Sunday, May 20, 2018

Best time to be a wildlife photographer!

New header picture

I know it's just a robin but Carden Plain is such a great place and this gives me the feeling of being there.

Getting Excited!

Newfoundland's only a month away! I can't believe it. It's time to start prepping for the trip: figuring out what to pack, getting the car detailed and a final service, nailing down those last few reservations, making a list of the pictures i want to make!

I still have room in the houses I've rented if anyone wants to come visit. Look at previous blog posts for details: Twillingate, Coffee Cove, Bonavista, Torbay... the trip of a lifetime! Contact me!

Camera's in the shop...

Seems I must have been a little heavy handed. Somehow the little doohickey inside the bayonet mount of the D800 that holds the shutter open got bent. Maybe by the teleconverter, maybe by the extension tubes. I'll have to be a little more careful.

I suspect the TC. Amin came over and brought his computer with Fo-Cal software. We were trying to microadjust the focus of the TC/400mm combo and this happened right afterwards (it's your fault, Amin!... just kidding). It's weird, though. The TC with the 70-200 lens works fine. The 400mm without the TC works fine. The TC/400mm works fine on the D5500. But the TC is back focusing beyond the ability of the D800 to compensate for it.

Sun Camera Service has my body and the TC. They said they hope it's not the mirror box... I should have it back soon. Good thing I had the foresight to buy a backup camera last year. The D5500 is "OK" but it's not a D800. When I get it back, I'll send the TC to Nikon to see if they can fix it. I'd love to be able to use it with the 200-400mm lens, giving me 680mm...

Update: got it back. All working, reasonable price ($160 + tax & shipping). They cleaned the camera (including the sensor), adjusted the AF and replaced the bent part. They reset all my menu items, hope I got everything back the way it should be! Sun Camera Service is an outstanding place, they do factory service for both Nikon and Canon, expert with bodies, pretty good with lenses too. Fast, good and reasonable. Give them a try. Tell Nick I sent you!

Update on house for sale

Not sold yet.  Need to find the right person. One potential buyer liked it but isn't ready to retire yet. The suggestion was to buy it as a cottage and watch your investment grow. Another person thought about buying it as a full time home but they already have a cottage further up North. Suggestion was to buy it and rent it out for the summers. This is a good place to buy for investment, prices haven't gone up like Toronto or Muskoka and you don't have to contend with Highway 400. Pass the word!

I love this time of year.

If you're a wildlife photographer, this is prime time. Landscape photographers, not so much but we're getting there!

In the past week or two, I've been to Algonquin Park twice, Carden Alvar 3 times, and just driving around the beautiful Haliburton Highlands.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are some pictures.

I shot this at the Prairie Smoke Alvar Nature Reserve. It's part of the Carden Alvar, just to the west. The Bobolinks were buzzing all around us in the grassy meadow as we walked through it. I thought this texture effect in Topaz Studio best represented the feeling of the day.

While I was there, I dropped the lens hood from my 200-400 f/4. "No problem," I thought. "I'll go on eBay and buy a new one, probably $20"... folks if you buy a Porsche, expect to pay big bucks for replacement parts. Same thing with a big pro Nikon lens. Almost $400! I went back on Friday and marched through the field, trying to execute a grid search. I was almost ready to give up when, "Eureka"! 

Algonquin Park...

You don't really get how big moose are until you have something to compare them with! OK, "Something with which to compare them".  

I did shoot the occasional landscape. This is Found Lake at the Art Centre, and that's Dr. Ron in the picture. 

Focus Stacking/Macro

It's amazing what you can see when you stack a number of closeup photos. Helicon Focus software gives you a whole new perspective!


It's Trillium time! 

This is a "Giant Water Bug". A species I didn't even know existed! 

Carden Plain

I'm not a great birder. Other people see as many species in a day as I have in my life list. People make a lot better pictures than I do. But it really is quite a challenge shooting the birds and very satisfying when you manage to entice one to come out and pose for a picture.

Sometimes it's not just about the picture. Just being there, seeing them and hopefully identifying them is enough (well, I'd also like the picture...). I bought a pair of binoculars on Amazon. Really very impressive, you can see things much brighter and clearer than looking through the camera!

NIKON 16004 PROSTAFF 7S 10 X 42-Inch All-Terrain Binocular, Green. They cost me $239 Canadian. People told me to spend more but I didn't want to. Anyway, you can return stuff to Amazon, so I thought I'd give these a try. Amazing quality. Perfect. Here's the link if you want some yourself.

On Friday, when I was back at Carden because I was looking for my errant lens hood, I met a group of real birders — you could tell because they had Swarovski spotting scopes that cost more than my camera — and they told me about a rare hybrid bird called a "Lawrence's Warbler", a cross between a blue-winged and a golden-winged warbler. I spent some time looking for it. I played the call of the blue-winged warbler on my iPhone (in the iBird app) and out he came to investigate! I got a good look through the binoculars, dropped them and picked up the camera but he was gone in a flash. I got a couple of shots of a fuzzy yellow blob. But I saw it! Large as life.

Here are a few shots I did take over the past few days.

Baltimore Oriole

Chestnut-sided Warbler. Another new one for me

Eastern Towhee

Upland Sandpiper 

Savannah Sparrow. It was a windy day!

Here's another shot of the Savannah Sparrow. Sometimes pictures like this tell a better story. 

Parting Shot

Here's a macro shot of my one and only daffodil, stacking something like 30 images together with Helicon. I plan to do more of these as the spring flowers come up here in the Highlands.


'til next time!

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