Looking at my marine chart for the area around Campbell River, BC, I noticed a small island that is marked as a provincial park: Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park. So without any further information than what was on my chart, I headed over there in Snoopy, my little power boat, to see what makes it special.
Wasn’t I surprised to find a huge colony of nesting cormorants up on the rocky ledges!
I love making discoveries like this! That’s why I’m an explorer, a wanderer, an observer of nature.
From the boat, the birds were quite far away, so I used my Canon 400mm f/5.6 lens to get as close as I could without going on land. Sometimes in these nature preserves you are not allowed to land, and I wasn’t sure what the rules were for this island, so I just photographed from the boat.
Because I was using such a long telephoto lens, and because I was on a boat that was moving with both waves and current, I used a very fast shutter speed to make sure the birds were sharp. I didn’t want to go under f/8 to ensure I had enough depth of field that the birds both near and far would be in focus. Exposure was a little difficult too with black birds on the white rocks.
It was beautiful to see all the cormorants with their young in the nests. I really wanted a closer photo to show some of the interesting groupings of birds, but cropping in at 100% didn’t look very good! I decided to try Topaz Clean on one of the cropped versions to remove the noise and smooth out the image. It turned it into more of an abstract image, which I really like!
Back at home I did a little research and discovered that Mitlenatch Island is home to the largest seabird colony in the Strait of Georgia and all sea life is protected in its boundaries. However, it is allowed to go on the island via one of the two bays, and view the nesting sea birds from a closer viewpoint.
I don’t usually beach my boat unless I really have to, but perhaps next summer I’ll take along a little blow up boat so I can anchor and row ashore.
What a treat to discover Mitlenatch Island and the nesting cormorants just a short boat ride away from Campbell River, British Columbia.
Your cropped picture looks like a painting. Very cool!
Hi Anne, welcome to my Island, Vancouver Island has many smaller islands along its shoreline, most have a great story, Mitlenatch Island is one of the best. You can find out more about this Island along with much more at my website, check it out if you like,
Topaz Clean is double dutch to me but it obviously done a good job. Well done Anne
What a fun and unexpected pleasure to be able to photograph the commorants! Your cropped artistic photo is very cool too! I could see that printed on a canvas hanging on a wall!
The effects of the Topaz Clean on the nest and area surrounding the cormorants is rather surprising. I like it! You first shot with the rock cliff in vertical is amazing. My folks lived on Quadra Island for 40 years until dad passed in 2005. I have been to Mitlenatch on one occasion. Look forward to returning now that I have a camera. Did you take any photos of the sea lions?
Jeannette W. says
The cormorants are beautiful! It is great to have a good lens in situations like this! I am also photographing the wildlife but it is pretty hard to make such good close up-s with my lens! Thank for sharing! Really interesting creatures! 🙂
Elizabeth parnis says
Next time you go to mittlemat. Island look for our native cactus it might be in bloom! Better still let me join you! To look for it!
Anne McKinnell says
I’ll keep that in mind for next time! Thanks.