Sunday, December 13, 2009

Photo Tip: Slow Shutter - Flowing Water

There's not much to write in this blog, the video says it all


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Coyotes 1, Brandon 0

Like I mentioned in the previous blog, I was going to attempt to get some shots of coyotes today. And attempt I did, however results were sub-par. I was given access to some property in Langley from a buddy of mine and had a lot of confidence about the area. As soon as I arrived I did a quick walk around the property to see what I was dealing with. A creek ran through the right side of the property and through the back as well so that was a good sign. The creek area was also pretty thick with trees so this spot had some real potential.

I brought my camouflage, blind, predator call, and long distance lure just to maximize my chances of seeing one of these animals. The long distance lure was placed, my blind was set up, I was fully camouflaged and just as I was about to sit down, I saw it. An animal coming from the left side of the property. I believe it was a Bichon Frise and it belonged to the neighbour. That pretty well ended my attempt at coyote photography for the day.

I couldn't just give up like that though. I had driven all the way to Langley from North Vancouver so I decided to make the most of it. I've heard coyotes had been spotted at a park close to where I already was so I decided to head there. Once again I put on my camouflage, grabbed all my gear and headed down a trail. The trail went through a forest and opened up into this field that looked really good. Just as I started to set up, 3 people walked by. Another place that wouldn't work.

If you're wondering why I gave up so quickly at these spots, it's because I need to call in the coyotes. This involves using a predator call which is made to sound like a rabbit in distress. This call is very loud and it needs to be if it's going to attract coyotes, however with it's high volume, it also attracts overly curious people and pets. Once people and dogs start showing up to my location, my location is blown.

The more I take photos, the more I realize that things don't always go as planned and you just have to move on and try to make the most of the day. I could look at this whole coyote thing as a negative, but I'm turning it into a positive because now I know where NOT to go to look for coyotes in the future. Speaking of which, if any of you reading this know somebody who has some land in the lower mainland of BC that has coyotes on it, please email me at and there may be a print or 2 in it for you.

Now to talk about how I made the most of the day. Since I was already in the Langley area, Ladner wasn't too far and it's always a great place to at least get a few shots of some waterfowl. Even there I didn't have much luck with photos, but I still managed a few. Here they are...

This photo isn't anything special, I just thought it illustrated the struggle between webbed feet and ice.
1/1500 @ f/5.6, ISO 400, 400mm

A Mallard making an icy landing.
1/1500 @ f/5.6, ISO 400, 400mm

Since I mainly try for flight shots, this is my favorite photo of the day. Enjoy.
1/1500 @ f/5.6, ISO 500, 400mm

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sunrise, Cranes, and very few Eagles

Early this past week the weatherman was calling for perfect weather this weekend. And I can't be the only one out there that is a little skeptical when I see the weather forecast 5 days in advance. However for some crazy reason, the weatherman was right and today it was beautiful out. It was freezing cold, but just blue skies and sun. With the weather being so rainy/overcast here all winter, I had to take advantage of such a nice day and decided to take pictures from sunrise to sundown.

I'm not sure why, but for sunrise photos I decided to head to a place an hour from North Van...Tsawwassen. This meant getting up extra early, but once I was finally awake, it wasn't so bad. I was originally planning on taking some photos of the sunrise itself, but with no clouds in the sky, it was pretty bland. However the scenes I did capture really illustrate the temperature and the beauty of the sunrise.

1/4 @ f/22, ISO 200, 17mm, -2.0ev

1/250 @ f/11, ISO 400, 60mm, -1.0ev

1/60 @ f/22, ISO 400, 60mm

After the sunrise photo session I headed to Ladner once again to try for some waterfowl shots. I did accomplish my goal and managed a few waterfowl photos, but some Sandhill Cranes caught my attention so I ended up focussing on them. I don't have many shots of the cranes so it was a hard opportunity to pass up.

Here are some of the waterfowl shots. This first one is a female Wigeon on thin ice.

1/1000 @ f/5.6, ISO 500, 400mm, -0.5ev

This one actually came out pretty cool. It's a mallard taking off from the ice.

1/2000 @ f/5.6, ISO 400, 300mm, -0.5ev

This ended up being the only decent flight shot of the day. It's a female Pintail.
1/1000 @ f/5.6, ISO 400, 400mm, -0.5ev

I started off the waterfowl photos with a shot of a female Wigeon on thin ice, so I'll close it off with this shot of a drake Wigeon in the same situation.

1/1500 @ f/8, ISO 400, 400mm, -0.5ev

Alright so now for the Sandhill Crane shots. There's not much to say about them so enjoy.

1/4000 @ f/5.6, ISO 500, 400mm, -0.5ev

1/4000 @ f/5.6, ISO 500, 400mm, -0.5ev

1/4000 @ f/5.6, ISO 500, 400mm, -0.5ev

1/1500 @ f/5.6, ISO 500, 400mm

From Ladner I made the long trip out to Harrison to hopefully find some eagles. Eagles were found, just nowhere near the shoreline. There were some really strong winds and most of the eagles took advantage of them and just soared high above the valley. The ones that weren't in the air were sitting on some sand flats out in the middle of the river, far beyond the reach of my lens.

The photo below is the only decent shot I got in Harrison. It's 2 eagles attempting to lock talons. They didn't end up locking up but if you look closely you can see the one eagle is actually grabbing onto the tail feathers of the other.

1/4000 @ f/5.6, ISO 400, 400mm

Well that does it for my December 5th photo blog. Tomorrow I'm in search of some coyotes to photograph so keep an eye out for that blog...maybe a video too.