It has been a few months since I have written anything. Between looking for a new job, moving back to Canada and experiencing probably the worst spring weather wise I have seen in years, time and motivation to do any photography has been at a minimum. Since nature photography is what I do for enjoyment and the fact that I find it reduces stress in my life, not getting out as much as I would like is a bit depressing.
So, now that I’m working again and we are kind of settled we are starting to get some time on the weekends to get out and explore the area. As we are living on the shores of Lake Erie, at the mouth of the Niagara River there are some interesting new places to explore.
One of the things I have had to do over the last few months is change my expectations on what we can do. We are no longer an hour from being in the Blueridge Mountains, or two from the Smoky’s. We cannot spend the weekend easily on the coast or in the cypress swamps. We had a plethora of wildlife to photograph in almost any direction from our base in South Carolina.
So we have started to explore this region. Road trips along the north coast of Lake Erie. Hiking on the Niagara escarpment. Our latest was a trip to Letchworth State Park in western New York. This area has its own beauty, but because it seems so much like what I have lived in most of my life I tend to overlook things.
To get back into the swing of things, I started just getting out on the Fort Erie shoreline after work. The skies were grey but there were some shore birds and plenty of swallows and purple Martins nesting. This gave me a chance to “perfect” my in- flight shots. I Started practicing with my Canon 500mm lens and 1.4 teleconverter. That long and heavy lens takes some practice to follow a barn swallow in flight. My Sony A7III also got a firmware update this spring and it was a good chance to get used to the way the tracking autofocus has changed.
It was nice to watch the progression of a family of killdeer, from eggs to little hatchlings on the pebbly shoreline just outside the house. Good practice for getting down low to eye level to get a good perspective, and even a shot or two of chicks under Mom’s wings.
Bird of prey have been less frequent than I had expected in this region. There are a few Osprey along the Niagara River, but I have not been lucky enough to get to see them hunt so far this year. We Kayaked past two Bald Eagles and got a few quick shots but again would like to be able to watch them regularly to capture more of their interactions.
The one thing that I haven’t had any luck with yet is finding my favorite subject….owls. We live in a farming area, with large fields along straight dirt roads. I have spent a number of evenings driving along these areas just around dusk hoping for a sign of short-eared owls, and there have been barn owl sightings in these areas over the years. Once I find some habitats and can observe them I’ll hopefully be back to learning more about my favorite raptors.
I have learned over these last few months to enjoy what is around and try not to focus on what I don’t get to see. I still get to relax and enjoy being with nature which is what makes me happy.