Spirit Bears of British Columbia

One of things that I found in my travels is the fact that you come across some interesting people.  Whether they are students, Workshop Leaders, or just people in the area, they can be entertaining and fun to be with.  Back in 2009 I was traveling with a few of my friends from across the country.  Our destination was the Great Bear Rain Forest located along the coast of British Columbia.  We were traveling on a sailboat and working our way through the many coastal water ways looking for Spirit Bears, a rare type of bear found in the islands along the western coast of Canada.  The above image is one that we found on a small island where we stopped in search of Spirit Bear activity.  The trip was back in 2009, ten years ago.  The reason I am posting this image is because one of those characters I found in my travels is Kevin Pepper.  Kevin was our guide when we went to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories to photograph the Northern Lights.  Kevin has a workshop company and just recently posted some images of Spirit Bears as he is leading a workshop among them.  Kevin’s web site can be found here.

There are many different types of photographic workshops to be found on the world wide web.  I have had the pleasure of traveling with many of these folks over the years.  Kevin Pepper is one of those characters who travels near and far in efforts to provide education and photo opportunities to his clients.  Check out his web site and follow him on Facebook.  Its fun to see what some of these people are up to and may entice you to follow your dreams and travel to some fun and exciting places to expand your photographic endeavors.  Enjoy!

On the Lake

With the better weather arriving recently I have been spending some time Lake Side.  I always try to bring my gear along to see what might suit my fancy.  The lake is quite populated with water lilies right now but it is a challenge to get close enough for a nice composition.  The dragon flies however are a different story.  Along the shore of our property are large areas of vegetation.  Often times these areas are visited by the many species of dragon flies found in similar places along the waterfront in Ohio and Michigan.

Normally, I would carry my macro lens with me and get close to these flies to get the best composition as I can.  But our area is such that the water does not allow me to get as close to the flies as I want with a macro lens, so I use reach into my gear bag for an alternative.  The above image was caught using and extremely long lens (300mm) and a 1.4x teleconverter.  I like the reach of this combination and use it a lot for my bird photography.  With the dragon flies it allows me to get a close up shot while also keeping the background a little out of focus to highlight the main subject which is the dragon fly.  Knowing the types of lenses at your disposal and the effect they can have on the images you capture is essential to a great picture.  Know your gear and experiment with the various lenses you have to learn their capabilities and how each one might give you the shot you are looking for.  Enjoy!


Street Photography

Street Photography is quickly becoming an important genre in the world of photography.  Street photographers have a significant following on the internet and are proving to be a significant contributor in photographic art.  As a nature and wildlife photographer I have been researching this phenomenon and find that it has many challenges.  Aside from the gear choices one has to make, approaching your subjects on the streets where you live could be daunting and the cause for a certain expertise.  My recent experience with  street photography was last Wednesday as I was attending my local community Independence Day Celebration.  I always try to get there early so I can position myself for some of the great fireworks photos I can get that evening.  In the interim, people listen to a local band, watch their children at play, have an adult beverage, and just general commiseration.  I took the opportunity to take a small step in to this new genre.  I found this gentleman clowning around with some of the patrons and thought I would give it a whirl.  Enjoy!

Lake Life

One of the reasons that you carry your camera with you at all times, is when that special moment happens you can capture it.  I was sitting at the lake last evening when I saw a young female deer walk out of the forested area to the west of our property.  We had to remain pretty still because the deer could see our movements through our windows.  As she moved further down towards the lake, I was able to grab my camera, switch to a longer lens and quietly move outside from the far side of our house.  From there I was not only able to capture a few images of this young female, but of an older female who also made her way out onto the lawn near the lake.  We have been aware of their presence several times over the last few weeks, but could not get a shot as they were too skittish and ran away as soon as they saw us move around the inside of the house.  Last Night I was better prepared and the situation allowed a few great captures in the evening light.  Enjoy!

Female American Redstart

I think That I have made my last trip out to the bay to capture this years migratory birds.  Th over growth of the vegetation is making it a real challenge to isolate any of these small warblers.  Yesterday was quite windy so the birds were lower in the branches.  I was able to capture many different species including this Female American Redstart.  I previously posted a Male Redstart and you can see the difference in their coloring.  As with most bird species, the male birds are more colorful than the females.  I will have a few more to post over the next week or so as we transition north to the lake where we saw several Sandhill Cranes this last weekend.  Please like this post in Facebook and Twitter as well as LinkedIn if you are a member.  Enjoy!

Elusive Avian Activity

Finishing up my week photographing the bird migration in Northwest Ohio, I found a cool and windy morning out by Lake Erie.  The boardwalk was still packed with people from Birders to Photographers and movement along the walk was a bit restricted.  What really caught my eye was the fact that as a result of all the rain we have been having in the area, the vegetation growth was been quite extensive causing problems in viewing and photographing the birds.  People would point out specific bird species and, although you could see them and identify them, you could not get a good shot.  We found a Green Heron along the shore line searching for food.  A great activity to photograph, but for the vegetation and trees in the area, all I could do was watch and observe the Heron’s behavior.  Green Herons are very beautiful birds and fun to photograph.  I searched back in my archives for an image to show you and found one from my last trip to the Florida Everglades.  Often times we can only watch and see without the camera in our face.  One of the struggles of a nature photographer when Mother Nature has her way.  Enjoy!

The Biggest Week

Here we are in the Biggest week in American Birding.  I have been spending some time out at Magee Marsh where many of the migratory birds congregate prior to making the long trek across Lake Erie on their way to Canada.  There are many species of birds coming through.  As many of our friends here in Northwest Ohio, we have been experiencing some rainy weather and some windy days.  I have been to the Marsh on some days to find many birding opportunities while others are not so good.  When the insects are high up in the trees, so are the birds and then they are hard to photograph.  But patience is needed and return trips are required to capture the best birding along the lake during “The Biggest Week.”  The first image above is a Ruby Crowned Kinglet.  There were quite a few of these flying around the other day and many were within reach of my glass.  The image below was taken on my first day at the Marsh.  It is a American Red Start and there are just a few of these about over the last few days.  There are still many days left before the birds depart for Canada and I hope to spend a few more days watching their activities.  Enjoy!

Nest Building

Earlier this week I stopped at a few places near Lake Erie’s shoreline checking on the bird migration soon to arrive here in Northwest Ohio.  The birds were a little sparse as yet.  A few ducks were in the waters by the road.  A great Blue Heron was basking in the sun near the Ottawa Wildlife Refuge.  But the one thing that caught my eye while I was walking the boardwalk was a simple robin that was building her nest.  Robin’s are quite plentiful around here and even in my own backyard.  We have a tendency to search for the unusual capture.  The birds we don’t see everyday or special events that seem to be more dramatic than your everyday experience.  This image of a Robin attracted me because I could see that she had something in her mouth.  I walked slowly up to the area where she was sitting and was able to capture this moment of rest while she was apparently building a nest nearby. A simple click and I registered a nice portrait of a bird that we see everyday.  Enjoy!

Pied Billed Grebe

The countdown continues for the Biggest Week in American Birding.  My friends from the southern states are posting some interesting images of the migratory birds as they work their way towards us and on into Canada.  12 days and counting!  Magee Marsh and the other birding areas in the Great Black Swamp are already starting to see some activity.  I found this Pied Billed Grebe in the waters along the road that goes back to the Boardwalk in Magee Marsh.  There are other water fowl in the area and I hope to capture a few more this coming week.  This bird has its breeding plumage as seen by the black strip on its beak.  It appears to be an adult and is often found in ponds and marsh areas.  Join me in the coming weeks as we work our way along the boardwalk seeking some great images of the migratory birds here in  Northwest Ohio.  Enjoy!

Black Swamp Activity

In my recent posts about the birds in Magee Marsh Wildlife preserve, you have seen many images from an area that is part of the Great Black Swamp here in Northwest Ohio. The Black Swamp Conservancy has worked on many projects to highlight this area and the environment surrounding it. The wetlands is part of a area of consisting of farm land and other aspects of the Black Swamp that covers approximately 15,000 square miles. There are more than just birds and other waterfowl to see along the wetlands area. While searching for my Eagle shot the other day I came upon this rascal in the waterways along the Magee Marsh Boardwalk. I’m thinking this is a beaver. There are many different mammals found in the Great Black Swamp. Muskrat, mink, beaver, rabbits, and otters just to name a few.

If you are planning to attend The Biggest Week in American Birding coming up this May from the 3rd through the 12th, stop in to the Black Swamp Conservancy areas and speak to the many people that will be there to assist your experience. Also remeber that there are moe than just birds to be seen in the Black Swamp so don’t just look up for the birds but down into the wetlands to find other interesting wildlife among the habitat that is the Great Black Swamp. Enjoy!

August 2019
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