Saturday, December 29, 2007

Life is good!

Today ranks among my all-time best days of bird photography. It started with another airboat charter ( to shoot Snail Kites. We also got great shots of Bald Eagle and Belted Kingfisher.
For the afternoon, I shot at the Viera Wetlands and immediately after arrival lucked into a Bald Eagle in great evening light. I ended the day shooting artistic silhouettes of Glossy Ibis flying against a red sky.
What a day!

Snail Kite carrying Apple Snail (Lake Kissimmee):

Bald Eagle in flight (Lake Kisssimmee):

Belted Kingfisher at Lake Kissimmee (my first decent shot after trying for 15 years!):

Bald Eagle in evening light (Viera Wetlands):

Glossy Ibis in flight after sunset (Viera Wetlands):

Friday, December 28, 2007

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

We spent most of today shooting at Merrit Island NWR. The bird gods were with us....
All shot with EOS 1d2N; 500/4IS with 1.4 or 2x TC. Small crops on a couple of these to improve framing.

Hooded Merganser male:

Great Egret:

Florida Scrub Jay:

Osprey with fish. The midday light was harsh when I shot this, so I used the drop in Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer. Doubt I would have shot this without the polarizer.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Florida's signature birds....

Today was a glory day of bird photography. We started with an air boat ride that put us up close to Snail Kites and then moved on to shoot Brown-headed Nuthatches and Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. I've been trying to shoot these three species every year I visit Florida and this was my first successful attempt.

All with EOS 1D2n; 500/4IS; 1.4x or 2x TC.

Sandhill Cranes:

Snail Kite:

Snail Kite:

Brown-headed Nuthatch:

Red-cockaded Woodpecker:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Loggerhead Shrikes

I spent a very overcast morning today shooting Loggerhead Shrikes. Tomorrow we're heading out on an airboat to photograph Snail Kites - I can't wait!

All with EOS 1D2n; 500/4 IS (some with 1.4x convertor); 580EXII (fill flash).

That's me in central Florida pinewood forest yesterday, shooting Pine Warblers:

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Florida birds...

I'm sitting in a hotel parking lot hijacking their WIFI connection.... so will keep this short. Shooting is great - having a blast with the 500/4IS lens - this is my first serious bird photography trip with that lens and it's incredible.

Here are a few shots from the past couple days. I have so many more to post... next time I find a good internet connection.
Happy holidays!

Wood Stork (at Loxahatchee NWR):

Turkey Vulture (at TM Goodwin marsh):

Tricolor Heron reflection (at Loxahatchee NWR):

Pine Warbler (at Three Lakes WMU):

Carolina Wren (at Three Lakes WMU):

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Key Deer to Green Cay

Today was an incredible day of shooting, starting with more Key Deer and ending at Green Cay with some of the best wetland bird photography I've experienced. I'm tired and have barely started to process the birds - more to come soon!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Key West

I've been having lots of fun here in Key West - a mix of photography, suntanning with my Ipod cranked and eating tons of seafood. I certainly wouldn't consider Key West a great destination for nature photography (underwater excluded). There are a few tame waterbird opportunities and the requisite palm trees on the beach, but otherwise it's over-developed. Not to mention all the crazy hippies, who gravitate towards big lenses and don't stop talking. The culture is interesting down here, to say the least.

Tomorrow we head north and I'm looking forward to some very good bird photo spots.

Here are a few I shot yesterday and today.

1) Palm trees: EOS 1DmIIn; 17-40mm; Singh-Ray Warming Polarizer LB

2-3) Black Skimmers in flight: EOS 1DmIIn; 500f4IS

4-5) Double-crested Cormorant stretching wings: EOS 1DmIIn; 500f4IS with Singh-Ray Warming Polarizer LB (retrofitted to Canon drop in polarizer).

Happy shooting!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Key Deer - southern Florida

Hello everyone - it's been a long time since my last post. Sorry! I've been consumed with moving (to the Midland, Ontario area) and getting my life and office back in order.

I escaped the snow today and flew to Florida to join my folks for a holiday trip. We're in Key West for a few days then off to central Florida, a hub for many great bird photo locations.

Driving to Key West this afternoon we stopped to look for Key Deer, a small endangered deer endemic to the southern Florida Keys. Our timing was perfect, the deer were active at sunset feeding along the roadsides. I only had about a half hour of shooting, but was pleased to get these - my first photos of the species.

EOS 1DmIIN (loaner from Canon); 500/4IS
Prepared on a brand-new, uncalibrated laptop. Let me know if they look ok.

Keep your eyes out for many more posts over the holidays!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

River Otters - still there!

I went back again this morning, hopeful that the otters would be there, and indeed they were. The light was a bit better than last night (although still overcast). At one point the curious otters swam almost right up to me. The vertial portait above is full-frame, the others (2 otters in frame) I cropped a bit. 500/4IS; 1.4x; Rebel XTi; ISO 400
Photographing otters is a great way to start a day!

Friday, November 23, 2007

River Otter

I lucked out this evening to stumble across two otters popping up through holes in the ice, close to shore. The light was fading fast and my heart was beating like mad - this was the best otter photo opp I've ever had. I set up the gear in seconds and waited for them to resurface. The otters were backlit and it was getting dark, so I had to shoot at ISO 800 and accept slow shutter speeds. Out of about 100 shots, only a handful were sharp. Lucky for me, this was one of them - with the otter looking right at me. I'll definitely be back checking this spot over the next few days!

500/4IS; Rebel XTi (still waiting for my new bodies); ISO 800; 1/15s at f4

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Porcupine and Argentina photos

Since getting back from Argentina I've been busy with with work, getting ready to move next weekend and buying new camera gear to replace the stuff that was stolen on the trip. I've barely had a chance to get out shooting, although I lucked into this cooperative porcupine near my place recently.

Below that are some Argentina pics (I'm finally starting to process the raw files from the trip). The first photo is of what Argentina is famous for - beef. There are cows everywhere, and often on the roads, so you have to be ever vigilant when driving.

The second shot is my dad and I at the farmhouse where he lived in central Argentina, until moving to Canada at age 4. The house is now abandoned, but visiting it was a trip highlight and very nostaligic.

The last photo is classic Argentine scenery in the northwest - high-altitude desert on the edge of the Andes. I can't wait to get back there again and spend some quality photography time in those hills.

Hope all is well, and happy shooting!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Bohemian Waxwings - 500mm handheld !

I was out birding today and lucked into a flock of about 250 Bohemian Waxwings. I've been wanting to shoot this northern species for years, but have never had a good chance. The birds were jumpy, so I decided to try to stalk the flock with my gear handheld. With a slow and cautious approach, I was able to get very close. This was the first time I've seriously tried the 500IS handheld, and I was amazed to get sharp photos in the overcast light, especially given the effective focal length of 800mm (factoring in the 1.6x factor of my temporary Rebel XTi body). There's no way I could have done this without an Image Stabilized lens.

Techs: ISO 400; f/4; 1/500s

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Finally time for a post!

Sorry - I haven't been very active with this blog since returning from my Argentina trip! I've been working on getting my replacement gear, and preparing to move at the end of the month. I'll be relocating to the east side of Georgian Bay (Midland area), which strategically places me in a more central location for access to tons of great photo spots (Algonquin, Awenda, Killbear, Killarney, Georgian Bay Islands NP.... all will be within reach)!
As always, I've also been keeping up with stock photo requests. This has been a banner year for me, continuing the annual growth trend in my stock photo business. My mantra these days is to 'work smarter, not harder' which I'm achieving by shooting in-demand subjects, and focusing my business efforts on a small, but high-quality group of clients. Why didn't I think of that a few years ago when I would regularly work all night on photo submissions that paid so little!

The best news is that I've been enjoying a bit of down-time lately (this is rare for me)! I read a fantastic book this week that I simply could not put down. "Let My People Go Surfing" by Yvon Choinard (the founder of the outdoor gear company Patagonia) is hands- down one of the finest books I've ever read. I'll be giving copies to lots of my friends this year for the holidays.

Today we had our first big snowfall of the year. I hate to bid farewell to autumn (my favorite season), but I don't have a choice. Here are a couple of fall shots from near my house.
Happy shooting!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fall colors in my yard

There are some pockets of fall colors still hanging on around my place, especially the staghorn sumacs which are in peak condition. I shot these in my yard this evening to test out my new Singh-Ray Colorcombo filter (a combination of the LB Warming Polarizer and LB Color Intensifier). This is a dream filter for vividly saturated fall colors.

EOS Rebel XTi; 70-200/2.8; mirror-lock up and self-timer; 4s at f/9

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Argentina photos

Here's a couple from this morning - shot in the Quebrada de Cafayate..... a striking canyon in the Andes. The scenery in the northwest of Argentina is some of the finest in the world - a dream for landscape photography. I'm amazed this place isn't on the radar of North American travelers. More photos soon!

Shot with EOS Rebel XTi; 18-55mm lens and 70-200/2.8; Singh Ray ND grads.