A Spring Outing

A Spring Outing

Graeme wanted to get out on the trail to obtain some high speed shots of birds in flight with his Sony NEX-FS700 with SELP18200 lens.The easiest place to do that is on the many trails in the National Capital Commission’s Greenbelt where the Chickadees and Nuthatches are quite happy to come in close and personal to obtain a sunflower seed or two from outstretched hands. Graeme was shooting at 1080p and either 240fps or 480fps. I on the other hand was shooting with my Nikon D300 and a 70-300 f2.8 lens. I restricted myself to 1 frame at a time. My finger can’t click at 480fps LOL. I hadn’t been out on the trails much this winter, so was a willing participant and offered him a hand – actually offered to hold out my hand with an offering of sunflower seeds.  The temperature has continued to be rather chilly so winter clothing was a necessity and outstretched hands can become uncomfortably cold rather quickly.


It was a Sunday, so the birds had already seen plenty of outstretched hands offering all sorts of bird seed. All along the trails, there were small piles of seed left behind by hikers and skiiers sharing the trails with the birds and the squirrels. After leaving a few seeds scattered among the snow-covered branches of the cedars alongside one portion of the trail, so that Graeme would have plenty of winged visitors to photograph, I headed further along the Sarsaparilla Trail to see if there was anything else that might catch my attention.

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There had been reports of a Barred Owl in the area and others had seen a Porcupine sleeping in the higher branches of the trees, but I saw neither. Often, when I walk along this trail, I will be greeted by a Blue Jay or two, but this particular day, the Chickadees were my only companions. There were signs that a Pileated Woodpecker had recently been hard at work, but as this large woodpecker tends to be a bit wary of humans. I suspect that this particular woodpecker had taken a few days off from its labours to avoid the weekend crowds of humans.

014_9211-Chickadee  014_9214-viewing-platform

014_9218-Pileated-holesWhen we arrived back at the parking lot, we found that someone had left a copious supply of seeds and peanuts at that spot, so we stopped again to watch the Chickadees and Red Squirrels return time after time for another bit of food to add to their cache. As we were about to leave, a Red-Breasted Nuthatch joined in and returned a few times.

014_9221-Chickadee 014_9222-Chickadee

014_9224-r-b--nuthatchOur next stop was the Bird Rescue center.  Although the sunshine was sufficient to melt some of the snow on the roof, it was still quite chilly when not in the sunshine.

014_9231Icicles-After that stop, we headed over to the Old Quarry Trail, hoping to see a White-tailed Deer or two. We saw only one doe this time around, and she was a bit skittish and raised her tail in alarm as the X/C skiiers passed by. The Chickadees and Red Squirrels were happy to entertain us, though, and in addition to a few Red-breasted Nuthatches, our more common feathered friends were also joined by one White-breasted Nuthatch. The sky was blue and the sun angle was warming, so I was able to tolerate standing with my hand out for quite a lengthy period of time, as about 20 Chickadees swooped in, one after another, to pick out their favourite seeds. Red Squirrels watched on waiting for their opportunity to run in and get something to eat.

014_9245-w-b-nuthatch  014_9253-red-squirrel 014_9256-Red-SquirrelTwo years earlier, the temperature was significantly warmer and snow had all melted away.  Not this year, though!!!  Nice to be able to interact with the birds and mammals we find along the trails and provide them with a few more seeds to help them get through the winter.

IR Photography

IR Photography

A few years ago, Graeme converted his Nikon D70S to an dedicated IR camera and has produced some interesting results using the camera. Today, I decided to take the camera out for a short walk through some nearby fields and trails. Rather interesting how the shots turn out so differently in IR compared to full spectrum.

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Wellsboro PA to Little Pine State Park

Wellsboro PA to Little Pine State Park

May 4, 2012 – After spending part of the morning walking the streets of Wellsboro PA with my camera, we headed out Route 660 to take a look at some of the areas along that route again and then headed back into town before heading south on Hwy 287. Our plan was to travel along stretches of the Pine Creek and camp overnight at Little Pine State Park. The weather was really cooperating and lush green leaves of the Mayflower plant dotted the margins of the forest and roadside openings.(Route)
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The Winter Quiet of Mer Bleue, Ottawa, Ontario

The Winter Quiet of Mer Bleue, Ottawa, Ontario

Wednesday was one of those heavily overcast, foggy, misty kind of days with the temperature hovering around the freezing point. I was on the east side of Ottawa on other business and, since I had decided to bring my camera along with me, I used photography as my good excuse to take a walk in the area of the Mer Bleue Bog. (location)  The only sound I heard for about an hour was the sound of a few planes heading to the airport and even those sounds were nicely muted. Continue reading

DIGI60 Ottawa Digital Film Festival – Ottawa

Graeme, and at least a couple of our photography friends (Julian and Mike), are appearing this coming weekend at Ottawa’s DIGI60 Digital Film Festival so I know where I will be for at least part of the weekend :-).

I’ll add more specific info when I have it. In the meantime, clicking on the poster will take you to their page where the trailer is posted.

Update #1: Graeme is in Excrucior which is one of the screenings during the scripted session on Saturday, December 3rd, 2011 at 8:30 PM.  Looking forward to another exciting and important moment for the folks at Check It Out Films.

Update #2: Excrucior Trailer


Trying out the repaired 80-200 f2.8

I haven’t been out on the woodland trails much this summer (soccer injuries, international travel, other family commitments, etc), so when I received my 80-200mm f2.8 back from Nikon’s repair depot, that was all that I needed as a reason to head out to the close-by Sarsaparilla Trail with a bag of sun flower seeds in my hand to visit the local wildlife that I hadn’t visited since early in the Spring. It was a bit late in the day and the lighting in the woods was a bit tricky for photography but it wasn’t long before I had the Chickadees eating out of my hand, the chipmunks scurrying among the leaves at my feet to find the dropped seeds, a red squirrel coming to the handful of seeds placed on the nearby log, and the Blue Jay patiently waiting in the branches overhead hoping that I would leave a few seeds behind for him as well. A female Downy Woodpecker thumped methodically at the trunk of a nearby tree and a White-Breasted Nuthatch flew by a few times but not within camera range. Glad I had a reason for a walk in the woods. It was nice to get away from steel and concrete again if only for a short period of time.

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Ottawa Race Weekend

Ottawa Race Weekend – 10KM Race

As I knew at least one of my photography friends were running in today’s 10KM race I decided to stake out Queen & Lyon and see if I could catch a few pictures of them.

I had No idea how many people would be in this race, a lot more than I had initially expected. Fortunately I knew about the bunnies (people wearing bunny hats who run at a fixed pace so runners can judge theirs). Some apparently went all out on their costumes and signs.

Finally I was able to get a picture of Rebeckah Running by with her running partner Amanda.

A bit of adventure on the Jock River

Early in the year, the Jock River hosts the Jock River Canoe/Kayak 2011 race.

Today was not a race!

Today was the first of two leisurely excursions back into the Richmond fen with the Friends of the Jock River organization. The second excursion will be on Thursday May 5th (see the end of this blog for more details regarding timing, location and contact information). The weather today  was fine and the excursion leader was certainly happy to see the turnout for today’s excursion.

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What color is the Sky? The sky is BLUE!

After all of the rain and overcast skies that we have had recently, the sky in Ottawa was cloudless for a good portion of today. I decided that all that sunshine shouldn’t be allowed to go to waste so I grabbed my camera and out I went for a whirlwind tour. For today’s outing I decided to use my Nikkor 28-105 f3.5 zoom lens and carried my Nikkor 16mm f2.8 fish-eye in my pocket.

First I stopped to photograph some scilla and puskinia in my own garden.

Then I headed over to Ottawa’s experimental farm where I found some yellow daffodils and some two-toned daffodils. I used the macro feature of the 28-105mm lens and then switched to the 16mm using the fish-eye’s field curvature to get a different look. A bumblebee just happened to come along while I was lying on the ground in the middle of a batch of daffodils.
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