown Boobies at close range and then quickly zoom out to 300mm to capture Brown Boobies in flight as they approached the cliff edge on their return to their nests.

Brown Booby pair at the nest, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 55mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/400 sec.

I also find the lens to be a powerful tool for my landscape work as illustrated in the below image of a winter wheat field at sunset near my rural home in Thornton, Ontario. A Singh Ray 3-stop reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter was also used in the capture of the sunset scene below.

Winter Wheat at Sunset, Thornton, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 82mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 3 seconds.

Having a minimum focusing distance of a mere 1.6 feet throughout the entire zoom range is also a huge bonus to my frog photography. In the past I would have to switch lenses to create my signature frog-scapes and close-up portraits. With the Nikon 28-300 I can simply zoom the lens from wide to telephoto and create both scenarios in mere seconds, as illustrated in the two Bullfrog images below.

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 48mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/800 sec.

 

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/640 sec.

While photographing Wood Ducks in Toronto, Ontario I am also able to create stunning portraits and close-up feather details due to the short, minimum focusing distance. While I was photographing feather details of a Wood Duck hen that had chose to sit beside me on a particular outing I had noticed that a lovely drake Wood Duck had also come into close proximity allowing me to zoom out and create a tight head shot of him. The versatility of the Nikon 28-300mm lens allowed me the opportunity to create both these images without the need to switch lenses , which would likely had caused one of the two birds, or both, to move further away.

Drake Wood Duck, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 2000, f5.6 @ 1/250 sec.

 

Hen Wood Duck Feather Details, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 1000, f11 @ 1/80 sec.

While walking along the shoreline of the Caribbean Ocean in Cayman Brac I came upon a dead crab. The shell of the dea crab was beautifully colored with interesting details too. To create the below macro shot of the crab shell details I used my Canon 500D Close-up Filter on the Nikon 28-300mm lens and stopped down to f22. There is some minor softness in the extreme corners of the image but this is due to the curvature of the shell. Ideally I should have used the focus stacking method to gain perfect sharpness in the corners.

Crab Shell Details, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/40 sec.

For those of us longing for some cooler temperatures in this heat wave, I have included a winter river detail image from my Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Workshop this past January 🙂

Winter River Details, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1.6 sec.

Read Full Post »

We have two new dates for the Frogs of the World Photographic Workshops (with an optional add-on Photoshop session from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) that will be held at the Crinan Community Centre near London, Ontario. The dates are as follows:

Saturday, May 26, 2018 10:00a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Optional Add-on Photoshop Session 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

Sunday May 27, 2018 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Optional Add-on Photoshop Session 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

The space for each workshop is limited to a maximum of 8 participants to allow ample time for folks to photograph each species of frog.

These are the only workshops available whereby you will be able to capture stunning imagery of 15 – 20 different species of frogs from all over the world. We will be photographing numerous varieties of dart frogs endemic to the Amazon rainforest, several tree frogs of Costa Rica and South America, as well as the bizarre Leaf Frog of the Malaysian jungle. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars to explore the jungles of the world on your own in hopes of photographing a mere fraction of these species. These workshops, in partnership with Understory Enterprises, will bring you an incredible opportunity to photograph these 15 – 20 species of frogs in a comfortable atmosphere with natural studio set-ups. The recommended gear for photographing these tiny frogs is a macro lens and off camera flash. Alternately, using high quality close-up filters such as the Canon 500D filters will allow many lenses such as the Nikon 80-400mm or Canon 100-400mm to focus close enough for these small subjects. Please contact me here if you have any equipment inquiries when registering for this workshop. I also have custom made flash diffusers that will allow folks to capture stunning imagery using camera mounted flash as well.

New to these two workshops will be an optional 2 hour add-on Photoshop session for folks that wish to see learn how I edit and optimize my frog photography. I will also be on hand to guide each participant through optimizing a couple of their own images from the day.

Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided during the workshop.

To register for this workshop folks may contact me by clicking here for availability and for making arrangement for payments, which are accepted by email transfer or by cheque made payable to Andrew McLachlan.

The cost of the workshop is $195 plus taxes. Folks that wish to sign-up for the 2 hour add-on Photoshop session please add $65 plus taxes.

Please specify when registering for these workshops if you wish to sign-up for the Photoshop session afterwards.

Cancellation Policy

Full refund, less a $25 administration fee, 31 days prior to the workshop date

No Refunds 30 days prior to the workshop date

Hope to see you there!

 

On an alternate note, due to the severe inclement weather this weekend the Tiny Marsh Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop has been rescheduled to Sunday April 22nd. Please contact me by clicking here at your earliest convenience if you wish to join this event at one of south-central Ontario’s largest and most impressive wetland complexes.

Read Full Post »

 

On Tuesday March, 27, 2018 I will be presenting my “Ontario & Beyond – Wild Places Wild Faces” program for the Ajax Photography Club at the Ajax Community Centre located at 75 Centennial Road in the HSM Room. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. Guests are welcome to attend for a $10 admission fee. Mark the date in your calendars and come on out for an enjoyable evening of nature photography and learn the secrets behind how I capture and optimize my my landscape and wildlife imagery.

Hope to see you there 🙂

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: