Category: Wildlife

Black Bears and Blueberries

There was a bumper crop of blueberries in Ontario this summer. As a result, many different animals made use of this bounty, from geese to various mammals. Of most interest to myself were black bears, who visited these fields almost constantly for a few weeks, actually almost two months. Even though I was first able to make it up near the end of this period, I was fortunate enough to see three different families, each consisting of a sow (female) and two cubs.

Below are a few of my favourite images.

Black Bear cub standing in a blueberry field

Black Bear cub standing in a blueberry field (click to enlarge)

Black Bear sow

Black Bear sow (click to enlarge)

Black Bear cub eating blueberries

Black Bear cub eating blueberries(click to enlarge)

Bull Moose

Algonquin Provincial Park, in Ontario, Canada is a fantastic destination for moose viewing. This is especially true during the spring, when moose are attracted to the slightly salty water near the highways, caused by runoff from the winter’s salting operations. I was able to photograph this large adult bull last spring, as he munched away beside the highway, seemingly oblivious to the surrounding crowd. So far this is the largest moose I’ve found, and it would be wonderful to meet him again (at a safe distance!) in the fall when he has shed the velvet.

Bull moose eating vegetation

Bull moose chomping down on vegetation (click to enlarge) - Canon 5DII - 800/5.6IS

Bull moose in a beaver pond

Side profile view of a bull moose in a beaver pond (click to enlarge) - Canon 1DIV - 300/2.8IS

See more moose photos at my website (more photos to come)

Red Foxes

This past winter I had some incredible opportunities with red fox. Surprisingly, this pair hunted right near the road and were accommodating enough to allow for some really close photos. How close is close? I was able to capture many images using just a 70-200mm lens with 1.4x teleconverter, which is not only a very short focal length for a wild animal, but also gave great flexibility in framing.

Here are two photos of the female (vixen) that I particularly liked. I believe there are several more worthy of posting.

Red Fox Portrait

Red Fox Portrait (click to enlarge) Full frame image with Canon 1DIV + 800/f5.6IS

Red Fox stalking prey

Red Fox stalking prey (click to enlarge) - Canon 1DIV 70-200 x1.4

View more, or order a print at my gallery!

Macro photography using a telephoto lens

While it’s not an obvious choice for closeups, a supertelephoto lens can be surprisingly capable at macro photography. It’s not possible to get close enough for extreme macro photography of small bugs, but other wildlife such as butterflies or snakes are very well suited to this method of photography. In the middle of the summer I was walking around trying to find birds to photograph, and although I failed with that, there were many monarch butterflies around. While I didn’t have an extension tube, I was able to get close enough by using a 1.4x converter on my 600mm lens. An extension tube would have made it possible to get even closer, so I’ve now made a point of carrying an extension tube with me, because you never know what opportunities might present themselves.

There are several advantages to using a telephoto lens. Not only can you blur the background more than you could with a short macro lens (say 100mm), due to the focal length compression, but you you can shoot at wider apertures and benefit from a higher shutter speed. Whereas most macro lenses will be shot at f16 or narrower, to ensure enough depth of field when close to the subject, a telephoto could be used at around f8. Additionally, thanks to the extra working distance, you are less likely to scare off your subject. In this case I was 10-20 feet away from the butterflies, and this made it far easier to photograph without them leaving.

Monarch Butterfly on Teasel (600mm and 1.4x)

Monarch Butterfly on Teasel (click to enlarge)

Monarch Butterflies (600mm with 1.4x)

Monarch Butterflies (click to enlarge)

Monarch Butterflies (300mm with 1.4x)

Monarch Butterfly roost (click to enlarge)