HERMAN VEENENDAAL

ABOUT THE ARTIST

I have lived in St. Marys since 1975, having moved here from the Niagara region as a banker. I have had a life long interest in natural history. Much of my youth was spent wandering local forests and streams in the Niagara region where I grew up.

Wildlife photography began for me in 1981 with the purchase of my first SLR camera, a Canon AE1 with a 300 mm lens. I primarily shot slides and still have a large selection of those images. One day I’ll convert them to digital images.

The price of film and other commitments put photography on a back burner for a few years, but with my retirement in 2011 from my career in aviation weather I was able to once again focus on my passion. That year I purchased a Canon 7D digital camera which is well suited to wildlife photography. Several long telephoto lenses and gear such as tripods and camouflage clothing, along with several blinds were added to the collection.

The longest lens I use is a 500mm Canon lens. When combined with the camera, a tripod and gimbal the weight of this assembly grows to over 20 lbs. I have devised ways of carrying this on hikes in parks such as Pelee and Rondeau. I also like to photograph water birds from a kayak using a 400 mm lens mounted to a gunstock mount. When done quietly I can get quite close to birds by using this method.

A knowledge of wildlife habitat and habits is vital to photography. Knowing animal behaviour, feeding behaviour or mating patterns is key to successfully photographing wildlife. Photography skills and knowledge of the subject can only take one so far. The number one trait required for this pastime is patience. Many hours can be spent waiting for the right bird and the right moment with nothing transpiring. At other times the birds will surprise, and then the cameras’s capacity of 1200 photos and shooting at 10 frames per second is appreciated.

While a good camera is essential for this type of photography, I must emphasize that lens quality is the best assurance of a good photograph. A good lens is not cheap, but in the end the price is worth the results achieved.

This is my first exhibit as a wildlife photographer. For me it remains a hobby, albeit an all consuming hobby. My photographs are often taken in the St. Marys area, but I also take jaunts to locations such as Long Point, Rondeau, Pelee, and area parks such as Pinery or Morrison dam. I have also travelled to the inside passage of BC and to coastal Florida to capture birds on their wintering grounds.