Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I shot a LOT of pictures over the past couple of weeks!

...I don't just mean I ran my shutter count 'way up, I shot a bunch of different venues:
  • I was at Carden Plain twice, first with Dr. Ron and Mark and Dan Busby and Bill Bunn, and then on my own on my way into Toronto the following weekend.
  • Ron and Mark had a "concept shoot" in mind. Wendy Evenden from the Haliburton Highlands Camera Club volunteered as a model. I admit I was exhausted and couldn't concentrate on this one by the time we got out there to shoot.
  • The HHCC had an outing to Wintergreen for brekkie then on to some interesting venues. I haven't even LOOKED at those pictures yet!
  • I drove around during the week looking for those elusive turtles that are supposed to be on the roads. 
  • I was at the Canadian Raptor Conservancy in Vittoria, Ontario (north shore of Lake Erie, near Port Dover). I've looked through some of these pictures but I'm not done yet.
  • On the way home, I set up a shot at a wind farm south of Hamilton.
Phew! I'm going to break this into more than one blog post so I can do justice to some of the images. But before we start...

A different Medium

OK, look at the trees on the left in the header picture. Then look at this:

Painted with my own hot little hands with a brush and oil paint on canvas.   

Big thanks go out to Harvey Walker who is a great artist and an able teacher! Anyone who could teach me to paint has to be good. Obviously I didn't achieve the nuances of shape and shadow that he does but every artist does things his or her own way, right? I still need to do the sky (without messing up the trees!) and I might add a rock in the lower right foreground for balance. the bush on the right was added out of my imagination. See, you can do that when you paint! Artist's license...

Birds, birds, birds!

You know those photographers you see running around out there wearing camo and toting howitzer-sized lenses and heavy duty gimbal mount heads on sturdy tripods? There's a method in their madness. It's hard to get those shots without all that gear. When I went to Carden Plain with Ron & Mark et al, Mark loaned me a Tamron 150-500mm lens and I have to say, I'm sure the lens was better than I was but I didn't get much usable stuff. You need practice with these long lenses.

You also have to know how to spot the birds you're hearing. I didn't do too well! Nevertheless, here are a few shots from that day, all at 500mm.

Male red-winged blackbird making himself heard 

Here's another one (not at Carden, on Highway 48 near Bolsover) catching his lunch. I normally wouldn't post a blurred image but what a great story! He took off from a power line in pursuit of this bug.

Same bird, after his snack, making his presence known to the ladies. 

We were at the Osprey nest on Highway 48. Weird things going on there: THREE birds, not two. Odd... 

I got some tree swallow shots but not much else that day. Dan's pictures blew me away, I'm not posting mine! When I came back the next week, there were a few more birds around: I noted a total of 12 species. Here are some pictures:

Tree swallow. Nowhere near Dan's but this is unedited, straight out of the camera. 

Wilson's Snipe. It's a pretty tight crop, I only had my 70-200mm plus 1.7x converter and I shoot full-frame. 

Barn Swallows. I shot from inside the blind on Wylie Road (all the shots were on Wylie Road). They weren't quite so close together, I used content-aware-scale to bring them in. The guy with the twigs hung onto them for the longest time. In hindsight, I wonder if the nest was in the blind and he couldn't come in because I was there. 

This Spotted Towhee was down near the end of the road. According to the book, the Eastern Towhee is uncommon (saw some of those too, but no usable photos) and the Spotted one is even rarer. Again, a pretty tight crop, he was far away. 

Carden Plain, or the Carden Alvar is not just about birds. This is Wylie Road about 5 or 6 km in. A charcoal sketch done with Topaz Impression. 

On my way out, I spotted this Kildeer. He was closer but flew off when I brought up the camera, so this distant shot was the best I could manage. Apparently there were Bobolinks in the same field but I couldn't spot them. 

Ron's Concept Shoot

As I said, I was really tired and couldn't buy into the concept shoot Ron (and Mark) were trying to achieve. A musician in the woods. Anyway, I did a couple of shots while we were there:

Wendy, Mark and Ron. 

Perhaps as Leonardo da Vinci might have envisioned it 

Stay tuned until next week! And just as a teaser,

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