I was at Carburn Park for Paddlefest and had the opportunity to take my family for a trip around the pond in a canoe. The funny thing about being on the water is that swimming birds tend to think you’re one of them and they ignore you. Maybe not completely, but they certainly allow you to get much closer than if you were shore. I find this phenomenon all the time and I’ve made some of my best images of birds from a canoe.
Here are a couple of images of waterfowl that I made while toodling around the lake with my family in the Canoe with me. The first is a beautiful Red-necked Grebe. I’ve made lots of images of Grebes in the past, but I’ve rarely been as close as I got to this one. It’s so much easier to make great images when you get close! The second image below is a pair of American Wigeons launching out of the pond. They were pretty comfortable with us as we got closer and closer, but I guess we went a little bit too far and the they took off! I love the water droplets falling down off them as the fly.
I love Carburn Park and I’m always amazed by the things you can see there. Grebes are actually quite common there at certain times of year, but it’s surprisingly difficult to get one to pose for a picture while the light is good enough to make something decent out of it. I went back several times after I found this one as it was quite obliging!
The light at sunset can be truly magical at times. I had been walking around the pond at Carburn Park, following a pair of Redheads, when the sun began to approach the horizon. As it did the reflections off the pond became more and more golden orange, and I knew I would have a great opportunity to make some silhouette images. I literally ran around the pond to get to the right spot and had more than a few people laughing at me as I ran past with all my gear. As it turned out it was harder to get the birds in the right position than it was to get myself to the right side of the lake. I eventually got it right and had plenty of time to spare!
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.
The fall colors in the Calgary area are not typically very colorful, but very beautiful nonetheless! I was taking pictures of birds on the lake at Carburn Park when my camera chose to focus on this nearby leaf instead of the far away birds. I loved the golden hues and the creamy background in the scene, so I immediately made the image.