Monday, May 18, 2015

Spring Fever

Spring has sprung, but I'm feeling a bit uninspired these days. Does it show? I'm a little distracted. One of the reasons is that I'm investing a lot of creative energy in other media: painting, and re-learning to play guitar. When I pick up the camera, I feel like I'm 'phoning it in'. Time to get motivated again!

Topaz Labs just announced that TOPAZ SIMPLIFY is on sale for 30% off, reducing the price to $27.99 for the month of May. Use this link and enter the code "MAYSIMP" at checkout.

Turtle Power

As I hinted last week, I finally managed to get some turtle shots! For some background, there are eight species of turtles in Ontario and all but one of them are on the endangered list. The one that isn't is the Painted Turtle:

Every spring, the turtles venture out of their marsh homes in search of food, nesting spots and mates and often cross roads to find them, where they often meet with untimely ends at the "hands" of car and truck tires. In Haliburton County, organizations are in place to monitor the populations. Other people see turtles all the time, but I never actually have... despite driving around on appropriate roads in search of them. Until last week, when I came across this hefty Snapping Turtle specimen:

I should have added something for a sense of scale, but this guy's shell is probably half a meter long. I was tempted to remove the piece of grass on his head. Only for a second, though: it would be a good way to lose a hand! 

Birds of Prey

I also mentioned last week that I had visited the Canadian Raptor Conservancy with a group of 10 friends from here and from Richmond Hill Camera Club. We had a great time, weather was good, the birds were cooperative! And impressive as usual.

Others got better shots than I. Sometimes you're not in the 'groove' and that was me that day. I succeeded in getting many in-focus, well-exposed images but my timing was off, especially when they flew a bald eagle over the pond, and several of my colleagues got great shots where the bird's wingtips brushed the water. Mine weren't so exciting.

So I don't bore you, here are a couple more and that's it.

Baby Great Horned Owl 

Aplomado Falcon showing off 

We went into Port Dover for lunch (worth it! The pickerel and perch at the Erie Beach Hotel is worth the trip) then headed home. Along the way there was an apple orchard that had caught many of our eyes, so we stopped. Again, I was a bit disappointed. I think I was more concerned with the long drive ahead of me and didn't give it the time I needed. However I did get a few 'keepers'.

This is what caught our eyes. You'd think there's be some killer shots here! 

A bit of a painterly treatment from Topaz Impression helped this one 

This was what I had in mind when I stopped 

And here's a shot of John Kot doing his thing, with a little help from Impression/Monet. 

I also stopped at a wind farm, with the intent of doing a slow shutter exposure. That didn't work out, but here's a composite shot that didn't look too bad:

Half a dozen exposures blended in Photoshop

More Birds

To close for today, here are two more bird shots from Carden Plain (I was back there on Saturday) that I liked. I was wearing my springtime fragrance, "eau de Deep-Woods-Off". Yep, the black flies were out!

Eastern Phoebe 

Barn Swallow 
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