Thursday, February 24, 2011

2011 WEEK 8: Bird is the word

After last weeks photographic mis-step I feel like I got back on track this week combining some more close-up telephoto work with exercise as I braved the chilly Vancouver weather to take a hike through the forest in Stanley Park.

My ratio of good to bad was much higher with better light and more inspiring subject matter.

This was captured with the awesome Pentax Asahi Super-Takumar 135mm f/3.5 which is an M42 screw mount lens. Translation: Its a lens older than me and requires a cheap adaptor to work on modern DSLRs. I'm not sure if these two ducks were just camera-shy but their spontaneity and synchronized swimmer-like skills were fun to watch. Every time one of them stuck its rear in the air the other one followed.

A short distance from our double act duck friends in Beaver Lake I followed a winding trail alongside a small stream. It pays to be alert because what followed was a "blink and you'd miss it" kind of moment. Out one corner of my eye, very well camouflaged against the rocks in the stream bed, I suddenly saw a slight movement...

This blue heron had a real case of OCD. When I initially glimpsed him through the bushes I had a wide-angle lens mounted and I was sure he'd fly away before I could change back to the 135mm. Not only did he grant me the time to change lenses but he remained in the exact same position while I hurried downstream for a clearer view that wasn't obscured by bushes (this is where the pic above was taken). Even more surprising, he let me inch closer and closer along the edge of the stream.

So close in fact, I was granted the opportunity to capture this...

The entire time he allowed me to share his space, this fine specimen moved his head a total of two inches. Perhaps he was worried that if he moved too much he'd disrupt his awesome lil faux-hawk. I still don't know what it was that he was gazing so obsessively at with his incredibly vibrant eyes but I'm grateful for his generosity. His stillness sure helped me with the focusing on my old manual focus lens!

Leaving the blue heron behind I made my way back towards Lost Lagoon along Cathedral Trail and past The Grove of the Seven Sisters. There are many, many fallen and wounded trees around this area from when the park was devastated by a storm in December of 2006. Even with my wide angle Sigma 10-20mm mounted it was impossible to capture the true impact this event continues to have on the forest. So I went the opposite route and got up close and personal...

These tiny little 'shrooms were clinging to the side of a huge fallen tree covered by a thick shag carpet of moss. Life goes on. The cycle continues.

And here's a colorful reminder to us all that despite the damp chills blowing through our bones, Spring is just around the corner... I don't know about you but it can't come soon enough for me!