Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In Vegas

We arrived in Las Vegas today.  I'm waiting for Amy's flight to come in now.  I guess it's fortunate it's only 10 minutes late given the assinine reactionary 'temporary' measures that Transport Canada has put in place.

On a side note, making this post was an interesting experience, I have no wifi so I had to use my iPhone (insert complaint on lack of thethering with AT&T).

Technical specs: Canon 5D2, 17TS-E, f/4, 1/10s, ISO 2000.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Least Bittern

I went out to Shoreline Lake this afternoon and spotted this Least Bittern hiding in the reeds.

The Least Bitter is a beautiful Heron and sadly my images don't do it justice. First, they like to hide in the marshes between the reeds. Second, the lighitng today was terrible as it became overcast when I arrived at Shoreline lake. Still, most people walked by me wondering what I was so interested in since it was almost impossible to see with the naked eye because of how well camouflaged it was.

I haven't posted any images in the last week because I haven't been out shooting. I have been busy culling and editing my images from Bosque. I am almost done culling over 4000 images down to about 500 and doing rough edits in Lightroom. I've identified about 150 images that will go through Photoshop that will make up my final Bosque gallery. Still trying to take my time with the images to make sure I get results I'll be happy with.

Technical Specs: Canon 7D, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/5.6, ISO 800, (1/125s, 1/200s).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Family Portrait Session

Just before I left for Bosque last week, I did a portrait session for Nathan, a friend from work. We'd just bought a great lighting set up for our photo lab at work (3 very powerful Profoto lights, wireless radio triggers, softboxes, backdrops, etc...) and I was looking forward to giving it a try.

Kids are always a challenge to photograph but a lot of times they make for the most interesting subjects.

The Profoto D1 is such a fantastic light, this was the first time I was able to work with such high end lighting and they were just superb.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ducks Galore!

I left Socorro yesterday morning and had some time to spend in Albuquerque before my flight, so I went looking for ducks, especially the Wood duck. I managed to get a few images I am pleased with. From the top we have: Male Wood Duck, Ring-necked Duck, American Coot, Mallard and finally a male and female Wood duck.

Technical Specs: Canon 7D, 800 f/5.6 IS.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cranes in Flight

The skies were very clear at the refuge this morning. Unfortunately that meant that the sunrise would be boring, which it was. The blast off was also somewhat impressive so I went over to crane pools with the goal of getting a specific crane shot. The image I was after (the one above) was one with a crane in flight and with the mountains in the background making up the lower third of the frame. I was delighted to see I had succeeded when I got back to my hotel room and saw this image.

Here is another with two cranes. Both of these images were taken with the 7D and 100-400 handheld. There is definitely something wrong with the colors, I'll have to reprocess these images once I get back and can use the Lightroom 2.6 and ACR 5.6.

With my big gun (the 800) and my 1Ds3 I was after a different type of image, one with a crane about to take off. I managed to get a few successful images and the one above is one example.

My time here has just blown by so quickly, I feel like I just arrived and I've gotten my bearings and enough practice to not completely suck with the birds in flight. One the one hand, I'd love to stay another 4 or 5 days but I'm also looking forward to seeing Kim and Maya. I'll definitely have to return, hopefully next year.

Another Day at Bosque

Another day at Bosque yesterday; though it wasn't the greatest, I still managed to get a few decent images. Today is my last day here, off to shoot now and then gotta drive back to Albuquerque.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bosque Images from Sunday

Yesterday was a decent day at Bosque. The morning started off with some very nice colors from the sunrise. After witnessing a couple of blasts at the main refuge, I quickly went out to the Crane ponds and managed to see another blast.

The evening was a little disappointing as we got no interesting color from the sunset. However, it was quite windy and so the crates were 'parachuting' down a lot which is how I managed to capture the last image.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Big Telescope

I drove up to the VLA late this morning. Seeing one of these dishes up close is impressive and I was glad to discover they have a visitor center at the site along with the opportunity to get close to a dish.

These are of course radio telescopes and the VLA can be arranged in multiple configurations, the dishes get moved by a dual railway system. In one configuration using interferometry, the system can resolve the resolution equivalent to a 20 mile dish!

It was a lot of fun to visit; also parts of the movie Contact (one of my favourites) were filmed here; I'd recommend visiting if you are in the area.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 100-400.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Arrvied at Bosque

I arrived at Socorro, New Mexico this afternoon. I'll be here until Tuesday photographing migrating birds at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Reserve which is located about 18 miles away.

I've been looking forward to visiting this reserve for quite some time. Its a popular spot with nature photographers during this time of the year, though most other bird photographers I know were here 2 weeks ago.

Folks were saying that the Snow Geese and Crane numbers have been rather low this year. That may be true, but from what I saw this afternoon, there's still a lot more than I get to see at home.

I'm looking forward to another 2 1/2 days of shooting here. The morning will be a lot colder (and I'll have to get out there around 5) but I'm prepared. If I have time I may try to swing by and get a look at the VLA which I'm told is nearby.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Its rained on and off the last day or so here in the valley (there's a nice dusting of snow in the surrounding hills too). Yesterday evening, I took the opportunity to do some macro photography with the fresh rain drops.

I used the new 100 macro with IS for this image and the IS turned out to be very useful. I wanted the aperture to be small enough to get decent depth of field (I chose f/11 and the light level was low enough that even at ISO 3200 I was only getting 1/25s shutter speeds. In the past I would have had to use a macro flash to get more light but that also changes the natural lighting in the scene. However the IS was very effective and the resulting image is critically sharp even at the relatively slow 1/25s shutter speed.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 100 Macro IS, f/11, 1/25s, ISO 3200.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Begone Vile Hot tub!

Since moving into our house over 3 years ago, two things have in the backyard have bothered Kim and myself. For Kim it was the hot tub, for me the hot tub and the arbor. Today's both were demolished and hauled away and the image above is the blank slate that will soon be our back yard.

A couple of images of what was there before.

The lack of love for the hottub should be obvious. We never use it, it takes up a ton of space, lots of water and continuous electricity to keep it warm (in theory, that was shut off a while ago). The arbor got no love from me because it felt very claustrophobic and cut a lot of light from reaching our back room.

Once everything was removed the yard seems so much more spacious and the extent to which the hot tub made our yard appear cramped became obvious. Now to start designing our new back yard.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 17 TS-E, f/13, 1/60s, ISO 400. Panorama of 5 images with shift.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Pelicans at Alviso Wetlands

Yesterday afternoon I went by the Alviso wetlands after work.

Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of activity and the lighting was terrible.

I managed to get a couple of Pelican images, but nothing great.

Technical Specs: Canon 7D, 400 DO, f/4, ISO 1250, varying shutter speeds.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Leaf Texture

There is a white bird of paradise planted right outside the kitchen window. In the early morning light the leaf has a wonderful translucency to it, but up close the fine texture is also visible. I had a chance to try and capture that texture with this image.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 100 IS, f/8, 1/2s, ISO 400, depth of field stack of 14 images.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trees and Fog

I went on a walk this morning at Bechtel Park (in Waterloo). The weather was generally miserable, foggy and somewhat damp.

However the photographic opportunities were pretty good.

A happy tree?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Great Blue Heron takeoff

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/5.6, ISO 400, 1/1000s - 1/1600s.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coastal Sunset

Technical Specs: Canon 7D, 100-400 @ 400mm, f/5.6, 1/2500s, ISO 800.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


These are my four favourite Pelican images from Sunday.

Each has been processed differently from the others and each has characteristics I like.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Great Egret

Another image from Sunday. One thing I like about this image is that the branches in the water give the composition much needed balance.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/5.6, 1/4000s, ISO 400.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Otter pup napping

On Sunday, I organized a trip to visit Elkhorn Slough for the photo club at work. The weather was pretty nice, the light was great and a good time was had by all. I took a lot of images and I'm slowly going through them. I think I'll do something a little different with these images and take my time in processing them (I usually like to get through the processing as quickly as possible).

This image of the sleeping Otter pup on its mom is probably one of my favourites, hence its the first.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/5.6, 1/800s, ISO 400.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Handheld macro fun

I received my Canon 100 f/2.8L IS Macro lens today. It was already getting dark by the time I got home but those were conditions I wanted to try the lens out with anyway.

I took a several images with both the 1Ds Mark III and the 7D. Color rendition is good, its too early to say but I suspect the 180L macro is still a touch better. Sharpness is excellent even wide open on bodies, though the vignetting is more pronounced on the 1Ds3.

Bokeh is quite pleasing and the autofocus is quite fast for a macro lens so this should be quite suitable for portraiture.

Canon claims the new image stabilization is good for 4 stops at normal shooting distances and 2 stops at 1:1 macro distances.

So far I have little reason to doubt these claims, the image stabilizer is very effective (the image above was taken hand held at 1/13s and is tack sharp even when viewed at 100%).

There are a lot of questions people have, will this be a better (or at least as good a) lens than the 135L for portraiture, where does this leave the 180 macro and whether image stabilizer in a macro lens even makes sense?

The answer, I don't know, yet. So far this does seem to be a fun little lens to use and I think the image stabilizer will give people who like handholding more options.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gorilla portrait

One last image from Sunday, there's something about this image that I really like.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Another one from Sunday.

I can't wait to get the chance to photograph these guys in the wild.