Professional Wildlife, Landscape and Seascape Photography
The RCMP have several boats here in Tofino. This type of boat is called a RIB,Ridged Inflatable Boat.The boat I use is also a RIB,just much smaller!
This boat is called the “Eagle”.It’s the boat used to by the RCMP for two native villages,Ahousaht & Opitsat.
It was coming to the dock in Tofino at sunset.
You can see how smokey it still was.This is the Meares island (south) eagle (female).She sang a short song & took off.
I went past Strawberry island tonight.I noticed a immature eagle perched on the north side.It was Ernie & Ethel’s eaglet & it was fully fledged! Never can tell at that age if it’s a male or female?
You can see the extant of smoke in our area.It seemed to sit down over the water but remain more aloft right over Tofino.Maybe because the darker land heated up more than the water,which produced thermals above Tofino.Which help aloft or maybe pushed up would be a better description.
All that smoke filters the sun light.That sun light is basically radiation. Our light is composed of different energies.Pass light through a prism & it’ll split into it’s individual components.The rainbow. Each colour has a different wavelength.At one they are short & the far end they are much longer in wavelength. The shorter the wavelength, the easier it is to stop via particulate. The wavelengths with power are Red,Orange & Yellow.ROY.
When there is a lot of particulate suspended in the atmosphere the radiation coming from our sun is scattered.That means it just doesn’t get through our atmosphere.The longer wavelengths are the only ones that can punch through that smoke layer.ROY. Thats why the sun looks so orange during a normal sunset.But because that smoke layer is filtering out all those shorter wavelengths, orange becomes scattered leaving the stage for our old friend Red! Red likes to invite his girlfriend out, Pink.So many times you’ll see pink come after red.
Against my better judgement I went out tonight.We have so much forest fire smoke right now that the sun doesn’t shine brightly.Whenever that happens the contrast is weak & the colours less vibrant. I was hoping that the sun would turn to pink.I wanted to get some of my eagle friends in front of that gorgeous pink sun!
Unfortunately mother nature had other plans.The smoke was so thick that it actually snuffed the sun.Normally it’s thick clouds that do that but never just smoke! I’ve never seen smoke block out the sun before!
So I never really got any shots of eagle in front of a pink sun.I went all the way over to Fortune channel tonight looking for bears,but by the time I got back the sun had done the old disappearing trick on me!
So I came back in early.I did get to meet “Scar”! So that was worth the price of admission!
I found a female bear tonight that had a fair sized scar across her face.It was right under her right eye.Bears always swipe for the face instinctively! Hoping to blind it’s opponent.She came close to loosing her eye!
I hope she’s feeling well.Her nose looked dry.
How do I know that Scar is a female? Females pee out the back & so get the hairs wet.Over time these hairs braid themselves into what I call a “Pee Dreadlock”. So I always look at their bum to see if it’s a girl bear. If I don’t see a Pee Dreadlock on the rear,it has to be a boy bear.
Of course if it’s raining or it just went into the water…..all bets are off!
“Scar” has a white chest marking. One in four have them & each one is like a finger print. I know of a male bear with one in the shape of a “V”.I called him “Valiant”.Another had one in the shape of a star.So I called her “Star”.
We’ve got close to 600 active fires in British Columbia right now.All this fire produces huge clouds of smoke.These vast clouds contain tiny ash particles.Breathing in this heavy smoke can do a number on your lungs & lord help you if you’ve already got compromised health!
When I wake up in the morning, I go to a satellite site to check on the cloud situation? I watch this site all day to get a better understand of the cloud structure & direction.The most important tool a photographer has is the sun…………. light ! Two rules about light………horizontal light good,vertical light bad. Basically sunrise & sunset are the only times one should be taking pictures.Right place at the right time can turn a mediocre subject into a excellent subject!
Light is the most important element to a great shot.Get a half decent subject & bath it in golden light…….& now your talking! The number one thing that affects the light is……….clouds. You want Goldi-Loks clouds.Not too many & not too few & they can be of any type? Personally I love those towering Cumulonimbus! I find them dramatic.Clouds are very important to a great shot! The worse situation is when there are too many clouds & it’s overcast all day.The light gets snuffed. If you have no light,you have no picture! Light to a photographer is like heat to a cook.If you don’t have the light you ain’t cooking.
We are in “outflow” conditions at the moment.What that means is the wind is coming from the mainland.The normal prevailing breeze is from the west to the east but under outflow conditions the wind is reversed.So we are getting all that forest fire smoke from the forest fires to the east of us.
It wasn’t very sunny today due to all the smoke cloud.Because of the smoke I knew the sun would turn pinkish.All that particulate material will filter out the shorter wavelengths.Only the more powerful longer wavelengths would be able to punch through.The longer ones are red,orange & yellow,ROY.I always like to invite ROY out on my shoots. Past the reddish end is a pinkish colour. I knew the sun would turn pink so I grabbed my camera & went out looking for one of my eagle friends.
I found Ernie on top of a crane mast.I know he likes that spot. I approached these situations the same.If the sun is point A & the eagle is point B,draw a line through A & B to find point C on the ground.Normally I’m in my boat when I do this but not tonight.I decided to go looking over the land tonight. I saw Ernie perched on top of the crane mast! Now all I had to do was line them both up.Trying to find point C on land can be a problem.Out on the water is easy! I find the bearing & move along it till they line up. It turns out point C was on top of a fish processing plant.I know the building & the guy who runs it.Nobody was down there at the time so I had no problem getting up on top.
Ernie was preening away.I wanted him to jump.He never does what I tell him.I had to move further back to get a better angle.I looked behind me & realized I was very close to the edge.I needed to be careful as it was a thirty foot drop.Just as I was turning back,the silly feather duster jumped!I missed the shot. Oh well, …..at least I got something.
10% of something is better than 100% of nothing.
There are three forest fires north of us here on the west coast of Vancouver island near Zeballos. Zeballos is a remote village on the west coast of the island.
All that particulate matter from the forest fires filters out the shorter wavelengths.The only ones able to punch through are the longer wavelengths. ROY…… red,orange & yellow.
When I first saw a Sow & cub I said to myself “thats Peggy & Piglet”! After all I did find them in their favourite bay. Once I got closer I had doubts.Last time I saw Peggy she had facial mange. This bear doesn’t have any.So I started wondering if it was another bear with a cub similar to Piglet?
After I got home I was able to inspect her face closer.I do believe this to be Peggy after all! Her face does show a blotchiness to it & Piglet has the same blonde hair around her mouth.Vancouver island bears have a unique feature.They have blonde hair around their mouth.
Piglet was curious about me tonight.She came closer to check me out. When I’m taking shots of bears I stay in my boat, close to shore.
I talked to her softly as she was leaving,so she came back a second time.A real sweetheart!
These two small islands are between Tofino & the native village,Opitsat. When someone passed away from the village the body was taken to these islands & placed up in the tree limbs.Not sure how long? They must of come back to get them after awhile or the island would have many bones laying around on the ground?
People who had status would be placed in a hand crafted wooden box. The wood was steamed & bent,thus making what was called “Bentwood” boxes. Because these boxes were small the poor departed soul would have to have all their limbs broken to fit into the box.Than the box was hung from the tree.
There may of been a good reason to place their dead here.If someone died of a disease they didn’t want it to spread & so placed them far away from the village on these islands.
There is a unwritten rule around here…..no whites are allowed to set foot upon either of these two islands.Romeo & Juliette had their nest in the northern island for many years! So I have studied them from afar & never walked on the island.
There is a dug out canoe (maybe 8 foot long or so?) on the southern island.It was placed there after a baby drowned very close to this spot.The mother/baby & father were travelling by boat at night without running lights.Someone else from the village was coming the other way doing the same thing.They didn’t see each other & collided.The baby was thrown into the water & did not survive.
Many years later (one month ago,July 2018) the father of that baby drowned in a local boating accident.Three people drowned in that accident.All three were lost to the ocean but his body surfaced & was found 10 days ago.The two others remain lost as of this writing.
They are now together…
I went looking for bears tonight but realized even before I left that the odds were against me.It was coming up to high tide,so my furry friends would be resting inside the coolness of the forest waiting for the next low tide.
The Daredevil was there to greet me however! He’s such a pleasure to be around…..especially when ones furry friends are MIA.
Romeo was posing in front of Mountain Ash.The berries are bright red & edible.They provide a much needed source of Vitamin C during the winter time for many birds.