This page appears to be obsolescent, but more
information and pictures can be added if sent to the webmaster
A home to the various information concerning
photography of nature. (While we love animals, this section
should be dedicated to those found in the wild - or even a zoo - but,
sorry, not pets.) Think of it as a nature 'column' that you'd see in a
magazine. Please avoid putting any locations with the stories or
pictures - please just discuss them among yourselves. The whole world
can see this page - and we don't want the whole world disturbing the
What this page needs: Pictures
Technique and equipment tips
Any descriptive stories, essays etc of your
adventures in nature.
Links to other Nature photographic sites
"The Ethics of Nature Photography" are spelled
out clearly here, and I recommend we adhere to their
The words of CAPA (as prescribed by the FIAP)....
photography depicts living, untamed animals and uncultivated plants in
a natural habitat, geology and the wide diversity of natural phenomena,
from insects to icebergs. Photographs of animals which are
domesticated, caged or under any form of restraint, as well as
photographs of cultivated plants are ineligible. Minimal evidence of
humans is acceptable for nature subjects, such as barn owls or storks,
adapting to an environment modified by humans, or natural forces, like
hurricanes or tidal waves, reclaiming it. The original image must have
been taken by the photographer, whatever photographic medium is used.
Any manipulation or modification to the original image is limited to
minor retouching of blemishes and must not alter the content of the
original scene. After satisfying the above requirements, every effort
should be made to use the highest level of artistic skill in all nature
photographs. No composites. HDR techniques are acceptable as long as
the result is what the eye naturally sees".
A couple of points about the above....
The 'rules' above apply to competition entries in a Nature category at
any CAPA-affiliated club (or CAPA itself). It doesn't necessarily mean
every display of nature photographs, but it's a convenient guide to
what is acceptable in the world of nature photography. The rules are
not essential for pictures shown on this page but, of course, it's good
practice to stick with the above. I haven't seen much HDR that depicts
'nature' - but it might be interesting to see some.
From one of
the world's top bird photographers, David Hemmings.... "The world must
become more aware of the importance of conservation and respect for the
natural world. As a planet we are losing species at an alarming rate.
It is my hope that through my photography I can share my passion and
love of birds with all who care to look. Raising awareness of nature
through the appreciation of my work is all I can ask."
To set the ball rolling... Mike sent me this
item. It sets the scene and tone for the kind of contributions that
would be very welcome..
Wildlife Photography in and around
Am truly grateful to have this opportunity to contribute to the new
Nature section for the KPC. It was only last winter that I photographed
my first owl here in Kingston …a Barred Owl, . This was to mark a major turning point in my
photography. I had dabbled for a short time in BW Portraiture back in
Montreal some 15 years ago, and had recently been lucky with a few
small birds and a Downy woodpecker, but when my wife and I stumbled
across a gorgeous Barred Owl not more than 15-20 feet off the trail
sitting in a pine tree, well, it wasn’t long before I was looking for a
new lens, and a renewed interest. I now shoot almost exclusively with
the Canon EF 400 5.6L lens on my T1i(500D) mounted on a Manfrotto 190XB
Tripod/496RC2 ball-head. I carry a small Nikon S600 (10mp) P&S
on my belt which has served me well on many occasions. I try to be up
early enough to ensure that I’m “out there” as the sun comes up. I’ll
usually be treated to *something* about 75-80% of the time.
My tripod is fully extended on the back seat ready to be grabbed if
needed. I always have a spare fully charged battery and 2 spare SD
cards in my pocket. As of yet, I never use flash for wildlife.
The idea is to acquire photos, not to instil fear or startle my
subjects. This could also leave them temporarily blinded and leave them
vulnerable to predators. My approach is always slow, steady and quiet.
Sometimes using trees/bushes as cover, and trying to be downwind to
avoid my scent being picked up. If I’m in the wild outside the city, I
need to be mindful of coyotes, and…bears. It’ll be interesting, to see
what variety of wildlife will be photographed and identified as being
local to Kingston, with the different styles/techniques used…. Cheers
everyone! Michel (Mike) Soucy
Also from Mike.....
8 Nov 10 - Hi everyone, I
suppose that since the introduction of the NATURE section was
accompanied by two owl photos, I might offer my most recent capture.
I had decided that with last night's (Sunday) clear skies, I was going
to be up early for sunrise. Setting my alarm for 4:30am, I had time to
have breakfast, check my emails, gather my equipment, get a tea made
for my wife and at 6:30 I was out the door with gear in hand.
I try not to have any expectations when arriving, this keeps my mind
open to everything going on, looking but not looking for anything in
particular. Actually, I tend to find my gaze heading into the trees
along the trails, especially when nearing an open field/clearing. I do
this now almost automatically. Not more than ten or 15 minutes into my
walk I spot the owl. So open and visible…I can hardly contain my
excitement. Its gaze is concentrated on the ground, seeking breakfast.
I’ve learned to really take my time in approaching…take a few shots
from where I’m at, circle around the long way, never directly towards
the bird. Behind a bush perhaps…take a couple of shots. Pause. Don’t
move. Click-click-click. The owl is now checking me out periodically.
Click. It appears it’s seen something move and flies 20 ft and lands on
another branch. I’m too close with this big lens to capture it in
flight. Something for me to practice over the coming months!
It’s been about 80 minutes and I have added to my collection of Barred
Owls. I’m now seeing the progression in quality from last years first
Please understand that I am a newcomer when it comes to nature and
wildlife photography. Perhaps this explains my excitement each time I
acquire new images! Not that I know a whole lot about owls (or birds in
general), but I try to read up a bit on the subject once I’m at home…
unless house chores dictate otherwise! :) Barred Owls are non-migratory
and territorial. They’re harder to see in the summer due to the dense
foliage, but at this time of year they stick out like a sore thumb.
It’s turning into an interesting activity for me. Learning to properly
identify the bird(s) photographed is proving to be quite the challenge.
I’ve two books I use, but the internet is proving to be my most useful
resource, comparing various angles, etc.
My equipment thus far is a Canon T1i/500D which came bundled with two
lenses, an 18-55 IS & 55-250 IS. My first Barred Owl photo
shown on this page, above, was with the 55-250 IS (at 250mm f/11
1/400sec ). I’ve since included the Canon 400mm 5.6L series lens and am
about to acquire a 1.4 Teleconverter. I’m now torn between getting a 2nd camera body,
or, a macro lens for close-ups. I suspect it’ll be the TC. As my
photography begins to evolve into a more serious hobby, I need to
consider all equipment at my disposal, this includes migrating from a
PC to a Mac in the not too distant future.
I’ll often bring two lenses with me, the 55-250 IS and the 400 f/5.6, a
spare battery and SD memory card. Making sure my lenses and filters are
clean before I leave the car is a must. Imagine getting back home and
finding the images are not acceptable due to dust, smudges, etc!
I now almost always use a tripod, I end up with more keeper images, and
I could not have gotten this mornings’ images without one! My early
images had shutter speeds as slow as 1/90 sec with an ISO of 800........
At times it’s not easy leaving a shoot…but I do have a job that I need
to hold onto, that means getting to work on time. This morning felt
really good walking away from the owl, leaving it to do what it needs
to do…find breakfast.
I've looked at the weather forecast and the coming days promise clear
skies. I'll see the sun come up and who knows what else!
10 Nov 1000
Wonderful photo of a Doe by Antoine Hanain. Antoine is a frequent
contributor of nature pix on his Flickr
site . He can often be found seeking new nature photo
opportunities. I first met Antoine last year as we were photographing a
small herd of deer. We look forward to seeing more from Antoine. Great
| Common Garter Snake: Most active in the
spring and in the fall, but also throughout the summer. This picture
was taken in the fall, where I found this fellow warming up on a rock
in the cool afternoon weather.
||Chipmunk: Very common sight in North
American woods. Many will come right up to you if they think you have
food, providing a wonderful opportunity for close-up pictures.
||Cedar waxwings, in my experience, are
commonly seen in late March into early spring flying in large flocks
feeding on berries from the previous growing season that have managed
to stay on the branches throughout the winter. They are wonderful birds
to photograph while they are busy reaching and climbing branches to get
to their food source.
I saw a hawk on top of the old water tower, and a red squirrel munching
on something (turns out to be an apple core). I was trying to apply
some of the new skills/ideas that I had picked up at the meetings -
"Record nature but do not disturb", focus on "what is your subject",
and using my tri-pod. I don't think I would have seen half the wildlife
that I did if I hadn't been taking my time, paying attention and trying
an unfamiliar path. I kept walking until I realized that it was getting
dark and should head back to the car. On my way back (in the near dark)
I saw a flash of white that turned out to be some deer. I tried to get
my tri-pod set up but wasn't quick enough.
From Julia McKay... 10 Nov 10
DON'T BE AFRAID TO GET A LITTLE LOST
I went for a walk down an unfamiliar path this fall with my camera and
tri-pod. I had just left work and needed to unwind. There were a lot of
joggers and dogs walking their people who passed me - but I just took
my time. I wanted to take time to just notice things, like the fall
colours, the little chickadees (that kept dive-bombing me) and the
I was amazed at the amount of wildlife I saw in the hour I was out
there. I saw tonnes of chickadees, a hawk, lots of dogs, a red squirrel
and 4 deer. Even though I didn't take pictures of everything I did take
the time to enjoy the experience - a simple walk in the woods with my
camera (almost in the dark).
(Location removed but you probably know where I
5 Nov 10. Worth checking out
this link. For the sake of the landowners and relationships
with the Kingston Field Naturalists, the KPC recommend that KPC
photographers keep away. I went there myself two winters ago and I was
very surprised by how many people were there - perhaps not 100, as
mentioned in that post, but getting up towards that number. About six
of us were being shown around - I don't think I would have spotted a
single owl if they hadn't been pointed out to me by an expert (Alex).
I think the only course for the club is to
declare that "We discourage our members from visiting there,
and will not be planning any outdoor group meetings there. Individuals
must decide for themselves but we advise that they certainly never go
there in groups of more than two".
11 Nov 10 - Lots of joggers
around - why do they have to talk (shout) to each other when they're
running side-by-side? That and a family with the noisiest, whingey kids
you could imagine pretty much put the kibosh on the trip - plus the
fact that it was nearly dark by then. Nature? One black squirrel and a
chipmunk. Oh well, maybe again tonight....... 12 Nov 10....OK,
I went again, much earlier this time, getting into the woods by
1500..... lots of people there again, dogs all over the place.... and
I've seen more bird varieties in my backyard. The only interesting
critter was a red (ish) squirrel, though not the sort I used to see a
lot of in the UK. Lots of black and grey squirrels, chickadees, a
tree-creeper of some sort, one Robin and one Cardinal. On a positive
note, there were absolutely no bugs!
Update! Went again at around 8.30am
Sunday 16 Novv - it was worse!
Conservation Area Photo Competition
Interesting Competition being run by Conservation Ontario. Be
careful with the rules of this but it's not a bad competition - even if
they don't actually mention the prizes. It's also a bit annoying that
the organizers would have the right to use photographs from the
competition in any way they want.... "grants Conservation
Ontario and its partner Conservation Authorities the unrestricted and
exclusive rights to use the photograph(s) for any purpose. This
includes, but is not limited to, publishing your photograph(s) in print
or electronic form for promotional purposes without further
compensation or notification." - so if your picture appeared
on the front cover of 100,000 leaflets distributed by the 'Conservation
Ontario', you wouldn't earn a cent... or, for that matter, any credit.
It also mentions not using the images in another competition (which,
strictly speaking would include our Club Competition and Online
Competition). It also says, "Compositional changes to
digital files are not acceptable and will be disqualified; tonal or
colour cast corrections are acceptable. All entries and contest
materials received become property of Conservation Ontario and will not
be returned." So, strictly speaking, cropping wouldn't be
allowed - seems a bit silly and indicates that it's being run by people
who don't have a clue what they're talking about.
|7 Dec 10....
from Mike Soucy.
I hadn't had any decent shots for about a week and was starting suffer
from withdrawal, so I arranged my agenda to allow me to spend my lunch
hour in the woods. I was not disappointed! I quickly came across a
Barred Owl about 45 feet in, but was able to get closer as he was
sitting just off another trail. He was really relaxed with me being
there. I pumped my ISO to 800 to allow good shutter speeds [since I was
on a tripod, I knew I could handle 1/60 sec but preferred 1/350th or
faster] The click-click-click of the shutter gets the owl's attention
but it quickly gets back to napping.
After a bit I decided to see what else I could find. A couple of
Downy's show up...or maybe a Hairy? They sometimes can be hard to
distinguish, but I had fun with one as it played hide-and-seek with me
from behind a bird feeder. Lots of Chickadees. Wouldn't mind seeing a
Then the Red Bellied Woodpecker shows up! I'd never seen one and he's
For the cold I had woollen gloves (my wife's I think!) but they did the
trick. The T1i handled really well and I continue to be excited with
the ef400 5.6L lens...what a beauty!
Before I know it it's been 45 minutes, time to get back to work and I'm
feeling really great, can't wait to look at the pics.
Mike Soucy, Jan 19 2011....
I've discovered a new way to spend my lunch
hour... photographing wildlife local to the Kingston Area. Once upon a
time (not that long ago!) it was tough to get me outdoors during the
winter, but of late, I can't wait, especially if there's new snow!
The birds have fattened up considerably
for the winter for added warmth, and their colours seem much more
vibrant against the white snow. The Cardinals and Blue Jays
congregating near bird feeders offer great photo opps.
If it's snowing, I use a Rain Sleeve bought
Kingston for my camera and lens. It protects both my lens and
camera body while allowing me to shoot through an adjustable opening at
one end. Shooting with the EF 400 5.6L, I always come with a tripod, I
want my images to be keepers. My wife gave me a Kenko Pro 300 1.4 tc
turning my lens into a 560mm. With the 1.6 crop factor on my Canon
60D...that makes it a 896mm lens! But, to use the TC I need bright
sunlight as I've lost one stop from f5.6 to f8. With careful processing
and the use of a good tripod, I can get really decent close-up shots. I
can't wait to try this combo on the Bobolinks next summer!
On the 400mm f5.6 and the TC combo,
autofocus is maintained if I use the centre focus point and have LOTS
of light. Otherwise the lens hunts and I need to go to manual focus.
The American Kestrel shown here is taken with the 400mm & TC on
a Canon 60D. I must say that the Kestrel allowed me to get amazingly
close! The Cardinals were taken with the 400mm on the 60D during a
recent snowfall with the Rain Sleeve.
Oh yeah...dressing warm also helps! :))
Cheers everybody, Mike
The Bald Eagles are coming back!
(by Mike Soucy, 27 Feb 2011) The majestic
Bald Eagle has been returning to the Kingston area in increasing
numbers over the past few years. Here, and in other areas of the St.
Lawrence, an increasing number of Eagles are being seen after nearly
disappearing in the early 1970's. Over the past 2 1/2 weeks, I've been
fortunate enough to get a couple of photos. All were taken with a Canon
60D and the EF 400 5,6L series lens along the downtown Kingston
1 - An Eagle flies past the Royal George
2 - An Eagle sits on the ice in front of the Shoal Tower.
3 - An Eagle perched in a tree near the Kingston waterfront.
4 - A mature Bald Eagle soars over my head.
5 - Mature bald Eagle soaring through the downtown area.
22 May 2011.... (by Mike
Soucy) Here we are, full into spring with all of the photo
opportunities it presents.
I’ve a habit now of being up well before the sunrise. This allows me to
have some breakfast and my first coffee before heading out. I like
shoreline areas with a marsh-like environment for maximum exposure to
various species. A *must* have is a sturdy tripod for low light
shooting as the sun is just coming up, or shortly after.
The birds have migrated back, fixed up their nests, and are preparing
to bring their new young into the wilderness. For this photographer and
being new to wildlife photography, it’s an exciting time with new
discoveries. Whether it’s driving around the countryside, or walking
near the shoreline or a marshy area, sunrise always brings new
Here are some of my recent photo’s, all taken with a Canon 60D and the
EF 400 5.6L series lens:
Double Crested Cormorants
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Mother Canada Goose with new goslings
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All rights reserved. Images copyright of named KPC member/KPC