Fight or Flight?

Late last week, I was photographing a Tundra Swan when a large Mute Swan suddenly swam up to it.  The classic fight or flight dilemma...   The Tundra Swan elected to flee and did so post haste.  Interestingly, he elected to fly straight at me!  I managed to capture several images of the Tundra Swan in flight.  I could feel the wind rushing from under his wings as he flew by a few feet over my head.

Morale of the story: always be ready for the unexpected...

Mute Swan in Flight

The weekend of Saturday April 22 and Sunday April 23, 2018 was the first weekend where it was quite comfortable heading out for the day to capture images. The sun was out, the birds and animals were out, and I was out.

I went to visit Cranberry Marsh in Whitby, Ontario and waited very patiently to capture some birds in flight. Fortunately, I was able to capture some Mute Swans in the air. I like this particular image.

Contest Winner

I've been a member of the Toronto Digital Photography Club for 4 or 5 years and have regularly participated in some of their contests.  There are some very talented photographers that belong to this club.  The competition is quite strong.  In the past, the highest I have placed was an honourable mention.  Last night, I finally won a contest albeit in the Novice Division.   I am quite proud of this.

Here are the four images I submitted. 

 

Dripping Pink Flamingo

Dripping Pink Flamingo

Dandelion Macro

Dandelion Macro

Hooded Crane

Hooded Crane

Canada 150 Tulips

Canada 150 Tulips

God Bless Long Underwear

Yesterday was one of the first semi-nice days we have experienced in the Greater Toronto Area in some time.   I decided to take a day off from work and explore a nice area off the shore of Lake Ontario where there is usually a lot of wildlife. 

My friend Nathan recently told me about how much he has started to go for winter walks now that he has invested in long underwear.    I've never been a big fan but I bought myself a pair of thermal long underwear and trudged out in the snow.

I was able to capture several nice images while lying in the snow for quite a while and I wasn't uncomfortable.

 

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Sun Camera Service Ltd.

It is human nature that when we receive extremely bad customer service, we tell everyone we know.  When we receive excellent customer service we tell some of the people we know...

I would like to give a big shout out to Sun Camera Service Ltd for some excellent customer service!

A few days ago, I noticed that the flash on my camera was not firing when it should.  I did some testing and found that my flash was working properly on other cameras but other flashes were not working on my Canon 7D Mark II.   I spoke to the folks at my local Henry's  and they told me that Canon would be happy to give me a quote but that it might take 6 to 8 weeks to perform a repair.  My camera is no longer under warranty and I had no intention of going 6 to 8 weeks without my camera so I did what anyone else would do - start searching the internet.

I found a few articles explaining that sometimes the screws under the Canon hotshoe cover get loose and that, by removing the cover, one can access the screws and tighten them.  I am not a super handy guy but this seemed easy enough.   As I removed the battery and proceeded to remove the cover of the hotshoe I realized that I could already see the screws -the cover was missing.

I paid a visit to Sun Camera Service - 2150 Steeles Ave W, Concord, ON L4K 2Y7, Phone: (905) 669-6406.  Just east of Keele St  on the north side of Steeles Ave.   I explained the missing cover to the technician behind the counter.  He took my camera into the back and, after 2 minutes, brought it back with a hotshoe cover.  We tested it several times and everything was working very well.  He wouldn't even take any money - he just told me to remember Sun next time I needed a repair.  I am still smiling and so is my camera.

http://suncameraservice.ca/home.html

 

Macro with Flash

Based on a suggestion from my friend Max, I started trying to do some macrophotography with a diffused flash and I have been getting some pretty good results.  I purchased a small diffuser that fits over my flash and folds very flat when not in use.  It seems to work well.  With my camera on a tripod and using a timer with the flash, I seem to be getting some decent results.

Continuing to Play with Motion

This past weekend, I decided to visit the Honda Indy and continue my exploration of capturing motion.  Wow, those indy cars move a lot faster than the cyclists I was attempting to photograph a few days earlier.

I found that I was still able to get some very interesting images at approx. 1/80 sec.   The big problem is trying to find a good vantage point to capture them from as you are limited to your space in the grandstand.   Getting there early and photographing the qualifying laps etc. gave me better light and a great deal of flexibility to move around my area of the grandstand as most people don't arrive until after noon.

I should have taken along my special device (the name currently eludes me) for viewing the screen display in bright sunlight.  It was hard to tell if I was capturing good images at the various shutter speeds so I ended up capturing a huge number of images just to be sure.

Overall, it was a good experience and I captured a lot of good images.

 

Jordan

Midweek Cycling Club

Last night, I attended a meetup group and was introduced to the Midweek Cycling Club.  They meet in Mississauga on Tuesday nights and teach / practice racing.   It was a great opportunity to try and improve my panning skills.   These folks move quite quickly while they are racing and I was able to get some nice shots at 1/30 second to 1/15 second shutter speeds.

To make these shots even more interesting, I wanted to open up my aperture and make use of some faster glass but the sun was quite bright even at 7:00 pm.   Next time, I think I will experiment with a neutral density filter.

Tommy Thompson Park

Yesterday, I visited Tommy Thompson Park (aka the Leslie Street Spit) at the foot of Leslie Street in Toronto, Ontario with my friend Max Skwarna.  Max runs a very nice meetup group called Toronto Nature Photographers.  Tommy Thompson Park is a very interesting park is it was built (and continues to be built) as a land-fill project.  As a result, it is only open on weekends.  There are many interesting images of birds, insects, wildflowers, and landscape shots to be captured.  

The park curves behind a pretty marina and offers an interesting view of the Toronto skyline. I brought along an assortment of lenses as well as my tripod and walked for quite a distance with the heavy pack (approx. 7 km?).    I think that, next time, I will take along only one lens (and possibly a tripod) and limit myself to only one type of shot.   Alternatively, maybe a small wagon?

From a nature perspective, it was a little disturbing to see how many cormorants were flying back and forth in large flocks.  They seem to be extremely invasive species.

Photography Contests

This is the image that was awarded third place in the wildlife category in the 2017 Humber College Photography Contest for Continuing Education students.

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Still Life Photography

I was recently asked to participate in a photography contest that involved several categories including: still life.   What immediately comes to mind when I think of still life is a bowl of fruit yet when I research the subject more carefully, I see definitions such as the following:

"Still life photography is a genre of photography used for the depiction of inanimate subject matter, typically a small group of objects. It is the application of photography to the still life artistic style. An example is food photography."
 Wikipedia.
So I can photograph some cut flowers in a vase but can I photograph live flowers in a flower bed?  What about a macro shot of a dandelion?  Does it matter whether the dandelion has been picked?
 

My Windy Tulips

This weekend, I made a short stop at Toronto Botanical Gardens to see what looked interesting to photograph.  Many couples go there for wedding / engagement pictures and I always get a kick out of trying to get a candid shot of the photographer preparing to photograph his/her clients.

Most of the tulips were already past their prime but I noticed a nice bed of the red and white Canada 150 tulips commemorating Canada's 150 year since confederation.  It was slightly windy and I tried taking some shots at 1/250th of a second and I am very pleased with the results.  The images look like they are moving ever so slightly without appearing blurry.  I'm sure the tripod helped slightly by eliminating camera shake.   See the image Canada 150 Tulips.