This edition of the newsletter is in loving memory of Camille Gautreau who passed away this summer. Cam was my grandmother’s second husband. He remained close to our family, even after her passing in 2008. His favourite birds were seagulls (and crows). This one’s for you, Cam.
As I mentioned in my previous newsletter, my interest in photography has been reignited, at least to some degree. Unfortunately, it coincides with a time of year when outdoor shooting conditions are a bit more challenging: it’s colder and the days are shorter.
Cold hands make it difficult to operate the controls on the camera. Gloves keep the hands warm, but don’t make the controls much easier to use. That’s particularly true for the touch screen on the back of the camera. Also, in extreme cold, I’m always a bit worried about my photography gear getting damaged.
Because the days are shorter, outdoor photography opportunities are pretty scarce outside of my day job’s working hours. (That’s unless the intent is to shoot in the dark, of course.) So apart from weekends, that only leaves me with time to shoot on my lunch breaks and, until days start getting longer again following the winter solstice, a small period of time late in the afternoons before sunset.
Within this restrictive schedule, I’ve been repeatedly visiting a lot of the same locations. Interestingly, it’s been a welcome reminder that the circumstances that produce a nice image are, to a large extent, out of my control. And that my mission, so to speak, is to recognize opportunities when they arise and to make the most of them. A spot that offered me a dud yesterday could suddenly offer me a gem today.
To capture the previous image, I parked next to a flock of seagulls that were roosting in a parking lot at Parlee Beach Provincial Park. It was raining lightly, so I rolled down the window and shot from inside the car. I must have stayed there for at least a quarter of an hour photographing the seagull you see in the foreground. When the other two eventually strolled into the background, I knew I had my shot.
The following image was taken a few days later in the same parking lot. On this particular day, it was also raining, but there was little to no wind, which made for beautiful mirror-like reflections in the standing water. I photographed a few other birds first, until I noticed this one. I positioned myself in order to place the bird between the reflections of the two houses within the frame and made multiple images of the seagull before settling on this one.
For the image at the top of the newsletter taken at the Pointe-du-Chêne Wharf, it was drizzling, so again I shot from inside my car. It was late in the afternoon, and the daylight was quickly fading, which forced me to increase the ISO setting of the camera, thereby introducing noticeable grain in the image. Regardless, I’m really happy with the result. That bird coming in for a landing is a nice touch.
I’m going to end with this last picture that I took back in October 2016 at Centennial Park in Moncton. My mother had it printed for Cam last year as a gift.
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