Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!
I'm off to the Pelee area to spend a few days visiting family, but thought I'd sneak in a quick blog post before hitting the road.

I haven't been out shooting much in the past couple of weeks, which explains the lack of blog posts. Here's an update on what I've been up to.

The hard-drive on my main computer failed a couple of weeks ago and getting that problem solved has been a huge pain. I didn't lose any photos..... they're all backed up in triple redundancy (including off-site copies) but the process of getting the problem diagnosed, ordering a new drive and reinstalling all of my programs and files has been very time consuming. It's all the more challenging when you live in a small, remote town and the nearest computer shop is an hour and a half away!

This caused a backlog of photo submissions, which I'm now just about caught up on. For all of those aspiring photographers out there who romanticize about what it's like to be a freelance photographer, the reality is that it's a heck of a lot of time at a computer!

OK, I'll confess that it hasn't been all work lately..... winter is the time of year when I socialize more, catch up on movies and chill out.... all of which I have done plenty of lately! After travelling/living in a van all of last year, I've been catching up on lots of movies. Last week I saw the mega-budget movie "Avatar". I liked the special effect, but it went way overboard in terms of action sequences. Last night I rented "The Cove", a documentary about the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. This is one of the most remarkable films I've ever seen.... beautifully filmed and produced, with a powerful and provocative message. I highly suggest watching this film.... two thumbs up from me.

On another note, you might wonder what a guy like me gets for Christmas. My Mom bought me a set of Pocket Wizards.... an FM wireless system for triggering cameras and flashes remotely. It's an awesome gift that I'll put to very good use with some creative wildlife photography! And I couldn't pass up a good deal on a pair of Swarovski binoculars for myself.... there's nothing wrong with spoiling yourself sometimes!

The most exciting news I have to share is that I'm heading to Panama next month for a bird photography trip. I've heard only great things about Panama's birdlife, wildlife and scenery, so the trip planning is fun and I can't wait to get down there!

Well that's enough rambling on..... eggnog and holiday food are waiting.

Have a fantastic holiday season and great photo opps in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Varied Thrush in Tobermory !!!!

Varied Thrush, Tobermory - December 16, 2009
EOS 1Ds mark III, 500/4 IS lens & 2x teleconvertor; ISO 800; 1/125s @ f/8
Gitzo tripod with Wimberley II gimbal head

My neighbours called me a couple of days ago to report this rare bird visiting their feeder. The bird has continued to hang around for a couple of days and was seen today on the annual Christmas Bird Count. This is just a record shot to confirm the ID.... I'll be going back to get more photos for my collection (I need to use a flash to improve detail on the dark face)! Although only about 100m from my yard, I can't seem to lure the bird over to my feeders!

By the way, sorry for the lack of posts lately. The hard-drive on my main business computer crashed a few days ago, and although I have backups of everything.... it's been a pain having to restore all the files. Aside from this, I've been out socializing lately more than blogging.... tis the season!

Check back soon for some bird photos and winter landscapes!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

2010 Great Ontario Outdoor Adventure calendar released

The 2010 Great Ontario Outdoor Adventure calendar has just been released by Ontario Tourism. The calendar features many of my photos, including the cover image of Flowerpot Island, the main July image and a Birds of Ontario feature with each month. Approx 300,000 copies will be distributed through various ways including: with the Jan/Feb issue of Canadian Geographic magazine, at the 2010 Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show (February) and at select MEC and Bass Pro stores. The calendar is complimentary.... to receive your free copy, visit  or call 1-800-ONTARIO.

The cover photo is from Flowerpot Island in Fathom Five National Marine Park near Tobermory, Ontario. The weather was better than I could ever have hoped for... glassy calm with beautiful morning light! I shot this handheld, laying in the back of a boat just above water level with a Canon EOS 5D mark II body, 24-70/2.8 lens and Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer lens. The exposure was: ISO 400; 1/200s @ f/9. The models were extremely cooperative, patiently paddling by for many repeat attempts to get all of the elements lined up perfectly for the image(a huge thanks  Karen and Lauren!). Drop by the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show in February to see this photo as a huge backdrop for the Ontario Tourism display.