Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wetland birds

The evening light was sweet yesterday, but I was struggling to escape the gravitational pull of my couch. Thankfully my photo mojo won out and I drove to a nearby wetland to see what I could find. To my pleasant surprise, there was an unusually cooperative Spotted Sandpiper - a species that has alluded my camera lens for about a decade (I've seen tons, but they always take off before I can get a photo). This bird stayed put for 10 minutes for me. I shot about 120 photos as it walked around the open weed mats in great evening light.

To finish the night off there were several Marsh Wrens engaged in a territorial battle - singing back and forth to each other. They too obliged for my camera lens.

It pays to get out - there's always something to shoot!

All taken with EOS 1DsmIII, 500/4 IS and 1.4x or 2x teleconvertors.
ISO 400.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Latest pictures - Algonquin Park, Carden Plain, Oastler Lake

This is a crazy time of year for me - there are so many photo opportunities everywhere, everyday. Sometimes I get stressed out trying to decide what to shoot!
I've been all over central Ontario in the past week and am just starting to edit the thousands of photos. Here are a few early favorites.
Happy shooting!

Sunrise near Algonquin Park.
EOS 1DSmIII; 24-70/2.8 L; Singh-Ray Gold'n' Blue Polarizer and 3 stop hard edge ND grad

Prairie Smoke wildflower on the Carden Plain
EOS 1DSmIII; 24-70/2.8 L; Singh-Ray 2 stop hard edge ND grad

Common Yellowthroat warbler, near Kirkfield
EOS 1DSmIII; 500/4 IS; 2x teleconvertor

Kayaker at Oastler Lake Provincial Park
EOS 1DSmIII; 24-70/2.8 L; Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer

Kayaker at Oastler Lake Provincial Park
EOS 1DSmIII; 24-70/2.8 L; Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Autumn in Algonquin Photo Workshop - Oct 4-5

Hello friends,
Just a heads up that I am hosting a photo workshop "Autumn in Algonquin Park" on October 4-5. This is prime season for fall colours in Algonquin Park, one of the most majestic and cherished parks in Canada.
For full details, please visit:
The tour is already half full, so book quickly to reserve a spot!

Also, please note I am currently planning a number of photo workshops/tours over the next couple years. As details are confirmed, they will be posted here:

Thanks and hope you're having a great spring!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Point Pelee National Park - songbirds

Sorry for the lag in posts lately. I'm recovering from what must be the worst cold/flu I've ever had. I was literally incapacitated for several days, half wasted on cough syrup and stuck on my couch watching crappy day-time television during the rare moments when I wasn't in a deep, medicated sleep. I was so bagged, I didn't even have the energy to move the 3 feet from my couch to the computer to process my RAW files from Pelee last week. Being sick during prime spring season isn't easy for a nature photographer!

I've got my photo mojo back now, so here are some of the results from last week. I had a couple productive days at Pelee with of a pocket of low, cooperative warblers. This was my first spring using the 500IS lens for warblers, and with the full-frame sensor camera I was worried that the 1.4x TC would not yield enough magnification. My good friend Chris Dodds ( assured me that sharp results were possible with the 2x teleconvertor, even in shaded situations with relatively slow shutter speeds (using IS and good long-lens technique). He was indeed correct and I was pleasantly surprised by the high ratio of sharp shots.

I'm off to shoot spring vegetation and rivers on this drab and wet weekend - so check back in a couple days for some more photos.
Hope you're having a great spring!

Magnolia Warbler
EOS 1DsmIII; 500/4IS; 2x TC
ISO 400; 1/125s at f/8; fill flash at -2 1/3

Black-throated Green Warbler
EOS 1DsmIII; 500/4IS; 2x TC
ISO 400; 1/125s at f/8; fill flash at -2 1/3

Black-throated Blue Warbler
EOS 1DsmIII; 500/4IS; 2x TC
ISO 400; 1/160s at f/8; fill flash at -2 1/3

Carolina Wren
EOS 1DsmIII; 500/4IS; 1.4x TC
ISO 400; 1/200s at f/5.6; fill flash at -2 1/3

Veery (cropped from horizontal)
EOS 1DsmIII; 500/4IS; 1.4x TC
ISO 640; 1/20s at f/5.6; fill flash at -2 1/3

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sponsor Ethan for the Carden Challenge (Birdathon)

Hello friends!
On May 30 at 6pm, I'll be starting a 24hour birdathon to identify as many species of birds as possible in the Carden region of central Ontario. I'll be joined by teammates Mark Wiercinski, John Haselmayer and Greg Stroud - they are all serious bird geeks. We'll be competing against a bunch of other teams and our plan is simple: we're going to kick some birding butt!

The birdathon is a fundraiser to support conservation of the Carden Alvar, a highly significant ecosystem, which also happens to be one of the top locations in Ontario for birding and bird photography.

So what am I asking from you? Please support this worthy conservation cause by sponsoring me for the event. You can pledge a fixed amount or on a per-species basis. To make a pledge, simply send an email to the Couchiching Conservancy at: and tell them the pledge amount and your contact info (ie. mailing address). They'll heckle you for the cash later.

If you're still skeptical and want to know more, check out the following webpage:

Thanks on behalf of the birds!