Langley City BC Canada
When on assignment for the Langley Times I would often visit Brydon Lagoon. Sometimes, when it was a slow news day I would go down just to get some cute shot for the front page. No editor I ever worked for could resist a cute photo of a duckling or gosling.
On one such occasion it was for a story about the gate keepers of the pond, the people who made sure the old water treatment pond eventually became a wildlife reserve and not just another faceless subdivision.
People like Anthea Farr and Rhys Griffiths and other members of The Langley Field Naturalists.
I shot this image at Brydon so I could add copy and images later.
|Not exactly a Pulitzer Prize winning shot but....|
Below is the photo page that eventually ran in the Langley Times and Sideroads, a monthly magazine published by Black Press which often allowed me a free-reign to run nature stories.
**Notice how I left negative space to include a title or more pictures. Often it is best to shoot both vertical and horizontal images for publication.
The Finished Product
|The finished product made in ©InDesign and ©Photoshop|
In those days I saw many species of birds at Brydon but I never gave a thought to their names or how they played an important role in the bio-diversity of the park.
The more I visited the more I learnt about the birds of Brydon. Not only is there a pond and floodplain but several wooded areas and a salmon bearing creek. Coyotes, Beaver, Northern River Otter and Muskrat all make their homes there and can occasionally be seen early in the mornings.
I sometimes go for a walk and leave my DSLR at home. Instead I take my Nikon 24mm-2000mm P900 bridge camera just in case I find something interesting. A few days ago I was on my last circuit of the pond before making my way home when a Green Heron perched about fifty metres in front of me. It was getting dark so I set the camera on aperture priority and hoped that the bird wouldn't move too much. I shot it handheld at 2000mm. I squeezed the camera tightly, held my breath and pressed the shutter. Bingo!
Sometimes it feels good not to be laden down with ANY gear when all I really want to do is spend some time with the birds. I always feel a little 'naked' without some kind of recording device so I carry a 8 megapixel iPhone 5s in my pocket ...just in case. The phone comes in very useful for sound recording and the odd scenic that I include in my side presentations.
The image below was taken moments later during the last light of the day. Unlike the picture above this one has a more an artistic feel to it, at least that's my humble opinion!
I pressed the shutter when the bird was motionless. I have at least twenty other images in which the heron was moving and all have motion blur.
The background is the sky's reflection while the other shot of the heron has trees reflected in the water.
Sometimes human intervention is needed to find birds at Brydon. One such day was May 19 when local birded Sue Dietlein (Coastal Observer) spotted a Lark Sparrow. The Lark Sparrow is more often associated with a drier climate.
I went down to Brydon in fading light with high hopes and managed to get this shot. Rather than crop too tightly I tried to leave a little of the dry grassy area the bird favoured, the same type of habitat it is normally found. I have seen the species in the Okanagan and at Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta but never in the Lower Mainland.
One of the keys to enjoying the birding experience is getting out in the field. I go most mornings before appointments and other commitments, sometimes I'll go for an hour in the evening.
One morning I went down at 7 a.m and was one of only two people at the pond. Nothing too much was stirring just a few Common Yellowthroats and Orange-crowned Warblers. Barn, Tree and Northern-rough-wing perched above me resting waiting for the sun to warm the air.
While a bald eagle swooped over the pond it sent every duck and duckling scurrying for shelter. A Green Heron also took flight,. The Bald Eagle re-appeared but this time a with an Osprey in tow, a bird I had never seen at Brydon although another birder told me they appear every June for a few days. There lies the crux of the matter, to see good birds and lots of them, a person has to be in the field.
Brydon Lagoon is very near to my home I walk the trails most days for exercise and mental health. I spend time listening to birds, absorbing the sights, sounds and smells.
Anyway next time you're in Langley, check out the Brydon Lagoon you won't be disappointed.