Monday, May 21, 2012

May birding shots

I'm continuing to enjoy birding this month and I've take a few opportunities to get out with the family and go for a walk and photo trip at the same. Good family time + good picture time makes for a happy me. Some of the interesting species and fun shots I've taken the last two weeks: Willet Tree Swallow LeConte's Sparrow Brownheaded Cowbird American Avocet Red Winged Blackbird Clay Coloured Sparrow This is rapidly becoming a bird photo blog, I hope no one minds :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Another day with the birds!

Today was another day with the birds, with a trip out to Oak Hammock Marsh near Stonewall.  It was a windy day so sadly the birds were few and far between but there were a few surprises.

Songbirds were pretty much nowhere to be seen, but at one point a curious American Tree Sparrow let me check him out as he perched on a nearby bullrush:

American Tree Sparrow

A slightly more interesting find was a small cluster of what turned out to be Marbled Godwits.  This was my first time seeing these birds, so I was happy to get a decent capture.

Marbled Godwits

That was about it for keepers at Oak Hammock itself, but on the drive back, my wife noticed something by the side of the road:

Snowy Owl

I thought this Snowy Owl might have been injured, but once I got close enough, it showed that it was okay:

Snowy Owl Launching

Sadly, it never turned back to me, but I like the sense of motion as it launched so this was the shot I kept.

Thinking the day might not be so bad we headed to nearby Lockport to see if the Pelicans that gather there were up for a photoshoot.  What we found put a smile on my face:

Pelican In Flight

Pelican in for a Landing

Fighting for Fishy Flesh

A great end to a fun day out with the family.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

More telephoto fun...

Took the new lens out to Fort Whyte today hoping to get some new critters. I found some of the expected critters like Muskrats, Turtles and Geese, but I got my first Yellow Rumped Warbler and I managed to get nice a close to a Chickadee who posed for a nice shot as well.

Here is today's collection:

Black Capped Chickadee

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Tasty Roots for Muskrats

Western Painted Turtle

Water Off a Gooses Back

Itchy Mallard

Merganser Pair

Sunday, April 8, 2012

New toys...

I miss my 70-200. I miss it a ton. I knew I wanted something with more reach, and the 1.4x teleconverter I was using did sap some sharpness. All last summer, I didn't go for bird walks, nature hikes, zoo trips and the like because I had sold it and lacked a telephoto option.

I thought I wanted a 100-400mm but the push/pull zoom seemed unnatural to use, and the lens is starting to show it's age when you compare it to some more modern options. Financial constraints also meant that I wasn't going to be buying a new lens last year.

Lo and behold cash flow is a bit better, and Canon has launched this little beauty. Since you lose a stop with the teleconverter, compared to the 70-200mm f/2.8L the max f/5.6 is not a huge hit, the IS is generally a bit better, and the autofocus should be faster without the teleconverter. It also takes me from 280mm at the long end to 300mm which is not a huge difference, but it is a little bit longer. I might have to push the ISO up a stop indoors, but for outdoor work it should be a great lens.

So the 70-300L came to the Zoo today for a test run:

Lion Asleep

Lion Awake

Crowned Pigeon

Marmoset

Ground Squirrel

Flamingo Feathers

And since I have posted any pics of them in a while, here are the kids!

Windy Boy

Rockin' Girl

Boy on the Go

So far, I'm happy with the lens! Tomorrow we are going to try Fort Whyte Alive for some more telephoto fun!

Monday, January 30, 2012

PP?

I haven't posted in two weeks or so, so tonight I must shoot something! Well, that's always when inspiration is hardest to find. So, I fiddled around the garage, and came back with something little. Yellow. Different.

PP

These are painters pyramids, used to hold up things when you need to paint or stain both sides. Cool little tools, and I wanted to play with the repeating shape somehow. I'm not overly happy with this shot, but I couldn't quite figure out what to do with them...

On the plus side I brought out my lightbox, LP160s and did my first set-up shot in a while. I have to get out of the house with camera more, but it was nice to play with some photo gear.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tofuriffic!

I feel like tofu tonight!

If you don't already know, I'm a vegetarian and have been for about 10 years now. This means that we do a lot of cooking at home and I *love* to cook.

Tonight was southern-fried tofu sandwiches on thick sliced fresh whole wheat bread, veggie bacon, edam, red onion, spring mix and roasted garlic and chili aioli.

Tofuriffic

Yes the sandwich was as thick as it looks. Yes it was as tasty.

I'm finding this photo setup so handy - once again this is the 60mm macro with the flash on-camera with an omnibounce. I could have used a reflector below and in front of the sandwich in hindsight, but I really like the results from this setup.

Shot at ISO 200, 1/100th shutter and f/5.6 handheld. The flash was set to E-TTL at -1 stop since it can drastically washout the image when you are shooting this close.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wet nose, warm heart.

We are dog sitting for friends, and today Shamrock the Shih Tzu was my model. I was still set up from the conservatory, so I went semi-macro with him once he sat still.

Once I started looking at him, I realized that the little guys face is all about texture so that's what I wanted to capture. I went monochrome to highlight that. I also like his pouty little lip.

Wet nose, warm heart

Take with my 7D and 60mm Macro at ISO 100, f/4, 1/100th shutter. It was sharpened, desaturated and the contrast adjusted in post-processing.