Gail Spitler – June 2013

Gail Spitler – Kootenay District

Gail Spitler, BCFO Featured Photographer – June 2013

The strength of my interest in photography has waxed and waned over my lifetime, but been more often a serious avocation than not. I got my first digital camera in 2005, and fell in love with photography all over again. I live at the end of a road in the West Kootenays, in a very little place called Johnsons Landing.

I shoot predominantly with DSLR’s with a variety of lenses. I usually have a “point & shoot” at the ready; and recently I moved into the world of micro 4/3’s cameras and lenses. Luckily my obsession with photographic gear is slowly getting under control.

My present goal in my bird photography is to try to share with the viewer the immense joy I feel in the beauty and energy of birds.

I am honored and humbled to be asked to submit a set photographs to this forum. Both Peter Candido and Laure Neish, the two previous Featured Photographers,  are exceptionally talented photographers. I also want to thank Holley Rubinsky and Dirk Pidcock for putting my name forward.

You can find some of my other photos at

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American Robins – these two were in a nest under the roof of our shop, and fledged the day after this photo was taken. I think it is their “Cute-IQ” that earned them a place in this set of photos.


Brewer’s Blackbird – This male Brewer’s Blackbird is atop a plum tree on our property. He used this tree as a stopping place on his way to his nearby nest of young. The dominant pale yellow eye, accenting the iridescent black, purple, and turquoise in his feathers always get my attention.

BRBL copy


Cedar Waxwing – This pair is passing an apple blossom petal back and forth between them. While this looks very romantic, Cedar Waxwings pass petals between any number of fellows, apparently as a way of fostering group solidarity.

CEWA copy


Dark-eyed Junco – I just love the attitude of this junco, perched atop a frosty fence rail on a cold February morning.



Eared Grebe – This pair in elegant breeding plumage was “keeping company” on Elizabeth Lake this past May.



Hoary Redpoll – In the winter of 2011 we had a large influx of Common and Hoary Redpolls in the West Kootenay, and I was lucky to have several opportunities to photograph Hoary Redpolls in our yard. This redpoll is enjoying the very fine seeds of the Potentilla shrub.

Hoary-Redpoll copy


Northern Pygmy-Owl and Evening Grosbeak – It seems that there is an element of luck or happenstance in all my photographs. In this particular photo, there is a very large element of luck. I first saw the owl with the grosbeak in the yard, quite near our house. By the time I returned with my camera, the owl and prey were no where to be seen. About a half-hour later, while strolling around our property, looking for photographic subjects, there was the owl still with its prey in an apple tree. The owl remained perched there for some time while I shot lots of photos. Finally it flew off with the grosbeak still in tow or is that toe.



Rufous Hummingbird – Another bit of serendipity brought this female hummingbird to a low growing Penstemon in our garden; and luckily, she continued to drink nectar long enough for me to take several photos.



Sharp-shinned Hawk – This is another backyard image shot fairly early in my digital journey, I think I had just learned to keep the shutter speed up; and that digital sensors offered much more flexibility than film ever did.



Violet-green Swallow – I find the colors of Violet-green Swallows amazing, and I love that the background in this image echoes the violet of the bird. I actually don’t know precisely how the violet appeared in the background, but I am thrilled that it’s there.



White-crowned Sparrow – This is a recent image taken in my backyard. At times passerines in particular can seem amazing calm and still. This bird was tucked into our Black Walnut tree during a spring shower. You can still see the rain drops on the leaves.



Western Meadowlark – This bird was singing in the hills above Vaseux Lake. I think the picture depicts the energy of it’s song, but I have yet to find a way to communicate the sweetness of the song.



17 thoughts on “Gail Spitler – June 2013

  1. Thank you, Gail! I really enjoyed the commentary. I did miss a wild turkey photo that you’re famous for locally, and the turkey vulture on the wing that I noted on your Flicker set. So many riches to choose from….well done. Always a pleasure to see your work.

  2. Many congratulations Gail for the wonderful images. I particularly like the explosion of energy shown by the hawk as he flies off from the perch. The talons are just fantastic. I love the Western Meadowlark. I can just about hear the song!
    As always Gail I am in awe of your photographic skills and knowledge and patience.

    • Thanks Len – The owl and the grosbeak was one of those opportunities where you keep hoping you will get something.

  3. Wow, absolutely stunning photos really wonderful to be able to share them and your experiences. Congratulations

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