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Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I'm putting this in the art section since none of the critter catagories deal with wild animals. Any artistry must be credited more to the inventors of the camera than to myself. I always find it funny when I'm shown a photo of a mountain, a falls or some other natural wonder and the presenter says "look at what I did" as though they placed the mountain there or invented a way to capture the image.

I expect to produce hundreds of wildlife photos in the next few months since I have just gotten approved for liability insurance for my camping bus business. That was the last hurdle in what has been a drawn out process.

Taking pictures will soon be part of my daily routine.

1. This buck was enjoying gorging on seed heads of grass. It's been an exceptional year for grass growth with all the rain. I tried some seed and it was much more plump than in drier years.

2. He shows little fear of humans but did get irritated and moved on a few times.

3. His demeanor changed instantly when a dog came into view. He is also quite car cautious. We crossed the road several times and each time he looked for cars and waited for them to pass on three occasions.

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Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 6777
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
262
 
Dale Hodgins
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1. I used a tried and true method of getting him to be calm. I sang a few quiet songs and later I took to whistling. He pointed his ears in my direction. As I whistled the lead in to "You Can't Always Get What You Want" , he seemed to get sleepy.

2. Then he turned around twice and sat down.

3. After a few minutes he began grooming his coat while I stood 10 feet from him. Very cool. All of this happened at about 2 pm in Beacon Hill Park, in Victoria.

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Dale Hodgins
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Several seals compete for small fish that tourists buy from a vendor at the Oak Bay Marina.

Most of them just hang around and look on expectantly. This one always draws attention to himself by flapping his flippers and swaying along with the occasional vocalization. He sometimes jumps up onto the dock where he is fed while the others wait in the water. None of the seals are totally dependant on hand outs. When there are no tourists, the seals go off hunting. If herring or salmon are running, the seals will disappear for a time.

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Dale Hodgins
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Purple Martin chicks wait for their parents to feed them. After they became accustomed to me they screeched in my direction. I took this as a demand for more food but who knows. The largest one stuck his body half way out of the nest as he reached toward me. They were mature enough to keep an eye on every bug that flew by.

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Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 6777
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 6777
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Dale Hodgins
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Henry is a blue heron who fell from his nest 22 years ago. He was mature enough to glide down uninjured but he couldn't fly back. An old guy immediately began feeding him sardines and he made a little ground nest. He even slept in the park so he could protect Henry from dogs and raccoons. Other regulars at the park contributed to his diet but I've been told that Henry shuned junk food in favour of raw fish. He learned how to fish on his own later that summer but even now he is the only heron in the park that will accept food from humans.

He's quite bossy with the ducks and turtles who often lounge on his log. When he wants some space on the log he lands right on top of them. Ducks get stepped on and turtles get moved along with prodding from his beak.

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Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Dale Hodgins
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1. This sparrow wasn't getting along with another who kept approaching only to be driven off.

2. and 3. Flickers don't hang around for photo shoots. This one came and went in a few seconds.

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Dale Hodgins
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These quail frequent a pile of crushed rock each evening. They eat some grit for their gizzards and they take a dust bath in dried up pot holes that contain fine rock dust from winter run off. The pile stays warm into the evening.

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Dale Hodgins
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These little ducks share a pond with a few turtles. The turtles must be vegetarian. The ducks would never survive such close encounters if they were dealing with snappers.

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Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Dale Hodgins
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1. Pigeons are a rather tame type of wildlife.

2. This sparrow isn't a city dweller. The surface looks like concrete but it's smooth granite on a high bluff.

3. He may be wondering if the camera bag contains food.

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Dale Hodgins
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Gulls are always open to handouts. This one took over a spot where my daughter was feeding ducks. Gulls and crows both tolerate their own kind at a free buffet but they run off more timid species of birds and mammals.

The soaring gulls often use this big isolated hill to gain hight before they glide effortlessly toward the downtown. In a stiff wind gulls can be seen soaring twice the height of the hill. They cover very little ground while climbing, then they glide quickly through decending air beyond the hill. Sometimes the younger gray ones can be seen flapping vigourously as they try to get into the best lift. Mature adults seem to know exactly where to approach from and they will often come and go without one flap of their wings.

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Rion Mather
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Beautiful pictures, Dale. That is why I love kayaking so much. You get to experience wildlife up close.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Rion Mather wrote:Beautiful pictures, Dale. That is why I love kayaking so much. You get to experience wildlife up close.


I agree with you there. Two years ago I bought a tandem home built kayak for $200. I went from complete novice to learning how to surf with it that first afternoon (almost wrecked it and me) and the next day I spent about 90 minutes in the company of a gray whale who obviously found my small craft non threatening. I have lived in coastal B.C. for 18 years and that is the only super close encounter with a whale. Two days later I took my daughter out to see the same whale who was working a sweet spot where fish congregate. This was her first time kayaking as well. Eventually others in expensive kayaks came over to see what we were doing. One veteran said he had been everywhere and never came upon a gray so close up.

Here are some shots of crows. They're difficult to capture on camera since they are all black.

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Dale Hodgins
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These are two different crows at two public beaches. Both are scrounging leftovers from human picnics. The one with the lunch meat intercepted a small child whose mother had sent him to the garbage with leftovers. The crow flew by his head and spooked him. The kid dropped the food before it could be placed in a receptacle that is difficult for wildlife to get into. Smart bird.
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Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Your photos are beautiful Dale. I especially liked the seals and the turtle.
 
Dale Hodgins
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This fuzzy wood pecker helped me produce dozens of fuzzy shots because he insisted on moving his head rather quickly. He works a small area of Gary Oak trees that are in a park that is managed with plenty of standing dead wood. Years ago they used to remove every scrap of fallen wood and dead trees. For the past 15 years or so just about every park in the city has gone for simple clean up around paths and buildings with the remainder left more wild. Better for the parks budget, better for wildlife.

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Dale Hodgins
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You'd think he would be deaf considering all the racket made by his beak, but this bird stopped and looked around every time another creature made a sound. He doesn't have much sense of which way is up.

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Dale Hodgins
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tong xin
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Wow, so many clear and vivid photos for wild lives. They look relaxed and enjoy their life so much! I do like to see their activities in details. Thank Dale for sharing!
 
Dale Hodgins
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tong xin wrote:Wow, so many clear and vivid photos for wild lives. They look relaxed and enjoy their life so much! I do like to see their activities in details. Thank Dale for sharing!


Thank you Tong. About 80% of my photos are neither clear nor vivid. I take all of these stills with a movie camera set to still photo. Any movement causes blurryness. Even a fast click on the trigger can cause it. There is about a 1 second delay which means that half of the mamals and 75% of the birds move during this critical time. It works pretty well in high light conditions but performs poorly in low light. Some creatures like the little wood pecker and the thrushes below are active at dawn and dusk and they are often in the shadows. I've only had the camera for 35 days. I showed some shots to a professional who complimented my ability to stalk and position myself so well with flighty wild animals but he said I must get a far better camera for creatures that move if I want National Geographic quality results. I'm adding wedding photographer to my resume soon and this will pay for a superior camera.
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Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Dale Hodgins
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Two young bucks at dusk. That wood pecker is everywhere. When I post photos they are quite small little thumbnails. So small that a bird was mistaken for a deer. I probably should refrain from hunting wild game.

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Dale Hodgins
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FROGS EYE VIEW. The first photo of the lily pond is typical of what we usually see. Small creatures like frogs and bugs that sit at water level have a totally different perspective. The leaves and flowers are like a forest to the small inhabitants of the pond. Imagine how large a towering lily looks to a little leopard frog.

The under side of leaves provide an all you can eat buffet for tiny predators.

To achieve this angle I held the back edge of my camera just below water level by using a large pad as a boat to hold the water back. That's dedication. It was also acrobatic since I had to balance on rocks while leaning forward awkwardly.


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Dale Hodgins
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Tyler Ludens
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Thank you for sharing, Dale.

 
tong xin
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Dale Hodgins wrote:
tong xin wrote:Wow, so many clear and vivid photos for wild lives. They look relaxed and enjoy their life so much! I do like to see their activities in details. Thank Dale for sharing!


Thank you Tong. About 80% of my photos are neither clear nor vivid. I take all of these stills with a movie camera set to still photo. Any movement causes blurryness. Even a fast click on the trigger can cause it. There is about a 1 second delay which means that half of the mamals and 75% of the birds move during this critical time. It works pretty well in high light conditions but performs poorly in low light. Some creatures like the little wood pecker and the thrushes below are active at dawn and dusk and they are often in the shadows. I've only had the camera for 35 days. I showed some shots to a professional who complimented my ability to stalk and position myself so well with flighty wild animals but he said I must get a far better camera for creatures that move if I want National Geographic quality results. I'm adding wedding photographer to my resume soon and this will pay for a superior camera.


Hi Dale, thank you for sharing me with your experience of camera things. I think you're trying and practicing,and improving your skills, that's important. Such effort will surely get good results come back. Your passion and insistence is very precious.I should study from you.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Thank you for sharing, Dale.



Thank you Ludi and Tong. I took the time to learn some basics about my camera since my last posting. It turns out that shutter speed is very important with moving objects. Mine came from the factory set at 1/30 which is fine for rocks and trees in moderate light. In bright conditions I have found that it is possible to set it as high as 1/1500 which is 50 times faster. This means that a fast target such as a bird or a motorboat will only travel 1/50 as far during the exposure period, thus resulting in much clearer photos. By opening the iris far beyond the factory setting I was able to capture creatures under water in poorly lit conditions. I wish I had learned some of this before I took all of those pictures of bees and other bugs. Most shots were over exposed and the high shutter speeds used in full sunlight would have greatly reduced blurring of the wings and other moving parts. Live and learn.
-----------------
The deer below are mother and daughter. This calf must have been born early in the spring since it is much larger than most other young deer this time of year. It is also very well fed. They live near the airport and spend most of their time in or near a large industrial facility where dump trucks and houses that were moved are stored. The large berm surrounding the facility is covered 15 ft. thick with Himalaya berries, young alder trees and other edibles. About 5 acres of mixed forest with a small stream runs along the eastern boundary. There is a corn field where they sometimes sleep but they don't seem interested in it as food with such abundant, more nutritious food available.

Cougars and bears are rare on this peninsula and the proximity to human activity including an airport are probably deterrents. Often when a jet prepares for take off the mother will lead the calf under one of the houses or behind some heavy equipment. They always point their sensitive ears away from the airport until the noise stops. During a rain storm I saw them lounging totally dry under one of the houses in a spot where heavy equipment blocks the wind. There is a pile of crushed rock that gets quite hot in the afternoon sun. On cool evenings they often sit by this natural spa for some grooming. It is about 100 ft from the stream and right at the forest edge. Quail and crows also frequent the stone pile for dust baths and gizzard grit.

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Dale Hodgins
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When I was caught sneaking up on them, the mother gave a quick snort to warn the calf of my presence. She calmed down when I started eating blackberries. Deer always watch for predators so by displaying herbivorous behaviour I was able to put the mother more at ease and get quite close. I usually talk softly or whistle and I approach while in full view. Predators approach silently while hiding in the shadows or behind visual barriers. After more than a week working in the compound they don't seem to see me as a threat. Several times the calf has come close to me but the mother always calls her back. I never try to feed them. They are better off with their natural diet and the calf needs to learn to always be careful with all other species that could do her harm.

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Dale Hodgins
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Swans on Saltspring island. Opened the iris too much. Overexposed. The young swans are loosing their baby fluff and will be brillliant white next year.

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Dale Hodgins
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Lots of preening. Waterfoul in the wild always stay cleaner than those in city poop ponds. Swans will steal food from smaller birds. One of the adults swam over for a look at this gull but was not interested in choking down a starfish.

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Dale Hodgins
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A very small heron on the Saltspring Island mud flats. Fish which are caught sideways are quickly flipped to a head down position for easy swallowing.


Be sure to check out pages 2 through 25. Just started second page so this may take a while.
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