Better Birds

26 03 2008

I’ve taken some advice from the folks at POTN and have tried to shoot my local birds in the trees AROUND the balcony rather than while they were at the seed.  This went better.  The chickadees were very comfortable even flitting in to get a bite while I stood next to the seed, but the juncos were much more skittish.  Since the light was dark I decided to kick in the built in flash.  This limited me to 1/250s but I was able to set a smaller aperture.  The problem is that when the flash goes off, the birds take off VERY fast :(  I got a few shots of birds with wings in full flash and their butts to me… Urrgh.  Patience and a LOT of pictures later, I came up with about 5 decent shots.

The site that hosts them unfortunately has the 550px preview a bit dark, so you’ll have to click on the picture to open up the 1024px shot at its INTENDED brightness.  Enjoy!

Photos taken with Canon 40D, 100-300mm, usually at 300mm USM F/4.5-5.6 EXIF available on the fullsized pics.

1. Black Capped Chickadee

2. Another Black Capped Chickadee

3. Dark Eyed Junco (Oregon) coyly hiding in the fir

4. Dark Eyed Junco (Oregon) at "the feeder" 

5. Dark Eyed Junco (Oregon) finally sitting on a branch!

Constant improvement… that’s my goal.  


25 03 2008

I’ve taken to shooting more birds again 🙂

  1. I’ve started putting feed out on our balcony railing outside our living room.

    This has had the fun effect of bringing in all kinds of little (and large birds).  I now have seen darkeyed juncos (Oregon variety), black-capped chickadees, stellar’s jays and (somewhat surprisingly) crows.  The chickadees appear to be afraid of the juncos and they all seem to fear the crows.  The crows, on the other hand are really afraid of me while the chickadees don’t seem to care.  It’s quite an interesting "pecking order"

  2. It’s springtime and the ducks and other birds down at Burnaby lake are all trying to "get lucky", so their plumage is at its prime right now.  With the still relatively dull light of spring it’s a bit challenging, but there are some beautiful species down at the lake these days.

Here are my most recent shots…the version here is a bit dark, but if you click on it, you’ll get a larger (and brighter) version with better contrast with all the EXIF data intact for those that like to see what I used for settings. Shots are all taken with a Canon 40D and the Canon 100-300mm USM lens.

Backyard birds:

  1. Dark Eyed Junco:
  5. Black-capped Chickadee – doing the speedskating pose 😉

Lake Birds

  1. Male Bufflehead
  2.  Song Sparrow
  3.  Male Redwinged Blackbird
  4.  Mallard pair (sometimes you DON’T want the head 😉 )
  5.  Male Wood Duck

I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

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New Version of Foldershare!

25 03 2008

For those of you that have been using the great File sync/sharing app called Foldershare, the boys at previously named ByteTaxi (now part of MS) have put out a new version finally!

If you are using any older version, you should get the new one.  It apparently is better and smoother than the (very) old version.

Get your New Version of Foldershare!

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Planning a Trip to Europe

16 03 2008

I’m planning a trip to Europe… I’d love some input from those that have “Been there. Done that.”  What do you think about the planned itinerary?  I obviously also have about 4 days that can be redistributed to break up the trip and allow me to spend longer in some places than others.

I also want to find something to help break up the trip on what is presently days 16, 17, 18.  Anyone have any ideas?  Please leave comments with ideas!

Day # Origin Destination Time Distance Method
1 Vancouver Amsterdam Fly
2 Amsterdam The Hague 0:50 60km Drive
2 The Hague Kinderdjik 0:43 53km Drive
2 Kinderdjik Amsterdam Drive
3 Amsterdam Brussels (via the coast) 4:07 229km Drive
4 Brussels Reims 3:21 252km Drive
5 Reims Chartres 2:15 224km Drive
6 Chartres Paris Train
7 Chartres Paris Train
8 Chartres Saint-Laurent-Sur-Mer 3:02 313km Drive
9 Saint-Laurent-Sur-Mer Calais 5:03 518km Drive Beaches of Normandy/Vimy memorial
10 Calais London 2:50 171km Drive/Tunnel
11 London Transit
12 London Manchester 5:34 357km Drive via Bath
13 Manchester Chester Drive Day Trip – visit relatives
14 Manchester Fort William 6:51 573km Drive
15 Fort William Drive
16 Fort William Newcastle upon Tyne 5:44 435km Drive
17 Newcastle upon Tyne Ypres 8:06 702km Drive/Tunnel
18 Ypres Amsterdam 2:51 297km Drive
22 Amsterdam Canada Fly

Geckos, Snakes, and Pyrite

4 03 2008

This past weekend, I had 13 kids out of 500 running around Science World on Saturday Night.   Cry  While the kids tried variously to kill themselves or break things, I snuck over to the critter section and got some photo opportunities with the resident reptiles and a rock… I know.. I lead a pretty hurtin’ life Wink

OK… the gecko and the snake were DARK… serious PP was required to bring them to life, so they don’t look terribly good bigger than what I have here, but the pyrite was the opposite problem… MAJOR reflection!
All shots handheld with 100mm macro. Man moving objects are tricky!
1) Leopard Gecko:

2) Leopard Gecko:

3) Corn Snake:

4. Pyrite:

5. Pyrite:

Oil is now at record levels!

3 03 2008

Great… as if life in Vancouver isn’t expensive enough, Oil has hit an ALL TIME RECORD HIGH USD103.95(inflation adjusted).  Life just keeps getting more expensive and wages don’t seem to keep up.

Nice to see a few oil execs and Middle East princes will be getting richer.  They need the money. 




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Thanks for the great Tunes Jeff Healey

3 03 2008

Jeff Healey died today (Sunday March 2, 2008).  I had the privilege of seeing him play in the student pub at McGill in about 1988.  The man was truly a guitar genius.  His music had depth and feeling.  He drew you in with his playing.  Now, no new music will be forthcoming 😦

Thanks Jeff!  The tunes will carry on your memory inside us all!


Norman Jeffrey Healey

March 25, 1966 – March 2, 2008


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