I see shorebirds in the sloughs to the east of Calgary all the time. There are a huge variety of species that pass through the area, but most of them are common and repeatable. Some are a little less common and it’s always very interesting for me to try to figure out exactly what they are. I am definitely a photographer before a birder, but I definitely have a bug in me for birds and I always get excited to find a species I’ve never seen before. This is the only Western Willet I’ve ever seen and I was fortunate that it let me get very close and watch it for a long time! In fact I eventually had to leave and it stayed right there the whole time while I was packing up my gear and when I walked back to my truck.
I’m finally getting around to posting a few more images from my trip to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario in June… We camped at Booth Lake for two nights and on the day in between we paddled into McCarthy Creek. It’s really more of a long and winding marsh than a creek as there really is no current to speak of. And other than a narrow channel of open water in the middle, the entire creek is covered with tall grasses and marshy weeds as far as the eye can see. And there are millions of Water Lily’s.
I really mean it when I say millions of Water Lily’s. They are everywhere! Their delicate white flowers gradually open in the light of the day and then close down again in the late afternoon. This is nice on a canoe trip because you can sleep in, have a leisurely camp style breakfast, and still be on the water with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery!
Having said that, the Lily’s are only open during the middle of the day, and they grow in wide open areas, brightly lit areas. This can make them extremely hard to photograph. The petals of the flowers are brilliantly white and any direct sunlight makes it very difficult to keep any detail in a photo. In the final image they appear as white blobs with no form or contrast. One way to combat that is to shoot them on cloudy days. Clouds make the light much softer with less contrast and allows the camera to capture the extensive detail in the bright white flowers. So the clouds and the rain that we paddled through wasn’t all bad; it helped a lot by giving me a real chance to make some nice images!