Damselflies are one of Mike Wooding’s passion to photograph in the summer months for his nature photography website: nahanni.smugmug.com. (Submitted by Mike Wooding)

Three Victoria photographers represent Canada in Four Nations competition

Local photographers capture the beauty of nature

Capturing the beauty of the Island is something that comes naturally to the Victoria Camera Club’s members, but especially for Mike Wooding, Leah Gray and Daniel Rondeau, whose photos have been selected to represent Canada in the Four Nations Photography Competition.

The Canadian Association for Photographic Art (CAPA) selects 80 photographs from 80 photographers across Canada to represent Team Canada against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa’s teams in the Four Nations competition.

Wooding picked up his first camera at 10 years old. Now 74, he calls himself a naturalist before a photographer and has run a nature photography website for the past eight years. Wooding’s specialty is birds, but in the heat of summer when the birds aren’t as active he switches to dragonflies and damselflies, which are in abundance, for something to do.

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His photo titled Emma’s Dancers Mating captures six damselflies, showing the bright violet colouring and the iridescent wings on the ‘prehistoric’ insects.

“People see them and say, ‘Oh isn’t that neat,’ but they don’t really see it — they move so fast and unless they land right in front of your nose you’re not really getting a chance to see it,” says Wooding, adding the only way to truly appreciate their beauty is through a photograph.

Wooding says through photographing nature he sees the beauty in it but also what humans are doing to nature, prompting him to do what he can to save habitat on the Island.

Last August while out for a walk along a lake, Rondeau saw something in the water that caught his eye and his instincts took over, immediately dropping on to his stomach to get down to the snake’s level.

Rondeau’s CAPA selected image titled Garter Snake, Its Friend and Their Meal, is a close up of the snake’s head popping out of Swan Lake in Saanich with five water fleas and a cricket perched on their predator’s head.

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As he dropped to the deck, several people took notice and rushed to his side to see what he was seeing, causing the snake to dive back into the water. When it did resurface the perched bugs were no longer on top of the snake.

“A lot of this picture is being there at the right time and being lucky admittedly, but also having the ability to control your camera,” he says.

Gray’s photo of a horse galloping in the sand and grass of a southern French town titled Wild Dance is the only photo selected in the open category from the Victoria Camera Club — the other two are in the nature category. What makes this photo special, according to Gray, is that you can see the whites of the horses eye.

“We don’t normally see that … and you get a real feeling that he’s looking at you — it’s a bit unusual, the look of that horse,” says Gray.

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The fact that her photo was chosen is thrilling, but Gray says what’s even more exciting is that three local photographers were chosen. Gray has been a photographer for 15 years, getting her start photographing her children’s football games. According to Gray, shooting sports made her a quick photographer and gave her a lot of practice, something she says is key to taking great photos.

Team Canada has won the Four Nations competition the past four years and hope to continue the gains this season. Winners will be announced in July or August after judges from the United Kingdom and the U.S. make their decision.

For more information about the Victoria Camera Club visit victoriacameraclub.org



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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If you look close enough, Daniel Rondeau’s photograph of a garter snake popping up from Swan Lake in Saanich, shows five water fleas and a cricket perched on the snakes head. (Submitted by Daniel Rondeau)

Leah Gray’s photograph titled ‘Wild Dance’ is one of three pictures from the Victoria Camera Club nominated to represent Canada in the Four Nations Photography Competition. (Submitted by Leah Gray)

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