August 2017 – 70 years of the Beaver

On August 16, 1947 the first de Havilland beaver took to the air off a paved strip in Downsview, Ontario.

Celebrating this remarkable feet of Canadian engineering is special to me. Beaver C-GZBR, which we currently operate, was a part of my life before I can remember. I recently wrote about it on our business blog. Special thanks to my niece, Rebecca of Hello Harmony Studio for her commemorative design featured in that post as well as on t-shirts available for purchase in our office.

It only seems fitting that I select one of my favourite images of this aircraft (being flown by my favourite pilot) for our calendar this month.

Hit and Miss

A couple of thunderstorm systems passed just south of us just after sunset last night. Lightning and thunder played tag in the air. Between 9 pm and 10 pm I shot 87 images in attempt to capture at least one with a streak of lightning

lightning shoot thumbnails

The camera was set with my 17-50 mm at 17 mm, ISO 1600, f/2.8 and BULB so I control exposure length. I was using my Trippertrap remote shutter for the second time.

Triggertrap webpageIt works through the app on the smart phone. It has lots of great features but I really miss the feel of a button. The ‘trigger’ on the phone is a small dot at the bottom of the screen so it is difficult to find by touch. Perhaps there’s a setting for any part of the screen to set off the shutter – will have to look in to that.

Anyway, there was a lot of lightning but most was sheet lightning.  Even when I thought I was capturing a streak of lightning, the extreme brightness caused the lines blended into the overexposed sky. It was tricky to react like a trained game show contestant with a buzzer and at the same time calculate how long to leave the shutter open relative to how bright the flash of light was! But about the 65th try, I got one!

lightning streak in sky

1.0 sec, f/2.8, 17 mm, ISO 1600 with Canon EOS 7D

 

Night lights

Didn’t see the expected meteor shower at 1:30 this morning but was treated to the beauty of a moonless night sky!

Night Sky

 

I found this article very helpful in getting my gear set properly the evening before so I wouldn’t have to do it ‘in the field’ in the dark. I used my widest, fastest lense a Tamron 17-50mm at f/2.8, 17 mm, ISO 3200 set the mode to BULB and used my wireless timer remote shutter. It was impossible for me to see well enough to fine tune the focus so I crossed my fingers. made sure it was on manual focus and dialed to infinity.

Because of the brightness of our yard light, I took several images with different exposure times. In Lightroom, I selected the image shot at 25 seconds for the horizon and sky (on the left below) and one with a 4 second exposure for the foreground.

exposure time comparison

 

The two images were then layered in PhotoShop. I added a layer mask to the darker shot then applied the gradient tool to reveal just the bottom of image for the foreground.

layered image

All definitely worth the effort, I’d say. 🙂

 

 

June moon at dawn

The June ‘super moon’ was setting as we rose for work this morning. It may not look like a super moon but by the time it dropped to the horizon, the sun had brightened the sky so much the moon faded completely from view. I’ll share a few shots of it rising in my next post.

passing storm

The rumble of thunder at dusk drew me away from Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals. I grabbed my camera and tripod and set up with a finger on the shutter button to try to catch a lightning strike before the pending rain.

summer storm rolls in

lightning brights sky

Got it!

The mosquitos were abundant and hungry in the calm air. Thankfully, I was reasonably well covered and held out for a few more shots before the wind and rain. Here are two more:

thunderstorm at sunset

aircraft silhouette with lightning strike

Oh, and the game went into overtime! Bonus.

the other beaver

Most of you know when I talk about the pictures I take of the Beaver I am referring to the kind that flies, that was built by de Havialland Canada and most likely is the yellow one on floats we own (G-GZBR). This time I am sharing a shot I got of the other kind of beaver, the furry, swimming, ambitious rodent.
While out calling moose this fall… Perhaps a little explanation might be useful here: Brad & I trek into the ‘bush’ on a calm, crisp fall afternoon he with a fiberglass bugle-looking horn and me with my camera gear. We hunker down along the edge of a clearing or pond several car lengths apart, then Brad moans and grunts through the horn hoping to convince a bull moose that a love-sick cow moose is ready and waiting. Then we wait and wait and listen and wait some more. Although this day Brad was successful in immediately getting an audible response (loud crashing of antlers in the trees), the bull refused to come out of hiding. The activity caught the attention of a beaver who appeared from out of his lodge across the pond and floated toward me then across in front of Brad just down shore then back again. He zig-zagged several times getting closer each time. We didn’t appear to be a love-sick moose or any kind of threat so he simply returned home to reassure his family everything was fine.You can see by the ripples on the water, he had come from the right and turned sharply to look me straight in the eye.He sat so perfectly still while I took the picture I was able to get a nice crisp shot. I think he was trying to get a good sniff of me, too!

September 2012 desktop

Ah, the crisp fall morning; mist dancing on the water chased by the promise of warm daytime sun.

For specific screen resolutions, go here.


de Havilland Beaver C-GZBR at Ignace Outposts’ Hilltop Lake cabin.