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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.