Thursday, March 20, 2014

Presentation this Saturday (March 22) @ Halton Hills Camera Club (Georgetown)

I'm looking forward to presenting for the Halton Hills Camera Club this Saturday night in Georgetown, ON. If you're in the neighbourhood, come on out!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

My friend is selling some Nikon gear.....

My friend Bhupendra has some Nikon gear for sale that he no longer needs. 
The equipment is available individually as priced below or $900.00 for all of it together. 
Everything comes with the original packaging. Buyer pays shipping (from Ottawa, Canada). 

Please contact Bhupendra Yadav by email at if you have any questions or are interested (he can provide images if required). I can vouch for him - good guy and 100% trustworthy. 

Lightly used D300s Camera body ($600)
No visible marks on body
27000 frames
2x MH-18a chargers
EN-EL3e battery
Misplaced Nikon DK-23 eye cup ($5 value)
Original packaging & strap
Unopened software, manuals and cables etc.

Nikon MH-21 battery charger ($100)

Nikon EN-EL4a batteries x2 ($50 each)
Battery grip related ($40)Nikon BL-3 battery chamber cover for EN-EL4a
Vello BC-N1 battery chamber cover for EN-EL4a 
Nikon MS- D10 AA battery holder for MB-D10 x2 
Vello BG-N8 battery grip for Nikon D300s 

Kirk BL-D300G Compact L bracket for D700/D300s ($110)

Wimberley lens replacement foot for Nikon 500f4 and Nikon 200-400f4 (

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Why I love to photograph icicles....

Here's a link to a blog post I wrote for Ontario Tourism about my love of shooting icicles. It seems fitting with winter looming. In fact, I was out shooting icicles on the Georgian Bay shoreline this past week... yes it's already happening! 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Muskoka fall colours + waterfalls = a landscape photographer's dream!

Photo 1. Fall color scene on the Magnetawan River near the town of Magnetawan, ON.
Gear: Canon 5D mk III, 16-35mm lens, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer.

Nothing beats a drizzly, overcast day to get me motivated to shoot fall colors. Those are perfect conditions to bring out the rich red, orange and yellow foliage... and create beautiful images of satin-blurred creeks and waterfalls. I spent a few days this past week touring around the Muskoka area searching out the best scenes, just as the fall colors peaked. Since I've only recently moved over to the east side of Georgian Bay, I'm still learning new locations. Thankfully, there's a great resource to help! Fellow Ontario photographer Andrew McLachlan's ebook "A Photographer's Guide to the Ontario Landscape" is packed full of great locations. It would have taken me years to find all of these spots without Andrew's book!

In photo 1 (above), I laid down in the creek with my wide angle lens to get an intimate portrait of the bubbles and leaves (yes, I arranged some of them). It was worth getting soaked for this shot! I tried to balance the shutter speed.... slow enough to slightly blur the cascading water, but still keep the bubbles and leaves sharp as they were moving slightly. It was shot at 1/2s, f/11.

Photo 2. Fall foliage along the Magnetawan River near Burk's Falls.
Gear: Canon 5D mk III, 16-35mm lens, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer.
In photo 2 (above), the red foliage was so amazing I climbed into the centre of the small tree with my wide angle lens to shoot through the leaves and have the river running in the background. It took quite a few images to get a composition that I liked.

Photo 3 (below) is one of the most well known fall river scenes in Ontario - the Oxtongue River Rapids just west of the Algonquin Park west gate. These scenes are very easy to shoot. Here's my recipe: 1) go on a overcast or drizzly day, 2) use a tripod for stability and polarizing filter to cut glare and give you rich saturation, 3) set a low ISO speed and stop down your lens to a smaller aperture (eg. f/11 or 16) which results in a slower exposure that will render the water blurred. My favorite shutter speeds for blurred water are around a 1/4 to 1/2 second.

Photo 3. Fall colours at Oxtongue River Rapids west of Algonquin Provincial Park.
Gear: Canon 5D mk III, Sigma 24-70mm lens, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer.
 The most dangerous part of shooting these kind of scenes is slipping on the wet rocks. I almost wiped out when I was shooting photo 4 (below) of Rosseau Falls. Good footwear and agility is critical!
Photo 4. Rosseau Falls and fall colors.
Gear: Canon 5D mk III, 16-35mm lens, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer.
Stubbs Falls in Arrowhead Provincial Park (photo 5 - below) is one of the most picturesque of all the falls I photographed this autumn. As a bonus, the access is very easy... a short hike! I liked it so much, I posed for a self-portrait next to the cascade.  
Photo 5. Self portrait at Stubbs Falls in Arrrowhead Provincial Park.
Gear: Canon 5D mk III, 16-35mm lens, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

SOLD: Canon 17-40mm f/4 L USM lens

Note: Item has sold.

For Sale: Canon EF 17-40 f/4 L USM wide angle zoom lens with accessories as listed below. The lens is about 5 years old and has been used for landscape photography. It is in perfect working condition, both mechanically and optically. I can't find any cosmetic wear on it.  

Serial # 916954

It comes with the following:
-original box
-user manual
-lens hood (aftermarket)
-lens cap (aftermarket)
-Canon lens pouch

Price: $550

Includes shipping within Canada (+$10 for continental US).
Payment by interact transfer or PayPal (no additional fee).

Please email (serious inquiries only):

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

SOLD: Canon 5D Mark II body with Really Right Stuff L Bracket


I'm selling my Canon EOS 5D Mark II body with a number of accessories as listed below. This has been my 'landscape' camera body for the past few years. It is in perfect working condition and shows some minor cosmetic wear (a bit of paint scuffed off the bottom of the grip - see photos).  The camera has been regularly cleaned and serviced professionally.

Serial # 0620305822
Shutter Count: 72,700

It comes with the following:
-Really Right Stuff L-bracket
-original box
-user manuals (English and French)
-neck strap
-battery charger
-1 battery
-AV cable

Price: $1350

Includes shipping within Canada or continental US.
Payment by interact transfer or PayPal (no additional fee).

Please email (serious inquiries only):

I took the RRS L-bracket off so you can see it better.

Some of the paint is scuffed off on the bottom of the grip. It is merely cosmetic.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Upcoming presentation for the Huronia Land Conservancy fundraiser evening - August 8 in Midland, Ontario

If you're in the neighborhood, I'll be presenting "Confessions of a Crazed Photographer" at a fundraiser evening for the Huronia Land Conservancy in Midland, Ontario on August 8. Come on out and support this great cause! Details are on the poster. Thanks! 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Shooting landscapes photos @ Lake Superior Provincial Park and Wawa

I was up on the north shore of Lake Superior shooting photos this week at some of my favorite haunts. Lake Superior Provincial Park tops my list of the best landscape photography locations in Ontario, boasting wildly rugged shorelines and big topography. I love the place. 

My girlfriend and I camped out the first night in an amazing campsite on the water (where the first three photos below were taken). We had planned to spend several days camping there, but the mosquitoes were so bad that even the drone from outside the tent screen made it difficult to sleep. The sounds of buzzing mosquitoes is psychologically tormenting to me! So after one night, we wimped out.... packed up our camping gear and rented a cabin as a base to shoot around the area. [for the record, the mosquitoes aren't usually this bad, so don't let them stop you from visiting the park or camping.... go in late summer or fall].

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Canon 1D mk IV, Sigma 12-24mm lens,
Singh-Ray 2 stop hard ND grad. 

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Canon 5D mk II, Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens,
Singh-Ray 3 stop hard ND grad.
Lake Superior Provincial Park, Canon 5D mk II, Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens,
Singh-Ray 2 stop hard ND grad. 

For our last night, we stayed at Rock Island Lodge near the town of Wawa. To say this lodge is ideally situated for landscape photography is an understatement. I shot the next photo (below) just steps from our room at the lodge. I can't wait to stay there again soon and am contemplating hosting a workshop based out of the lodge next year! 

Rock Island Lodge, Lake Superior, Canon 5D mk II, Sigma 24-70/2.8 lens,
Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer and 2 stop hard ND grad. 

One morning while waiting for the light to improve, I re-enacted the famous scene from the Karate Kid to entertain my girlfriend. An outdoor photographer has to have a few tricks in the bag to keep things fun when you're standing around on the shore of Lake Superior!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cedar Strip Canoe on eastern Georgian Bay

Strutting with my canoe, eastern Georgian Bay.
I've officially survived my busiest time of year and am stoked to have more time to get out to shoot for fun... and catch up on long-overdue blog posts!

For most of my life, I've dreamed about paddling my own cedar strip canoe. I serendipitously found one for sale at a great price this year and couldn't resist. My girlfriend and I decided that an epic location was necessary for the maiden trip, so we pointed the bow towards a small chain of islands on eastern Georgian Bay, characterized by spectacular granite patterns. We lucked into superb weather for paddling, camping and photography!

Gear: Canon 1D mk IV, Sigma 15mm f/2.8 fisheye, Gitzo tripod. 
My favorite location is an island I dubbed "The Ramp" because of the smooth sloping rock that tapers off into the the water. The striations here are remarkable and it's easy to walk into the shallow water to shoot from that perspective.

During the middle of the day when the light was too harsh for serious shooting, I decided to show my girlfriend how stable the canoe was and how great my balance was. As I stood on one foot and lifted the paddle over my head, I promptly fell over backwards and flipped the canoe. She clicked at the right time to capture the decisive moment (above). Thankfully, I'd taken all of the gear out of the boat! 

As sunset approaches, I become completely focused on shooting images at the top  locations we've scouted out previously. The hour around sunset it downright intense.... it's a race against the light! Here are a few of the images we captured during the evening shoot.   

Gear: Canon 5d mk II, Sigma 24-70/2.8, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer.

Gear: Canon 5d mk II, Sigma 35/1.4, Singh-Ray 2 stop soft edge ND grad. 
Gear: Canon 5d mk II, Sigma 35/1.4, Singh-Ray 3 stop hard edge ND grad.

Gear: Canon 5d mk II, Sigma 35/1.4. 

After sunset, we paddled back to our campsite under twilight on glassy calm water. I snapped this photo of my girlfriend with the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens, which is superb in low light!     

Gear: Canon 5d mk II, Sigma 35/1.4.  

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Algonquin Park triple score (Great Gray Owl, Pine Marten, Boreal Chickadee)

Great Gray Owl in Algonquin Park, Ontario. Canon 1D mk IV and 500/4 IS lens. 
When the alarm clock went off at 5:30 this morning, I desperately wanted to go back to sleep. But the weather forecast was too fantastic to allow it, so my girlfriend kicked me out of bed. We made it to Algonquin Provincial Park shortly after sunrise and started working our way east across the park. It wasn't long before we found a half dozen cars scattered along the highway with cameras trained on something next to the road. It turned out to be a Great Gray Owl hunting a small bog. The bird was working its way westwards, flying from one telephone post to the next. All of the photographers were following it from behind (shooting into the sun) and instead of joining the pack, I walked down the road, anticipating the direction the owl was moving. Sure enough, after a few minutes it flew right past me and I got the above shot. What a great way to start the day!
We hit a bunch of the bird photography hot-spots in the park and were excited when this Pine Marten came out in the open along Opeongo Lake road several times at close range. I've photographed martens here before, but today was the most cooperative one I've seen and I ended up with my best shots of the species.

Pine Marten, Algonquin Park. Canon 1D mk IV, 500/4 IS & 1.4x extender. 
Our last stop of the day was at the Spruce Bog, which has become an excellent bird photography location since park staff started putting out a suet feeder each winter (huge kudos to the park for doing this!!). This is the best spot I know to photograph Boreal Chickadees.... they come in regularly to the suet feeders and are quite tame (one landed on the end of my lens this afternoon; others were being hand-fed by birders). As the light was fading this evening, I got my best shot of a Boreal Chickadee so far. What a great way to end the day!

Boreal Chickadee, Algonquin Park. Canon 1D mk IV, 500/4 IS.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Snowy Owl and Black-backed Woodpecker

I haven't been home quite a week yet since my trip to Vietnam and Laos. I'm still messed up from the jet lag (wide awake at 3am most days), but this hasn't stopped me from taking advantage of the great winter conditions in central Ontario! I met up with Len Sylvester a couple days ago to shoot Snowy Owls in the Barrie area. This turned out to be a great afternoon and I ended up bagging a bucket-list shot of an adult male (all white) Snowy Owl against a pure white background of snow. [note, the bird was lured in with food]
If you want to get some incredible photos of these owls, join Len for one of his Snowy Owl workshops:

Snowy Owl. Canon 1D mk IV, Sigma 300/2.8 lens. 
After visiting my girlfriend yesterday for Valentines Day, I headed north to Algonquin Provincial Park to photograph birds today. Boreal Chickadees are regularly visiting a suet feeder on the Spruce Bog Trail, so I parked myself there for about 5 hours this afternoon. I was ecstatic when a Black-backed Woodpecker landed in a nearby tree and spent about 10 minutes working its way along the trunk 'scaling' the bark in search of insects. I managed to get a few clean shots, my first decent photos of this species. Thank the camera gods for image stabilization, because I was trembling with excitement..... this is a bird I've wanted to photograph for a long time! Two bucket list bird photos in one week makes me a happy photographer!
Black-backed Woodpecker. Canon 1D mk IV, Canon 500/4 IS & 1.4x extender.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Asia bound! What's in my pack?

I'm at the airport waiting for my flight to Vietnam. The next three weeks will be jam packed with hard-core shooting..... Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Our itinerary will keep us very busy! For an overseas trip, I'm traveling very light this time.... mainly because we'll be photographing more cultural scenes and landscapes then wildlife. Nevertheless, I always travel with 3 bags: 

1) The large MEC duffle bag at my feet goes into checked baggage. It contains my tripods, heads, miscellaneous accessories and clothing. Typically I have so much stuff in this bag that it's overweight. That's why I use a duffle bag - the bag itself is very light compared to a standard suitcase. I use my clothing as padding to protect the gear.

2) The pack on the right is a Gura Gear "Bataflae" 18L. Normally I use a Gura Gear 32L pack, but on this trip I'm not taking a huge telephoto lens. This bag is my my primary carry-on and contains all of the expensive, fragile stuff. See the photo below to see what's in it.

3) On my other shoulder is a small North Face day pack which is my 'personal' item for carry-on. It contains my laptop, binoculars and reading material for the long plane flight!

This is traveling light for me! The Gura Gear "Bataflae" 18L is amazingly spacious for its size and weight. What's in the bag for my Asia trip? Going clockwise from the top left: Canon 24/1.4 (Canon 1.4x II TC underneath), Sigma 15/2.8 fisheye (Canon 2x II TC underneath) , Canon 17-40/4, Sigma 24-70/2.8, Canon 70-300/4-5.6, Canon 1D mk IV body, Canon 5d mk II body, Canon 300/2.8. I also have a Canon 580 EX II flash that sneaks in next to the 300mm lens, but I took it out for this shot so you could see the glass.

Happy shooting!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Canon G15 - my new point & shoot camera

Above Photo: That's my setup for behind-the-scenes photos... a Canon G15, Joby GorillaPod and Really Right stuff BH-30 ballhead.

I carry a point and shoot camera with me everywhere I go, especially when I'm traveling or out on photo shoots. The convenience of a p&s allows me to shoot candid pics and behind-the-scenes photos/video for presentations and articles. My choice for years has been the Canon G-series.... I've gone through the lineup with a G2, G6, G9, G10, G11, G12 and I just picked up the latest G15 today. A bunch of things appeal to me about the G-series cameras: build quality, image quality (quite good for a p&s), intuitive controls and optional manual function (although I usually just shoot in auto mode!). As a bonus, Canon makes relatively inexpensive underwater housings for the G-series cameras.... which I use for creative perspectives when shooting canoe or kayak photos, and when I'm snorkeling. 

I'm packing right now for a trip to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia... the above rig will be at my side so I can capture all kinds of fun photos! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

American Oystercatcher - Fort Myers Beach, Florida

American Oystercatcher, Fort Myers Beach, Florida. Canon 1D mk IV, Sigma 300/2.8.

For about a decade, my family spent the Christmas holidays in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. We were lured here by the warm weather, inexpensive wine, great seafood and the incredible bird photography on the beach. Fort Myers Beach is one of the best places on the continent to shoot shorebirds and waders. I'd lug my big lens and tripod up and down the beach every day at dawn and dusk to shoot birds along the beach or in the tidal lagoons. Many of my best bird photos were shot here.

It has been about 5 years since I've been to Fort Myers Beach, so when I arrived here this afternoon it was complete nostalgic bliss. I took a scouting walk down the beach tonight carrying only a 300 mm lens, with no expectation to actually shoot anything. To my great amazement, I found the most cooperative American Oystercatchers I've ever seen on the beach. I ended up shooting hundreds of photos of them at point plank range with a 300 mm lens (typically I use a 500mm-800mm lens).

I'm looking forward to much more shooting along the beach and capturing a ton of photo ideas that are brewing in my brain.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wicked waves on Georgian Bay compliments of Sandy!

I watch weather forecasts closely and when I saw potential for 90km/hr NE winds on Georgian Bay compliments of Hurricane Sandy, I paid attention! Northerly winds smash the Georgian Bay shoreline of Bruce Peninsula National Park with great power. Would Frankenstorm deliver photographic awesomeness?

I arrived on the shoreline at 8am decked out in clothing for a, ummm, hurricane. The waves were the largest I've ever seen on the Great Lakes and were engulphing the 50 ft cliffs adjacent to Indian Head Cove. The best protection I could find was in the lee of Halfway Rock, which offered modest protection from the torrential spray. A plastic bag was all I had with me to protect my Canon 5d mk II and Sigma 70-200/2.8 lens from the water. For an hour, I battled blowing spray to shoot still photos and videos of the best waves I've ever seen. Here's a still photo of the wave smashing over the west side of Indian Head Cove (often mistakenly referred to as the Grotto):

And I couldn't resist shooting video of the same scene:

This was one of the most incredible scenes I've ever shot! My cameras (and myself) were totally soaked, but everything survived without any problems. What fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Birds – the cure for late autumn photography blues!

Once the leaves have dropped off the trees and the landscape turns brownish, many nature photographers fall into a slump of low photo motivation. The good news is that there is a cure and it’s flying towards you…. birds. In fact, late fall and early winter is one of the best times to photograph some families of birds as they stream through Ontario, or settle in here for the winter.  Pull on your toque and get your zoom lens ready!

Common Redpoll

The finch family tops my list of fall favourite birds to photograph in Ontario. There are a whole bunch of different finch species that can be found here during late fall and winter including goldfinches, siskins, redpolls, crossbills and grosbeaks. They all share an appetite for seeds and will travel widely in search of the best wild crops, especially the seed cones of conifer trees.  Finches are also fairly easy to attract to bird feeders. Hey, why pass up an easy meal?!

Evening Grosbeak

Finches can be found all over Ontario at this time of year, although I hone in on central Ontario to get the best mix of species.  Algonquin Provincial Park, in particular, ranks as one of the premier finch locations in the province.  In addition to cruising along the park’s Highway 60 watching for finch flocks, I always check out the Spruce Bog Trail, along Opeongo Lake Road and the feeders located at the park Visitor Centre.

If you’re a beginner birder and photographer, be sure to park a field guide to help identify the finches. Or better yet, learn the bird calls so you can find them with your ears! But be careful, before long you’ll become a bird geek like me, wandering around Ontario with your camera in pursuit of finches!

Click here for more exciting Ontario outdoor adventures.

Pine Grosbeak

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wildlife Photographer of the Year - my favorite images

The winners of the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest have just been announced. I always look forward to browsing through the categories. Here are my favorite images from among all of the winning and commended photos. Which ones do you like?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Alan Murphy's e- book "The Photographer's Guide to Attracting Birds"

Here's a plug for Alan Murphy's new e-book "The Photographer's Guide to Attracting Birds". Alan is one of the top bird photographers on the continent, best known for his images of birds in stunning settings (beautiful perches, in flowers, etc). If you read birding or nature magazines, you've seen his photos grace many covers.    

I've been photographing birds for about 20 years, often with setups involving attractants (food, calls), and yet I still learned so much from this book. Alan goes into great detail about how to attract different families of birds, including species that I didn't think could be easily coaxed in. This book is an instant classic, in my opinion the very best resource about bird photography since Arthur Morris' 1998 landmark book "The Art of Bird Photography" which helped to popularize the activity.  

Alan's e-book is available for $50 from his website at this link. Some people might think that's a lot of cash for an e-book, but it's worth every penny and more. If you want to capture incredible bird photos, this book is one of the best investments you'll ever make to learn the techniques to attract birds in front of your lens! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tips for capturing great photos of Ontario’s fall foliage!

Autumn Maple, Missisagi Provincial Park, Ontario
Few things get my photo mojo kicked into high gear more than the fall season here in Ontario, when the leaves turn from green to crimson, orange and gold. The peak of fall colours varies each year and by location, but in general you can count on the last week of September and first week of October as the best for photography. Checking the Ontario Parks Fall Report ( helps me decide where and when I’ll head off to the woods with my camera. I have my usual haunts – Algonquin Park, the Parry Sound area, and wrapping northwest around Georgian Bay and up towards the north shore of Lake Superior. During autumn, I’m a photo nomad in search of the best colours!

Lake of Two Rivers, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
If you’re as inspired as I am to photograph fall colours, here are a few tips that will help you create the most jaw-dropping, eye-popping photos possible!
  1. Shoot at sunrise or sunset when the light is golden, or on drizzly, overcast days to capture rich colour saturation.
  2. Use a polarizer to cut glare off leaves and wet surfaces. This will make the colours pop out of the scene!
  3. Use a tripod to make razor sharp photos, or so you can slow down the shutter speed to create artistic effects such as blurred water or moving leaves.  
  4. Try lots of different perspectives! Get close to leaves with your wide-angle lens, shoot up from the ground towards the canopy or get farther back and use a telephoto lens.

Have a great autumn season and I hope to bump into you in the woods somewhere!
Click here for more exciting Ontario outdoor adventures.

Oxtongue River Rapids, near Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

Monday, September 24, 2012

Results of Bruce Peninsula Landscape Photo Workshop 2012

Just finished a great photo workshop focused on the awe-inspiring landscapes of the northern Bruce Peninsula. The participants were enthusiastic and fun! Thanks to Rick, David, Glen, Kyle, Nancy, Lee Anne, Edith and Ross for enduring intermittent rain showers to be rewarded by dramatic fall skies! Thanks to Colin Field for helping out with instruction and Laura for logistics! Here are a few shots from the weekend...

2012 Bruce Peninsula landscape photo workshop gang. 

Halfway Rock, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario.

Photo workshop at Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario.

Conchoidal fractures in the dolostone bedrock at Little Cove, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario.