Kingfisher (Eight Photographs)

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This is probably one of the more frustrating birds to photograph. They are never close enough even with a 500mm lens, at least in my experience. They fly extremely fast, and though they may sit in one place for a time they fidget a lot. Processing these involved fewer steps than normal but even minimal sharpening was hard to apply without exaggerating the detail. So in some cases I left well enough alone. These shots were taken over three days. They are more than likely not the same bird as there are three birds in the area that I know of. I saw them fish but could not react fast enough to get a shot and of the shots I did get they were hunting dragonflies not fish. Their white feathers meant I needed to under expose to keep detail and that proved problematic as the light changed and foiled some of my attempts. The high ISO I needed to shoot the birds against the backgrounds produced a lot of noise and that has affected image quality a bit. Still very happy with the outcome using the Nikon 200-500 lens.








Hummingbird Moth (Four Photographs)

Hummingbird Moth-2To view more of my photography please click on

These are known as clearwing or hummingbird moths in Canada and the US and beehawk moths in the U.K. This is not the first time I have come across these moths, I have photographed them in a flower nursery and I have seen them briefly too briefly to photograph, in the field. This time it was different and  given my excitement I did not pay attention to the shutter speed. 1/800th of a second did not freeze their wings in place. That said I spent some time taking shots. They had no intention of staying on one flower, let alone a plant for long. It was a trial, made difficult by high heat and humidity. Over the next several days I went back in search of these moths but no luck to date. Standing back and looking at them I was struck by their industry and complete confidence. Bees, people, butterflies and birds did not bother them and they just kept on with their task.

Hummingbird Moth-3

Hummingbird Moth-4

Hummingbird Moth

Red Squirrel (Two Photographs)

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You can’t resist these squirrels when they stop and stare. There is a rule in photography based I believe in part on science, that the eye goes to the brightest spot in a photograph. Now either I have broken the rule or the little creature lit up the scene. This is why I tend to look at rules as warnings and guidelines and not fixed in the mantra of photography.

Red Squirrel-2

Female Cardinal (Two Photographs)

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I left the white balance as shot to keep the photos cold, as they were taken on a cold day in the fall. Looking at these months later, they strike me more as illustrations than photographs, the kind of shots you see in the bird guides (although they might have removed some of the background). It’s a different and stark kind of photography that leaves nothing to the imagination including the weather.


Sometimes (Two Photographs)

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Sometimes, just sometimes you see the unimaginable. I was told that the baby raccoons were back in a favorite tree and went to investigate. Usually they are sleeping high up, but this time they were active and lower. What I did not expect was for one to wave at me.


Wasp (Two Photographs)

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I don’t think anyone would intentionally publish a photograph that they did not like without extensive explanation. However, if we see something unique and manage to capture it, any faults may be downplayed. In my own photography and on this blog I have posted some “not quite right photos” to make a point. These two photographs were edited identically. The first is the final product; the second did not work out as planned – I was trying for a full on face of the wasp. Together they show the kind of planning that goes into photos like this. First, I ask myself what am I photographing and how do I think it will look best? Second, are my settings in place to get the best exposure and focus? Third, am I best placed to get the shot I want? It does not always work and I do not always get a chance for a test shot. But as I break down how I go about taking photographs, I am finding it useful to consider the steps I go through and create a mental checklist.


Tulips (Four Photographs) and a word about Flowers and Depth of Field

TulipsTo view more of my photography please click on

I like to use a narrow depth of field when taking flowers, however the downside can sometimes outweigh the positive. A few of the problems you can encounter include: color fringing, halos and color bleeding. The issues here are: the nature of the lens and how it deals with chromatic aberration, a fancy term for color fringing (green or purple on edges); how the transition from focus to out of focus affects the edges of areas further away, they may blossom (halo); and finally how colors in the out of focus area bleed into one another. To some degree modern editing programs have corrections for color fringing/chromatic aberration, but they do not always work. The green fringe is fixed but in some cases that means you have a purple fringe somewhere else. Painting these problems away in Photoshop is time-consuming but can be worth it. While the degree to which you decide to ignore these issues when they occur is personal, and negligibly visible on SRGB jpegs on the web, they can ruin a print. I try to avoid these problems or minimize them as much as I can, but I never leave them alone.




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