Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Loving The Light

After a few cloudy wet days here in Vancouver it has been mostly sunny the last few days, which means I was out shooting today. The light had a lovely golden glow all afternoon long, which was great for shooting, and as such I was able to get some nice shots. The best aspect of the golden colour of the light lasting most of the afternoon is that you can get the golden hour look to your photos at one in the afternoon. Even better, is having the ability to shoot at ISO 200 for the best overall image quality, due to the volume of light available. You still have to watch for strong shadows and bright spots, so it's not like shooting at golden hour in that respect. Okay, enough light talk, onto what I was shooting today.

Being a Monday the Bird Sanctuary was quiet, other than a bird watching tour that went through quickly. The best thing about Monday's is how few people come out during the day, which means the birds are more comfortable, making them far easier to shoot overall. The shoot started out slow, with sightings of a Black Crowned Night Heron, a Ross's Goose (Looks like a Canada Goose, but has a shorter beak), and a few Great Blue Herons.

Northern Shoveler

I also saw a number of Northern Harriers and another bird of pray that I have yet to identify. I also saw some Buffleheads, and some Ring Neck Ducks, which is the first time that I've seen either species this fall. I tried to get some shots of the Ring Neck Ducks, but the angle of the light wasn't very good, I was on the shadow side, so that will have to wait for another day. There are still over 10 Sandhill Cranes, not including the locals, at the Reifel Sanctuary, which means you get lots of chances to capture them doing different things. I tried a few different shots, but wasn't overly happy with them, so they'll likely never see the light of day beyond my local hard disks.

The next bird that caught my eye was the Northern Shoveler, which you can see in today's post. The light was perfect for this shot, and I was able to catch the Shoveler as it was feeding, which is about all you'll ever see them doing at this time of year. After shooting the Northern Shoveler there was a lull in the action so to speak, and I didn't run into anything interesting for a while. On the far side of the sanctuary I encountered a large group of Cedar Waxwings in some trees that still have berries.

Looking Back

For a while it was tough to shoot them since they were in a situation where the sunlight was coming from behind them, as you can see in the photo above. After I realized how hard the shadows were I put an SB-800 on my D300 and bumped up the ISO a little to get better results. You'll get to see some of those shots as the week goes on in the photo a day posts. 
I spent a while shooting the Waxwings, and as I was finishing up a large group of Lesser Snow Geese flew over, which is always exciting because of how noisy it is. I cannot really explain what it is like, it is something you have to experience. I did find a field full of Snow Geese a while later and made a short video with my P7000, but there was no on mass take off of Geese, so it doesn't give that feeling. Here is the video that I made yesterday.


Before I encountered the Snow Geese I came across a lone Northern Flicker, which is somewhat common to see at this time of year. They often spend time in the Greater Vancouver area earlier in the fall, but migration is a little slow this year so they started to arrive in late October, rather than September. After my encounter with the Snow Geese I came across a Black Crowned Night Heron, most likely the same one I saw earlier, but it had moved from one bank of the slough to the other. That was the end of the day, at least in terms of photography.