Last weekend, I was pleasantly surprised with an experience to photograph the Birds of Prey at Mountsberg Conservation Area in Hamilton. I have slowly been taking up recreational photography and everyone who knows me knows I love animals, so this was a great way to combine the two. My better half not only gave me a new camera last month (a Canon Rebel T5i) for our monthiversary, but planned a surprise for me to partake in this special opportunity and practice my skills – I’m so lucky!
The workshop is called ‘Raptors in Focus’ and is an opportunity for anyone with a camera to get up close and personal with the raptors. A staff ambassador brings out each bird and has them perch on a piece of wood, a rock or in a tree for their photoshoot. Some of the birds are more timid and are comfortable with the photographers at a bit of a distance (still very close compared to seeing them in the wild), while others let you get up close - maybe two feet between you. Each was very photogenic and had truly beautiful colours. There were five photographers, but I was the only one willing to get down and dirty in the wet grass to get as close as possible for my shots. With animals, respecting their personal space is key to avoiding any hairy situations. So of course, I asked the ambassador what an appropriate distance was for each bird (if he didn’t mention it), and continued looking for signs that I wasn’t making the animal uncomfortable. I really enjoyed the event and am quite pleased with some of the shots I was able to get (also, I love bokeh!).
Below are a few highlight shots of each bird, and several others that I'll leave for your viewing pleasure in a slide show (it's so hard to narrow them down) :). All of these shots were taken using a Canon 70-300mm zoom lens – I took about 700 pictures during the one-hour session, and another 200 exploring the conservation area (I’m saving those for next week’s post).
The Raptor Centre operates as an educational facility only and welcomes families. You can learn more about the monthly ‘Raptors in Focus’ event here. It was a really special experience and I strongly encourage it to anyone interested in wildlife photography or to any aspiring photographers looking to ‘test their wings out’.
I'm a 20-something woman working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time.