TESTING 1,2, 3 or 200

Monday afternoon I headed out to the Bay in town to see if I could get some photos of the pelican’s using manual mode! Within about 10 – 15 test shots I gave up and switched to priority mode and eventually ended up on auto, again.

I have done a lot of reading on shotting in RAW and JPEG mode and decided, after I purchased a bigger SD card, that this was a good idea.  There is always that chance that you may have gotten the perfect shot AND you do need to adjust the exposure in order to save it instead of hitting delete.

Anyways, long story short, I went out twice on Monday, took over 200 photos and kept maybe 10.

I did manage to save this shot because I was able to adjust the exposure (from the RAW file) and ligtning it a bit.

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Here is an instance when I would have liked a lens with a longer focal point but again, I’m not there yet.

A wise man who has an amazing talent for bird photography, told me, pick something, be it focus, white balance, apeture, whatever.  Learn it, learn it well and move on to the next thing.

Thank goodness I no longer have to pay for film and developing.


At my first photography class it was suggested that we purchase a 50mm prime lens.  Last Christmas I did just that and got myself one on sale on Boxing Day off Amazon.

I have to admit that the lens was purchased for the sole purpose of night photography.  This 1.4 lens was going to capture all the light I needed to get a sky full of stars or the milky way.  I have to admit, I haven’t tried that yet.

Its also supposed to be the best portrait lens around.  With the small aperture number, this means that the lens is open wider and lets in more light.  With a 1.8 I should get a great DOF (depth of field) and my subjet should remain crystal clear.

Saturday I thought I’d give it a go with our friend’s gorgeous little girl who loves the camera.

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I’ll tell you what I did wrong!  First off, its a warm, sunny day.  Why would I need to use the lens with the small apeture.  I’ve got enough light as is.  Second off, we were at the baseball diamond so my background was limited so I shot towards the sun which cast to many shadows.  The shadows make this little one’s face grainy, in my opinion.

Her big brother turned out a little different.

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He was slightly turned so we captured less light although you can still see the shadows on him.

So, just because you have the lens, doesn’t mean your going to take great photos.  This was a good lesson to me.  Auto mode is a safety zone for many of us but if you really want to get serious and take great photos, you need to learn to use your camera in all settings, in all conditions.  I can have all the “lens envy” in the world, I still wouldn’t be able to produce the kind of shots that most wildlife enthusiasts have, regardless of how well I knew Photoshop.

So while I want that $1,000 lens that will get me all that more reach to take photos of birds and wildlife, I’m not ready for it.  I would never be able to use it to its full potential as I’m just not there yet.

Practice makes perfect.

Regardless of my shortcomings with the “nifty fifty” lens, these two are beautiful children.


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To me, pelican’s arriving back on the small lake in my community is a sign that warmer weather is truly on its way.  After our cold winter, they were certainly a welcome sight.  During the winter they are typically found in warm, coastal marine habitats.

They breed in large, dense colonies.  Flocks forage cooperatively by circiling around fish or driving them toward the shore where they are easier to catch.  During breeding season, adults often forage at night.  They eat mainly small, “rough” fish with little commercial value.  They will also eat salamanders and crayfish.

New pairs will nest close to another pair who are at the same stage of the breeding cycle.  Nests are typically located on open, bare soil.  Both sexes build the nest which consists of shallow depression surrounded by a low rim of gravel, soil or plant material.  Both sexes incubate two eggs.  The chicks are dependant on their parents for warmth and food.  Unfortunately, the second-hatched chick usually dies.  When the chick leaves the nest they gather in groups called “creches”.  Chicks are fed by the parents until the leave the colony at 10-11 weeks of age.  In the breeding season, there is a laterally flattened “horn” on the upper bill. The horn is shed after the birds have mated and laid their eggs.

The typical life span of a wild pelican is 10-15 years.

In Ontario, the species is listed as “threatened”.


For the last couple weeks Cade has been telling me about this goose he kept seeing in the Long River which he assumed was hurt as she would swim with her neck stretched out in front of her along the water.

The other night we all went out for a ride in the boat and wandered down the Long River a bit. Cade remembered a goose nesting on the corner of this lot so I zoomed in and there she was.

When we got around the tree she was laying with her head stretched out in front of her like the one Cade had seen in the water. So I googled it. The is typical behaviour for a female goose on or near her nest. Cade is lucky he didn’t wander down to check on the other goose cause I’m positive he would have been on the receiving end of the goose boots!


Sunsets are, in my opinion, a good scene to shoot when you are ready to set your mode dial on your camera off of the auto setting. The sunset isn’t going anywhere to fast and really, there will be many more so if you mess up, you come back the next night and try again.

If your lucky like me and live by a lake or on the prairies, the opportunity to shoot sunsets are endless.

So here is my first of the year.

Thank you to the pelicans who pose a different challenge and are also good subjects and practice.


A few weeks back we were out and about as a family driving around when I realized that my husband has a talent for spotting houses, houses that I didn’t even notice.  He found two of them that day, this being one of them.

I took a roadside shot and then came home and contacted the landowner for permission for a closer look.


I often rely on my Canon SX60 HS for those long difficult shots that the DSLR and my 300mm lens just can’t get without lens shake or some sort of distortion.  The point and shoot captured this home perfectly and honestly, I didn’t get a better shot when I returned.

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My son joined me on this adventure but didn’t get out  of the car to explore with me.

This is also another home that I couldn’t find a whole lot of history about.  Argh!

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The first recorded landowner was of Irish Decent and born in 1856 in the Township of Landsdowne, Ontario.  He had one daughter from his first marriage.  He married for the second time in 1885 and came to Manitoba in 1889 as per the individual recorded family history.  The history that I find on this property gives two dates for the purchase of this land.   The RM’s records list a date of  1912.

WHC settled into farming in Manitoba and the first land he broke was 17 acres.  Unfortunately it wasn’t until the 3rd year that the family would see a crop.  The first was frozen and the second was damaged by hail. When he wasn’t farming, WHC did carpentry work for others.

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WHC and his second wife had 3 children.  He passed away accidentally in 1911.  Mrs. passed in 1928.  One of their sons farmed the home land with his wife until 1937 when they retired to Boissevain where he did carpentry work and was an appliance repair man.

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You truly could not get a bad photo of this house.  The skies were incredible on my second visit and to be completely honest, I shot in auto mode all day and was 100% satisfied with all the shots I took.

While I cannot confirm who built this home and who lived in it when,  I do know that WHC’s son sold the property to the second recorded landowner in approximately 1945.  When he passed away his nephew bought the property and now farms the land surrounding the home, outbuildings and what is left of the barn.

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I would have loved to have seen this barn when it was standing.  I would assume with the carpentry background of father and son, it was likely well built and quite amazing.




Working on the history of this place that my husband spotted. I was happy with this road shot but think I might like the newest ones I took this past weekend even more!


This couple purchased this land in 1911 when they married.  I am going to assume that they bought this land from one of Mr’s relatives as the same last name is listed as the first land owner of this section of land in 1891.  This couple retired from the farm to Boissevain in 1949.

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Their only son John Robert, who was better known as Jack, farmed the property next door after he married in 1947 and moved away from his parents home farm.  Mr. was a member of the Independent Order of Oddfellows and acted as a trustee and chairman of the Fairburn School Division.  His wife was active in the Royal Canadian Legion Auxiliary and the Fairburn District Ladies’ Group.

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The property was then sold to KA.  I cannot confirm any history of this family living here.  I can say that the home has been vacant for some time as there is no longer much of a floor in the home and it is teetering on what is left of the foundation.

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After KA owned the land the farm was sold to the Guide Family.  Again, I cannot find anything about this family even though it is recorded that they owned this property for approximately 17 years.  There is a good possibility that the land was purchased for the sole purpose of farming it and nothing more.

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There were a lot of neat little finds around the yard, including this old ringer washer and stove.

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I did some googling but I could not confirm anything I found.

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There was a lot of old equipment there as well and I have to say that this was probably the neatest thing I found, aside from the piece of stove.

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I contemplated going back to this property on this beautifully cloudy day, after I was told about it back in the winter.  I sure am happy that I did even though I didn’t get as much history as I would have liked, I sure did find some good photo opprotunities.








There’s a good chance that this home may look familiar to you.  I have been here 3 times now.  The first time I stumbled upon it with Makenna just as the sun was setting and I had one camera and one lens with me.  And honestly, the house creeped me out.  Makenna wouldn’t even get out of the Jeep.  A few months ago I went back for another look and made my way through knee high snow for a closer look.  The resident skunk let  me know that he was around by giving off his pungent aroma as a warning.  I went again this past weekend when I could wander around for some better shots.

I have to admit that I am slighting disappointed on the lack of history I can find!  I love the picture taking but I love the research too.  So, I can tell you that the first family to own this property was originally from Plymouth, England.  They came to Canada in 1850 then returned to England only to return again and settle in Ontario.

In 1890 John came West and chose this land as his farm.  He worked all summer and fall repeaing crops planted by earlier settlers.  Help walked from Souris to work the land in this area and grain was taken to Brandon by oxen or horses wherein the driver walked at least one way.

John returned to Ontario and in 1891 he married Mary-Ann.  They left for Manitoba on a colonial train, bringing with them a rail car load of lumber for a home and barn.  They also brought household furnishings, two cows and some horses.

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I’d like to think that this might be one of their carts, tucked away in the trees.  There are actually two there but the other one isn’t in as good condition as this one.

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The front of this home is very over grown and a good photograph is hard to get from any angle.  Its so overgrown in the front there just isn’t a good spot to get a shot without trees or branches.

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The second owner of this property,  PA being approximatley 47 years of age,  purchased this home and property with his wife.  Four short months later he died of a heart attack at the age of 47.  It is said that he lived a full life.  Born in Grigejewka, Russia in 1920, he moved to Manitoba with his parents at the age of 6.  He was only 11 years of age when his father passed away and at the age of 16 he and his mother took over the family farm.  He married in 1941.  purchased their own land in 1949.  They had 6 children.

He served on two school boards including the Turtle Mountain Scchool Division and was a member of the Gideon Organization for many years.

The back of the home is not as exciting and of course, this is where I can get the best shots.  I must admit that the open back door was very welcoming but aside from an old metal picnic like basket, there’s nothing inside to explore as the floor is caving in and is not at all safe.

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As I mentioned, the first time I set my eyes on this house, it kind of creeped me out.  I explored it alone this past weekend and I certainly did not get that feeling.  Its actually very peaceful and beautifully treed.  The back of the house was easily assessible with a large shop and off just into the field were two more outbuildings.  I’m sure this was a truly, beautiful home in its prime.

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Found this “watcher” while walking the trails at Bower Lake looking for a place to trout fish with my family.

He even has eyebrows!


This home is very visible, of your driving down the right highway.  It’s in the perfect location for a road shot.


Once I have permission to shoot the entire property, I’ll post a better history.




I pass this place every work day. One of these times I’ll get in there for a better look.

This one will be even more interesting given all the animals that live there.


Found this while out and about touring the country side with my favourite people when my eagle eyed husband spotted this in the distance.

I have permission to explore now and hope to get out this weekend for a closer look.