Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Distance

This is my contribution to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Distance prompt.

As a nature and landscape photographer I have been social distancing for decades. I started thinking about some of the locations in Saskatchewan where there wasn’t another human being for miles. Especially in winter when some farmers move into town, just because there’s a farm 5 miles away doesn’t mean there’s anyone living there. For some of these photos I was miles from the nearest road.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Special Spot Shots

A frozen section of Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area at sunset in winter.


Fan Of... OM Zuiko 350mm lens

Whitetail Deer at dusk near Punnichy.


On the Hunt for Joy Challenge: Make Yourself Feel Small

A frozen section of marsh at sunset, Little Quill Lake.


Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Funny Furry Friends

A Striped Skunk in the spring between Little Quill Lake and Middle Quill Lake.


One Word Sunday: Ice

Sunrise reflected in a frozen slough near Punnichy.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Chaos

This is my contribution to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Chaos.

I had a couple of ideas for the challenge before thinking of some of the large flocks of birds I have photographed.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Chaos

Gulls, mostly Black-headed Gulls, in seemingly random flight over Hurleston Reservoir near Nantwich in southern Cheshire. In this case I suspect that one of the local Peregrine Falcons has spooked them into flight as there’shardly two birds flying in the same direction.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Chaos

Snow Geese on autumn migration take off from a section of the Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area in Saskatchewan. I was watching the birds from an observation tower when something, possibly a Coyote on the lake shore, spooked them into flight.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Chaos

Gulls, mostly Black-headed Gulls, on the move at Hurleston Reservoir near Nantwich in southern Cheshire. In this case something has spooked some of the birds on one side of the roost and they’re flying to the other side.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Chaos

Lines of Snow Geese flying to roost at sunset in the autumn. These birds are over Middle Quill Lake, Saskatchewan.


Inhospitable Picnic Tables

When I read the prompt for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Tables, Chairs, Picnic Tables I remembered a couple of picnic tables and some benches on the Colpoy’s Bay shoreline. As I had to go into town I made a short detour to get some photos of them.


Cee's Black and White Photo Challenge: Tables, Chairs, Picnic Table

The flood water had dropped a few inches before it froze and I took the photo.


Cee's Black and White Photo Challenge: Tables, Chairs, Picnic Table

This picnic table was mostly buried in snow and ice until recently. All the rocks around the picnic table and in the snow were thrown there by waves before the shoreline was covered in snow.


Cee's Black and White Photo Challenge: Tables, Chairs, Picnic Table

These two benches and two more out of shot are less inhospitable than they were last year. Then the water level in Colpoy’s Bay was so high they were effectively on an island and only way to get to them was by wading through the water.


After writing this post I remembered this inhospitable bench I photographed last autumn. Outside the entrance to the abandoned grocery store in Wiarton on the South Bruce Peninsula, the bench is surrounded by Private Property, No Trespassing signs. As if anyone would want to sit down and view the parking lot from it.

Cee's Black and White Photo Challenge


Tuesday Photo Challenge – Scale

When I read the prompt for the Tuesday Photo Challenge – Scale I had several ideas for a post.

Landscapes taken with a telephoto where it’s difficult to get a sense of scale, extreme close-ups where you can’t tell what you’re looking at.

So, typically for me recently, I went in a completely different direction after thinking of a particular photo.


Tuesday Photo Challenge - Scale

This is the photo I thought of, a Great Crested Grebe looking lost amongst gulls in a winter roost on Hurleston Reservoir near Nantwich, Cheshire. These are mostly Black-headed Gulls, there’s one Common Gull close to the edge of the frame at about 1 o’clock.


Tuesday Photo Challenge - Scale

This may explain why the Great Crested Grebe is looking lost. A section of a winter gull roost on Hurleston Reservoir. Again, mostly Black-headed Gulls with a few Common Gulls, one Lesser Black-backed Gull and one Herring Gull.


Tuesday Photo Challenge - Scale

If the second photo didn’t give a sense of scale to the Great Crested Grebe looking lost this one may. This is most of a fairly typical winter gull roost in the 1990s. Anywhere between 12,000 and 15,000 gulls was a normal count. If you look closely there’s a Great Crested Grebe just swimming into the frame on the left hand side of the photo.


Fan Of… Uni-Loc tripods

This is a contribution to Jez Braithwaite’s Fan Of… #58 photo challenge.

Firstly I should say that I don’t know if Uni-Loc are still in business. I emailed them a couple of years ago and after an initial response never heard from them again.  Their Facebook page hasn’t been updated since 2012. I have been using the tripods since the early 1990s and used to know Ken Brett, the man behind the design.

Uni-Loc tripods are very different from most tripods. The system tripods can be disassembled and reassembled in a different configuration with an Allen key (wrench). The legs can be locked at almost any angle and all three lock with a single locking lever. The bottom leg sections are sealed meaning that they can be submerged up to the locking knob without taking on water. If you submerge the legs above the first section they can quickly be removed and drained with an Allen key (wrench).

They aren’t a tripod I would recommend to most photographers, they’re heavy and bulky when folded but in deep water, snow or mud they’re my first choice.


Fan Of... Uni-Loc tripods

In 1995 I spent the summer in Saskatchewan, Canada. I took my medium sized Uni-Loc tripod with me in case I needed to use a tripod in water or mud.


Fan Of... Uni-Loc tripods

A Willet photographed on a shallow slough near Punnichy, Saskatchewan with the tripod. Some of the sloughs in the area can be quite alkaline so the sealed legs were useful. I could rinse any mud off the legs when I got a chance to.


Wordless Wednesday: 5th February 2020

To get into position for this photo I waded through knee high snow and then pushed the tripod legs down into the snow for maximum stability.


Fan Of... Uni-Loc tripods

The tripod in use on the Colpoy’s Bay shoreline at sunrise. I was photographing the waves forming icicles. By the time I was ready to pack the tripod away two of the legs were frozen to the pebbles.


Wordless Wednesday: 18th December 2019

What I was photographing while the tripod was freezing to the pebbles.