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While others were perfecting their sourdough starter, furniture designer and artist Steven Pollock purchased a Nikon lens on Craigslist and picked up bird photography as his pandemic pastime. “It started as a way to zoom closer to see these birds I was walking by every day—and then I became hooked on capturing them in motion,” he says. Lost Lagoon has become a favourite haunt—here are a few of his captures in Stanley Park’s birding treasure.
As told to Anicka Quin. Photos by Steven Pollock.
I’d discovered, thanks to a YouTube video, that Anna’s hummingbirds have a habitual circle they travel in. I’d spotted this one before, so I decided to just stand and wait for him to come back—and suddenly he was just at my knee. I just started snapping—I wasn’t even sure what my settings were. Half of it is luck, capturing a great photo.
As a furniture designer, I’m always researching about materials and techniques, and I’ve thrown myself into research with bird photography too. Early on I learned so many acronyms—BIF, or Bird In Flight, being a common one. And I love capturing them in movement—like these American wigeons coming in to landing.
Canada geese are pretty fun to photograph while flying, because they’re slower moving than other birds.
This Steller’s jay was one of my first shots when I picked up my new lens. It was in late spring, which is a great time to shoot—there aren’t any leaves on the trees for them to hide.
I spent a fair bit of time at the heronry, near the entrance of the lagoon, trying to capture great blue herons as they took off from their nests. Once they started to have babies, this eagle would raid them, causing a fair bit of panic and a few pretty brutal battles.
How can you not take a picture of the babies? This gosling isn’t more than a day old.
When they posted warnings about coyotes attacking humans, I started to see more of them. This one was just a juvenile, and it wasn’t threatening at all. In fact, it was having a lot of fun and behaving like a puppy, rolling around on its back and tossing a plastic bottle up in the air to catch it.
This great blue heron—GBH on birding forums, of course—really shows the magic of shooting during the golden hour of dusk. You wouldn’t get the same colour in its feathers if you were shooting with the sun directly overhead. And he was another lucky shot—he just appeared out of nowhere, soaring across the lagoon in close proximity to where I was standing. And I just started snapping.