Most of you are already know, the entire west coast has taken up a bad habit…..smoking!
California,Oregon and Washington State all have major fires burning right now. The smoke from a forest fire once in the Jet stream can travel for thousands of miles! The smoke is composed of tiny pieces of ash. The thickness of a smoke layer varies. Basically the thicker the cloud, the less light will get through. Until its so thick that the sun is totally blocked.
Another thing that happens with forest fire smoke are surreal sunsets! The sun goes to a deep orange, than to a orangey red, than to a reddish pink and finally to a neon pink. The contrast is very muted because of the low light conditions. Exposures can be tricky.
I wanted to line up those gorgeous clouds in the background with the Heron in the foreground but this Heron was wise to me!
I had to beach the boat and walk in the shallows. I am constantly taking shots as I walk. I call them “Safety” shots. If the animal takes off before I can get to that “special spot” at least I have something. Ten percent of something is better than one hundred percent of nothing.
So this Heron took off before I could reach that spot unfortunately!
August for many birds is molting time. Which makes sense when you think about it. If you were going to undress you’d want to do it in the hottest month!
Romeo dropped a large primary feather tonight!
As a photographer I do something most do not do. I keep both eyes open when I shoot. Watch anyone taking a shot and 99% of them will be closing one eye. My photographic instructor is the only other person I know of that shot with both eyes open. The advantage of doing this is you can see far more on the periphery! (my dominant eye is my right with my left being secondary)
I bring this up because If I had my left eye closed I would never of seen the primary feather drop! As Romeo went past my right eye was tracking/shooting him but my left eye saw that primary feather fall.
A eagle has over 7000 feathers but there are only 5 large feathers on each wing . They are called the “primaries”. There are also 12 large white tail feathers.
I’ve looked at my shots and figure the feather that fell was the second primary on his left wing.
I consider it a honour when one of my eagle friends gives me a feather but of course they do not chose to just get rid of it. It’s just shear fluke to be honest! At any rate I love recieving them!
I also play a game at this time of year. When one of my molting friends zips past there is usually a light fluffy piece of down released! It drifts downwind. The game I talk about is me trying to grab that piece of downy fluff before it hits the water! I missed two of them last night.
I was able to get out on a evening shoot tonight. I originally wanted to go looking for bears but it turned out I left too late. I did see a bear on my way out close to town. I normally do not see any bears on Meares island but tonight there was one grazing in the tall grass. It was shallow where it was and the tide was coming up, so I wouldn’t of gotten stuck. Some flat bays empty quickly!
Only time to visit both the Daredevil and Romeo tonight. Juliette did fly over to say hello as well!
It was sunny all day,so I thought I’d go out for a evening shoot. The almost full moon was coming up and it was low tide so I knew the bears would be out and about too!
So I headed out into the sunshine! It took me 45 minutes to get up into Fortune Channel where the bears are. I found a bear almost immediately! I got two shots off and the light went bye bye! I looked to the west and saw a huge cloud bank moving in and knew my gorgeous light was history!
If I do not have the light,I do not have the shot. Its as simple as that! So I basically made lemonade.
I love sunsets…..sunrises too but am too lazy to get up that early. Besides,looking to the east here is poor. Too many trees and hills blocking sunrise! Plus the only body of water one could go for a sunrise is Kennedy lake and thats too far away.
I like shooting Chestermans beach (Chesty) at sunset. I found out over the years what works and what doesn’t.
I need the right clouds,tide,lots of rain. The clouds need to be Goldi Loks…not too many (overcast) and not too few. The tide needs to be low around sunset,that way more beach is exposed. It needs to of rained for several days (easy in Tofino) and than break! The rain leaks out onto the beach creating a huge mirror!
Than If your lucky a few surfers will walk past. I do like a subject but in this scenario they are always like chickens teeth.
It was so good to see my friend flying out to greet me today! He cannot see me until I come out from behind a near by island. I always watch to see him jump when I come around the corner. Most times he doesn’t disappoint,but sometimes he’s either not there or not feeling sociable.
I’ve missed him very much! It seems like I haven’t gone to see him in years! The weather has been so poor that I haven’t been able to get out for 6 weeks!
We got one day of sunshine today and I certainly took advantage of it!
This is Deadman island,its in Tofino’s harbour. The Natives would take their dead there and put them up in the trees. (Which was not a bad idea if they died of something contagious!) They believed it was Evil spirits that killed their loved ones and so wanted the evil spirits to be elsewhere!
They would put them in small Bentwood boxes. Many times the limbs would have to be broken to fit into these beautifully hand crafted wooden boxes.
I never go out when I want,I can only go when Mother Nature invites me. I would go out every single day If it was up to me! I tell Mother Nature what I want and she phones me up when conditions are perfect.
The sky was clear with zero clouds all day and I hadn’t planned on going out as a result. Yes I can go out on these days but prefer to only go out when the clouds are interesting. I call them “Goldi – Lok” clouds. Not too many (as in completely overcast) and not too few (zero clouds),just enough to make it right!
So It was cloudless all day. I went downtown around 5:30 pm and noticed some horse tail cirrus moving in! I went back to my place and checked the satellite feed. It did look like some cloud was coming in but I couldn’t tell how much?
So I decided to go out for a harbour shoot………..meaning no bears.( I did see one but it was way too far away.)
The eagles are molting right now,so are lethargic. I went to see the Daredevil. He was there and in good spirits! After 45 minutes I said goodnight and moved on.
I went to Maggie’s territory but she was nowhere to be found. I wasn’t surprised. She’s too old to have eaglets anymore. She goes on vacation from time to time. I can never tell whats going on with her?
So I left and went over to see Romeo. I couldn’t find him anywhere as well? I waited for 10 minutes in case he was else where. Turns out thats exactly what happened. He showed up late and perched. He wasn’t interested in anything else. He just came over to say hello and thats it!
So the sun was going down and I had nobody to photograph for sunset? The only thing I could do was go back to see the Daredevil! Which was 20 minutes away! Time was critical at this moment! I couldn’t waste it travelling here and there but had to so as to have somebody to shoot for the sunset.
I made it with 10 minutes to spare. He didn’t disappoint,he never does!
This is my good buddy Romeo.
I combined three pictures of him into one, The shot shows the entry,grabbing and exit a eagle does when it grabs a fish.
They are such masters of flight! The majority of times the eagle will miss but because they hit the fish so hard its stunned! Which gives them enough time to swing around at the top of their curve and descend to pick up the stunned fish! So they miss almost every time on the first pass but are just about perfect in percentage on the second pass.