Back to Tadoussac

I visited Tadoussac in 2013 with the main goal to see some whales. I returned this year in the hope to get more photos and not only of whales. It’s early into the season and there are still snow patches here and there. Temperatures are reasonable though and migratory birds have arrived.

Here the link to my previous post about Tadoussac

It was a very fortunate day today, with many birds species I see the first time. I also saw a few belugas and a porcupine.

Featured Photo: Ruby-crowned Kinglet, difficult to spot and even more difficult to photograph. It hides within the bushes most of the time and flies fast and erratically.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)

 

Post-Production – New Workflow

It is about time to add another post about my current post-production workflow. I shared my experience with using “free software” in very details but this was back in 2015 with two smaller updates in early 2016. Now in 2018, many things have changed.

Hardware

Post-production happens now on Apple hardware only. I replaced my windows powered 17″ laptop with a small 13″ MacBook Pro for two reasons. Mobility: The 17″ laptop was so heavy and so large, I couldn’t take it with me. Although, labeled as “Laptop” it’s more a fix desktop solution. Monitor Colours: The large laptop frequently changed monitor colour-settings when attaching an external monitor or using certain programs. Whenever I started to edit photos, I first had to run through the colour calibration process. Annoying.

My 13″ MacBook Pro fits weights almost nothing and fits into any size backpack or bag. Further, no application installed on my mac turns the screen to blueish or reddish and no colour calibration needed.

Software

As much as I want to get rid of using Adobe Subscription, I haven’t found a way around it. Thus, all me editing is still done using Adobe Lightroom.

Workflow

  1. Copying all files from memory cards to the external drive
  2. Importing all files from external drive into Lightroom
  3. Browsing through all newly imported photos and reject them [press X] if I don’t like them.
  4. Delete and remove from disk rejected files [command + delete]
  5. I then go through the remaining photos again and rate them with 3* [I like it] or 5* [I love it].
  6. I crop so that the main object of the photo is into the one of crosses of the thirds. Specially with animals on the move, composing the photo before taking the shot is not really an option.
  7. I then go through the different sections of Lightroom’s control in the right column with particular attention to shift the histogram if necessary and to enhance/balance the colours and to suppress noise. I almost never use additional software like photoshop or affinity photo to edit photos.
  8. Finally, I geo-target the photo using the map and export the edited photos into a temporary folder on the desktop

Organizing and editing the photos of an average output of a photo session [about 1000 shots] takes me up to three hours. Most time consuming task is the selection and rating of the photos though. At the end, I have about a handful photos ready to be published.

Publishing

The 5* rated photos are published in my Flickr account. All new species and interesting close ups of other species are published in my web site Fauna & Flora Photography.

I used to publish frequently in Fauna & Flora Facebook page and on Instagram. Nevertheless, recent events at Facebook have discouraged myself to continue using Facebook and Instagram.


Featured Image

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Close up Great Blue Heron [Ardea herodias], Rapids Park Lachine, (c) KHMuller 2018

Note: I intentionally excluded two subjects which are my current photography gear  and video recording. I will discuss these subjects in a separate post in the near future. I am expecting some significant gear upgrades in the next days which would make any thoughts about my current gear obsolete within days, My video processing workflow is such a mess not worth talking about.

Disclaimer: Products and services of all brands mentioned in this post have been purchased by myself and they are not mentioned here because I recommend them but solely because they currently are part of my workflow.

 

 

Lack of Blue – Too Much Blue?

What does a hobby wildlife photographer do on a ugly, rainy, cloudy, dark, depressive Sunday? He/she watches YouTube clips about other wildlife photographer in action, reads about lenses, cleans all equipment and if there is still some time, shoots photos of whatever like the cat on the sofa [portrait lense], smurfs [macro lense] or the chimneys across the street [telezoom].

Chimneys

I ended up with a question, though. All these YouTube wildlife photographers are out there and record in rainy, cloudy days. The “real” wildlife photographers are out there under any conditions? Or because there is nothing to shoot, they have time to record?

Having given some thoughts, I [almost] decided not to buy the 200-500mm lense but the 300mm f/4 Prime instead, with the 1,4x teleconverter. Pricey though.

Happy Friday

Sorry that I am not smiling, it was very, very cold that day. Looking forward for some outdoors photo shooting over this weekend. Maybe the lack of smiling was also in anticipation of the this weekend weather forecast. Sunshine during the week and rain and cold over weekend. It will be fun.

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Happy Friday.

Drama in the Pond

Great Blue Herons is the largest bird you can see in the parks around Montreal. Dominating the pond with its size, this bird is an excellent hunter, patiently waiting or moving slowly along the border to spot careless frogs or fishes.

Here a short clip showing you how a the heron catches and swallows a fish, recorded in Rapids Park Lachine, April 2018.

Featured Photo:

Taken in Rapids Park Lachine, Montreal, April 2018, showing you a close up of a Great Blue Heron with its catch, a frog, most probably a Wood Frog.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

PS: This shot has been selected for Flickr “Explore”:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/khmuller/26827450727/

Special – Gulls

I already planned a special about gulls a while ago, when I was exploring Newfoundland but always postponed to write about the subject. Gulls are not that popular birds. They are raptors and scavengers, noisy but also elegant, versatile flyers and beautiful to watch when circling along the beach or rivers.

Around Montreal, I was able to identify three different species. Herring gulls have been more of a lucky catch as they look very similar to the a bit smaller Ring-billed Gull with the difference that they have a red spot instead of the black ring on the bill. Herring gulls are often seen within other gulls. Thus when you see a larger bird within a flock of Ring-billed gulls, it may be a herring gull.

More photos of gulls?

Featured Image:

My first photo of a gull taken in Park Lafontaine, Montreal

Chouette à Voir – Nice to See

It was my second visit of Chouette à voir, this time thanks to better light conditions, I tried to get some close up shots of the different bird of prey species.

Chouette à voir is a place maintained by UQROP [Union québécoise de réhabilitation des oiseaux de proie]. At this location, there are installations where birds can recover after having been treated by a veterinaire before they are released again. When you visit this place you may be witness of such a release and if you win the auction you may be even be the person to release the bird.

In Quebec, Canada, by law, if you see a injured or dead bird of prey, you have to report it to the authorities.  Injured animals then are treated and kept in a rehabilitation center like UQROP until they can be released again. Although, some birds cannot be released anymore as they may not be able to survive in the wilderness due to the type of injury or because they got too used to humans. These individuals then serve as ambassadors for the organizations like UQROP and you can see them from close or even hold one for a short photo session.

If you plan to visit the place consult the web site of UQROP before you visit as Chouette à voir is not open every day.

Disclaimer: I haven’t received any compensation to write and publish about Chouette à voir or UQROP.

 

A White Eastern Grey Squirrel

This time of the year, photos of animals around Montreal are mostly chickadees and squirrels and they don’t do anything different than hanging around near the bird feeder and foraging. Difficult to get interesting shots.

White Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus Carolinensis)

Thus, spotting a rare white Eastern Grey Squirrel is a highly welcomed change from the usual. This one was the first one I saw. More frequently, I spot another variant, the black Eastern Grey Squirrel. For you to compare a small gallery of all three.

I resist elaborating the underlying genetic mechanisms for these color variants. If you are interested you can consult these two resources:

I did it, a blog post about Eastern Grey Squirrel. Eagerly awaiting the end of winter for more interesting shots and videos ;)