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An invitation to speak to the members of the Grand River Imaging and Photographic Society on April 14th gave the opportunity to put together a new digital slide presentation titled “Photographing Wildlife in Spring”.  Spring is the time for those of us in the northern parts of our hemisphere to rejoice the arrival of migrating birds and their breeding behaviour, nesting and new life for all our native mammals and birds.

I am available to give this presentation to photography and nature groups.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and thank all for their hospitality!

 

During a June driving trip to Minnesota I spent much of my time trying to find Great Gray Owls and Black Backed Woodpeckers.  Any other birds and mammals would be good too but those two were my most prized goals.  I spent several days in an area where great grays have been known to breed.  I have many winter Great Gray Owl photographs and the birds on breeding territory would make a more complete story for me.

I drove the area numerous times each day from 6 am to dark.  I saw lots of snowshoe hares, deer, and even a lynx.  The morning chorus was full and varied.  An Olive-sided Flycatcher and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were found.

Just as it was getting dark one evening I saw a Great Gray Owl.  It flew back and forth over the road several times hunting.  The next morning I was out hoping to find it again.  As I drove along I found it perched on a dead tree stub sticking out from a bank not 3 feet from the ground.  I opened the passenger window and photographed it while sitting in the driver’s seat.  The bird stayed for about 5 minutes and then flew to another perch.  I quietly got out of the car and using it to block most of my body photographed the owl as it hunted and flew from perch to perch and back.  It stayed in the area for about 1 1/2 hours and then flew off into the bog.

I had lots of time to changes lenses, get vertical and horizontal images and in different light and varied perches.

This winter I have reorganized all my external hard drives and I found sets of images that may never be seen unless I do the work to get them out there.

We are so used to seeing images of Great Gray Owls in winter that some of these will look very foreign.  That is one of the things I love about them!  I will be posting two blogs to cover my favourites.

The first series is of the owl on a single perch using different lenses and combinations.

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This one was taken with my 7D and my 70-200 @ 200mm and includes the habitat.  Even though the bird is small in the frame there is value in having this type of image as part of the story.  This image is uncropped.

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This one was taken with the 7D and the 500 mm lens.  This was cropped a bit from the left side for composition.

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The 7D with the 500 mm plus the 1.4 converter was used for this capture.  This was cropped a small amount from the

left side only.

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This one was captured with the same setup as the last one.  It was cropped a small amount from the top and left side.

Having the time as the owl was undisturbed by my presence and continued to hunt I took advantage of being able to capture as much variety as possible.

The above images are all the property of the photographer and may not be used in any way without the written consent of

Eleanor Kee Wellman.

On Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 9 pm I will be giving a live interview on the Rogers Cable Collingwood show, “Georgian Bay Arts”.  Three artists are interviewed on a one-hour program.  Each of us will be given about 15 minutes.  The interview, done by Damien Spaulding, will be seen on Channel 53 in the South Georgian Bay region.

Some new work will be shown along with photographs taken in the Georgian Bay area and beyond.

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Please let me know if you get a chance to watch!

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If you are in Muskoka come to the Muskoka Field Naturalists meeting at 7:30 pm, Thursday, December 5, 2013 at the Church of the Latter Day Saints, Pine Street, Bracebridge, ON.  I will be speaking about my March trip to Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Alaska for bird photography with a few mammals as well.

Hope to see you there!

See images from “Golden Pond”.

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Hear the story behind this Barred Owl image.

 

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Find out the secrets behind Bald Eagle images from Homer, Alaska!

 

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All the above images were taken with a Canon 7D using a 500mm or 70-200mm lens.

All images are the copyright of Eleanor Kee Wellman and may not be used for any purpose

without the written permission of the photographer.

Thursday, November 14, 2013 from 5 – 7 pm welcomes the opening reception of a new show at the Canada Summit Centre. The show, by members of Muskoka Arts and Crafts runs from tomorrow, November 14 to February 10, 2014. One of my new moose images, “Moose Looking Back” will be hanging and is a gallery wrapped giclee on canvas, 60″ x 36″. It has a distinct illustrative quality and is one of my favourites from Algonquin Park.

The Summit Centre is at 20 Park St. 705-789-6421 and may be reached from both Hwy 11 and Hwy 60. Please do stop in and take a look!

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Other prints are available at:
Eclipse Art & Design Gallery, Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville, ON, every day year-round.
Lakeside Gallery, Bala, ON, 705-762-2221, open Friday, Saturday & Sunday, at this time of year. My new 10 x 8, gallery wrapped, “Summer Jewels” and “Winter Gems” bird collections available.
Silver Bridge Gallery, 4 Manitoba St., Bracebridge, 705-646-2460

I would be happy to meet you at any of these locations and discuss possible choices and to let you in on the stories about each image.

LOTS OF CHANGES

My last blog was in June of 2012. Some of the things that have happened since then are important to my photography and others not so important. I am including a few images the past year and they show the good, the bad and the ugly.

The loon pair on my lake nested in 2012 and sat on their eggs until the expected hatching date. The next morning there was one dead chick on the nest. It was still wet and didn’t look like an adult had brooded it during hatching at all.

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This one is the ugly. It is a straight process from RAW. The adults were busy with four other loons which allowed me to get close to the nest for this image.

The second egg never did hatch and after more than two weeks of continued sitting the egg disappeared. There were visits almost daily by extra loons during the nesting, of up to four bird on some days. There was a long loud party at the nesting end of the lake the night the first chick hatched. It will never be known if that had anything to do with the death of the chick or what caused the loons to stay away from the nest.

This year the loons nested in the same location as in 2012 which indicates to me that there had been no predation in 2012. The hatching date was a week earlier than the year before and during the last week I began a daily visit to see if the sitter was holding out its wings which would indicate some action underneath. There was no unusual activity on Saturday, June 30th. That night there were fireworks close by continuously from 7 pm to midnight. The next morning the eggs were gone from the nest. The adults hovered around the nest site making quiet moaning noises that sounded just like crying. Even if they weren’t, I was.

The pair has stayed around the lake with one or the other here most of the time. Once again, hope for next year!

For the month of August, 2012, I had a show on at the Algonquin Visitor Centre. Fortunately, my grandson, Ian, visited for a few days and he did the main packing up of the car, trekking everything in and and out and helped my friend, Joyce Brant, and I hang the show. I couldn’t have done it without either one of them! The show went well and Janet Fraser and I packed up the remainders before Labour Day weekend.

Last year on July 31, 2012, my daughter, Lisa, moved into her new house up at the top of Blue Mountain with two new puppies. By the end of August she had fallen while walking down one of the ski hills and badly broken and dislocated her ankle. After surgery with 8 pins and a plate installed she was relegated to a wheelchair. Her house is reverse plan with bedrooms downstairs and living space upstairs. Two puppies, broken ankle, wheelchair and not able to drive – needless to say I spent a lot of time doing errands in and around Collingwood for months.

The photography was good, though, with several Great Blue, Green and Black-crowned Night Herons feeding most days in the Collingwood harbour. I found a farm where many deer visited daily and spent hours and hours there amassing a large collection of White-tailed Deer images.

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Being able to stay with my son and his family at Blue Mountain made all those visits much easier.

A late October visit to Algonquin Park for moose was very productive as a large, older bull stayed in one area for the entire time I was there and is thought to have died later in the marsh of old age. Moose had a difficult time in the summer and fall of 2012 as it was so dry and hot that there were few water lilies. Moose require the selenium they get from aquatic plants and eat 25-30 kilograms per day from early summer to fall.

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Several winter trips to the Park were successful for Martens but unsuccessful for Black-backed Woodpeckers and Great Gray Owls. I have been after the black-backs for years. It seemed that everyone else was finding them but me.

On one of my visits for martens this one jumped onto my car before I was four feet away. I think he posed as a hood ornament so I named him Aston.

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I no longer find winter in Muskoka as much fun as I used to and began to look for ways to get someplace milder for some photography. The birds of beautiful British Columbia and Glenn Bartley’s wonderful photography got me going in that direction. Many of the species I have admired from his Vancouver Island collection were seen and photographed. I was able to add part of a week with Matthew Studebaker, staying in Delta, to add more western species. Then on to Alaska with Chris Dodds for Bald Eagles taking up most of the month of March. I think air travel is like giving birth and one forgets how bad it was until you in the middle of it again. Traveling with camera gear and enough clothes for Vancouver Island, Vancouver and Alaska all in one trip was most difficult for me. I was walking better than I had been able to for the last couple of years but by the time I got to Homer, Alaska, I had a bad cold and back and knee problems. Getting to and from the boat for the eagles was a painful exercise and took most of the fun out of it. My previous visit was in rain though and this time sunshine and snow allowed for lots of diverse images. It turned out I was the only participant interested in photographing other birds and sea otters which was disappointing. I have enough Bald Eagle images to last a lifetime and if I ever want go to Alaska again I hope I can drive myself! Photographs from my western trip will be in future blogs.

Soon after arriving home at the end of March my daughter moved in with me for an indefinite time – with her dogs! They are calmer and don’t bark nearly as much as they age month by month. I do think they keep racoons away but also foxes and deer. If they would just learn to catch mice in the fall I would love them forever!

After another six weeks of being ill I went with friends Joyce Brant, Arni Stinnison and Scott Martin for spring moose in Algonquin Park led by Michael Bertelsen of Algonquin Park Tours. Although the blackflies and mosquitoes were the worst in many years we had a super time. Cows with calves were my main goal along with bulls feeding on water lilies. This was the way to go. Michael’s boat had rotating seats and lots of room for our gear. Leaving the boat ramp at 5 am got us to the moose in good light. Two beautiful days of moose and some other opportunities thrown in. I am organizing this again next June if anyone is interested.

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Scott had found a Black-back Woodpecker’s nest that had been previously reported and we sat and watched for the pair for several hours. Four jaunts up there afterwards and I had lots of images of one my nemesis birds species. Hopes for feeding photos did not happen as the birds abandoned the nest for some reason. Last week took it up an inspection camera and discovered four unhatched eggs still in the nest cavity. More about the Black-backed Woodpeckers later.

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Prolifically flowering pin cherry trees right beside my house gave me the hope for lots of berries. Almost every cherry is gone now but they brought in fourteen species of birds which gave lots of opportunities for photographs through my windows. These are the kinds of ocurrences that Doug Smith and I use for his articles in the Muskoka Magazine.

Sadly, in mid-April Carol News announced that she would be closing her wonderfully successful store, Iroquois Artisans, that she has had for twenty-five years. As Carol got me half my photography income for 2012 I scrambled to find other places to show my work. In mid-May the Silver Bridge Gallery in Bracebridge accepted some prints. The owners, Jodi and Jake Good and I are continuing to work together for a successful association. The Silver Bridge Gallery is at the corner of Manitoba and Ontario Streets in Bracebridge.

Once again, at the end of May I participated in the Wings over Muskoka Festival at the J W Marriott, Rosseau. We had lots of participants for the Loons in the Morning Mist excursion and the loons co-operated as they always have done in the past. The hotel is carrying my cards in their shop.

In July my friend, Janet Fraser, told me that the Lakeside Gallery and Cafe in Bala would be opening soon after delays caused by our terrible spring flooding. I met with Cassandra and Martin Ford and we agreed that this would be a good fit for both of us. Selling two prints in the first two weeks has been very promising. It also has a lovely cafe opening onto Lake Muskoka with good food all day and a relaxed atmosphere. The Lakeside Gallery and Cafe is on the SE corner of Bala Falls Road and the Frank Miller Pkwy (Hwy 169), Bala.

There are still lots of hummingbirds at our feeders. Families of Pine, Nashville, American Redstarts, Blackburnian and Chestnut-sided Warblers along with Blue Headed and Red-eyed Vireos hunt for small green worms in the pin cherries. While out in my kayak the other day I watched an Eastern Kingbird catching insects. That was the first I had seen kingbirds here in more than ten years. I continue to hear loons calling from the lake at night.

My sister-in-law, Lynne, and brother, Phil, reported from their boat, anchored near San Souci on Georgian Bay, that while bundled up on the deck late at night watching the meteor showers, two wolves began to howl from the nearby shore. A wonderfully exciting and unforgettable experience!

All the images in this blog post are the property of Eleanor Kee Wellman and are copyrighted. No images may be used from any of my blogs without the written permision of the owner, Eleanor Kee Wellman. They were all taken using a Canon 7D and either a 70-200 IS, 100-400 IS or 500 lens.

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