Len Jellicoe – Fraser Valley
Len Jellicoe, BCFO Featured Photographer #4 – October 2013
Dian and I live in Abbotsford and birding occupies much of our retired life. Photography only enhances the pleasure of observing birds. I am one of those people who took up photography just to record what I saw with a cheap camera. It didn’t take long before human nature took over and I wanted to improve. It was around 2002 that I saw a comparison of a picture of a hawk in a tree with a point and shoot and the same shot taken through a scope. It was taken by Laurence Poh who some consider the father of digiscoping. I was amazed at how close he could get, coupling a camera to a scope. Since I already had the scope I figured I would give it try. I have hundreds of pictures stored on the computer taken over the next 8 years. The following are some of those:
I entitled this one “Flying Lessons”. Digiscoped on Annacis Island. Ospreys nested here for about 10 years and might still be there. I haven’t checked for a few years now.
Northern Pygmy Owl with rat. My title for this one is “Weapon Of Rat Destruction”. The little terror was able to subdue and lift a prey item that is likely two to three times its own weight! Digiscoped at Maplewood Flats in North Vancouver.
Band-tailed Pigeon, digiscoped at Grant Narrows, Pitt Lake.
Yellow-billed Cuckoo, digiscoped at Cawston, Oct. 20, 2007. A real rarity for BC.
I found I was continually frustrated with digiscoping. By the time I attached the camera to the scope, manually focused through a small view finder and pushed the shutter button, the bird was inevitably gone. I could never capture a bird in flight. The quality of the pictures above was rare. In 2010 I finally gave in and purchased a Canon 7D DSLR with a 300mm lens. The improved results were immediate. I could now take action shots with automatic rapid focus at eight frames a second.
Wood Ducks at Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Sept 20, 2013. I include this because it was taken on my birthday and they are such a cute couple. Reminds me of me and Dian for some reason (except for the cute part).
Eastern Kingbird. Because the red in the centre of the crown is almost always hidden, I was quite pleased to be able to catch it like this. I call the image “The King’s Crown”, and it was selected for publication in Canadian Geographic Magazine “Amazing Birds 2012”.
Canada Goose “whiffling”. Whiffling is a term that describes the action birds use to lose altitude fast as they come in to land. Someone in Holland googled this term and found this photo on my website; it is now being used in a Dutch science book for teaching purposes.
I like this shot because I managed to capture the lilies and the Mallard duckling in the same frame. The lilies were really ‘blown out’ and I recovered the detail in Aperture, my Mac post processing application. The corners are also darkened (vignetting) to highlight the center. Post processing is an important part of my photography.
I usually pass by Eagles and Great Blue Herons as I have more than enough pictures of them. However this one at Boundary Bay was quite close so I thought I would snap off a few shots. As soon as I started photographing, it started to stretch and this is the result.
Harrison Hotsprings was the site for this Lapland Longspur. To get close proximity to birds I stand still for a while and let them get accustomed to my presence. When they resume their normal activities they present some great photo opportunities.
A Spotted Sandpiper chick at Wilband Ponds, Abbotsford, July 2013.
This Warbling Vireo warbled beside me for a few seconds. I go against all convention and rarely use a tripod. I like to have the camera preset for what I think might happen and hopefully when an opportunity presents itself I am ready. I believe I don’t get the fine detail a tripod would offer but I make up for it in action and unusual shots.
This Western Tanager perched above my head for just a few seconds. I would never have got the shot if I was using a tripod.
Young Barn Swallows going through a vigorous mouth inspection at Wilband Ponds this August in Abbotsford. I liked the way the parent used the young ones chest as a stabilizing point.
It is not an easy task sorting through 100s of pictures and trying to decide what I should present here. My website ( http://lenjellicoe.zenfolio.com ) contains all my photos but who wants to browse through 4500+ pictures! The best way to keep up to our travels is our blog ( http://lenanddiansadventures.blogspot.ca ).
I hope you have enjoyed viewing my work, and that I have lived up to the excellent standard established by the ‘Featured Photographers’ who preceded me.
See you in the field!