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Images from the American Southwest
Images from the American Southwest
Images from the American Southwest
Haying Season, Vermont
Images from the American Southwest
Images from the American Southwest

Recent News Items

Polar Bears and Beluga Whales-Churchill,

9/19/2014 12:54:05 AM

The tour and the town of Churchill The town of Churchill is at the confluence of the Sub-Arctic, Arctic and Marine ecosystems, making it a rich ecological destination. The town of Churchill has around 1000 residents and 900-1000 Polar Bears. There are 25 Polar Bear populations around the arctic circumpolar region. Churchill’s Polar Bear population is considered part of the Hudson Bay west population with another population of bears on the east side of the Hudson Bay. When looking at a map of Manitoba, you will see that Churchill sits in the crook of a backwards facing right angle bend of the Hudson Bay. In this area of the Hudson Bay, the current moves counter-clockwise, this results in the currents grabbing fresh water from the Hudson River and mixing with the salt water of the Hudson Bay. Because of this mix of salt and fresh water, the water around Churchill has less salinity in it. This means it freezes sooner than the surrounding area, allowing the Polar bears an earlier access to the ice and the seals, despite this being a sub-arctic climate. Also the Hudson Bay around Churchill is home to over 4000 migrating and breeding Beluga whales during July and August. Belugas, which mean “the white one” in Russian, are found around the arctic and subarctic waters around the world. Belugas are considered the most vocal whales in the world, often called the “sea canaries”. Belugas, despite being 10-15 feet in length, are very curious and gentle creatures. It was my hope on this trip to get to swim with them in the icy waters of the Bay with a 7mm thick full wetsuit keeping me warm and comfortable. Though, Polar bears and Belugas are the main draw in Churchill. One can also spot other wildlife. In fact, the spring time is a birders and bird photographer’s paradise. Besides the springtime, the hopes during the summer are to see Arctic Foxes, Willow Ptarmigans, Red-throated Loons, Common Eider and more. A note of interest: The tour guides were very

Photographing Southwest Florida

9/19/2014 12:44:21 AM

- A week photographing in Southwest Florida- the top of the Everglades- My mom lives in Atlanta. I live in Vermont. Several years ago I decided that on my trips down to visit my mom I would take some side photography trips and visit places that we did not visit when I was a child living in the South. On this trip I wanted to spend some time photographing southwest Florida, make a trip to see the world renowned Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, the Venice Rookery and other areas around Fort Myers. My trip was at the beginning of December, which is at the beginning of the optimal winter migration. To prepare for my trip I downloaded to my Ipad a copy of Arthur Morris's Guide to the Florida Southwest. It was worth the $50.00 as it helped me to learn more about locations and the birds that I might see at each spot. His driving directions were helpful as well. I will note some of my additions to the guide as I talk about each location Florida Overview: Florida is a strange place to me. It is known for its extensive shorebird life, which it does have, but this wildlife seems to be forever squeezed and sandwiched between six lane roads, hotels, and congestion. It was hard for me to reconcile the beauty with the congestion. However, it is easy to understand people's attraction to 80 degree sunny weather in December. Ding Darling and Sanibel Island (Day #1): Ding Darling is considered one of the premier wildlife refuges in the United States. Ding Darling is a 4 mile one-way road that is nestled on the east shore of a section of Sanibel Island. Sanibel Island is a tastefully upscale island, but it was a bit of a surprise to me to see how developed the island was that housed this famous wildlife refuge. To get to Sanibel from Fort Myers you must pay a $6.00 fee to cross the long bridge/ causeway that connects the island to the mainland. To enter Ding Darling, you pay a one day fee of $5.00. So once you are on the island it seems that you want to make

Song Bird Photography on Perches

8/28/2014 3:05:06 PM

One of my favorite photographers is Alan Murphy. Alan specializes in bird photography and has developed many different techniques to get songbirds up on to perches. These techniques allow the photographer to control where the bird lands and what is in the background. Alan has spectacular images of songbirds on beautiful perches, with creamy out of focus backgrounds. Being a long time birder and a photographer, I wanted to try my hand at songbird photography using Alan’s techniques. Though Alan’s workshop are out of my price range, he does offer a series of CD’s and ebooks outlining his techniques. I spent the latter part of the winter gathering some props, such as a Christmas tree stand, various logs, bird feeder trays and small speakers, to be ready for some spring bird photography. I started with the easiest avenue into bird photography, my home bird feeder. I set up a feeder and some props outside of my sliding glass door. I made sure to put them far enough away so that my 600mm lens would be within minimum focusing distance and then spent a few mornings trying to capture images as birds came into the setups. The most challenging part I found was to get interesting and varied setups. After getting the setups in place, another challenge was to keep them looking fresh. I used wet paper towels around the base of some setups and tried the flower water vials that you get from a flower shop around thinner branches. The birds I photographed I am sure have been photographed a thousand times before, but my goal was to get experience with setting up props and getting familiar with how the birds responded to the props. No need trying to run when I hadn't even learned to walk yet. In the field: My next challenge was trying to get warblers to come to perches in the field. This proved a lot more challenging and frustrating. I headed out several mornings to my favorite birding spots and set- up perches according to Alan’s instructions. In the beg

Song Bird Photography on Perches

8/28/2014 1:22:43 PM

This spring was my first attempt at calling Song Birds to Perches using calls. I was able to photograph birds around my feeders near my house and in the "wild".

Churchill, Manitoba, the "Polar Bea

8/28/2014 1:19:57 PM

Visting Churchill, Manitoba, the "Polar Bear Capital of the World". I wanted to go and see Polar Bears in person, before Global Climate change further endangered their existence

 

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