Selected Photos 2017 – Outlook 2018

Like every year in January, I browse through the camera roll of my flickr account and select a few photos to create a slideshow of the shots which I like most and create a short video for YouTube. First time, I used one of own piano improvisations for the sound track:

This year, two of my photos have been selected by Flickr to be shown in Flickr’s “Explore” section, a photo of two Pied-billed Grebes and a shot of a jumping Humpback Whale, taken at Cape Spear, Newfoundland.

Finally, I was able to spot Black-crowned Night Herons, in St. Eustache, and one of the shots made it into the collection. Another highlight was the observation of two Common Moorhens in Park de la Frayere.

Thanks to the Nikon D500, I was able to get more consistently good shots of birds in flight. It may be true that a good camera is not needed to be a good photographer but without the high frame rate of the Nikon D500, taking photos of birds in flight would have been a frustrating endeavour.

There is a collection of close shots of different bird species and white-tailed deer which I like very much and from which the photo of the curious American Yellow Warbler is my favorite shot of 2017.

Nevertheless, comparing Selection 2017 with 2016, I cannot see major progress regarding the quality of my photos. I was able to get out more frequently and create more opportunities for pleasant photos, though.

I decided for the domain name, faunaflora.photography, of my website about identification of species in Quebec and finished programming and design: Fauna & Flora Photography. I had to go through a rebranding of different social media accounts.

2018?

There are a few species which I really would love to encounter this year. Among them, Snow Goose and Fox are due. I plan recording many more videos. Besides ND filters, I have the necessary equipment. A small investment comparing to the rest of the hardware. Nevertheless, I want to replace the Tamron 150-600mm with a Nikon 200-500mm. I am not convinced of sharpness of my Tamron tele zoom lense and I don’t like its bokeh.

Anything else? Going outdoors and searching for animals to watch and take photos is a lot of fun. A perfect balance to my sedentary work life. There will be another change which will have a major impact in opportunities. More about that in January 2019.

 

Sunset, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

About Piano Playing & Sound Cloud

Recently, I started to upload my music to soundcloud. Three topics which I would like to discuss shortly: How do I create and record sound, why I publish my beginner creations and what are my long term intentions.

How do I create sound?

A while ago, I have purchased Yamaha Piaggero NP-V80. The keyboard is connected through USB to my macBook Pro [the one with the fancy touchbar]. My playing is recorded directly in Garageband where I mix with other tracks like percussion or bass. I never played piano before and in retrospect, the Yamaha Piaggero purchase wasn’t a good decision. Lower registers sound awful and keys feel wrong. I need 4k $ for a better stage keyboard ;)

Why publishing?

My play is far from professional, actually very bad. Thus, why publishing? Why not recording it and keeping it as files on my hard drive, to myself? Most of what we humans do is far from perfect. Nowadays, we compete globally with whatever we do. I imagine that this is especially difficult and discouraging for our children. Being exposed daily to others being so much better in what we do? Nevertheless, achieving perfection in any field is very hard work and requires many years of dedication and I want to demonstrate this by publishing my work along the way.

What are my intentions?

First of all, I want to add music to my video recording of Canada’s wildlife and I prefer not to pay royalties. So why not produce my own music? I played music in the past, trombone and later saxophone so I have some experience. Piano is a completely different thing, though, and I am struggling seeing some progress in my playing. Recording and storing my creations provide me the opportunity to sit back, to listen to my older recordings and compare. Can someone start to learn piano later in life and get it to a pleasant level? Can I do it? I want to know the answer to these questions. Finally, the creativity of improvising was always an important balance to my analytical/scientific mind set and having it abandoned for many years was not healthy.

 

Maybe there are some persons out there who enjoy my recordings or, maybe there are persons out there who feel motivated to start playing themselves: “If he can do it, I can do it too”.

Extreme Weather Conditions – Cold Day

A very cold Sunday. After having watched some videographer taking clips of beavers in winter somewhere in Quebec, I felt a strong calling to experience outdoor video recording under “polar” weather conditions and headed out to Rapids Park Lachine on Sunday.

Here the result of this expedition:

Mostly flowing river. There is a dramatic situation though, when a small ice block surfaces and attaches to the larger ice block covering a rock. Don’t miss it, around 1:50 into the video.

Not yet subscribed to my YouTube Channel? I will add beautiful new clips frequently and the music will get better, I promise!

Fauna Flora Photography – YouTube Channel

Here is what I learned:

  1. Exercise tripod, camera setup at home multiple times.
  2. Configure two camera setups at home, one for still shooting and one for video recording.
  3. Train basic tripod and camera handling with mittens.

Trying to get that handle fixed to the tripod head with mittens made me laugh about my inability and lack of preparation. The one time opportunity and missed shot of approaching Common Merganser at sunset made me cry. Bottom line is, that it is no fun to figure this out figure out under extreme weather conditions!

At least my new Thermos bottle with tea worked fine and slurping hot tea out there in the cold was the highlight.


Disclaimer: All equipment used for this clip has been purchased. Video recorded with Nikon D500, Tamron 150-600mm. Post-Production Yamaha Piaggero for improvisation, Garageband, iMovie and a bit of Lightroom for the only photo.

A Lucky Encounter: Belted Kingfisher

Only a few hours available, I picked up my backpack and headed out to Park Angrignon with the plan to train a bit more on video settings, video recording and audio recording. In the hope spotting at least a few ducks, I walked around and unfortunately, I haven’t seen one bird. Later, the only waterfowl so far, a juvenile Hooded Merganser, which I actually missed by staring at my iPhone. Continue reading

Chasing Night Herons

A beautiful Saturday and highly motivated to explore a new place, I decided to go to Moulin Légaré, Saint-Eustache, with the sole purpose to look for Night Herons. It is unusual for me to visit a place where only one species has been reported and especially because the place doesn’t look like having much more to offer and traveling there takes me over an hour. Continue reading

Circling Around – Videography

The original idea, my plan I may say, was to create videos, maybe even longer documentaries, of wildlife in Canada. As usually, I worked on this project not only to get it somehow done but to approach it methodically and fill out all the gaps. Having starting with the small Lumix pocket camera shooting photos of ants on flowers, I prepared a list of what I need to learn on the way to get there. Continue reading