I Cleaned My Shelf

Finally, I got rid of all the gear I stopped using a while ago, like my large zoom lens 150-600mm or the small zoom lens 70-300mm. I sold them both on Kijiji. The Nikon D7100 I gave away as gift. The gear left consists of my Nikon D500 with the 300mm prime lens and the the 90mm macro lens.

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A lot of space for new equipment! Currently, I am in a minimalistic phase and very upset about all the stuff I have around me. With pleasure, I remember the occasions where I migrated from one country to another, 1996 to Mexico and 2012 to Canada, having only 1 suitcase, significantly larger on my second migration though.

You have no idea how many different cables I had. It looks to me they are reproducing themselves wherever they get stored. I found cables of many different lengths but particularly interesting, of many, many different endings most of them, I have no idea what they are for. For some reason, looks like I have a weakness in getting rid of cables.

To feel better, I clean up by selling, giving away or mostly just throwing stuff away [recycling!!! obviously] which reminds me that I have to put the trash out today, a moment …

… anyway, at some point the minimalistic phase will be over and before that happens, I have to take advantage and get rid of as much as possible. Soon, I will be back in collecting stuff.

Disclaimer: I am sorry about the blunt display of Nikon brand. I haven’t been paid to show or recommend Nikon. Actually, I don’t endorse any particular brand.

 

Sunday – At the Park Angrignon

Different to other visits of the Park Angrignon, my last visit has been rewarded with interesting observations of Belted Kingfisher. From my visit of the park on Saturday, I already knew that there is at least one Belted Kingfisher at the pond. I returned on Sunday hoping to have more opportunities to take photos.

I located the bird almost immediately after arriving at the park because of Belted Kingfisher’s habit to defend its fishing territory with loud, continued jabbering. Two females have been disputing about the upper part of the pond and delivered astonishing in air fights and chases.

Sometimes, while flying close over the surface of the pond, one of the birds dived into the water, similar to what they do when catching a fish. The sequence of shots above has been taken shortly after such a dive while the bird is catching up again with the other bird.

A great day with interesting observations. Nevertheless, the Belted Kingfisher action was not the only noteworthy event. There has been another dispute between two Great Blue Herons during that day.

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Explore on Flickr

During September, 2017, I was very active, shooting photos outdoors every weekend at places like Saint-Eustache, Rapids Park and Park Angrignon where I took this shot:

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A pair of Pied-billed Grebe floating on the small pond just outside of Metro station Angrignon. It is the most viewed and well received photo of September 2017 on Flickr, mainly because it has been selected for “Explore”. It was not the first of my photos that has been selected for “Explore” but nevertheless, it is always an exciting moment when you realize the next day that a photo has been selected.

I will edit this photo again and prepare it for prints. It was a lucky shot in the sense that I haven’t planned to spot Pied-billed Grebe that morning. On my way to the larger pond, I noticed these birds. I like the variety of colors ranging from warm colors by the early morning sunshine on the bird to a whole spectrum of colder green and blues from the reflection of the sky in the water. Nevertheless, I should have given some more space to the left of the second, out of focus, bird and it looks to me that I am not holding the camera perfectly horizontal. Maybe a small tilt to the right would have helped.

What do you think? Any comments to this shot?

The Next Step – Printing

Recently, I had the opportunity to show some of my photos together with other photographers in a small exposition. While preparing the photos to be printed, I realized that applying the focus of printing ensures a reasonable increased attention to the details while in the field, later selecting the best shot of a serie and editing the selected shot.

While in the field, looking for animals to take pictures off and moving into position for a good shot or serie of shots, having in mind to get the shot printed makes you to do that one more step into the mud and to go down the another 5 inches required for a better shot. Actually even before going into the field, the decision where to go on a particular day is influenced.

Back at the desk, selection of photos to be edited, especially the selection of photos to be deleted immediately increases in efficiency. First, I can scroll through the thumbnails and delete many series where the subject is too far away, or the background disturbingly ugly ending up with only a small portion of the photos to look through and remove the ones that are unsharp or the subject in an unpleasant position. I end up with only a few shots and I it is easier to decide if one of these shots is worthy to work on using Affinity Photo.

Nevertheless, I don’t forget that some shots may be used for Fauna & Flora Photography where I continue publishing photos of new species to complete my collections. These photos may not pass the criteria to adorn the walls of my home but are maybe better shots of a species I already have published or even represent a species I haven’t yet in my collection.

 

Animals in Their Natural Setting

I learned that the community prefers photos of animals and in particular of birds, where the subject is free of distracting other elements. Most of the time, such a shot is not easy to be achieved. You have to look carefully how you position yourself towards the subject and in some cases feeders or dropping food increases the chances for a good position. Nevertheless, with all the tricks and experience, having the subject free of nearby vegetation in focus is largely a question of luck.

Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) [de: Buchfink]

I realized though, that when looking through the photos of my sessions that I actually prefer shots where the subject is embedded within the its natural setting. It may not always the most artful presentation but these shots not only show the animal itself but also tell stories about where the animals lives.

The photo of this Common Chaffink [Fringilla coelebs] (Buchfink in German) is a typical case. I have other shots where this bird is more isolated but I prefer this one because it also shows you how good this bird is hidden within the leaves of the tree.

Flowers of the Swiss Alps

Being aware of my difficulties to identify flowers in parks around Montreal, I don’t even start to id the flowers I encounter during my hikes in the Swiss Alps. I just enjoy the colourfulness of the different flowers and their occasional cohabitants and visitors.

Nevertheless, having seen so many different colours and shapes, I am motivated, once back in Montreal, to continue documenting wild flowers in the parks of Quebec, a project I have neglected over past months.

Getting Better in Bird Watching

I remember previous visits of my home country Switzerland when I was wondering where all the birds have gone. In particular, I remember a walk along a river near my brother’s home where I haven’t seen birds except two crows or ravens far away.

Different this time. During a walk along the same river, I spotted four different species:

Not enough. During my hikes up in the mounts of Canton of Glarus, I also spotted four different species of birds of prey. The quality of these shots are not the best, nevertheless, clear enough to get an ID:

I don’t blame a temporal lack of birds in Switzerland during my previous visit for me not spotting birds before but rather that my continuous training in spotting birds over the last years improved my skills now.

Except the Common Blackbird and the Peregrine Flacon, all birds shown here are live birds. I may have seen them before but I don’t recall having them spotted and identified before.