Naturalists looking for images of nature 

Third Nature Photography Slideshow and Exhibit in February

Whistler Naturalists

It was a beautiful spring day that I spied him. In an effort to pass the time while waiting for the ferry I decided to take a stroll. The typical West Coast beach was strewn with worn pebbles and driftwood and there, 50 metres away, atop a washed and twisted stump he sat. I quickly pulled out my camera and began my quiet walk toward this magnificent bird. I crouched, got him in focus, and patiently waited for him to turn. Unfortunately a slammed door disturbed him and my subject, the biggest Bald Eagle I’d ever seen, took flight.

As an amateur photographer I’ve had many experiences like this and for every roll of film I take I’m lucky to get one decent shot. But I persevere, determined that one day I’ll have a collection of quality photographs. It seems to me that there are many novice nature photographers in Whistler and so I endeavour here to share a couple of tips from the pros.

First, take time to compose your photo. National Geographic photographer Bruce Dale’s number one tip is " Always remember that a camera is your ‘canvas’ that captures everything in the viewfinder. Then ask yourself: ‘Do I really want all that stuff in my photo? Or, will it have more impact if I limit the scene to specific key elements?’" The keys to mastering this are practice and patience. The more pictures you take, the more you’ll learn to recognize which compositional elements work and which do not.

Next, learn to use the light. Mountaineer and outdoor photographer Galen Rowell writes that "light during the magic hours (dusk and dawn) mixes in endless combinations, as if someone in the sky were shaking a kaleidoscope." Rowell is a pro at using early morning light to enhance many of his stunning mountain scenes. Taking pictures very early in the morning or late in the afternoon often makes for richer colours and results in a more visually appealing image but don’t be afraid to experiment with taking photos on sunny afternoons. Lee Watson, author of Photography at High Noon - Artist’s Light During the Day, discusses how shadows and reflected mid-day light can be used to create some really interesting photos especially when you find yourself in a canyon, or in the deep shade of a forest.

Last, and most important, invest in a tripod. A tripod will reduce blur in your photos and allow you to use a slower shutter speed, making the most of lower light situations. It also makes you take more time considering the composition of your photograph and what it is you are photographing.

In an effort to give all of you novices out there a chance to show us your stuff, the Whistler Naturalists are including a special amateur photographer segment in our third annual Nature Photography Slideshow and Exhibit, to be held this February. If you have a great nature shot, we’d love to include it in the show. Your photo will be compiled with all the others that we receive and will be presented during the first half of this year’s program. At intermission the photos will be voted on by the audience and will be judged by professional photographers who will present their own photos after the intermission. Some photos may be selected to be part of an ArtWalk exhibit which will run for the entire month of February. If you would like to submit please send a digital copy of your photo (medium resolution jpeg please) to . Submission deadline is Jan. 24 th .

Upcoming Events:

Monthly Bird Walk — The next bird walk will take place on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005. Join Whistler experts in the monthly update of our feathered locals and migrants. For details, contact Michael Thompson 604-932-5010

Calling all Aspiring Nature Writers — Have an interest in natural history? Want to educate others about your favourite flora and/or fauna? Write your very own Naturespeak article. For more information contact April McCrum at 604-932-0919 or

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