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Posts Tagged ‘lake ontario’

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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Winter Details at Hatchery Falls in Muskoka, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 180mm ISO 100, f16 @ 0.6 seconds

Winter Details at Hatchery Falls in Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 180mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 0.6 seconds

I am looking forward to departing this bitterly cold winter soon for the warmth of the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac, but thought I would share a few winter detail images that I recently processed while I finish-up on some of my much needed tasks prior to my departure. Some of these photos were created last winter, but I did not have time to edit them until recently. For each of these images I used my old Nikon 80-400mm VR lens to zoom in on some of the interesting details that can be found within the winter landscape.

One more week of cold temperatures to endure 🙂 I have been in contact with some of the folks I met last year on Cayman Brac and can’t wait to get down there to photograph the Brown Booby’s with chicks as they have been hatching over the past week!

Winter Details Along the Skeleton River in Muskoka, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 185mm ISO 100, f16 @ 0.5 seconds

Winter Details Along the Skeleton River in Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 185mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 0.5 seconds

Frozen Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400 mm VR lean @ 135mm ISO 800, f29 @ 1/125 sec. Handheld

Frozen Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400 mm VR lean @ 135mm
ISO 800, f29 @ 1/125 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber bay Park, Toronto Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 135mm ISO 800, f16 @ 1/640 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 135mm
ISO 800, f16 @ 1/640 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber bay Park, Toronto, Ontario Nikon D800, Nion 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm ISO 800, f16 @ 1/250 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm
ISO 800, f16 @ 1/250 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 240mm ISO 800, f16 @ 1/800 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 240mm
ISO 800, f16 @ 1/800 sec. Handheld

 

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Icy Shoreline of Lake Ontario in Toronto Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens @ 400mm, ISO 800 f25 @ 1/800 sec. Handheld

Icy Shoreline of Lake Ontario in Toronto
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens @ 400mm, ISO 800 f25 @ 1/800 sec. Handheld

On Friday, February 6th I decided to make the drive down to Humber Bay Park along the Lake Ontario shoreline in Toronto. I often find this to be a very productive location for over-wintering waterfowl, in particular the arctic species such as Long-tailed Ducks. I did not however, anticipate that much of the inner bays of the park would be frozen over. Usually there are open sections of water amid the frozen surface that hold lots of waterfowl, but on this day there were none and the ducks were much too far out in the lake to attempt photographing them. The solution: change gears and photograph some winter details because they can be a ton of fun.

In the image above the large boulders along the shoreline that protect against erosion from the incoming waves are coated in thick and treacherous ice. In the photo below I photographed this thick ice as it was back-lit by the sun to reveal the beautiful turquoise color of the rippled ice pattern created by the waves as they crash into the shoreline.

Rippled Ice Details Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens @ 240mm ISO 100 f13 @ 1/13 sec. Nikon Polarizing Filter

Rippled Ice Details
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens @ 240mm ISO 100 f13 @ 1/13 sec. Nikon Polarizing Filter

As I made my way further along the shoreline exploring the interesting textures of ice I came upon a spot along the shoreline where it looked like the beach was made of ice cubes. It was difficult to steady myself for this handheld photo on the super slick ice, but I did mange to get a few interesting images. Below is my favorite of the ice cube beach.

Icy Details on Lake Ontario Shoreline Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR lens @ 85mm, ISO 100 f16 @ 1/160 sec

Icy Details on Lake Ontario Shoreline
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR lens @ 85mm, ISO 100 f16 @ 1/160 sec

Next on my list was to check out an area at Humber Bay where one of the small inland, man-made ponds flows back down to Lake Ontario to photograph some miniature landscape scenes of winter stream details. There was just enough cloud in the sky to diffuse the bright sun, yet allow the ice to reflect back the blue in the sky. Below is a selection of some interesting ice formations from here.

Winter River Details Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 230mm ISO 50 f36 @ 0.3 sec, Nikon Polarizing Filter

Winter River Details
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 230mm ISO 50 f36 @ 0.3 sec, Nikon Polarizing Filter

Winter River Details Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 240mm, ISO 50 f36 @ 0.3 sec, Nikon Polarizing Filter

Winter River Details
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 240mm, ISO 50 f36 @ 0.3 sec, Nikon Polarizing Filter

Winter River Details Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens @ 230mm, ISO 50 f40 @ 0.8 sec, Nikon Polarizing Filter

Winter River Details
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens @ 230mm, ISO 50 f40 @ 0.8 sec, Nikon Polarizing Filter

Winter River Details Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens @ 230mm, ISO 50 f40 @ 0.3 sec, Nikon Polarizing Filter

Winter River Details
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens @ 230mm, ISO 50 f40 @ 0.3 sec, Nikon Polarizing Filter

Please do remember to click on each image to view 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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I am by no means a computer genius and my photoshop skills are a little limited also. I tend to learn the techniques needed to achieve the results I am seeking. One such technique I have never mastered is masking to remove complicated objects or to change backgrounds for creative reasons. Recently Topaz Labs introduced Remask 3 which really simplifies the masking process. To find out more about this useful plugin click here. I have posted a couple of before and after examples of how this plugin was used to improve the photos.

In the Mallard drake images below I have always loved the pose of this duck as it came in for a landing on the frozen water of Lake Ontario in Toronto, but the white band of snow on the ice is very distracting and has always annoyed me. After masking the Mallard I was able to easily clean-up the distraction.

Before Remask 3

After Remask 3

The Brown Pelican (Atlantic Phase) below was photographed several years ago in Cuba on the island of Cayo Largo in the Caribbean Sea. I have always enjoyed this Pelican’s humorous pose, but the out-of-focus boat in the background simply ruins this image. After applying a mask using Remask 3 I was very pleased at how the software handled the fine feather details at the back of the pelican’s head. With the mask on a separate layer I was now able to remove the boat simply and efficiently.

Before Remask 3

After Remask 3

(I also rotated the image slightly and moved the bird to the right a little for compositional reasons)

 

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