Wildlife photography: When you're hooked.

by Christian Gavin
June 30, 2014




Syrphid Fly photographed in Bouchervill National Park, 100 mm f/2.8 macro lens, ISO 100, 1\400 sec

Canada certainly provides many great opportunities for wildlife/macro photography.  For most Canadians, it is only a matter of grabbing their gear, getting into the car and, maybe 90 minutes later, taking amazing photos, of amazing creatures. After dabbling in many aspects of photography, I am now convinced that wildlife photography is what I am most passionate about; and if I need to narrow it down even more, I'd say that birding and macro photography are my favourites.


Orange caterpillar by Christian Gavin ©


Orange caterpillar photographed at the botanical garden of Montreal, 100 mm macro lens, ISO 100, 1\160 sec


Electra's tree Nymph by Christian Gavin ©


Electra's tree Nymph, F5.6, ISO 800


As for macro photography, before I went to buy my Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens, I never wouldI have thought that a bug could be so amazing to watch. Through this fantastic piece of equipment, whether it is a fly, a spider or a caterpillar, the colors and shapes of those critters are simply unbelievable. Unfortunately, the details are invisible to the naked eye; hence the need to get the proper lens.



Green Bootle Fly, Mont Tremblant National Park, 100 mm, ISO 400, 1\160 sec


Tailed Jay Butterfly by Christian Gavin ©


Tailed Jay Butterfly, ISO 800, 1\1600 sec

I don't mind people claiming that their lenses are also good for macro photography, but know this; not all lenses are macro lenses, and even though major lens makers write the word "macro" on many lenses, it doesn't mean that they are actual macro lenses. I am an old school photographer, therefore I don't freeze, numb or pin down my subjects. Again, this is a matter of choice, and I am not criticizing or judging the ones who do it. However, as far as I'm concerned, nothing beats those moments where I have my gumboots on, and I am walking through a swamp on the look out for dragonflies or other insects.



Canada Goose, Mt. Tremblant, Quebec, 70-300 mm lens, ISO 400, 1\2000 sec


Great Blue Heron by Christian Gavin ©


Great Blue Heron 135 mm f/5.6 ISO 200


Birding: An amazing aspect of photography. I remember when I started out in photography my longest lens was an 18-135mm, needless to say, then birding was more of an ordeal and not really fun to do. So, I bought a 70-300mm just for the fun of it. I stopped by a pond somewhere, and spotted this beautiful great Blue Heron flapping his 6 feet wingspan across the pond. So I cranked up my shutter speed, adjusted my aperture, and voilà! I was hooked to "birds in flight" photography, couple of months later, I am downright hooked on birding. I admit though, more focal length would be useful, but at the same time, I certainly enjoy walking around for 7 or 8 hours, looking for the perfect subject. Shorter focal length forces you to be more mobile, which becomes a terrific workout.


Cedar Waxwing by Christian Gavin ©


Cedar Waxwing, St. Bruno National Park, 300 mm, ISO 400, 1\1600 sec


Chickadee by Christian Gavin ©


Chickadee, LaFrayere park, 300 mm, ISO 400, 1\640 sec



Ring-Billed Gull, 300 mm, ISO 400, 1\2000 sec


Bird by Christian Gavin ©


LaFrayere Park, 300 mm, ISO 400, 1\640 sec



Male and Female Wood Ducks, f/6.3, ISO 1600, 1\160 sec


White-tailed deer by Christian Gavin ©


White-tailed Deer (Fawn and Doe), 275 mm, f/9, ISO 400, 1\500 sec.



Red Fox (Vixen), St-Bruno National Park, ISO 800, 1\320 sec.


Again, our beautiful national parks provide all kind of amazing subjects. Even if I have an obvious weakness for birding and macro photography, one of my best memories as a photographer remains last winter when I was crawling in the snow at minus 15, to get photos of those amazing white tailed deer. Or that day while walking through the woods, I bumped into that red vixen checking up on her kits. How can someone not be touched by those moments? Not that I want to be bias here, but living in Canada certainly enhance the experience of photography. No matter what part of the country you are from, this country provides different climates, and an abundance of subjects to photograph. From a fly to Polar bear, each and every photographer will find what he looks for.


"Make each shutter click, your own work of art"



Christian Gavin portrait


Christian Gavin
Wildlife photographer





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