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

 

IR Landscape III

Posted by on Apr 27, 2014 in Infra Red, Landscapes, Scenery | 2 comments

Parc RenĂ©-LĂ©vesque, Lachine, QuĂ©bec – March 2013

 

Modified D200 / Nikkor 18-35mm

 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Infrared Landscape I

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Infra Red, Landscapes, Scenery | 4 comments

Parc RenĂ©-LĂ©vesque, Lachine, QuĂ©bec – March 2013

 

Modified D200 / Nikkor 18-35mm

 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Infrared Landscape II

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Infra Red, Landscapes, Scenery | 2 comments

Parc RenĂ©-LĂ©vesque, Lachine, QuĂ©bec – March 2013

 

Modified D200 / Nikkor 18-35mm

 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Goldeneye – Garrot Ă  oeil d’or

Posted by on Mar 8, 2014 in Animalia, Birds | 2 comments

Goldeneye / Garrot Ă  oeil d’or (Bucephala clangula)

March 2014. Lachine Rapids, Montreal

Nikon D7000/Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 @ 750mm, f8.0, 1/1000s ISO 400

 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Greater Scaup Couple – Fuligule en couple

Posted by on Mar 8, 2014 in Animalia, Birds, Featured | 0 comments

Greater Scaup / Fuligule Milouinan (Aythya marila)

March 2014. Lachine Rapids, Montreal

Nikon D7000/Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 @ 750mm, f9.0, 1/1000s ISO

 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

European Starling

Posted by on Dec 15, 2013 in Animalia, Backyard animals, Best of, Birds, Featured | 0 comments

Starling/Étourneau (Sturnus vulgaris)

December 2013. European starling. Étourneau sansonnet. Winter plumage/plumage hivernal

Nikon D600/Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 @ 750mm, f13.0, 1/200s ISO 1000

 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Junco

Posted by on Dec 15, 2013 in Animalia, Backyard animals, Best of, Birds, Featured | 0 comments

Dark-Eyed Junco / Junco ardoisé (Junco hyemalis)

Montreal. December 2013.

Nikon D600 / Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 750mm, f6.3, 1/1250s ISO 1250

 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Goldfinch (female)

Posted by on Dec 15, 2013 in Animalia, Backyard animals, Best of, Birds | 0 comments

Goldfinch Female / Chardonneret jaune femelle (Spinus tristis)

 

Montreal. December 2013.

Nikon D600/Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 750mm, f6.3, 1/1250s ISO 1000

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Junco

Posted by on Dec 15, 2013 in Animalia, Backyard animals, Best of, Birds | 0 comments

Dark-Eyed Junco / Junco ardoisé (Junco hyemalis)

Montreal. December 2013.

Nikon D600 / Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 750mm, f6.3, 1/1250s ISO 1250

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Glass Head Mallard

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Animalia, Best of, Birds, Featured | 1 comment

Mallard Male / Col-vert

Lachine Rapids, Lasalle, QC. December 2013. This mallard was just pulling his head out the water and the frigid liquid looks like glass.

Nikon D600/Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 500mm, f6.3, 1/1600s ISO 2000

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016