Yesterday it was -28°C (-38°C with the wind chill factor), a good occasion to go to the St-Louis river in Beauharnois to photograph the Mallard Ducks that stays there all winter. At these temperatures it’s important to be well dressed if you want to stay warm and keep shooting, especially your hands, i did put hand warmers in my mitts to keep my fingers warm.
First, here is some photos of the river to show you the habitat:
Since it was very cold, there was a thick layer of fog over the river and it was difficult to get accurate focus on the Ducks.
I also found Cedar leaves in the snow in the forested area along the river, so I took close-up shots.
When I woke-up on Monday morning it was -20°C, finally a cold night ! I took the following photo from the bottom of the canal looking directly at the waterfall. The shot was taken with my Pentax K50 and DA 40mm XS at f/11.
Two days later after 2 nights of -20°C temperature and that morning the temperature was around -12°C, i went back, but this time I positioned my camera at the top of the canal and waterfall and looking down at it. This time I used my Canon 7D with my 24mm STM also set at f/11. You can see that there is a lot more ice on the canal !
This morning it was -4°C when I woke-up, I headed to a field near my home that I knew that will have a lot of frost. But the most interesting subject was Clover leaves caught in ice in a waterhole.
I didn’t post much lately, not much time and the temperature or subjects didn’t cooperated. Went to test my new Pentax K50 this morning, it was -15°C (-23°C with the windchill). I like to go to a local old canal to try out new gear because of the details in the canal.
This past week was quite cold here in “La Belle Province”, a true Canadian winter week 🙂
On the morning that i took the photo posted below it was -30°C (-35°C with the windchill factor), the trees along the St-Lawrence river were covered with frost. I converted the photo in B&W because i felt it was better looking like that.
Didn’t had many occasion for photography this week but managed to get that one last Monday, it was -22°C before sunrise and -26°C with the windchill factor. I knew that along the Canal Soulange where there is those old wooden structures, the water froze on them and the surrounding vegetations.
This morning it was -15°C when i woke up, so i went on the shore of a river to photograph ice again before it melts in the coming days because it will be warmer and with rains on December 24th. As usual i got very close to the river, even fell on my butt in the cold water, by chance my winter pants are waterproof 🙂 I tried different angles and lenses, this is my favorite one and i converted it in B&W.
Not much time to shoot this week but got a photo on the shore of a Lake close to my work. Birds are staying later and later now, some even stay here that were flying South some years ago, warmer climate probably ?!?!
Yesterday, when i woke-up, it was -10°C and knew where i wanted to go to see if there was fresh ice along a river. As expected there was fresh ice on the rocks and moss in the river. I played with my camera in the water for 2 hours and got some nice photos, but this one is my favorite.
This week was not the most productive, i took some photos of ice and leaves but not what i was hoping for. I went to an Historical site near my home this morning, it was -5°C and very windy, windy days are difficult for photography unless you can take advantage of it. This site is on the shore of the St-Lawrence river, i was hoping to find some ice formations on the rocks in the rapids. There was some ice for sure but the best looking ice was farther from the shore in the river so i had to walk in the river to get there, i had to be careful not to slip on the icy rocks and on the mossy rocks that were in the water.
Last Monday the temperature during the night dropped to -2°C, before going to work i stopped at a river to see if ice had formed on the vegetation and rocks. There wasn’t much ice on the rocks, not cold enough but on one rock there was some moss covered with ice. I used my 180mm Macro lens to get that close-up of the small moss, i like the color combination of the green moss and blue/purple water in the background.
This morning i went to a pond close to my home to see if i could find some Frogs to photograph, i could hear some but couldn’t find any of them. It was 5C and raining, it’s probably too cold, so Frogs or not as active, maybe in a week or 2.
I saw a Canada Goose defending the pond against another Goose who just landed on the pond, not long after i found why, there was another Goose on a nest ! They are very wel camouflaged in the vegetation and they keep a low profile. I took some photos and left them alone not to disturb them more than necessary.
This morning it was cold for the month of March (-20C ), also the wind was blowing and with the windchill factor it was around -30C. I was seeing the shake caused by the wind in my viewfinder, so a high shutter speed combined with good long lens technique was required to get a sharp shot.
I spotted some Ducks on the river and the rising sun added some life to the scene. I took some with them in flight but they were not beautifully placed or their surrounding was not as photogenic as the one below.
Here they are swimming on the fog covered river, they are small in the photo but i wanted to show them in their habitat, it’s what i liked when i saw the scene. I cropped the top and bottom of the photo for composition purposes.
Canon T3i with 70-200mm/4 L at 200mm, tripod.
This time it’s a photo of a Black Duck that i took last week-end on a cold morning (-22C) around sunrise. The fog add to the atmosphere of the silouhetted Duck.
Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, tripod.
Another cold week, but it makes for good opportunities for photos. You just have to dress well and be ready to endure some cold and be ready to shoot. That morning when i took that photo it was -30C and the Old Canal was all frosted …. like i was hoping for.
Pentax K-01 with DA 20-40mm Limited, tripod.
Went to a river that don’t froze during winter and where Mallard Ducks stay all winter because peoples give them foods. They are easier to get close to photograph and the setting can be beautiful when there is fresh snow on the ground. There was around 30 of them last week-end when i went with my family, my 2 young girls love to observe the Ducks.
It was quite warm for a winter day, around -4C, it was cloudy with some periods of falling snow. Since Ducks are easy to get close i was shooting with 2 cameras (Canon 7D and T3i), with my 400mm/5.6L and 70-200mm/4 L (with and without my TC 1.4X II attached). It was a good combination, i was able to switch rapidly between my 2 kit depending on the situation and distance of my subject.
Here is one of a female in the river.
T3i, 70-200mm/4L at 200mm, ISO 800, 1/500 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.
Male taking a break in the river.
T3i, 400mm/5.6L, ISO 800, 1/320 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.
The Vacuum Duck.
T3i, 70-200mm/4L, at 163mm, ISO 800, 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.
Another female Mallard Duck.
T3i, 70-200mm/4L, at 159mm, ISO 800, 1/800 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.
7D, 400mm/5.6L, ISO 640, 1/400 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.
I was there only 1 hour, my kids wanted to go back home, but this week-end i will go again on Sunday. The temperature will be around -20C in the morning so it will be good for photography, the Ducks will have frost on their feathers ! The 400mm was often too strong and the Ducks looked too tightly squeezed in the frame, will probably use more my 70-200mm this time, might even try to get a shot with my WA lens.
It’s been a very cold week, nights temperatures were ranging from -20C to -28C ! Good for forming ice on rivers and Waterfalls. This is a shot of an old Canal close to my home, it’s been closed to navigation for many yeasr now.
Pentax K-01 with DA 20-40mm WR Limited, tripod.
I was in vacation this week and had the chance to take more photos this week and in the middle of the week we got colder nights. The photo of this week was taken on the second morning we had nights between -15C to – 20C. It’s an old Canal close to my house that is closed since many, many years.
Canon 7D with 70-200mm/4 L, tripod.
I want to talk about a topic that is not often talked about in Photography forums. Peoples that or not photographers thinks that it’s easy to be a good Nature photographer, you just have to buy a good camera and then you go in the wild and you will take great Wildlife shots for sure since you have a very good camera !
I will not talk about learning the skills here like exposure, composition and knowing your gear, i will talk about how it can be tough on your body to be out in the field with a camera bag full of cameras and lenses in difficult environments and weather. If you want to be serious with your photography and come home with good shots and push yourself to get the best out of your subjects you will have to be out early and in sometimes in very bad conditions.
Eventually if your interested in photographing wildlife and especially birds you will need at least a 400mm lens, sooner or later your camera bag will get heavier and it’s your shoulders and back that will take that load. Add to this that you will be walking in rough terrain and often off beaten trails, your body will take some abuse over the years and as you get older all those years will get into you. Now we are lucky to have great camera bags and backpacks that help a lot carrying those heavy camera bags in the wild, when i started photography about 26 years ago i was using a camera bag like the journalist (a big square bag that you carry with the strap on your shoulder), not good for the shoulders and neck.
Blood sucking Mosquitoes are another thing that you have to deal with here in Canada and many other places in the world. They can drive you crazy while you’re trying to compose your shots, especially when i’m photographing frogs on the shore of a pond.
Canon 7D with EF 70-300mm IS + Extension tubes, tripod.
That Green Frog photo was taken on the shore of a little pond infested with black flies !
You will have to get wet and often shoot while getting flat on the ground on muddy terrain like when shooting along a pond. So you will get wet and cold even on not so cold days, as you get older your articulations will not like this too much.
Pentax K-01 with DFA 100mm Macro WR handheld while laying on the ground.
Cold temperatures are inevitable around here, so if you want to take great shots in winter you will have to go out in bad weather. I really like to get out early in the morning when it’s -15C or lower because you can take photographs of fog over the rivers. When shooting in winter you have to be well dressed, but your hands will get cold when handling metal tripods and lenses, i prefer to use thin gloves but there are times when manipulating the gear is easier with your bare hands. I once frozed my little fingers and they felt like i had a 100 needles planted in them for about 1 week.
When i saw that a Fox had walked on the Lake and the sun was just about to rise above the horizon, i stopped and didn’t had time to put my gloves on. It was -20C, my fingers got frozen quickly at handling the Graduated Split neutral density filter in front of the lens.
Canon T3i with EFs 15-85mm, tripod.
I may sound not too positive but it’s really like that, it’s hard sometimes, long hours waiting for wildlife on a cold day sitting in the snow but that’s what makes it so much fun. If it would be easy everyone would get great shots and there would not be so much interest in trying to get beautiful shots. Not everyone knows how much work it takes to get beautiful photos of Nature’s wonderful world, but YOU know what it takes to get them.
By the end of this week the temperatures finally dropped, Friday and Saturday mornings were colder, it was around -15C and there was fog all over the St-Lawrence river. So i was on the shore of the St-Lawrence river before sunrise Saturday morning hoping to get some shots with the fog. Here is my favorite of that morning, i obtained the effect on the water with a long exposure of 15 seconds at f/11, ISO 250, tripod.