Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More spring babies (of the Woodchuck variety)

This week-end I checked out a Woodchuck den that was active last year and was delighted to see a new family with three little ones. I can't be sure but I believe the mother is the same one as from last year. You can see my gallery of that family here.

This den is on a wooded slope in a cemetery which is a very busy place on week-ends and holidays. Car loads of people kept arriving and, in order to be discreet for the sake of these animals, I patiently waited for about two hours hoping that as the day waned, the crowds would thin out. Sure enough, around five pm I could hear car doors slamming and engines starting. At last I would have some "alone" time with the mum and her babies.

Well, one's patience is sorely tested when photographing wildlife! Just after the last car left and I positioned myself near the den, a raccoon wandered by on the upper edge of the slope (where one of the babies was exploring). By its manner I don't think it was stalking the young one but at the very least, it startled it and there was a big commotion resulting in one terrified little Woodchuck hurtling down the embankment (gravity was helping propel it and amazingly it never lost its footing) and all three dove deep into the den. As well, a stone was dislodged in the process and it made quite a racket as it tumbled down into the dried leaves. All this caused the mother to leap into action and climb up to confront the intruder - however it was long gone at that point.

Needless to say, my photo op was quickly over! Instead, I decided to come back the next day at an early morning hour which paid off with many of the following pictures. I am also happy to report that all three babies seemed no worse off for the skirmish of the previous day!

Mother resting.
Two of the babies.

All three babies!

Watching the watcher.

A tender moment between litter-mates.

A young one with the mother.

Mother bonding with baby.

Mother and all three babies!

The little ones love to chew on branches and twigs.


Relaxing in the dappled sunlight.

I was amazed to see lots of tree climbing!!

A sweet and alert little face :-)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spring babies

This week-end has been a delight and is due to having the good luck to see the new life that spring has brought. Here is a sampling!

Canada geese


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Didee's artwork

My sister, known in "blog" world as Didee, is an excellent artist. She has generously allowed me to post some of her artwork here. Some of her favorite media are represented in the selection below.






Monday, May 10, 2010

Bokeh effect

Having just become aware of an effect called "bokeh", I thought I would post a few photos which seem to illustrate it. It refers to the way points of light in a photograph are rendered. This effect can be created by an editing program such as Photoshop or (as in the cases below) can be created simply by the choice of aperture on a telephoto lens.
Photo edited examples are shown here:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rainy day squirrels

This was a pretty dreary week-end but there were a few sunny breaks on Saturday afternoon so I grabbed my camera and dashed over to a near-by college campus hoping to find some interesting subjects. Well the squirrels cooperated!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Photography exhibit

This past week-end I participated in the annual Mount Royal Cemetery photography exhibit. This was my third time participating and is an event that I look forward to since most of my photography is done in this cemetery or other parts of Mount Royal. This year's theme was "The spirit of the mountain expressed through texture in all its forms".

It's always fun to meet up again with the other participants and view their work.

Here are the four entries that I submitted with their titles and write-ups:

Leaf in decline. The texture of this weathered and partially consumed leaf shows how insects and other organisms use it to sustain themselves. The spirit of the mountain is expressed in life's continuance.

Rock and icicles. The textures exhibited in this image convey an abstract quality. The spirit of the mountain encompasses both the permanent and the transient as symbolized by both the rock and the icicle.

Light and texture. The pattern of the veins and the reflection of the light on these leaves highlight an interesting texture. The spirit of the mountain is expressed through the various forms of plant life.

Muddy face. This muddy Woodchuck's face exhibits the texture of its earth-encrusted fur and gives an insight into its habits in the woodland areas. What better expression of the mountain's spirit than this gentle creature.

I was very pleased during the awards ceremony to find out that my picture Light and texture won the "Artist's Choice" award. This is the photograph voted by the participants to have best represented the theme.

All the winning photos will be exhibited in "The Gryphon D'or Tea Room" in NDG (Montreal) for two weeks in June.

Next year's theme is "The spirit of the mountain as expressed by Nature in all its forms" so that makes it wide open - but hard to choose what to submit!