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When we lived in England I would sit at my desk in my study and look out of the window into the cherry tree standing just outside the house. There I’d watch the Chaffinches, Blue Tits & Great Tits who visited, eating their way through the balls of fat and peanuts that we’d hang out for them. Then we moved to Canada and bought a house with no garden and where the office window looked out onto the fence that divides us from our neighbour.

Over the last 3 or 4 years the garden has been transformed, the pool that took the whole area has been removed and we now have grass, plants, flowers and shrubs. We also no longer have our dog, Gracie, who, although she was a sweet basket case of a hound, made the garden smell pretty awful at times. With Gracie gone and the garden recovered, we decided it was time to put in some bird feeders and see what we could attract. Of course, bird feeders means bird photography and that meant getting out the Sigma 150-500. Which camera to put it on? Well, this is where the DX crop of the D7100 wins out over the higher quality of the D610 full frame sensor. Add to that, the D7100 can also shoot in a further crop mode, giving the lens an effective reach of nearly 1000mm.

Male House Finch
Backyard birds

We quickly started to see birds arrive, Goldfinches, Northern Cardinals, Downy Woodpeckers and the ubiquitous Starlings and sparrows. But all of them wonderful to look at and photograph. If you can’t get away at a weekend to shoot, look and see what’s in your own backyard. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the opportunities on your doorstep.

Mourning Dove
Backyard birds

Male Northern Cardinal

And you never know who else might drop by…
Backayard visitors

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I live in one of Canada’s largest cities, Brampton Ontario, but for a photographer it unfortunately has very little to recommend it aesthetically speaking. There’s an old (late 19th Century) downtown core which is rapidly being replaced by modern offices and the City Hall. But Niagara on the Lake it is most certainly not. The rest of the city is a growing, sprawling mix of suburbia, apartments and low-cost housing. Brampton is one of those cities whose demographics change with each new generation and therefore it has little real, permanent, identity. However, one of the local attractions is the Saturday Farmers’ Market, held each year from June until October and somewhere where the old rural nature of the area is still in evidence. This weekend I took the camera down for a walkabout and picked up a few pictures from some of the stalls. Enjoy.

Red onions




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