January 31, 2012
I just returned from two full weeks of nature photography in beautiful Costa Rica with four friends. What an absolutely incredible way to begin a new year! This photo trip was a dream that I had since first visiting Costa Rica in 2009 with my wife (see my March 2009 News article). While that too was a wonderful trip it didn't have a photography focus so I had hoped that someday I would be able to return to that beautiful country. I never dreamed that it wuld be so soon.
This time We visited some well know locales including Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean Coast, the Arenal Observatory Lodge near the recently dormant Arenal Volcano and Basque de Paz lodge in the Cloud Forest region of central Costa Rica. In total we saw and photographed over 110 bird species, 60 of which were Life List additions for me. Also we photographed 10 species of mammals and a number of reptiles, amphibians, insects and of course scenery.
One of the highlights of the trip was the two days that we spent photographing a number of hummingbird species with Greg Basco of Deep Green photography. Greg has researched and perfected a multi-flash set-up to photograph these flying jewels in a way that virtually eliminates harsh shadows and illuminates the wonderful details of each bird. There are at least 52 species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica and we photographed only 7 of those including one of my favourites the spectacular 6 inch long Violet Sabrewing pictured above.
To view my Costa Rican images please click here.
December 31, 2011
Well the last two months of the year yielded almost all bird images with only a few exceptions. Most of my photos were of migrating waterfowl. In December I had an unexpected trip to Vancouver for work that left me in that West Coast city over a weekend shortly before Christmas.
They say "When you get lemons, make lemonade." so I decided to bring some of my camera gear on the trip. I spent an enjoyable Saturday morning walking around the Lost Lagoon in beautiful Stanley Park. On Sunday a goo friend of mine introduced me to the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary south of the city. Both of those locations provided me with some nice images of birds I've rarely seen including the Spotted Towhee, a large colourful sparrow pictured below.
To view more my late fall images please click here.
October 31, 2011
After a wonderful summer vacation trip to New Brunswick in our new camping trailer we returned to Ottawa and work.
I'm happy to announce that one of my photos of Pink Lake (see below) was chosen as the cover for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's (Ottawa Valley) (CPAWS-OV) 2012 calendar entitled "A year in Gatineau Park". The rest of the calendar features lovely seasonal images taken by CPAWS-OV members.
During August, September and October I managed to add one amphibian (blue-spotted salamander), two small mammals (meadow vole and deer mouse) and three new bird species (red-necked phalarope, a junveile Sabine's gull and Hudsonian Godwit) to my collection. The mammals were both photographed during a camping trip to Presqu'ile Provincial Park on Lake Ontario and the birds were captured along the shore of the Ottawa River in Nepean (Western Ottawa).
I also taught some fundamentals of photography to "The Haven" youth group in Kanata. Afterwards we explored the local stream to experiment with what they had learned. They will host a display of their images early in the new year. It was a very rewarding experience.
To view some of my late summer and early fall images please click here.
July 31, 2011
This summer was a wonderful time for photography. In June before heading off for vacation I purchased a Canon 7D camera and a Sigma 17-70mm Optical Stabiliszation lens. With this new combination I was able to retired my trusty original Canon Rebel XT. The new Canon 40D has since become my second camera. The 7D offers up High Definition Video capability and up to 8 still frames per second to capture fast action images. So far I'm loving this camera!
I'm happy to announce that a set of 5 of my photographs was published in Summer/Fall 2011 edition of The Country Connection magazine. The photos were used to accompany an excellent article by Allison Forsythe, on Ottawa's Greenbelt.
During June and July I managed to add a number of new species of flowers and birds to both my personal life lists and to my photo collection. These included the stemless ladyslipper flower and the Swainson's Thrush. We again travelled to New Brunswick in July as part of our vacation and I was able to spend more time photographing beautiful scenery of Grand Manan Island and watching magnificent humpback whales, and other marine life, in the Bay of Fundy.
To view two pages of my summer images please click here.
May 31, 2011
Despite my earlier prediction in March, winter held on in Ottawa into April but I was able to get out a few times to photograph spring migrant birds particularly waterfowl. A number of duck species including Lesser Scaup, Ring-Necked and Bufflehead Ducks frequented waters in the western end of Ottawa including Andrew Haydon Park along the Ottawa River. Other arrivals included raucous Ring-Billed Gulls, Ospreys, raptors specialising in catching fish with spectacular dives and Virginia Rails small, secretive marsh birds with an interesting series of calls
I was pleased to receive an invitation to give a talk on my photography to the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) "Nature Night". The talk, held on the evening of May 4th, was entitled "In Search of Nature" and my presentation and photos were warmly received. You can read a review of my talk by CPAWS (Ottawa Valley) volunteer Katie Robertson here. You can learn more about CPAWS by clicking "Home" at the same link.
May is also the time of spring flowers such as white and red trilliums, trout lilies and Jack-in-the-Pulpits. These wildflowers bloom in the woodlands, soaking up the spring sun, before many of the hardwoods trees develop new leaves and create shadows over much of the forest floor.
During the month my wife and I camped at both Bon Echo and Algonquin Provincial Parks. My photo taking was limited at Bon Echo due to rain however Algonquin was much more rewarding with several opportunities to photograph moose. The largest member of the deer family in North America, moose frequent areas along the main highway through the park during this time of year where they feed on salt laden plants. I was also very happy to photograph a male Spruce Grouse, a life list addition for me, during our trip. While Spruce Grouse are frequently seen in Algonquin this beautiful bird had eluded me during my previous visits.
Back in Ottawa I also added photos of wild Columbines and a Red-Headed Woodpecker to my collection.
To view some of my spring images please click here.
March 31, 2011
Well it's the end of March and winter is finally coming to an end although some snow and ice still lingers.
Even in winter however there are always some subjects to photograph. This winter I spent some time photographing a variety of winter birds. Common Redpolls, a winter finch species were frequent visitors to feeders around the region. This afforded many birders and photographers with opportunities to see these active little birds especially the males sporting their raspberry coloured breasts.
In February I spent many hours sitting on ice of the mostly frozen Rideau River trying to photograph ducks. It`s difficult to sit still for long periods at -30 degrees celsius but I marvelled at the Mergansers, Mallards and Common Goldeneyes as they swam and dove in the icy waters for food. I also experimented with some other photos outside my normal area of focus when I came across some unharvested rows of corn that are used as snow breaks locally.
In March I visited Presqu'ile Provincial Park, on Lake Ontario, for the annual spring waterfowl festival, a wonderful opportunity to see many species of ducks, geese and swans. On one of the last days of March I met up with friends and we photographed, Mallards, Canada Geese, Ring-billed Gulls and the beautiful Wood Duck along the Ottawa River. The wind and sun were both at our backs making inflight photo opportunities frequent.
Finally I was fortunate enough to have my photo of two male Common Goldeneye Ducks in flight chosen as Photo of the Month on "The Canadian Nature Photographer" website. You can find the winning photo here.
To view some of my recent images please click here.
January 12, 2011
Happy New Year everyone! This will be a slightly different report than normal.
On Christmas day I received an unexpected but very nice present. It was an e-mail from Robert Berdan, owner and editor of the website "The Canadian Nature Photographer". Rob had visited my website and, after seeing my work, invited me to submit an article and some photos for posting on his website.
Needless to say I was very flattered and excited about the possibility! I immediately decided to write a piece about photographing nature in Ottawa. My sincere thanks to Rob for the kind invitation.
Read my first published web article entitled: Nature Photography in Ottawa - The Nation's Capital.
Be sure to visit the rest of "The Canadian Nature Photographer" site as well.
December 31, 2010
During the past two months I didn't have many occasions to get out in the field and take photos however those times when I did were memorable. The White-tail deer rut this fall was my best for the photographing bucks in their prime. I found young bucks and some massive mature bucks as well. All were attracted to the many females (does) living along Ottawa's many nature trails.
White-tail bucks are normally very shy around humans. On the other hand does that live around nature trail encounter humans frequently and, unless are bothered, they tolerate people well particularly when you are very quiet, slow moving or patiently wait for them as they forage. If the does are calm, and the bucks are totally focussed on finding a doe who may be ready to mate, then photo opportunities will come you way.
The other group of subjects that I was successful with were Black-Capped Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches and White-Breasted Nuthatches. While Chickadees are notoriously fearless and inquisitive around humans, both species of Nuthatches will also approach people in search of food. Carrying around a bag of black sunflower seeds or peanuts can ususally result in a small flock of these birds coming to visit for a snack. This usually allows me an opportunity to photograph these birds but you still need to be quick on the shutter button to capture the fast action.
To view some of my recent images please click here.
Oct 31, 2010
After my two summer trips to Canada's east coast in July I had to settle back to reality here in Ottawa. I didn't have much opportunity to photograph wildlife in August but I did get out occasionally to capture a variety of fauna and flora.
One of the highlights in September was when I spent a couple of hours with a pair of Redhead ducks on a rainy morning near the end of the month. They were a life list addition for me.
October was much more productive for me. I travelled to Algonquin Provincial Park for first two days to photograph moose and the park scenery with Micheal Bertelsen on one of his workshops. The first day was very successful and we were able to photograph two cows (one with a calf) and two young bulls. Unfortunately the moose were less cooperative on the second day but we still enjoyed ourselves. You can find the link to Mike's website on my LINKS page.
During the month I also managed to add new fall landscapes, migratory birds and white tail deer photos to my collection.
To view some of my recent images please click here.
July 31, 2010
It’s been an exciting summer so far. I’ve had two wonderful trips, in July, to Canada’s East Coast to photograph it’s beauty and to visit family and friends.
The first trip was to Newfoundland with our oldest daughter Laura. She was born there but had not been back since she was a toddler. We visited St. John’s and much of the Avalon Peninsula as well as taking a short side trip to the Bonavista Peninsula. We saw and photographed, humpback whales, gannets, puffins and moose as well as some beautiful coastal scenery.
In New Brunswick my wife Kay and I took day trips to: Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy and Kouchibouguac National Park along the Northumberland Strait. During this trip we saw finback whales, more coastal scenery and a black bear.
To view some of my trip images please click here.
May 31, 2010
The spring of 2010 has been an exciting time for photography. Not only have the spring bird migrants arrived but small mammals, turtles and frogs have also appeared as have the spring flowers including the white trillium, Ontario’s provincial flower.
I was also fortunate enough to add two new life-list additions to my bird collection: the Northern Parula Warbler, photographed at my parhttp://www.canadiannaturephotographer.com/stephenstephen.htmlents home back in New Brunswick, and the Eastern Screech Owl photographed here in Ottawa.
To view some of my 2010 springtime images please click here.
March 31, 2010
Unlike recent winters the winter of 2009/2010 was fairly slow in Ottawa for normal winter migrants like the Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Grosbeak and Crossbill. Many of these species migrated further south to find sufficient supplies of food. Despite that fact I was able to experience some other local wildlife up close including the wild turkey, Gray (Hungarian) Partridge, white tail deer.
In addition, a mid-March day trip to Algonquin provincial park yielded some photos of Gray Jays, a very accommodating red fox and, my first Pine Martins. There is always something to photograph when you have some time to look.
To see some of the images mentioned please click here.
January 31, 2010
This month marks the first anniversary of my website. I’m very please with the positive response that I have received to date and I would like to thank everyone who has supported my photography efforts.
Although the overall website layout will remain the same, I will be making some changes to my galleries. I’ll be adding additional photos to my galleries as well as subdividing several of the galleries in a more organised fashion. For example the flora will in the future have three sub-galleries: Fungi, Wild Flowers and Plants and, Garden Flowers. I hope that you’ll come back often to see these changes as they occur.
Thanks for a great first year!
In the meantime to see some of my 2009-2010 winter images please click here.
December 31, 2009
Throughout the fall and early winter Ottawa hosts a number of migrating bird species including song birds and waterfowl.
Each year there are literally tens of thousands of Canada Geese that stop to feed and rest on farmland around Ottawa in preparation for their migration south. This November was one of the warmest on record so a number of less common ducks and geese spent some extended periods of time here. This afforded local bird watchers and photographers many opportunities to see and photograph a number of species.
I was fortunate to add several new species to my photo collection and to get some of my best photographs to date of others.
To view some of my fall bird migration images please click here.