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Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

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.

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Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River near Rosseau, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 27mm
ISO 50, f16 @ 2.5 seconds
Nikon Neutral Polarizing Filter

I decided to start my adventures for 2018 with a trip to some woodland waterfalls in Ontario’s Muskoka District with fellow photographer David Topping. After enduring several consecutive days of brutally cold temperatures I figured the conditions were perfect to explore these locations and that the brutally cold temperatures would have created thick ice formations with beautiful turquoise tones – I was not mistaken nor disapointed. Often when the temperatures get extremely cold there will be a lot of interesting ice formations developing along the river banks and the cascades too. My typical approach is to get in close with a wide angle lens to make best use of the foreground ice formations. This approach must be exercised with caution. If you get too close and the ice is unstable you will break through and fill your winter boots with icy cold water, as I did during my visit on Tuesday January 2nd. My choice of lenses for the day varied from the Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens to the Nikon 18-35mm lens to the Nikon 200-500mm Lens. The former was my go-to choice for many of the images while the latter was used to capture icy river details that will be shared in a later post. The conditions for the day were overcast with light snow, no wind due to the surrounding forest, and a temperature that seemed to hover around -8 degrees Celsius which made working without gloves possible.

For folks that missed the announcement or are thinking about registering for the Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Photographic Workshop I do still have a couple of spaces available. Please click here to contact me directly and register yourself for this event.

Skeleton Falls on the Skeleton River near Rosseau, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 50, f16 @ 1 second

 

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On Tuesday November 14 at 7:30 p.m. I will be presenting my Ontario & Beyond: Wild Places Wild Faces program for the Photo Arts Club of Newmarket Camera Club at the Newmarket Communtiy Centre and Lions Hall located at 200 Doug Duncan Drive in Newmarket, Ontario. Non-members are welcome to attend the presentation for an entry fee of $5 per person. The presentation features tons of Ontario related imagery and info for those looking for new places to explore within our province as well as destinations that are further afield such as Cayman Brac and the Amazon Rainforest.

Hope to see you there 🙂

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Red Fox in Winter

Red Fox, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 310mm ISO 100 f9 @ 1/500 sec

Red Fox, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 310mm
ISO 100, f9 @ 1/500 sec

On the morning of Thursday February 9th I drove north to Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park for a day of wildlife photography with friend and colleague Don Johnston. It was a chilly morning with temperatures starting out at -17 degrees Celsius and warming up to about -7 degrees Celsius by early afternoon. After spending a number of hours photography Pine Marten we decided to try our luck with some of Red Foxes that have become overly habituated to human presence. Knowing this prior to my visit I instinctively knew that I wanted to try some wide angle close-up captures, so I took along my Nikon D800 with the Nikkor 18-35mm lens attached for the wide angle imagery and my Nikon D500 with the Nikkor 200-500mm lens for the telephoto captures. After a short trek along the unplowed winter road we could see two foxes out in the open area of the snow covered road. Once we arrived I decided to lay down in the snow and see what would happen. Since these foxes have become so accustomed to the human presence their curiosity brought them in close enough that I was able to capture a few wide angle close-up images of them. When they tired of me laying in the snow they wandered back closer to the forest’s edge whereby I was able to created numerous telephoto images of them. Here is a selection of my favorite images that I created of the Red Foxes in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park. It was a great day and the foxes with their lush winter coat against the freshly fallen snow and clear blue skies was quite lovely however, it often too bright for the foxes as they would keep their eyes closed quite tightly due to the brightness of the day. I deleted a very large percentage of my image captures from this day simply due to the foxes having their eyes closed up too tightly.

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

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm ISO 200 f8 @ 1/1000 sec

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 200, f8 @ 1/1000 sec

 

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 200mm ISO 100 f8 @ 1/800 sec

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 200mm
ISO 100, f8 @ 1/800 sec

 

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm ISO 200 f8 @ 1/800 sec

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 200, f8 @ 1/800 sec

 

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 270mm ISO 500 f8 @ 1/1000 sec

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 270mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/1000 sec

 

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm ISO 200 f8 @ 1/1000 sec

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 200, f8 @ 1/1000 sec

 

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 200mm ISO 500 f8 @ 1/3200 sec

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 200mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/3200 sec

 

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 200mm ISO 100 f8 @ 1/400 sec

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 200mm
ISO 100, f8 @ 1/400 sec

 

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 200mm ISO 100 f8 @ 1/400 sec

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 200mm
ISO 100, f8 @ 1/400 sec

 

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm ISO 200 f8 @ 1/800 sec

Red Fox in Winter, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 200, f8 @ 1/800 sec

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Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm

 

One of my most favorite winter subjects to photograph is the skeletal forms of tree in winter. Living in a rural area in Essa Township provides me with ample opportunities to photograph these winter trees. Often I will head out at either sunrise or sunset to photograph them and when doing so I always search for the trees that are a slight rise in the terrain so that I can compose them against the sky being very careful not to allow any of the branches on the tree to merge with the horizon. It can also be rewarding to create artistic renderings of winter trees with a variety of photoshop plug-ins. In this post I am revealing two such creations that utilized the Topaz Labs plug-in Simplify. For the two artistic renderings at the end of this blog post I selected one of the sketch presets in Simplify and tweaked the sliders until I achieved the strong black and white treatment.

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

 

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

 

Winter Tree - Topaz Simplify

Winter Tree – Topaz Simplify

 

Winter Tree - Topaz Simplify

Winter Tree – Topaz Simplify

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Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/160 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/160 sec

 

On the morning of January 25th I awoke early and made the two hour trek north to Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park to spend the day photographing Pine Martens with my new Nikon D500. It turned out to be a very productive visit with many wonderful opportunities. I mounted my Nikkor 200-500mm lens on the Nikon D500 as this combination as been proving to be quite deadly, especially given the fact that the Nikon D500 has an APS-C size sensor, therefore the 200-500mm lens becomes the 35mm equivalent of a 300-750mm lens. Here are a few of the Pine Marten images that were created during this visit to Algonquin. All images were created with the Nikon D500 and Nikkor 200-500mm lens firmly mounted to my tripod with a Wimberely Sidekick attached to my ballhead.

Please do remember to click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper versions.

Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 220mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/800 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 220mm (330mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/800 sec

 

Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/80 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/80 sec

 

Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 310mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/320 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 310mm (465mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/320 sec

 

Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 420mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/320 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 420mm (630mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/320 sec

 

Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 400mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/420 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 400mm (600mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/420 sec

 

Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 640mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/320 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 320mm (480mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/640 sec

 

Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 270mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/640 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 270mm (405mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/640 sec

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Winter Stream, Innisfil, Ontario, Canada

Winter Stream, Innisfil, Ontario, Canada

Happy New Year to all!!

This morning I arose bright and early to greet the new year with a winter sunrise over a small stream near my rural home. It was a beautiful and peaceful morning.

To view the larger, sharper version please remember to click on the image 🙂

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