Flying Falcon

A couple of months ago, I wrote on my blog about wildlife photography and the thrill of spending hours on end capturing a shot of a wild animal in its natural habitat. Photographing birds in particular has always fascinated me, not only due to the technical complexity involved, but also because of the requirement to have a thorough understanding of both avian behavior and habitat.

The final stop of my roadtrip last summer was Vancouver – a city that I hold dear at heart, having spent there the majority of my university years. On a bright sunny day, we found ourselves taking the gondola ride up to Grouse mountain, to get some scenic views of this beautiful city. Luckily, during our short stay at the peak, we had the chance to attend a bird show, showcasing the flying and hunting skills of various breeds of eagles, hawks and falcons. As one of the falcons was performing a fly-by over the spectators, I turned my camera toward the sky and managed to get a few shots of this impressive predator.

I view this picture as a lucky first attempt. It was enough though to make me eager one day to invest the money, time and effort in further exploring this type of photography. Perhaps one day when I retire you’ll find me hiding camouflaged in the bushes with a large telephoto lens (assuming I can still carry one around!), patiently waiting to take an award-winning shot of a rare bird in its natural habitat.

Falcon - 1920cShot handheld with my Canon 60D and Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OS lens, at ISO 400, F5.0 at 1/2500 sec.

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Toronto Center Island nature

For anyone wondering where this blog’s header image originates from, well here is the entire non-cropped colour picture. This image was taken back in 2008 on Center Island in Toronto. I am fairly fond of this picture, particularly because it was one of the very first (yet decent) pictures I took when I started experimenting with HDR photography. I am usually good at archiving my pictures, but for the life of me I can’t seem to find the original RAW files, so sadly the EXIF data is pretty much gone.

On another note, it seems that I am heading back to Myanmar in a couple of weeks, only this time I am making an effort to do some sightseeing both on the weekend before, and on the weekend after my work week. More specifically, I am planning on visiting Bagan (an ancient city in the Mandalay region of Burma), and Bangkok (on a 2 day layover on my way back home) to take a train tour on the famous bridge of the river Kwai. Admittedly I am pretty excited about the photo opportunities of both these destinations, especially given the fact that my camera has not gotten much use over the last 5-6 weeks. Stay tuned!

Gazing into the water

Back from what seemed like a short vacation, where I had a great time catching up with old friends and enjoying large quantities of Asian food. My biggest confession from this trip is that I did exactly the opposite of what I said I would in my previous post. I did go overboard with my spending on camera accessories, and didn’t spend enough time walking out and about with my camera. I did manage to capture a couple of decent shots (stay tuned), but my camera didn’t get anywhere near the amount of use it usually gets on my vacation trips. In hindsight, I fell into the trap of believing that my creativity would be hindered due to the fact that my surroundings were so familiar to me – a struggle which I constantly and wrongfully face in Cyprus as well.

Today I decided to post another old time favourite. This is a picture of a young boy gazing into the water at Niagara on the Lake in Canada, taken back in August 2008.

Shot with my Canon Rebel XTi and Sigma F3.5-6.3 18-200mm lens, at ISO 200, F10, 1/125sec. B&W conversion processed in Photoshop.

Horsing around

Last week my company organised an event at the horse racing track in Ayios Dometios. I must have been to this place only once before as a kid, though definitely not at an age where I had the chance (or the budget) to personally place a bet on a horse! Admittedly I am not much of a gambler myself, but I did appreciate the “science” of picking your horse based on its physique, training condition, upbringing and one hundred other variables that people meticulously study before placing their bets.

On this occassion, I decided to dig out one old photo that I took back in Aug 2008. Daria and I had decided to go for horseback riding on a Sunday afternoon just outside Toronto. While waiting for our turn to mount our horses, this fellow was minding his own business until I asked him to pose for a shot.

As for the horse races, I think I will return to the track very soon – only next time I’ll make sure I bring my camera to capture some action shots!

Shot with my Canon Rebel XTi, Canon 50mm lens at F2.2, ISO 200 and 1/1600 secs.

Camping in the Okanagan Valley

Shortly after his retirement, my dad decided to hop onto a plane and fly to Canada for a short visit. At the time my brother was living in Vancouver so I decided to hop onto a flight from Toronto and meet them there for the weekend.

What better way for 3 guys to spend a weekend than head out to the Okanagan Valley for some wine tasting and camping out in the woods! The scenery in that area is truly breathtaking. Looking back, one of the great things I miss about Canada is the nature in British Columbia – it really is second to none.

This picture was taken somewhere near the town of Merritt. I remember we were driving around to find a campsite and came across this view. I yelled at my brother to stop the car, I jumped out with my camera and took a quick snap of the lake.

For anyone wondering – no it didn’t rain that night! Somehow we got really lucky!