Monday, February 14, 2011

Algonquin Park - Boreal Chickadee, marten, redpolls and snow angels....

Photo 1 (above): Boreal Chickadee, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. Canon EOS 1D mark IV;  500mm/4 lens & 1.4x; 580EX fill flash at -1 2/3; ISO 800, 1/125s @ f/5.6

Boreal Chickadee has been on my photo wish-list for more than a decade. I've tried to call the shy and secretive species in for photos, but my best efforts had only resulted in shots of blurry blobs hidden behind branches. So when I read a bird report last week about several Boreal Chickadees coming in to a new suet feeder in Algonquin Provincial Park, I packed my gear and headed to the park. The birds were more cooperative than I ever could have hoped for. Over the past two days, I shot hundreds and hundreds of photos of the chickadees. Bird photography bliss!   

To make things even more exciting, an American Marten dropped in for a visit to the suet. It's not often that I end up shooting two new species for my collection in one day.... well worth standing around in a cold, damp spruce bog!

Photo 2 (above) American (Pine) Marten, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Canon EOS 1D mark IV; 500mm/4 lens; ISO 640, 1/250s @ f/4

There were a few flocks of Common Repolls coming to birdseed at other locations in the park, so I put up a platform feeder setup (on a spare tripod) with a snowy spruce branch as a perch and enjoyed some great finch shooting! The birds were so close and approachable, I was shooting full framers with a Sigma 300/2.8 lens. 
Photo 3 (above): Common Redpoll on spruce, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Canon EOS 1D mark IV, Sigma 300/2.8 lens; 580EXII flash at - 2 1/3; ISO 400; 1/250s @ f/4

I always try to end my day at a scenic spot to photograph sunset. Thankfully picturesque lakes are in abundance along Highway 60 in Algonquin Park. In the last light of day, I ran onto the snowy lake and made a snow angel for the photo. Using a Canon TC-80N3 remote time, I set it to shoot an image every 10 seconds, allowing me to be my own snowy supermodel.  What fun!

Photo 4 (above): Self-portrait making snow angel, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Canon EOS 5D mark II; Sigma 24-70/2.8 lens; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer and 3 stop reverse ND grad; ISO 400; 1/10s @ f/20; Canon TC-80N3 remote timer


  1. I love these shots!

  2. You have convinced me about the LB polarizer. I just got one. I am looking forward to trying it out! Thanks for the nice reminders of the beauty that can be found in the middle of a Canadian winter.

  3. Wow ethan! you truly inspire me to go out and take more shots of birds too! great photos as always!

  4. Thanks Mike and Jesse!

  5. Awe that's My Algonquin!!!! she is gorgeous no matter what month or season!!!!! Nice Martin shot!!!!and Love the Snow Angel!!!!!My friend Richard Mann passed on your blog link! Just Love it!!!!!

  6. Thanks Susan! Say hi to Richard for me!

  7. Hello all,

    Many people come to Algonquin to catch a glimpse of a wild animal or take in the beauty of a spring wildflower. Bear, moose, deer and wolves are common to the Park and the first three are commonly seen by visitors right along the road. Thanks a lot....

    Wildlife Photographer

  8. Great blog! Super photo of the Boreal Chickadee! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Thanks Ritchie and Steven!

  10. Anonymous7:41 PM

    Beautiful shots Ethan!

  11. I like the marten capture! He must've been a pleasant surprise! Very nice work.

  12. Anonymous11:26 PM

    Great job! I was wondering how your dust shield was working on your camera. I was looking at the reviews and everybody thought that there were junk.


  13. Thanks for the comments!
    LW, I have a real problem with sensor dust and it's especially problematic for HD video (it's all but impossible to get dust out of video). From my experience, the dust-shield does a good job of keeping dust from getting to the sensor. However, dust builds up on the dust-shield itself and you have to clean/replace them periodically, which is a pain. I view this product as a disposable item. It's not the ideal solution for preventing sensor dust, but it's one weapon in the arsenal.
    cheers, Ethan

  14. Anonymous12:11 PM

    Thanks, I really appreciate it. Your pictures are great!

  15. very nice shots..... I like birds, have an interesting dof... nice work..

  16. Absolutely beautiful images. Especially love the shot of the Chickadee.

  17. Oh,
    To sleep on the ice!It is too blossom.What a bird supper model.too good.On the other hand the photograph of beautiful small Boreal Chickadee feel nice to the eyes.