Thursday, March 08, 2007

Whiskey Jacks

Canon EOS 20D with 10-22mm @ 10mm

I had just been to the upper Kananaskis Lake where the lower lake is connected via a small generating power plant. Leaving there I was making the short drive to the west arm where the traihead for Rawson Lake is situated . Rawson Lake is located just below the cliffs of Mount Sarrell in a hanging valley overlooking the upper lake. This is a hike not to be missed if you are in the area (see Rawson Lake on my website). I had just made the turn off of the connector that runs from Highway 40 to the lakes when I noticed this neat little creek in this bog that I have seen moose standing in during the summer months (I'll come back to this creek shortly).

I had been parked for no more than 10 minutes at the Rawson Lake trailhead when the Whiskey Jacks ( Grey Jays ) descended on me looking for a handout. The pair of them took turns using my hf ham antenna on the rear of my truck for a perch. The funny part of that is the fact that this antenna is known in ham circles as a Bugcatcher (see Alberta Bugcatcher on my website). I had some peanuts in the truck that I used to entice them in close and then quickly proceeded to shoot photos of them flying to a nearby pine tree with their bounty.

It's actually quite challenging to get photos of these Whiskey Jacks and feed them at the same time. Also you need to use a very fast shutter speed set on your camera to keep the photos sharp. I had to go to a ISO of 400 and get my shutter speed up to 1/4000th of a second to stop the action of the Jays in flight.

Canon EOS 20D with 10-22mm @ 10mm

Now back to the tiny creek in the lead photo. After getting out of the truck and surveying the situation, I decided that I would have to make my way down a small slope to get closer to the bog where this creek meandered through, if my 10-22mm lens was to have any impact. I am glad that no one witnessed me floundering through waist deep snow to get closer to the creek (mental note-keep my snowshoes in the truck). Upon getting to the creek I decided to walk in the creek to get away from the snow as the creek appeared to be only two or three inches deep. I though I had it handled as I had put on my snow boots before proceeding with camera and tripod in hand. The creek was partially frozen in spots, and finally I only had a few feet to go when I busted through into knee deep water. Talk about looking stupid. I shot this last photo and made my way back to my truck pulling off wet snow boots and not really drying out till I got home and changed out to dry jeans and socks later in the day.

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