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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lots of Places in Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley to Photograph Wildlife.

This year, our objective is to get out to places that we haven't managed to get to in previous years. This will hopefully provide us with opportunity to shoot subjects that we haven't been able to do so before. One of the subjects that I've been interested in photographing is the sandhill crane. They are aggressive birds and if they are nesting, they are even more protective, so I'm certain that I won't be going near them with anything less than a 400mm f/5.6 (TC-20EIII on 70-200mm f/2.8).

We're hoping to photograph new subjects this year. I'm still tossing up whether it is essential to get accredited through the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) and their British Columbia division. It is quite an expenditure of funds (that could go towards gear that is sorely needed - namely a 300mm f/4, 600mm f/4 and teleconverters) and would be a decision of some magnitude that requires a lot of forethought before committing to that course of action.

One of the first places this year that my wife and I plan to get out to (while the snowy owls are there) is Boundary Bay. I may not be able to get saleable shots on the 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII as I won't be able to get close enough on the 200mm end, but I do hope to get some shots and practice some technique and birding principles while I'm there in order to nail at least some useable shots for the blog.

Stanley Park is a repeat visit that we plan on making for practice on technique. There are mute swans, a heronry and various ducks in Lost Lagoon that are worth photographing. Two of the subjects there that I would love to be able to photograph are the wood ducks and Mandarin ducks. The wood ducks and mandarin ducks sport similar plumage however the wood duck is the duck that is a native species to Coastal British Columbia. The Mandarin duck was imported and ended up being released into the wild. They quickly established a small population at Stanley Park, and thus we can find them in the Lost Lagoon area. I am looking forward to tracking a few of those special specimens down.

The key to finding those special specimens to photograph is researching where they are located, researching their behavior and reactions to human interaction and what we can do to minimize our impact on their lives. Also consistent practice of camera technique to maximize our keeper/shots taken ratio on specimens that are used to interacting with humans is a great way to make certain that our skills are kept in top-notch shape each year as we go to find those shots that will actually earn some cash.

One of the places that I hope to go to this year also is Sapperton Landing Park just across the Fraser River. I've heard rumors of a green heron that nests in that location and would just love to have the opportunity to quietly take a photo of that green heron.

Another location that interests me to visit this year is Iona Beach Regional Park. Nestled just off the North Western tip of Sea Island, it is home to passing seal populations, and seabirds. This would be a great location to get some interesting shots. Another park would be Shoreline Park in Port Moody. It would be interesting if I was able to see a black bear there. Of course keeping one's distance is a prudent thing in that situation.

There are plenty of photography opportunities in the Lower Mainland. One of the best books that my wife managed to locate is Nature Vancouver's "Park and Nature Places Around Vancouver". This well illustrated volume gives numerous locations around the Metro Vancouver, Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley which have opportunities to enjoy nature and interact with wildlife. The book also includes transit information for people who are limited to public transit. This book has formed the basis of some of my most fruitful photographic adventures in the Lower Mainland and I hope to continue that trend into the coming years.

Happy Shooting.


  1. Lovely pictures and awesome photography.

  2. You can get close to Sandhill Cranes, you just need to be careful. Check out the Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta, the resident Sandhill Cranes allow people to get very close.