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Raindrop mosaic

Deliberately out of focus, a mosaic of light is created by light glinting through raindrops in a dense boreal forest stand.

Bright morn­ing after rain

I’m slowly work­ing my way to a major update/revision of my gal­leries (which, I apol­o­gize, have not been updated in a long time), and part of that process is a ruth­less editing-down of my col­lec­tion to best show­case my favourite images. Unfor­tu­nately, that some­times means leav­ing out ones that I really like, and this image is an exam­ple of that. While it’s cur­rently in my “Sum­mer 2007″ gallery, and I like it at least as well as some of the ones that “made the cut”, it just didn’t fit with the other selec­tions. So, I decided to post in the jour­nal here instead, where hope­fully it can still be enjoyed all on it’s own.

I made this pho­to­graph between Rocky Moun­tain House and Nordegg, Alberta in early June 2007. It had rained heav­ily the night before, and the branches and lichens in this dense black spruce stand were drip­ping wet as the sun came up. Each drop acts like a tiny prism, catch­ing the light of the low sun. When the lens is de-focused as I did here, each spec­u­lar high­light becomes a glow­ing cir­cle of light, each with a slightly dif­fer­ent colour depend­ing on the angle. I know my blurry, out-of-focus work is not everyone’s cup of tea, but in this case I think it really made for an inter­est­ing image (I’ve included a “straight” shot of the same stand below for interest’s sake), and it’s also a great exam­ple of how the optics in a lens can cre­ate effects “in the field” that are unat­tain­able using post-processing soft­ware (i.e. Pho­to­shop). I’d love to hear your reac­tions to this image, just click below…

Bright morn­ing after rain – in focus

A folio print of this image is for sale for whatever price you think is fair. Enter amount: $

Dried fireweed detail

Even lighting, a close crop, and shallow depth-of-field accentuate the curves of a dried fireweed seedhead

Curves in dried fireweed

I know it’s odd to call this post “Dried fire­weed detail” when 95% of the pho­to­graph is out of focus. For me how­ever, this image cap­tures the essence of the detail — and the depth — of the dried seed pods. The title’s also a bit if a play on words — using “detail” in the sense of a close-up of a por­tion of a larger work, like when a small sec­tion of a paint­ing is enlarged in a book to show a painter’s tech­nique, for exam­ple. I really enjoy get­ting in close to a pho­to­graphic sub­ject to look for an angle that can cap­ture the greater “whole” of the sub­ject while show­ing only a small portion.

A folio print of this image is for sale for whatever price you think is fair. Enter amount: $

Magpie tracks in fresh snow

The imprint of a magpies wing and tail are left behind in fresh snow

Mag­pie wingprint

After a cou­ple cen­time­ters of fresh, pow­dery snow, I went for a walk at the Strath­cona Sci­ence Park along the North Saskatchewan River. In one area there were nearly a dozen spots where a mag­pie had dropped into the snow, leav­ing these beau­ti­ful impres­sions of its wing tips and long tail — thrown into beau­ti­ful detail by the low angle of the sun these days. I couldn’t tell what it was after under the snow, and I didn’t see any other mag­pie tracks out­side of this one small area. If you have ever seen some­thing sim­i­lar, I’d love to hear you think this bird might have been up to.

A folio print of this image is for sale for whatever price you think is fair. Enter amount: $

Wintery details

Frost and snow cover a dense tangle of thin branches near Edmonton, Alberta

Tan­gle of win­ter branches II

Here’s another detail-oriented image taken dur­ing our recent spell of grey, over­cast win­ter days. As I men­tioned in a pre­vi­ous post, when the light is dif­fused so evenly by the low, bright stra­tus clouds that are com­mon over cen­tral Alberta in the win­ter (espe­cially the past few weeks), it’s often these close-up, detail ori­ented com­po­si­tions that I find work best.

I don’t com­monly con­vert images to black and white, and even less often do I process them quite as heav­ily as I have here. While the con­trast was fairly strong to begin with, I’ve “crushed” the darks all the way down, and bumped the back­ground sky all the way up, to really empha­size the some­what abstract pat­tern of the tan­gled branches, accen­tu­ated by the lin­ing of snow and frost. Per­haps I’ll also post the orig­i­nal ver­sion as well, and I would love to hear your com­ments as to which you prefer.

A folio print of this image is for sale for whatever price you think is fair. Enter amount: $

Fog Ice & Water

Here’s another short video clip that I took dur­ing this recent period of extremely cold weather. Walk­ing over the foot­bridge between Strath­cona Sci­ence Park and Run­dle Park, I was mes­mer­ized by the com­bined, over­lap­ping move­ment of the fog ris­ing from the river, the ice flow­ing down­stream, and the rip­ples in the water. The light breeze was mov­ing the mist around and the low sun was glint­ing off the thin ice­bergs, cre­at­ing a beau­ti­ful, swirling, shin­ing scene.

Frost, depth of field, and details

Frost on eight grass leaves

Frost on eight dried grass leaves

After a heavy frost, even the most sim­ple details can take on an extra­or­di­nary appear­ance. I made this pho­to­graph with a wide open aper­ture, and as close as pos­si­ble to give a really nar­row depth of field. This removes/blurs most of the finest details of the frost and dried grass blades, and con­cen­trates the focus (no pun intended) of the image on the form, the sweep, of the grass. But, to me, the lit­tle bit of frost detail vis­i­ble just along the nar­row plane of focus, gives that extra lit­tle “spark” to the image.

A folio print of this image is for sale for whatever price you think is fair. Enter amount: $

Oyster mushroom folds

Oyster mushroom folds

Oys­ter mush­room folds

While sit­ting at the art sale this past week­end a good friend of mine dropped by and asked me to make her a print of this image. It has been a long time since I’d looked at this pho­to­graph, but I’m glad she asked because I’m really enjoy­ing revis­it­ing it. This was one of the largest Oys­ter mush­room clumps that I’ve ever come across. I was employed doing bird sur­veys near Call­ing Lake, AB in the sum­mer of 2004, and it’s one of the best places I’ve been for pho­tograph­ing mush­rooms (and black bears). I like how I was able to fill the frame with the folds and gills of this mush­room, empha­siz­ing the organic shapes and colours. And it smelled absolutely terrific.

A folio print of this image is for sale for whatever price you think is fair. Enter amount: $