C B Images

Photography by Chris Bates


Monarch on Butterfly Bush
Monarch Butterfly Feeding on Butterfly Bush: ISO 800, 468mm, f/7.1, 1/640

We had a new visitor to our backyard. She is a little different from the birds and rabbits that frequent our yard.

Our Dwarf Butterfly Bush is in full bloom and its fragrance has attracted a skittish Monarch Butterfly. I had to use my long Zoom to get this close up.

Learning to Fly
Learning to Fly: ISO 400, 600mm, f/6.3, 1/1000

This pair of Chipping Sparrows were fun to watch in our backyard. This was a parent and fledgling. The parent (on the left) was flying from fence post to fence post coaxing the little one to follow. Once the little one arrived, she was awarded with food from the parent.

Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove: ISO 800, 600mm, f/8.0, 1/200

We added some new feeders to the backyard. The Mourning Doves come to check out what has been rejected by the other birds. They select the rejected seed that was thrown on the ground.

On a Mission
On a Mission: ISO 640, 240mm, f/5.6, 1/800

It is a cold winter day here. So, it is a good day to go through my pictures on my computer and see what I have not shared.

This was taken before our move to Ontario. One of my last walks in Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in Calgary, Alberta. The bees were hard at work collecting pollen before the cold weather arrives.

Itsy Bitsy Spider_
Itsy Bitsy Spider: ISO 1000, 210mm, f4.0, 1/250

It has been awhile since my last post. My life has been busy in the last year and have not had much opportunity (energy) to go out after working and exercising my photographic eye. Today, I got a chance to review some old shots taken last year.

Last summer, I was sent to work in Invermere, British Columbia. After one of my shifts I was sitting on the balcony of my hotel room during a light rain and spotted this little guy hard at work on the siding of my balcony view.

Free: ISO 400, 77mm, f/8.0, 1/2500

Caught this guy fighting the wind in Invermere, BC from my hotel window. The sun was setting and a storm was looking to be rolling in.

Against the background and big clouds he looks like a small bird. I believe he was a crow as he looked too small to be a raven.

Poplar Stand Mt Lorette Pond
Poplar Stand at Mt. Lorette Pond: ISO 800, 15mm, f/4.5, 1/1000

This is a stand of Trembling Aspens in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada. The backdrop is a pond.

Keeping with the black and white from my previous post, thought I would add this to my collection. The aspen bark takes on a silvery tone.

Alien Mouths
Hungry Aliens: ISO 200, 90mm, f/2.8, 1/4000

A world without colour can be a very scary place.

Glad I do not live in it. These are purple lilacs from our backyard garden.

Lancaster Bomber Command Museum
Lancaster Bomber (Bomber Command Museum, Nanton, AB): ISO 200, 9mm, f/2.8, 1/1600

Last summer I was able to visit the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton, Alberta. It has always been on my list of things to see in southern Alberta but I never had the time.

Let me tell you, I was glad I made the time! The actual museum has quite of bit of artifacts and stories but together. Square foot wise it is pretty small but the amount of artifacts and content is quite vast. You could spend a whole day in the museum reading and looking. What I found most interesting was the part Alberta played in training air crews during World War II.

The day I was visited they had some volunteers working on restoring an old Mosquito.

Vermillion Lakes Sunrise, Banff National Park: ISO 400, 7mm, f/3.5, 1/1600

Took this image one morning last summer before all the tourists were awake. It was very peaceful. A summer storm was forecasted for later that morning. I was capturing the dramatic sky and the beginning of this storm.

Invermere Sunset II
Sunset at Invermere: ISO 200, 11mm, f/5.6, 1/500

I took this at a roadside rest area between Radium and Invermere, British Columbia last summer. This is the area where you can usually spot the bighorn sheep eating along the roadside.

I was lucky to catch the break in the heavy cloud cover with the setting sun trying to breakthrough.

I took a lot of photos that evening and also took the time to soak in all the scenery.

Genetic Mutation
Genetic Mutation: ISO 400, 170mm, f/4.0, 1/640

These are small flowers in our backyard garden. The majority of them are white with a pink interior. The odd one is all pink. Makes you think of the the saying, "Be Different."

Nature is full of surprises and wonders.

Blue Eyes Dragonfly II
Blue on Green: ISO 200, 87mm, f/4.0, 1/1600

This was taken at Elizabeth Hall Wetlands in Lethbridge, Alberta. A blue eyed dragon fly resting in the marsh.

Wind was blowing pretty good the day I took this. Hard to get a sharp photo.

Close up Poppy
Iceland Poppy Close up: ISO 400, 190mm, f/4.0, 1/1250

We planted an Iceland Poppy in our backyard garden this spring. We had them in our garden in Red Deer and missed their colour and constant blooms.

The flowers on this new plant are much larger than we experienced in Red Deer. This bloom is about the size of a palm of a hand. I believe that is some sort of tiny bug on underneath the right side filaments.

Seeking Shade
Seeking Shade: ISO 250, 102mm, f/4.5, 1/200

A photo of a frog seeking shade and waiting for food in my father's backyard pond.

I did not wait to see if that little bug on the stalk of the lily pad was frog food. It was hard to see with the naked eye.

Pool Butterfly 2018
Feeding Butterfly: ISO 320, 175mm, f/5, 1/1250

The butterflies were out at my Dad's backyard garden in Ontario two weeks ago.

This particular butterfly was floating around these purple flowers from one of his hanging baskets. You can see his long tongue seeking food.

Sleepy Panda copy
Sleepy Panda at the Calgary Zoo: ISO 320, 200mm, f/5.6, 1/90

The Calgary Zoo recently became the new home of some Panda Bears.

We finally got to see them last month. I am not quite sure what all the excitement is about. They just seem to eat and sleep. But they do look quite cuddly!

Back to the Future No Watermark
Back to the Future: ISO 200, 7mm, f/3.2, 1/8000

This past weekend Airdrie hosted a Show and Shine (August 12th, 2017).

Lots of vehicles to look at and admire. I am always drawn to the long lines of the older Cadillacs. Looks like this old beauty is ready for space travel.

Air Canada, plane, Airdrie, Alberta, Canada
Air Canada: ISO 200, 210mm, f/4.5, 1/2000

As mentioned in my previous post there is a man made marsh close to our home in Airdrie, Alberta. I was taking pictures of grebes and blackbirds that were looking after their young. I heard a plane that was headed in my direction and turned around to see a great opportunity.

We see a lot of airplanes as our skies in Airdrie are in Calgary Airport's flight path. I caught this Air Canada jet coming in for a landing as it was banking steeply and coming in low. Usually we only get to see the bottoms of the planes as they pass overhead. I got to get a quick snap of it's tail fin which shows the Red Maple Leaf of Air Canada.

Juvenile Robin
Juvenile Robin: ISO 200, 210mm, f/7.1, 1/500

There is a man made marsh in our neighbourhood park system. I went to snap some photos of blackbirds and waterfowl this afternoon.

One rule of photography is always look behind you to see what you are missing. I took a look behind me and this young Robin was checking me out atop of a fence post.

 After the Storm Downtown Calgary
Downtown Calgary Hail Storm 2015: ISO 800, 15mm, f/5.6, 1/45

The wife and I went out for supper last night and we decided to be adventurous and try a new restaurant. The car I was driving took us to downtown Calgary. After supper we took a walk along Stephen Avenue, Eau Claire Market, Prince's Island Park and through Chinatown before heading back to the car.

We walked past a few of the Downtown Community Gardens that were set up for the local food banks. We were very sad when we saw what the August 4th Hail Storm did to these well intentioned gardens. As you can see there is basically nothing left of most of the plants.

Although we had a wonderful supper last night after seeing this damage both our stomachs were not feeling all that settled.

After the Storm Carnage
Downtown Calgary Hail Damaged Community Garden: ISO 800, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/45

Pulverized lettuce in one of the hail damaged Downtown Calgary Community Garden. It basically looks like mulch.

 After the Storm Prince's Island Park Calgary
Prince's Island Park Hail Damaged Black Eyed Susie: ISO 320, 85mm, f/5.6, 1/30

These Black Eyed Susans were under trees in Prince's Island Park. They still suffered damaged from the August 4th Calgary hailstorm.

Large Boulder
Large Boulder: ISO 200, 29mm, f/6.3 1/60

I found the textures and colours on this rock to be interesting. It also looked out of place in the Alberta Badlands where I found it.

Big Hill Springs Macro
Small Wild Flower, Big Hill Springs Provincial Park: ISO 500, 40mm, f/3.2, 1/500

Last week I decided to check out a provincial park that is close to where I live. Big Hill Springs Provincial Park is located north of Calgary between Cochrane and Airdrie.

It is a nice little hike through parkland and foothills. A large natural springs flows through the park. I was surprised by the abundance of wild flowers and birds singing. I will be returning to this nice oasis away from the big city.

Delphenium Bokeh
Delphinium Bokeh: ISO 800, 159mm, f/4.0, 1/4000

Delphenium Bokeh II
Delphinium Bokeh II: ISO 400, 145mm, f/4.0, 1/2000

I noticed this backlit delphinium in our garden late last month. I also noticed how the sun was hitting the large black patio umbrella in the background. Combine the two using a zoom lens and these are some of the results you get.

Bat in Umbrella
Bat Hiding in Umbrella: ISO 800, 122mm, f/4.0, 1/125

I opened up one of our patio umbrellas yesterday afternoon and noticed this little bat hiding from the sun.

I didn’t have any True Blood to offer him!

Chickadee Surprise © Chris Bates 2013
Chickadee Watching: ISO 200, 200mm, f/6.3, 1/1250

As I was waiting for the wrens to come back and feed their new additions to their family this chickadee perched right in front of me.

Wren Feeding Time
Breakfast Time: ISO 200, 200mm, f/6.3, 1/1600

I set up a bunch of bird houses in our backyard a few years ago. Every year but the last a wren pair had used one of them to start a new family. This year I was losing hope that they would again not use a house . It seemed they were busy building a nest in the neighbours’ trees.

Last week the wrens were getting agitated whenever someone or something invaded our backyard. Watching the wrens revealed that they had set up a nest in the birdhouse I set up in our garage side garden.

I got this image by sitting down on the lawn waiting for the wren to take its usual path from the back fence to the bird house. As you can see by the picture the bug is almost as big as this small bird. I also took the shot mid morning so that the low sun would illuminate the garden and bird.

Hide and Seek Squirrel foraging for food Chris Bates Photography
Hide and Seek Squirrel: ISO 250, 85mm, f/5.6, 1/180

HIde and Seek Squirrel foraging for Food
Hide and Seek Squirrel II: ISO 250, 85mm, f/5.6, 1/180

I was cooking Sunday supper at the BBQ when I noticed something running back and forth along our garage wall. I turned around and this squirrel wanted to play Hide n’Seek or Peek-a-boo.

At the time I only had my iPhone in my pocket. I called into the house for Angela to grab the “Heavy Duty” camera. I thought I was too late as the squirrel had vanished.

A few minutes later he had come back to play his games with me.

Squirrel on old wagon wheel foraging for food
Squirrel on old Wheel: ISO 250, 80mm, f/5.6, 1/60

The shot above you can see that the tail is out of focus. He was busy twitching it. Warning me that he was getting agitated with how close I was getting.

The squirrels in the neighbourhood are busy foraging for food. They have been chewing off branches of the neighbour’s Mountain Ash tree to get the berries. Today, I watched another one busy carrying pines cones along the neighbour’s fence.

Orange Lily, nature, floral, Alberta, macro
Orange Lily: ISO 200, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/800

Our neighbour over the last couple of years has given us lilies to plant in our garden. I guess they multiply rapidly and she doesn’t like to waste flowers. I believe she sees them as a major investment.

This year they have finally bloomed and there is an abundance of them. I cheated by adding a little Miracle Grow a few times.

This was taken a couple of evenings ago as the sun was setting. I was trying to capture the shadows of the stamen and carpel of the plant. See Mom, I paid attention in science class!

Raspberry, Alberta, Canada, Red, Still life, harvest
Bowl of Raspberries: ISO 200, 35mm, f/3.5, 1/500

So far this summer we have had a couple of weeks of very warm weather. The raspberries in our backyard garden have ripened overnight. I picked these tonight and I could have filled another two containers this size.

After posting this entry I will be grabbing the ice cream. Bon Appetit!!

Peony, bud, bloom, ant, ladybug, macro, nature
Before and After: Peony Bud and Bloom

We have a few peony plants in our garden. We notice that ants seem to love the bud heads in early spring.

After doing some reading the peony and ant seem to have a symbiotic relationship. The peony bud produces nectar to attract ants. The ants are protective of food sources which in turn will keep other pests away. The end result is well feed ants and beautiful and huge peony blooms.

flower, tall, blue, sky, clouds
Delphinium Sky: ISO 200, 15mm, F/8, 1/500

We are experiencing a lot of rain this spring/summer. Our gardens are growing fast with the July heat. These Delphiniums are almost as tall as me (6 Feet).

I thought I would try a different perspective using my wide angle lens. On my knees looking up to the big Alberta sky.

African Daisy Osteospermum macro flower close up
African Daisy: ISO200, 35mm, f/4.0, 1/160

I took this shot of African Daisies (Osteospermums) a couple of evenings ago.

My mother in law was visiting from Vancouver and had asked me why my flower shots were getting better colours than hers. (She uses a little Canon Point and Shoot camera.) I informed her that the worst time to take pictures of flowers is when the sun is very bright and high in the sky. The best time for flower photography is when the sun is low or when it is overcast with clouds.

One can use polarizing filters during sunny days to help achieve better colours as well. With her point and shoot camera this might prove difficult.

So, as I was walking the garden with my camera she was following me with hers. At the time it was early evening and had a light cloud overhead. As she snapped her pictures she noticed the difference and seen what I was talking about.

Wet Roses Bokeh Pink
Rained on Roses: ISO 200, 131mm, f/4, 1/1000

I find the best time to take photos of our garden flowers is early morning or late evening just as the sun is rising or falling. The problem with living in the northern climate of Red Deer, Alberta is the sun rises in the summer as early as 4:30AM and sets as late as 11:00PM. So, you have to be an early riser or a night owl.

I was up early enough to capture this shot of one of our rose bushes after a early morning rain with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L. I bought this lens for bird/wildlife photography but I am finding it well suited for close up floral shots as well.

Mating Dance 1: ISO 200, 200mm, F/4, 1/1000

Mating Dance 2: ISO 200, 200mm, f/4, 1/1000

House Sparrows love our neighbourhood. They love the trees and the food everyone leaves out for them.

Watching them over the years you get used to their quirky behaviour. Once and awhile you will notice a male showing off to a female by keeping his chest low, wings down, and tail up going into some sort of dance that resembles an epileptic seizure. When I see it, I tell my wife the sparrows are "chicken dancing."

The camera doesn't quite capture it. I will have to carry my little Kodak Playsport around with me more often to try to capture video.

nature, bee, working, flower, Lakefield, Ontario
Busy Bee: ISO 400, 35mm, f/4, 1/500

Things have been a little crazy at work so my photography hobby has taken a bit of a back seat. I feel like a bee. Always moving and feeling like my work is never done.

This was shot with my 35mm macro lens in my parent's backyard a few weeks ago.

Duck, Peterborough, Ontario, feed, tame
Duck out of Water: ISO 400, 140mm, f/4, 1/60

This is another shot I took while visiting family near Peterborough, Ontario. The ducks along the river banks of Peterborough are known for being pretty tame and not really afraid of people.

I did not bring my tripod. I was lucky to get a fairly sharp image while hand holding the camera at the 140mm focal length using a slow shutter speed of 1/60th of a second.

Great Blue Heron, Youngs Point OntarioWater, Youngs Point, Ontario, fishing, Tai ChiGreat Blue Heron, Strike, fishingGreat Blue Heron, fish, fishing, Youngs Point, Ontario

Just returned from a trip from Ontario visiting family. My father and brother in law (who was visiting from South Africa) decided to go fishing at Youngs Point one night after supper. I went along with my camera.

Dad called me over to his fishing spot and told me that I had to check out the Great Blue Heron standing at the bottom of the dam. It was close to sunset so I had to set my ISO to 800 in order to get a fast shutter speed while using my telephoto lens.

Dad and my brother in law never caught a fish that night but while watching the Heron he had caught two. Looks like he had the better fishing spot picked out!

Pair of Theives: ISO 400, 163mm, f/4, 1/1500

I was sitting on our deck and noticed a pair of Blue Jays (Not from Toronto) flying to the feeder to find some food. Read More...

Macro Spider Red Deer Alberta Canada © Chris Bates 2010
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.

California Poppy, flower, nature, backyard, Chris Bates, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, Photography
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.

Ladybug, cattails, pattern, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, Chris Bates Photography, Bower Ponds
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.

clematis Chris Bates Photography Red Deer Alberta Canada nature flower macro
Purple Parachutes: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/60

clematis Chris Bates Photography Red Deer Alberta Canada nature flower macro
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.

Zinnia, Mosquito, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada,  Chris Bates Photography
Zinnia and Mosquito Bokeh: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/500
Click on Image (Or Here) to see larger size.

Zinnia, Spider, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, Chris Bates Photography
Zinnia and Spider: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/125

Zinnia, Macro, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, Chris Bates Photography
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.

Chris Bates Photography Nature Mosquito Leaf
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.

Poppy, Macro, Chris Bates Photography, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
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.

Dragonfly, Chris Bates Photography, Nature, Macro, Red Deer, Ablerta, Canada
On Top Dragonfly: ISO 125, 6.2mm, f/2.8, 1/250

Dragonfly, Chris Bates Photography, Nature, Macro, Red Deer, Ablerta, Canada
Dragonfly and Rose Leaves: ISO 125, 6.2mm, F/2.8, 1/500

Dragonfly, Chris Bates Photography, Nature, Macro, Red Deer, Ablerta, Canada
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.

Chris Bates Photography, Poppy, Seed, Nature, Macro, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
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!

Made of Metal, Still Life, Garden, backyard, Chris Bates Photography, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
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.

3D Daisy, flower, macro
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!

Moth Mosquito Flower Macro Chris Bates Photography
Moth and Mosquito: ISO 200, 90mm, f/8, 1/125

Moth Spirea Flower Macro Chris Bates Photography
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.

Bee Flower Macro Chris Bates Photography
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.

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.

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.

Morning Sunrise

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

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.

Coming Out

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

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

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

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

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.

Lest We Forget...

I took this picture of poppies in the Red Deer City Hall Gardens this summer knowing I would be using this image on Remembrance Day.

We do have poppies in our backyard but not this many red ones.

Missing the Sun

It’s November and I am really missing the warmth of the summer sun.

These House Sparrows were caught this summer taking a break on the neighbour’s shed catching the morning rays.

Warm Colours, Hot Temperature

Reached record highs today. Reached 34 degrees here in Red Deer.

This was shot a few weeks ago. Same day as the shot taken in “Glad Days are Here!” The gladiolas have all bloomed. Just have to dig out the bulbs and store them for the winter.


Well, so much for fall weather. Reached high 20’s again today and calling for temperatures in the 30’s tomorrow. Still watering our gardens and some of the plants are coming up for another round of blooms.

I chose this picture today because it reminds me of the hot sun we have had the past two weeks. This is a close up of a begonia. The flower petals look like hot rays of sun shining down on us.

Coming to an End

We had warm weather last week. Reached the 30 Celcius mark a few days in a row. That is unusual for an Alberta September. Frost is now coming so I will post as much summer garden pictures off before the snow flies. I guess I could also save some for the doldrums of winter.

This is a close up of a Geranium bloom outside our garage.

Glad Days are Here!

We were worried they would not come this year. Our Gladiola’s are finally starting to bloom. Took this shot last night as the sun was setting behind this flower.

Happy Song

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Globe Trotting

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Flower for a Day II

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A Bird in Hand

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Flower for a Day

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Reach for the Sky

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Siamese Twin

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Pink Feathers

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Just as I Feared

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Goldfinch Spotted

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Look at Me

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Feeding Time

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Soft Harbour

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More Deep Purple

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Baby Magpie

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Deep Purple

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Nothing Like a Cold Shower

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Watch My Back

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Glowing Hearts

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