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 , , , , , , , , , , |

Sacred Monkey Forest – Ubud Indonesia

Ubud is a phenomenal city located nearer to the middle of Bali, far away from the chaos of Kuta. Often advertised as Bali’s cultural destination, Ubud is host to a healthy tourist industry although much more civilized one.

The streets are uncharastically absent of car horns and phallic bottle openers and even a short walk can unearth new and interesting discoveries.

Despite the reports of simian-human violence and its reputation as a busy tourist destination, an early morning visit proved peaceful and interesting for photographs.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 200mm
  • ISO: 4000
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s

I always find monkeys very interesting, their actions and personalities are a little too close to our own. They can certainly be troublemakers and I suggest leaving any food or even your wallet at home when visiting a place where monkeys are so used to humans. They will pick the sunglasses off of your head or steal the watch from your wrist. If you resist they may bite, reminding me I may find familiar helices if I looked very close.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 200mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 200mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/640s

I love observing primates in pairs, grooming, making eye contact or pestering each other. There seems to be a genuine care for each member of the group.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 172mm
  • ISO: 2500
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 200mm
  • ISO: 5000
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s

Also interesting is the family unit. The babies typically stay close to their parents and the parents can carry them on their belly without impairment in walking or bounding up branches.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 200mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s

Still, like all animals, the babies are the biggest attraction, they seem to like all the attention.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 200mm
  • ISO: 1250
  • Shutter speed: 1/640s

Even though these crab-eating macaques are free to roam in the forest they hang around here and go about their business (get it?) until one of the local keepers opens a huge cage of food.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 118mm
  • ISO: 2500
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s

Don’t eat too much silly monkey.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Focal length: 176mm
  • ISO: 5000
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s

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

More of Annapurna

I prefer to walk. Using just your feet to get around gives you the chance to explore more of the unexpected and investigate the little things. Simply stopping to get a closer look doesn’t take much more than a thought, your legs slow and your gaze focuses on whatever has interested you.

You can choose to approach an animal with a wandering focus in an effort not to scare it, or a fellow human with a smile.

 

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Waterfalls were all around us, especially on the beginning part of the trek.
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The many suspension bridge crossings offered a nice perspective of the raging river below.

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Flowing water seemed to be everywhere, likely just a flow through from a nearby stream.

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On the higher parts of the trail, there are only a few modes of transport. A couple of the more cost effective options are horseback and human. There is quite a jump in cost to helicopter.

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This small village was a beautiful place to spend an evening. Most of our evening was spent on a second floor balcony overlooking the waterfall. We had to speak a little louder over the present roar of the water. I think that the thought of living here was on our minds.

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Most of the people in the lower elevations grow their own food right there on a small piece of land. This lady gathering some bushels of rice was was a real find in wonderful light.

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