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Monte Comeau (BCRose) Interview

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)


Keywords: wildlife, birds, bcrose

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What better place for a wildlife photographer than a locale that has a beautiful backdrop and a great variety of birds to find and photograph.  That is where Monte Comeau calls home in Kootenay country of South East British Columbia, nestled in the Canadian Rockies.  This is a wilderness area with great rivers, jagged peaks, pristine lakes and amazing wildlife habitat.

01

Northern Flicker
Rainy day. Shot from a kayak on Erie Lake, near Salmo, BC Nikon D4 and Nikon 200-400mm lens at f/4, 1/1600sec, ISO 1600 Added a full stop of exposure compensation to brighten the very dark image.
Click for an enlargement

 

Monte uses Nikon equipment exclusively and sees himself as an amateur wild bird photographer however his images are stellar, showcasing birds and the environment.  He shoots Nikon D810 and D500 bodies pairing them with a 500mm f/4, 70-200mm f/2.8, and a 300mm f/2.8.  In 2015 he won First Prize in a wildlife contest of 4,000 images with Nature Canada and has accolades from winning other nationwide contests.

02

Great Blue Heron.
Shot from a kayak on Erie Lake, near Salmo, BC Nikon D500 and Nikon 500mm lens at f/4, 1/1600sec, ISO 400 Came around a corner and spooked this Great Blue Heron hiding in the tall grass. I was able to get a few quick frames as it lifted off with a decent composition.
Click for an enlargement

 

The attraction to Nikonians started when he first got interested in wild bird photography and was in search of information that could help him with his Nikon equipment.  He counts it a blessing to have found Nikonians stating that he has ”always been able to find answers to many questions in the forums” and continues to find them a great resource.  “… it has also become a great way to relax and enjoy what others are doing and saying in the Nikon world” he adds.

03

Common Loon & Chick
Nikon D4 with 600mm lens at f/4, ISO 1600 and 1/1600sec Shot from a Kayak at Lac Le Jeune, BC
Click for an enlargement

 

Monte credits learning from many at Nikonians in different fields of photography that “it is ALWAYS about the light.”  He states camera bodies and great lenses can help but in the end the quality of the image is always dependent on great light.

04

Common Loon shedding water
Nikon D4 with 600mm lens at f/4, ISO 1600 and 1/1600sec. Shot from a Kayak at Lac Le Jeune, BC
Click for an enlargement

 

When asked to share what method or piece of equipment that has been valuable in capturing images, Monte introduced the importance of point of view.  He shares: “I think the low point of view I achieve in many of my images is something that sets me apart from others.  Using long telephotos and shooting 90% of my photos from a kayak give me an extremely low point of view.”

04b

Monte shooting his D500 and 500mm f/4 from his kayak
Click for an enlargement

 

He feels that the piece of equipment that has helped him achieve this is his kayak. Additional questions revealed Monte handholds his camera in the kayak always shooting with a 1/1600sec. shutter speed for that reason.  He keeps his camera between his legs.  Monte states if he does tip he would be out a fair amount of money but the perspectives and point of view are worth it for him.

05

Osprey in Flight
Nikon D4 and Nikon 200-400 f/4 at 400mm, 1/1600sec, ISO 100 Shot at Hugh Kennlyside Dam near Castlegar, BC
Click for an enlargement

 

He shares that as he has been out with his camera he has had memorable experiences. “Waiting in the predawn light of a small marshy lake as the sun rises and the birds begin to awaken is my definition of paradise.  I am fortunate to be able to experience this many times a year in my adventures in trying to get the ultimate image.”

06

Osprey in Action
Nikon D810 and 500mm lens at f/4, 1/1600sec, ISO 64 Shot from a kayak on Erie Lake, near Salmo, BC
Click for an enlargement

 

Landscape photography is an area Monte will choose to explore in the future. “I love viewing the great landscape images at Nikonians and will one day dedicate myself to learning this craft.  But I am not ready yet to apply myself.”

When asked if there was anything he would like to share he wrote the following: “I am an ethical photographer and have strong feelings about how many of the images of birds we see today in magazines and websites that are shot in conditions that are closer to a studio setting than in the wild.  Baiting birds in close, audio calls, flash set-ups and fake backdrops just to get the ‘perfect shot’ are very disingenuous and every image that is shot in this manner should be classified this way.”  Strong feelings from a man who makes great effort to shoot with respect to reality.

07

Trumpeter Swans in Flight
Shot from a kayak on Erie Lake, near Salmo, BC Nikon D810 and 200-400mm lens @ 200mm f/4, 1/1600sec, ISO 800
Click for an enlargement

 

We thank Monte for his time and effort in providing the information and photographs for this interview, as well as for his more and more frequent posting in the forums, sharing his skills with the community members.

 

Originally written on May 16, 2016

Last updated on November 29, 2017

Marsha Edmunds Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

Lethbridge, Canada
Team, 8536 posts

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23 comments

John David Hutchison (Kipmm) on May 30, 2016

Awarded for his high level expertise, specially in Wildlife Photography 
Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for his kind contribution to the 2018 fundraising campaign Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art a

First of all thank you Marsha for bringing Monte to the fore front on Nikonians.. Monte is definitely very good in his photography skills and I really hope inspirational to many of the readers here as he is to me. This fellow photographer along with the ethics he follows is truly one of the best here on Nikonians. Continue on Monte,,,(BCRose) I want to see more from you. Kip

Dianne Clark (Dianne340) on May 28, 2016

Thank you for this inspirational article. Awesome photos and such encouragement for me as I am just beginning on this marvellous journey of bird and wildlife photography. As a newby I am very much enjoying be a part of the Nikonians community. Dianne

Bill Steele (stillbill11) on May 27, 2016

That Flicker is just outrageously good. Bill

Bill Steele (stillbill11) on May 27, 2016

Wonderful article, and thank you for sharing the inspirational pics. Bill

User on May 26, 2016

Awesome pictures

Monte Comeau (BCRose) on May 23, 2016

I just wanted to address a couple of the comments about shooting from a kayak. First off to David, I feel your pain, that must have been a traumatic day! I have tried several kayaks. I take them out and extensively test them for tipping issues...if they are not stable then I did not even consider them when purchasing. I actually try to tip them in my testing, leaning hard to one side in windy conditions etc. Wakes from powerboats are my biggest fear as they hit in a different sort of way with a large swell that is 'uncomfortable' in a kayak. Windy days mean I do not venture out, besides being unstable it is very hard to get a sharp image from a bouncing boat :) I settled on an inexpensive 10' Pelican sit-in style. It is by far the most stable I have used. I literally cannot tip this thing over. I would like to mention I have an expensive Jackson Kayak 10' Traverse sitting in my garage that I thought would be the perfect boat but it is just not stable enough for me. I have painted the Pelican with a camo design and use some camo cloth to cover my form when sitting in the reeds. It works pretty well. @Don I handhold my camera in the kayak. I can hold the 500mm VR up for about 30 seconds comfortably, I usually brace it against the side of the kayak and my leg.

Joanna Pecha (PixiePixels01) on May 23, 2016

Really enjoyed this article, very well done by Marsha AND Monte!! Superb photography, Monte. Super interesting, as were reading the follow up comments. Davids story has me convinced to let Monte do this, not me!!

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2) on May 23, 2016

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

Don, I can't take all that much credit for the article as they were Monte's thoughts and images but it was still a fair amount of work. John, Refer to the shot of Monte in the kayak and under it is the advice he gives a little about shutter speed when shooting with the camera is hand held from a kayak. Thanks to the other folks who commented! And sorry about your gear David.

Don Roarabaugh (NatureDon) on May 22, 2016

Well done! Marsh, thanks for putting this article together. Great job! Monte, thanks for sharing your photos and insights. Fantastic! Thank you, Don

John A. Meiers (Dakotaboy) on May 21, 2016

Fellow Ribbon awarded for his efforts to make easier to reach landscape information at Nikonians

Very nice article Marsha. I look forward to more. Super photos Monte. I may have to get a canoe and roam around some of our wetlands. Wondering what you used to hold your camera up in the kayak?

David H Dennis (davidhdennis) on May 20, 2016

Love that point of view! The moment I saw it, I wondered how I could shoot that way. Sadly, most of the places I go to shoot wildlife are boardwalks that only let you go above the wildlife, enormously restricting my viewpoint :(. Still, I must tell a highly relevant story. One day there was a Giant Iguana near the lake I live on. I decided to take my new Nikon D4 on the kayak to get to the iguana. I got on the kayak, it immediately tipped, dumping me and my $6,000 camera and $2,000 lens unceremoniously in the lake. Fortunately, the guy who sold me the camera was a super-nice guy who knows how to repair everything. He was able to fix the camera after about a week of tough effort. The lens (don't remember if it was the 24-70 or 70-200) survived without any issues. I never took the camera kayaking again :).

Stephen Blakesley (lajolla) on May 19, 2016

Amazing kayak platform technique and amazing digital images of riverine birds in flight!! Thanks for sharing.

Paul Whalen (orca) on May 18, 2016

Great read. Super images ~ nice to see the work of and be introduced to, a fellow Nikonion from the Kootenays. Cheers Orca

Monte Comeau (BCRose) on May 18, 2016

Thanks for the kind comments everyone, greatly appreciated. Thanks to Marsha for putting my story into words.

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2) on May 18, 2016

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

Gracious comments. Monte was very interesting to work with. I do admire his work.

James Buch (jimray) on May 18, 2016

Marsha, thanks so much for starting this and Monte, thanks to you for sharing the wonderful images and telling us about your experiences.

David Benyukhis (Starik) on May 18, 2016

such photos inspire me, thanks a lot

Peter Wallin (pipsqueak) on May 17, 2016

Thanks so much for sharing Monte and Marsha. Looking at your pictures Monte i feel like i am a part of nature, especially when watching those taken from your kayak. That point of view is stunning. The pictures are so sharp and clear they could all be wall hangers, you are a true inspiration.

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on May 17, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

Marsha and Monte, Thanks for sharing. Excellent photographs and interesting reading. Looking forward to read more!

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2) on May 17, 2016

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

Thanks Ernesto, Richard and David. I think this feature will be interesting because of the members who we get to know better, to appreciate, and to learn from. There are so many members at different levels, from different places, photographing different things, with great images to share.

David Summers (dm1dave) on May 17, 2016

Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art a

Great article, featuring a wonderful wildlife photographer.

Richard Dubiel (Dubes) on May 17, 2016

Awarded for his high level of achievement and willingness to help others – most notably in wildlife photography. Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Macro and Wildlife Photography Laureate Ribbon awarded as a Winner in a Nikonians Best of Images Annual Photo Contest  Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Well done Marsha, nice feature and a great way to showcase the work of Nikonian members. Take care, Richard

Ernesto Santos (esantos) on May 16, 2016

Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Winner of the Best of Nikonians Images 2018 Annual Photo Contest

Excellent new feature! It's great to learn more about our members, and this is a wonderful way to feature their story and their exceptional work. Monte is certainly very talented.

G