Arctic Lupines & Mount Shuksan-click to enlarge-
This is an older image from 2010 that I recently reprocessed. I have always liked this photo of Arctic Lupines (Lupinus arcticus) flowering along Kulshan Ridge with Mount Shuksan in the background. The older version had Lupines that were just not that clear. There was a good breeze coming through there that evening and getting a still shot of the flowers was not easy. In fact, I had thought I had failed that mission, and published one on my blog and website that didn’t have the clearest Lupines. This is a different exposure, though a slightly different composition. It occasionally pays to keep some of my old files around!
This evening was my first outing with my first Graduated Neutral Density filter. I had never used one, but read a lot about them and a bit on how to use it. My photos from this evening were a big eye opener as to what was possible, and this beautiful location was certainly a big help. I also learned what they can do to trees that are on the horizon line but hopefully that is not too distracting in this photo.
The Artist Point area on Kulshan Ridge gets a ton of foot traffic as the parking lot is nearby. As a consequence, a lot of the vegetation gets trampled and destroyed. With the amount of snow that falls here each winter, there is a very very short growing season for these plants, so growing back after a repeated tourist trampling is not easy. Unfortunately I could not get my old tripod into a good position to photograph these so I had to convert myself into a pretzel to get low enough to look through the viewfinder. My old camera had no live view which would have helped immensely. One foot on a rock, a hand on another rock, and one hand on the camera… I only hit the mosses and other plants once with one of my hands. So I was successful in not damaging nature to get my nature photograph, but I did manage to pull a muscle in my leg which didn’t feel right for a week. I think the results make that completely worth it!
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I will do a more thorough writeup of my trip yesterday to Boundary Bay, but for now I wanted to quickly share this image of a Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus). Of the over 600 photographs I made yesterday, this one stood out as one that showed the best action of the day. The Owls hunt sporadically, so there is a lot of sleep and relaxing in between. Sometimes they just sit there and barely open their eyes. This one started to warm up for the hunt and hopped around a little before taking off towards the water.
I should point out that I made this photograph from the path at Boundary Bay. Many photographers have behaved badly in this location in the last few months, a fact I will document and speak to in a later post. I was able to hang out for hours within 30-40 feet of a dozen Snowy Owls right next to the path, I have no idea why trampling the marsh and chasing the Owls is necessary for a good photograph. More about that later (and more Snowy Owl photos too!).
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This is Part III in my series of posts on my search for Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) to photograph in the Fraser Valley this Winter. My first two trips were to the Lower Stave River and surrounding area. Having seen what that area had to offer, I next headed out to the Harrison River/Chehalis area near Harrison Hot Springs. This area is rich with salmon spent after their spawning period, and consequently the Eagles congregate here in large numbers to eat.
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus
) in flight-click to enlarge-
The first photo shows an Eagle that has found a salmon carcass to dine on, in the shallows along Morris Valley Road. I managed to spot it from the car, and laying on the side of the road made this photo of it. A large truck went by and it then flew away – and I made the photo on the right while attempting to pan as it flew by. I have never been that successful at this, and this photo is not really any different. I find this sort of photo more frustrating than a complete failure, because it does come close to sharpness. I failed to get enough shutter speed going here, apparently 1/250 was not quite enough. However, when I screw up something I am trying early on – it is a learning experience – and that is why I posted the photographic result.
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After visiting the area around the Chehalis River I visited the beach near the Kilby Historic Site. A ton of Eagles around but often quite distant though I did meet another photographer on the beach. As we were slowly approaching a juvenile Bald Eagle to photograph, we found ourselves in the flight path of multiple flocks of Canada Geese leaving the nearby fields. I managed to make this photograph of a flock flying overhead. You can still see clumps of mud and grasses on the beak of the goose second from the left, though this is more evident at larger sizes. I also managed to avoid being pooped on, though my car was not as lucky! For this photo I increased the shutter speed to make sure I could get the Geese a bit sharper than the Eagle photo. This worked as the photo is nice and sharp – though I did have the benefit of having time to prepare unlike the Eagle photo.