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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Prehistoric Designs

One has to marvel over the designs of some of the reptiles we share this planet with.  Millions of years have past, and yet the same design has carried on with many species of reptiles...  The Common Snapping Turtle is probably one of the most prehistoric looking Turtles we have today, along with Alligators, Crocodiles and many species of lizards.

The average size of the common Snapping Turtle is around 40 pounds, but there are some boys and girls out there that can top out at 100 pounds!!  Life span of these Turtles is anywhere from 40-70 years.  They protect themselves when threatened by striking like snakes, and the speed of a striking Snapping Turtle rivals that of any Rattle Snake!  These Turtles easily have the ability to cause serious damage, and you need to be careful handling these reptiles, because the can remove a finger very, very easily!!

While I have pointed some of the dangers of these creatures, it's important to point out, that they act like this as a meaning of defence.  They don't want anything to do with people, so stay out of their of way!!

Snapping Turtles eat a variety of things including plants.  They are also big time scavengers and will feed on anything they find dead in the water.  Fisherman have to be careful with fish on stringers, because the turtles will take advantage of this!!  They mainly feed on frogs and insects, but will also take baby water fowl and even small mammals!!  In the picture below a large Snapper actually took a young Beaver!  The Beaver's curiosity probably go the best of it, and when he got too close this turtle struck out, and decided this was dinner!!  I watched this turtle eat every last bit of this Beaver..  I commonly still see this turtle swimming around the Beaver lodge, looking or waiting for another chance to eat a Beaver!!  This Turtles is a large Adult weighing around 40-60 LBS !

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Filter or No Filter ??

Quite commonly this subject comes up, and there are those who say don't use them, and those that say do...  The arguments are that putting a cheaper piece of glass in front of a high quality lens is pointless, and can reduce image quality.  On the other hand having some protection for the lens helps save from accidental damage and costly repairs.  Both arguments have merit, and I would like to share my findings with 2 Hoya UV SMC filters.

These are high quality filters, but non the less caused severe image degradation.  In the photo below(Click for larger view), the shot on the left has no filter in place, the one on the right has the Hoya filter in place and you can clearly see the difference and lack of contrast and sharpness.  I was happy with Hoya's customer service here in Canada who gladly without question and without any receipt took back the 2 defective filters and replaced them free of charge.  However, I am now using B+W Multicoat UV's on my lenses, and so far there has been no affect on image quality, and I am very pleased with the results of these rather expensive filters...  Nobody said photography was cheap!!  LOL!

My conclusion is simple, filters can affect image quality, not every filter will, so my advice is to test your gear when adding something like a filter, because it could mean the difference between a good photograph, and a great one !!!  Don't cheap out when purchasing filters, it makes no sense what's so ever to put a $10 piece of glass in front of a $1500 lens, buy the best you can afford, name brands like B+W and even Hoya are good ones...  Most importantly, test them!!  Pick a subject to shoot on a tripod, and take shots with and without filters and review the results on your computer at higher magnifications...  The sooner you can identify any issues the better!!

Bursting at the Seams !!

I finally manged to capture a Chorus Frog, and tiny species about 3cm in length...  These are the first frogs you hear in the spring, but because of their size and the fact they like to hide in the grasses, are almost impossible to spot, even though you can hear them by the thousands!!!  This guy was all out in the open, and I was able to get some decent shots..  This is a 100% crop, shot with the Canon EOS 7D and 300mm F4L IS lens...

Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 Spring Migration Season

As the warmer temperatures come and the melting of what snow and ice we did get this year progresses, so does the return of birds either coming to stay for the summer, or just stopping by as they make the way south, or even farther north.  Many species of waterfowl congregate at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, a stop over for many, and a super chance to see some beautiful species, in great numbers.  The Redhead Duck is one species that can be seen right now, along with Great Scaup Ducks, Buffleheads, Golden Eyes, Black Ducks, Long Tails, and of course the ever popular Mallard !

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Owls Galore !!

This winter has been great for Barred Owl Photography!!  Large numbers of these beautiful birds have been sighted in the Quinte and surrounding areas...  No one is just sure why there are so many, but most likely the 2009 breeding season was a very successful one, and food sources are adequate enough to support these large numbers of feathered predators...  So far the winter has been a mild one, free of large amounts of snow and severe cold.  It is my guess that this species of Owl will continue to thrive in the area for sometime to come.  Numbers of other Owls such as Snowy's, Great Grey's, Boreal and Northern Saw Whets have not been that great this winter, most likely due to higher than normal food sources further up north, which has prevented the need to migrate this far south during our winter for food.  Here are a few pics of some Barred Owls that I have met this winter at Presqu'ile Provincial park