Great time to head to Mud Lake Conservation Area. The water side (the pond and lake on the south side of the Cassels' Road) tends to have the waterbirds, the herons (both mature and immature, ducks, turtles, etc.) and the north side (the ridge between Cassels' Road and the Ottawa River) seems to have all the warblers. Patience and binoculars, as well as a sound camera set up are essential.
Remember, even with image stabilizing lenses, you really need to shoot at the fastest shutter speed possible while keeping the ISO setting as low as possible to reduce digital noise in your images (higher ISO = faster shutter speed in low light but higher ISO = grainy, affected images).
Using a tripod is really critical. If you want to know why, try holding a laser pointer at a wall from 10 feet. Watch how the laser dot bops around, despite your best efforts to hold it still. Now, if you're hand holding a camera that weighs several pounds, and your tiny bird subject is in movement, your hand movement (remember the laser pointer analogy?) and the bird's movement will result in less-than tack-sharp photos; you'll get blurred images. I carry my camera, set to the lowest ISO for the ambient light, ready to shoot over my shoulder while mounted to the tripod. If I see a bird, I carefully bring the tripod down to the ground and set up and shoot, generally in seconds. Take caution, however, if you decide to carry your tripod over your shoulder with the camera attached. I use a very high quality tripod (Really Right Stuff) to ensure that I can do so without losing my camera. If you carry your camera mounted, all ready to shoot, make sure you have a safety strap around your neck or some other point of safety. Failure to do so may result in your camera suddenly detaching and crashing to the ground! Frequently check camera-tripod connections.
Fall bird photography. Tricky, because there's still lots of foliage on the trees to obscure views of birds. And, the plumage has changed from the bright colors of spring to often more drab colors in Fall. However, in Eastern Ontario, if you get out there, you will see all manner of migrating warblers, as well as other migrants coming through on their way south.
Warblers are the big draw in Fall, but the challenges with photographing warblers are that they are small, very fast and flitting, and tend to stay hidden in the brush, making clear photos very hard to obtain. They're also in drab autumn plumage, and are very tricky to differentiate. Getting good photos of warblers is like trying to catch a housefly with chopsticks.
That all said, I'm lucky enough that I have this kind of spare time to devote to bird photography. Of course, it means boring the nuts off people with endless photos of birds eating bugs and fish. The real money's in photos of naked people and misery. I can't get much of the former and feel that photographing the latter for money is exploitative, so birds it is.
Tonbo wa, kaju-en no kaori ni tsubasa o fukō sa
To order these images as framed prints, on metal (most popular!) or in acrylic (very exciting colors), e-mail me (in English please): email@example.com for prices and shipping.
At Andy Haydon Park and Mud Lake today, where I got some pix of the larger predators eating fish, bugs, golliwogs (anything that sort of defies description, like bullfrog tadpoles or cicadas that look like green aliens from outer space. Met a very pleasant family at Mud Lake, who enjoyed looking at my pix via the viewing screen of the camera. All in all, a nice day, rather hot, but lots of large bird activity.
Summer birding. Hot, hazy and buggy. I couldn't find anything unusual as in shorebirds, etc. So I tried taking original pictures of the plentiful ducks. Setting my shutter speed as high as the light would allow, I tried to capture bobbing ducks as they popped up from feeding on the pond bottom, getting a nice shot of the blur of water sheathing off their faces. And a few shots of non-ducks. Happy Sunday!
Often heard at this time of year, is that the birding is slow. It is true, that the foliage is thick, which makes seeing birds much more difficult than the bare trees of spring and autumn. However, I went out today, and got some nice shots; a pair of Sandhill Cranes who are back early from up north, and a bunch of heron activity. Blue, Night and Green herons. A great day.
A week's training on Mass Casualty Scene processing. Devising methods for mass fatality incident management and processing. A car was blown up with a road killed deer inside, and the Weldon Springs Protocols were applied to document and recover physical evidence on the large scale. Interesting short course of the Mercyhurst Anthropology program. An eclectic selection of photos that captured the week for me.
This summer, I really wanted to get two local birds photographed to my standards of tack-sharp focus, clear detail. Those two birds are the Scarlet Tanager and the Indigo Bunting. I was fortunate to get the Tanager earlier this year, and today, after a walk in the woods, I got the Indigo Bunting as well. Lucky? That's part of it. But if you go out often, look for nests, learn their behaviors, talk to other birders, well, it's nit just luck. The harder you work, the luckier you get!
Bruce is an expert birder who gives tours and teaches those interested in birds, how to become birders. You can submit photos for publication of your bird shots too. I can't seem to get this link to Bruce's article in The Citizen to come up here, so just click and copy the link below, and put it in your web browser.
Worth reading each Saturday. There are gaps owing to his traveling and giving courses, but it will keep you current in what's happening ornithologicaly speaking in the Ottawa area.
Ok, so all I have for you today are more Great Blue Heron photos. However, it's June, the trees are full of leaves making small birds very difficult to see, and many birds are sitting on eggs so activity is low. I can generally count on coming back from Mud Lake with something. Today, while everything else was hiding away, this heron fished for catfish near the bridge on the Mud Lake walking path. I photographed him making at least three successful dives. It's a great spot; lots of birders and photographers to talk to.