Saturday, July 21, 2012

Puffins and Razorbills-machias Seal Island

Atlantic Puffin-Full Frame!!!

On July 9 I took the Bold Coast Charters trip to Machias Seal Island 10 miles out into the Bay of Fundy off the coast of Maine. Captain Andy Patterson made the trip very enjoyable.  It was a bright sunny day which made photography challenging-but careful study of the birds from the blind allowed the capture of pleasing images of Atlantic Puffins, razorbills and Common Muir. 

Cutler Harbor-our ride the ship Barbara Frost is the white one in center

We met in Cutler harbor at about 7 AM and were transported by Captain Andy in a skiff to the Barbara Frost.  The seas were still as we left the harbor and headed out to sea. 

Light House at mouth of Cutler Harbor

We passed a little light house as we left the harbor and headed into open sea.  

About 45 minutes latter we arrived at Machias Seal Island.  the Island is only about 15 acres and has a light house on it an individuals that study the birds.  We saw shearwaters, arctic terns, harbor seals, Atlantic Puffins, razorbills as we approached the island.

We were transferred to the ramp in the background by skiff from the Barbara Frost.  It was a pleasant ride with calm seas.  We were greeted by one of the research scientists that lives on the island.  he gave us an overview of how the viewing works and briefed us on the etiquette to be used during our stay.  The island is a nesting place for the Atlantic Puffins and so the desire is that we make the most minimal impact while we are there.

We were separated into groups of three to four individuals and we were guided to blinds such as the one pictured here.  we were allowed 1 hour in the blind.  Our viewing and photography was done out the little windows in the blind.  The Puffins would flush as we approached the blind and then about 5 minutes after entering the blind they would return to the rocks and to the roof of the blind. Short lenses were the choice!   My 300 f2.8 gave me plenty of opportunities for head shots and it was tough to get any full body shots with that lens.  I put the 70-200 on and then was able to get some shots of the whole bird.  We saw Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, and Common Muir.

Due to the time of day and the high sun I had to use care in position of the Puffin to prevent harsh shadows and blow out of the white. 

Until next time

Jim Borden

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Time Moose in North Maine Woods

Sunset on Remote Lake in North Maine Woods

I spent 10 days touring Maine starting with some lighthouses along the coast and then moving to Machias Seal Island by boat to photograph Puffins.  After that I met up with photographer friends Mark Picard, Anita Mueller and Chris White and we traveled into the North Maine Woods to photograph birds and Moose. We stayed in cabins at a remote lake and traveled the lake and river by kayaks to view moose, waterfowl and warblers. It was a very good time and we saw numerous moose. 

Bull moose feeding 

We saw this moose on our way up the river and the sun was in our faces. He spooked into the thick brush and we passed on by.  We waited and watched up river and then just before fit started getting dark-we traveled down the river and found him out feeding. Photographing Moose in the remote Maine North Woods is different than photographing in the Baxter Park vicinity.  The moose are skittish and spooky as they are truly wild animals compared to the human acclimated animals in the baxter area. This moose eventually spooked when my kayak slid over a grassy bog causing a scraping noise on the body of the kayak.

Cow and Calf Moose in Morning Golden Light

This cow moose and calf spooked a few times but kept coming back into the water until they finally figured I meant them no harm.  I really enjoyed listening to the little guy "squeaking" at the cow moose. 

This is the same bull as the first shot-but was when we were approaching him as we came up river and the sun was in our faces. i had to adjust the lighting in Photoshop to overcome the back lighted conditions.

We saw a number of adult male and female loons but only one pair with a chick.  Here is an image of mom and baby. 

Until next time

Jim Borden