Photography

Loons of Anglin Lake

Posted by on 28. June 2014 in Blog / Journal, Photography | 7 comments

Loons of Anglin Lake

Two weeks ago I had a chance to photograph Common Loons on Anglin Lake in northern Saskatchewan. A good friend of mine, Bradley Muir has been conducting loon surveys for the last 4 years as part of the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey. Bird Studies Canada is coordinating the surveys, and also analyzes and reports on the collected data. Brad invited me to join him and try to photograph the loons in his part of the woods. There is something special about loons of Anglin Lake. Many Canadian lakes host Common Loons and you can hear their characteristic call throughout the country. However, according to long-term studies published by Bird Studies Canada, Anglin Lake has more than 14 times higher population density of loons compared to records from any other Canadian lake of similar size. Loons of Anglin Lake also have almost 30 times as many large young. Over the tenure of loon surveys, between 30 and 44 breeding pairs have been observed on the lake. Brad recorded 38 pairs this year. One beautiful Saturday evening, Brad, myself and Andrea Nelson who has been helping with the surveys, headed on the lake in a small boat generously provided by the Land of the Loon Resort. Breeding season has been delayed this year and pairs of loons were still hanging out on the open water. Winds was calm and I was able to capture a few good images of loons feeding and displaying. Tranquility in this part of boreal forest was sometimes interrupted by a roar of speed boats pulling a skier. With a loud music blasting, some boats create a considerable wake and disturbance which represent a threat to the nesting loons. Chick feeding and other parenting duties are likely disrupted during periods of heavy human use. Disturbance to birds is likely to increase; Anglin Lake has been included in the newly created Great Blue Heron Provincial Park. Enjoyment of the lake by a nearby cottage community and needs of loons will have to reconciled in the upcoming park management plan. If you are interested in observing and photographing loons and other wildlife in the boreal forest of northern Saskatchewan, Bradley is running Loon Country Excursions. To find out more, check out the Sundogs Excursions web site or call 306-960-1654. Before you decide to go, be aware that Brad can not guarantee loon photography as the excursions are operated to prevent undue disturbance to all wildlife. If animals choose to keep their distance, participants can still enjoy their presence, listen to the iconic calls, and focus their binoculars and cameras on magnificent boreal forest and lakes....

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Happy first day of spring

Posted by on 20. March 2014 in Blog / Journal, Photography | Comments Off on Happy first day of spring

Happy first day of spring

Spring is arriving a day earlier this year; vernal (spring) equinox in Saskatoon falls on Thursday, March 20 at 10:57 a.m. CST. March equinox, the date when day and night are same length, marks the beginning of spring in Northern Hemisphere. The term equinox is a derivative of the Latin word equinoxium, which literally means “equality between day and night”. For our friends down under, today is the first day of autumn (fall). The exact day is not the same from year to year. This has to do with the number of calendar days in a year, not the equinox itself. It takes the Earth 365.256 days to complete one full revolution around the Sun. However, the Georgian calendar we use rounds the year down to 365 days and does not account for the extra 0.256 days that is left over. So the spring equinox may fall on March 20 or March 21, depending on the year when our calendar catches up with the solar calendar. With the rapid snow melt we have experienced this week, warmer temperatures green grass should be just around the corner. I talked to my mom in Croatia over the weekend; they already have had daily temperatures of over 20 C. Do you know why the spring brings warmer temperatures? Because the Earth’s axis of rotation (the end pointing to the North) is tilted towards the Sun which means longer daylight hours and more sunlight that warms up the environment. Spring equinox signals the time when plants emerge, animals become more active, and flowers begin to bloom. It is the beginning of nature’s renewal, start of a new growing season. Here is an image gallery with Signs of Spring:  ...

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The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia

Posted by on 3. March 2014 in Blog / Journal, News & Events, Photography | Comments Off on The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia

The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia

Department of Art and History at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon is hosting a screening of an award-winning documentary film on the controversial and much celebrated documentary photographer Shelby Lee Adams.   The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia Director: Jennifer Baichwal Tuesday, March 4, 2014 (10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m) at the Gordon Snelgrowe Gallery Room 191 Murray Building, 3 Campus Drive, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Film maker Jennifer Baichwal will discuss her work and answer questions from the audience after screening of the documentary (runtime: 52 min). Shelby Lee Adams is an American environmental photographer and artist best known for his portraits of families in Appalachian region of  eastern Kentucky where he grew up. He has photographed rural Appalachian families living on the margins of society, since mid 1970s. His work has been published in three monographs: Appalachian Portraits (1993), Appalachian Legacy (1998), and Appalachian Lives (2003). Adam’s work is controversial; some critics claim that his portrayal of the rural poor betrays the culture of the region, while others find his work to be finely nuanced and express the core of the society he is intimately familiar with. Director Jennifer Baichwal follows Adams on his working visits to several families. Through interviews, photographs and the  photographer’s archival footage, we learn about his philosophy and approach to connecting with his subjects and creating intimate portraits that are stark and unquestionably powerful. Baichwal’s  documentary was first shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, and at the Sundance Festival in 2003. It received enthusiastic reception by critics and the audiences alike, and won the Genie Award for Best Arts Documentary. Learn more about the film from the Canadian Film Encyclopedia....

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Photographing in Florida over the Christmas holidays

Posted by on 31. January 2014 in Blog / Journal, Photography | Comments Off on Photographing in Florida over the Christmas holidays

Photographing in Florida over the Christmas holidays

I spent several days over the Christmas and New Years in Florida. Here is a selected recollection of memorable photography moments, and a few useful travel observations. The primary goal of my trip was to visit in-laws and to recharge personal batteries. I did not expect to spend too much time travelling for the  purpose of photography. Actually, I left Saskatoon with minimal expectations – I was prepared to be happy with whatever images I would capture during the holidays. I also took  bare minimum of the photo gear, although I can not say that I travelled light. A solid tripod, one camera body (Canon 1D Mark IV), and three lenses: 17-40 mm f/4 wide-angle zoom, 70-200 mm f/4 telephoto zoom and a 400 mm f.5.6 telephoto lens. Canon 1D is not a camera that I would normally use for photographing landscapes. My primary goal was bird photography and I chose to bring this camera body for it’s fast frame rate and the 1.3x cropped sensor. Working with a 1.3x crop sensor  effectively turned my 400 mm lens into a 520 mm lens. Our home base was in Fort Myers, on the west coast of Florida. It is a great place for short day trips. Coastal beaches are only a few minutes away and there are several conservation areas ideally suited for observing and photographing birds. Probably the best known among photographers is J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.     This image is from the Bowman’s beach on Sanibel Island. A gorgeous sandy beach, spreading for kilometres in east-west direction on the outer reaches of the island. A perfect place to look for shells or just enjoy the sun & ocean breeze. The beach is short walk from the parking lot situated at the end of the Bowman Beach Rd. (left turn from the main Sanibel-Captiva Road).There are picnic tables, rest rooms, showers and places to set up a barbecue. There is also a kayak & canoe launch area if you wish to explore the inshore channels.     Bowman’s beach (Sanibel Island, Florida) is also a good place to see birds. Many shorebirds, gulls, terns, pelicans and black skimmers feed along the water edge. They are generally not afraid of people and if you do not make sudden moves, they will allow you to approach very close. You should not abuse the privilege though, as the birds need time to rest and find food. This Willet – a shorebird – was briefly disturbed by beach walkers and quickly returned to look for food among sand disturbed by rolling waves. Another good spot for nature photography in Ft. Mayers area is the Six-Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. The preserve was initiated in late 1970s by a group of Lee County students alarmed by the intrusion of development into this diverse wetland. They acted and saved the area from logging and draining, creating a preserve where people can visit and enjoy the vast array of plants and animals. Today the preserve is surrounded by housing and shopping malls of Fort Myers, providing a welcome oasis of natural world. Although the preserve is good for wildlife photography at any time, I like going there when the cloud cover softens the sunlight to photograph elegant cypress trees. Here is one image of a jumble of pond cypress trees at the Six-Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. I have visited this spot several times as it allows for a good view of cypress tree trunks reflecting in calm waters of the Wood Duck Pond. The image might look messy to some but...

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Results from the Picture It photography course

Posted by on 21. December 2013 in Blog / Journal, Photography, Workshops | Comments Off on Results from the Picture It photography course

Results from the Picture It photography course

I the fall of 2013 I ran a seven-week photography course for novice and intermediate – level photographers. We had an in-class session once a week (Wednesday evenings) and went outside as a group one Sunday afternoon to practice what we had learned in the classroom. We covered the following topics in the class: basic concepts of digital photography, fundamentals of exposure and camera controls, use of lenses, composition, light in the landscape (with a demonstration of flash use), colour theory and use of filters, image processing and archiving. I set up several assignments and we reviewed the submitted images in the class. Here are a few images created by the photo course participants. I will be offering a similar digital photography course from April 9 – May 21, 2014. If you are interested in attending, please register early as this course filled up quickly and we could not accommodate everyone who wanted to take...

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