Martin Smart Wildlife
I've had an interest in wildlife and photography for most of my life although it wasn't until I retired and moved to British Columbia from the UK in 2004, that I recognised the fantastic opportunity to combine both passions in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and that this was really an opportunity too good to miss! At that stage I hadn't even converted to digital and was still using a Canon 50E single lens reflex 35mm film camera purchased a few years earlier. I have been using Canon camera gear since the mid 1970s and had been the proud owner of a Canon FTB QL for over 20 years. However during this time most of my photography was based around the family, holidays etc. with the occasional unconvincing shot of a bird, mammal or butterfly using a 135mm lens.
I spent my career (about 37 years) in the financial services industry in the UK and decided that when that came to an end on my eventual retirement I would concentrate my energies exploring and photographing what nature had to offer and now I'm really enjoying every moment of it! Anyway, with the help of my eldest son Oliver, who is an keen birder and wildlife photographer in the UK, I purchased some decent digital gear and started my journey. I currently use a Canon 7D camera and have an EF 500mm IS lens, and an EF 70-200 IS zoom lens. In addition I frequently use a 1.4 x converter and a Gitzo tripod.
Shortly after purchasing my 500mm lens I discovered an active bald eagle's nest not too far from home and unusually, was able to find a good position to be able to unobtrusively watch and photograph the adult eagles raising their young from incubation right through to being fully fledged. I would often spend five or six hours a day, over a three to four month period, monitoring their progress and fortunately was able to repeat the process for several years as the adults used the same nest again. To me this was an exciting project to become absorbed in at an early stage and at the same time being able to enjoy the beauty of these majestic creatures in peacefully idyllic surroundings; something I had never truly experienced in the past and a far cry from the previous stress of business life. I have posted the results of these excursions on this site for all to enjoy and have been amazed at the interest and feedback from birders and eagle lovers from all over the world.
Home for me now is on the east coast of Vancouver Island and I don't have to travel far to find an opportunity to experience and photograph some of the most exciting wildlife on this planet. Black bears, Grizzly bears, Orcas, Grey and Humpback whales, Pacific white-sided dolphin, Porpoises, Stella and California sea-lions, elk and
name but a few, can all be found either on or around the island or on
the neighbouring BC mainland. The sight of literally thousands of gulls
and other seabirds in the skies over Parksville Bay and the neighbouring
coastlines in March during the
herring spawn is truly breathtaking and the frenzied excitement of their
feeding from the rich pickings available to them over a relatively short
period along with the Stella and California sea-lions and Harbour seals that also join in
on the feast is a sight to behold. So too was the experience of running
into a pod of around fifty Pacific white-sided dolphin in the Johnstone
Strait a few years ago when I was heading out to Glendale Cove to
photograph Grizzly Bears. We were no more than 10 minutes out of
Telegraph Cove and were treated to a spectacle that left me with a
feeling that it had been orchestrated purely for our own personal
Such is the wonder of nature that on each occasion I go off with my camera gear I never really know what I'm going to come home with but on many occasions it's been more than I was expecting and often a species that I have never seen or photographed before. I have expanded my website with images from a few family road trips to mainland BC, the US and a week on the Greek island of Lesbos where its geographical position, climate and varied landscape make it one of the best locations in Europe to see and photograph migratory birds. I hope to continue to add new images to my website on a regular basis so, thank you for your interest, and please come back and visit as often as you like. I would welcome any comments or suggestions you would care to make so please add your thoughts to my Guestbook or email me using the contact link above.