I just completed my first of two “Into the Great Bear Rainforest” trips.  On this one we started in Bella Bella, British Columbia, and traveled north and ended in Kitimat, stopping at various inlets, and estuaries along the way.

 

One of my favourite things about the Great Bear Rainforest photo tours is that there is a long list of potential wildlife that we could see along the route, but we never know what we will see, and where we will see it.  It’s a true wilderness photo tour.  The other nice thing is, what we enjoy, we enjoy to ourselves, instead of being among a bunch of other photo groups.

 

We started our trip with several Humpback Whales, including one that was lunge feeding and coming quite high out of the water, which was pretty incredible.  However it was a bit hard to predict where he was coming up, and therefore also hard to predict where to point your camera and shoot.

 

Down Low

Throughout the trip we were treated to rivers and streams full of salmon, which had already brought in the Bald Eagles that were lining the trees.  We had the opportunity to photograph them in the pouring rain, sunny days, and even in some fog/mist.  It really provided us the full gamut of Bald Eagles in the Great Bear Rainforest.

 

We also had the opportunity to photograph both Grizzly Bears and Black Bears, including one of each with cubs, so adding a little extra cute factor to the photography.   For the most part the bears were taking advantage of the salmon runs, and trying to start packing on the weight before hibernation.

 

We ended the trip with quite a show from some Transient Killer Whales, who had already started attacking a Stellar Sea Lion when we showed up.  We spent almost two hours watching as they came out of the water and jumped on him, or hit him with their tails, and doing everything they could to get their next meal.  It was the first time that I had witnessed something like this, and while it was incredible to see the Orcas, you were left feeling a little sad for the poor Sea Lion.

 

So if you are interested in a trip along the coast, where you could be treated to both land mammals, and marine mammals, the  Great Bear Rainforest might be a trip for you.  We have several different options, including ones in the spring, summer and fall, with more information available on my Photo Tours page.

 

Stay tuned for Part Two of my blog post after I finish my next trip into the Great Bear Rainforest.

One of my favorite things about our annual Marine Mammals photo tour, is that you never know what to expect.  While we expect to see Humpback Whales, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, and Orcas, we never know when or where they are going to pop up and which is going to steal the show.

 

Crab Dinner

This year, my personal thoughts are the Sea Otters stole the show, but others on the trip might disagree.  We encountered several Sea Otters bringing up various things from the ocean floor, and displaying an all you can eat buffet for us.  Their hauls included various urchins, clams, and even crabs.  It was also a lot of fun to watch them when they brought up a clam and banged them against their special rock to get it.  Besides just eating, we also had the opportunity to watch them preening their fur, with their pups, wrapped in kelp, and surprisingly just hanging out in the middle of the strait (in very deep water).

 

It was not just a trip of Sea Otters though, we also had a lot of other action.  Including Humpback Whales breaching, lunge feeding, and tail lobbing (no, not all by one humpback whale).  When we visited some of the Sea Lion rock haul outs, we got to see a few battles (both in and out of the water), jumping from the rocks, and gathering in a big group and swimming towards our zodiac.

 

The Bald Eagles didn’t want to be out-done by the marine mammals.  We had several opportunities to nab some shots of them while fishing at bait balls, and ended up cursing the gulls that photo-bombed some of our shots.

 

Catching Air

Sticking with the title of this blog post, one of the most unique and unexpected things that we witnessed this year, and it was the very first for our experienced skipper, was Harbor Seals mating.  What we thought was a dead Harbor Seal floating just at the surface, ended up being two in the midst of action.  While it did produce great photos, it was cool to GoPro, and even cooler to just see.

 

So when people ask me what my favourite trip is, and I mention the Marine Mammals, I think you are starting to get a picture as to why.  Even after four trips, I come away each year with different highlights, and unique photos from one year to the next, and I’m already looking forward to next year.

 

I’m starting to post some images from the trip on my Recent Photos page, and will post more as I get through them (there are so many to choose from).

 

I don’t have too much time to relax, as I’m already prepping for my next journey Into the Great Bear Rainforest, where I will be leading two trips this year.

 

If you want to join us on this trip visit my photo tours page for more information or contact me at contact@wildelements.ca for more details.

If you noticed that I have not been posting images or blog posts so much, it is because I have been a bit busy on photo tours.  I just arrived back from one part of the BC Coast, and I’m spending the month and a half travelling from one part of the British Columbia Coast to the next.

 

Coastal Deer

I started in early July in Gwaii Haanas National Park, this was the first time I have visited this area, so I did not know what to expect (other than what I had read online).  Given that Gwaii Haanas coast is home to over 1.5 million seabirds, I had expected that we would have the opportunity to photograph some birds.

 

Well the trip met my expectation when it came to photographing birds, there was no shortage of Black Oystercatchers or Pigeon Guillemots,  And we got lucky seeing a few different Tufted Puffins, including some fly-bys with fish in the beaks.  Gwaii Haanas has the highest concentration of nesting Bald Eagles, so we had the chance to capture some times of Bald Eagles in various perches, including on rocky islands.

 

In addition to the birds, we also had the opportunity to photograph various mammals that call Gwaii Haanas home such as the Sitka Deer, Black Bears, Stellar Sea Lions and a new one for me the Risso’s Dolphins.  The Black Bears in the area have no predators, and are the largest part of the food chain, which causes them to be some the largest found in North America.

 

The trip wasn’t all about the wildlife of the area, we also had the opportunity to photograph some beautiful landscapes, historic totem poles, and some old grave sites and historic machinery.

 

Bright Eyed

I am now getting ready to head to a different part of the coast, the Johnstone Strait up to the Northern tip of Vancouver Island.  In addition to the beautiful landscapes, this trip is focused on the marine mammals that are in the area, which includes Killer Whales, Humpback Whales, the very adorable Sea Otters, Stellar Sea Lions, and more. Despite focusing on Marine Mammals, we will also be on the lookout for various species of birds while exploring in the zodiac. The Marine Mammals trip is one of my favourites, because it is often action-packed and varied species, and we never know what to expect while traveling along the coast in the beautiful Ocean Light II sailboat.

 

From there I am coming home from a few days, and then leaving again to explore the last bit of coast for my 2019 photo tour season, the Great Bear Rainforest.  I will be leading two separate trips along the coast, where again we will be exploring different areas, hoping to photograph Humpback Whales, Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, and if we get lucky, the unique and rare Spirit Bear.  There are still spaces available on one of the photo tours, so if you are interested in coming along, please send me an email, contact@wildelements.ca.

 

I very much enjoyed my first time visiting Gwaii Haanas, and looking forward to visiting both the Johnstone Strait and Great Bear Rainforest again.  Stay tuned for updates, and images, from my recent adventures.

If you are noticing the lack of action and new photos being posted on my website, and social media, it is because I’m currently on a trip exploring Gwaii Haanas in British Columbia.

 

Huh! What’s Gwaii Haanas? It’s a National Park Reserve and Marine Conservation Area off the coast of British Columbia and protects an archipelago of 138 islands. We are there searching for marine mammals, landscapes, and intertidal photography, in addition to some of the rich cultural history of this area.  This is our first time offering photo tours in the area, so I’m excited to see this new part of the coast.

 

More about Gwaii Haanas can be found on Wikipedia.

 

We have a few spaces available to join us in 2020 when we explore the west side of  Haida Gwaii, more information can be found on my photo tours page, or contact me for more details.

I am back after enjoying nine peaceful and calm days among the Grizzly Bears of the Khutzeymateen, joined by two different groups of eager photographers.

 

This Blog Post is later than I had planned it to be, I’ve been home for over a week now, but I took so many photos, that I wanted the chance to actually edit some, and do an overall review of the images, before making a post about my experience.

 

Let Me See!

I would say the theme of the 2019 trip to the Khtuzeymateen during my nine days was “calm”.  After leaving the hustle and bustle of the city, you are presented by an overall calmness and tranquility of the Khutzeymateen Estuary.  This was combined with the fact that the bears that we were seeing over the nine days tended to be calm bears.   What do I mean by this?  Well there really was not any big large males roaming around the estuary or inlet (until the last day) therefore all the bears kind of had their place and stuck to it, with no one pushing anyone else around.

 

When photographing the bears, which included three different moms with cubs, we had a lot of opportunities to watch them calmly go about their day, which included eating, pooping, and if we were lucky, taking a nap on a pretty log, stump or rock close by.  Having three moms with cubs for much the nine days allowed us to capture various interactions between them, including the mom standing, with the cub standing behind her with his hand on her back which I titled “Let me See“.  We also had the chance to photograph one of the moms napping her cub, and the cub cuddling up next to his mom.

 

On the last day was when the dynamic started to change, and there was a bit of a buzz in the air in the Estuary.  It started off with one of the moms with cubs that we had been watching seeming like she was a little edgy.  She kept watching into the Estuary and seemed to be a bit more cautious than normal. It was not long before her and her cubs ran off into the forest.  Shortly afterwards, a male came roaming down the shoreline, focused on smelling around for the mom and her cubs.  The anxiety among the bears continued further in the estuary when there was another large male bear lurking in the tree-line while a mother and her cub fed, and he subsequently ended up chasing them away. If you had only attended the last day of the trip, you would not have believed how calm the other eight days were.  There were a few more males further down the inlet as well, but there were less smaller bears and no cubs down there (that we had seen), so their presences seemed to have less of an impact.

 

Back from the Dead

We capped the trip off by seeing a bear that was assumed to have been dead, “Brutus”.  He was first spotted further down the inlet earlier in the season, and then started hanging around in one of the creeks closer to the Estuary.  When we actually laid eyes on him ourselves, we were surprised that it was him, “Back from the Dead“.  For many, many years Brutus controlled the estuary, and now he is over 30 years old.  So when he disappeared a couple of years ago, everyone had just assumed that he had passed away, it was really surprise that he was still alive, and relatively healthy, given his age, although not nearly as big as he once was.

 

The calmness of the bears also provided me with the opportunity to try out various pieces of camera equipment that I brought along. I was able to try different body/lens combinations, try out my new EOS R, the new 400 f/2.8L IS III lens, including with various teleconverters, and even brought along my 70-200 f/2.8L IS III lens which got more use than I had expected.  Stay tuned to future blog posts on my thoughts on the performance of both the 400, and EOS R in the “real world” (or at least the real world where I do the majority of my photography).

 

There is now one spot available for 2020 Khutzeymateen instructional photo tour, and the 2021 priority booking list continues to grow, so if you are interested in having the opportunity to visit this pristine estuary yourself, please send me an email contact@wildelements.ca for more information.

After one year off, I’m excited to be heading back into the Khutzeymateen for my fourth time, and spending 9 wonderful days aboard the Ocean Light II with two great groups of guests.

 

Coastal

This year I have two new pieces of equipment that I’m very excited to try out in the Khutzeymateen.  The first being the EOS R.  I haven’t had a whole lot of opportunity to shoot with the EOS R since I picked it up last winter, and this will be the first photo tour that I’m bring it on.  In addition, I also have my new 400mm f/2.8L IS III that I’m very excited to try out.  If there was ever a trip for the 400 f/2.8 lens, I think the Khutzeymateen might just be one of those trips.  I will admit, I have already noticed the weight advantage of the 400 f/2.8 when I didn’t pull a muscle trying to put my bags in the overhead bin of the airplane on the way here. It was hardly noticeable in the bag, especially compared to the previous version of the 400 f/2.8.

 

With the new 400 f/2.8 I’m excited to put the Image Stabilization (IS) to the test, because it has one more stop of image stabilization compared to the previous version of the lens.  That coupled with the lighter weight of the body overall, I’m curious how low I can push the shutter speed while shooting from the zodiac and still come away with sharp images.

 

Regardless of the new gear, I’m really looking forward to getting the opportunity to visit the Khutzeymateen once again.  Stay tuned to my website for my thoughts on my new equipment and a summary of the trip overall.

 

If you are interested in joining us on Khutzeymateen trip, contact me at seminars@wildelements.ca to get yourself on a cancellation or priority booking list for future trips.  To see images from previous Khutzeymateen trips, visit my Khutzeymateen gallery.

had the opportunity to use my mother’s dog to put the autofocus on the EOS R to the test. And it would not be an understatement to say that it was a real test of the AF system.

 

 

Super Dog

I have been extremely happy with the speed of autofocus acquisition on the EOS R.  I find that it locks on focus quite quickly, especially on more stationary or slow-moving subjects, and the number of photos in focus when shooting non-moving (or slow moving) subjects is quite high.

 

When testing the predicative abilities of the autofocus of the EOS R, using a dog running straight towards me, I noticed that the focus was not really up to the task.  It would get focus quite quickly, however it wasn’t fast enough to continuously re-focus as the puppy got closer.  While the first image was usually in focus, only sometimes was the second image, and very rarely was the third image.  The slow frame-rate of the camera was also noticeable in this scenario, because the number of shots taken while the dog was running at me was quite a bit lower than the 5D Mark IV.

 

If you are headed into a scenario where you are going to continuously have something running towards you, or driving directly towards you, such as any kind of race, then I do not think that the EOS R would be my top choice of a camera to take.

 

I also tested the autofocus while panning with the dog running right to left (or left to right), and I found that the autofocus was quite a bit more stable and held focus significantly better than when the dog was running straight towards me.  I would not hesitate to use the camera when in a scenario that I am planning to do a lot of panning.

 

I will admit, the dog was moving quite a bit faster than most wildlife subjects that I have photographed in the past, so while the EOS R has room for improvement, it is one of those situations that you probably would only notice one percent of the time, not in every day use, or at least not in the situations that I typically photograph.

 

I also did some testing on the AF Methods (area mode options) during the testing, so stay tuned to my future blog post on my thoughts on the various options.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at contact@widlelements.ca.

Spirit Bear Gear Bear Rainforest British Columbia

Spirit of the Great Bear Rainforest

We have just added a Brand New trip in 2019, August in the Great Bear Rainforest. This trip will start in Bella Bella, British Columbia, and travel north up the coast of British Columbia and ending in Kitimat. This trip includes 7 full days aboard the sailboat Ocean Light II. 

 

Typically these trips sell out a year in advance, so this is your opportunity to book and travel in the same year.

 

More information on this trip can be found on my photo tours page, or send me an email at Contact@wildelements.ca for more details on this exciting new trip.

EOS RP

  • 26.2 megapixel
  • Full frame CMOS sensor
  • Adapter allows for using EF lenses
  • Phase detect AF
  • 4,799 selectable AF Points
  • 4 fps with continuous AF (AI Servo)
  • ISO Sensitivity of 100-40000
  • No in body stabilization
  • Different battery
  • One SD Slot
  • 4k video capabilities
  • Battery life of 270 shots (EVF)
  • $1,699 CAD

Canon just announced another camera in their full-frame mirrorless line-up, the EOS RP. This is a lower priced mirrorless camera, aimed towards those photographers that are looking to step up to a full frame camera, without the price tag of the EOS R, or 5D Mark IV.  The camera comes with a full frame 26.2 megapixel CMOS sensor with phase detect autofocus and 4k video, at a very reasonable price tag of $1,699 CAD.

 

So what’s the biggest difference between the EOS RP and EOS R, or why not go with one of the traditional full-frame entry level Canon DSLR’s, like the 6D Mark II.  See below for what I think are some of the biggest differences:

 

The biggest difference between the two are the price tag. The EOS RP comes in at $1,699 CAD, compared to $2,999 CAD for the EOS R.

 

With the lower price tag, comes a little less in terms of performance of the EOR RP compared to the EOS R. The camera comes with a 26.2 megapixle, slightly less than the 30.3 megapixels of the EOS R.  It comes with the robust autofocus phase-detection system that was introduced with the EOS R, and 4,799 selectable autofocus points.   The camera also comes wth a lower frames per second, it’s 4 when using AI Servo autofocus, compared to the 5 with the EOS R.

 

A few other things that I noticed when reviewing the camera specs is that the battery life is less than half of that of the EOS R, and only advertised to be 270 shots.  So while the camera is lighter, the lightest full-frame Canon camera, weighing just over one pound, but this weight savings might be offset by all the extra weight of carrying batteries around with you. Another thing that I saw that would be slightly annoying for people with other Canon cameras (7d mark II, 5D mark III, etc) is that it uses a different battery, whereas the EOS R uses the same battery as those other cameras, so eliminates the need for an extra charger, and different kind of batteries.

 

In comparison to the 6D Mark II, the DSLR entry level full-frame camera, the EOS RP comes in at the same number of megapixels and less frames per second.  The EPS RP weighs less than the 6D Mark II, with the 6D Mark II weighing 1.51 lbs versus 1.07 lbs, and it is smaller overall.  Best of all the the EOS RP is less expensive, with the 6D Mark II coming in at $1,999 CAD.  So it really makes me wondering why you would pay more for the 6D Mark II.

 

The following tables shows a comparison of the three camera bodies:

    Specification                          EOS RP                     EOS R                     6D Mark II

Megapixels                               26.2                              30.3                               26.2

AF Points                                  4,799                            5,655                               45

Frames per second*                      4                                  5                                   5

ISO Range                         100-40000                 100-40000                 100-40000

Battery Life (shots)**                 270                              560                           1,200

Price (CAD)                             $1,699                         $2,999                        $1,999

 

*Frames per second for the mirrorless is bases on being in AI Servo AF.

**Battery life on mirrorless is based on room temperature and eco/power savings modes enabled

 

If you are in the market for a new full frame entry level camera, the EOS RP seems like it will be a nice place to start.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me at contact@wildelements.ca.

Canon EOS 1DX

I am selling my used Canon EOS 1D X.   I am the original owner of this Camera and I am selling it because I have been keeping it as a backup for my 1DX Mark II, but I haven’t been using it.

 

Price: SOLD

 

Includes the following:
Canon EOS 1D X

Original box

Front Cap

Battery Charger and one Battery

 

This camera is in good working order, I just sent it into Canon to have it cleaned and tested.

 

If you are interested in purchasing, please send me an email contact@wildelements.ca.