Posts Tagged "plants"

Jane’s Walk 2016 – nature photography at Northeast Swale

Posted by on 25. March 2016 in Blog / Journal, Workshops | Comments Off on Jane’s Walk 2016 – nature photography at Northeast Swale

Jane’s Walk 2016 – nature photography at Northeast Swale

I will lead a nature photography walk to Meewasin’s Northeast Swale. This guided photo walk is part of the 2016 Jane’s Walk festival taking place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We will focus out lenses on wild critters and details in nature found on a beautiful prairie landscape along the northeast edge of town. Date: Saturday, May 7, 2016 Time: 7 – 8 p.m. Jane’s Walk is a global movement of neighbour-led walking tours inspired by urbanist Jane Jacobs. The idea behind Jane’s Walk is quite simple: encourage people to walk, talk to their neighbours and build a community based on diversity. The Saskatoon festival will start on Friday May 6th and end on Sunday, May 8, 2016.     The nature photography field trip will take place immediately after the guided nature hike with Renny Grilz and Louise Jones (6 – 7 p.m. at the same location). Renny is a Resource Management Officer with the Meewasin. He is an ecologist with over 20 years of managing conservation areas for biodiversity across the Prairie provinces and specialized in native plants. Louise Jones is Chair of the Northeast Swale Watchers, a group of concerned citizens who came together in 2011 to monitor plans for development in and around the NE Swale. Come early and learn about things you will be photographing later during the golden evening light. What to bring: your camera, a macro lens (or a zoom lens that can focus close enough to photograph lichens on rocks), snacks, drinking water, insect repellent and a wind-proof jacket. Optional but recommended: a tripod that can be lowered close to the ground. We will be walking on rough terrain; please bring shoes with adequate ankle support. Event will be cancelled in case of a heavy rain. There is no cost to participate.     Location (updated directions): Meet at the Meewasin Northeast Swale on Lowe Road (Range Road 3050). Drive north on Central Ave (north of Attridge, intersection next to Dutch Growers) to Agra Road  where Central turns to gravel. Pass Fedoruk and turn right on Agra Road and drive to the intersection of Lowe Road, Agra Road and Fedoruk Road. Turn left onto Lowe Road. Look for an orange portapotie and parked vehicles. Northeast Swale is next to the slough on the east side of road before reaching the Sas­katchewan Wildlife Federation building (Range Road 3050 Saskatoon S7S 1N1). Location coordinates: 52°10’36.9″N 106°34’29.7″W (view on the Google Map) Alternate route: if Central Avenue is under construction: Drive north on Central Ave, turn right on Somers Road, turn left on Konohoski Road until the intersection with Fedoryk Drive.  Turn right on Fedoryk Drive and turn left onto Lowe Road; Northeast Swale is next to the slough on the east side of road before reaching the Sas­katchewan Wildlife Federation building (Range Road 3050 Saskatoon S7S 1N1).  ...

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A cover like no other

Posted by on 25. July 2014 in Blog / Journal, Photography | Comments Off on A cover like no other

A cover like no other

My images appear on the front cover of magazines, books, corporate reports, calendars, phone books, and even lottery tickets. Now I can include a new item on the bragging list, a front cover of the scientific journal Plant Molecular Biology. Some time ago a co-worker asked me if I could help him take a few pictures of the plant subject he has been studying. The model in question was a wild relative of the common canola crop widely grown across the Canadian Prairies. This particular species, Brassica villosa for people who care about scientific names, has very dense trichomes (plant hairs) and strong resistance to many insect pests that like to munch on canola and vegetable crops. Trichomes, or plant hair cells, act as a natural barrier to plant predatory insects. They also act as a mechanical barrier that assist plants in reducing dehydration. Brassica villosa is a wild species growing on the limestone cliffs and rocky mountain slopes of Sicily, Italy. It is particularly hairy; someone actually counted that there could be over 2,172 trichomes per square centimetre. They cover all parts of the plant. Insects find this species prickly and avoid eating them. So, a research group at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada decided to study this species and try to figure out how the trichomes are formed, and if this characteristic could be bred into the commercial canola crops and related vegetables. Growing hairy canola would increase natural resistance to pesky insect and allow for reduced amount of pesticides that are regularly applied to crops every year. We took a few close-up images in the greenhouse showing the plants and all the hairy details. After the manuscript was submitted for publication, journal editors asked if we could submit images for a possible cover. At the end, this image was selected and used. Pretty cool, don’t you think?...

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Macro and flower photography hike at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park

Posted by on 12. July 2014 in Blog / Journal, Photography, Workshops | Comments Off on Macro and flower photography hike at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park

Macro and flower photography hike at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park

Join us for a hike of inspiration and photography instruction in a beautiful natural setting of Buffalo Pound Provincial Park near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Fine-tune your photography skills and try out photo techniques to help you produce beautiful and unique images of flowers and intricate details in nature. Date: Saturday, 19. July 2014 Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Place: Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, about 25 km northeast of the city of Moose Jaw. Please check the Park web site for up-to-date road conditions. We will meet at the Park Entry Office. Cost: Free to participate. There is a daily Park entrance fee. In this hands-on photography tutorial, I will share a few tips and tricks on photographing flowers in the field, talk about creative use of different lenses and camera settings to control perspective and depth of field, and show natural and artificial lighting techniques in macro photography. Suitable for photographers of all skill levels....

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Grasslands National Park after the 2013 wildfire

Posted by on 24. June 2013 in Blog / Journal, Conservation | Comments Off on Grasslands National Park after the 2013 wildfire

Grasslands National Park after the 2013 wildfire

The Grasslands National Park photo tour went well. The weather was relatively cooperative and we managed to capture a few great images. I will post a few samples later this week. Prairie in the Park is recovering very fast after the massive wildfire that swept through the Park in April of this year. Early May was drier than normal, but heavy rains arrived at the end of the month. Temperatures were below average and rainfall was well above average over the first two weeks of June; many areas of Saskatchewan have received more than 150% of normal amount of rain. This might explain why the wildflowers were a bit delayed this year. We might see more flowers later on in June and early July. Vegetation in burned area has recovered rapidly and the Frenchman River valley looks incredibly lush and green. Along the Ecotour road, deer and bison can frequently be seen feeding on new, nutritious grass. In the image below it is possible to see that grass on the left-hand side of the road (south-west) was burned and had no residual dry plant material. The new growth is lush and green. Prairie on the right-hand side was not affected by the wildfire and has much more dead grass (brown spots in the image). Regrown areas have the best quality forage and attract many grazers. Actually, bison were seen looking for food in charred areas immediately after the fire. First Nations frequently set the prairie on fire to attract bison to certain areas where it was easier to catch them for food. The practice is used today to restore the bison populations. Prairie wildfire did change the affected habitat. Some of the tree species were heavily damaged and will not recover – we will have to wait for new saplings to emerge. Grass species benefited from the fire and are recovering with amazing vigour. Forbs (like sage and wildflowers) are a bit slower to return. Controlled fires can help in suppressing invasive species and are used in prairie management. Fires help by removing thatch (dead plant material), stimulating plant growth, and by attracting grazers. Control measures of invasive plant species include a combination of prescribed fires and grazing; Parks Canada is bringing in cattle to graze in areas that were heavily infested with the crested wheatgrass. I observed cows selectively eating seed heads of this invasive species, thus helping control the abundance of weeds. The large area of unburned prairie on land surrounding the burnt patch served as a refuge for the fire-sensitive species. They will quickly re-colonize the land affected by the wildfire over the next few years. Mosaic of habitat changes brought in by the large wildfire of 2013 will help enhance biodiversity of the area. The Grasslands National Park will be even more beautiful and attractive to hikers and photographers venturing into this remote part of...

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Nature in the City – Saskatoons are in bloom this week

Posted by on 25. May 2013 in Blog / Journal, Photography | Comments Off on Nature in the City – Saskatoons are in bloom this week

Nature in the City – Saskatoons are in bloom this week

Saskatoon trees are in bloom this week. The name of this tree (well, more of a shrub) derives from the Cree noun ‘misâskwatômina’. The city of Saskatoon is named after the berry. Have you ever tried the Saskatoon berry pie? Delicious.     I took a few images you see here as part of the NatureCity Festival that starts today. Over 40 organizations are taking part in setting up nature-related events. The NatureCity Festival is one week of free family fun that takes place in neighbourhoods across the city of Saskatoon. It is the inaugural event of Wild about Saskatoon, a group of nature lovers who aim to connect nature and culture in the city of Saskatoon. The willow tree was photographed at the University of Saskatchewan campus. I love the stiking contrast of bright green leaves that emerge at this time of the year, against the clear blue sky.  The cloud came as a bonus. My favourite tree is one in front of the Kirk Hall – it has a perfectly round dome.     The Great Horned Own on nest was photographed at a friend’s place near Pike Lake. He set up a solid metal box that serves as an artificial nest. A pair of owls had been using it continuously over the last few years....

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