Squamish Bald Eagles (Again) Jan13

Squamish Bald Eagles (Again)

This was my third time in Squamish to shoot Bald Eagles, and it will likely become an annual excursion.  Not only do I love Squamish and Brackendale, it is a great opportunity to practice wildlife photography with a photogenic subject.  Unlike my previous trip to the area when I visited in January, this time I came when the eagle concentrations were much higher.   There were several occasions when I saw up to eight eagles all trying to get one or two dead salmon, unsurprisingly some fights broke out.   As I was heading to a new location to begin my search for eagles, I saw an interesting log pincer thingy (correct name) and had to stop.  I managed to get a shot with my wide angle that included the Stawamus Chief in the background.   (As always, click to view larger.  You can also just scroll through all of the photos in a slideshow) Getting to the beach at the south end of Squamish was more fun than expected due to deep snow.  Once I arrived, there were no eagles to be seen but I did brave the elements to get this long exposure shot before I packed up and went searching for the elusive birds. First stop was near the SPCA.  Mount Garibaldi was looking majestic as usual so a quick shot was necessary. I did find a single juvenile bald eagle  Pretty sure he saw me. Also came across a Great Blue Heron Plenty of crows, which I used to practice my focus tracking for flying birds. A gang of seagulls. A few shy ducks. This is the reason the eagles are here in high concentrations, plenty of dead or dying salmon to eat.  Other bird species also enjoy the annual feast. Finally, in the most popular spot there were plenty of eagles.  These were all found off Government Road near the Watershed Grill restaurant. This one looking like he has found something interesting. As I said previously, fights were not uncommon though rarely seemed to result in any real damage.   I shot a LOT of photos to only get  a few worth keeping.  Not an easy subject to photograph. The seagulls don’t stick around to ask questions when they see the eagles coming in. Another fight sequence.   This guy wanted to make sure the young eagle knew who the boss was. And a few more shots.  It certainly won’t be my last time visiting the area.          ...

Hike to Saint Marks Summit

I haven’t been hiking much this year, such is the life with young twins.  I look forward to the day they can join me, but for now the tougher hikes have to be without them.  Since it’s now fall, I figured this weekend was one of my last chances to get up into the mountains.  I decided to try Saint Marks Summit, which is close to Vancouver and only 11km so something I could finish before lunch.  I roped my friend Andrew into joining me, and he brought along his great awesome dog Genny. [See previous hikes in Lynn Valley, the Chief, and the Lions.] The overall route is 11km round trip, and it took us almost exactly two hours to get to the summit.  In total, it was a four hour hike with close to 30 minutes at the summit.  On a clear day, you may want to spend more time at the top, but as you will see from the photos today was not such a day.  Feel free to browse these sites for details on the hike: Trail Peak, Vancouver Trails, Live Trails.  The route to Saint Marks is just part of a longer trail called the Howe Sound Crest trail which will take you past the Lions and eventually Porteau Cove. My map of the route, it is very well marked, look for the signs and the orange trail markers. You start off in the Cypress Mountain parking lot, head to the far north of the lot and up towards the chair lifts.  You will stay to the left and look for a route marker saying “Howe Sound Crest Trail”. For the first half, the trail gains elevation but it’s well maintained (and they continue to upgrade this trail). Eventually though, the upgrades end and the trail becomes more natural.     Can you spot Genny? After two hours, you reach the summit.  From other photos I have seen the view is stunning.  For us, we were socked in with heavy cloud cover.   A panorama, iPhone vs Nikon Not the easiest descent.  On the way down we passed a yahoo wearing flip flops!  I really couldn’t believe he made it as far as he did, and I’m sure his footwear will get destroyed and he will have to complete his journey barefoot.  These are the types of people North Shore Search and Rescue have to go pull down off the mountain. Probably my favorite photo from the trip. Then the weather started to fog my lens, so I packed it in from that...

Harvest Moon 2016

On September 16, we had a full moon which was also our harvest moon.  The harvest moon is the full moon closest to the fall equinox (Sept. 22nd).  Since it was a beautiful clear night, I thought I would test out the Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens.  Here is the shot, which isn’t too bad for a relatively inexpensive lens (and Nikon...

The Wonderful Art of Dale Chihuly Mar07

The Wonderful Art of Dale Chihuly

I have been a huge fan of Dale Chihuly for many years.   He is a glass artist from Tacoma, Washington (USA) and now has an amazing gallery in Seattle called Chihuly Garden and Glass.  I don’t have too much time to ramble on about each piece, each one can speak for itself.  His incredible versatility and technical execution makes each piece special.  I hope to own a few of his works one day.     A bunch more photos from the trip.  Click any image for a bigger version.   And one photo from our journey back.  Some random pub in a town I no longer...

Squamish Bald Eagles Jan13

Squamish Bald Eagles

I was eager to try out my new Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 VR lens that I received for Christmas from my lovely wife.  I knew that Bald Eagles were likely still in Squamish as I had been there previously.  I ventured out one very old morning to see what I could capture. The sun was rising as I pulled into Squamish and I noticed it was illuminating Mount Garibaldi.  I decided to see how the lens performs for a long distance landscape shot.  Nice detail despite the distance. The rig The shot I then walked around one of my favorite spots in south Squamish and did encounter a few eagles. One thing I realized is that I have a lot to learn about wildlife photography, especially birds. Learning how to use a telephoto lens has a fairly steep learning curve, and trying to capture birds in flight makes it even harder.  I took a lot of shots but only have a few keepers and even those I’m only mildly satisfied with.  Having said that, the combination certainly does help in comparison to shooting with my iPhone. Eagle shot with iPhone Same eagle with a Nikon D810 and Nikkor 200-500 f/5.6 VR lens.  Anyone claiming “gear doesn’t matter” hasn’t tried to shoot wild eagles. I relocated several times but had a hard time finding eagles.  I found out later that there are much higher concentrations of eagles in early December and by January they have started to depart as most of the salmon that they are feeding on are gone.  It was still a beautiful day so I made the most of it by shooting some landscape shots.  Even some with my iPhone. My trusty Tacoma, it never disappoints. This was actually a hand-held shot with the Nikkor 200-500 lens.  Shutter speed was relatively long but the VR system helped me get an acceptably sharp shot. After more driving around and looking in a few spots I have never visited before I did find a few more eagles.  Didn’t get the focus or composition right in all of the photos, but I did get a lot of practice in tracking eagles in flight. Finally, a comparison of iPhone vs Nikon.  See that moon in the top right? Now a little closer with the...

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-500mm f/2.8-5.6E ED VR Lens...

Ok, so the headline is a joke, but it would be nice to own such a lens :)  I recently got the Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 lens and was in Squamish looking for Bald Eagles.  With me I also had my Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8 and Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lenses.  The 14-24 and 200-500 represent the two extremes of the focal lengths I’m able to shoot.  I thought it may be fun to do a test to see just how much difference there is between 14mm and 500mm.  I threw in a few intermediate focal lengths as well.  The scene is in Squamish, BC, Canada beside the BC SPCA and looking northwest to Mount Garibaldi.  All photos taken with the Nikon D810. 14mm   24mm (I noticed a slight difference at 24mm between the 14-24 and 24-70, discussed below.)   70mm (Sorry for the typo on the image text, obviously not the 14-24.)   200mm   300mm   400mm   500mm   Now an overlay between 14mm and 500mm, move mouse left/right to see both images.   When does 24mm not mean 24mm? Finally, when reviewing images taken during the testing I saw a difference between the 24mm images shot with the 14-24mm and 24-70mm.  Here are the two images side by side.   I then applied Lightroom’s lens correction to both 24mm images, to see if that would close the difference.  A greater change was made to the 24-70, but there is still a substantial difference between the two.  Here are the two corrected images.   If anyone is curious on how the 200-500mm performed when shooting eagles, I have yet to process most photos but here are a couple initial images....

October Flowers & Mushrooms

Today, when I took the dogs for a walk I decided to bring my camera along. I haven’t had very much opportunities to use it recently and needed to get my photo fix in somehow. We have had a very mild fall in Vancouver and there are still plenty of flowers in the neighbourhood. I also came across some mushrooms, and even a few critters. My route with the dogs The flowers, I can’t believe we still have this many at the end of October!   Some mushrooms   These flowers are still growing in my yard.  Maybe this global warming thing isn’t so bad ;)   Some of the...

Exploring Santiago Sep10

Exploring Santiago

Though I’m posting this in September, the photos were taken in March. It has taken me ages to find the time to edit and post these shots but such is the life with young twins. I have been to Chile several times in the past but often don’t have time to explore due to my work schedule. However, during this trip I had an extra day and decided to explore the city of Santiago. I contacted Cat at Foto Ruta to see if she had time to plan a custom tour. Not knowing the city well, it’s nice to have a local show you around. Cat was very accommodating to my schedule and interests and we planned an afternoon/sunset shoot.  We met at the GAM (Center of Arts, Culture, and People) and wandered the streets for hours from there.   Not far from the GAM is the “Cerro Santa Lucía”. My favorite photo from the fountain did not turn out great but I had a good laugh at the little boy playing in the water.   Here are my tour guides for the afternoon, Cat and Alex.  I never did see the photo from the other side :) I did try my hand at some sweeping shots of traffic.  Need more practice. A few shots while walking through the streets. We then made it to this great plaza where guys sit around and play chess.  Maybe women play too, but likely few and far between. Some interesting characters, and a bit of street art too. I love old and interesting churches, this one was beautiful. Caught this guy in the plaza, his shirt says “I shoot people”.  So do I :) Some fantastic murals, they were huge and very well done. This young guy looked relaxed and waved to us.  I like the long shadow in the waning daylight. We got into an area of town filled with graffiti.  This is not the crappy work you see in a subway tunnel, but works of art by commissioned local artists.  It was brilliant. My guides Cat and Alex looking for shots. Even the people around here are covered in art. A few shots from a rooftop to finish the day.  Thanks for the great tour Cat and Alex!   The next day, I only had a few hours before my flight but enough time to visit Centro Artesanal Los Dominicos.  This is a small village full of Chilean handicrafts and a farmers market.  Worth a visit. My final stop for the day, and a place I have visited twice before, was the Cementerio General de Santiago.  It’s an interesting place to roam around, with a blend of old and new.  I’ll likely visit again in the future. I “almost” sat on this at the end of the day.  No idea what it is but it was covered with long, hard, and incredibly sharp spines.  It hurt to even pick it up, so I’m glad I didn’t sit on it. It would have been a LONG plane ride...

Page 1 of 2612345...1020...Last »