Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

“Spirit Bear” – Coastal British Columbia, Canada – Iain Williams – Featured Photographer   50 comments



“Spirit Bear” – Coastal British Columbia, Canada – Iain Williams – Featured Photographer

I remember the first time I ever saw a photo of this beautiful bear was in National Geographic magazine several years ago.  This photograph would have blended in well with the article. I can’t help but think of this spirit bear as being a wise old elder at the sacred fishing grounds.  Iain does an amazing job of not only capturing the bear’s expression, but the fish as well.   Please read the story and then visit Ian’s just as spectacular blog and website!

Here is Iain:

The Kermode Bear (Ursus americanus kermodei) is a sub species of the American Black Bear.  It lives deep within the temperate rainforest in British Columbia, Canada and is often referred to as the Spirit Bear.  The creamy-white coloring of the bear’s coat is not caused by albinism, but a recessive allele.  It’s estimated that there are between 400-1000 individuals in the wild, the bear owing its survival to the indigenous people who featured the bear’s ghost-like appearance in their mythology and never hunted the bear or mentioned its existent to early fur trappers.

The photograph was taken along a creek line which is assessable only by live aboard boat and hiking.  I timed my visit with the salmon spawning season as the bears come out of the rainforest to fish for salmon as the fish make their way upstream to spawn.  It was raining heavily on the day I took this photograph and keeping the camera equipment dry was difficult.  I placed myself at the forest edge adjacent to the junction of two streams and waited until the bears made their way downstream to fish.  I used a sturdy tripod, Canon 500/f4.5 lens and a Canon EOS 1D MKIII camera.  The available light was minimal due to overcast skies and rain necessitating an ISO of 400 at 1/250th at f4.5.

Interestingly, bears with white coats have a greater chance of catching fish than black bears.   This is because the fish finds it difficult to see the bear’s white coloring.

Great Gray Owl – Dunrobin, Ontario, Canada – Jim Cumming – Featured Photographer   322 comments



Birthday Present

Great Gray Owl –  Dunrobin, Ontario, Canada – Jim Cumming – Featured Photographer

Today is our grandmother’s 81st birthday and she loves owls of all kinds.  So we thought today would be appropriate to feature Jim Cumming.  Jim is passionate about photographing wildlife in and around Ontario and it shows.  He has several great owl photographs and he truly is the deer whisperer.  Please check out his portfolios and after you read about his wonderful owl in flight  photo.

Take it away Jim:

I had heard there was a Great Gray Owl located in Dunrobin, Ontario, Canada and not far from my home in Kanata, Ontario so I ventured out one weekend morning to hopefully find and photograph it. Driving down a country road I noticed a handful of photographers in an open field so I stopped to inquire what was going on, upon meeting and greeting this group I was informed that they were baiting (releasing mice for owls to catch) this owl and was asked if I had any problems with that, I didn’t but then again I had no idea what they were talking about since I had never heard of this practice before. Within a few minutes I witnessed something I’ve never seen before in my life, a huge owl flying right towards me, so with camera in hand I took some shots I will never forget as long as I live.

Date taken: Feb 21, 2009
Location: Dunrobin, Ontario, Canada
Camera: Canon 40D
Lens: Canon 70-200 f4 IS
shutter speed: 1/1000
Aperture: f4
ISO: 100
Focal length: 192mm

To read more from Jim here are a couple articles from Canadian Nature Photographer by Jim

Lake Ontario, Toronto, Canada – Sean Howard – Guest Photographer   50 comments



Lake Ontario, Toronto, Canada – Sean Howard – Guest Photographer

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This is what I picture the world looking like before the first amphibian made his ground breaking trek out of the sea.  Sky, Water, and Rock is about as simple as it can get.  The blues are very calming, so if you are having a stressful day then take a moment, relax, and take a few deep breathes and lose yourself in Lake Ontario. Afterwards, check out Sean’s website

Here’s Sean:

My friend Eric and I run a podcast where we talk about purpose, passion and getting $h*t done –  The week I took this photo we had just completed two interviews that changed how I think about my work and my hobbies (in a good way).  As I headed out on this particular day, I wanted to see what would happen if I approached photography in a more disciplined way while also letting go of as many expectations as I could.  I also wanted to slow down and just sit with the process more.  So I chose to do some long exposure work.  I opted to bring my Zeiss 21mm f2.8 distagon lens with my filter kit.  The photo in question is using a 10ND filter as well as a .6ND soft gradient to bring the sky down slightly.

The location is the Leslie Street Spit in Toronto.  It is a manmade peninsula where they bring truckloads of concrete and rebar from demolitions. It is still actively being built but on weekends they open it up to the public.  I love this location as it’s easy to disappear there and not run into any people. I also find it fascinating that it is a giant construction junkyard on one hand and a nature preserve on the other.  Only in Canada.  🙂

What I really love about long exposure work is how the photo slowly reveals itself to me.  It’s a game of inches with a lot of waiting.  I start an exposure and then ten minutes later it flashes onto the screen and I have this immediate response – the camera needs to tilt up slightly, or the image needs a bit more light.  I can’t see what I’m doing because of the 10ND filter (the viewfinder is completely black) so I adjust things “blindly” by a tiny amount and then start the process over again.

Processing was pretty minimal.  Some tweaking of levels but mostly just global parameters.  I spent a lot of time trying to get this one “in camera” and was pretty happy with the results.

“Forgotten” Alberta, Canada – Dave Mitchell – Guest Photographer   63 comments



“Forgotten” Alberta, Canada – Dave Mitchell – Guest Photographer

When I saw this photo I couldn’t help, but think how isolated this image feels.  If you ever wondered where the middle of nowhere is, then wonder no more.  I get the feeling this place is still haunted by ghosts that wear overalls and smoke corncob pipes.   Dave does a beautiful job capturing the essence and continues to shoot beautiful landscapes on his Flickr site:   If you would like to see what he is up to then check out his blog that is full of technical advice and quick tips:

Here is Dave…

On a township road near Drumheller, Alberta, Canada one mid-morning in early November, I was traveling when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an old abandoned farmhouse.  It was something that one could easily miss since it was at the bottom of a “vee” formed by two rolling hills about two miles in the distance, and so it was only visible along a short stretch of the road.  At the speed I was going, which wasn’t too fast, I had to back up my truck to get it into view once again, and did so until the house was precisely at the bottom of the vee.

For a better vantage point, I stood at the top of the truck box.  I didn’t have a tripod, but my Pentax K20D had in-body shake reduction for my Pentax SMC-A 70-210 mm f/4 lens (automatic aperture, but manual focus), which was needed since I was fully zoomed in at 210 mm, the equivalent of 315 mm on a full-frame sensor.  Not only did this focal length allow me to enlarge the house, but it allowed compression of the hills from foreground to background, their different hues of yellow and brown creating a layered effect.  I was thankful that the sky was slightly overcast as this eliminated any harsh shadows common to the low sun angle in this part of the world in mid-autumn.  I didn’t want to bump up the ISO too much since I wanted to preserve detail and minimize noise, so I chose ISO 200, which allowed me to hand-hold using f/5.6 aperture at 1/640 sec. shutter speed.  For the record, I used aperture-priority mode, which I use almost exclusively for all of my photography.  I believe that I also used multi-segment metering, my favorite for landscape photography.  There were also no filters attached to the lens.

I imported the photo into Adobe Lightroom 3 and noticed the default contrast at +25 to be somewhat low, so I bumped it to +50.  The colors were also a little dull with a greyish hue, so I also slightly increased the saturation to +10.  My favorite modification, however, was done quite by accident as I dragged the Clarity slider to the left; as I pulled it nearly all the way back to -95, it added a dreamy, vintage sort of effect that seemed to make the four hill “layers” more distinct.  I also like how these simple modifications did little to the house, making it literally pop from its surroundings.

Viewing the result, I decided to title the photo “Forgotten” because the house appears lost in its surroundings.  It is by no means a beautiful photo, but it has become my favorite because of the mood it creates in me whenever I view it; there’s a tension in my mind between the peaceful serenity of the landscape and bittersweet nostalgia as I consider who might have once lived in the house and why they had to abandon it.

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