Long-Eared Owl

OK, this is much of an art photo, but I just saw my first long-eared owl (Asio otus)! Here it is in all it’s camouflage-ness. There were actually a pair of them, but this is the only one I got a photo of. I could have stalked them and maybe got more photos, but especially in spring when birds are breeding I prefer to leave them alone to do their thing.

Taken with a Canon 5d, 300mm, f5.6 at 1/160 of a second.

Invitation — VAAA Gallery Show

Just a reminder — I have two prints in the VAAA Open Photo Competition. It is this Thursday, August 25, 6-8pm at the Kasaa Gallery in the basement of the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium ( 11455 – 87 Avenue ). I would love it if you stop by. There will be drinks, snacks, and a very wide variety of photographic styles to enjoy. All the artists will be there, and the results of the competition will be announced.

The show will continue until October 2nd, if you can’t make it for the opening.

Come take a look!

Wildlife and Wedding Photography

When you see an elk, what do you do? You stop and take a photo of course. And if the elk stays there, you get closer. After all, wasn’t it Robert Capa who said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”?

But for some reason your brain starts to throw up little red flags. Wait a minute, you also want context — the animal acting in its habitat. And maybe you don’t want a photo of an elk eyeball, maybe you want the whole elk. And anyway, isn’t it bad for animals to get accustomed to people? And dangerous for the people?

And then, for some strange reason, you start to think of photographing weddings, of posing and of lighting. Direct evening light is pretty good — it’s warm and lends definition to shapes, but what if you backlight this? That would wash it out and give it a dream-like quality. But animals are not as cooperative as people who hire you to take their photos. You have to do the moving, and there’s no adding light. You know that flash would bother this elk and disrupt his feeding, possibly making him aggressive.

So you do the moving, far enough away that the animal is not disturbed. You wait for the animal to move into a position that works, you get the sun at just the right angle, and you get a photo. You don’t know if it’s a good photo or a great photo, but you’re pretty sure it’s not a bad photo. And that is satisfying.

Folk Fest Recap

First of all, I want to say how awesome folk fest was because of all of you — customers, fans, friends, family, and some amazing musicians who entertained me on my lunch breaks. This was by far my best sale ever.

Thanks to Leah for being there to cheerfully cover breaks for me and Anna, thanks to Liz and Nicole for being around and ready to lend a hand. Thanks to Aran for being a great new patron. Thanks to C. from Manitoba who was super excited about photography, and good luck with the underwater photography.

I enjoyed talking with so many of you, and it was interesting to see the sets of photos that people picked out. I might do a blog post yet showing some of these sets.

Since I can’t resist posting a photo, here’s a Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) taken during my Wildlife Biodiversity and Ecology course field trip in Whitemud Park.

Cute Bear with Messages

This little grizzly cub wants to let you know that this is the last week to see my photos at Elm Cafe on 117th Street just north of Jasper. It is also the last week for my current show at Daffodil Gallery on 124th Street and 104 Ave. If you miss them, don’t despair — there are more shows in the works.

A Bear’s Life

If you’ve ever seen bears going about their lives, you have to respect them. The ease with which they turn over massive stones to search for grubs, the speed at which they can get across a mountain valley, the length of their claws — it all inspires respect. But they are not the fearsome predators they’re often made out to be. In fact, they pretty much ignore people when possible. They’re very focused on eating, much of which turns out to be grass and leaves.

I got the privilege of watching a few bear families on this trip, and though I’m not normally a wildlife photographer, I have to admit there’s a certain thrill to observing and photographing animals. Here’s a black bear mother and cub.

Beaver Pond

I find wildlife photography difficult — not necessarily the photographing of an animal, but the photographing of an animal artistically. I’ve been watching these beavers (Castor canadensis) doing all sorts of interesting things over the last couple of weeks. I’ve watched them chew through trees, drag them down to the water, talk to each other, slap their tails on the water, and all sorts of beaver behaviour. But photos of these fascinating activities often end up as a standard photo of a beaver. Even in beautiful evening light, a lot of shots seem to be average or only mildly interesting shots.

I’ve been trying to challenge myself to take an artistic wildlife photo. To mix my landscape aesthetic with animal subjects. This is what I’ve come up with so far. This beaver created some beautiful sunset reflections in his pond for me.