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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am looking forward to my official start of macro season. Looking around in nature for beautiful patterns and colour combinations is rewarding. Here a few sample shots taken on my trip to Tadoussac.
Pinecone Captured at Pointe de l’Islet Tadoussac on 25 May 2018 by Karl-Heinz Müller
Lichen Captured at Tadoussac Tadoussac on 22 May 2018 by Karl-Heinz Müller, Fauna & Flora Photography, muuuh.com
Captured at Pointe de l’Islet Tadoussac on 25 May 2018 by Karl-Heinz Müller, Fauna & Flora Photography, muuuh.com
I use my Nikon D500 mounted with the TAMRON SP 90mm F2.8 Di Macro VC USD F017N Macro lens.
Pinecone Captured at Pointe de l’Islet Tadoussac on 25 May 2018 by Karl-Heinz Müller
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 at the moment when I acquired them they looked to me as the best option for the available budget.
New Words: Pinecone – Tannzapfen, Lichen – Flechte
I did it. I cancelled my Adobe Subscription. As nature photographer, why would I do such a thing and cancel my Adobe Subscription? It is not because I have any issues in using their products and my workflow using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop has been quite efficient. Providing monthly subscription fee with a yearly contract and a penalty when cancelling before makes no sense to me as customer and I consider it as bad business practice and my only power against companies with bad business practices is not paying for their products.
Geo tagging of my photos is very important. For that I usually run SnapBridge [I have a Nikon camera] while taking photos to make sure that the photos are geo tagged in spite of draining my iPhone battery which I cannot replace in the field.
Import and Selection
Done with Photo Mechanic [thank you Conradin]. The 150 USD have hurt me but it not only allows me to rename the files and store them in a logically way on import, I also can efficiently remove trash shots. I import into an external drive as my laptop has limited hard drive capacity [backed up].
From Photo Mechanic, I pull the photos which I want to edit and publish into Apple Photos App. For most of the shots, the Photo App editing features are enough. If needed, I always can edit a raw file in Affinity Photo.
Disclaimer: All equipment and software have been purchased. I don’t endorse any of the products used. I bought them because at the time when I needed them, they looked like the best options for my purpose and budget.
Featured Image: Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) taken in Tadoussac. Nikon D500, Nikkor 300mm f/4, TC 1.4, Photo Mechanic, Apple Photo Apps
It was no suprise to see squirrels, they are everywhere, and beluga whales, frequently to be seen from the coast at Tadoussac. Minke Whales and Grey Seals are already more rare. Minke whales can be seen from the beach though but because of their colour difficult to spot.
Finally, the Porcupine was a complete surprise. I saw it on a hike to the dunes about 5km from Tadoussac.
Featured Image: My favorite of these photos. Three Grey Seals relaxing a bit up the fjord of Saguenay