Sunday, May 20, 2012

For the Love of Birds

This is an updated post originally dated October 22, 2012. This post is updated. The original also contains some different images and can be viewed here.

Inspired from the movie "The Birds". You can see the light shining
thru their wing feathers.

After picking up photography again in November 2007 after an 18 year absence from the art, I decided to 'Master' several subjects. The reason for this is that by forcing yourself to master a specific subject, you are forced to learn all the specific skills required to master that specific subject. Each type of photography requires different skills so by moving on from one subject to the next (after you have mastered it of course) you can force yourself to learn all kinds of new skill sets. I call this 'Project Based Learning'. It is a great way to force yourself to learn new skills!

The first very first subject I choose was 'birds'. I do not know exactly why I choose birds except perhaps it was my love of them.

Bird Photography was ideal for me as I now get to do two things, well, three things I love. I get to be 'outdoors', doing 'photography' and shooting 'birds'. How much better than that can it get?

I also decided to try to make money with my bird photography and have since donated all bird image sales profits to Bird Sanctuaries and Rescue Shelters. All my bird images are for sale (some are available at with more to follow shortly) and 'Rights' are available for free by permission only to government registered non-profit societies for use in Print Material. Please inquire.

Here are a few of my more recent bird images. Note that most of these images are not cropped (except for the obvious square crop on the America Crow and a slight crop only on the left portion of the frame of the Great White Egret in B&W. Most people think these are shot with the Birdir's 500mm or 600mm Lens. Except for the Gannet, these images were all shot with a Canon 70-200mm F/2.8L Lens (most at 200mm). The Gannet was shot with a Canon 400mm f/5.6L Lens.

To get this close to these birds, be patient, be quiet and calm. The birds will get closer to you or will allow you to get closer to them. For more tips on how to photograph birds, check out my previous blog - Bird Photography Tips which will also be updated soon.

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), Florida

Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus), Cape Saint Mary's, Newfoundland

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), Florida

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus), Florida

Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum), Florida

Here are two more images but this time in B&W. B&W is not a preferred media for bird photography as colors are very important in Ornithology. However, B&W can look great or even better with the right birds in the right lighting.

Click the images to zoom in to see the detail and the delicate exposures. Note the details on the white feathers of the Egret and again the detail of the black feathers on the Crow. The right exposure is crucial here and usually can't be saved in Photoshop. Use exposure bracketing if the lighting is tricky. Both these images have even better detail in Print.

American Crow in B&W (Corvus brachyrhynchos), Florida
3rd Place Winning Print at DPI 2012 in B&W Category

Great White Egret in B&W (Ardea alba), Florida
1st Place Winning Print at DPI 2012 in B&W Category

Another aspect of the Bird Photography fun has been the identification of the birds and learning the Common and Latin names. As you can see I still do Bird Photography but in 2009 I threw myself at Flower Photography and in 2011 I started doing B&W. I still shoot all three subjects but I still strive to learn and improve my skills in all three.

Hope you enjoyed looking at these images and I hope that they can in some way inspire you to help with the care of birds or at least inspire you to photograph your love or to challenge you to learn new photography skills!

© 2012  Jean-François Cléroux
(Version 1.02 -  May 2012)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Vancouver Through Photography - August 6 - 12, 2012

In August of 2012 I will be hosting a group of 11 Students and 1 Instructor from Vivek High School ( from Chandigarh, India. This school is rated one of the top English schools in India. This group will have 5 full days of photography in and around Vancouver with classes, workshops, studio and location shoots and image reviews and critique. This will also include a Night Shoot of Downtown and the Vancouver City Scape.

We will also spend two extra days with outings to Victoria ( and the Butchart Gardens  ( and to Whistler ( (home of the 2010 Winter Olympics).

This workshop has been confirmed and I am very excited about hosting this International Group. I would like to welcome all the students from Vivek High School that partake in this trip and to Photographer/Instructor Nanveet Saxena.

© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.00 - May 2012)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Workshop - Blogging for Photographers

So I lead a new workshop tonight entitled "Blogging for photographers". This new workshop is designed to help introduce photographers to the world of Blogging or simply to the Internet if they have still been reluctant to create a site on the web.

Blogger, owned by Google is a great free tool for creating a Blog site (short for Web Log) or a PhotoBlog site or any type of site for that matter. Moreover, Google offers this as a free service. The power of using Blogger comes in various formats.

One; Blogger being a Google tool is integrated with GMail. If you have a GMail account (not required) you can sign into Blogger with your GMail account name and password.

Two; It is also integrated with Picasa. If any of you photographers out there do not know about Picasa, you should check this site out (also free). It provides on-line Galleries and basic photo editing. Having this tied into your Blogger site for easy updating of Galleries and Slide shows.

Three; Its very simple to use. They just recently updated the interface (two weeks ago I think) and the new interface is even easier to use than ever. Great templates that are customizable, some great Setup features, multi page setup, some excellent Gadgets and supports Flash and Java if you want to insert some custom code or widgets. Some great stats information is available and if you don't mind ads (your choice) you can use AdSense which will display ads but will create revenue for you. This site, is all done using Blogger.

Lastly, Its FREE! How much better than that can it get. And with AdSense generating some revenue, it better than free. I do not use AdSence as I do not want ads on my site. But I did check it out and know some bloggers that use it and they like it. If you don't mind the ads (you do get some control over them) its worth checking out. Of course, the more traffic your site gets the more revenues it will generate.

The workshop is mostly talking about getting an Internet presence, Blogging, Why Blog, Benefits of Blogging. I discuss other options like the excellent WordPress and other sites. Technical issues like Hosted or Self Hosted Blogs and integration with other Photography specific services like SmugMug, ZenFolio and NetShelter (which I use).

I cover topics such as the importance of Domain Names, .COMS versus other extensions and Domain Prefixes and Sub Domains including a basic intro to IP Addresses and DNS Servers. I talk about and recommend Registrars and Host Providers.

Throughout the evening I discuss marketing, publicity and other factors that can affect your site and your business. After all, its all about making money, or at the very least drawing viewers in to see your work!

Tonight we had a group of about 30 to 35 people and during the evening many excellent questions were asked. This is probably the most involved I have ever seen the Delta Photo Club members. Afterwards, I had many complements and I fielded a ton more questions.

It was a great evening and I think at least a few people learned something.

Most of the material covered this evening is typed out and I will be posting it here as a post soon. There is also a hand out. Please go to the Workshops page and download the PDF. Is has a bit of information and some links. I did notice some mistakes and obmitted links. I will fix it in the next few days.

© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.01 - May 2012)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


So I have been a little lax in my blogging duties as of late. Partly, or perhaps in large part because of some blasted game called Skyrim. You see, as a Techno-geek I have always been a game player. My favorite game types are first person fantasy adventure games that are not on-line. When new games are released I always check them out on the web and look at reviews. There is nothing worse than a poorly created game with poor graphics and worse, a poor story line. The last game I played was fairly good but had a horrible ending and the game was too short. I finished the game in three days. For $60.00 it wasn't worth it.

I had checked out Skyrim but I skipped on it mainly because I had played its predecessor, Oblivion, and I had not liked it. The Oblivion graphics were great, the story was good but, it was very slow and time consuming to get the smallest tasks completed.

Over the Christmas holidays some nephews suggested that I play skyrim because it was excellent. After some discussions on the why's of it being so great, I decided I would give it a try. Another reason was because I had not played a good game in almost three or four years. I had tinkered with one other game of a different genre but after a few days I had given up on it. I had also been feverishly waiting on the release of a new installement of one of my all time favorite games, Diablo III which has been promissed but a no show for many many years now. Diablo II was released in 2000 and by 2005 we had heard rummors of III being release. The wait was on. In 2008, it was officially announced that Diablo III would be released and so it was expected, rightly or wrongly, for Christmas of 2008. Again I and many others waited in 2009, 2010 and again before christmas this past year in 2011. As of this writing it is in fact supposed top be released on May 15th of this year. Only two weeks away.

Back to Skyrim; let me just say that Skyrim is by far the best Fantasy Adventure game I have ever played. Period. Exceptional graphics, an incredible story line, or rather several storylines with hundreds of smaller stories or side quests. Phenomenal combat and magic systems, great playability and what seems to be a never ending story. This is by far the longest game I have ever played. Usually I finish a game within a month. Here we are 5 months later and over 300 hours played and I am still not finished.

Usually, games that have lasted longer than a month became borring and often ended up un-finished. Skyrim is anything but that. Just when you think is getting the slightes bit dull, a new twist or some great new part of a story line is thrown your way. Oh, and the dragons are incredible! An excellent, no, "the best" Fantasy Adventure game I have ever played and the best $50.00 ever spent. Oh wait, it was a gift, but it would still be the best money I ever spent on a game.

I am now almost finished, although not sure as this game seems to take the weirdest twists but if indeed I am at the end of the game it will be just in time. Post a few blogs, work on a few projects, then on to Diablo III.

© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.03 - May  2012)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.