Wildlife photographer’s camera fails, humorous cartoons ensue


When nature photographer Donny Moore stepped out to photograph an annual bird migration last month, his camera unexpectedly broke during the outing. To “lighten up” the sad situation and to make the most of her time in nature, Moore decided to start drawing with her children’s art supplies instead.

Moore, based in Ontario, Canada, said that as an amateur nature photographer he was excited to start birding and bird photography as the migration begins in May, but his camera was not up to the task this year.

“The worst possible thing has happened,” Moore said PetaPixel. “My weatherproof camera body didn’t feel as weatherproof anymore and it performed poorly under the first wet shoot in the morning. I was immediately devastated, but being a nature lover I wasn’t going to let that stop me from enjoying what the birds were going through.

Moore’s personality is one who always starts looking for great lemonade recipes when life hands him lemons, and that’s what happened in this case.

“I’ve always handled most situations with a light touch and it wasn’t going to be any different,” he says. “So I started to draw some of the observations I got using my children’s art supplies. “

“I would like to clear up any confusion, these are indeed only drawings and not actual photos. Prothonotary warblers are always popular when they arrive due to the fact that their numbers were extremely low. They seem to have somehow recovered through conservation efforts. Now you can enjoy all their beauty with this detailed 5H pencil and Crayola colored pencil sketch. Great Horned Owls are as abundant as ever, but I wanted to note that most of the young owls will be ready to go soon. Remember that this is also a drawing and not a photo as you are used to seeing. I’m sure there will be offers coming soon for me to illustrate the next edition of National Geographic on the birds of North America, but I hope to have a camera in hand soon, so I will decline this offer.

“The traditional naturalists would go out, before the cameras and that, they would take notes in the field,” says Moore. Radio-Canada. “A description of the bird and a small drawing. So the thought came into my head, ‘Well, I don’t have a camera, I might as well practice what I preach.’ “

“The truth is, although many usual suspects have been there, we haven’t had good days watching the bird. The early morning weather did not push the birds in our direction and there was no suitable weather to push them low in the trees to enjoy the beauty. The view in the top sketch shows exactly what I saw last week. Long looks high in the trees to see the birds and more likely to hear. I added the lyrics to the song Northern Parula for you to learn to sing. The second sketch is of one of the flagship species that presented itself on Saturday. 3 Black-necked stilts have been recorded at Hillman Marsh. These elegant shorebirds easily walk on their stilts. A species expected to be seen every year in migration but never guaranteed. Always take the opportunity to go see them if you hear that they are in town.

Moore’s humorous sketches have become a hit among his friends and followers on social media.

“In my head I’m up there with some of the big names in the art world of nature like David Sibley, but that doesn’t seem to translate through my pencils,” the photographer says. “In trying to keep the sketches as basic as possible, but also trying to highlight some terrain markings of the wildlife, I found more caricatures than any kind of realism.”

“In the past two days, a new wave of migration has passed through the region. True to form, most of them stayed high in the trees. That being said, I was treated to some great views of some beautiful birds around the Shuster Trail in Point Pelee on May 19th. Just to remind you that my camera is still broken and these are only sketches of what I have been able to see and not actual photos. The Mourning Warbler is one of the “skulkers” that mostly stay close to the ground in the cool foliage only to appear for brief glimpses every now and then. I crouched down and looked along a fallen log and to my surprise he jumped on the log and cried long enough for me to get the reference of this beautiful sketch. The second illustration, yes illustration not photo! This is a northern water snake that had found a large bullfrog for lunch. We watched this female snake slowly swallow her meal. The frog in all honesty was disappointing in its efforts to free itself from the jaws of death. As we watched, 2 smaller male snakes came over and copulated with the female as she tried to eat. All in all, it was good to see nature in harmony and to do what it is supposed to do.
“One of the strengths of being in Newfoundland 2 years ago was the diversity of seabirds. Puffins had just started to appear on their breeding grounds and, as the name suggests, they were far from the puffins after this long flight. It was also obvious why they are called the Sea Clowns. Full makeup and all the trimmings, it was a sight to see. I’m led to believe that all clowns have registered their name and makeup style with the Clown Syndicate. So when I asked this one what his name was, do you know what he told me? Go guess ??? Wrong!! He didn’t tell me because he’s a puffin not a parrot. So, because of his lack of conversation, I called him Perry. Perry and I enjoyed the most wonderful 5 second conversation. One that I will never forget!
“The much sought after rendering of the 2021 Annular Eclipse. It was a glorious morning on June 10, 2021, a thick fog of pea soup enveloped the area, but for a small spot on Belleriver Marina. A few brave men braved the 100 humidities and the fresh hatching of fish flies to admire the natural wonder. As we began to set up our equipment, I set up the easel and sharpened pencils, eager for the sun to break through the horizon. The thin belt of clouds along the horizon both aided and hindered our vision, as it took a bit longer to burn (this due to the moon blocking its heat of course), but a once she did, this beautiful peach had quite the bite. The crowd of all kinds with their safety glasses adorning their eyes enjoyed this sight for a good 30 minutes. I etched impatiently on my paper trying to include every detail to perfection. Fortunately, our next total eclipse is only due in a few years and by then I should surely have a quality camera installed to bring you mediocre photos to go along with the designs.

Drawing has been a fun and surprisingly productive diversion so far, but Moore can’t wait to get back to creating photographs.

“Some of my photography enthusiasts got hooked on the designs and I joked in the comments,” he says. “The descriptions I gave for the sketches, while also light, have always hopefully engaged some people in what is available to us.

“[The sketches] have gained their own little popularity with some followers, [but] I hope it won’t be too long before I have a good camera in hand so I can shoot what I love most.

You can find more of Moore’s sketches (and his wildlife photos) on his Facebook and Instagram.


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