Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : You're Dead

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)

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 14-24 : The Chief and Logging

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.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 24-70 : Beach Long Exposure

First stop was near the SPCA.  Mount Garibaldi was looking majestic as usual so a quick shot was necessary.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Telephoto Landscape

I did find a single juvenile bald eagle

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Juvenile In Tree

Pretty sure he saw me.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Juvenile In Tree Close

Also came across a Great Blue Heron

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Great Blue Heron 3

Plenty of crows, which I used to practice my focus tracking for flying birds.Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Crow in Flight

A gang of seagulls.Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Seagull Gang

A few shy ducks.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Ducks Flying

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Ducks in Flight

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.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Crows Eating Salmon

Finally, in the most popular spot there were plenty of eagles.  These were all found off Government Road near the Watershed Grill restaurant.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Three Amigos

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Raptor on the Wing

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Majestic

This one looking like he has found something interesting.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Pounce

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Eagle in Flight Blue Sky

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Eagle in Tree Close

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Eagle in Tree

As I said previously, fights were not uncommon though rarely seemed to result in any real damage.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Attack Vector

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Smash

I shot a LOT of photos to only get  a few worth keeping.  Not an easy subject to photograph.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Flight 1

The seagulls don't stick around to ask questions when they see the eagles coming in.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Seagull Chase

Another fight sequence.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Attack Sequence 1

This guy wanted to make sure the young eagle knew who the boss was.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Arial Attack

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : You're Dead

And a few more shots.  It certainly won't be my last time visiting the area.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Juvenile Attack

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Dual Landing

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Attack

 

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Seagull Nope Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Eagle Sitting

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-12-12 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Eagle Walking

 

 

 

 

 


Brackendale Bald Eagle in Flight : Nikkor 200-500 f/5.6 VR Lens

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

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Shot with iPhone

The shotSquamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Mount Garibaldi Sunrise

I then walked around one of my favorite spots in south Squamish and did encounter a few eagles.Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Flying High

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Eagle and Crow Buddies

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Squawk

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Eagle in Tree

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Eagle In Tree Black and White

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

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : iPhone Eagle Shot

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.Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Eagle Playing Rooster In Tree

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.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : iPhone Landscape

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 14-24 : Sunrise in Squamish

My trusty Tacoma, it never disappoints.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 14-24 : Toyota Tacoma Glory

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 14-24 : Frozen Landscape

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.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Telephoto Landscape Long Exposure

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.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : I See Something

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Surveying the Land

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Going Somewhere

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Just Missed Flight Shot

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Eye on Me

Finally, a comparison of iPhone vs Nikon.  See that moon in the top right?

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : iPhone Landscape

Now a little closer with the telephoto.

Squamish Bald Eagles : 2016-01-02 : Nikon D810 & Nikkor 200-500 : Moon Landscape


Nikon D800 Macro - Frosty Morning - Focus Stack Buds

A Frosty Morning - Nikon D800 Macro with Focus Stack

I was waiting for a frosty morning to get some macro shots. Today, I got a few in my back yard. I also attempted some focus stacking with Zerene, though results are mixed. Shots are all taken with a Nikon D800 and Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro lens.


Lynn Valley Hike : Suspension Bridge and Twin Falls 2012-12-29 : Twin falls long exposure

Lynn Valley Hike - North Vancouver

I took a very short walk in Lynn Valley just after Christmas, it was a break from shopping hell.  I went to the suspension bridge, then down to twin falls. I also wanted to try out the 10-stop ND filter.  Results are promising, looking forward to trying a bit more of this.


Siwash Rock At Sunset : 2012-07-06

Siwash Rock at Sunset

 

I was waiting for a nice sunny day in Vancouver as I wanted to get out to photograph Siwash Rock. This basalt stack is the only one of it's kind in the Vancouver area, and I wanted to catch it when high tide was at or near sunset.  This is an HDR image created from several exposures.

Siwash Rock At Sunset : 2012-07-06

And a shot I took with my iPhone 4S as my D800 was taking the 7 bracketed shots for my HDR above.

iPhone Siwash Rock D800

 

And a few more shots from that evening including some fun with a neutral density filter for longer exposures.

Vancouver : Siwash Rock Long Exposure B&W : 2012-07-06

Vancouver : Siwash Rock Long Exposure Color : 2012-07-06

Vancouver : Siwash Rock Sunset : 2012-07-06


UBC Botanical Garden Yellow Lily

UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research

Last weekend, my wife and I paid a visit to the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research (at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver).  Despite having lived in Vancouver a combined 35 years it was the first visit for both of us.  We were very fortunate because one of the volunteers, Dana, took us for a private tour as no one else was there for a tour when we arrived.  He spent several hours with us, taking us first on the Greenheart Canopy Walkway, which is a series of bridges and platforms in the trees.  It's a bit wobbly, but fun at the same time.  Also, you get an interesting view from up there that you don't often see.  The canopy system is hung from the trees but is done in such a way that it doesn't harm the tree, it's rather amazing actually and the only one of its kind in Canada.

UBC Botanical Garden Tree Top Walk

UBC Botanical Garden 1

UBC Botanical Garden Feet

UBC Botanical Garden Katie in the trees

UBC Botanical Garden Tree Top Walk

 

There are a lot of vines in the garden, from all over the world.

UBC Botanical Garden Vine

UBC Botanical Garden Vine

 

It's not all plants and flowers.

UBC Botanical Garden Mushroom

 

Though there are a lot of beautiful flowers as well.

UBC Botanical Garden Flowers

UBC Botanical Garden Borrage

UBC Botanical Garden Flower Mosaic

UBC Botanical Garden Yellow Lily

 

They also have a big garden with all kinds of edible things.

UBC Botanical Garden Yummy

 

Including the most interesting way to grow fruit.  These trees are trained to grow at an angle and only have branches in one plane.  Because of the angle, the tree bears fruit much sooner than they would otherwise.  Also, they are very easy to pick being no more than six feet high, some only a foot with branches parallel to the ground.  I wish I remember what this growing style was, if you know please leave a message in the comments below.

UPDATE: The technique of training trees in this manner is called Espalier (thanks to Wendy Cutler!).

UBC Botanical Garden Fruit trees

UBC Botanical Garden Fruit trees 2

 

In one section, they have plants from all of the continents including a lot of desert varieties.  Apparently there are fire ants too, though I didn't see any.

UBC Botanical Garden Fire Ants

UBC Botanical Garden Chicks and Hens

UBC Botanical Garden Burrs

UBC Botanical Garden Carpet

UBC Botanical Garden Cactus in Bloom

UBC Botanical Garden Flower

UBC Botanical Garden Crocosmia in Bloom

 

There is also a section of the garden dedicated to plants used in the medical field.  This sundial is in the middle, accurate though doesn't adjust well for daylight savings time :)

UBC Botanical Garden Sundial in the medical garden

 

We found this interesting bee hive, which was a temporary art installation.  The solar panels provide energy to open and close it daily.

UBC Botanical Garden Bee Hive Fine Art

 

Finally, there is a fantastic water fountain the garden located in the amphitheatre.  It was designed by William Pye who installs these amazing water sculptures all over the world.  I'll have to go back to get more photographs.

UBC Botanical Garden Fountain Reflection


Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 6

Birds At Acadia Beach in Vancouver, BC

Took a short walk with my dogs on Acadia Beach today.  The best time for birds, especially Great Blue Herons, seems to be on the rising tide early in the morning.  The Herons like to walk around in the shallow water and pick off smelt and other small fish who are too dumb to notice a three foot tall bird.

I didn't get any stellar shots today but did see a Bald Eagle, a few Great Blue Herons, Geese, and a few of the usual suspects as well.   Overall, a fun day and always nice when an eagle is around.  The birds were quite far away so these are crops from much bigger images shot with the Nikon D800 and 80-200 f/2.8D lens.  In cases like this, a longer lens would sure be nice.  If an updated 80-400mm VR becomes available I may be tempted to sell the current zoom and go for the bigger reach.  Teleconverters do not work with the 80-200.  There was also a strong backlight so I had to dial up the shadow recovery introducing some noise.

I definitely got some better shots when I went to Brackendale to shoot the Bald Eagles with a borrowed 400mm f/2.8.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 5

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 4

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 1

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 3

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 6

 

Impressive talons on this guy, wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of those.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 7

 

The geese didn't seem to care that a top predator was in the area.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Geese

 

The heron also went about his business catching fish.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Great Blue Heron
I even managed to catch a crow in flight.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Crow Landing

 

The image above was rescued from a very underexposed shot.  The screenshot below shows the impressive dynamic range of the Nikon D800 which allowed me to recover the shadows and save the image, if only for web use.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Nikon D800 Shadow Recovery In Lightroom 4

 


Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

A Walk on Wreck Beach, Vancouver, BC

I don't always take my camera when I'm out walking the dogs, but since the D800 is new I decided to bring it along today. I was using the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR lens, which I love. All shots hand held, so may not be critically sharp especially when shooting in the shady areas. It's still too early in the year, and too cold, for the nudies to be out so I had the beach to myself.

This is one of my dogs, Jammie.  She is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, small but thinks she is a big dog.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

You see some interesting critters when you start getting close

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

I have also been playing around with black and white images more and more.  The D800 captures so much detail and has so much dynamic range you can really get great effects with b&w.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

This was a bit random, looks like someone brought it to the beach and stuck it in the sand.  I didn't see these growing anywhere.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

The horror! Actually they are rather cute, as long as they don't decide to set up shop in my back yard.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

And the fern somewhat reminds me of the furry caterpillars.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

 

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR


Puppies & Bunnies

I took another trip to the Vancouver Animal Control shelter today to take photos of their dogs available for adoption.  Photos from my previous visit can be seen here.  As always, you can see the animals available for adoption from this shelter by visiting their PetFinder page or just drop in at the shelter.

 

I don't think this black lab will be there long.

 

Cute little Boston Terrier, he jumps around like a maniac.

 

My favorite dog of the day, a blue heeler.

He kept trying to climb into my lap.

 

Hound dog.

 

They don't always want to cooperate.

 

The fuzzy Rottweiler.

 

Funny dome head, but cute.

 

Almost every dog was black, the hardest to photograph!

 

Fuzz face puppies, so cute! 4 of them, they look like little Ewoks.

 

And a few bunnies too, even with fancy hair.


Bald Eagle in flight Brackendale BC Dec 2011

Brackendale, Sneak Peek

I took a trip with my friend Andrew to Brackendale today to find some Bald Eagles.  The eagles were not hard to find, but certainly not easy to photograph.  Most of the time they were quite far away, and occasionally they would fly by a little closer.  I borrowed a big 400mm f/2.8 lens from my boss, which was a huge help but a monster to try and pan as an eagles did a fly by.  Too tired to process photos today, but here are two from the trip.  More to come soon. another When we first showed up at the main viewing area, the eagles were far away but this fellow was close and didn't mind posing for a photo.  It's a Great Blue Heron, you can see a past photo I took of  a heron here.

Great Blue Heron Brackendale BC Dec 2011

 

I also managed to capture a couple of eagles in flight, this was one of the better shots.  The lens really is huge, so this is no easy task.

Bald Eagle in flight Brackendale BC Dec 2011


Puppies

Puppies!


Puppy Chomp
Puppy Chomp

We are fostering eight little monsters.  More photos to come.


Vancouver Aquarium Baby Jellyfish Macro Photo

Photo: Baby Jellyfish

a macro photo of a tiny baby jellyfish. You can see its reflection in the water's surface.  Taken at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Vancouver Aquarium Baby Jellyfish Macro Photo

 


Vancouver Aquarium Emerald Tree Boa

Photo: Emerald Tree Boa

A photo of the Emerald Tree Boa taken at the Vancouver Aquarium.  I have another photo of this snake which I took on a different day here.

Vancouver Aquarium Emerald Tree Boa


Vancouver Aquarium - Macro photo of butterfly

Photo: Butterfly

A butterfly in the tropical rain forest exhibit of the Vancouver Aquarium.

Vancouver Aquarium - Macro photo of butterfly


Vancouver Aquarium - macro photo of moth

Photo: Moth

A moth in the tropical rain forest exhibit of the Vancouver Aquarium.

Vancouver Aquarium - macro photo of moth