Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Barnegat Jetty in New Jersey - Harlequin Ducks and Purple Sandpipers

Harlequin Duck (male), Barnegat Jetty, New Jersey
I'm shooting on the New Jersey coast for a few days at the Barnegat Jetty, renowned as one of the very best places to photograph Harlequin Ducks and Purple Sandpipers (during winter). I've wanted to shoot here for years and it finally came together to conveniently piggy back a few days onto a holiday trip visiting relatives in Virginia.

Barnegat has not disappointed - there have been plenty of Harlequin Ducks, often very close. Shooting here is highly dynamic, influenced by the tides and wind conditions. You have to put your time in and be persistent, making many arduous treks out the rock jetty, to get the shots. Here are a few from yesterday and today. These were shot with a Canon 1D mk IV and 500mm f/4 IS lens sometimes with a 1.4x teleconverter.

Harlequin Duck (male), Barnegat Jetty, New Jersey

Harlequin Duck (male), Barnegat Jetty, New Jersey

Purple Sandpiper, Barnegat Jetty, New Jersey

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Great Falls National Park, Virginia

I'm in Virginia visiting relatives for the holidays and made a quick jaunt over to Great Falls National Park this morning at daybreak. Here are a couple of  quickly processed images on my laptop. Hope they look ok!

Both images taken with a Canon EOS 5d mark II, 17-40mm lens, Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo polarizer and 2-stop hard edge ND grad.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Christmas Cards - Photographer's Edge

Each year for the holidays I send my clients Christmas cards to thank them for supporting my business during the past year. I used to make the cards from scratch, by going to a local print shop and having them produce branded card blanks for me. A few years ago I stumbled across a company called the Photographer's Edge who sell bulk card blanks ready and I have used them ever since. All you have to do is stick your own print (I use 4x6") in, remove 4 strips revealing double-sided tape and fold it over.... voila, you have a very professional card! To make them seem even more professional, I slap a label with my logo on the back. Since I started using the Photographer's Edge cards, it's been way easier, more cost-effective, and my cards look much better.

This year my card is using an image of frosty trees I photographed last March in Algonquin Park. It was an incredible morning with a thick hoar frost and I was out shooting with a series of Sigma lenses I had recently received through a sponsorship deal with them. This image was taken with a Canon EOS 5D mark II; Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and Singh-Ray 3 stop hard edge ND grad. It's one of my favorite images of the year, and will soon be arriving in the mailboxes of my clients.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chilling out and shooting around home - Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula

This summer and fall I was extremely busy shooting assignments and running the stock photo business. Things have finally slowed down a bit, so I've taken a break to catch up on other important things in life: drinking good wine, socializing and cooking (and as you've probably figured by now, doing anything but feeding this blog). As I write this, I'm watching BBC's series 'Human Planet' which is getting me stoked for an exciting trip or two this winter.

During  my down time, I make regular outings to shoot photos locally. Living in central Ontario, especially here on the edge of the Bruce Peninsula, there's plenty to photograph. One of my favorite subjects is the Georgian Bay shoreline in Bruce Peninsula National Park. Here are a few recent photos from Halfway Log Dump, which I consider to be one of the premier landscape photography locations in the entire province.

On a typical landscape outing, I'll shoot between 50 and 200 images in a morning or evening. I aim for a diverse array of images: compressed landscapes with a medium telephoto, wide-angle shots and of course a variety of horizontal and vertical compositions. I also try to vary exposures to create dramatic effects. In the case of the two bottom photos below, you'll see that I chose slow shutter speeds (1/4 - 1/2s) to show subtle motion blurs of the waves crashing over the boulder. Check out the captions for specifics about each image.

Niagara Escarpment/Georgian Bay shoreline in Bruce Peninsula National Park.
Canon 1D mk IV; EF 70-200/4 lens. ISO 200, 1/1000 @ f/5.6

Bruce Peninsula National Park. Canon 5D mk 2,
Sigma 24-70/2.8 lens,  Singh-Ray LB polarizer &
2 stop hard edge ND grad. ISO 50, 1/2s @ f/22

HalBruce Peninsula National Park. Canon 5D mk 2, Sigma 24-70/2.8 lens,
Singh-Ray LB polarizer & 2 stop hard edge ND grad.  ISO 50, 1/4s @ f/22

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Live Polar Bear and Tundra cam from Chuchill, Manitoba

Tundra Buggy Cam - Pearls of the Planet - Polar Bears - explore has live video cameras streaming from a Tundra Buggy up in Churchill, Manitoba. Watch carefully to spot wild polar bears in the tundra. It should go without saying, you need to watch during daylight hours (in Churchill - approx 8am-4pm Central Time).
I haven't made it up to Churchill yet to photograph polar bears, but it's on my bucket list. This just makes me want to go even more!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mountain Life magazine just did a feature on my photography in the latest issue. Check out the link above. It's fun doing these kinds of features, they offer more liberty compared to typical magazine articles. Let me know what you think!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Sigma Canada contest

Be sure to check out this contest from Sigma Canada. Since joining as a sponosored pro with them over a year ago, I've been shooting with Sigma lenses regularly and have been impressed with their gear!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Tourism photos from around Ontario

It's a cold, drizzly Labour Day and I'm sitting here in a pair of blue jeans and a sweatshirt in disbelief that it's already September and summer seems to be on the way out. It's been one of the busiest summers I've ever had, which explains the sparsity of blog posts. The past month I've been working on photo shoots for tourism clients, traveling around Ontario with minimal sleep, but fueled by grand ideas for photos and, of course, plenty of medium roast coffee.

One of my favorite parts in the process of photography is conceptualizing the images. After discussing the key elements and objectives with my clients, I think about locations, lighting/time of day, perspectives, props, etc and begin to previsualize potential images. When I lock onto an idea for a shot, I often draw rough conceptual sketches on a note pad (my skill level at drawing is limited to stick people!). Once all of the planning and leg work is done, then it's time for the best part.... shooting the photos!

Here are a few of the tourism images I've been working on over the past month from some of my favorite parks:

Point Pelee National Park marsh at sunrise. Canon 5D mk II, Sigma 24-70/2.8,
Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo polarizer & 3 stop hard edge ND grad.

Bruce Peninsula National Park - hikers along Georgian Bay shoreline. 
Canon 5D mk II, EF 17-40/4, Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo polarizer.

Rondeau Provincial Park beach at sunset. Canon 5D mk II, Sigma 24-70/2.8,
Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer & 2 stop hard edge ND grad.

Point Pelee National Park tip at sunrise. Canon 5D mk II, EF 17-40/4, 
Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo polarizer & 2 stop hard edge ND grad.

Bruce Peninsula National Park - hikers along Georgian Bay shoreline, sunrise.
Canon 5D mk II, EF 17-40/4, Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo polarizer & 3 stop
hard edge ND grad.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Park Dreams Contest

I have been very fortunate to visit a number of Canada’s National Parks. As a photographer I enjoy being able to capture the stunning views or wildlife that make their home there. There are still many parks I would like to get to and add to my collection!

In celebration of the 100th birthday of Parks Canada, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), is inviting Canadians to join in building Canada’s first national parks bucket
list. The “Park Dreams Contest: What’s on your bucket list?”, will run until August 24th. Grand prize for this Facebook-based contest is a dream trip for two to Nahanni National Park Reserve.

The “Park Dreams Contest” simply asks people to share in 50 words or less a dream experience they’ve already had or wish for in any one of Canada’s 42 national parks. The topic is wide, and CPAWS is looking for dreams ranging from the wildest excursion to the most stunning view, wildlife sighting, paddling haven or hiking thrill. There will be a two-week voting period after the closing date to help determine which 100 dreams will make it onto Canada’s first national parks bucket list.

Check out for more contest details.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sunrise on Flowerpot Island, Tobermory, Ontario

With the sweltering heat in Ontario this summer, I've been out on my boat every chance I can get! My friend and I recently made an early morning trip out to Flowerpot Island in Fathom Five National Marine Park near Tobermory, Ontario. We were rewarded with the best sunrise I've ever had from the island. The clouds lit up dramatically at daybreak and we shot pictures like crazy!

I was very pleased with the first image below, but knew that having a person in the shot would provide scale for the large "flowerpot" rock pillar. My buddy Don Wilkes obliged by running up onto the adjacent rock ledge and striking the pose you see in photo 2.  

Later in the morning when the sun was much higher in the sky, we searched for interesting foregrounds for the flowerpots. I composed photo 3 with a tourism guide cover in mind. It was a fun shoot and I'm already planning my photo excursion over to the island!

Photo 1: Flowerpot Island at sunrise. Canon 5D mk II and 17-40mm lens.

Photo 2: Flowerpot Island at sunrise with person for scale. Canon 5D mk II and 17-40mm lens.

Photo 3: Flowerpot Island with puffy clouds. Canon 5D mk II, Sigma 24-70/2.8 lens and Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Photography Software for Mac Users

PC versus Mac - there is a debate between the users. I am personally a PC user and although I have been tempted by the dark side (Mac people are pushers!), I remain a loyal PC user. A large part of this has to do with the software I use for my photography work is either already bought or not available for Mac. One program that I use is BreezeBrowser for navigating my photo collection and for initial editing after a shoot. There has never been a version of this software for Mac, until now, a friend of mine Bhupendra has developed a similar program to fill the gap.

I would like to introduce to you a new image download and editing software for Mac -- FirstPass. Written by a photographer, for photographers!

FirstPass is a lightweight and intuitive program to do a "first pass" editing of photos -- download, thumbnail view, view at 100%, rate, filter, rename, delete and more.

Some of the main features of FirstPass:

- Accelerates your digital imaging workflow
- Lightweight, stand-alone image browser
- Allows automatic download from multiple sources to multiple destinations
- Fast and intuitive interface to sort, rate and view images
- Allows image download over the network
- View images in a slideshow
- Supports all RAW file formats

Available at the Mac AppStore for a limited time introductory price -- $9.99!

For more information, please visit Bhupendra will be glad to answer any questions here, or by email

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Granite bedrock patterns - Eastern Georgian Bay

I spent a few days last week shooting on eastern Georgian Bay at a remote location with some of the most exquisite granite rock patterning I know of on the Great Lakes. My friend, Halifax area photographer Dale Wilson, joined me for the trip and was blown away by the scenic Canadian Shield islands. Our excursion was an adventure. The good ship "ViewFinder" was fully loaded with camping and camera gear. Navigating the gauntlet of shoals to reach the best islands was stressful; thankfully Dale contributed better chart reading skills than I have. At one point while en route to an evening shoot location, I looked back only to notice the stern of the boat filling with water and my camera pack partly submerged. The plug had fallen out! After rescuing the gear and beaching the boat on a nearby island, I jumped in the water with all of my clothes on and put in a spare plug before activating the bilge pump. We were dry and back shooting in 15 minutes, just in time for a great sunset!

Now safely back on land, I'm editing through the hundreds of photos from the trip. Below are a few of my favorites. These were photographed with a Canon 5D mark II body, either Canon EF 17-40 lens or Sigma 24-70mm lenses, and Singh-Ray filters. I'm already planning the next trip out there and will certainly be packing another spare boat plug!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blue-winged Warbler

Blue-winged Warbler has been on my most-wanted warbler photo list for a long time. I've never lucked into a cooperative one during migration at any of the migrant hotspots like Point Pelee National Park. There are quite a few blue-wingeds nesting in the region around the area where I live (Owen Sound) so this past week I spent some time shooting them here on their breeding territories. Here are a couple of shot I'm pleased to finally get! I also had a very obliging Bobolink pose for me while I was on my way to shoot the warblers.
Over the next couple weeks I'll be working on Golden-winged Warbler, which also nests in this region. Golden-winged is the elusive prize that I'm lusting over; they taunt me from high up in the treetops. Check back in a week or two to see if I have any luck shooting them!   

Blue-winged Warbler. Canon 1D mk IV; 500/4 lens & 1.4x teleconvertor
Blue-winged Warbler. Canon 1D mk IV; 500/4 lens & 2x teleconvertor

Bobolink. Canon 1D mk IV; 500/4 lens & 1.4x teleconvertor

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lakeside Daisy - shooting the best of what's around you

Above photos: Lakeside Daisy blooming in a globally rare alvar habitat

I live on the edge of Bruce Peninsula, an area that is famous for wildflowers including 42 species of wild orchids and several species that are endemic (only found here). One of my favorite species is the Lakeside Daisy, a plant endemic to the Great Lakes region and found primarily in globally rare alvar habitats (characterized by shallow soil overlaying limestone bedrock and a unique assortment of plants).

When I photograph around home, or on distant travels, I always seek to photograph things that are unique to a place. I do advance homework, researching the unique species, ecosystems, landforms or cultural icons of a particular area. With that, I develop a shot list that helps me hone in on the essence of a place.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birders Gone Wild

Starting at 2am on May 20th myself along with John Haselmayer and Mark Weircinski will be partipting in the annual Baillie Birdathon. Yes, this may sound a bit crazy to some of you, but this is a birding geeks Olympics. Aside from wanting to break our record of 174 species (which we would love to break), this birdathon supports the conservation of Canada’s birds. Our funds will support both Bird Sutdies Canada (BSC) and the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory (BPBO).

This 24 hour bridathon day includes a crazy day of driving all over the Bruce Peninsula searching forests, fields, and wetlands for migrants and breeding birds. We won’t be sleeping and won’t be eating healthy – it will be a day full of junk food and caffeine drinks. And for me personally a lot of oreos! Any bets in how many I will consume?

For those who are really interested in how this crazy day ends, please join the three of us on Saturady May 28th for our ‘Birders Gone Wild on the Bruce’ presentation – apart of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival ( In addition to our adventures the presentation will also include my bird photography. That’s one downside to this birdathon, there won’t be time for photos – which is hard as a bird photographer!

Don’t worry if you can’t make it I will be sure to post our results on here!

Please support our Team Bruce Peninsula on our crazy adventure and raise funds for our Canadian Birds. It’s easy to do! You can make a pledge by clicking here, which will direct you to the birdathon website. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

It’s on the Newsstands!!

Be sure to pick up the Canadian Geographic Collector’s Edition – Best National Parks Pictures 2011. This is the issue that features my photo of Banff National Park, Moraine Lake on the cover – once again thank you to all who voted! This issue is full of great photographs of our National parks, marine areas and historic sites by many talented photographers.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Spring migrants photographed from my car

Many spring migrants are arriving back in Ontario to take up seasonal residence in their breeding territories. To say that I'm elated is an understatement! All year I dream about spring and summer. It's my favorite time of year with endless things to photograph and never enough time to fit it all in.

One of my spring rituals is to cruise up and down the backroads of the Bruce Peninsula, photographing birds in the meadows and wet fields. I keep my telephoto lens setup ready on the passenger seat and use a beanbag to shoot directly from the car window. Beanbags are a rock solid platform to shoot from. If you turn your car off (to prevent engine vibrations) and use good technique,  it's fairly easy to get sharp photos even at high magnifications.

Birds and animals are often less afraid of a vehicle than a person on foot, so by driving slowly and being patient you can get quite close for frame-filling photos.  Here are a couple photos taken by this method in the past week. 

Upland Sandpiper. Canon EOS 1D mk IV, EF 500/4 lens & 2x teleconvertor.

Northern Shoveler. Canon EOS 1D mk IV, EF 500/4 lens and 2x teleconvertor. 

Shooting from my van with a 300mm lens supported by a "Blubb" beanbag. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

more Great Smoky Mountains National Park landscapes....

Here are a few images from yesterday and today in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I've processed these on my new laptop and am just getting used to the monitor nuances, let me know if they look OK!

Blogger is giving me trouble with captions, so here are the location and tech details in order the photos appear.

Photo 1: Clingman's Dome, Canon EOS 1D mk IV, Sigma 70-200/2.8 lens, Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo polarizer & 2 stop hard edge ND grad

Photo 2:  Clingman's Dome, Canon EOS 5D mk II, Sigma 70-200/2.8 lens, Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo polarizer & 2 stop hard edge ND grad

Photo 3: Roaring Fork, Canon EOS 5D mk II, Sigma 24-70/2.8 lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer

Photo 4: Roaring Fork, Canon EOS 5D mk II, Sigma 24-70/2.8 lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer

Friday, April 22, 2011

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Photo: Middle Prong Little River, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Canon EOS 5D mark II, Sigma 24-70/2.8 lens, Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo polarizer

I'm down in the Smoky Mountains for a few days of shooting... this is one of my favorite locations during spring! It was a long drive down so I'm quite tired, but here's a quick shot I just processed from today. Lots more to come! This is the first photo I've processed on my new laptop, so hopefully I've got all the settings ok and it looks decent. Let me know!

I'm shooting almost exclusively with Sigma lenses this trip, with images in mind for my presentation this week in London, Ontario (thanks to Sigma Canada for their sponsorship!).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Upcoming Presentation in London, Ontario

I will be doing a presentation in London for Sigma Canada and Forest City Image Centre on “Top Tips for Outdoor Photography”. It’s on a Wednesday so if you are looking to break up your long work week come on out and get some ideas on outdoor photography. There are still tickets available.

The presentation is April 27th at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn & Conference Center. For more information or tickets, see poster above for details or visit or call 519-661-0325 to register (Forest City Image Centre).

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Help! Please vote for my photo for a Canadian Geographic collector's cover

Help! My photo of Moraine Lake in Banff National Park has been shorlisted for the cover of an upcoming collector's issue of Canadian Geographic. The final decision comes down to a public vote. Please help get the cover by voting here (mine is the one on the left, see mock-up below)!

Spread the word. Thanks!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Magnificent Frigatebirds - Belize

While leisurely cruising around Caye Caulker in a golf cart in search of cold beer, I stumbled across a couple of local fisherman cleaning their fish on a dock. They were tossing the fish guts out, which attracted a group of Magnificent Frigatebirds to within point-blank range. This was the best opportunity I'd ever had to shoot frigatebirds and my photo mojo kicked in like wildfire! Aside from a quick trip back to the hotel to get more gear and memory cards, I shot the frigatebirds continuosly until all the fish were cleaned and the birds soared off. When there's a good photo opportunity before me, I stick with it as long as it lasts (thankfully, there was plenty of cold beer to be found afterwards)!

With the blazingly fast motor drive on the Canon 1D mark IV, I blasted about 1200 photos of the frigatebirds in an hour or so. This was a great test of the new lenses that Sigma had sent me.... and I was impressed with the AF capabilities. The only problem now is that I have so many photos to edit!

Photo 1 (above): Magnificent Frigatebird in flight, Caye Caulker, Belize
Canon 1D mark IV, Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 lens; 580EX II flash at +1 1/3
Exposure: ISO 400, 1/400s @ f/6.3

Photo 2 (above): Magnificent Frigatebird in flight, Caye Caulker, Belize
Canon 1D mark IV, Sigma 70-200mm f.2.8 lens, 580EX II flash at +2/3
Exposure: ISO 400, 1/2000s @ f/5.6

Photo 3 (above): Fisherman clean their catch on Caye Caulker, Belize.
Canon 1D mark IV, Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, Singh-Ray LB polarizer

Monday, March 14, 2011

Belize photos

I just returned today from a week in Belize that was a great mix of photography and vacationing (I don't like winter, it was a great break from the snow!). I'm tired and have barely sorted my photos, but here are a few initial photos. I'll add captions and more info when I catch up on my sleep.

All these were shot with Canon bodies and Sigma lenses. First 2 photos are shoreline scenes on Caye Caulker, the last two photos are Black Howler Monkeys (captive) at the Belize Zoo.