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I hope you enjoyed my earlier post about Pelee Island.  This latest post focuses on bird photos.

As you may know, thousands of birds migrate through this area every spring.  Pelee Island is a stopover for many interesting species, and attracts avid birders.  Having access to some very experienced and knowledgeable LWI birders who attend this event makes the trip especially worthwhile.    For some competitive birders, Pelee Island offers the annual Botham Cup.  This event is a bird “race” taking place over a 24 hour period from Friday noon until Saturday noon.  Teams try and sight as many bird species as possible.  Two teams of LWI members entered the event; one competing in the “green” category which means restricting your movement around the island to walking or bicycling.  The other team used their car.  Both teams placed well, and earned a mention at the culminating banquet held at Pelee Island Winery and hosted by author Margaret Atwood (an island resident in the summer).

Anyway, take a look at the photos and if you enjoy birdwatching and have never been to Pelee Island, you may want to plan to attend the LWI camping trip in 2017.

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Every spring for many years now, LWI holds a group camping outing on Pelee Island.  2016 was the first year for myself and Roberta attending.  Pelee Island is an easy 1 hour and 30 minute ferry ride from Leamington.  The campground is located only a few kilometers from the ferry dock and is well situated for making forays to the various corners of the island.

By late Thursday the LWI group camping site was well populated with tents, dining shelters, pop-up camper vans and one truck camper.  Some members come as early as Tuesday, with most departing back to the mainland on the Sunday.  A total of 21 campers attended, with ages ranging from elementary school up to ??  Most campers in the group brought bicycles, as the island is relatively small and quite flat.  For some outings we did choose to drive, in order to facilitate moving to other locations depending on bird concentrations or lack thereof. We enjoyed group hikes, campfires, late night owling (successfully calling in screech owls!) and great camaraderie.  The atmosphere at the campsite was very relaxed and driving on the island is slow and easy; everyone waves at other vehicles.

The island is a mix of agricultural land, vineyards, and protected conservation lands, each with its own unique habitat.  I thought the best way to describe the nature aspects of the trip was to show some photos.  2016 was a record turnout for this popular LWI outing and we hope 2017 will be even better.  I have split my photos into two posts; the first will be general nature photos, and the second post will focus on bird photos.   Enjoy!

Last spring I purchased a 600mm lens and headed out to Canatara Park to see what birds I could spot, and to see if I could actually photograph any of them. To be honest, I wanted to see whether or not I was going to enjoy a longer lens.

I’m not a birder, although I love them and wish I could identify more species than I can. I have often captured the birds visiting my feeders in the winter, but that’s always been for fun and to document the species.

Here are some of the shots I took on April 20th, 2016. Other than basic editing I didn’t do any major cropping to make the birds appear larger in the frame, which is always an option, if I have captured a sharp enough image.

I thought it was a pretty decent first try with a new lens, especially since I took them all handheld. Do yourself a favour, if you are shooting with a long lens, use a tripod or at least a monopod to get the sharpest images. Having some support will also save your arm some strain because long lenses are quite heavy and somewhat awkward!

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After months of keeping it a secret, we’re finally ready to announce the winners of our 2016 Photo Contest.

In total, over 200 photos were entered entailing a diversity of plants, animals, mushrooms, scenes, and landscapes that truly highlighted Lambton County. It was a difficult judging process with many excellent entries. The panel of judges were from the Sarnia Photographic Club, the Petrolia Camera Club and Lambton Wildlife. Judging was aided by several other members of the Sarnia Photographic Club who made the process much more efficient with the use of a scoring machine and volunteering their time and effort.

One of the goals of the contest was to encourage the citizens of Lambton County to enjoy the outdoors and share their experiences through the medium of photography. By sharing these experiences we bring awareness to our area’s unique natural heritage. After going through all the photos, we felt like we succeeded!

The most rewarding part of the contest was that it was all captured by YOU! YOU explored the natural areas.  YOU braved and/or basked in the elements. YOU took the time to capture special moments that can be shared. We THANK YOU for that.

The winners were announced and awarded their prizes at the “Members Photofest” event on January 30th.  At the event, they had the opportunity to share any comments or stories behind their photo and answer any questions. It served as the perfect celebratory cap to Lambton Wildlife’s 50th Anniversary.

Keep on exploring and taking wonderful pictures!

The winners for each category are:

Youth Excellence

1st Place - Alexi Czyczurko with “Sunset Seagull”

Youth Excellence – 1st Place – Alexi Czyczurko with “Sunset Seagull”

Youth Excellence - 3rd Place - Lexi McCormick with “Turtles”

Youth Excellence – 3rd Place – Lexi McCormick with “Turtles”

Honourable Mention - Vidal Hart with “Take Off”

Youth Excellence – Honourable Mention – Vidal Hart with “Take Off”

Flora

Flora - 1st Place - Charlene Graham with “Trilliums”

Flora – 1st Place – Charlene Graham with “Trilliums”

Flora - 2nd Place - Sharon Nethercott with “Butterfly Meadows, Warwick Conservation Area”

Flora – 2nd Place – Sharon Nethercott with “Butterfly Meadows, Warwick Conservation Area”

3rd - Stephen Hunt with “One in a Million”

Flora – 3rd Place – Stephen Hunt with “One in a Million”

Honourable Mention - Alexis with “Milkweed”

Flora – Honourable Mention – Alexis B with “Milkweed”

 

Fauna

1st Place - Frank Rodin with “Scratchin’ an Itch”

Fauna – 1st Place – Frank Rodin with “Scratchin’ an Itch”

Fauna - 2nd Place - Peter DeBurger with “Meeting of the Minds”

Fauna – 2nd Place – Peter DeBurger with “Meeting of the Minds”

3rd Place - Janette Baillie with “Doe a Deer”

Fauna – 3rd Place – Janette Baillie with “Doe a Deer”

Honourable Mention - Shuff with “Indigo Bunting”

Fauna – Honourable Mention – Sid Huff with “Indigo Bunting”

Honourable Mention - Lorraine Morill with “Red-breasted Merganser in Mating Ritual”

Fauna – Honourable Mention – Lorraine Morrill with “Red-breasted Merganser in Mating Ritual”

Landscape

1st Place - Daniel Belly with “Blue Point Sunset”

Landscapes/scenery – 1st Place – Daniel Bellyk with “Blue Point Sunset”

George Roesma with “Bluewater Bridge”

Landscapes/scenery – 2nd Place – George Roesma with “Bluewater Bridge”

3rd Place – Deryl Nerthercott with “Winter on the St. Clair”

Honourable Mention - Darren Metcalfe with “Sunset”

Landscapes/scenery – Honourable Mention – Darren Metcalfe with “Sunset”

Honourable Mention - Lauren Broeders with “Lambton Shores”

Landscapes/scenery – Honourable Mention – Lauren Broeders with “Lambton Shores”

Honourable Mention - Denise Dykema with “Country Roads”

Landscapes/scenery – Honourable Mention – Denise Dykema with “Country Roads”

 

Join us for an evening of photography as members present some interesting shots and tell us the stories behind them.

If you are a member of Lambton Wildlife and would like to participate, please contact Mary Martin at president@lambtonwildlife.com.

Don’t forget to come out at 7pm for a short social gathering and refreshments before the evening presentation begins!

 

Join us for an evening of photography as members present some interesting shots and tell us the stories behind them.

Don’t forget to come out at 7pm for a short social gathering and refreshments before the evening presentation begins!

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After a great response to the LWI nature photography contest, it’s apparent that we have numerous talented photographers snapping shots in Lambton County that are worthy of sharing.  Now that the photo contest is over, we’d like to invite you to share your best shots with other Lambton Wildlife members on an ongoing basis.

We have started a Lambton County Nature group on the Flickr website.  Flickr members (it’s free to join) who are LWI members can join our Lambton County Nature group and by uploading your photos into Flickr they will be automatically uploaded onto the LWI website for all to see.  The Flickr group app will allow up to 5 images to be uploaded each day.

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Flickr is the primary sharing site where you can view photos from around the globe.  Over 13 billion photos!  The images shared on the site will both amaze you and inspire you.  Nature shots are a large component of what is being uploaded.

Joining Flickr is easy, go to www.flickr.com and follow the instructions to sign up.  Once you have a Flickr login, the Lambton County nature group is by invitation only, in order to limit access to LWI members only.  To receive an invitation to join the Flickr group: “Lambton County Nature”, please e-mail webmaster@lambtonwildlife.com.


Lambton County has a wealth of amazing sights, from flora to fauna, insects to fungi, and landscapes too.  Please share you images with all of us; they just might inspire someone!  It’s also a great way for the Flickr community to see great images of Lambton County.

November 15th is the last day for submissions into the Lambton Wildlife 2016 Photo Contest. If you haven’t submitted an image in each category, you still have time!
There are 4 categories: Flora, Fauna, Landscapes and Youth Excellence.
You can submit 1 image per category, but only 1.
Images should showcase Lambton County.
All photos must have been captured within the last two years.
Upload your images via the online contest page or via the submissions page.
Don’t wait, get yours in now!
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Suppose you are walking through Canatara Park and suddenly you spot a beautiful warbler on a branch overhead. It’s the middle of the day with a bright, sunny sky. You excitedly snap several photos, but later when you look at the photos on a computer you are disappointed to see that the bird in the photo is darker than you anticipated.

backlit-bird-1-5The problem is that the bird was backlit and this situation is quite common, seeing as birds are often overhead and so is the sun. Even with binoculars, a bird against a bright sky often looks like a silhouette of a bird. Your camera’s sensor that controls exposure has the same problem, it “sees” a small bird and a bright sunny sky and interprets that as “hey, there is plenty of light here so I don’t need to let as much light into the camera to get a properly exposed image”, so it limits the amount of light (typically by reducing shutter speed or decreasing the aperture) thereby giving you the underexposed bird in your photo. (more…)

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Here is a simple tip that will help improve your bird photos no matter what type of camera you are using.

Photography is essentially the capture of light. The way light strikes your subject makes a significant difference to the quality of your photo. How can you use this fact to get a better shot? Pay attention to where the sun is when you are shooting. Ideally the sun should be directly behind you when you photograph a bird. I know, this is the reverse from taking photos of people outdoors: if the sun is behind the photographer, every person in your photo is squinting because the sun is shining right into their eyes when they look towards you. But birds don’t typically squint, and by placing yourself with the sun behind you this will achieve the best possible lighting and minimize shadows. How can you judge quickly where the sun is? Look at your shadow, if your shadow is pointing towards the bird, this is ideal.

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The sun was over my right shoulder when I took this shot. Note the catch light in the bird’s eye and the vivid plumage and the warm background tones.

 

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