Monday, June 30, 2008

Update - SOLD - Tripod Heads (Wimberley & Kirk BH1)

I'm selling two of my ballheads which have given me years of great use: 1) a Wimberley version 1 gimbal head and 2) a Kirk BH1 ballhead. Here are details of each. Send me an email if interested (

1) Wimerley Head (v1). Asking $450 cdn plus shipping. I've used this head for all my bird and wildlife photography for the past 5 years. The gimbal style head is ideal for 500mm or 600mm lenses, making it effortless to track moving subjects.
This head is in perfect working condition and has moderate cosmetic wear (scuffs) from regular use. The new version currently sells for $720 + tax at Vistek; or approx $595 US + tax & shipping direct from Wimberley). Has quick release platform, but you'll need to get your own Arca-style plate to match your lens. These plates are readily available from companies such as Really Right Stuff, Kirk Enterprises or Wimberley.

2) Kirk BH1 ball head. Asking $250 cdn plus shipping. This is a classic ball head used by many nature photographers - I use it everyday as my standard head for landscape, macro, etc.... with all my lenses. It's rated to support fairly heavy camera systems (I think approx 50lbs) and I have often used it with my 500mm and 600mm lenses. Mine is in perfect working condition and has minor cosmetic wear. New from Kirk, these are selling for $355US (+tax & shipping). This head has a quick release platform for Arca-style plates - you'll need to get one to match your lens or camera body. The plates are readily available from companies such as Really Right Stuff or Kirk Enterprises.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Incredible luck (pileated woodpecker, black bears)

The photo gods were smiling upon me yesterday. I was planning to wake up at 2:30am (seriously) to drive up to Killarney Provincial Park for sunrise, but when my alarm clock went off I could not drag myself out of bed... so I slept in and left around 7:30am. My laziness paid off. While leisurely driving northwards, I stopped for a break en route and stumbled across a Pileated Woodpecker nest right in the parking lot at the rest stop! I've been wanting to shoot a natural Pileated nest with chicks for a decade (have shot them in hydro polls before). This was a good start to the day!

After a couple hours with the woodpeckers, I continued up to Killarney. On the highway into the park, I found a black bear with 4 cubs feeding right along the road. This was my first-time photographing wild black bear cubs - so you can imagine how ecstatic I was to spend about 5 minutes with them at close range before a "bear jam" of traffic scared them away.

Photographing Pileated Woodpeckers and Black Bears in the same day ranks as a wildlife grand slam for me. And to top off the weekend, I spent the rest of my weekend along spectacular stretches of the Georgian Bay shoreline shooting landscapes. I'm too tired to post those photos now (have been up since 4:30 this morning) so check back soon - I'll get them up when I catch up on my sleep!

Pileated Woodpeckers at nest
EOS 1DsmIII; 500/5 IS with 1.4x or 2x TC. Fill flash at -2 1/3

Black Bear cubs, Killarney Provincial Park
EOS 1DsmIII; 500/5 IS

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Meadow birds

I woke up early this morning to focus on breeding birds (central Ontario is a great place to live because of the diversity of breeding birds). At about 6:30am it started raining, so I killed time by driving around checking out other future potential photo locations. As soon as the rain stopped, bird activity picked up significantly and I photographed these meadow species.

Clay-colored Sparrow
EOS 1DsmIII; 500/4IS + 2x TC; fill flash at -2 1/3

Indigo Bunting
EOS 1DsmIII; 500/4IS + 1.4x TC; fill flash at -2

Monday, June 02, 2008

Carden Challenge - we won!

This past weekend I competed in the 'Carden Challenge', a 24hr birding marathon (objective to identify as many bird species as possible in a defined area during the 24 hr period). The event raised approx $15,500 which will go directly to conservation efforts to protect the Carden plains area.

Our team consisted of myself, Mark Weircinski (absent from photo) and Greg Stroud. The weather during the challenge was crappy - it rained a ton and then became windy. But thanks to an unbelievable amount of junk food, we maintained an aggressive pace and won the event by identifying 119 species - edging out the next team by only 2 species.

I'm still catching up on my sleep and my blood sugar levels (from all the junk food) are returning to normal.

Thanks to all the people who generously sponsored me for the event - it was a great success!