Follow by Email

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Photographing Waterfowl during Winter

As the cold winter months continue here in Canada, one has to wonder when it will all end! Temperatures and precipitation amounts have been about normal here this year, so one really has to wonder about global warming!!
One of the best opportunities one can find during these months is photographing waterfowl that congregate in areas of open water. Many species of Ducks and even Mute Swans that don't migrate can be found. Use your car as a blind if possible, birds don't usually react to seeing a vehicle, but the human form almost always sends them running! The pictures I have included today have been shot with either the 300mm F4L IS or the 300mm F2.8 IS which I have just recently acquired and starting shooting with. The best glass for these opportunities are within the 300-500mm focal length range. A 1.4X converter goes along way to help you out with lenses at the 300mm end of this range. I always use Full Manual on my camera to carefully expose not only the white in some of the birds, but the snow too. It's not hard to over do it, so I do recommend using Manual, and watching what your exposure is, adjusting the shutter speed accordingly. Watch you histogram, and if your camera has the blown highlights warning feature, that can be seen once the shot has been taken, make adjustments as needed. Most of all, Have Fun !!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Wild Turkeys

One of Ontario's biggest success stories lies with the re-introduction of the Wild Turkey. In the early 1980's Wild birds from various parts of the U.S were trapped and re-located to the region. Today the wild turkey population is greater than 40,000 birds, and is a rather common fixture, even along the edges of large cities!! The re-introduction allows for hunting to take place, and given the fact that each hen produces around a dozen eggs, they are quit capable of sustaining and at the same time increasing there populations. That said, because they nest on the ground, and eggs take 6 weeks to hatch out, predation is also high. After chicks hatch, it is a further 2 weeks before they can fly, and are able to roost in the trees with the adults. Predators include Raccoons, Foxes, coyotes, birds of prey and even dogs and cats. Fortunately turkeys have a high reproductive potential, and one good hatch can significantly increase populations and offset previous poor hatches.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

How do you Photograph Frogs like that ???

One of the most common questions I get is about frog photography, and just how I manage to capture such sharpness and detail. Here I will try to address the basics, and techniques that allow myself to photograph these amazing creatures. The Bull frog on the left was shot on a nice bright sunny morning, light and good light, is very important. The second most important thing is the angle of the shot, the more eye level you can get to your subject the better. An eye level focal plane will always yield a more "real Life" result than say a shot that has been taken at a higher angle. So yes, this does mean that to make the shot you have to hit the ground and get low!! When shooting Wildlife, I recommend no shorter than a 200mm lens, and for best, and more workable results a 300-400 works best. Use a tripod, and make sure you use a fast shutter speed to get sharp images!! I define a sharp image as something that when it is view at 100% on the computer screen, it still looks rather crisp and not too soft. A sharp image is much easier than a soft one to crop, which is regularly required when shooting frogs and other wildlife. When approaching your subject, do so quietly, and avoid casting shadows over top, as this can spook a frog very easily!! Always keep the sun to your back, and shot the high lighted features of the frog the best you can. A back lit subject will lose a lot of highlights and details. Most important thing to remember, is to have fun!!