2020-09-15: Moose – Back Again!

I looked out the window Sunday evening and spotted the male and female moose having a browse of some trees. They only stayed for a few minutes and then made their way off across the road. Unfortunately it’s getting dark fairly early here, and with the smoke blowing in from the fires, lighting conditions for taking photos was not optimal. But that doesn’t matter – I’m thrilled to see them and glad they look to be in such good condition.

2020-07-26: Moose!!!

Given that I am living in Northern Canada, you’d think seeing moose would be no big deal. But since I moved here 5 years ago, I can basically count the moose sightings I have had on a single hand. Only one of them I got photos of; and that was nearly nightfall in wintertime, so not much more than a proof shot that I actually saw the beast.

Tuesday though, there were a pair in my front yard; and they stuck around long enough to get my camera and get a few photos (so considerate of them!) One was deep in the bushes (mama moose, I think) and the youngster was out in the open, looking slightly baffled when it noticed the front door opening and me taking some pictures, but it was calm and unconcerned. I had my 100mm – 400mm lens on and still needed to crop a bit; they were over 100 feet away, so no danger of me disturbing them.

They hung around for around 10 minutes and then headed off into the bushes and then I think across the road and down into the ravine. It’s amazing how such a large animal can disappear into the bush so quickly.

Couldn’t ask for a nicer pose!

Relaxed and curious.
When the moose turned to move off, a huge cloud of flies swarmed around the back end. You can even see them in this image if you look closely at the flank.

2020-07-19: Yellow-rumped warbler

I was out with my dog at lunchtime this past week and saw an unfamiliar bird hopping through the lawn. I had just enough time to dash back inside and grab my camera to get a few shots to try and ID it later. I was actually a little disappointed when I did, as the yellow-rumped warbler summers to the north of here and winters far to the south in California and Mexico; Prince George is part of the migratory zone, so it was already on its journey southward again, reinforcing the notion that summer is waning (when weather wise, it has never really begun).

I’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the hummingbird numbers over the past week and I am sure within a week or so they will all be gone. I will miss hearing their buzzing while out for walks and my daily feeder fillings.

The seasons move on, whether we want them to or not, and I am going to keep this brief as the sun has finally come out, and it is time to get out and enjoy the few hours of summery weather we will get this weekend.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

2019-11-24: Buck

Sunday posts this month were supposed to be all about elephants, but this lovely visitor changed my plans for the week.  I can’t even explain how nice it felt to have the opportunity to get out and take a few photos, and having both weather and wildlife corporate in the process was a bonus 🙂

I’ve seen a couple of different bucks in the neighbourhood on occasion, but have lately been seeing lots of evidence of them around the yard; they’ve been rubbing their antlers on many of the willow trees around, scoring the bark off and knocking down smaller branches and limbs.

This guy was really unconcerned about me being outside with him, but I kept my distance to not put any pressure on him and cause him to leave the cozy spot he found in the sun to relax.

He’s still in the yard as I type this, and has actually been joined by another, much smaller deer.  The little ones are sometimes much easier spooked, so I am going to leave this with just the images I have so far, and let all the deer graze without interruption.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

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2019-01-13: What I’ve seen this week

This is a topic I haven’t done in a while!  I’ve been trying to keep my camera close, as there is such an abundance of birdlife in my yard at the moment.  It can be a bit challenging though, with the days being so short, and we’ve had a lot of overcast days recently.  But even when the light isn’t great, it’s still awesome to have camera in hand.

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This was shot through my office window, as even though the blue jay is now a frequent, daily visitor to both the bird feeders and the deer bowl, it is still quite shy and won’t stick around if I am outside.

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I’ve taken to having my camera on me when I go out to fill the bird feeders and the deer bowl.  This doe was not at all concerned about me filling the feeder about 10 feet away.

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A red-breasted nuthatch pausing from eating suet.

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A grey jay I spotted in the yard this afternoon, enjoying some of the cob that I put out for the deer.

2018-12-30: Backyard Birds

I must apologize for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks.  I hadn’t intended on taking any time off the blog in the run-up to Christmas, but time just got away from me.

Christmas Day saw a very unusual visitor to the bird feeder – a Blue Jay.  To those on the east coast I’m sure that doesn’t sound very exciting; but they are considered rare in my area, and I’ve not seen one since I was a kid growing up in Ontario, so I was thrilled.  The jay was very skittish though and while I have seen it a few times over the past couple of days, they are usually blink and you’ll miss it moments.  All I have to show for it are some fuzzy shots through my office window, but at least I have proof that it was here.

We’ve had a fair bit of snow the last few days, and it’s been very busy at the feeders; chickadees and nuthatches, flickers, downy and hairy woodpeckers, gray jays and even a visit from the magpies that I generally only see a couple streets over from where I live.  The ruffed grouse has also been around quite frequently.  I’ve been battling a bug with a nasty cough so I haven’t been outside much with my camera, but I did manage to capture the magpie and the grouse.  Now that I am starting to feel better I am hoping to get out and capture more of birds in the yard, and perhaps with any luck the blue jay will make another appearance.

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2018-11-18: The Night Sky

Mother Nature has certainly not been cooperating with my plans to get out and shoot at night.  While I still have images from Joshua Tree that I would like to work through, I thought I would switch it up this week and edit some old images instead.

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This image was shot at Green Lake in Whistler BC.  I was in the area for a multi-day wedding celebration, and set up my camera to take images to create a star trail while I sat around a fire drinking beer and enjoying the company of good friends.  This was done with my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D5100.  I still think I am pretty lucky that I didn’t tumble into the lake when I went to collect my tripod later in the evening 🙂

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I’ve not kept up to date with it recently, but in the past I have tried checking in with a northern lights forecasting site, and if the forecast is good and the weather clear, I’d head out and with my camera and see if I could see anything.  The lights were very faint on this night, but I think the combination of the faint purple glow and the warm tint to the clouds from highway lights in the distance looks pretty.

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The best evening I have viewed northern lights I saw a proton arc form and dissolve over about a half hour period… all from my driveway.  The milky way appears faintly above as well.

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The proton arc as it was forming.

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A beautiful combination of magenta and green.

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No northern lights in this one, just a starry sky enhanced by some whispy clouds illuminated by the rising moon.

 

2018-08-18: Smoky Skies

Like last year, Northern BC has been hit hard with wildfires.  It’s actually pretty scary looking at the wildfire maps, as it looks like most of the province is currently on fire.  Thankfully, there is currently no danger in our immediate vicinity, other than extremely poor air quality from the substantial amount of smoke that has settled in the region, and the airborne ash that lately has been coating my car every night.

Yesterday morning started out normal enough for the past few weeks, a bit smoky but nothing too terrible.  But then as the morning wore on, it got darker rather than brighter, and at 9:10am it looked like we were in the midst of some type of solar eclipse event.  I went outside to try and capture a few images; it was extremely smoky, cold like it would be in the middle of the night, and all the photo sensitive lights had come on.  It was spooky quiet as all the birds had dropped to complete silence.

By 10am the darkness had passed but it remained incredibly smoky throughout the day.

I was in the middle of work so I didn’t have the opportunity to drive anywhere more interesting to take pictures; this is a view down my driveway to the road… not that you can really even see the driveway in the image.  It was just the sky I was focused on.

This shot was taken on my Fuji camera with the 18-55 lens, shot at f2.8, ISO 2000 and 1/60 sec.  I created the merged panorama in On1 Photo Raw, and for efficiency edited it in On1 (back to the Luminar processing tomorrow).  The merged panorama was a bit of a challenge because the images were so dark.  I had to up the exposure slider on all the individual images, and then reverse that on the panorama.  My camera is basically always set to auto white balance, and I changed it in editing to daylight, and that got the sky to be true to life.

Just to give some perspective, sunrise this week is around 5:55am.

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A merged panorama of 5 images shot at 9:18am yesterday morning.  A single shot definitely captured the spookiness of the colour of the sky, but having the panorama really shows the variation in different areas of the sky.

 

All of us here are praying for the safety of all the incredibly brave people working to put these fires out, and hoping that some favourable weather will be heading their way soon.