Tag Archives: wildlife photography

When opportunity knocks…

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…

Mum caught a quick glimpse of me but not enough to frighten her off. I was camouflaged behind those tall goldenrods.

Mum caught a quick glimpse of me but not enough to frighten her off. I was camouflaged behind those tall goldenrods.

Shooting through the dead goldenrod seed heads created this soft, blurred effects.

Shooting through the dead goldenrod seed heads created this soft, blurred effects.

Our backyard wildlife...

Our backyard wildlife…

Sometimes you get lucky in that the animal manages to position themselves in a way that the entire scene isn't blurred and as in this case, there are a few brightly coloured leaves to help frame the image.

Sometimes you get lucky in that the animal manages to position themselves in a way that the entire scene isn’t blurred and as in this case, there are a few brightly coloured leaves to help frame the image.

Mum and her fawn have their moment together.

Mum and her fawn have their moment together.

As Mum moved closer, it was possible to get a few clearer shots with fewer goldenrods to shoot through.

As Mum moved closer, it was possible to get a few clearer shots with fewer goldenrods to shoot through.

What a treat to have this doe about 16 feet from my window.

What a treat to have this doe about 16 feet from my window.

Clearly she was relaxed and not bothered by me because she and her fawn spent some time browsing on the wild plum tree by our garden

Clearly she was relaxed and not bothered by me because she and her fawn spent some time browsing on the wild plum tree by our garden

Mum was so close that with my 600 mm lens, I couldn't get her entire head in the frame.

Mum was so close that with my 600 mm lens, I couldn’t get her entire head in the frame.

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. 馃檪

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Filed under Creative Photography, nature photography, Wildlife Photography

Swimming Through Salad – Photo of the Week

This week’s Photo of the Week has an odd but fitting title. I’m going to let you tune into my Photo of the Week webpage to read about it, rather than telling you what it’s about. Note that no salad dressing was used in the making of this photo. 馃槈

Click HERE聽or on the thumbnail below to visit 44th Parallel Photography’s Photo of the Week.

27 July 2013

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Filed under nature photography, Photo of the Week, Wildlife Photography

Birds, Birds, Birds!

With early mornings filled with the melodic sound of bird song, it’s a great time of year to enjoy hearing and seeing 聽our local birds. Thanks to Bob and Louise at Gilligallou Bird Inc shop in Almonte, Ontario, yesterday I was able to help people see what some of our local birds look like close up.

Bob and Louise have a fabulous shop that is all about birds – feeders, houses, seed, books, binos, and a ton more! It’s one of my favourite shops in Almonte and my visits there usually take a while as I look at all the fantastic things they have in their store. I have my eye on a gorgeous glass bird bath they sell, so I know I’ll be back soon.

Bob, outside the Gilligallou Bird Shop in Almonte. It's a fabulous shop for all things bird..... :o)

Bob, outside the Gilligallou Bird Shop in Almonte. It’s a fabulous shop for all things bird….. 馃檪

Bob and Louise very kindly provided me with the opportunity to exhibit 14 of my bird images in their shop. So as of today, I am Miss July – my photos will be up in their shop for the month. 馃檪

Me, in front of my display of bird photos. They'll be on display for the month of July, so drop on by to have a look.

Me, in front of my display of bird photos. They’ll be on display for the month of July, so drop on by to have a look.

I have 14 photos on display in the store. All the birds in my exhibit are species that occur in the Ottawa area.

I have 14 photos on display in the store. All the birds in my exhibit are species that occur in the Ottawa area.

If you’re in the Ottawa area, I hope you’ll pop down to Gilligallou to check out my images. While you’re there, you will have to take some time to look around the shop at all the amazing bird feeders, houses and other incredible things. I guarantee you that you can’t just pop in for a quick look. There are too many neat things to see. If you’re needing a new bird feeder or have run out of seed, this is the place to shop. And if you have questions about your feathered friends – what to feed them, what kind of feeder you need for them – Bob and Louise are incredibly knowledgeable and will be able to help you.

Gilligallou Bird Store in Almonte - for everything you need for your birds

Gilligallou Bird Store in Almonte – for everything you need for your birds

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Thanks Bob and Louise, for such a great opportunity!

Visit Gilligallou at:

https://www.facebook.com/GilligallouBird

14 Mill Street, Unit #3, Almonte (Almonte, ON)

Store-1_900px

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Filed under Birds, Exhibits, Featured Wildlife Photographer, photography, Wildlife Photography

44th Parallel Photography website has a fresh, new look

Hi Folks,

It’s been crazy-busy lately. For you too? Maybe it’s just that time of year…. There are so many exciting things on the go. The most recent is that I’ve just given my website, 44th Parallel Photography, a bit of a freshen-up. There’s more to add – including nature note cards and fine art prints for sale, but that’s coming soon. So be sure to tune in regularly. I know the summer is busy and so if checking back is hard, why not sign up for my newsletter? That way you’ll know what’s new.

I hope you’re all having a great summer so far and hopefully you are just about to start a vacation. But 44th Parallel is still here so be sure to keep in touch.

Cheers!

Shell

 

44th Parallel Photography's new and improved website. Have a look.

44th Parallel Photography’s new and improved website. Have a look.

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Wildphotomag – my image portfolio and interview

Recently, I was very kindly invited by Andre of wildphotomag to be interviewed and to submit a portfolio of images for his wonderful online nature and wildlife magazine. If you haven’t seen wildphotomag, check it out. There are fantastic articles and images in there, by a lot of talented photographers.

The May issue is out and my portfolio is in there. Have a look and let me know what you think.

Wildphotomag_Portfolio

Not only was it nice to be able to have a selection of my images in the magazine, but it was great to be able to share some of my thoughts about photography. I am truly passionate about conservation photography. I think it’s an amazing tool for creating awareness and understanding of conservation and environmental issues and hopefully, for fostering concern and caring for our planet and all of its species.

Wildphotomag is loaded with great articles. Check out this month’s issue. You won’t be disappointed.

wildphotomag_MayJune2013

 

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Filed under conservation, Conservation & Environment, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Featured Wildlife Photographer, Nature, nature photography, Opinion, photography, Vision, wildlife, Wildlife Photography

Wildphotomag – a new database of nature & wildlife photographer around the world

Recently, Wildphoto magazine put out a call for nature and wildlife photographers around the world to submit their details for inclusion in a database of photographers around the world.

Why add your name to the list? As Wildphotomag says,聽

“路聽Advertise your services at no cost
路聽Network with other photographers in your region, and across the world
路聽Share your knowledge
路聽Showcase your photography
路聽Increase your SEO with external links
路聽Increase your exposure and reach a wider audience
路聽You will be supporting Wildphotomag”

All great reasons to add your name! And help support a fantastic online magazine.

Click on the thumbnail below to visit wildphotomag and add your name to the database

Wildphotomag_photos
And if you haven’t checked out Wildphoto magazine before, I highly recommend you do. Just click on the thumbnail below to visit their site and view this months issue.

Wildphotomag

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Filed under Conservation & Environment, Digital Photography, Nature, nature photography, Wildlife Photography

Perils aside… let’s talk about passion

My last blog post, a few days ago, was about the perils of following your passion, whatever that may be. In the photography world, many of us would quit our ‘day jobs’ in a heartbeat, to become a full-time photographer. That doesn’t necessarily mean you hate your day job. It just means that you have a greater calling. It just means that there is something you are really, really passionate about and that you wish you could spend all your waking moments doing it.

Like I said before, for me, photography (and the things associated with my photography such as writing, conservation, environmental preservation, and connecting with people) is oxygen. Sure, I find it hard that I can only ‘breathe’ part time. 馃檪 But let me tell you, it’s better than not breathing at all!

"You conceive your world in your mind and then create it with your hands" - Chris Widener

“You conceive your world in your mind and then create it with your hands” – Chris Widener

To reiterate what I said in my last blog post, read Malcolm Munro’s article on the perils of following your passion. Then dial that message back one or two turns. I wholeheartedly agree with Malcolm. You NEED to be a realist. But at the same time, don’t give up on your passion. And don’t become disillusioned. Just be realistic about what you can do given your current circumstances.

The key is: find a way to make it work. Might not be the way you first envisioned it. But this is life. We don’t always get what we want, when we want, in the way that we want. So, instead, tweak your expectations. Trim your sail. Refine your course. You WILL get there. It’s just that the path you take may very well be different from what you first envisioned. But that’s ok. It doesn’t make you any less successful at achieving your dreams.

"Dreams express what your soul is telling you, so as crazy as your dream might seem - even to you - I don't care: You have to let that out" - Eleni Gabre-Madhin

“Dreams express what your soul is telling you, so as crazy as your dream might seem – even to you – I don’t care: You have to let that out” – Eleni Gabre-Madhin

Oh, and one more thought…. don’t give a rats fuzzy bottom what anybody else thinks about your passion for photography (or whatever else it may be that you want to do – as long as it’s legal and ethical). You’re following your passion for YOU. Not for them. For you. In doing so, however, just ensure that you meet your responsibilities to yourself and your family. You know, the important stuff like mortgages, food, vehicles, utilities. It’s hard to process images in Photoshop when your electricity has been turned off due to non-payment.

I’m only a part-timer, but I feel like I’ve been around long enough to be developing a pretty healthy view of what the photography world is really like and that, typically, it takes a massive boatload of hard work and long hours to make a living as a photographer, especially in the field of nature or wildlife photography. But don’t let that stop you. Be persistent. Be positive. Be determined.

Here are a few more great quotes – fodder to fuel your drive to fulfill your passion…

"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't fine them, make them." - George Bernard Shaw

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw

"The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that's bigger than they are - that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth." - Richard Leider

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are – that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” – Richard Leider

"For the first couple of years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. If you are just starting out or are still in this phase, you gotta know that it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.... It's only be going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions." - Ira Glass

“For the first couple of years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. If you are just starting out or are still in this phase, you gotta know that it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work…. It’s only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” – Ira Glass

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." - Neil Gaiman

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil Gaiman

"Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

“Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it." - Kurt Vonnegut

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” – Kurt Vonnegut

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Filed under Abstracts, conservation, Conservation & Environment, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Dreams, learning, lessons learned, Life's short...., Nature, nature photography, Opinion, Philosophy, photography, Reflections, small business, Vision