Video of Dunlin (Calidris alpina) at Crescent Beach

Video of Dunlin (Calidris alpina) foraging in the sand at Crescent Beach in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Dunlin (Calidris alpina) foraging at Crescent Beach

 

   I photographed these Dunlin (Calidris alpina), or at least I think that is the right species ID, back on New Years Day at Crescent Beach, Surrey, BC. I don’t shoot a lot of video, but in this case I thought it would show the frenetic activity on the beach as they foraged. The Dunlin here are most likely feeding on the biofilm and small invertebrates in the intertidal zone. These birds just almost never sit still – seemingly always moving, running, or flying as a group. The video looks like it might be sped up (it isn’t) but watch the Seagull, who hasn’t had the stimulants the Dunlin appear to have consumed. This species only stays here in estuary during the winter, and has usually moved on to breeding grounds by spring. I have thought about purchasing a small microphone to record audio along with the video as the internal microphone on my Canon 7D isn’t that great and likes to pick up all sorts of extra noise. That probably wouldn’t have helped me in this case, as someone behind me on the path was loudly complaining about their coffee maker. This video has no sound as a result, and is better off for it.

Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) Flowers

   The Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) is the official flower of the province of British Columbia. Growing only in the southwest corner of British Columbia, the Dogwood is not yet endangered, but is nearing that distinction. A fungus (Dogwood anthracnose) infects Dogwood trees and has helped diminish their numbers along with deforestation and the 2002 removal of protections against destroying Dogwoods (and other species) by the Provincial government. Dogwood flowers are a familiar sight in British Columbia as they are used on many company logos and even the Provincial Coat of Arms. The High School certificate of graduation issued by the Province is called the Dogwood Diploma (I have two of them – figure that one out).

pacific dogwood flowers - cornus nuttallii - in british columbia

Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) flowers (Purchase)

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   The photograph above shows the native species of Pacific Dogwood here in British Columbia, but there is another common Dogwood tree as well. “Eddie’s White Wonder” Dogwood is a hybrid between the Pacific Dogwood (C. nuttallii) and the Flowering Dogwood (C. florida). This hybrid was developed by British Columbia’s Henry Matheson Eddie (1881-1953) in 1945. The hybrid was created from the Pacific Dogwood and the Flowering Dogwood partly to avoid the fungus that damages the Pacific Dogwood.

hybrid dogwood flowers - pacific dogwood cornus nuttallii x cornus florida in british columbia

Eddie’s White Wonder hybrid Dogwood flowers (Purchase)

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   The hybrid has shown to be only partially resistant to the Anthracnose fungus, however. The hybrid Dogwood is shown in the photographs below, and tends to have larger, broader overlapping bracts and a much higher density of flowers. Some also have a slight pink hue to the flowers, as some of the original dogwood crosses were with pink varieties of C. florida.

hybrid dogwood flowers - cornus nuttallii x cornus florida in british columbia

Eddie’s White Wonder hybrid Dogwood flowers (Purchase)

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   The last photograph here shows another individual of the hybrid Dogwoods with a much higher density of flowers.

hybrid dogwood flowers - cornus nuttallii x cornus florida in british columbia

Eddie’s White Wonder hybrid Dogwood – note high density of flowers (Purchase)

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For more photographs of the flora of the forests of British Columbia (and Washington) take a look at my Forest Photos Gallery in my Image Library.

Great Blue Heron at English Bay in Kitsilano

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) sits on the rocks next to English Bay in Kitsilano. Photographed from Kits Beach Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

great blue heron ardea herodas in english bay vancouver

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at English Bay in Kitsilano (Purchase)

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   I believe I have indicated my affinity for photographing Great Blue Herons in the past – they tend to stand relatively still while hunting for food and therefore make great photo subjects. I have a few photographs of herons at night, and this wouldn’t be possible for me with many other species. Not only do the herons stand still while waiting for prey, they often hunt on shorelines where I can use reflected lights to illuminate them during a longer exposure. This particular Great Blue Heron was hunting along English Bay at Kitsilano Beach Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I was busy making blue hour cityscapes of downtown Vancouver and happened to have my longer 70-200mm lens on my camera. This was the perfect lens for my panoramas, and luckily was also the perfect lens for photographing this Heron when I noticed him silhouetted against the lights reflecting off English Bay from Kitsilano. With the naked eye this Blue Heron was barely visible, but with a longer camera exposure (6 seconds in this case) the details of both the bird and the surrounding area were revealed.

For more wildlife photographs take a look at my Animals and Wildlife Gallery in my Image Library.

An Evening at Kits Beach in Vancouver

Wide panorama from Vancouver’s Kits Beach including Stanley Park, Crown and Grouse Mountains (left) and Mount Seymour (right), and the West End downtown towers.

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Vancouver Coast & Mountains: View of English Bay and City of Vancouver (Purchase)

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   Last week I posted a photograph of the M.V. Fortune and Crown Mountain that I pointed out was just one portion of a much larger panorama shot from Kits Beach. Above you’ll find my finished panorama a view of the anchored M.V. Fortune, Crown/Grouse Mountains and Stanley Park, and the West End of Vancouver and its apartment and condo towers. The two taller buildings on the right of downtown Vancouver are the new Trump Tower and Living Shangri-La. I made this photograph standing just outside the boundary of Kits Beach Park along the seawall path on the west side of the Kitsilano Yacht Club. I think this photo really exemplifies the name “Vancouver Coast & Mountains” which is the tourism region Vancouver is located in.

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Panorama of Vancouver’s West End and Kitsilano (Purchase)

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   I made a number of panoramas from the Kits Beach area. The one above is similar to the first, but shot from the eastern side of the Kitsilano Yacht Club. I tried to focus on Mount Seymour and the downtown area and included the Kits Beach Boathouse Restaurant in this one. This panorama was made about 15 minutes after the first one so you see many more of the lights on in the city buildings which I prefer over the look of the first panorama.

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Vancouver’s West End and and Mount Seymour (Purchase)

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   On this evening I was out to photograph the city with snowy mountains in the background, so I made some single exposures that focused on just these subjects. This photograph shows Mount Seymour and the towers in the West End. The tallest of the buildings in this photo is the Empire Landmark Hotel. In the foreground we have the lights of vehicle traffic on Beach Avenue and the sandy shore of Sunset Beach.

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Kitsilano Beach and the Boathouse Restaurant in the evening (Purchase)

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   This is the Boathouse Restaurant on Kits Beach photographed after sunset. I like the reflections on English Bay in this scene and the rare opportunity to photograph without a crowd on the beach.

For more Cityscapes of Vancouver take a look at my Cities and Buildings Gallery in my Image Library.

North Quarry Gardens in Queen Elizabeth Park

Magnolias and Rhododendrons blooming in the North Quarry Gardens in Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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Queen Elizabeth Park’s North Quarry Gardens

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   Most people visiting the gardens at Queen Elizabeth Park head for the main quarry garden just beneath the Bloedel Conservatory. To the north, under the Seasons in the Park Restaurant is the North Quarry Gardens. This area has a lot of nice Magnolia and Rhododendron flowers, as well as more trails and routes through the park. Something to check out next time you are Queen Elizabeth Park!

For more photographs of Gardens, including Queen Elizabeth Park, visit my Garden Plants Gallery.

English Bay View of Northshore Mountains

English Bay view of the Northshore Mountains and the fishing charter boat Edgewater Fortune

english bay view of northshore mountains and the edgewater fortune charter yacht

English Bay view of the Northshore Mountains and the Edgewater Fortune

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   Last week presented a relatively rare late winter opportunity – fresh snow on the local mountains combined with a relatively clear sky. I have had a number of Vancouver related snowy images in mind for several years, but weather and other factors conspired against me getting all the way to Vancouver. This year has been a good year for the skiers, but that doesn’t mean the snow is sitting in the trees easily seen from sea level. Last week, however, we had a bit of fresh snow and good weather so I went straight to Vancouver.

   One of the places I photographed last week was the Kitsilano Beach Park area just to the southwest of downtown Vancouver. I had not visited Kits Beach in many years, but this did show a great angle on the downtown buildings with the Northshore Mountains in the background. This photograph shows Crown, Goat, and Grouse Mountains (and some fresh snow) high above Stanley Park, the Lions Gate Bridge, and the fishing charter M.V. Edgewater Fortune anchored in English Bay. This is just a small portion of a much wider 20+ frame panorama that I will likely post later on. I liked how this one end of the photograph showed just the boat, the park, and the mountains – without much evidence of the big city right next to it.

   The M.V. Edgewater Fortune has a bit of an interesting history. Originally it was the HMCS Fortune (MCB 151) – a Minesweeper in the Royal Canadian Navy before it was decommissioned in 1964. It then spent some time with Greenpeace as the Greenpeace Two, and was later renamed the M.V. Edgewater Fortune and is currently utilized as a charter fishing yacht along coastal British Columbia.

   For more photographs of the Vancouver area visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery.

Male Anna’s Hummingbird in the Fraser Valley

A male Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) sitting on a garden post. Photographed in late winter in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada.

anna's hummingbird - Calypte anna - in the fraser valley of british columbia

Male Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)

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   Almost a month ago I wrote about trying to photograph a male Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) in my backyard. I had noticed him sitting at the top of many of my trees singing during most afternoons first song on this page. As of today he is still up there singing away, perhaps he is having some trouble getting noticed in the Hummingbird dating scene, I’m not sure. A week or so after I posted my Black-capped Chickadee photo as a sort of hummingbird consolation prize, I was able to photograph this male in the vegetable garden.

   It is rare that I am able to spot wildlife in my backyard and still have time to get in the house and grab the camera, but this Anna’s Hummingbird is pretty predictable in the order of trees he chooses to sing his love ballads from. He is also probably used to me staring up at him by now. I first photographed him at the top of the Hazelnut where he sat for a long time. I actually found making a photo of him reasonably difficult as the magnitude of light reflection from his purple gorget (the neck/throat/head feathers) was so high it would throw off my exposure. The bottom photo here shows a happy medium between the full purple/red brightness of his gorget feathers and the rather subdued reddish/brown shown in the first image.

male anna's hummingbird - Calypte anna - in the fraser valley of british columbia

Male Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) in Hazelnut Tree

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   After singing at the top of the Hazelnut for a while this male headed further back into the property and sat on a Mountain Ash tree, but only for a second. He immediately took flight again and almost got right on my face. Perhaps this was a territory thing or he was just curious, I’m not sure. Either way I was glad to see him land on a metal post very near me, and posted for just 3 photos before taking off to another frequently utilized perch in a Walnut tree. The first photograph here is that image, though I’ve cheated somewhat and cropped it to nearly 100%. You can see the uncropped version here. While I would love to get a hummingbird in flight photo seeing them perched has been pretty rare for me so I am happy to have good results. You can see a cropped version of this second photograph here. Note the very small hazelnut flowers at the end of those buds – this was the first time I had noticed them.

For more bird photographs please visit my Bird Photos Gallery.

Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT

My new Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash

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Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash – Front

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   Last month I mentioned I have plans to photograph a few new sujects and posted a photograph of Blueberries in a bowl shot in a lightbox I made out materials I had on hand. One of the limitation I found in photographing new things in new ways was that I didn’t own a “real” flash. The built in flash on the Canon 7D is a bit lacking. So I did some research and I purchased a Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash earlier this month.

   It has been a long time since I’ve purchased a new piece of equipment. I’ve stuck with the gear I slowly accumulated between 2007 and 2011 for the most part. The important part is using the equipment, not talking about it, debating gear choices online, or otherwise obsessing over it. Perhaps that will be a post all its own soon. I knew nothing about flashes, so I had to do a bit of research before I settled on this one. That was the easy part, learning to use it will be a bit more interesting.

canon speedlite 430EX III-RT flash back

Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash – Back

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   I made these photos in that same lightbox. I spent a few days learning about a few settings, how to trigger the Speedlight with my 7d’s on camera flash, and a number of other things new to me. Having done this, it was a bit frustrating to try to make a photograph of this flash unit without being able to actually use it for the photo!