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2017-01-16 Pine Marten Session
Lens: Tamron 300 2.8 and HD DA 1.4 TC Camera: K-1 Photo Location: ALgonquin park -Cameron Rad ISO: 100 Shutter Speed: 1/2000s Aperture: F4 
Posted By: normhead, 01-21-2017, 08:54 AM

K-1 and Tamrn SP AF 300 ƒ2.8 with HD DA 1.4 TC.
400 ISO ƒ4, AV mode.

I was out there doing this routine in Algonquin Park, at the Cameron Road parking lot off of Opeongo road, a favourite destination for those who like to hold their hands out with a few seeds on it and have bird land on it.



This images is really taken a few kms down the road, at the Costello Creek picnic area. But I digress.
I was actually there to try and photograph the Grey Jays, who never turned up.

A lot of what you do is sit there with your eyes scanning the area looking for movement.

I'm also getting images of other birds coming to the seed I'd placed in strategic locations.


When looking for Gray Jays who are often carrion feeders, I often mix in small chunks of cheese, chopped dog kibble, chopped nuts and small chopped up bread cubes and peanuts in the shell.. Often there are other shooters in the parking lot, with their own seed mixes. I try and make sure mine is the best. I find, even though it's a mix for the Jays, Chickadees and nuthatches will also eat every part of this mix

There was a little movement off to the side and there was this guy.


This is a shot, but it's not "the shot" After this he moved back off into the bushes and while looking at other things I noticed the sun had moved enough that I was no longer getting the angle I wanted. my shadow was no longer pointing at my little pile of bird feed in the snow bank,

I left that pile to the Blue Jays and Chickadees, and set up a new pile in a snow bank on the other side of the plowed road.. There is a tree where when the Grey Jay pair come they often sit in the branches and check out the scene before diving in. I set up where if the Jays landed in that tree I'd have a good angle to the sun for some great pictures of them in a natural environment, and decent bokeh.

7 minutes later the young pine marten came out of the forest near my new food pile and started eating. He didn't seem to care, even when I moved slowly, changing position for better angles. He even stayed there when at one point a car drove between us.

Some direct light, dark background and bokeh, that's what I go for.







Images like this are determined by feed pile placement. He's not going where you want him to go unless he has incentive. This placement gave me the bokeh I wanted, after about 3 tries.







A bunch of birders turned up and he slowly retreated into the forest. He seemed fine with just one photographer, if there was going to be 5 that was too much. After he left the Jays came and took what was left. They had an interesting strategy. Half of them sat up in the tree to see if the pine marten was coming back, the other half pigged out at the feed pile. Pine Martins prey on small birds, I've seen Jays fly off into the woods tailing one, making sure everyone knew exactly where he was.

A guard Jay.


The Grey Jays never did come. Sometimes you just take what you can get.

Earlier in the day I did get some Grey Jay images by crashing another photographer's set up. I personally wouldn't have done what he did, but he was doing it his way, so nothing to stop me from moving up beside him. His whole focus was back lighting for that little bit of highlight you see outlining the jays, and a dark background with good bokeh. There was only one part of the parking lot that was good for him. Personally I prefer a dark background as he does, but direct lighting, for truer colour and contrast.











I didn't even have to put out any peanuts.

All these images require layered clothing that will allow you to sit comfortably out in the cold and wait it out.

Last edited by normhead; 01-21-2017 at 10:39 AM.
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01-21-2017, 09:56 AM   #2
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2016-01-16 ?????? are you testing me ?
01-21-2017, 10:17 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by originalwinger Quote
2016-01-16 ?????? are you testing me ?
I am in compete denial that 2018 , when I turn 70, is ever going to happen. 2017 is just too close.

I'll see if I can correct it.

Last edited by normhead; 01-21-2017 at 10:36 AM.
01-21-2017, 10:23 AM   #4
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Great photos Norm. The Pine Martin pictures are fantastic, all your thought and setup paid off nicely. I'm jealous you had sunshine as it's been very dull here for weeks. I was in Washago the other day photographing the 50 plus swans that haven't migrated yet. The birds cooperated but it was so dull, misty, foggy and with using long glass the resulting photos were a letdown.I miss the sun. Another great series Norm.

01-21-2017, 10:35 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by originalwinger Quote
Great photos Norm. The Pine Martin pictures are fantastic, all your thought and setup paid off nicely. I'm jealous you had sunshine as it's been very dull here for weeks. I was in Washago the other day photographing the 50 plus swans that haven't migrated yet. The birds cooperated but it was so dull, misty, foggy and with using long glass the resulting photos were a letdown.I miss the sun. Another great series Norm.
Being retired and living near the park, I have the luxury of being able to charge out the door the minute the sun comes out. Although this year, sometimes it's gone back in before I get there. The Cameron Road parking lot , where the small bird and pine marten images were taken, is maybe 20 minutes from my house.
01-21-2017, 11:33 AM   #6
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I'm going to call you the marten whisperer. Great photos of what is normally a very shy and sneaky wild animal and the picture of the guard jay has awesome colour.
01-21-2017, 01:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
I'm going to call you the marten whisperer. Great photos of what is normally a very shy and sneaky wild animal and the picture of the guard jay has awesome colour.
Thanks for commenting. The Martens at the bird feeding stations in the park in the park are pretty habituated. I've never seen one in the wild less than 20 feet up a tree.
01-21-2017, 08:38 PM   #8
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A worth while trip out in the cold.

01-22-2017, 05:50 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by AussieTrev Quote
A worth while trip out in the cold.
There has to be some benefits or no one would go there.
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