Sunday, January 31, 2010

Panama birds - part 2

Here are a couple of photos I shot today..... common birds that are coming into fruit feeders at the lodge where I'm staying. I put the stick over the feeder and the birds started using it almost immediately. 

Both photos were taken with an EOS 1Ds III; 500/4 IS & 2X teleconvertor; 580EX fill flash

Need sleep.... I'm baked from the heat!

Top photo: Red-legged Honeycreeper
Bottom photo: Blue-gray Tanager

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Panama jungle birds!

Here's a quick post from the small town of Gamboa in the Soberania National Park area of central Panama. I've been having a great time photographing tropical birds including a mix of common and difficult to shoot species. My body is still adjusting to the persecuting heat and humidity - especially on the long daily walks in the jungle carring 40lbs of camera gear. The "Balboa" beers at lunch are well-earned and an aspirin after dinner helps to dull the pain in my back and shoulders!

I'm being hosted/guided by Advantage Tours Panama  and my guide Rey is finding lots of cool things to point my lens at. Check back for more photos soon... I have tons to share!

Photo 1 (below): Common Potoo, Metropolitan Park, Panama City
EOS 1Ds mark III; 500mm f/4 IS lens; 580 EX II flash (fill at - 1 2/3); Exposure: ISO 500; 1/80s @ f/7.1
A huge thanks to guide Roberto for leading us to this incredible and well-camouflaged bird! 

Photo 2 (below): Red-rumped Cacique in Metropolitan Park, Panama City

EOS 1Ds mark III; 500mm f/4 IS lens with 1.4x TC; 580EX II fill flash at -1 2/3; Exposure: ISO 640; 1/160s @ f/5.6

Photo 3 (below): Spectacled Owl, Gamboa, Panama
EOS 1Ds mark III; 500mm f/4 IS lens & 1.4x TC; 580EX II fill flash at -1 2/3; Exposure: ISO 640; 1/40s @ f/5.6

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Countdown to Panama!

I'm packed and ready to catch a few hours sleep before my early morning flight to Panama. It's stressful traveling as a photographer these days.... so much gear to worry about with new security procedures and baggage regulations. Here's what's going with me:

In the first photo....
The large black dufflebag on the left is my checked luggage which contains clothing, tripod & heads, some camera accessories. The bag is durable, light and fully packed I'm able to just squeeze in under the weight restriction! I use clothes and spare shoes as padding to protect the tripod & other gear.

The black camera pack on the right is my carry-on containing all of my lenses, bodies, binoculars, etc. This is a new pack I just bought this past week - a Gura Gear "Kiboko" bag, which is large enough to fit all of my  basic camera gear (including my 500/4 lens)  yet extremely light so the pack doesn't add much weight. I love this bag! See second and third photos below for closeups of how the camera gear is packed in it.

The third bag (blue daypack) contains my laptop and a few basic travel items(chewing gum, magazine, Blackberry). This  my 'personal item' allowed for carry-on.

I'm off to bed for a short sleep. Check back in a couple of days to see some photos of Panama birds, wildlife and landscapes!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Icicles on the Georgian Bay shoreline in Bruce Peninsula National Park

The weather forecast for Saturday said sunny; my girlfriend and I had no other plans for the was obvious what we had to do! Before sunrise, we hiked out to the Georgian Bay shoreline to spend the day photographing the icicles hanging from the cliffs in Bruce Peninsula National Park. Our friends with kids joined us and they had a great time sliding around on the ice!

Photos taken with EOS 5D mark II & 17-40mm lens with a 580EXII used for fill-flash.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Photocrati Fund: $5000 grants for photo projects

Check out this new program that provides $5000 grants to non-professional photographers working on important humanitarian and environmental projects. The grant is intended to identify great up-and-coming photography talent and give them a high profile platform for carrying out a worthwhile project. The distinguished board and panel of judges include some of the most celebrated environmental and cultural photographers in the world: Steve McCurry, Michael "Nick" Nichols, and Art Wolfe. [these are 3 of my favorite photographers]

Here's a link for more information. Note that the deadline for applications is March 15.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Red-tailed Hawk and Barred Owl photos

Just returned from a short trip to eastern Ontario with my girlfriend. My aspirations were to photograph raptors; she was keen to check out the cross-country ski trails. There wasn't much snow on the trails, but the temperature was certainly 'wintery' at -19C on Saturday morning! The raptors - a Red-tailed Hawk and Barred Owl - co-operated beautifully! It was a fantastic weekend overall and as a bonus I had a chance to  catch up with some photo buddies, as well as meeting some other great bird photographers.

Here's a couple of initial photos:

Photo 1: Red-tailed Hawk
Canon EOS 1Ds mark III; 500mm f/4 IS lens; ISO 800; 1/640s @ f/4

Photo 2: Barred Owl
Canon EOS 1Ds mark III; 500mm f/4 IS lens; ISO 400; 1/500s at f/5.6

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Icicles along Georgian Bay shoreline

A quick post with a couple photos of the awesome icicles hanging off the Niagara Escarpment cliffs at Indian Head Cove in Bruce Peninsula National Park. It was worth the trek out there to check on the ice conditions. Will be watching the skies - ready for good light for the next excursion. Yes that's me in the first photo. Next time I'll be wearing a red jacket, of course! 

Both photos EOS 5D mark II; 17-40/4 lens (handheld) and Singh-Ray LB waring polarizer. Photo of me taken by D Carey.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Big Tub Lighthouse (Tobermory) in winter glory!

A -27C windchill made it awefully difficult to find the motivation to get out of bed for a photo shoot this morning. The cold air temperature was causing a heavy mist from the surface of Georgian Bay which froze on the surrounding shoreline trees. It was a magical scene that could not be missed. I drank a big cup of coffee, dressed up in about 5 layers of clothing - including my very unfashionable, but extremely warm "Elmer Fudd" hat - and drove down the street to the Big Tub Lighthouse.

Strong winds were blowing spray all over everthing, including me and my camera gear. I found a spot in the trees that offered a bit of shelter and went to work. To prevent blurring of the moving branches, I clicked the shutter during calm periods between gusts of wind.

Photo 1: Canon EOS 1DsIII; TSE-24mm II tilt shift lens; Gitzo tripod & Really Right Stuff ballhead; mirror lock up & cable release. Exposure: ISO 400; 1/20 @ f/18

Photo 2: Canon EOS 1DsIII; TSE-24mm II tilt shift lens; Gitzo tripod & Really Right Stuff ballhead; mirror lock up & cable release. Exposure: ISO 400; 1/30 @ f/16. I was so cold that my brain wasn't working well.... I should have shifted the lens more to correct for the lean of the lighthouse in this photo.

I'm hoping for some sunshine before the frosting is gone from the trees.... that will be the ultimate for the scene!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

I'm back in Tobermory after a bit of travel over the holidays... first to visit my Mom for Christmas and then to hang out with my friends on eastern Georgian Bay for new years eve. My holidays have been full of food, wine & socializing... and my camera has not been out much.

There were about a thousand Bonaparte's Gulls in Wheatley Harbour, just a short drive from my Mom's place... so I spent a few hours photographing them around Christmas. The light conditions were fairly dull, but it was a perfect chance to shoot them in flight. It pays to practise your technique on common species - this keeps your skills up so you're ready when a great opportunity presents itself.

Photo 1: Bonaparte's Gull (winter plumage) in flight, Wheatley Harbour, Ontario.
Canon EOS 1DsIII; 500/4 IS lens; Wimberley II head and Gitzo tripod.
ISO 400; 1/1250s @ f/4; Vertical image cropped from a horizontal frame.

It was snowing quite hard today while driving home from my friend's place. I could not resist stopping to shoot this snowy scene on the Nottawasaga River.

Photo 2: Nottawasaga River in snow - near Wasaga Beach, Ontario.
Canon EOS 1DsIII; 24-70/2.8 lens; ISO 200; 1/160s @ f/8; handheld. Converted to Black-and-white in Photoshop.

I've been working on the plans for my upcoming Panama trip lately, and the more research I do the more I get excited about it. Panama has an incredibly high diversity of birds and I'll be traveling with some friends who are excellent photographers... so we're going to have a heck of a trip. Will tell you more about it later.

Wishing you all the best in 2010!