man plays flute for birds

On a quick trip to the Comox Camera Club recently, I was so thankful to have two opportunities for some portrait photography. One was with Mick Maxted. 

Mick lives with his wife Lynn in Fanny Bay, in a beautiful home surrounded by tall cedars that reminds me of a tree house. The yard is a grandchild’s delight, filled with slides, climbing structures, zip lines and ride-on airplanes, all home made. I couldn’t help but think how much his grandchildren must love being here and to play on the toys so lovingly created.

We went into the house and visited in the front room. Mick had a tray of bird food ready and, with the doors open, began to play his flute. Soon, the porch was filled with chickadees and other feathered friends, enjoying the music and a snack. Our cameras were busy.

Man feeds birds and plays flute
With a tray of goodies, Max watched for the birds as he played his flute.


As we chatted with this tall man peering out from his profusion of long hair, I was struck with one word to describe him: gentle. As he spoke of his care for the environment, wildlife and family, the caring gentleness seemed to be written on his face. 


man plays flute
The sound of the flute was lovely.
man with beard
In conversation, Mick puts you at ease as he listens and shares stories.

For a change of scene, we went outdoors and Mick put on his long red Hudson Bay blanket jacket and musket from pre-Confederation days. Even with this long, heavy, old fashioned rifle in his arms, Mick had a hard time looking fierce.


man with musket
Outside, we had a chance to photograph his pre-Confederation outfit.
The gunpowder pouch, jacket and hat of Fisher skin, are all home-made.

Since our visit, I learned that Mick loves to snowboard at nearby Mt. Washington. And he has made friends with Jekyll and Heide, two ravens. Have a look at an amazing video of these friends on the slopes. 

About the Photos

This blog post is the first with my new camera, a Nikon D850. With a 46 mp sensor, there’s a lot of resolution in the images  (probably much more than I need) and I was amazed at the sharpness and detail when I zoomed in. The camera is the same size and weight (almost) as my D750 but packs so many more features. I’m excited to get to know this beast.

The lighting when Mick had the flute was simply window light. No need to get complicated when the natural light is just right. When we went outside, I used my 2×3′ soft box with a very portable battery powered strobe, to get beautiful light on Mick. Other than converting some of the files to black and white, there was virtually no post processing except for the last one, which received an Orton effect.