Friday, November 23, 2012

A Photo I Really LIke

Saw this photo at the camera club meeting last week and thought it was great!

It's one of a series of three by Karen Thompson.  You can see the others here:

Karen made the images with a Nikon D300 camera and a 105mm macro lens.  Exposure was f13, 1/200 second at ISO 400.

The White-throated Sparrow Is Hanging Around

He's an immature male and he's been hanging around the feeders for several days now.  He should be long gone to warmer places - 'cept the low tonight was only +4C, so maybe he thinks spring's coming.  He'll find out differently in a day or so.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fill-in Flash For Better Bird Photos

   Birds make great subject matter for photography.

   But photographing them can be challenging.  They like to hide in the shady spots, but a bit of fill-in flash can brighten your photos, provide crispness to the feathers and an all-important "catch light" in the eye.  That little detail will bring a bird portrait to life.  Actually, any portrait of a living animal, including people.
   If you can figure out how to make a flash unit work with your camera in full daylight, you're in business.  There are several ways to do this, depending on your flash unit itself and the synchronization system of your camera.  If there is enough interest in a how-to-do-it post, I'll do a lesson on the various ways and the various supplemental hardware that may be necessary.
   The above photo was made in my garden with a 300mm telephoto lens and a small auxilliary speedlight on a bracket.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Birds Are Moving Through

Had two new winter birds behind the kitchen this morning - A Tree Sparrow and a big, bright Fox Sparrow (didn't get a photo of him - yet).

   Tree Sparrow, Spizella arborea.  He'll gather a bunch of friends and, with luck, they'll stick around till spring.

   White-throated Sparrow, Zanotrichia albicollis, the Canada bird.  Still a few of these around, but not for long.  They'll be heading south now.

   Bunch of Juncos here, some of whom, with luck, will stay the winter.  I'll try to get some photos.

   The Fox Sparow made only a brief stop yesterday, so I expect it isn't the same one who spent the winter here last year.  I'll keep the camera ready.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How To Screw Up A Photo Shoot - Method 1

My main camera is a Nikon D700. I love it. Especially the auto focus feature. Most of the time.

One problem. It has three settings; manual, continuous and single.

I like to use the single setting. That way I can focus on an object, hold the shutter release button halfway down, recompose, and know that the important subject will be sharp in the final image.

But it’s easy - real easy - to accidentally move the selector lever to continuous. Which mens that the autofocu is working whenever the shutter release button is pressed. Thus, when I think the prime subject is sharp, it may well not be. Case in point below.

Lesson learned; check ALL those little switches and levers all the time.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cockshut Time

This evening, October 26, 2012, we enjoyed a most pleasant opportunity of sundowners on the swing on the back deck in a balmy temperature exceeding 22C  (about 70F) as darkness approached.

   "Cockshut time" is that final few minutes between twilight and dark when woodcock fly low to the ground, or soar over the poplar trees.

  Theories abound, but none are proven.

  The phenomenon is observed most often in spring, during the mating season when the birds exhibit their unique melodic mating dance performance - and again in autumn, when the length of daylight matches that of the spring mating period and the birds behave, once again, as in spring, as so many other birds do at that time, particularly owls and grouse.

   In Europe, at one time, the birds were netted at this time, and various dictionaries erroneously applied the term cockshoot to the net itself, and claimed that the proper spelling was cockshut, believing that the word referred to something which shut in the birds.

   From this came the phrases cockshut time or light, referring to evening twilight, or nightfall, when woodcock are likely to fly in the open. This alternate spelling is now more prevalent than the original, though usually occurring as in the previously-mentioned phrase, or as a surname, than as a reference to the original, obsolete hunting practice.

Monday, October 22, 2012

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

   Most of the oak and maple leaves are now on the ground, but that doesn't mean the opportunity for some fine fall colour photos is over.
   Look down.
   Tip:  Flat lighting while the leaves are still wet just after a rain produces brighter, more saturated colours.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Show The World A Bit Differently

OR - fun with a WA lens.

Here's a fun project (I hope you'll find it fun) that should illustrate how to make some interesting images using your wide angle lens.

Use the widest lens you have - 24mm will do, something even shorter you may find even more interesting.  (The images below are a few snaps made behind my house this morning with a 17mm lens.)

Turn off the automatic focus if your camera has AF.  Set the lens at it's widest aperture.  Set the focus at the closest focus point on the lens.

Take a walk and make some images - do it by focusing ONLY by moving the camera until the nearest object in the field of view is sharp.

Lemme know if you had fun, and got any new ideas.

Here are my images for today:

BTWay, these images have had no manipulation, other than opening as single-image hdr and overall sharpening./

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Little Colour Can Help A Lot

Sometimes just a touch of colour can add the accent that makes a favourite photo sparkle.  Image of the Upper Bonnechere River, Ontario.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Week In The Woods

My son and I are away for a week in the Upper Bonnechere Valley of Ontario with a fine bird dog, couple of shotguns and some good reading - which we'll likely need, given the atrocious predictions of the weatherman.

Really looking forward to making toast on the top of an old kitchen wood stove and sharing a drink with our good friends Mary Lou and Jack Turner.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Country Fence In Morning Light

Early (or late) light is the best.

Buy an enlargement of this image.

Get out of bed.  That's when you'll find the interesting scenes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall Colour Is Starting In The East

Purchase a print of this image

Within the past couple of days the fall colour in Eastern Canada is suddenly here.

This is what it can look like where I live in Eastern Ontario - sometimes you get really, really lucky and have an early snowfall as well.  

I'm sure the colour is coming on everywhere in the east right now.  Algonquin Park, Quebec's Eastern Townships, Vermont's Mountains, Maine, New Hampshire (think Dixville Notch and the Androscoggin Valley!) and many other locations.

In the high country the colour will likely peak in a week or so and hold for perhaps a couple of more weeks, although likely not quite that long.

Time to get out there and shoot.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bad Weather Makes Good Photos

  Waiting For The Storm by Paul Raymond
          Buy a fine art quality enlargement of this image.

There's a fundamental rule for stock photographers.  Keep your camera with you.  'Specially in bad weather, when interesting things happen.

Here's anothe rule - want to have more interesting photos?  Stand in front of more interesting things.

This image is a perfect example of an interesting event.  I'm proud to present it on behalf of my good buddy Paul Raymond.  He just takes pictures for fun.

There's an even more important rule for stock photogs.  Another time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Spotted Salamander
Ambystoma maculatum

  Enlargements of this image are available for sale.

Have you ever looked up to a salamander?

Many years ago when I was starting a young family, my wife was unemployed and we had a couple of young children to feed on a junior draftsman’s pay. I was working on a BSc at night university. One requisite course was English 101 - Composition.

   When I had a free-choice writing assignment I would always write about what I knew best - hunting and fishing.

   After the prof had corrected the grammar (I’ll never meet another misplaced modifier without fondly remembering that lovely lady) I thought I’d try to sell some of my work. First submission
was to a local outdoor magazine - $24 - and it made our Christmas.