Friday, April 27, 2012

Nature Photography 104: Part 11: You did what?

I'm just waiting for the weather to change... Don't feel like writing too much more weather jumble or predictions until it happens! Going down to Pelee for Sunday I think...

To make a very long story short, I keep finding myself annoyed with nature photography. I was very worked up a few days ago, when I became quite confident that the winner of a fairly large photo contest must have edited/doctored the photo... I then look at said persons website, and found some very blatant editing along with large amounts of shameless self-promotion as a truly expert photographer. 

This really wasn't anything new, but I learned something from it: People can do whatever the heck they want, and I shouldn't care about it. If it bothers me, I can just focus on how I conduct myself and my photography! And with that said, I had the idea to reveal some of the work done on my own photos on my personal website. 

Are you ready for a look at everything you may or may not already know about nature photography? I'll post the website version first, followed by the totally un-edited original.


Part 11: You did what?

A much lighter side to NP104,

A post more for the methods than the images... Specifically, one of my favourite methods of gaining photos --- going out in the Zodiac to look for Jaegers... I think many readers of the blog are aware of this, but just in case, here's the skinny:

My Dad and I have a ~12ft inflatable zodiac, that we assemble and disassemble down at Van Wagner's Beach.. When weather conditions are safe (or safe enough), we head out into the open waters of Lake Ontario in search of pelagics. It's one of the few instances where I really feel like the photography I'm doing is pretty unique, and the results are somewhat different than other photographers. 

The prime subject matter that we're after is Jaegers, and there has been two ways that we go about finding them. Method #1 involves going out on days that are as calm as glass, and hours are spent driving around the deep (upwards of 25km offshore at times) in hopes that we stumble upon some birds. The above images of an adult Parasitic Jaeger were taken with this method... The birds are few and far between, but they provide a rare chance to get the birds in a relaxed state. 

(on a side note, I made a documentary video last fall about the "search" method described above) 

Pomarine Jaeger

Method #2 is a bit different, where we go out maybe 2-4km from shore during an east wind... This these times, the conditions are a bit more "iffy".. In short, driving into the waves (onshore for an east wind) is the difficult part... So we are somewhat safe in having a difficult time getting "away" from shore + an easy return... The waves are only a problem launching and returning the boat from shore (where they break)... A few times a boat member has got a good soaking before we even get offshore........... 

Long-tailed Jaeger vs. Great Black-backed Gull

Once offshore, we start unloading bread to attract a "feeding frenzy"... Since the east winds are blowing, the pelagics/jaegers are "within range" to be attracted to the gulls and come in close for investigation. Thanks to some well placed bread sources, we've sometimes left shore with several garbage bags full (to the point where the boat is filled with bread, and we're sitting on it).. Which keep us occupied for hours on end. 

Documentation photo by Bob Stamp of the zodiac + 2 Long-tailed Jaegers... 

Adult Long-tailed Jaeger

The "feeding frenzy" method has been wildly successful at times, with individual Jaegers (often Long-tailed) that will spend prolonged periods at extremely close range... Still room for improvement on many images, and will for sure be back out again this year. 

Hope you enjoyed a "lighter" edition on methods with lots of images!

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