Sometimes people ask me what gear I use for night shots. Well, apart from my cellphone that decidedly sucks at night shots, I’d say “anything goes”. 13 years ago I had the opportunity to get my first digital camera. It was a big deal for me. After a hiatus of nearly 15 years, I finally had a camera again. The first thing to try was of course family portraits and landscapes.

Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

Then came the more challenging shots. Macro shots and night photography. You wouldn’t expect night photography to go well with a small point and shoot. Even worse, those things are nowadays declared obsolete and are hardly for sale anymore.

By this time in winter we all start to think about summer. I think that is human nature, always trying to get what is not available. I wonder who put that in our genetic code… Anyway, in a photographer’s fashion, I have my own way to get what we all crave at some point in winter.

Beresford Lake

Photographical memories. While they are easy to see, they are not always easy to take or make.

Last weekend I went out, again. The weekend is the only time for me to get out and do something else than work. I guess that’s the case for many people, so I won’t complain about that. The decision was to visit some friends on Matheson Island. The same that will bring you up to Black Bear Island not far from there.

Fishing station

Of course, in this time of the year, there is no way to go to Black Bear Island. So a friend and I took the car and rolled. And rolled. Matheson Island is roughly 250 km north of Winnipeg and doesn’t see many tourists or visitors.

Often I get the question “How far away were you when you shot this?”. Well, that depends. It’s no secret that I have a 600mm lens and that gets me quite close at times. Other times, not enough. Another question is “What were your settings?”. That question tends to irk me. Settings alone do not define a picture. Even more when the settings asked for don’t include the most important information.

Red Headed Woodpecker

Distance. Asking for Shutter speed, aperture and ISO values is useless if you have no clue as to the distance the picture was shot. Without the distance, any lens can give the results required. I can shoot a turkey with a 20mm lens and get great results.

When the first signs of owls are showing in Manitoba, I can always find a way to get out and shoot them. Photographically speaking of course. In general, owls don’t like to be seen, by humans or even less, by their potential food.

From afar

When driving though the countryside in search for new owls (last weekend we clocked 500km… again), the first thing we look at is the above type of picture. The tell-tale shape of the Great Grey Owl. The fact that you see this does not mean you will get a good shot, though.