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 ūüôā

 

 

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.

 

 

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Field and Angry Sky.

Posted by on Feb 10, 2012 in Best of, Featured, For Sale, Landscapes, PhotoSolution, Showcase | 2 comments

Driving through the very picturesque region of Kamouraska, on a road that meanders between the Saint-Lawrence river and the valley, the sky decided to put on an angry face.

Canon G9

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Across the River.

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in For Sale, Landscapes, Showcase | 0 comments

The Mercier Bridge seen from Lachine on a very cold and crisp Winter morning. Montreal, January 2012.

 
Nikon D700, Zoom Nikkor 28-300 f3.5-5.6 VRII @ 28mm; f11.0 1/4000s; ISO 320
 

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Onion Braid Lady

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in For Sale, People, Street Scenes | 0 comments

Every year at the “Altmarkt” – old market in Biel, Switzerland, an onion market takes place. The wonderful face of this lady selling her carefully braided onions attracted my attention. Photo taken in Biel, also called Bienne as it is a bilingual city, in 1977.

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

 

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Saturday Paper.

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in For Sale, People, Showcase | 3 comments

Saturday morning ritual: the Viceroy’s, the paper and the siamese….

 
Nikon FE, 35-105mm Zoom-Nikkor, Ektachrome 64 Coolscan V digitized.
 

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Which table again?

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in Animalia, Backyard animals, PhotoSolution | 0 comments

 

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Lion under repair

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in Abstractions, For Sale, Maintenance, Showcase | 0 comments

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Gymnopedies.

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in Best of, Portraits, Showcase | 0 comments

Composite portrait on a theme by Erik Satie. French composer of the famous Gymnopedies. Montreal, 1977

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

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Peacock & I.

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in For Sale, People, PhotoSolution, Street Scenes | 0 comments

There is a park north of Lausanne in Switzerland where birds are protected and well fed by many. This old lady reminded me of my grand-mother as she fed peacocks their daily ration of bred and nuts. Lausanne, Switzerland – 1978
 
Published in Photosolution Magazine – April – May 2012 edition

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

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Prairie Warbler Impressionism

Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in Best of, Birds, Featured, For Sale, Showcase | 0 comments

Warbler/Paruline (Dendroica discolor)

Cooper Marsh, On, Canada. July 2011

Prairie Warbler in a “impressionist” setting.

Paruline des pr√©s en d√©cor “impressioniste”.
D7oo; Nikkor 70-200mm + TC20E III @400mm; f5.6 1/1000s ISO 3200

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Mallard on a Floating Log

Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in Best of, Birds, Featured, For Sale, Showcase | 0 comments

Mallard/Colvert (Anas Platyrhynchos)

Mont Saint-Hilaire, Qc, Canada. April 2011

Male mallard posing on a log.

Colvert m√Ęle perch√© sur sa souche.
D700; Nikkor 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 @300mm; f5.6; 1/250s; ISO450

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