préparation

Graduated ND filters

Graduated neutral density filters, or graduated ND filters, are used by photographers to control very bright areas of a scene. A graduated filter is made of glass which is half dark and half clear with a soft or hard edge between the two parts. Graduated ND filters come in different density, typically from one to 10 f-stops.

Fix or hand-held the filter in front of your lens. Place the darker area over the part you wish to darken (i.e. bright sky). The clear part of the filter will keep its normal brightness. You’ll notice that once you have placed the filter in front of your lens, you’ll need to re-adjust the exposure. You can use a graduated filter to emphasize an area of your image by darkening a less important area, knowing that the viewer’s eyes are naturally attracted by lighter areas in a photograph.

Note: The transition between the dark and clear parts of a filter can create an unnatural line in your image so use the proper density filter.

What wildlife really does when humans are away...

First look around and make sure no-one else is here. And then roll in the moss!

River otter, Lontra canadensis

Nature Photography - Field Tips

It’s mating season and if you are into that kind of pictures then there are a few things to consider before heading out.

First you need to learn about your subject: mating call, mating ground, habitat, food source, droppings and even tracks. For bird photographers, there are several websites dedicated to bird songs. Start memorizing songs and calls, it will be easier for you to locate birds once you’re in the field.

Mating season on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Mating season on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Find your subject’s resting or nesting area and return there very early in the morning. Wait for them to wake up and start their day. Did you know that some birds tend to face east in the morning to warm up in the sun? Leave plenty of space for your subject and observe them while they pursue their activities. With a good zoom lens, you’ll be able to capture their routine. Be patient! You might need to stand still in inclement weather or in an awkward position for a very long period of time before you get a rewarding image.

I hope you enjoy the awakening of nature as much as I do!

Herring Spawn on the coast of Vancouver Island

After weeks of anticipation, the Pacific herring has spawned in shallow waters along the coastline of the Salish sea. Birds, mammals and humans have been competing for it since the controversial fishery opened last week.

I witnessed wildlife feeding, and even fighting, for the little silver fish. They could do with some good fish to fatten them up before their offspring are born in the coming weeks. They will certainly need a lot of energy at that time. I also saw a courageous mink running back and forth to get herrings from the shoreline, while keeping an eye on eagles perched on tall trees. It was going so fast, I had a hard time to keep track of it with my big lens. The light was great for photography as the sky was overcast and it was very early in the morning.

Enjoy these few images and if you wish to see more, go to my portfolio or in my stock images.

Element of intention and element of chance

I always go in the field prepared and with intent. However my mind is also open for the unexpected.

One morning, I went to the Oyster River estuary with the intention to photograph ducks. I arrived very early in order to avoid the dog walkers, dogs being a major deterrent to wildlife observation and photography. The fog was starting to dissipate as I quietly entered the woods. Every few steps, I stopped, listened and looked for birds and other wildlife. That’s when I had the chance to spot a heron resting on a branch by the trail. The branch was low, which was perfect for an eye-level shot. I slowly approached the heron from the side, warning him of my presence. I quickly set up my camera and took a series of shots. I didn’t overstay because herons have a low tolerance level towards human presence and I didn’t want to disturb him any longer than necessary.

Heron on a branch, Oyster River

Heron on a branch, Oyster River

On that morning, although my intention was to photograph ducks in the estuary, I had the chance to observe a sleepy heron on a branch and come back with some great images. In nature photography, be prepared for lucky shots!

8 reasons to take a photo workshop on Vancouver Island

8 reasons to take a photo workshop on Vancouver Island

+ discover a new place and take the time to create your best images…