30/12/10 Filed in: Photowalk
Reflect and Learn: ISO 200, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/60
The new year is almost upon us. For some us we take this time to reflect on the year past and promise to make changes in the new one.
This image was taken in June 2010 at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. A place I still call home even though I currently live over 5,000 miles away.
To me this picture somes up what I do when a year ends. Reflect, learn and look forward to the promise of the future.
Happy New Year!
19/12/10 Filed in: Winter
Trouble: ISO 200, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/60
Christmas can almost be counted down on one hand now. Our newest family member, Goose, is experiencing his first Christmas. We weren't sure if we should put up the indoor Chrismtas tree as Goose is still very much a kitty.
We compromised and put up the tree but not very many decorations. As you can see from this picture that was a good choice. Goose likes shiny glass balls and we do find them on the floor from time to time. He is careful not to break them though.
14/12/10 Filed in: Winter
Christmas Tree Bokeh: ISO 400, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/15
Playing outside tonight with the camera. I shot this out of focus to achieve the "bokeh" effect on the lights.
12/12/10 Filed in: Winter
Frozen in Time: ISO 200, 15mm, f/4, 1/800
If you have been visiting this site regulary you might get the impression that things are very cold.
Even though it is winter and for the most part the temperatures are consistently below freezing the sun will come out and warm things up.
I was playing with my point and shot camera and noticed that the snow was slowly melting off our black roof. I was trying to catch the water droplets falling off the icicles.
One of the drawbacks of a point and shoot (Pocket Camera) is the delay from the time you press the button to when the actual picture is taken. I took a few shots and this is the best of them. I had to snap the picture before I even seen the water drops fall to the ground.
05/12/10 Filed in: Winter
03/12/10 Filed in: Winter
Lamp Post at Night: ISO 800, 35mm, f/4, 1/6
It's December and Christmas is coming up fast.
Our neighbours are finally catching the Holiday Spirit. Of the 16 houses on our block 5 of us have outdoor lights up. That is pretty high as the last few years it has been around 2-3 homes (including ours).
28/11/10 Filed in: Fall
26/11/10 Filed in: Summer
Tiny Spider on Bee Balm Leaf: ISO 200, 90mm, f/8, 1/750
A friend of mine in Australia posted an image of a white spider on her blog this week. I found it some what similar to this spider which I found in our garden this past July.
We live on opposite sides of the earth and have different climates and habitats, yet there are still some things we have in common.
21/11/10 Filed in: Winter
White Christmas: ISO 200, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/320
We have received a lot of snow this past week. We have also received January like temperatures (-20 degrees celcius). No worries about a white Christmas this year!
16/11/10 Filed in: Winter
Canadian Cactus: ISO 200, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/320
The snow has fallen. It looks like it will stay around for awhile. Sub zero temperatures all week. BBbbrrrrrrr!!
This is our small Mugo Pine covered with the fresh fallen snow. Kind of reminds me of a cactus.
09/11/10 Filed in: Fall
Poppies: ISO 400, 250mm, f/4.5, 1/250
Remembrance Day is coming up. I have a few images I want to share this week in honour of this very important day.
Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote a poem called "In Flanders Fields." From this poem poppies have become a symbol of the sacrifices men and women have made during times of conflict.
The colour of the Remembrance Day poppy is significant as well. Red is a symbol of the bloodshed of trench warfare during World War I. In Canada, we wear the poppy close to our heart.
We grow poppies in our backyard garden and they alllow me to remember sacrifices whenever they bloom. These two images I am sharing today are identical. Top image is in colour and the bottom is in black and white.
It was interesting when I did some post processing work on the original image and discovered that the red colour turned to white, which is a symbol of peace, when converted to black and white.
06/11/10 Filed in: Fall
House Sparrow on the Fence: ISO 320, 240mm, f/4.5, 1/2000
My previous post I showed you the rose leaves on the ground. This post I will show you the ones still remaining on the bush.
It has been unseasonably warm here and the animals in our neighbourhood are taking full advantage of this. The house sparrows were playing in our backyard this morning paying me no attention.
04/11/10 Filed in: Fall
Rose Leaves on Concrete: ISO 100, 10mm, f/5.6, 1/80
I was walking to the garage this afternoon to dig out our outdoor Christmas decorations today and noticed that a few rose branches had fallen to the ground. They were showing off very autumn like colours (Red, Yellow, Gold).
I grabbed my camera and picked up some of these leaves and placed them in the sun. Since it is close to winter here our sun now tracks in the southern sky and does not cross directly above us. Because of this we get very long shadows this time of year. I wanted to show these shadows so I placed the leaves on a somewhat plain background.
The top picture is after some post processing work done with an Apple Aperture Plug-in that I have talked about before. The image directly below is the original image.
Rose Leaves on Concrete Original Image: Same setting as above
30/10/10 Filed in: Fall
Halloween Scene: ISO 200, 28mm, f/6.7, 1/90
I took this shotback in late September when I photographed "The Chase" and "Falling Leaf."
There is an old cemetery on top of Michener Hill in Red Deer. I put this photo away knowing I would pull it out again for Halloween.
I did some post processing on this photo using a plug in for Apple's Aperture (Colour Efex Pro by NIK software). I used the Midnight filter to give this image a more eerie look.
Cedar and Snow: ISO 200, 11mm, f/3.2, 1/160
We got some snow this week. It usually snows just in time for Halloween.
This is a macro of our cedar tree by our front entrance which faces north. Taken with a point and shoot set on manual settings.
24/10/10 Filed in: Fall
Fall Rose Leaves: ISO 400, 35mm, f/5, 1/100
My last post showed some bright colours of summer. This image is of some rose leaves changing to their fall colours.
For some reason when I transfer the image to my website it does not look as sharp as it does on my computer. Click on the image or HERE to see a sharper image.
I took this shot today on a very overcast sky without the use of flash.
23/10/10 Filed in: Summer
California Poppy: ISO 80, 6.2mm, f/2.8, 1/125
This summer I planted some California Poppy seeds in some of our beds. One patch managed to survive without being mistaken for weeds. I am posting this shot now as they have shown to be pretty resilient to the cold fall temperatures. They flowered up until a week ago when Angela finally trimmed them back for fall hibernation.
This was taken with a point and shoot camera. I set the camera to Macro Mode and it took care of the rest.
20/10/10 Filed in: Fall
Last Leaf: ISO 200, 50mm, f/5, 1/320
Our colourful apple tree has lost all of it's leaves. I am sharing with you a photo taken last week of a leaf that is not willing to let go.
What is really weird is that the neighbour's Mountain Ash and our crabapple tree that is below it still have many green leaves. The background of this photo is the Mountain Ash's green leaves and orange/red berries. The majority of the other trees on our block are barren. It's quite odd.
American Robin with Autumn Leaves: ISO 400, 270mm, f/6.7, 1/180
American Robin: ISO 400, 270mm, f/6.7, 1/180
A sure sign of spring is when the Robins return to our yard.
Wait a minute, it's autumn!
We are still experiencing warm weather and it must be fooling the robins playing in our yard.
The parents may have returned with their spring babies to show them where they were born so that they will all return to us next spring.
12/10/10 Filed in: Fall
Frost Bitten: ISO 200, 50mm, f/2.5,1/100
Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.
I have never done this before but I have seen users of Flickr add quotes to describe their pictures. I found one that that sums up my postings for the month of October.
05/10/10 Filed in: Fall
Up in Flames at Night: ISO 200, 24mm, f/5.6, 8.0s
I have read about painting your subjects with LED lights and wondered how hard is it to do. Well, I tried it the other night on our apple tree with all the different coloured leaves.
I set the camera on a tripod since I was playing with long exposures. The shutter stayed open for 8 seconds on this shot. In order for the camera to focus I had to shine my flashlight on a spot on the tree for the autofocus to find its mark. I also set the camera to take the shot 10 seconds after I pressed the shutter release. You can also use a remote or a cable shutter release (I don't have either for my Canon 40D) .
I set up my flash/strobe on a second tripod away from the camera and pointed it at the inside of a white umbrella. I thought that bouncing the light of the flash/strobe would illuminate the tree more effectively than directly pointing the flash/strobe at the tree.
I also warned my wife that if any neighbours come knocking on our door asking about crazy lights going off in the backyard it was me playing with the flashlight and camera.
Once I heard the shutter open (After the 10 Second delay) I then "painted" the tree with my LED Flashlight. After experimenting with a few different motions (Up/down, Side to Side) and different speeds I got a few shots I thought would work. It was hard to tell in the dark looking at the little screen on the back of the camera especially when my eyes were adjusting to brightness then darkness.
Before I started I had envisioned that it would isolate the apple tree from the distractions behind it (neighbour's motorhome, our white fence etc.) The finished project came pretty close to what I envisioned. I chose this one to show you.
02/10/10 Filed in: Fall
Up in Flames: ISO 100, 18mm, f/6.3, 1/50
Our apple tree surprised us this fall. We have never seen it have this much colour at the end of a season. It usually turns yellow and a little orange. This year most of the leaves have turned red. As you can see they are also hanging on to the branches a little longer so that we can admire her beauty.
I have my circular polarizer on to help saturate the colours in the leaves and sky.
28/09/10 Filed in: Fall
The Chase: ISO 400, 44mm, f/6.7, 1/125
Another "Indian Summer" image from Michener Hill in Red Deer. Two kids playing on their longboards on the steep trails of Michener Hill.
I was aware of the lens flare when I was composing this shot. I was using a lens hood but wanted to portray the warmth of the setting sun on this beautiful fall evening. Just the week before people in Red Deer had broke out their winter jackets to beat the cold weather we were experiencing. This week people are back in shorts and t-shirts.
26/09/10 Filed in: Fall
Falling Leaf: ISO 200, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/90
The leaves are changing colour and falling off the trees. We are experiencing an "Indian Summer" right now. Warm summer like temperatures and sunny skies.
This image was taken just before sunset at Michener Hill which is about 5 blocks from the house. This hill overlooks downtown and the river valley.
21/09/10 Filed in: Fall
Like Water off a Ducks Back: ISO 400, 190mm, f/6.7, 1/350
Fall is here. I have seen Canada Geese flying south for the winter.
I took this in August at Bower Ponds in Red Deer. These ducks are pretty tame and you can get pretty close to them. These two might already be headed south for the winter as this shiny pond will soon become a cold hard surface in a few months.
18/09/10 Filed in: Fall
Ying and Yang: ISO 100, 30.5mm, f/4.5, 1/320
We got our first real heavy frost of the fall on Friday morning. The garden took a beating. Only the strong survived.
I was surveying the damage and came across this Purple Ninebark leaf. These are purple during the summer but half of this leaf is green. No Photoshopping was done in the making of this image.
Nature is cruel but she also creates marvels.
15/09/10 Filed in: Fall
Fall: ISO 100, 8.1mm. f/4.5, 1/500
I'm guilty. I have not used my camera in a week. I pulled this image from a photo walk I did last fall in the town in which I work. I used my point and shoot as I left my heavy gear at home. I just wanted to enjoy the sights and sounds of fall and not worry about what lens I was going to use.
Currently, the weather has been full of rain and clouds. Luckily, the clouds are keeping in what little heat we have left from summer.
09/09/10 Filed in: Summer
Cattails and Ladybug: ISO 800, 400mm, f/6.7, 1/1500
Without the Ladybug would you know what this is an image of?
I took this shot in August when I did a photowalk at a local park in Red Deer, Alberta. Bower Ponds is about a 5 minute drive from my backyard.
The ladybug is not as sharp in focus as I would have liked but she was moving at a brisk pace. As I had my long telephoto lens on and no time to set up the tripod I had to turn up the ISO to get a fast enough shutter speed to capture her.
The ladybug is a small part of the photo in my opinion. I think my eyes are drawn more to the pattern of the cattail grass and the way the sun creates definition and shadows on their blades. The ladybug just puts things in perspective and gives you a hint of what the actual pattern is made up of.
06/09/10 Filed in: Summer
Purple Parachutes: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/60
Purple Parachutes II: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/60
We have a variety of clematis' in our yard. But this is the only one that seems to explode with flowers this summer.
30/08/10 Filed in: Fall
Fall Colours: ISO 400, 90mm, f/4.5, 1/640
Warm Fire: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/100
End of August already. Our not so hot summer is coming to a quick end it seems. I know the end is near when these flowers bloom in our garden. Nature's way of saying I need to dig up the potatoes.
28/08/10 Filed in: Summer
Zinnia and Mosquito Bokeh: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/500
Click on Image (Or Here) to see larger size.
Zinnia and Spider: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/125
Zinnia Close Up: ISO 400, 90mm, f/6.3, 1/100
Three shots of Zinnias. Took these during the golden hours just before sunset in our backyard.
I just want to make a point about backgrounds. The first two images are using natural backgrounds.
The Zinnia and Mosquito was shooting into the shadows of our potato and sunflower plants. The background is very undistacting and does not take away from the main subject.
The second one has our worn out picnic table as a background. The white background takes away from the flower by providing no real contrast. Then there is the edge where it cuts across the stem of the flower. The black along the bottom does provide nice contrast for the leaves of the plant. I could have easily moved the picnic table to get rid of the background but sometimes backgrounds can't be moved (ie: a House). I could have moved to the other side of the flower but I would have our deck as the background(Which can't be moved).
The last picture is the same flower as the Zinnia and Spider. I brought out my black Foam Board/ Foamcore to use as a backdrop. Like the first image, the background in undistracting and does not take away from the main subject.
18/08/10 Filed in: Summer
Mosquito on Ninebark Leaf: ISO 400, 90mm, f/8. 1/250
These little guys are in huge numbers this year. The amount of rain we got this summer is above average which provides the mosquito plenty of breeding grounds.
17/08/10 Filed in: Summer
Solar Seekers: ISO 80, 6.2mm, f/2.8, 1/500
Just like my previous post this was taken with a point and shoot compact camera set in Macro Mode. The camera did provide quite a nice bokeh effect in the distant tree.
I did some post processing work using Tiffen Dfx Software. Used a Warm Polarizer setting to deepen the blue sky.
16/08/10 Filed in: Summer
On Top Dragonfly: ISO 125, 6.2mm, f/2.8, 1/250
Dragonfly and Rose Leaves: ISO 125, 6.2mm, F/2.8, 1/500
Up Close Dragonfly: ISO 80, 6.2mm, f/2.8, 1/1250
Angela and I were preparing our supper on the Barbeque when I noticed this dragonfly flying around our one rosebush. Angela just happenned to have her Point and Shoot Compact camera outside because she was taking pictures of our cats.
I set her camera to macro mode and played around. If I had gone inside the house to grab my camera I probably would have lost track of this little guy.
Point and Shoots are great for macro photography. The small sensors capture the details nicely. For me the drawbacks are the camera chooses the settings and only shoots JPEGs.
Angela's camera does allow manual settings but by the time you change everything the shot is gone. When you set Angela's camera to Macro mode it fixes the Aperture to f/2.8 and the camera's processor figures out everything else.
When I shoot with my DSLR my cameras are set up to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG. RAW means that the camera has done very little processing work. When I import the RAW image to my computer it allows me to do the processing work as I would like to see it. If I do that too much to a JPEG you will notice image quality will decrease.
The very top shot you can see camera noise in the dragonfly's body and the rose leaves. I adjusted the exposure to bring out the details in the dragonfly as he was pretty dark in the original shot. With RAW I could have brought out more detail and colour without so much noise. However, if I used my camera I might not have gotten any of these shots at all.
To me Photography is all about catching the moment. You can only catch these moments with the camera you have with you.
12/08/10 Filed in: Summer
Poppies and Seed Head: ISO 200, 90mm, f/4, 1/90
Summer is coming to an end. Poppies are getting ready to spread their colour next year!
11/08/10 Filed in: Summer
Shovel at Sunrise: ISO 400, 50mm, f/6.3, 1/30
Took this a couple of mornings ago. Sun was over the horizon and breaking through our neighbour's trees.
This is a Virginia Creeper surrounding a shovel. We have been using the shovel to dig up fresh potatoes.
09/08/10 Filed in: Summer
3D Daisy: ISO 200, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/1000
Some things come easy. Flowers lined up perfectly in their planter with no help from me.
Seen it, took it!
05/08/10 Filed in: Summer
Moth and Mosquito: ISO 200, 90mm, f/8, 1/125
Moth on Spirea Flower: ISO 200, 90mm, f/8, 1/125
These images were taken the same day as the previous post. The sky was overcast which allows to camera to be able to get a more accurate reading on the colours. The highlights will not be blown out while trying to get detail in the shadows. To make a long explanation short; the best time to take pictures is on a overcast day when the sun isn't shining so bright.
I mentioned to my wife, Angela, last week that our flower gardens do not seem to attract butterflies. Then this week along comes this moth. I have not been able to identify it's name but there are a few of them in our garden.
The top picture you can make out a mosquito hanging out in the top right of the same flower the moth is on. The bottom macro shot looks much better when enlarged (Click Here to See it). The details are much clearer, especially the antenna. If you click on either picture it will take you to my Flickr set where more images of this moth can be found.
03/08/10 Filed in: Summer
Bee Still: ISO 200, 90mm, f/8, 1/60
Took a walk around our garden yesterday. The sky was pretty overcast with the odd break of sun shining through.
I came across this bee and she was pretty still except for once and awhile one of her legs would rise above her head. I think she was was waving at me to make sure I noticed and got some shots of her.
Hidden Camera in Apple Tree: ISO 200, 90mm, f/8, 1/250
Kodak Playsport and Joby Gorillapod: ISO 200, 90mm, f/8, 1/350
Today I thought I would share with you how I captured the Baby Wren videos I posted earlier this month.
I had been on the look out for a durable point and shoot camera that could take Time Lapse photos and then along came the Kodak Playsport pocket, memory card, HD video recorder. Some of the other blogs I read regularly have talked about the video quality of this little pocket recorder and the low price. The camera is also waterproof up to 10 feet and supposedly shockproof (Which I will not test on purpose). However, it does not do the Time Lapse I had been after.
The only pocket camera I could find that did Time Lapse, was waterproof, and did HD Video had a considerably high price and only got average reviews for image and video quality. So, when a local store had the Kodak Playsport on sale and with an added bonus of a free spare battery I took the plunge.
The video from this camera is quite good in my opinion and easy to upload to YouTube. The only flaw I seen in my Wren videos was that I had the camera too close to the bird house and the focus isn't quite as sharp as it should be. Inside the crab apple tree, it was also quite dark as the tree is heavily leaved. But the end result was what I wanted. Watching the birds without causing too much stress on them and able to share this with my readers.
I attached the camera to a Joby Gorillapod that I had gotten a few years ago. I have used it before to give me a steady mount low to the ground for some macro shots with my regular camera and have used it to mount my flash/strobe off camera and attach it to the legs of my tripod. With the hidden camera I actually used the Gorillapod for what it is good at, attaching itself to tree branches, fence posts and anything else it can wrap its legs around and give your camera a unique point of view.
I attached the Gorillapod to one of the many branches in the tree faced the camera towards the bird house and then turned the camera on and went off to do other things. You have seen clips from the end result.
The only drawback to the Kodak Playsport is the battery life is pretty short. I got about 40 minutes of 720p recording out of full charged battery. So, I am glad I got the free spare battery with my purchase.
25/07/10 Filed in: Summer
Stigma, Style and Stamens: ISO 200, 90mm, f/9.5, 1/125
The height of summer is upon us. With the warmer temperatures our Lilies have decided to start blooming.
Not sure what type this is but the flowers hang almost facing down. I had to lie on my back to get this shot.
The Simple Things in Life: ISO 80, 5.8mm, f/2.8, 1/400
Some days it's good to get back to basics and just pick up a camera and take pictures.
This was taken in our backyard a few weeks ago using a Canon point and shoot camera. Let the camera do all the math work and you just need to focus on the subject and compose the shot.
Air Traffic Control Needed
Air Traffic Control: ISO 400, 90mm, f/9.5, 1/350
Took this shot tonight. Bees were all over these flower collecting pollen.
Now that the birds are done nesting the telephoto is off the camera and the macro lens will be on for much of the summer.
18/07/10 Filed in: Summer
Morning Sunrise: ISO 800, 90mm, f/8, 1/125
Actually shot this last night so technically it is a evening twilight shot. A newly seeded daisy in our front garden.
Update to Coming Out
16/07/10 Filed in: Summer
As promised, the video of a baby wren falling out of its nest. I am also posting below a shorter clip of the wren coming back and hanging on a leaf. The baby wrens have no real tail yet.
12/07/10 Filed in: Summer
Baby on Bark: ISO 800, 90mm, f/19, 1/250
Gaining Strength: ISO 800, 90mm, f/8, 1/250
Peering Out: ISO 800, 90mm, f/8, 1/45
The backyard is very quiet now. The House Wrens have left the crabapple tree and our yard. I was very fortunate to have the day off when the babies left the nest. I am still processing the images and video!
The above shots were of two different babies. The first two photos are of the same bird. He/she was the first to literally fall out of the nest. The bottom picture is the second bird to fall out. I managed to video record the second baby falling out. I will upload here when I get a chance.
I ended up using my Tamron 90mm 2.8 Macro lens to get these shots. My zoom lens could not focus at the short distance I was able to get to the nest. My 35mm was not filling the frame and I would have to crop a lot of the shots. I forgot how versatile the 90mm is for not only macro but for all other shooting situations.
I also had to increase the camera ISO to 800. This was uncharted territory for my newest camera (Canon 40D). One of the reasons I hunted it down on Ebay was because it was to have good image quality and low noise at 800 ISO or less. I am very happy with the results. You can detect noise in the darker areas of the photos but the detail is still pretty good in my opinion. I hope you agree.
Pushing my Luck
05/07/10 Filed in: Summer
Open Wide: ISO 400, 100mm, f/5.6, 1/30 (Same Settings for Both Pics)
Well the baby wren's are getting bigger. Parents are flying around looking for bugs to feed them every 5-10 minutes it seems.
The parents are very agitated when I peer into the apple tree to snap shots. I don't want to push my luck too much. I noticed my settings weren't the greatest on my camera. I didn't check them before I peered in. I should have set my aperture to around 8 or 11 but then I might have had to push up my ISO to get the faster shutter speed.
I bought a Kodak Playsport Video Recorder and have set it up to record the feedings. Video will follow shortly. From what I seen yesterday there is 3 baby birds in the house.
Update: Here is the Video Link. I adjust the camera at the beginning and the babies hear the rustle of the leaves and pop their beaks out real quick then Mom comes and makes her warning call. At the end of the clip she comes back and feeds the kids.
Happy Canada Day
30/06/10 Filed in: Summer
Maple Leaves and Spruce Needles: ISO 200, 35mm, f/8, 1/500
July 1st is the day we celebrate the birth of our great nation.
I was going through my photographs to find something red but did not have much luck. I came across this shot I took a couple of weeks ago while visiting my parents in Ontario. When I was much younger the trees in our front yard were not very high. As I was admiring their height and realizing how long ago I left home, I noticed this sky and how the light was hitting the leaves on the maple tree. I snapped off a few shots.
So for Canada Day, I am not posting red but instead giving you a shot of Canadian maple leaves, spruce needles and a bright blue sky.
A Walk in the Park
29/06/10 Filed in: Summer
Walk in the Park: ISO 200, 5.8mm, f/8, 1/100
Had to go to City Hall yesterday and pay property taxes. It is about a 10 minute walk from the house.
I took our point and shoot camera with me as it was pretty hot and didn't want the added weight of my DSLR and the added stress of not bringing along the right lense.
This park is on the way to downtown. If your eye follows the path you are looking into downtown Red Deer, Alberta.
Our Huge Poppies
28/06/10 Filed in: Summer
Ornamental Poppies: ISO 400, 250mm, f/4.5, 1/250
Our gardens have exploded with colour. These are our large poppies. The flower is about the size of my hand.
Nothing Like Comfy Slippers
Lady Slippers: ISO 200, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/60
Just got back from a trip to Ontario, Canada visiting my parents. I was hoping while we were gone that I would not miss the annual Lady Slipper bloom under our front yard's cedar tree.
Every year we get more flowers. This year we have 7 flowers pop up. Last year we had 4.
13/06/10 Filed in: Spring
Baby Jay: ISO 400, 240mm, f/8, 1/1500
Proud Parent: ISO 400, 190mm, f/8, 1/500
I came home from work this evening and Angela told me we had company playing in our backyard.
We had from what we could see were three baby Blue Jays and the two proud parents. It seemed the babies were being taught to fly. The baby that was closest to the ground didn't seem to have the knack for flight yet. She needed some encouragement from her parents.
The bottom picture is of the protective parent keeping an eye on the situation from high above.
10/06/10 Filed in: Spring
Mother Nature's Hand: ISO 200, 90mm, f/10, 1/80
The rains have not let up for the last couple of days. I haven't taken my camera gear out as I do not have a rain jacket for them.
Here is a shot taken last week of a branch of our apple tree. It will have to do until the rains stop.
Centre of the Universe
08/06/10 Filed in: Spring
Sun Shines Brightly: ISO 200, 90mm, f/6.3, 1/80
This is a macro shot of our crabapple tree blossoms.
The image reminds me of our brightly shinning sun with planets orbiting around it.
26/05/10 Filed in: Spring
Crabapple Bokeh: ISO 400, 270mm, f/8, 1/500
Skyward Apple Blossoms: ISO 100, 35mm, f/8, 1/400
Our two apple trees are blooming.
The crabapple has the nicest looking flowers of our two trees with the dark pink buds which open to reveal a light pink flower. The apple tree has the nicest tasting apples of the two. The buds from the apple tree are light pink which open up to a pure white bloom.
19/05/10 Filed in: Spring
Cedar Waxwing in Apple Tree: ISO 400, 380mm, f/8, 1/350
Waxwing Drinking: ISO 400, 380mm, f/8, 1/350
At long last I caught Cedar Waxwings in our yard!
It has been an unusually dry spring here. The bird bath has been a key attraction in our yard. The Cedar Waxwings have been in the Mountin Ash eating berries still on the tree from last year and then coming down for a drink.
I have spotted them the last few days but I was always in the house and when I go outside they flee. This morning I was working in the gardens and I guess they got used to me not being a threat and I was able to get some quick shots off.
Ta Da....It's Magic!
17/05/10 Filed in: Spring
Plum Buds: ISO 200, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/250
Plum Flowers: ISO 400, 120mm, f/8, 1/90
A before and after picture to show the wonderful magic of spring! The same shrub shot 5 days apart.
What's for Supper?
Purple Finch: ISO 400, 400mm, f/8, 1/250
House Sparrow: ISO 400, 320mm, f/8, 1/180
The snow is gone from the yard. There is still some patches of snow in the region but the weather is finally warming again. The May Long Weekend is fast approaching and we should be able to say goodbye to winter for awhile.
The bird activity in the backyard is still pretty busy. Been watching the crows carry nest building materials to the neighbours pine tree. The sparrows and finches are busy feeding on whatever they can find.
Two nights ago I took the camera out to watch the House Sparrows forage for food on the ground. From the image above it looks like they are finding little bugs to eat. As the temperature at the time was in the mid teens the bugs were probably coming out of hiding to warm up.
As I was calling it a night I headed back to the house and spotted some Purple Finches high in the Mountain Ash tree feeding.
I wasn't sure the shots I took would turn out as I had the heavy zoom on and had to point it upwards through tree branches without a tripod. So I was fearful of blurry out of focus shots. I managed to get a few good images.
The top picture shows that the trees are finally starting to leaf. In a couple of weeks it will be nearly impossible to get this shot as I would have to shoot through leaves and branches.
04/05/10 Filed in: Spring
Sunbathing Tulips: ISO 200, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/500
The above photo was taken two evenings ago.
Snow Covered Tulips: ISO 200, 35mm, f/8, 1/100
The above photo was taken this evening.
Snow Garden: ISO 200, 35mm, f/8, 1/200
As you can see we got snow today. It never fails. At least this year the Ornamental Plum and Cherry Trees have not bloomed. We should still be able to enjoy them. Previous years they usually just started to bloom and the snow knocks off all the petals.
02/05/10 Filed in: Spring
Sapsucker: ISO 400, 160mm, f/8, 1/350
Chickadee: ISO 400, 80mm, f/8, 1/500
Chickadee: ISO 400, 190mm, f/8, 1/250
House Sparrow: ISO 200, 250mm, f/8, 1/500
As mentioned in my previous post the birds are in abundance right now. They love playing and singing in our backyard. The finches and sparrows appear to be eating the flower buds on our Ornamental Flowering Plum and Japanese Cherry (I believe this is what the two shrubs are).
The top image is a Sapsucker/Woodpecker. I have yet to determine if it is a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker or a Red Naped Sapsucker. My guess is the Yellow Bellied variety as it does not appear to have the big red patch at the back of his neck. Both varieties are known to dwell in our area. Angela and I believe this is the same guy who pounds on the electrical pole outside our bedroom window in the early morning.
When I was composing the shot of the Sapsucker the chickadee flew right in front of me as if to see what I was doing. Maybe he was jealous as I was not taking his photo like I was the previous evenings. He flew so close that he got his wish and he quickly became the object of my affection.
The last picture is a female house sparrow on our Japanese Cherry. These are the most abundant birds that live and play in the backyard. She came out while I was cooking supper on the barbeque.
All these shots were taken today.
Birds, Birds, Birds
28/04/10 Filed in: Spring
Chickadee: ISO 400, 150mm, f/8, 1/180
The last few days our backyard has been like an international airport. Bird traffic has been heavy. Spring is here and the birds are busy with mating, nesting and training the young.
Monday night I was feeding our pet turtle and noticed through the window a flock of waxwings in our trees. I had been waiting all winter for the waxwings to feed on the berries of the mountain ash high above our crab apple tree. They never came. When I finished feeding the turtle I grabbed the cameras and went outside to watch the birds. It was a rewarding night.
The Robins were out. I didn't manage to get a picture because they hid high on the mountain ash waiting til I departed.
The above photo is of a baby chickadee. He did more hoping from branch to branch than actual flying. Just like the baby wren from last summer, the chickadee hid in the thick brush. It was hard to get a clear shot through the many branches even though I was able to get close.
House Finch: ISO 400, 400mm, f/8, 1/250
The above photo is a House Finch. The birds have been feasting on our blooming shrubs. We are worried that they will all be eaten before they bloom.
Cedar Waxing: ISO 400, 260mm, f/8, 1/500
This is the reason why I ventured out. These waxwings travel in flocks. They come and go real fast. This one is on the look out in the mountain ash. Shortly after this photo this bird flew off with the flock to feed and play elsewhere.
One Year Anniversary
Neighbour's Fence: ISO 200, 135mm, f/8, 1/350
A year ago today I started this Photo Web Journal. I needed an outlet for my passion of photography. I didn't have much motivation for taking photos when they stayed on my hard drive collecting dust.
My very first post was a picture of our shared white picket fence with snow covered peaks. As you can see this fence isn't snow covered. Our neighbours had a fire that destroyed most of their home on Good Friday. This is a shot of their fence as seen from our backyard. You can see more of the story at their website www.rebuildtheanderosa.com
I want to thanks the many visitors that come to my website. An average month I get over 100 visits. Just under half of those visits come from the Red Deer area but I do get people stopping by from all over the world.
22/04/10 Filed in: Spring
First Tulip: ISO 200, 35mm, f/3.2/1/1600
First Tulip Macro: ISO 200, 35mm, f/3.2, 1/3200
First Tulip Experiment: ISO 200, 35mm, f/8, 1/60
Our first bunch of Tulips bloomed!
We have been watering the gardens an abnormal amount this spring. The rains just aren't coming. The temperature has been warm and we have large bunches of tulips this year.
Should be a bumper crop of pictures!
19/04/10 Filed in: Spring
Mallards in Flight: ISO 400, 290mm, f/11 1/500
I took a drive southeast of Red Deer last week scouting for photo opportunities. Currently migrating birds are visiting our area for a rest before they reach their final destinations to our north.
Ever since I moved to Alberta over 15 years ago I have always wanted to see Snow Geese. I thought this would be my lucky day as I seen a few white birds swimming in a small lake as I drove by. I quickly found a safe place to turn the car and headed back to where I spotted them.
As it turns out they were not Snow Geese. They were Tundra Swans. I had not seen a Tundra Swan before so all was not lost. The elusive Snow Goose still evades me. I wonder if they are related to the Abominable Snowman.
Tundra Swans: ISO 400, 400mm, f/11, 1/350
13/04/10 Filed in: Spring
Poppy in Snow: ISO 200, 90mm, f/5, 1/250
I have been going through my photo library the last few days and have noticed some photos I have not shared. Well, okay there are a few thousand but only a few I deem worthy enough to share with you.
The weather here has been normal spring weather for Alberta, Canada. Warm weather one day and sub zero temperatures the next. However, we are currently experiencing a very dry spring. The local governments have declared drought in some regions.
The "Poppy in Snow" image was taken last May and cleary shows the spring weather we experience where I live.
09/04/10 Filed in: Travel
Edmonton Skyline: ISO 100, 28mm, f/8, 1/500
Last week I had to drive to Edmonton for an appointment. Edmonton is an hour and a half drive north from Red Deer. You may have heard of Edmonton back in the 1980s when the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers were winning the Stanley Cup with a player by the name of Wayne Gretzky. Edmonton is also the Capital City of the Province of Alberta much to Calgary's displeasure.
This picture is taken from Edmonton's River Valley which is a dedicated Park System that runs along the North Saskatchewan River. We are looking up into downtown. The tallest building downtown is only 35 Storeys and is hiding behind the "Telus" building.
Hotel MacDonald: ISO 100, 53mm, f/8, 1/350
The Hotel MacDonald was built in 1912 and was named after Canada's First Prime Minister (Sir John A. MacDonald). It is like the other Railway Hotels that the Canadian National Railway built in the Chateau Style. In 1983 the City of Edmonton almost lost this historic building to demolition.
The Low Level Bridge was also Edmonton's first bridge across the North Saskatchewan River it was completed in 1900.
Ice Flow: ISO 320, 33mm, f/8, 1/180
As it is spring here the ice is slowing melting. Here is a picture of a chunk of ice floating East towards the Low Level Bridge. Good thing the Titanic was too big to sail along this river.
We Miss You
We lost a member of our family today, Merlin.
He loved our backyard more than anyone.
01/04/10 Filed in: Spring
Good Friday Cross: ISO 200, 35mm, f/6.3 1/1250
Easter Sunday Cross: ISO 200, 35mm, f/6.3, 1/800
I drive past this Ukranian Catholic Church a few times a week. It is about 8 blocks from our home. I keep saying to myself that I must stop and take a picture of the roof line. The church has a wooden shake roof and I find the crosses on top of the steeples quite unique.
Tonight I finally put thought to action! I stopped tonight as the sun was setting and the subject of the cross is fitting for an Easter Weekend journal entry.
Both of these images are taken within minutes of each other. One was taken looking West into the sun (Good Friday Cross) and the other taken looking East (Easter Sunday Cross).
People believe cameras take pictures. I see the camera as capturing light. How the light falls on a subject can drastically change the mood of your subject.
Hope you have a Happy Easter!
You Know You are Canadian When...
28/03/10 Filed in: Spring
Two Geese: ISO 200, 263mm, f/5.6, 1/750
Morning on the Ice Flow: ISO 200, 263mm, F/5.6, 1/250
This is the last of the shots from last weekend. These Canadian Geese are in the Red Deer River.
Not sure how they do it as there is no warm down on their feet. I know if you or I were to attempt this we would be in the hospital getting treated for hypothermia and frostbite. This is their safe haven from predators. If anyone would get to close they would just launch themselves into the river and wait it out. BBbbbrrrrr!
On my drive home from work this evening I noticed the ice is almost gone. There are sections where it still might be 10 feet out from the shore. But on the most part the ice only remains where the sun doesn't shine on the river banks. I also noticed that the number of geese have diminished. They must have continued their journey north.
Testing the Ice
Testing the Ice: ISO 400, 263mm, f/5.6, 1/1500
This is another series of photos from my photo walk at Bower Ponds in Red Deer on Saturday morning. This Park is just across the river from downtown Red Deer. It is part of the park system that goes along the river valley throughout the city.
We have deer running the neighbourhood streets where I live but I never can get the camera out quick enough to prove it!
I am assumming this set of deer is a mother and two of her babies from last year. The pictures show that one is much larger than the other two. They came out of the woods to see what was going on in the river. They are on ice in the second picture.
Testing the Ice II: ISO 400, 168mm, f/4.5, 1/2000
I was using my 70-300mm zoom lens without a tripod to get these shots. This lens does not have image stabilization. It was early morning with cloud cover so I had to use a large aperture to let as much light in as possible. If I were to come across this again I would be carrying my tripod or at the very least my monopod to allow me to use a smaller aperture and get a sharper image.
Close Encounter: ISO 400, 190mm, f/4.5 1/180
Mom, while on the river, heard this man walking on the trail. She is leading the other two who are not far behind across the trail into the much denser brush. I tried to follow them but they were much too fast or real good at playing hide and seek.
Flight: ISO 200, 81mm, f/4.5, 1/1000
The Canada Geese have returned to Canada from their vacation trip down to the USA. Like all Canadians, the geese like the warmer weather the USA has to offer in the winter.
The Chase: ISO 200, 149mm, f/4.5. 1/500
As my previous post has mentioned there still is ice on most of the ponds and lakes in the area I live. The Red Deer River is just starting to break up were the current is the strongest. During my early morning photo walk I found these geese waiting for the morning sun to warm them on the Bower Ponds' frozen surface. Canada Geese are monogomous. They don't like to share and the pair in this picture must not like the third wheel because whenever she became too close they would give chase.
20/03/10 Filed in: Nature
Beaver Stump: ISO 100, 35mm, f/8, 1/40
Went for a photo walk this morning at Red Deer's Bower Ponds. As I was driving home from work last night I seen that Canada Geese had arrived. A sure sign that spring is coming! I thought I could get some good pictures of the geese on the remaining ice on the ponds and river. The only water that isn't frozen is a narrow path going down the centre of the Red Deer River where the current is strong.
I came across this along the river bank looking for photo opportunities of geese. I didn't see any beaver but the shavings look fairly recent. A beaver's teeth never stop growing so that they don't wear down as they constantly gnaw on wood for food and protection.
I will post more images of my photo walk at Bower Ponds in the days ahead. Keep checking back!
March 7 Tulips: ISO 200, 35mm, f/9, 1/25
March 7 Backyard: ISO 200, 35mm, f/8, 1/640
As promised I bring you our tulips breaking earth during an Alberta, Canada winter. These photos were taken this morning with a temperature of minus 7 degrees Celcius. That’s right it was well below freezing. Not a chance of Frost; a 100% guarantee of frost!
As you can see by the backyard picture there is still snow on 90% of our yard. In places it is over 6 inches deep! Mid day temperatures have been reaching the plus 5 to 9 range.
The tulips are in a garden along the back wall of our house. The back of the house faces south and catches the sun all afternoon. So the tulip bulbs are feeling the warmth and thinking it is time to come out and show their colours!
PS: They are calling for more snow early this week!
More Kerry Wood Nature Centre
06/03/10 Filed in: Winter
ISO 200, 90mm, f/4.5, 1/180
This is another photo from my late January photo walk at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre in Red Deer, Alberta.
02/03/10 Filed in: Winter
Red Berry: ISO 200, 90mm, F/3.5, 1/125
Warm weather is coming which is not good. We have some tulips that are starting to break earth. I will take pictures of those next chance I get. There is still lots of snow on the ground and I am sure Mother Nature has more on the way.
26/02/10 Filed in: Winter
Branching Out: ISO 200, 90mm, F5.6, 1/500
Frosty Ladder: ISO 200, 90mm, F4, 1/1000
Grass and Trunk: ISO 100, 108mm, f5, 1/80
One of my regular visitors requested more pictures of my cold nature walk. I guess it is pretty warm down under and this helps cool things off.
These 3 pictures are of my nature walk a few weeks ago at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. A pretty foggy day which provided great images of Hoar Frost.
23/02/10 Filed in: Winter
Three Trees: ISO 200, 90mm, F5.6, 1/350
The amount of fog and Hoar’s Frost we have received this winter has to be a record. Mother Nature has thrown some more fog on us the last few days.
This shot was taken at the end of January. I took a drive to the bottom of the hill on which we live and visited the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. I have heard a lot of this place and yet have never visited. Like today, there was lots of moisture in the cold air causing a heavy coating of Hoar’s Frost.
Also with the heavy fog there is no way for the sun to cast any shadows. This was taken around 1:00 PM. It was like I was taking pictures in a giant soft box.
This image has not been converted to black and white.
Not my Best Work
20/02/10 Filed in: Winter
White Breasted Nuthatch: ISO 200, 238mm, f5.6, 1/400
I came home from work on Thursday evening and noticed the birds playing when I retrieved our mail. I quickly ran to the house to grab my camera with the telephoto zoom lens attached and tried to take pictures of the fast moving chickadees. Then I noticed this White Breasted Nuthatch looking for food in the neighbour’s tree.
Like the squirrel picture posted earlier this month the nuthatch wasn’t co-operating either. He just wouldn’t come into the warm evening sun. So, I was shooting into the shadows. This was the best of a few shots I took and with some editing I was able to bring out some detail but not as much as I would have liked. I like his pose in this image I just wished he felt more secure with me around and had come out into the sun.
This Journal Entry Brought to You by:
17/02/10 Filed in: Winter
Coca Cola Float: ISO 800, 50mm, f2, 1/90
The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics are on if you do not already know. I have to show my patriotism in this post. Canada has finally won Gold Medals on Canadian soil. As of this journal entry we have won 2 Gold Medals.
Canada has hosted 3 Olympics now and this is the first time we have acquired gold on our own turf. Previously we have hosted the summer Olympics of 76 in Montreal and the winter Olympics of 1988 in Calgary.
I posted images previously of the Olympic Torch Relay that ran through the town in which I work. I thought it was time to post another one. This is the Coca Cola float. Not sure how much money they put up to become involved in these winter games but I do know I haven’t seen a penny to sponsor my website!
Happy Valentines Day
Happy Valentines Day to all my Readers!
Waiting for the Fog to Lift
09/02/10 Filed in: Winter
Winter Squirrel: ISO 500, 190mm, f4.5, 1/250
I took this shot of a squirrel in the middle of January when it was still pretty warm out. The noise in this image is pretty high even after a bit of tweaking. I had to use a high ISO in order to get a quick shutter speed for the subject and the focal length. Noise is better than blurry in my opinion.
I was shooting under our big pine tree and looking up to this noisy squirrel sitting in the shade. As you can see in the upper right hand corner the sun was trying to illuminate the subject but it just didn’t have enough reach to touch him.
Currently, a fog has settled in again bringing damp, cold weather. The type of weather in which you really have no desire to leave the house. Not only is there fog outside there is also fog inside my head. Like the previous post I am still suffering from the “Winter Blahs” and am hoping this fog will lift soon.
Pink Tulip and Columbine: 90mm, F5, 1/500
Well, it is Groundhog Day today. This is North America’s tradition to see how much longer winter will last. It is not very scientific. If the groundhog sees his shadow we have six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, winter will end soon.
The Albertan Groundhog, Balzac Billy, didn’t see his shadow. http://bit.ly/aAb48b Could Alberta be so lucky? An early end to winter.... Stay tuned.
28/01/10 Filed in: Winter
ISO 100, Focal Length 90mm, F4.5, Shutter Speed 1/45
The snow has stopped falling but the temperatures have not. Winter is officially back...just in time for the Olympics.
This is a macro shot of a cluster of dead rose blooms shot a couple of weeks ago when the hoar frost was heavy.
Let it Snow. Some More.
25/01/10 Filed in: Winter
Snow Fall: ISO 200, Focal Length 35mm, f/4, Shutter Speed 1/750
The snow is falling once again. Just a few flakes at a time. No need to worry about snow banks up to the knees or anything. I tried to capture the snow falling with this image and that is why the background is out of focus (Yes, I did this on purpose.). It is hard to focus on tiny little moving snowflakes!
Out of the Fog
21/01/10 Filed in: Winter
A fog rolled in last night and continued into this morning. I took this picture late this morning. The camera actually captured the fog when taking a macro shot of a rose branch creating a dreamy effect.
Fog in winter here means things get a good coating of frost. Just like the previous pictures posted around Christmas and New Year.
19/01/10 Filed in: Winter
With the warm weather the birds become more active. This shot came because as I was doing a walk around the house last week and I swear I seen an owl high in the neighbour’s tree. I did not have my camera with me so I had to run to the house and get the camera and attach my 70-300mm zoom lens.
By the time I got back to the tree the owl was gone and replaced by a noisy squirrel. So, as the saying goes your best camera is the one you always have with you. I didn’t even have my cell phone with me at that time. Massive fail!
I did manage to get a few nuthatch and chickadee pictures when it was all said and done. I also got a couple of noisy squirrel pictures as well.
No More Playing in the Water
18/01/10 Filed in: Winter
Our rain barrel has provided some interesting images the past week. Here is the latest image that I took yesterday afternoon. Temperatures are returning to normal. It is still a little on the warm side but no one is complaining.
15/01/10 Filed in: Winter
The Winter Olympics are being held in Vancouver this February. The torch is crossing the country and has finally come to Alberta. It arrived in Sylvan Lake, Alberta at around 5:30 PM this evening. I believe it heads to Calgary tomorrow which if you recall hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988.
I know this isn’t in my backyard but still wanted to share this with you as this isn’t something you would see on a regular basis. I threw in a bonus tonight as well. Fireworks capped off the Torch Relay festivities and I included a picture since everyone loves a good fireworks show!
Playing in the Water
Okay, now I am worried Mother Nature is teasing us with warm weather making us think winter is over and spring is finally here. She is such the cruel jokester!
I wanted to play with water today. I heard the birds all around but they were high in the trees enjoying the warm sun where my zoom couldn’t reach them. So, I thought I would try water droplet shots and long smooth flowing water shots. I actually moved out of Av mode and into Tv mode. Talk about getting out of my comfort zone. I still think I need more practice and next time use my tripod.
Slowly but Surely
The melting continues. The last couple of days the temperature is staying above freezing throughout the night.
The After Shot
11/01/10 Filed in: Winter
What a difference a few days make! Warm temperatures moved in (10C) and snow is moving out.
Take a Load Off
09/01/10 Filed in: Winter
Here is a pretty good image on the amount of snow we have received so far this winter. Should start melting slowly now. A chinook has arrived and is expected to stay above O degree C for most of the week.
06/01/10 Filed in: Winter
We have a pile of snow this year and it doesn’t look like it will be melting any time soon... I am actually running out of room to put it when I shovel the sidewalk and driveway.
This is a macro of a pile of snow on our driveway lamppost. You can see the neighbour’s fence in the background.
Happy New Year!
01/01/10 Filed in: Winter
Wishing all of you peace and fortune for the new year and new decade.
My wife Angela took this shot earlier this week. All that white on the background trees is the heavy hoar frost.