Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve!

It's New Year's Eve.... so let me start by saying Happy New Years! I'm hanging out with my best friends... we're drinking unbelievably great wine and eating spectacular food. Bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin lusciously cooked via fondue. Life is good!

Today I bought a new camera, which doesn't happen very often. (about once every 3 years). I don't tend to get excited about gear, I'm the guy who preaches "It's not about the gear...". However, after my trip to Kenya, where my buddy Craig ( dusted me with his 1D4 body, I have had a new camera on my mind ever since.

So I stolled down to Downtown Camera in Toronto today and picked up a brand-spanking new Canon EOS 1D mark IV. First off, let me give a kudos to that store.... co-owner Harry dealt with me personally and gave me a very good deal. I like smaller indie stores with personal service.

I'm sitting here on New Year's eve, several glasses of good wine down the hatch, playing with the 1D4. It's a wild camera with a frame rate that puts machine guns to shame. The next few days I'll be chasing birds to work out the AF.... more to follow!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Use your Mom as a model

I'm catching up on editing photos from the past year and stumbled across a folder from a photo shoot with my mom last fall. Let me start by saying that my mom is a hell-of-a-good sport. Whenever I visit her, she agrees to go out for jaunts in the woods, where I "happen" to carry a camera with me. Often there are props such as binoculars or bicycles along. And these mother-and-son bonding excursions tend to occur when the light is good. I think she may be catching on that these are photo shoots and she's the model!

What's the point of this? Time is precious, so I try to make the most of every situation... essentially to kill many birds with one stone. Hanging out with my mom or my friends also presents a great photo opportunity. Friends and family are some of your best models!

Photo 1 (above): Birdwatcher (my mom) at Wheatley Provincial Park, Ontario. Canon EOS 5D mark II, Canon EF 70-200/4 IS lens (handheld), Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer. Exposure: 1/160s @ f/5.6, ISO 400.

Photo 2 (above): Bicyclist (my mom) at Wheatley Provincial Park, Ontario. Canon EOS 1Ds mark III, Canon EF 24-70/2.8 lens, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer. Exposure: 1/10s @ f/10, ISO 400.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays! Wishing everyone a stocking full of camera gear and great photos!
I'm finally caught up on the jetlag from my recent Kenya trip, so you can expect to see some new photos coming soon to this blog.
And here's a tip.... after recent storms, the Georgian Bay shoreline of Bruce Peninsula National Park is coated with ice.... the best I've seen in many years. I'll be going out there shooting as soon as I'm back from visiting family for the holidays. If you can get up there to shoot, the photo opportunity is amazing!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kenya various

I'm sitting on the shore of Lake Baringo, a world famous birding location. It's my last night in Kenya, so I'm bracing myself for the return to cold and snow! I've been having trouble posting to the blog during the trip due to poor cellular internet connections. It's been easier to post to facebook, so click on the link to the right to check out a few more updates from the past couple of weeks. 

Here's a few random shots for the trip....

Photo 1 is a Hamerkop attempting to choke back a large toad in Lake Nakuru National Park.
Photo 2 is a Giraffe feeding on acacia trees on Crescent Island.
Photo 3 is a Hippo with flamingos in the background, Lake Nakuru National Park.
More details and photos once I get back home to my desktop computer and speedy internet!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Photo 1 (above): Lions playing before the evening hunt, Masai Mara, Kenya. Canon EOS 1Ds mark III, EF 500mm f/4 lens & 1.4x teleconvertor

We departed from Masai Mara National Reserve this morning after several days of shooting in the park. To say that it was awesome is an understatement. There were lions and giraffes and hippos and wildebeast and so much more!! If you dream of photographing wildlife in plentiful quantities, of many species, and very close, then book yourself a trip to Kenya right now and go to the Mara.

There are three of us photographing together - myself, Craig Blair aka "the Canon Rumors guy" and friend Mike Gaudaur who lives in Kenya and is most generously hosting us. In the Mara you have to stay in your vehicle (there are lions to eat you and cape buffalo to charge you), so we had Mike's Toyota Prado SUV jam packed with camera gear.... there were big lenses bouncing all over on the bumpy roads.

Photo 2 (above): Lions relaxing before the evening hunt, Masai Mara, Kenya. Canon EOS 1Ds mark III, EF 500mm f/4 lens & 2x teleconvertor. We saw lions every day in the Mara; I likely have hundreds of photos of them to edit.

Photo 3 (above): Vervet Monkey, Masai Mara, Kenya. Canon EOS 1Ds mark III, EF 500mm f/4 lens & 1.4x teleconvertor. We ate a boxed lunch at the Mara River after photographing hippos for a couple of hours. A group of Vervet Monkeys quickly swarmed us and picked through the remains of our lunch boxes.

Photo 4 (above): Caracal, Masai Mara, Kenya. Canon EOS 1Ds mark III, EF 500mm f/4 lens & 1.4x teleconvertor. We lucked into this cat, an elusive and rarely seen species. We each managed to fire a handful of photos before it took off to start hunting for the evening.

Photo 5 (above): Giraffe and Zebra, Masai Mara, Kenya. Canon EOS 1Ds mark III, EF 500mm f/4 lens & 1.4x teleconvertor. The Mara has magnificent vistas of the African savannah ecosystem, all the better when there are animals posing in the frame!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Masai Mara: zebra and lion

Hi all, cellular internet connection is very slow here in Masai Mara, so this is a quick post of a couple of shots from our first day in the reserve. The wildlife photography is incredible here, best I've ever experienced. We can barely keep up with the downloading and backing up each day. Will post more once I get a decent internet connection. Shot about a thousand images of lions yesterday.... yawns, cubs playing... and an adult male only 2m away from me.... wow!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Amboseli National Park, Kenya - part 1

I just spent two awesome days shooting in Amboseli National Park. There were so many different species of mammals and birds that it was completely overwhelming, especially since it's my first trip to Africa. I probably shot a hundred gigabytes of photos and video and I've barely had a chance to review the images, let alone edit any. I'm completely exhausted but couldn't resist posting a couple early favorites. Tomorrow we're off to Masai Mara National Park for four days... really looking forward to it!

Photo 1 (above): Yellow (Chacma) Baboon, Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Canon EOS 1Ds mark III; EF 500/4 lens. This baboon sat next to our van for about a half hour and stared at me (apparently wanting a handout of food). I nicknamed it "Bob-boon" and came to the realisation that I'm a baboonatic. Sorry, the lack of sleep causes me to make bad puns.

Photo 2 (above): Crowned Cranes, Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Canon EOS 1Ds mark III; EF 500/4 lens. Crowned Cranes were all over Amboseli and we had great chances to shoot a range of photos of them, but my favorites were of pairs together.