I was never very interested in birds……in fact, unless quite large and colorful and most often in a zoo they would go by unnoticed. Until Spring ’11 when a friend invited me on a fishing trip. Now, fishing is another story. Not only is it something I do not care for, it is also the type of activity I would just as well replace with just about anything else.

 

On this particular occasion, I was told that the St-Lawrence River in the area of Lac Saint-Pierre had risen to an unusual level and that several areas were now passable by john-boat and that wood ducks and others might be more easily approachable as well as other birds. It was decided that the fishing trip would be reorganized so as to include a sizable photo component.

 

Needless to say, I was sold and secretly elated to be able to try my new D700/28-300mm combo.

Couldn’t have picked a more perfect day!

 

Wood ducks, unless in a wildlife preserve or national park are by nature very shy, like to perch on tree limbs and preferably in the shade. This made the beginning of my very first bird safari quite disappointing as we could never get close enough for my limited lens reach to be effective.

Until we came upon the following and this made my day. Even now I have goose bumps thinking about this magic moment.

 

 

This turkey vulture couple had probably never seen people so close and the male was looking down at us about 25 feet below. I understand that one of the things they do when feeling threatened is to spit the regurgitate from the carrion they are in the process of digesting. In retrospect, I feel quite fortunate for having been able to take this shot and remain dry 🙂

 

 

Just a few minutes later we glided on to an area where Bald Eagles patrol their territory and hunt for local fish and sometimes a wounded goose or duck. On the branch sit a juvenile and an parent. Interesting to note that bald eagle females are larger than males. A few bird species are subject to this dismorphism based on sex. Here is a shot of the jevenile in flight showing the incredible plumage backlit by the sun:

 

 

And, if you think this was it for my first bird photo electroshock, keep reading: !

 

Arctic Tern.

Cormorant Rising.

Common Moorhen.

 

This half day spent in total photo bliss could not have ended on a better image than this one:

 

 

This first trip convinced me that my 28-300mm just didn’t cut it and there followed a trip to the local camera store to pick up the magnificent 70-200 f2.8 VRII coupled to a 2x TC20E III.

 

This combo rigged to the D300 would yield a reach of 600mm and to the D700 a reach of 400mm. Now the real fun begins. Unfortunately it also begins with getting used to shooting with a close to 15lb rig in your hand, most often shooting without a tripod or monopod so as to be mobile enough to track a bird in flight. Needless to say, very high speeds are necessary to assist the limited action of the VR mechanism. I usually use shutter priority at 1/1250s. Most often this means a high ISO which is not a problem with the D700 body but tends to be very noisy on the D300. You just don’t want to have to crop too much under these circumstances.

 

 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2018

 

Male Mallard in Flight

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Birds, For Sale, Showcase | 0 comments

Mallard/Colvert (Anas platyrhynchos)

St-Catherine Locks, Qc, Canada. February 2012.

Mallard in flight taken from the south side of the Saint-Lawrence river near the Saint-Catherine Locks.

Colvert en vol, côté sud du fleuve Saint-Laurent près des écluses Sainte-Catherine.
Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8 + TC-20E III @400mm; f5.6, 1/1250s, ISO400

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Mallard Couple in Flight

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Best of, Birds, Featured, Finalists, For Sale, PhotoSolution, Showcase | 0 comments

Mallards/Colverts (Anas platyrhynchos)

St-Catherine Locks, Qc, Canada. February 2012.

A mallard couple in flight, close enough to be in the same frame and with ice in the background makes for a very happy photographer. Taken on a sunny morning near the Saint-Catherine Locks on the south shore of the Saint-Lawrence River near Montreal.

Un couple colvert survolant les glaces de février aux écluses Sainte-Catherine sur le fleuve Saint-Laurent, près de Montréal.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8 + TC-20E III @400mm; f6.3, 1/1250s, ISO400. Montreal 2012.

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2014

Ice Crystal

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Abstractions, For Sale, Showcase | 0 comments

February 2012, a piece of ice floats by on the St-Lawrence River.

 
Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8 + TC-20E III @400mm; f5.6, 1/1250s, ISO400
 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2014

Mallard Coupe Resting

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Birds, Showcase | 0 comments

Mallards/Colverts (Anas Platyrhynchos)

St-Catherine Locks, Qc, Canada February 2012

Mallard couple basking in the afternoon sun on the icy banks of the Saint-Lawrence River near Montreal.

Couple colvert se chauffant les plumes sous le soleil d’hiver aux Ă©cluses Sainte-Catherine sur le fleuve Saint-Laurent.

 

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8 + TC-20E III @400mm; f9.0, 1/1250s, ISO400.

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2014

Ice Duck Steps

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Birds, For Sale, Showcase | 0 comments

Mallards/Colverts (Anas platyrhynchos)

St-Catherine Locks, Montreal, Qc., Canada February 2012

There are those who only shoot male mallards because they are so much more colourful. Yet, when I saw these two females so close at hand wobbling around on pristine snow, I knew I had a shot.

Un pas de deux sur une neige immaculée. Les mâles sont plus colorés peut-être. Mais, ce couple de femelles est tellement sympa.
Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8 + TC-20E III @400mm; f6.3, 1/1250s, ISO400. Montreal, Saint-Catherine Locks, February 2012.

 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2014

Cryo Leaf

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Abstractions, For Sale, Showcase | 1 comment

Winter 2012, Montreal

 
Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8 + TC-20E III @400mm; f9.0, 1/1250s, ISO400
 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2014

Skullduggery

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Abstractions, For Sale, Showcase | 0 comments

Winter 2012, Ecluses Ste Catherine

 
Nikon D700, 70-200m + TC-20E III @400mm; f5.6, 1/800s, ISO400
 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2014

Is it a bird?

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Abstractions, Best of, For Sale, Showcase | 0 comments

Fall 2011, Parc des Iles de Boucherville.

I’ve always loved backlighting in spite of all its challenges. The diaphanous quality of this image makes it a winner.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8+ TC-20E III @400mm;  f6.3, 1/800s, ISO 800

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2014

Watching the apples

Posted by on Feb 14, 2012 in Showcase, Street Scenes | 1 comment

Toledo, Spain 1970. Little Spanish girl sitting in the shop doorway seems to watch over the apples

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Nikon FE, Ektachrome 64, Zoom-Nikkor 35-105 f2.8-4.5
 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2014

Waxwings/Jaseurs (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Posted by on Feb 14, 2012 in Birds, For Sale, Showcase | 0 comments

Cap Saint-Jacques, Montreal. February 2012.

A band of passing Cedar Waxwings feeding on small fruits one very cold February morning.

Un groupe de jaseurs d’AmĂ©rique de passage se rassasiant de petits fruits ce matin très froid de fĂ©vrier.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 28-300m FX @450mm, f5.6, 1/500s, ISO400

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2014