December 7, 2014
It's always exciting to make your first photographs of a new species! I went out yesterday morning to explore around Starbuck, Manitoba and came upon a couple of snowy owls. These large owls are active during the day and they are truly beautiful birds to see and observe. Snowy owls breed in the Arctic and some birds winter within their breeding range but some can be found on the prairies during the winter and their migration to more southern areas. When their main food sources of lemmings and small rodents dwindle in the Arctic every few years, snowy owls tend to migrate further south in search of food and this is why, in some years, they are more commonly seen in these parts.
I had only seen two other individuals in my lifetime (and one of those was a few days ago) but I had never had the chance to photograph them. My experience with most wildlife I encounter is that they don't stay around very long when they notice humans. I usually have my camera fitted with a long telephoto lens at the following settings: shutter speed set to ISO 1000, automatic exposure mode, automatic focus, shutter set on continuous high speed, widest aperture possible, fastest shutter speed possible for the prevailing light conditions and the lens set on vibration reduction, usually with no filters attached. This combination of settings allows me to shoot at fairly low light levels and perhaps get a decent shot. As I see wildlife when I am driving, if I am not ready, I will drive by for quite a distance before turning around and stopping to set up the camera properly. As I approach my subject, my window is down and I make sure there are no other vehicles close by before suddenly stopping, pointing the camera and shooting one to a few frames as soon as possible. Often, that may be the only opportunity to capture an image before the animal takes off. Depending in which direction the bird decides to take off in, you may or may not get an opportunity to make an action shot. Yesterday was a mostly cloudy day and the sun came out only briefly in my location, enough to make the first photograph of the perched owl.
December 5, 2014
'La Cathédrale de Saint-Boniface' is the second book published in Manitoba CountryScapes series (Série Lieux et Paysages du Manitoba) by Vidacom. It is an honor to have collaborated with internationally renowned architect 'extraordinaire' Etienne Gaboury as well as with Joanne Therrien of 'Les Editions des Plaines'. Etienne Gaboury is also the architect behind such famous local landmarks as The Royal Canadian Mint, The Esplanade Riel bridges and Eglise Precieux-Sang to name just a few of his lifetime accomplishments. This book is offered in a hard cover and a soft cover edition as well as in both French and English editions! 'Tetro Design' was responsible for the layout and design while I was the principle photographer for this book.
December 5, 2014
A new book series about French Manitoba Communities was recently launched. The first title is 'Notre-Dame de Lourdes', a small community about an hour southwest of Winnipeg. Manitoba CountryScapes series (Série Lieux et Paysages du Manitoba) is published by Vidacom (Editions des Plaines). These books will feature writings and photographs from local residents. My involvement in this series will vary from supplying a few images to being the principal photographer. This particular book features a half dozen of my images, including the two cover photographs. Book design and layout was by Tetro Design.
December 5, 2014
This is my first image in the treesinfourseasons challenge. I have been challenged by my friend Joe Kerr to submit 4 images of trees, one in each of the four seasons.
At least once a year - and sometimes two or three times - the landscape around Winnipeg gets covered with a magical coating of hoarfrost. Often, I will head up north on Hwy 15 from the TransCanada and look for this Manitoba Maple tree. It's just a prairie maple at the edge of the road but it often looks spectacular when covered in frost. In this particular image, I added a slight texture of denim which imparted a bit of a surreal look.
I challenge Peter Blahut to the #treesinfourseasons challenge.
Your challenge images must represent all four seasons, one from each season. With each entry please challenge one other person and use the hashtag #treesinfourseasons so everyone can search to find all the entries as the challenge progresses.