Monday, August 31, 2009

Newfoundland luck

I'm not a big believer in the notion of luck. In photography, you have to be out in the field and prepared for the unexpected. In essence you create your own luck. The photos below are two examples of being in the right place and ready to shoot.

Photo 1: Red Fox (silver/black morph), northern Peninsula, Newfoundland; EOS 1DsIII; 500/4IS lens & 1.4x teleconvertor.

This fox was walking along the roadside, so I quickly got my camera ready and doubled-back. I photographed it out of the side door of my van..... there was only enough time for about 10 shots before it took off.
FOX ID UPDATE: Thanks to a couple of other photographers emailing me about the fox - and some internet research - here's more info about it. The species is indeed Red Fox, but the colour morph is commonly known as the "Silver Fox". Apparently this colour morph was created through selective breeding for the fur industry. Animals in the wild may be decendents or cross-breeds with once captive individuals.

Photo 2: Sunset, Trout River area of Gros Morne National Park; EOS 1DsIII; 24-70mm lens; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer & 2 stop hard edge ND grad

After cooking an exquisite surf & turf dinner over a campfire and sitting down to enjoy a glass of wine, I noticed some glowing clouds (it had been heavy overcast all evening). My friend and I raced over to a grand landscape vista we'd scouted earlier in the afternoon. We had only a couple minutes to shoot one of the most spectacular sunsets of the trip to Newfoundland.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Newfoundland Puffins, Whales & Lobster Traps

When you're out photographing all the time, you have good days and bad days. Weather plays a big role in your photographic success. After numerous foggy/overcast days and Hurricane Bill forecast to hit eastern Newfoundland, I was hoping for a good day. And then I found puffins - lots of them flying and landing within close range. To say that my photo mojo peaked is an understatement. As birds go, puffins are way up on the very cool list. I had only 2 hours with them before the remenants of the hurricane ended the shoot with heavy overcast skies, rain and winds. But those two hours were magical!

Photo 1: Atlantic Puffin, eastern Newfoundland; EOS 1DsIII; 500/4 IS lens & 1.4x teleconvertor; 580EX II for fill flash

Photo 2: Atlantic Puffin landing, eastern Newfoundland; EOS 1DsIII; 500/4IS lens & 2x teleconvertor

Photo 3: Beluga Whale, eastern Newfoundland

Departing eastern Newfoundland to travel back westwards across the province, we started the drive on a scenic coastal road. My friend spotted several humpback whales feeding on capelin schools in a scenic bay, so we stopped to see if we could hire a local fisherman to take us out for close photos. Although we couldn't hire a boat at that time, a local guy mentioned that a Beluga Whale was hanging out in the harbour. No sooner had the words come out of his mouth, and the beluga surfaced right next to the dock. For about an hour, we watched the beluga at close range, and played tug-o-war with the tame whale, as it playfully grabbed onto mooring lines from a fishing boat. What a great experience!

It was hard to leave the beluga, but we had a long drive across the province to make our next destination. At sunset we stopped near Castors River on the northwestern coast to camp for the night. Here's the view from where we camped....

Photo 4: Lobster Trap at sunset, Castors River, northwestern Newfoundland; EOS 1DsIII; 17-40mm lens, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer & 5-stop hard edge ND grad (handheld during 8 second exposure)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More Newfoundland

Here are a few photos from the past week of exploring the Newfoundland coast. The scenery has been fantastic and the weather.... well, let's just say that it's classic coastal conditions (fog, rain!). I've been eating fresh seafood daily, in fact eating some as I write this! I'm tired and weary from a very rough boat tour this afternoon to see puffins and whales (too tough to photograph), so I won't write much now.

Photo 1: Change Islands, Newfoundland; EOS 1DsIII; 70-200/2.8 lens; Singh-Ray LB Colorcombo polarizer & 2 stop hard edge ND grad

Photo 2: The fog rolls in at Cape Race, Newfoundland; EOS 1DsIII; 24-70/2.8 lens; Singh-Ray LB Colorcombo polarizer & 2 stop hard edge ND grad

Photo 3: Cape Race Lighthouse in fog (converted to black & white in Photoshop); EOS 1DsIII; 24-70/2.8 lens

Photo 4: Northern Gannet landing, Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland; EOS 1DsIII; 500mm IS lens

Photo 5: Northern Gannet flying past sunset, Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland; EOS 1DsIII; 500/4 IS lens

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Newfoundland - Twillingate & Fogo Island

Photo 1: Sunset at Twillingate, Newfoundland
EOS 1Ds mark III, 17-40 lens; Singh-Ray LB Colorcombo filter; 5-stop hard edge ND grad

Just a quick posting because I'm photographing on Fogo Island in northeastern Newfoundland and the cellular internet connection is slow. I've been in Newfoundland for only a few days, but it has been incredible. The first place I stopped at was Twillingate (photo above). I literally got out of the van and walked out to a scenic overlook as a pod of 3 killer whales swam by a few hundred feet below. Wow!

All superlatives apply here in Newfoundland. Not just a great place for photography, but a fantastic place to travel in general with the friendliest people you'll ever meet.

So far I've:
-camped in two of the most scenic campsites I've ever found
-ate the best ice-cream I've ever had at "Growlers" in the town of Joe Batt's Arm (had to go back twice just to confirm!)
-ate pan-fried cod, fresh off the boat

Life is good. Check back in a couple of days for more photos.

Photo 2: Fishing boat and outbuilding in Tilting, Fogo Island, Newfoundland
EOS 1Ds mark III; 24-70mm lens; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer & 2-stop hard edge ND grad

Friday, August 07, 2009

Northern Gannet colony on Bonaventure Island

Northern Gannet sky tilting (shot from ground level)
EOS 1DsIII; 500/4IS lens & 1.4x teleconvertor; 580EXII flash

I spent the other day photographing at the world's largest Northern Gannet colony on Bonaventure Island at the eastern tip of the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. This was one of the most fun, action-packed days of shooting I've had in a long time. There are tens-of-thousands of gannets and non-stop opportunities to shoot them.

Getting to Bonaventure Island requires taking a tourboat from the adjacent town of Perce. Once on the island, it's a solid 45 minute hike to the colony. Wanting to have a full range of lenses with me, I carried my main camera pack plus another pack with the 500mm lens. Soaked in sweat on the humid morning, I was elated to finally reach the colony!

It was overcast and foggy in the morning, then sunny in the afternoon... which gave me a range of conditions to photograph in. All-in-all, it was a great day of photography!

Northern Gannet flying over colony
EOS 1DsIII; 24-70/2.8 lens & Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer; 580EXII flash
Northern Gannet landing in foggy conditions
EOS 1DsIII; 70-200/2.8 lens & 1.4x teleconvertor; 580EXII flash

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Gaspe Peninsula - Quebec

I arrived yesterday on the Gaspe Peninsula in eastern Quebec. It's my first time here and I am blown away by the scenery. The southern coast of the St. Lawrence Seaway reminds me of the Big Sur Coast in California.... vibrant green undulating hills dropping into the sea.

I'm only here for a couple days, so have been busy shooting some of the regional icons. This morning I work up at 3:45 am to hike up a painfully steep 1.8km trail to a lookout tower over Cap-Bon-Ami in Forillon National Park. The pre-dawn light was bright red, but I couldn't shoot it from the trail (no vantage points). I made it to the tower right just in time for sunrise, which was dulled by thin clouds. There were a few breaks in the clouds with decent light for photos.

Sometimes I become so focused on a destination (the tower) that I overlook better - and easier to get to - locations. After hiking back down to my van, I found that the most photogenic spot was right below the parking lot. By that time I got there, the light had become too drab to shoot. There's a good reason to get back there again.... and I look forward to not having to do that brutal hike again!

The following three photos were shot from the lookout tower.

EOS 1DsIII; 24-70/2.8; Singh-Ray Gold'n'Blue Polarizer; 2-stop hard edge ND grad; mirror lock-up & cable release

EOS 1DsIII; 24-70/2.8 lens; Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer & 2 stop hard edge ND grad; mirror lock-up & cable release

EOS 1DsIII; 24-70/2.8 lens; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer & 2 stop hard edge ND grad; mirror lock-up & cable release

This evening I made it to the famed Perce Rock and found a beautiful patch of Fireweed, which I used for a foreground.

EOS 1DsIII; 24-70/2.8 lens; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer & 2 stop hard-edge ND grad; mirror lock-up & cable release