Thursday, September 12, 2013

Critters of the North

Truth be told, you are not about to see a gallery of the great wildlife of Nova Scotia. Next time i go i may well pack a really long lens for shooting the more dramatic animal dramas you just can't get close to. I could then literally set myself up on my in-laws back deck and shoot herons, cormorants, ospreys and even the occasional bald eagle that come to fish in the inlet. I would also likely get some shots of the shy seals that swim up the LaHave River in the early mornings or maybe finally take that whale sighting-seeing boat that sails out of Lunenburg in the summer months. But my camera bag was heavy enough and i made the choice to travel with wide and macro lenses rather than super long ones, so these critters are a bit more intimate and approachable.

Nova Scotia; Dragonfly; Hirtle's Beach
©David Sorcher 2013

Dragonflies are even more difficult to shoot than butterflies if you ask me. They are a very hyper insect and are constantly on the move making sudden changes in flight direction that sometimes seem to defy the laws of physics. My approach on this little red fella was breath-held and slow and he stuck around just long enough for his close-up. 

Nova Scotia; Cat
©David Sorcher 2013

I have to admit that Ollie is one of my very favorite Nova Scotian critters and she pretty much has me in her back pocket (if cats had pockets). A noble beast indeed, she'll purr as soon as look at you and loves a good scratch behind the ears. There is, however, a darker side to Ollie that i will reveal later in this post that might stifle your coos and aws. 

Nova Scotia; Bees; Garden: Flowers
©David Sorcher 2013 

Paul's garden sure knows how to attract the bees and i followed this little guy around a bit as he hopped from bloom to bloom gathered his pollen for the day. If you are unaware of the crisis that currently exists in the honey bee populations of the world you should perk up your ears and take serious note. Our very own existence might hang in the balance if these hard working pollinators disappear from our fragile eco-system. The inter-connectiveness of our planet is undeniable and essential and awareness of that fact is one of the key functions that i think nature photography serves.  

Nova Scotia; Sandpipers; Hirtle's Beach
©David Sorcher 2013

Sandpipers are one of my favorite beach birds, but you might have to observe them in motion to understand why. The way they skirt across the beach just ahead of the tide with their little legs moving so quickly, like a sped up old movie film, just brings a smile to my face every time. 

Nova Scotia; Crab; Hirtle's Beach
©David Sorcher 2013

Well, when i promised you critters i never guaranteed they would all be alive. This crab's soul has left us, but he had yet to be seagull food and was still pretty much intact on the beach. 

Nova Scotia; Sculpin; Hirtle's Beach; Fish
©David Sorcher 2013

The Sculpin has to be the ugliest fish i have ever encountered in person. There is something wonderfully prehistoric, though, about its spiky features. 

Nova Scotia; Sculpin; Hirtle's Beach; Fish
©David Sorcher 2013

I loved the dragon-like textures of it's skin and the spiny dorsal fins. It was only later in my research that i discovered that these spines are supposedly venomous and produce a rather painful sting. The reason why that is important is that as i moved in for some tight shots of this beautifully ugly little sea beast i discovered that it was not...quite...dead...yet! It would occasionally gulp, move its toothy jaw or flex its gills. My humanitarian wife thought to try to save the poor creature (though i was fairly certain it had been out of the water far too long). She carefully picked it up, grabbing as much sand beneath it to keep from actually making contact with the fish as she could and carried it down to the water's edge. Sure enough, it merely rolled limply as the surf came in and though still somewhat alive there was obviously no hope for recovery. Fortunately Veronica unwittingly avoided the venomous sting. :-)

Nova Scotia; Sculpin; Hirtle's Beach; Fish
©David Sorcher 2013

This particular angle reminds me of the way we often find fossilized fish in the rocks and surely these images will end up in my "Future Fossils" body of work. 

Nova Scotia; Gaff Point; Dragonfly
©David Sorcher 2013

Again i found myself stalking the wild dragonfly. I have named this guy Homer Simpson for obvious reasons. :-) I'm using my 105mm macro here and leaning in over all kinds of rock and shrubbery for this shot hoping not to scare Homer away. No time for a tripod nor any place i could set the legs anyway. The problem is that the closer you move in, especially with a macro, the more sensitive your focus range becomes. Often the auto focus will lock in, but my position will move ever so slightly as i push the shutter and i miss the focus in the end. I have found that in such unideal conditions setting the focus to continuous as opposed to single shot gives me a much better chance at grabbing a sharp image as i move in and out for the shot. 

Nova Scotia; Gaff Point; Crab
©David Sorcher 2013

An empty shell is all that remains of this sea critter, shot on the iron-rich cliffs along Gaff Point. I'll be posting more images from this Gaff Point hike in the days to come. 

Nova Scotia; Deer
©David Sorcher 2013

A family of whitetail deer make their way along an inlet just after sunset. A longer lens would have been really nice here, but i like the inclusion of land, sea and sky in this mid-tele shot as well. 

Nova Scotia; Indian Path; Spiders
©David Sorcher 2013

The spiders are numerous all about the outside of my in-laws house, especially this time of year. These guys are my friends and are welcome to catch and eat all the mosquitoes their little eight-legged hearts desire.


Nova Scotia; Cat; Squirrel
©David Sorcher 2013

Um...speaking of catching and eating...remember Ollie, that cute little cuddly ball of purring fur from the start of today's post? Well this is Ollie at work...rodent control. Her meal is a squirrel (this variety is a bit smaller than the kind we are used to in Cincy) and in no time all that was left on the doormat was a bushy, bloody tail, a gift to the masters of the house to show us all what a fine job she is doing.
About 15 minutes later Veronica says to me, i thought you said Ollie finished that squirrel. I say, she did, but when i looked outside she had a second one eaten half way down and soon enough it was just a bushy tail on the mat as well, gone, "nuts, guts and all"as they say. And she still demands two meals a day from her keepers. :-)
Ollie says, "You always knew i was a cat..." ;-)





  








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