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Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death
  
 
KCollett
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p.1 #1 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Murtle Lake in Wells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia is a wonderful place to go kayaking or canoeing. I spent a week there in September. Aside from the paddling, the area has some great hikes and scenery. And the number one reason for me to visit the lake again? The spawning salmon. Not just any salmon, but the mighty Kokanee - these mega-beasts get up to 1 pound (although I don't think I ever saw one that big), with a length of 8 - 12 inches.

I am intrigued & enamored with this diminutive salmonoid (Oncorhynchus nerka). The reason individuals in this population are so small is that they spawn on a two year cycle, instead of the usual 3 or 4. They turn the same red & green colors as their bigger brothers/sisters, and some get the same hunched back, but not to the same degree.

I hope you enjoy my attempts to show off these little gems, and my attempts at underwater photography with a modified DiCAPac waterproof case. The camera inside was a 7D with 15 - 85mm kit lens.

1. The Beginning & The End - There are a number of creeks the salmon migrate up to spawn. This is one. After spawning, like other salmon, they die and wash up on shore, or float down the creek back into the lake.


2. Plying The Cool, Clear Waters - Swimming not far from the mouth of the creek, this lonely Kokanee is possibly awaiting a mate, and is swimming on the spot against the current.


3. The Happy Salmon - I grin every time I look at this pic. Anthropomorphism is fun!


4. Queued Up - Further up the creek, there are deep pools, often with natural dams of logs and branches. They typically have a few openings wide enough for the fish to get through, and sometimes they try jumping over the obstacles. But there sure is a backlog. And hey! What is that trout doing in there?!


5. Falling Apart Over Love - This specimen is beat up from its reproductive efforts. Many of the fish are missing bits and pieces.


6. Paired Up - Many of the fish pair up, and then vigorously defend their small territory.


7. Now I Know Why The Smile - The Happy Salmon is really happy now that it has a mate.


8. But... - It is not long before the once smiling fish is breathing its last few gasps along the edge of the creek. Soon, the color fades, the sparkle leaves their eyes, and decomposition begins in earnest.


Please let me know what you think of the underwater shots.

Cheers!

Ken





Nov 01, 2013 at 02:15 AM
birdied
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p.1 #2 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Bravo !! These are wonderful as is the story behind the shots. You certainly have shown the lifecycle of these beautiful fish with true emotion.

Were you also underwater or just the camera? The underwater shots are fantastic , so very well done Ken.

Birdie



Nov 01, 2013 at 02:25 AM
Ernie Aubert
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p.1 #3 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Well done, Ken - I love it! The underwater shots are grand.

Birdie, I daresay he wasn't himself underwater - the creek is too shallow. Of course, I could be wrong ("but I'm not").



Nov 01, 2013 at 02:35 AM
mmarconi
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p.1 #4 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Ken

What a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable post, well done and well documented.

Mike



Nov 01, 2013 at 03:22 AM
Karl Witt
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p.1 #5 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Ken what a great photo essay! The colors and details you got with the underwater fish are magnificent.
Opening shot is well done, very nice comp and play on DOF.
Gosh these are a treat to see. #3 is a fav but the colors here and your details are wonderful!

Karl



Nov 01, 2013 at 03:26 AM
Tracey Harmon
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p.1 #6 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Captivating Ken!

Nice job,

Tracey



Nov 01, 2013 at 03:29 AM
Shasoc
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p.1 #7 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


The underwater pics look very good, Ken. The clear water definitely helped, but it is always who is behind the camera that makes a difference.
Interesting story and well captured images to go with it. Enjoyed the post
Socrate



Nov 01, 2013 at 03:33 AM
Thang
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p.1 #8 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


beautiful captures and presentation Ken! These images are crystal clear!


Nov 01, 2013 at 04:50 AM
ScottHM
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p.1 #9 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Nice shooting Ken, interesting presentation as well...I was there briefly in the beginning of Sept on my way to Jasper. Could've stayed longer. Really like that 4th one.


Nov 01, 2013 at 04:54 AM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #10 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Great work on the underwater shots, Ken. I guess all the mossies had left by September? A great park to visit for waterfalls in non-mossie seasons.

Tony

P.S. Were there many Bald Eagles around?



Nov 01, 2013 at 05:25 AM
 

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tfoltz
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p.1 #11 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Ken, Excellent set and very informative, until I read this post I had no
clue this diminutive salmon even existed.

Thanks -Tim



Nov 01, 2013 at 08:22 AM
markdennis
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p.1 #12 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Great shots & great looking fish.

Mark



Nov 01, 2013 at 09:29 AM
kmunroe
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p.1 #13 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


nicely done Ken.. great job on the fish


Nov 01, 2013 at 09:51 AM
psharvic
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p.1 #14 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Nice work, Ken. Hope you have plans to follow up with silvers, kings and chums.


Nov 01, 2013 at 10:10 AM
surfnron
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p.1 #15 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


A very enjoyable set Ken. The u/w shots look very good to me, and your smiler made me smile too ~ Ron


Nov 01, 2013 at 11:08 AM
KCollett
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p.1 #16 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


birdied wrote:
Bravo !! These are wonderful as is the story behind the shots. You certainly have shown the lifecycle of these beautiful fish with true emotion.

Were you also underwater or just the camera? The underwater shots are fantastic , so very well done Ken.

Birdie


Thanks for taking the time to view the set Birdie. For many of the underwater shots I only had to dunk my head while knee deep in water (more or less). Was very hard on the old back, but fun to do nonetheless. I may have to head back to Hawaii with the modified housing and try those turtle shots again.



Nov 01, 2013 at 12:43 PM
KCollett
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p.1 #17 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Ernie Aubert wrote:
Well done, Ken - I love it! The underwater shots are grand.

Birdie, I daresay he wasn't himself underwater - the creek is too shallow. Of course, I could be wrong ("but I'm not").


Correct Ernie. The shallow water allowed me to stay mostly dry, although a couple slips almost had me end up horizontal and under the water, just like the fish. Thanks for commenting.



Nov 01, 2013 at 12:45 PM
KCollett
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p.1 #18 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


mmarconi wrote:
Ken

What a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable post, well done and well documented.

Mike


Many thanks Mike. Glad the commentary added to the experience.



Nov 01, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Lightsearcher
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p.1 #19 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Just beautiful..!! great info and very well done the pictures.

Marcelo



Nov 01, 2013 at 01:37 PM
BeeBalm
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p.1 #20 · Kokanee Salmon - Life & Death


Ken,
I would say awesome under water photography!!
Love number 4!

Cool story and information
BeeBalm



Nov 01, 2013 at 02:25 PM
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