Waterton Park – Prince of Wales

I love Waterton Park!!! Get me started on the management of the park and you will not be able to stop me as I truly want Waterton protected for the future!. I think Waterton is perfect in so many ways. Now ask me what I think in the dead of winter when the wind will not stop blowing and the snow keeps drifting and I may say something else but that is all part of Waterton.

On amazing days there is no place any better than Waterton! Saturday morning was one of those times. I was suppose to teach a class in Waterton on Saturday morning. Just before they confirmed the class I agreed to head out to Yoho for a shoot. Then the Yoho shoot got postponed as the parkway was not open yet. So I headed to Waterton on Saturday to see what was out and about. It started raining sometime in the early morning on Sunday and got harder and harder all night. Sometime around 4 I got up for a drink and I realized that I had a window open and the rain had been hitting that window. Closed the window and went back to sleep and listened to the rain on the roof. Around 6 I woke up to still more rain. I thought if it was raining I may as well stay in bed. Woke up again at 7 and the rain had stopped and some sun had started to peak out. Got up and headed out to shoot! WOW what a morning!!! No wind, the clouds were breaking up and the sun was starting to poke through.

Where to go???

The only problem with a morning like this is where to go, there are SOOOOO many places that you want to go to when it is perfect out. After a drive up to the lookout just before the border on Chief Mountain Highway I headed back towards the town site. I passed a number of good photo opportunities as I had some ideas in my mind what I wanted to shoot. As I got closer to the town site I made up my mind. I turned off the road to a lookout over the valley that I have always wanted to use. Today was that day!!! Got up to the lookout only to run into a couple bears. So much for getting out here. A few pictures of them then to location two, Driftwood beach.

The weather was still perfect so I got a amazing shot of the POW. Some days it is just a perfect place to work at!!!

Waterton Park

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American Goldfinch – Break Time

When I am trying to do some work on the van and a Goldfinch shows up I have to take a break and take some pictures. I have seen Goldfinches in the river bottom in Lethbridge. This one must have heard about the amazing food that we have and decided to do a road trip for lunch. Of course I had to sneak into the house to take some pictures. I always have the 150 – 600 Sigma ready to go on the 70D body. So I grabbed that set-up and shot off a few pictures before I had to get back to work.

He was a very cooperative subject and I got some great images. One question that I am asked about shooting birds in your backyard is how do I do it?

Do I have windows without screens on them?

Do I open windows to shoot?

Well it is yes and no. I try and remove the screen from the window and quietly open the window. But many times if I do that I scare the birds away. If they are at the back of the yard I will try and open the window. If they are close to the window I will shoot through the window. All these pictures are shot through the closed window. I do not shoot through the screen part of the window. Fortunately for me half of the window is screen. The rest is glass. So I can shoot from any window and use the non glass part.

Goldfinch and House Finch
House Finch and GoldFinch
Why is there a Goldfinch on my branch??
Why is there a Goldfinch on my branch??
Those seeds look good
Those seeds look good

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Equipment for the wildlife photographer

What equipment do I need?

One of the most common questions that I am asked is – “I would like to get more serious with my photography, what equipment should I buy to get better pictures?”

Well it is not an easy question to answer as a lot depends on the type of photography that you want to do.  I will address this post from the nature / wildlife photographers area.

Camera

A DSLR camera, one that will take interchangeable lenses. Yes you can use other cameras and I know some great photographers that do. A DSLR allows you to switch out lenses and do upgrades using the same camera body. Also a camera that is at least 8 megapixels is a good place.  If your camera meets the above specifications then I would upgrade other equipment first.

Lenses

A good wide angle lens for landscape and a good telephoto lens for wildlife is a must. You do not need to go with the $14000.00 lens but small improvements in your lens quality and range will help you to properly frame your pictures better. I have a amazing Sigma 150-600 that I LOVE for my wildlife. Well worth every penny!!!

Flash

For nature and wildlife I would stay away from spending on any flashes.  In my opinion more important areas should be updated first.

Tripod / Monopod

If you do not have a good tripod this is an area that you should look at. The cheaper tripods are fine as a platform to hold your camera in bright light but nothing less. A good tripod will hold your camera still and allow you to pan with your lens.  You can use your tripod for long night exposures and also to hold your larger lenses. Monopods are a great option if you like to hike or just need some extra support for a big lens in bright light.  They are cheaper than a tripod and a lot lighter. These are designed to add some additional support when hand holding.

Carrying bag

A good carrying bag is a must to keep things organized and safe.  If you do a lot of hiking get a good backpack and you will never regret it.

Equipment Paterson Photography Lethbridge Eye cup
I bought a larger eye piece for shooting wildlife so it is easier to see through the viewfinder in bright sun

Batteries

Extra batteries are relatively cheap and a great idea.  Nothing is worse than getting out to a location and running out of power.  A in-vehicle charger is also a good idea to charge your batteries if you are going to be on location for a number of days.

Accessories

Other items like filters, remotes, etc can also help improve your photography. My way of telling if I need something or not is if I have needed it at least a couple times I will put it on my list to buy. I NEVER buy something if I don’t need it for some type of shooting.

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Waterton Spring Visit

Waterton Spring Trip

Waterton Spring
If I stand really still the photographer will not see me!!
Waterton April 20, 2019. This fox came for a visit. He headed to a field to hunt some ground squirrels then would head back to his den He was so wet but this shot does not show it.

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Spring 2019 Lethbridge River Bottom

Spring 2019

Thought it would be fun to see what birds had returned to the river bottom now that spring 2019 is here. While it may say spring on the calendar the birds never got the message. There were a few of the regulars but not a lot of new comers. After it being so cold for so long I understand why there is not a hug influx of returning birds. If I was them I would be waiting down south till I knew that the warm weather was here to stay. I did see a couple Robins, a few Starlings and a Franklin Gull but that was it.

Spring 2019 the melt is on!!
I love seeing the reflection in the water. Means the ice is melting!!!!

Read moreSpring 2019 Lethbridge River Bottom

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House Hunting

Spring is around the corner and house hunting season is upon us. I always know when spring is arriving when the screams start early in the morning and go till sunset. No it is not only my wife screaming at the predators eating her song birds. But the hawks coming back to stake out nesting sites. The screams start as soon as they arrive in the neighborhood and go till the eggs have been laid. Then once the young hatch the get back to screaming till the young are out of the nest.

House hunting

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