Nature music video by Island Light and the Awakeneers

Posted on 2018-02-19

Finding Killdeer

I knew that there was a killdeer nest in the north field. When I walked nearby  the mother put on an elaborate and very convincing charade of having a broken wing, only to gracefully burst into the air with perfectly healthy wing beats once I had been lead away from her eggs.

Killdeer in a Meadow of Morning Dew ~ Plover picture from Cortes Island Canada.

There are always killdeer nests nearby here, but even when I walk right over them, they are extremely hard to spot. After  exhaustively crisscrossing the area on tiptoe, trying to find the nest without stepping on it, I climbed a Douglass Fir and waited with binoculars aimed.

Two days later I was laying on my belly in the wet grass, my camera sticking it’s face though a hole in my new “blind” (a tiny piece of scrap bender-board screwed down to a ceder slab), watching the mother and father killdeer take turns incubating their eggs.

Mother Killdeer ~ Plover picture from Cortes Island Canada.

Posted on 2014-01-01

The Island Light Calendar Story - 2013 edition

Island Light 2013 Engagement Calendar

Thank You!

A special thanks to all the Photo Drop members who helped pick the winning cover for this year''s calendar!
We, as usual, almost didn't make a calendar this year because, as usual, we thought we really hadn't taken quite enough good photos for it. (We knew we'd taken A LOT of good photos, but they all seemed to be photos of trees and hummingbirds, and you can only put so many hummingbird photos in one calendar before people start asking questions.)

As usual, we did make a calendar. It was a highly dynamic process, with the usual festive debates about what photos to include (occasionally evolving into wrestling matches), cacophonous familial focus groups,  lost shipments (our entire press run got sent to the MV Tachek by accident) and all-night proofing sessions.

When it was all done our many friends and relations, as usual, announced that this year's calendar is "really great" and definitely the best one to date.

As usual we remain unsure, but since most of the print run was sold before they were even printed (and the rest are going fast), there is some evidence that an Island Light 2013 Engagement Calendar might be worth having after all.

You can find out for yourself about this here calendar on our web site.  And, as usual, if you happen to buy it and aren't 100% perfectly satisfied and thrilled with it we will of course give you a total refund.

Click here to find out more about the calendar or place an order.

Have a great festive season and see you in 2013!

PS. Please note the quotes from our wonderful mother on the calendar page. If you would like to have your comments about the Island Light Calendar (or some other topic) featured on our website, please send them to us!
Posted on 2012-12-12

Help choose the Island Light 2013 calendar cover

We've looked at so many photos while picking the images for this year's calendar that we're becoming quite cross-eyed trying to answer the final difficult question of which image goes on the cover.

Because of this, and because we of course have emotional attachments to all our photos and are therefor lacking the Third-Party Objectivity required to make this important decision (which will likely have deep and lasting consequences, such as whether we sell a total of 25 calendars or a total of 27), we've decided to take a democratic approach and out-source our decision making to YOU!

(Plus, we've read an interesting book recently that tends to indicate that you all will make a better decision than we would, even if we weren't besotted with our own photos, which we clearly are.)


Voting is now closed
Thanks to everyone who participated!

Posted on 2012-11-30

Slow Photography: Seeing the light where you are

A blacktail deer in the medow behind the house.

This handsome Blue Tit was actualy photographed from INSIDE our hous through a hole in the stone wall.

When one says 'nature photographer' it might bring to mind an image of a travel-seasoned airline jockey, zooming about the globe with a small mountain of camera gear, seeking out and photographing rare and beautiful natural wonders, traveling by jeep, speedboat or camel on the endless search for the perfect shot before hopping on the plane back to the urban mansion and magazine editors. This may be an accurate picture (ouch) in some cases. But there is another way to see - and record - the wonders of nature, a less exotic and grandiose one perhaps, but with its own unique flavour of adventure.

Human powered photography, without the turbo charged assistance of our the high speed western industrial machine. Taking pictures from one's own two feet, walking from one's home to the viewpoint and back, with tripod over the shoulder and lunch in a pocket. It doesn't make for a particularly glorious 'map' on flickr. Nor does it offer very easy pickings for big game photography (unless one happens to live inside a game park). But nature is wonderful not just when standing next to the viewpoint sign. Everywhere there is something new to see – if you look closely.

We have taken this approach out to perhaps a rather extreme degree. If you search this website for Cortes Island you will find a surprisingly large number of images. The reason for this is simple: I could count on the toes of one foot the number of times that either of us has gotten in a car (let alone an airplane) and set off for the purpose of taking a picture this year. But it would take more digits than are collectively in the postal code V0P1K0 to count the number of times we've stepped out the door with our cameras, for a foot powered photo session.
Posted on 2010-11-15

An Adapter with a Problem

My camera took a tumble and the adapter suffered quite a bit. It slowly got worse and worse as the various screws fell out until I had to resort to taping my camera on to the lens for fear that the adapter would give out entirely and let my camera drop into the sea.
Posted on 2010-01-04

10mm Yipee!


Us boys at Island Light have recently become the grinning owners of a Sigma 10-20mm 1:4-5.6 EX (thanks Grandmother!)

It's always fun to have a new lens, especially if it's unlike any lens you've used before, which explains one of the reasons that some of us on Cortes Island have been having quite a bit of fun recently. 

Being a rectilinear, this wide angle doesn't produce the boinghy boinghy your-nose-is-way-to-big fish eye effect, instead it just has a huge angle of view. It's view is so all-encompassing that you have to be careful not to end up with your feet and hands sticking in to the picture from behind the camera.

An indepth review of this lens can be found at Here

Posted on 2010-01-20

A Handy Trick for Dramatic Landscape Photos

Anyone who has spent much time studying landscape photographs will probably have noticed that, impossible as it seems, the sky is not blown out. It doesn't matter if the sun is shining right at you, the sky is still miraculously not blown out.


That astonishing fact is thanks to a neat little filter known as an ND grad (or graduated neutral density filter). Half of the filter is totally transparent while the other half is darkened to a greater or lesser degree. This makes it possible to have two entirely different exposure values in the same photo. But ND gad filters are expensive and, at least in our neck of the woods, very hard to find. So we sometimes use a slightly cheap trick to get a similar, or perhaps even better, result. 


Look though the view finder and cover the portion of the frame that you want to be darkened with your hand (or if I happen to have something black, like a flash or lens cap, that works even better). Release the shutter and wiggle your hand, making sure not to bump the camera. (The wiggling fuzzes the edge of what's dark and what is light.) Half way through the exposure slowly move your hand from in front of the lens and allow the rest of the exposure to proceed normally. This technique only works well for exposure of around 1 second or longer though it is possible to use it up to 1/3 second with some difficulty.


It is a simple technique but it can produce a very pleasing look. (See photos at left.) :) Also it can be more versatile than an ND grad because you can shape your hand to match whatever portion of the frame has to be covered rather then having to work with a straight line.

Posted on 2009-09-30

**Attention all Bloggies**

Hang your favorite Island Light photos on the sidebar of your blog or web site and get paid for it!

Here's how it works: first you sign up for a free Island Light account (if you don't already have one). Then you pick which photos you want to have on your blog from our various galleries and add them to your favorites. Now go to our affiliate sign up page where we give you short snippet of code to put in the sidebar of your blog. After installing the wigit, a tasteful little exhibit (like the one two inches to the left of here) of your favorite photos will appear on your page!

But that's not all. When someone clicks one of the photos on your site, and then buys a print or greeting card, we give you 15% of the cash!

Try it out, it only takes a minute (and you can uninstall it at any time).
Posted on 2007-10-16

Show Times

There are a few new and exciting (to us) developments here at Island Light that you may be interested in.
One, we have just started Photo Drop, a weekly photo delivery service. This means that once a week we pack our laptops into the canoe, paddle to the dock, lug them up the hill to Mansons Landing (we have no Internet aboard ship) and try to decide which photo to send out. Later in the day you get a friendly personalized note in your Email saying that you have just received a photo dropping.

The other (even more exciting) development is that we just opened our very first exhibitiion. We have spent the last two months hoarding our pennies for the (massively expensive) picture frame order that finally arrived last week. We spent most of the weekend practicing our signatures and tediously signing all the mats. But we suddenly felt our feet getting rather chilly so we spent the rest of the weekend erasing them all again. They are now happily hanging on the walls of the Float House restaurant, the archival cotton rag mats only showing very slight signs of having been... Ahem... You know what.
Posted on 2007-09-03

The Photo-Wiget:

Get Island Light's famous photo wiget and earn money from having beautiful Island Light photos on your own blog. find out more >>>

Photo Newsletter
join the Photo Drop and enjoy a fresh photo dropped in your inbox every few weeks for free!