Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ahh, Spring!

The last days of May always feel like the end of springtime to me. The grasses are still green and flowers are still everywhere to be seen. It's been a particularly wet spring this year so perhaps the freshness of the season will last a little longer.

The Salem pond

Flowering Quince

Monday, May 30, 2011

Turkey Vulture

Cathartes aura
Ever wonder what a Turkey Vulture looks like up close? Seeing them high above the highway while driving to Kitchener yesterday reminded me of this portrait I made for my Birds of Prey book. These scavangers are well adapted to picking apart carcasses but they seem so serene as they soar effortlessly above, searching for the smell of death below.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mary's Family Photos

brothers pose with automobile

working together to get the harvest in
Worked on a digital photo book for Gail's mom Mary today. There are some real gems in her family photo albums. Her father had a medium-format camera, built his own darkroom, and made some delightful images of life on the prairies in the early part of the last century.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


3-D image for parallel viewing
Worked on this 3-D image today for an upcoming issue of Stereoscopy magazine. I've merged a favourite image of mine of a Margay, a small arboreal cat, with an image of the rainforest in Costa Rica, one of the places where the Margay resides. The Margay was featured in Wild Cats, a book I photographed for the Eye-to-Eye series of children's interactive 3-D nature books in 1997.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Royal Botanical Gardens, May 25th, 2011
Gail & I took a morning stroll through the arboretum at the Royal Botanical Gardens today. I was looking forward to seeing the lilacs in bloom for which the RBG is famous. But what really impressed us were the redbud trees blazing in the forest. Pictures simply can't capture the enchantment we felt on our walk today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sea Dragon

Phycodurus eques
Worked on this image of the leafy sea dragon today. A strange improbable creature related to the seahorse, he lives in the waters of western and southern Australia. The leafy appendages are used for camouflage rather than propulsion. I photographed him at the Florida Aquarium a few years ago. And now he'll make a nice addition to my digital slide show. He looks great in 3-D! See below. (Hint: just cross your eyes and refocus.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jim Carrey

I was busy sorting old slides from my past work today. Came across this one made in the early '80s to promote Jim Carrey as a comedian in Toronto. I was a special effects cameraman at the time and a friend-of-a-friend of mine was Carrey's manager. I had no idea how big he was going to be. Perhaps his manager did but he was dropped for a big name agent as soon as Carrey's career took off.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Baltimore Orioles

On the advice of a neighbour, we set up an oriole feeder in the garden this week. "You'll get orioles", she promised. Did we ever! Not a particularly shy bird, they feed on nectar and they love oranges and grape jelly. Two brilliant males hopped around each other in the birch tree this evening, sizing each other up, until one chased the other off. Quite the show.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Abraham Anghik Ruben

Shaman's Dreams
Worked this evening on Fresh Perspectives, my new show for the annual 3-D convention in July.  I'm incorporating the work of Inuit sculptor Abraham Anghik Ruben into the show. I attended the opening of his exhibit at the Art Gallery of Mississauga some months ago and made some 3-D stereoscopic images of his wonderful works. His evocative vision adds an extra layer of mythic mystery to my show. The 3-D cross-view is below.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Focus on Nature Workshop In Elora

Spent today with a Grade 6 class from St. Mary's school in Elora. Trina, Bob, Darlene and I introduced them to nature photography (the Focus on Nature program) and we had a ball! The students were so 'up' for it and their enthusiasm was contagious. We started the day with a slide show and talk about the elements of design, spent an hour or so shooting photos, and we ended the day with a slide show of best 5 photos of each student. They were so proud of their work! As well they learned: camera basics, the art of composition, how to edit images on a computer, and all about 3-D. They developed a deeper appreciation of nature, and a new confidence in their own creativity. It was great. And tomorrow I get to do it all over again with another Gr. 6 class!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Birding at Point Pelee

Yellow warbler

Rose-breasted grosbeak

Magnolia warbler

Rained-out birders: Simon, Carol, John & Cam
Photographing the migrating birds at Point Pelee is no easy thing. Shooting in the rain is next to impossible! But the rain, fog and cold didn't dampen the enthusiasm of my fellow birders, and we pressed on for three days despite the weather. My reward? Good company, some nice photos and a few new birds to add to my life list: sandhill cranes, a clay-coloured sparrow and the exquisite prothonotary warbler.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


at Blenheim Lagoons
Visited Rondeau Provincial Park on a birding expedition today. Our count is 87 birds so far (two days). These dunlins feeding outside of Blenheim were the closest candidates to allow for a decent uncropped photo. Off to Point Pelee tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Purple Trilliums

Went for a hike along the Bruce Trail today with my son Trevor. We walked along the cliffs of Mount Nemo. Vultures glided below us. The booming sound of a Pileated Woodpecker hammering a hollow tree echoed through the woods. And all through the forest were trilliums. A small cluster of purple trilliums with unusual colour caught my eye, so I sat down beside them for a while. The 3-D version is below.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Learn to Draw

I've started taking a weekly art class here in Oakville. Drawing was something I always enjoyed as a young student. It's another great way to relate to the world around you and it sharpens your observation skills. This white oak is supposedly the oldest tree in Oakville. Bronte Road makes a detour around it!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Planetary Alignment

photo credit: Luis Argerich
This was yesterday's image on APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day), a web site worth bookmarking for repeat viewing, as they have some amazing images to share. For the next week or so, four planets will be grouped together in eastern dawn sky: Venus, Mercury, Jupiter and Mars. If you're interested in learning more details about this unusual planetary alignment, visit the Sky & Telescope web site.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Autumn in the Andes

Beech tree in Southern Patagonia, April 2010
At this time of year on the higher slopes of the mountains in Southern Patagonia, the native beech trees erupt in a brilliant display of fall colours. If you hike high enough you'll find pristine glacial lakes of aquamarine blue, making quite a contrast with the fall foliage.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Federal Election

Frank & Catherine
It was a disappointing federal election yesterday if you were a Liberal Party supporter. After many hours of door-to-door canvasing and putting signs on front lawns, I was asked to be a scrutineer at a polling station on election day. It proved to be a long and tedious job sitting in a school gym as the voters trickled in and voted. There was a flurry of phone calls to be made before the polls closed to get the Liberal voters out who hadn't voted yet. Then I had to watch as the ballots were meticulously counted, looking for any questionable ones. It was disheartening to see Frank Valeriote come up short to the Conservative candidate at my polling station. I drove over to Frank's house knowing that he'd be watching the results come in with his family around him. To my great delight, the polling station I was assigned to was an anomaly: Frank had won the Guelph election by a healthy margin! So we all headed off to the ICC to celebrate with the hundreds of supporters gathered there. Congratulations Frank!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Robin & Nicholas

In the kitchen
Stayed in Montreal with 'Uncle Robino' (my 2nd cousin-once-removed) and his grandson Nicholas over the weekend.  Everyone else in the family was away... in Spain, South Africa or Lakefield. So it was just the three of us in the delightful Laframboise home in Westmount. Robin & I went to watch Nicholas and his rugby team win their game on the playing fields at Lower Canada College. Congrats to Nicholas on an excellent game and muchas gracias to Robin for being such a great host!