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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Got Lucky - Barred Owl Day

We got very lucky on our outing today, though it was very short lived due to rain. Seeing a bunch of cars and people with lenses as we drove past an area we often go to pretty much clued me in to the fact that there must be an owl sitting there. I figured since their lenses were 400 mm and such, that maybe we'd not be able to see the owl well but as we entered the path, you could see it right away. It was a barred owl, sitting right out on a branch of a tree out in the open. He looked around and down constantly, looking for prey. At one point he flew down to the ground and I stared back at him staring at me though an opening in the grasses. He then flew back up to the tree onto a different branch and continued his watch. Above him landed a woodpecker at which he craned his head upwards to have a look at, then a few jays flew in and caught his eye. I gather these birds aren't his regular prey as he paid them not much mind.

This was a very very exciting and cool sight to behold, and so close! Too bad it began raining. We may go back later in the day to see if he has left or is hanging around.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Lately - Halls Road and Thickson Woods Shorter Walks

There's been a lot going on so less time available for hikes and walks in our favourite places. Absolutely no painting but hopefully will get some in this very weekend. That urge to go for a real long and vigorous hike somewhere is real nagging but our outings have tended to be shorter and not so exercise filled. But, they still always are filled with cool sightings.

The main reasons we go out so often on these walks is a) simple and enjoyable time spent which has a 100% return for almost 0% cost ( we are lucky to have these amazing wetlands and marshes practically right in our own back yard) b) it is good exercise (usually lol) c) we have met some really nice and interesting people d) we have learned things we never knew about birds, insects, animals, the history of the areas, plants, etc. e) we always manage to see something amazing and cool

Not so much do I have a particular huge interest in being a "birder" or a "nature lover" or a "photographer", what drives me to love to go out on walks and hikes is the anticipation of "what will I see this time". The photography part comes in because I've always been an artist, and although I prefer and my first love is painting, photo reference has always played a part in being a representational painter, and I am forever composing and designing 2 dimensional images. I am very drawn to interesting and dramatic lighting, atmosphere, then cast shadows and translucency. One thing I find is that I always will attempt to push my camera past it's limits in hopes of getting something recorded that in case it failed technically in the original shot,  I can  at least later try the best I can to get an image that resembles how my eye saw and how my mind remembers the image and how I reacted to what I was privy to seeing. So, in essence, the camera is a tool for "remembering" for me.

From these walks we come back with the excitement of sitting together and enjoying the slideshow of images while having a snack or a coffee and breakfast. There's always some surprise in the images that I didn't physically see while taking a shot of something, or that was a lucky one off shot that ended up being in focus, or something along those lines.

Below are some of the images from over the past couple weeks, from Halls Rd., Cranberry Marsh areas, and Thickson Woods area, which we love.




Sunday, 7 October 2012

Not Many Walks Lately

The last 2 weeks or so have been really limiting due to a family issue and we've barely been outside our apartment. However, we did go out quickly at one point, in the midst of everything, just to clear our heads. We went down to Halls Rd. for a bit, our favourite place. We stayed only a few moments because really, we enjoy the calm and peace and the sights of birds and animals are an added bonus to our walks. Photographing things is a joy, a sort of "art fix" that in some ways substitutes for me not being able to paint as often right now, and not so much the reason for going. I guess due to the season being raptor observation time, we just found the crowd of mostly serious people down at the lookout, and on the paths we walk, a bit too much for us during this period of time and we didn't stay long, it just was not relaxing or enjoyable - the only time it hasn't been. Normally, we really enjoy being around and sometimes talking with the people we run into.

We did manage to get a shot of a Northern Harrier hawk at one point, though before these last 2 weeks. On the recent short walk, we were lucky to see the deer and some really neat sparrows and such. I didn't get many great shots to speak of, my mind just wasn't focused and my reflexes were slow and I wasn't in the greatest frame of mind. But, even though it wasn't one of the more relaxing times and it wasn't a long walk, we always see something cool and memorable and come away feeling lucky we have these areas so close to where we live.