Saddened by the news of the passing of Nelson Mandela – a man who is an inspiration to us all.
Saddened by the news of the passing of Nelson Mandela – a man who is an inspiration to us all.
So you’ve always wanted to take a trip to Churchill, Manitoba – polar bear capital of the world – to see those massive white bears, up close and personal? For some people that trip becomes reality, but not for everyone. If it’s your dream to get up there to see polar bears up close, but haven’t been able to do it, don’t fret. Here’s the next best thing.
The non-profit conservation group, Polar Bear International and its two partners, Frontier North Adventures and explore.org, have provided a way to see polar bears, up close and personal, from the comfort of your recliner at home. Introducing…. The Polar Bear Cam.
This joint venture was created to let people around the world have a window into the lives of the roughly 900 polar bears who call the Churchill area, home. There are four live polar bear cams running, scanning the area for polar bears on the move. You can tune in to whichever camera you want and take a screen shot of the image to share online. But the cameras are just for the entertainment and eduction of the public. The images are used for scientific research, contributing to our understanding of polar bear biology. For example, the images allow scientists to see weather bears are travelling alone or in family groups. If it’s a mother and her cubs, how many cubs are there? The images can also tell researchers what their physical health is like – do the bears look nice and plump or really thin, suggesting they aren’t getting enough food?
The project is funded largely by the Annenberg Foundation. Charlie Annenberg is the founder of explore.org, the organization hosting the polar bear cams.
Today is November 11th – Remembrance Day here in Canada and for a number of countries around the world. It’s a day to pause and reflect, remember, and appreciate the sacrifices of others.
We sometimes forget that people of ALL walks of life fought for our country and our allies and made the ultimate sacrifice. The Photo of the Month is a tribute to one such group of Canadians who’s sacrifices will never be forgotten. Click on the link below to see and read about the Photo of the Month.
Last week I came home from work and walked into the bedroom to grab my iPad. Something out the window caught my eye. It was a movement I saw out of the corner of my eye, but at that point wasn’t sure what it was. I waited a minute. Out from behind the big ‘lump’ in our backyard (that’s the name I give to our pile of dirt that’s now covered with a million weeds rather than gracing our flower beds…) walked a beautiful doe – a White-tailed Deer. She lazily grazed her way across our backyard, nibbling on grass and twigs. I was enjoying just watching her, when I saw more movement. This time, her fawn came wandering out from behind the ‘lump’. She wandered over to Mum, who then began to lick her face. Wow… what a moment.
The nature-lover in me was just soaking up this sight. But then the photographer in me said “quick, grab the camera!” And so I ran upstairs and grabbed my D7100, which thankfully was already attached to my 600 mm lens and on my tripod. I carefully made my way down the stairs and slowly walked into the bedroom. It was clear that there was a snowball’s chance in hell of going outside and getting photos out there. One crack of a twig and Mum and fawn would be gone. So, the alternative was to shoot photos through the window. It’s times like this I lament that I’m not better at keeping our windows clean. But hey, when opportunity knocks….
The problem with shooting through the window wasn’t the glass. It was the patch of rather tall, dying goldenrod plants right behind our window. Lovely as they are in late summer, right now they were annoying. I could get glimpses of Mum and her fawn through the weeds, but that was it. It was clear that if I was going to shoot from inside, I needed to be up higher. Given that I’m only 5 foot 2 (and that’s on a good day), this was a problem. But I quickly remembered the step stool we have in our kitchen. So I ran out and grabbed it. Better. I was up higher. But I couldn’t get my lens at the right angle to get at least partly above some of the goldenrods and find open patches big enough to shoot through, if the deer wandered that way.
So, I repositioned the step stool and stood with one foot on the end of our bed, the other on the step stool, shooting through the window. Not the typical pose for a wildlife photographer. But as I said, when opportunity knocks…
It was worth the effort. Mum and fawn didn’t see me and so I was treated to 20 minutes of them wandering through our backyard. At one point Mum was probably 16 feet away from the back window. If she’d come any closer, she’d be too close to the minimum focusing range of my 600 mm lens. The absolute icing on the cake, was watching Mum spend a few minutes licking her fawns face. It was reminiscent of childhood, when my face was covered with tomato sauce from my lunch of Alpha-getti and Mum rather roughly cleaned me up using a face cloth. I’m sure this fawn was having the same experience because you could see her fuss and move her face away. I’m sure Mum was telling her to stay still….
Below is a series of images I made of these moments. What I love about these images is that in most cases, I was forced to shoot through the patch of dead goldenrods outside the window. When you shoot ‘through’ something that is close enough, it has the effect of creating a hazy patch in your image. It’s like your shooting through a lens smeared with Vaseline, depending on how close the thing is that you are shooting through. Sometimes it creates light blobs that are nothing but distractions and which ruin the image. But sometimes it helps to create a wonderful softness to the image, as if you used a filter.
None of these images have had anything done to them, other than a teeny bit of cropping on a few and some basic tweaks such as a slight bump in vibrance, brightness, contrast and colour temperature, where needed.
Shooting through objects certainly can give images a more ‘artsy’ creative feel, which is something I love with wildlife photography. Don’t get me wrong, standard documentary style shots are great. But for me, having a more artistic style to wildlife images is what I love best and what makes me want to hang wildlife images on my wall…
Wildlife photography doesn’t always entail enduring harsh field conditions or fending off hordes of hungry biting flies. Not that I’m advocating that your only wildlife photography should be through a window, in the comfort of your own home. But when opportunity knocks…. you answer.
Wow… I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to post here again! I think this is the longest hiatus I’ve ever had from my blog. I miss posting. But life has been crazy-busy lately. I have some new projects on the go, others that I am moving to the background. So my focus has shifted a bit. But my blog is just as important as always and not getting to post here frequently drives me crazy! So I’m really working to get back to regular posting. Honest!
Today’s posting is to announce that 44th Parallel Photography’s Photo of the Week is morphing into the Photo of the Month. I’ve just been having too much of a struggle to post an image and description weekly, so instead I’ve made it monthly. This way I can focus that time on more blog writing.
This month’s photo is, as I explain in the accompanying write-up, one of those images that conveys beauty to the eye of the beholder, rather that on its own, having a more artful quality. But that’s ok. I think the image and words together, convey how special this image is to me. And so I hope you, as the reader, get a sense of that; perhaps it even makes you think of your own special place and causes you to recall some wonderful memories of a special place.
Sometimes the angle, the lighting conditions, and other factors mean that we can’t always make the image we want. So instead, the challenge is in making the best image under the circumstances. And in this case, for me, capturing an image of this special place was far more important than the quality of light, etc. In other words, this is one of those images that I took solely for me. But I did want to share it with you. I think we all have at least one special place on this planet, to which we feel a deep and unrelenting connection.
Click on the thumbnail below to visit the Photo of the Month.
As I wrote in my recent blog posts and with my Photo of the Week, I was recently up at Algonquin Park to attend a TEDx event. The following morning I got up early and went out with my camera. And boy, was I lucky. The morning air was chilled, but fresh and there was a light fog rolling across the lakes, ponds and marshes. It was a feast for a photographer’s eyes. As the sun rose and warmed the air, the fog lifted, revealing a stunningly beautiful early fall day.
Here are a few photos from that day. More on their way later, but in the meantime, enjoy…
After my continuing delinquency from posting my regular Photo of the Week, I’m hoping today’s image makes amends for my recent absence. Life has a way of throwing you curve balls – things that challenge you to your core. But photography is my oxygen. It nourishes my soul and gives me something positive to focus on. The hours of pleasure I can have in working on my images is a gift and often, in the process of working on an image, I’m transported back to that moment when I pressed the shutter release. That’s certainly the case with this image of the morning mist on Brewer Lake, in Algonquin Provincial Park. I hope you enjoy seeing this image as much as I enjoyed making the image of the stunning view before me.
Click on the thumbnail below to view and read about 44th Parallel Photography’s Photo of the Week.