Light is a critical element for me! Finding the right subject for the right light is hard! I spend half my time searching and the other half shooting.
In the above pictures we have the same subject but different lighting. The upper is warm while the ones below are cool. I only go out If I think the light/clouds are going to be in the ball park. Once out, I roll the dice and see what comes up? No matter what the light is,I try to make it work. I take advantage of what Mother Nature serves up.
The last shot is of a Heron with the moon in behind. Finding a Heron perched right on the very top of a tree when the moon is out doesn’t happen every day. Having said that,I do not consider this shot to be the best. I would of preferred to have the Heron bathed in golden light. Gold light would show more detail in the contrast and colour! Unfortunately by the time I found this Heron the sun had already set! So I had to rolled with it and shot silhouettes! (10% of something is better then 100% of nothing)
So when I go out on a evening shoot I’m searching more for the light then the subject. Great light makes bad subjects better and great subjects look excellent!
A Grey resident whale has taken up just off Chesterman’s beach! Actually it’s a Cow and calf. They seem to be ping ponging back and forth between Frank island and the Wickinnish Inn!
Normally surfers on their boards are pointing landward but as you can see in the last shot they are turned around to watch as the whales go gently past them.
The Grey whale migration is on right now. They are swimming en masse from Mexico to the Bering sea. Think of it like one big aquatic super highway! There are thousands that swim past Tofino but a few see the sign saying “Tofino next right” and ramp off! They eat and rest for maybe 2 weeks or so and continue their journey northward!
At sunset the Hummers always go into a feeding frenzy! They are like feathered piranha!
I placed my finger by the feeding port and a male Rufous promptly perched on it and began to sip away merrily! (It’s like last call at a bar!) A female Rufous then decided that she wanted that spot to sip away merrily herself, but I imagined the male said “GET LOST”! So her response was to perch on top of HIM! GIRL POWER RULES!
When I saw her do that I laughed away merrily myself!
It was near sunset and the Hummers were coming by for their last drink of the night.( Sort of like humans at last call). So I see this one female Anna’s perch and take a few sips. It straightened up…..and then promptly fell backwards! It was still holding onto the perching bar so it was hanging totally upside down like a bat! It held on for a few seconds and then dropped to the concrete below! (6′)
I was obviously very alarmed to see one of my feathered friends fall,so I instantly got up and slide the balcony door open. Sure enough there she was laying on her back not moving and just looking up to me. I very gently picked her up and began talking to her asking “what was wrong”? I could feel her little heart beating very fast but thats normal for Hummers. We looked into each others eyes for a few seconds and then I gently turned her over to right her and as soon as I did that she flew away!
(I swear I heard her laughing! I think my fine feathered friend had pulled a April Fools joke on me!)
I told a friend of mine who is a birding expert (Adrian Dorst) and he said he had never heard of anything like this ever happening before? I read up on this a bit and the closest thing I could find was that Hummers do drop from their perches because of cold weather/ and not having enough energy.
It wasn’t that cold out,maybe 8 C at worse and I know It had been coming all day for drinks so It wasn’t a lack of sugar water.
I think my little friend was playing a big joke on me but I do hope there isn’t anything serious!
I sometimes slide the balcony open and just lean against the frame to watch them coming around for last drink. The feeder is only a few feet away. If I had been doing that at the time I bet I could of done the Hollywood Superman save by quickly catching my friend in mid air!
It happened so fast that there was no way for me to get pictures of this.
Btw,the header and this shot are from my archives.
My fine feathered friend looked like he was playing with the rainbow!
I’ve always loved rainbows………..who doesn’t? They always seem to happen rather suddenly. So the statistical odds that your in the right place at the right time to take a “good” picture is slim to none …….and Slim just left the building! Basically you need two elements to make a rainbow,light and water. That water needs to be in droplet form. Then just add sunshine, shake vigorously and enjoy the show!. This scenario usually happens when I rainstorm has a well defined rear end and has just passed overhead. The rain cloud has billions of rain drops in it that act as tiny little prisms. This rain cloud is moving away from you. A rainbow as you all know is fleeting.
We all remember the local Drive In’s…..I hope? We’d watch the latest flick up on a huge screen!
A rainbow is kind of the same thing. The screen Mother Nature uses to show us a beautiful rainbow is made up of billions upon billions of tiny rain drops! Which of course is very mobile making rainbows short in duration.
We’ve each seen the cover design to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon album. It shows a prism breaking up light into it’s individual colours. The colours are separated because of different wavelengths. The order from longer to shorter is ROYGBIV. Red,Orange,Yellow,Green,Blue,Indigo and Violet. I made up my own saying to remember the sequence.
My saying is “Roy Goes Ballistic In Violence”. It screams out loud enough that you won’t forget it!
Btw,when you see a double rainbow the water droplets have to be 1/2 the size and the colour sequence is reversed of the first rainbow.
This months full moon is called a “Snow” moon but is also called a Bear and Eagle moon. I’m leaning towards the latter.
This is my friend the Daredevil! Each eagle has it’s own favorite perching spots. Over time I’ve noticed where he prefers to perch. If the wind is coming from the west,he likes one spot over another for instance. I maneuver my boat so that the full moon is directly behind this spot and then I simply call him! (and hope he lands right in front of the moon…..but he rarely listens to me and never does) The header shot and the one above were taken at different moons. My goal was to get him directly in front of the moon but because of wind and tide and him choosing different spots on that perch tree I never seem to get what I want!
This month the full moon is called a Wolf moon. I walked Long Beach with a friend and being the ever diligent photographer I took along one of my cameras………just in case?
As we walked towards Greenpoint (Park campground) I noticed the moon was at a perfect angle and contrast to do a eagle/moon shot! I only get a handful of these moments each year! So as we walked and chatted I kept a close eye on the tree line for a perching eagle! We walked for over a hour and never saw a single one. Than as we reached Greenpoint I noticed one drying it’s wings out! An eagle will open it’s wing downward to allow the air to dry the wings underside. Being wet means it’s heavier. Being heavier means the eagle will have to expend more energy. Which in turn means they’ll need to eat more often.
So they dry themselves off to be lighter. The feathers are more responsive to the air currents when they are dry.
While shooting the eagle/moon this Immature showed up! It’s a one year old. Obviously it’s the adults offspring or it would have been chased away! They have such black eyes in the first year. The iris doesn’t start to yellow until 2 to 3 years old. Looks like a female.
You can always tell when a eagle is about to “jump”(fly off). I always say “they blow the ballast tanks”just before taking off! They lift the tail feathers and lettur rip. When you see that you know they’re getting close to jumping!
This is one of my favorite studies! I stand around by the main road coming into Tofino with my tripod looking lost. I can see the tourists straining their necks as they go by to try and see what I’m taking pictures of? (some even stop and try to take the same shot with their I-Phones)
This tree spire is on Strawberry island and those mountains are 22 miles away in Strathcona Park. The tallest mountain is Mt Mariner.
This eagle is either Ernie or Ethel? Never can tell at this distance? I like to go here when I know there won’t be any clouds on the western horizon. That way the rich pink’s come out to play!
So……. basically I stand around with my camera/tripod perfectly composed and focused waiting. I have a remote control to trip the shutter at a distance. I need to always keep a eye on that spire! Either of the eagles can come up from behind the island and catch me off guard! It only takes a second! If they fly over to Strawberry island from the left or right,I can see them coming.
As you can imagine It’s usually cold when I do this,so to keep warm I pace back and forth. I am constantly watching that spire! Occasionally my eagle friends come to perch on that tree spire when the lighting is perfect! Most times I go home with nothing.
Notice the micro glacier in Strathcona? It’s the spot in the misty area. Underneath that mist is a small glacier. The ocean air is warmer and moist. It rises,and chills over top of that small glacier. Because that glacier stays put the mist stays put.
OH……….the eagles in the header shot are Romeo and Juliette. Romeo always looks at me in such a questioning manner?
As some of you already know I placed a trail camera up river during salmon spawning season to record the wildlife. I have had a trail camera up for over 5 weeks this fall. I must admit that I am disappointed with the results. I expected more bears or hoped there would be more than there was.
I have pondered why for sometime now? I truly do not know exactly why to be honest. My theory is that last years run was a poor run. So this year the bears migrated to other valleys for better streams. Nature self regulates it’s self. Animals will spread out naturally.
Plus I suspect that many bears did not put on enough body fat and so died in their dens during last winter.
In these two videos you will see a bear searching for a salmon and in the other a bear has found one. During normal times the river would have more bears around. So If you grabbed a salmon you hurried off into the forest quickly! WHY? Because if one of those other bears saw you get a salmon most times this would cause them to chase you until you dropped your prize! So when you grabbed a salmon you would always hurry off into the forest where you could eat it in peace! But in the second video thats not what is happening! The bear has grabbed a salmon and begins to eat it out in the open! The only reason why a bear would do something like this is If they felt like they were the only bear around! It felt comfortable enough to do this. Which points to the fact that very few bears were around this fall!
Also,notice in the first video the bear walks across to a pool. A salmon realizes a bear is coming and takes off.
With the Fall comes the inevitable wind storms! Power normal goes out,the only question is………. for how long? Wind is something I’m always mindful of! I go out in my 10 foot Zodiac (20Hp) so It doesn’t take much of a wave to make for a bumpy ride! So on windy days I keep my feet on solid ground and go out to the beach.
The West coast just had one of those big wind storms. It’s really easy to know when the surf is huge………everyone can hear the roar in town! Normally we can’t hear anything but after the storm noise is gone and the ocean is in motion….. the roar permeates the air!
That’s Mother Nature calling. I’ve always asked her to give me a call when the waves are huge!
I’m not sure if you are aware of this but all these huge waves here in Tofino and all around the Earth are created by the sun.
Energy blasts out from the sun,enters our atmosphere and begins to heat it up. The warm air rises,cools and then descends. This is convective turbulence. You ever see one of those Lava lamps? Lava lamps are a excellent example of convective forces. The wax gets warm,rises,cools and descends.
So this warm air rising,cooling and descending creates the wind we experience here on the surface. The only difference is the speed at which these air currents move. Most times gentle, but sometimes with great force!
The west coast is a perfect spot to watch storms! Thousands flock here each winter to marvel at the shear power of a raging storm! The only problem is …………timing!
If you come here and theres no storm happening, your not going to be very impressed. We get a lot of tourists here in Tofino. I always ask where people come from? If I hear they are from Vancouver or the west coast I tell them to watch the news each night. Specifically the weather. If they hear of a BIG low pressure system moving in, I tell them to get their asses over here ASAP! Make quick plans! Thats Mother Nature calling you. She wants you to get a great seat for the “really big show”! The key is to watch/ listen to the weather all the time!
Of course If you live far from the coast…….your SOL!
Because the salmon are beginning to run the eagles are leaving their territories to flock to the streams! I was disappointed to find both Romeo and Juliette gone but my good buddy the Daredevil was home!
I took this lame shot of my younger sister Marianne back in 74? I always called her “Boo”. I took this when I was just beginning to take pictures. We had a trampoline in the backyard so I got her to jump on and pose.
I got bad news early this morning that she had died. It was expected. She had cancer in multiple areas. She was in the Hospice in Huntsville. A small town in northern Ontario. She was seven years younger than me.
Here a few cute cubs to make you smile and go awwwwwwwwwwww!
I’ve taken pictures of hundreds of bears over 40 years! Each one is a unique memory and picture! When I’m close and I stare into their eyes and theirs into mine,I feel there is more there than we are aware of.
I placed a trail camera upstream in Tranquil creek Sept 16th. I’ve been recording the goings on for awhile now. Around 1300 30 second videos were taken. I had the sensitivity too high. The camera was being activated just by the water flowing. Also I didn’t think of limiting the shooting time to day hours. So half the videos were shot at night. A black bear at night does not record very well but you sure can see their beady little eyes reflecting back!
Here are 5 videos showing what was going on.
This video shows how bears patrol the stream looking for salmon. Bears are very skittish around each other.You can see one bear hurrying to get out of the way of the other approaching bear.
This video shows a black bear searching for salmon on a beautiful day!
This video shows one bear chasing another bear. When a bear grabs a salmon it will hurry off into the forest. It doesn’t want any other bears seeing it with a salmon as the other bear will most likely charge it trying to make it drop its prize!
This video shows how cooperative the bears are with each other during salmon spawning season. They all have full tummy’s and so are happy campers! They feel the way you do after a big Thanksgiving meal……….content and not wanting to fight!
This video shows a Sow hurrying off into the forest with a big fresh salmon and cub in tow!
Its taken me several years to figure out how to video tape salmon without spooking them! I have created a device I call a “Drift Rig”. Its basically a piece of wood that I have attached a Go Pro to. I simply go upstream of a school and release it. Once released I have zero control over where its looking.
In this short video you will see mostly Chum salmon. Female Chum salmon have a black strip running down their side while the larger ones with purple are the males. There are a few that do not have that black strip or purple markings they are Chinook salmon. They are a prized salmon and so are fished constantly. Their numbers have been greatly reduced due to overfishing. We’ve had to replenish the stocks artificially through the use of hatcheries. The reduction of this salmon has greatly affected the resident Orcas. There are only 74 of them left! The Residents eat only Chinook salmon. Some have died due to starvation! They get what is called “peanut head”. Which is what happens when their fat reserves are depleted due to starvation.
The Chinook count in Tranquil is always low but this year even more so.
The smaller fish are cutthroat and rainbow trout that have come upstream to eat stray eggs. Everybody chows down when the salmon spawn!