More Fuzz

The ducks were fuzzy and cute, but there were other fuzzy things to look at.

The dandelion seeds were in especially good shape as the wind has been absent over the past few days.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Focal length: 100mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s

This little guys wasn’t skiddish at all and paid no attention as he was munching in a tree. You may ask yourself, how do you tell a male squirrel from a female? A high resolution camera.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4.5
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

I was happy to see this Barred Owl, we wouldn’t even have known it was there but a number of ravens were harassing the owl. Those of you who have seen “The Birds” will understand my sympathy. Shooting straight up into a canopy was challenging, I was happy to pull off any kind of image.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Focal length: 100mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s

Posted in Nature, Wildlife Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Duckey Fuzz

The warmer temperatures are starting to be more consistent here on Vancouver Island. The grass has always been green and we have seen the cherry blossoms come and blow, mostly into the streets like we had just missed a motorcade of waving royals.

The sun rises early now, and a number of keeners managed to give in to their alarm clocks to smell the morning air and to seek out new life in their own civilization, and to boldly go into a local park. The obvious interest is everybody’s favorite, the fuzzy awkward ducklings.

  • Aperture: ƒ/7.1
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 4000
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

You don’t have long to catch their cuteness, only a couple of weeks until they start looking like mini versions of their parents.

Despite being only days out of their little eggshell fortresses, they are surprising in their agility both in and out of the water. Their speed in the water can only be explained by the foot to size ratio since I am not sure a duck’s food grows at all during their lifetime.

  • Aperture: ƒ/7.1
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 4000
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

  • Aperture: ƒ/7.1
  • Focal length: 700mm
  • ISO: 6400
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

  • Aperture: ƒ/7.1
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 3200
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

Exploratory genes of their parents must be passed on and encouraged early as they marched through taller and taller blades of grass hunting for insects and I presume breadcrumbs left by park patrons. The grass reached my knees, but to a little duck this was an expedition through the Amazon, airborne creatures not yet known aloft above the blade tops.

The little ones were quick to assemble when they or mom detected impending doom, signalled by an unrecognized noise of any kind. Now siblings united, we must get back to the pond.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 1000
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

Posted in Nature Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

crustulum stelleri

The sun was trying to break the clouds apart that morning, this is a sign to get up and out the door.

Goldstream Provincial Park is an interesting place. It’s easily accessible and the destination for many a school bus.

Despite the traffic, the walk along the Goldstream river always has some surprise interactions in store. The river provides diverse habitat to a number of species and because of the traffic they aren’t too shy.

The last day of 2014, I was after some eagles in that early morning light. Since the choice salmon flesh has been gone for a week or so, the eagles had dispersed no doubt feeling a little sleepy after their annual gorge.

The return journey has a success rate of 70%, I know this is statistically improbable.

It seems the park staff at Goldstream puts out delicious looking hippy cookies for the local wildlife to snack on. A group of Steller’s Jays (Cyanocitta stelleri) had moved in to grab a bite.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 4000
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s

If I was to see free hippy cookies hanging from a tree, I would also call my friends over. I would make Jack taste them first and see if he freaks out.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 6400
  • Shutter speed: 1/1000s

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 4000
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s

I was glad for the forest background and the mossy logs to add a bit more interest to the image.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 5000
  • Shutter speed: 1/1000s

I was happy to find something to shoot that morning and came away with some pleasing images.

Enjoy those hippy cookies happy jays, rumor has it that even Stephen Harper enjoys the odd bird seed bar.

Posted in Nature, Wildlife Tagged , , , , , , , |

Fishing with a Heron

Tod Inlet is a favorite walk among most islanders, a short hike crammed between the Butchart Gardens property and the south part of The Gowland Tod Provincial Park.

The main trail follows Tod Creek all the way until it meets the ocean and despite its size the walk features some beautiful scenery and some unique species of plants and a diverse collection of critters.

One of the most unique sights is the ruins of an old cement factory that was operational during the early 1900’s and a few buildings still remain. The factory made Butchart Gardens possible due to the limestone quarry carved out of the earth by forgotten immigrant works from India and China. These marginalized workers are the subject of a documentary called Beyond the Gardens’ Wall.

While walking I spotted the unmistakable shape of a Great Blue Heron fishing in the shallows of the inlet. A closer look produced a very comfortable fisherbird in lovely still water.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 2500
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

The GBH is a true master of its environment and built to fish. It moves gracefully through the water at a very controlled pace, never in a rush.

Once a target has been seen in the shallow water, the Heron will pause, any movement is controlled, concentration increases as the Heron lowers its slender “S” shaped neck towards the unsuspecting.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 5000
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

Then, from a standstill, a swift snatch of its prey, a skill that has only ever been copied by Frank Dux. OK USA.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 5000
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

Sometimes when you sit around and wait, you end up witnessing something unexpected. In this case, a gull managed to catch a fish a little larger than expected.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 8000
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

Guess who felt a little envious and moved in.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 8000
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

Someone looks a little unhappy with how that turned out.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 8000
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s

A big meal for the Heron, it seemed like it would need a knife and fork.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 4000
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s

Flipping it around may help.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 5000
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 5000
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s

Finally managed to get it down, I was very surprised. You can even see the bulge in the neck from the giant fish.

Watching through the lens is always interesting.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 3200
  • Shutter speed: 1/1000s

Posted in Nature, Wildlife Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Beachscapes of Vancouver Island

The weather is something Victorians love to talk about, even more than the mainlanders…since our weather changes.

We do see our fair share of rain but for the landscape photographer its not so bad. Always mild, it was sunny last week an easy sell to get out for an evening shoot over two days.

This week more rain, so that means more Lightroom. I still have lots of photos to go through from Asia, but working on these landscapes was a welcome change.

It turns out there is still lots of island to discover, and winter time is an opportunity to get out and explore a bit. I had been up Sooke Road before however I hadn’t made the trip out to some of the more popular beaches. I guess they are popular for a reason.

 

The volume of water coming from each of these falls changes over the year, the tides and cloud cover change daily. With all of these variables I wonder if these conditions ever existed before, or will again.

I was glad to discover both of these little gems for myself and I will be back often to see how the light and the landscape changes over the spring.

I did even see a few little sea critters I look forward to capturing (photographically of course) when the rain stops.

Posted in Landscape Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |