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Posts Tagged ‘wildlife photography’

 

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

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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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Saw Whet Owl_5477

Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

Late on the morning of November 12th I finally located my first Northern Saw Whet Owl. I have tried several times over the years to locate and photograph this tiny species of owl, often coming close but never succeeding. After scouring a small cedar grove for about an hour I paused to rethink where I should look next when I noticed two bright yellow eye staring back at me, not more than 3 feet from where I stood. Alas, I had found a Northern Saw Whet Owl. As the owl was roosting within the thick boughs of the cedar trees it was tricky to get a clear photograph so I decided to frame the owl in such a way that also tells a story about its habitat.

My go-to lenses for these images were the Nikon 200-500mm Lens and the Nikon 28-300mm Lens. The Nikon 200-500mm lens was deployed to capture tight portraits of the owl hidden within the branches of the cedar trees. The Nikon 28-300mm lens was the main lens used as I was able to easily capture full body images with minimal foreground clutter. The minimum one foot focusing distance of the Nikon 28-300mm lens makes it a very versatile and functional lens. Often the Nikon 28-300mm lens is trashed by the “so-called” internet experts, but this lens in the right hands, with the right vision, and proper photographic technique yields quality imagery everytime!

Below are a few additional images of the Northern Saw Whet Owl I photographed yesterday.

Saw Whet Owl_5557

Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

Saw Whet Owl_5812

Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

Saw Whet Owl_5484

Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

Saw Whet Owl_5568

Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

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Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 100, f11 @ 1/60 sec.

With each and every excursion I undertake into natural environs the negative effect of humans on our natural world is sadly noted. From the highly destructive nature of ATVs, to the illegal dumping of garbage, degradation of the environment through vandalism or trampling, and to photographers engaging in unethical practices for personal financial gain have become commonplace within our wild places. It is time for a change.

This is where the ‘League of Landscape Photographers’ comes into place. They are a group of artists that have bound themselves to photograph by a code of ethics. To better protect our wild places, the flora, and the fauna, developing a code of ethics in which we conduct ourselves is of the utmost importance to protect the places we love.

In my own photography I have always maintained a high ethical standard whereby the welfare of my photographic subject rises above any photographic opportunity. For me it is always about the experience first, with resulting images being an extension of the experience. Whenever possible I photograph the degradation of our environment and publish resulting images on social media to help raise awareness of such concerns. I show respect for the environment with each visit and to each individual I encounter along the way, hoping they will exhibit the same level of respect to me, to others, and to the environment. Education is also paramount to the protection of our environment, therefore, informing others on how the negative effects of their behaviour will impact a given situation is brought to their attention whenever it is safe to do so.

Please visit the League of Landscape Photographers by clicking here.

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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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Wimberley Sidekick_4769

As a landscape photographer I do not really have a need for a full gimbal style tripod head, however, on more than one occasion I do recall wishing for such functionality in a tripod head with some of the wildlife encounters I stumble upon while shooting landscape imagery. Enter the Wimberley Sidekick. The Sidekick is designed to convert any ball head into a gimbal-style tripod head in seconds and is available from Wimberley. The Sidekick is light weight at 1.3 lbs and can easily fit into a gear bag or the large pockets of cargo-style pants (as I do with my Sidekick). I find the Sidekick to be particularly useful when I am using my Nikon 200-500mm lens. It would also be highly useful for other folks that are using other super-zooms such as the Sigma 150-600mm lenses or the Tamron 150-600mm lens. Although super-zooms are designed to be relatively light weight they do still weigh in at 5-7 lbs (when handholding this gets heavy and can cause arm strain after awhile, especially if you suffer from tennis elbow), by adding a Sidekick to a ballhead the strain of supporting the gear is completely eliminated and you can effortlessly track and photograph you wildlife subjects.

Wimberley Sidekick attached to ballhead with Nikon 200-500mm lens mounted on a Nikon D800

Wimberley Sidekick attached to ballhead with Nikon 200-500mm lens mounted on a Nikon D800

When fitting a super-zoom set-up to the Wimberley Sidekick you will need to slide the lens’ tripod foot in the Sidekick’s quick release mechanism to find the optimum balance for the gear depending on what focal length you have the lens zoomed too. To effectively balance your rig you may need to purchase a long lens plate such as those available from Wimberley here. I am typically using the lens at it’s 500mm focal length for the wildlife subjects I am photographing, so balancing the set-up is usually required once and then I am good to go. To use this set-up you must flop the ballhead into the vertical position and then insert the Sidekick and lock the ballhead’s quick release mechanism. Position the lens and camera in the Sidekick’s quick release mechanism, balance the set-up and lock down the quick release mechanism. Once proper balance is set you can loosen the ballhead’s panning knob and the Sidekick’s five-lobed soft touch knob. You should now be able to freely and effortlessly move the gear around, in all directions, without fear of the lens flopping up or down because it is perfectly balance within the gimbal style set-up.

The convenience of this small, light weight accessory to convert my ballhead into a gimbal type tripod head is a huge advantage for me in the field. I never leave home or head down a trail without it. I can make the switch from photographing landscapes to wildlife in seconds, which can often translate into getting the shot or missing the shot.

Below are a few images that I have created over the last several months of using the Wimberley Sidekick with my Nikon 200-500mm lens:

Do click on each image to view the sharper, larger versions.

My dog Koko.  She is often my guinea pig for new photo gear when the need arises.

My dog Koko.
She is often my guinea pig for new photo gear when the need arises.

 

Common Loons at Tiny Marsh Elmvale, Ontario, Canada

Common Loons at Tiny Marsh
Elmvale, Ontario, Canada

 

Blue Jay Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, CAnada.

Blue Jay
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.

 

Gray Jay Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Gray Jay
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

 

Pine Marten Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Pine Marten
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

 

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter Thornton, Ontario, Canada

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter
Thornton, Ontario, Canada

 

Red Squirrel Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Red Squirrel
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

 

Common Loon Horseshoe Lake, Ontario, Canada

Common Loon
Horseshoe Lake, Ontario, Canada

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While I find photographing animals in the wild to be a much more fulfilling and rewarding experience, controlled subjects can also offer unique opportunities. I will often attempt to capture images of a given subject that I know will be virtually impossible for me to capture in the field, such as the Bobcat portrait above. I also tend to select subjects that are threatened or endangered. Here is a collection of some of my favorite images of controlled subjects. Hope you enjoy this collection of photos.

This Red Fox was trying to sleep while keeping a watchful eye on a pair of young Siberian Tigers were playing in an adjacent enclosure.

I highly doubt that I will ever see a Wolverine in the wild so when the opportunity to photograph one in a controlled situation presented itself I jumped at the chance.

A young Siberian Tiger hissing at its litter mate while playing. Would you really want to be this close to a tiger in the wild with this menacing look?

A Lioness photographed near my home at a sanctuary that gives exotic pets a home when there owners realize that big cats don’t make good house pets.

A beautiful, captive, Swainson’s Hawk spreads its wings in the wind for a pleasing pose.

Great Horned Owl

Turkey Vulture – ugly as they may be, vultures are one of the most beneficial species on the planet – nature’s clean-up crew.

Lynx – I’ve seen one Lynx in the wild, in Ontario, in my lifetime. It ran across a highway with no chance to photograph it.

Eastern Screech Owl – difficult to find and photograph with a pleasing background.

Green Water Dragon – by using a flash I was able to eliminate many elements in lizards enclosure and give the illusion that it was photographed at night.

A highly endangered Cuban Crocodile photographed at a breeding facility in Cuba. These crocodiles are now thought to only exist in Cuba’s Zapata Swamp.

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