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Finally some new photos!

A warm late autumn breeze rustles the dried grass around a small mountain lake in Jasper National Park, Canada

Marsh grass in moun­tain lake

It has been a long time since I’ve post­ed much here—my apologies—but it should get bet­ter again short­ly…

I have decid­ed to try “The Online Pho­tog­ra­ph­erMike Johnston’sSpe­cif­ic, Detailed Pro­gram for Absolute­ly, Pos­i­tive­ly Get­ting Bet­ter as a Dig­i­tal Print­mak­er”. In short, this is an exer­cise to get in the habit of work­ing on my pho­tog­ra­phy dai­ly, for a few min­utes at least, and to start prac­tic­ing mak­ing prints of my work. I tend to make a few prints occa­sion­al­ly if I’m real­ly excit­ed about a new batch of pho­tos, and a stack of prints for craft sales, etc. The empha­sis of the SDPFAPGBAADP pro­gram (nice acronym…) is to just prac­tice pro­cess­ing and mak­ing prints in a low pres­sure kind of way.

I’ll give it a try for a while, hope­ful­ly I can find the time most days and real­ly get in the habit. If I have a lit­tle extra time, I’ll post the day’s pho­to here too—it should be an inter­est­ing mix of images, and I hope you’ll enjoy see­ing them. I just print­ed the pho­to above, which I took on a trip to Jasper Nation­al Park with the fam­i­ly last fall. I have rarely expe­ri­enced a more pleas­ant and pho­to­genic evening than this—the fall colours were in their prime, the tem­per­a­ture cool but the breeze warm, and the fam­i­ly was patient… per­fect.

And, as always, I appre­ci­ate your feedback—please feel free to leave me a com­ment with your com­ments or cri­tiques!

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

Birch trees in black and white

Three thin birch trees cling to the last leaves of fall

Three autumn birch

It’s been a long time since I’ve post­ed a new pho­to, and to be hon­est, it’s been a while since I’ve made any new images. I have been work­ing on re-pro­cess­ing some images into black and white, includ­ing this one here.

I love a great B&W pho­to­graph, and after lis­ten­ing to this pod­cast by LensWork edi­tor, Brooks Jensen, I’ve been inspired to fig­ure out for myself what it takes to make a great B&W image, rather than a pret­ty-good image. And, thanks to the flex­i­bil­i­ty afford­ed by cap­tur­ing and pro­cess­ing dig­i­tal­ly, I’ve been going through my image cat­a­logue and giv­ing it a try.

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

Birch tree along rocky shore

A small birch tree stands in full autumn colours among the rocks and reeds along the lake shore at the Ministik Game Bird Sanctuary near Edmonton, Alberta.

Paper Birch along rocky Min­is­tik shore­line

It is unusu­al to find exposed rock along the shores of the lakes in this part of Alber­ta, but this beau­ti­ful shore­line along Oliv­er Lake in the Min­is­tik Game Bird Sanc­tu­ary just east of Edmon­ton had sev­er­al hun­dred meters of this gor­geous blue-grey stone typ­i­cal of the Beaver Hills/Cooking Lake moraine land­form. Tall reeds and grass­es, all dried up by this time, grew from between the stones and above the high water mark there were aspen, birch, and spruce. And then there was this tree—growing near the water in a lit­tle clear­ing.

My tim­ing was just right—all the tree’s leaves had turned to this red­dish yel­low, with a few fall­en to the ground to con­trast the colour of the rocks (the next few days were quite windy, strip­ping most of these leaves for the sea­son). When I first arrived at this spot, the sun was rea­son­ably low in the sky, but the white bark of the birch tree was still reflect­ing too much light and the con­trast was more than my cam­era could cap­ture. Some­times, brack­et­ing expo­sures and com­bin­ing them to an HDR image for pro­cess­ing can reign in such high-con­trast scenes, but in this case a slight breeze was rustling the leaves and grass stems, which makes it very dif­fi­cult to blend mul­ti­ple expo­sures suc­cess­ful­ly.

Look­ing to the west how­ev­er, I noticed that a bank of high stra­tus clouds rose a few degrees above the hori­zon in the oth­er­wise per­fect­ly clear sky. Nor­mal­ly, this is bad news if you’re try­ing to pho­to­graph dra­mat­ic late-day side­light­ing and sun­set colours (which I was try­ing to do). In this case though, I wait­ed until the sun had just dipped behind the thin lead­ing edge of the clouds, caus­ing the light to dim a lit­tle and to dif­fuse ever so slightly—reducing the con­trast in the scene, but still light­ing the bril­liant fall colours. I hur­ried to cap­ture a few com­po­si­tions that I’d deter­mined while wait­ing for the light, and far too quickly—the light was gone. I walked back to the truck as the lack­lus­tre sky sim­ply grew dark­er with the sun hid­den behind the advanc­ing clouds—but I couldn’t pos­si­bly have been any hap­pi­er.

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

Flock of waterfowl at Ministik

A flock of ducks flies up from Oliver Lake on an autumn evening at the Ministik Lake Bird Sanctuary

Water­fowl ris­ing from Min­is­tik Lake

Here’s anoth­er pho­to­graph I made last week, along Oliv­er Lake out at the Min­is­tik Lake Game­bird Sanc­tu­ary. As the sun was set­ting, hun­dreds (if not thou­sands) of ducks were set­tling on the lake, ris­ing in large flocks if unnamed pho­tog­ra­phers (or their dog) moved too quick­ly. I nor­mal­ly try hard when pro­cess­ing a pho­to­graph to make sure that there is detail in both the high­lights and shad­ow. In this case how­ev­er, I found that push­ing the bright­ness up real­ly did a bet­ter job of cap­tur­ing the mood of look­ing west across the lake into the sun, watch­ing the birds against the bril­liant, back­lit fall colours. They say the rules are there to be bro­ken, right?

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

Boreal colours at their autumn finest

Aspen, birch, reeds and grasses all glow golden in evening light along the shore of Oliver Lake at the Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary

Gold­en autumn aspen shore­line

If you’re in the Edmon­ton area, and haven’t been out enjoy­ing (and pho­tograph­ing) the fall colours this week, I have one word for you—go! I’ll let this pho­to­graph speak the thou­sand words’ encour­age­ment.

I’ve been explor­ing the south-west cor­ner of Min­is­tik Lake Sanc­tu­ary, fol­low­ing game trails along the shore of Oliv­er Lake and com­ing across views like this one. This is one of my favourite autumn combinations—yellow aspen & birch, bright dried grass­es, all against a blue sky reflect­ed in a still lake, and with just a few dark spruce thrown in for accent. Gor­geous.

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

Super Harvest Moon at Ministik Lake

A full moon rises in a clear sky on the night of the autumnal equinox.

Har­vest moon ris­ing behind aspen

I went out to the Min­is­tik Lake this evening with the fam­i­ly (& my cam­era, of course) to cel­e­brate the autum­nal equinox, and to wit­ness the “Super Har­vest Moon” that occurred tonight for the first time in 20 years (click here for more info on that). For those of you who missed it—(it wasn’t much dif­fer­ent than any oth­er nice full moon-rise)—I thought I’d quick post this pho­to­graph that I made of the moon tonight. It was a love­ly evening—geese & ducks whistling by over­head, a few qui­et bird­songs (White-throat­ed- & Lincoln’s Spar­rows), beavers on the lake, and coy­otes & bats as the moon came up. Wel­come autumn.

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

Autumn foliage triptych

Autumn foliage triptych

Autumn foliage trip­tych

Here are three pho­tographs of autumn colour in the plants out at Min­is­tik Lake. While pro­cess­ing these images, I played around with de-sat­u­rat­ing all the colours except for those of the main sub­ject. This kind of manip­u­la­tion of the image is out­side of the reg­u­lar “dark­room-style” pro­cess­ing that I usu­al­ly restrict myself to—but in this case, I real­ly like how it looks. I also added a fair­ly heavy vignetting effect (the dark­en­ing of the cor­ners) to fur­ther accen­tu­ate the main sub­ject of each image.

With their sim­i­lar­i­ties in colour, sub­ject mat­ter, and pro­cess­ing tech­nique, I found that these three pho­tographs com­ple­ment­ed each oth­er when viewed side-by-side. I don’t know the “the­o­ry” behind why some images work togeth­er as a group, but I do know that some­times a trip­tych is def­i­nite­ly greater than the sum of its parts. (Click here to see a cou­ple more of my favourite trip­tychs). As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts—just leave a com­ment below.

Autumn foliage triptych I

Autumn foliage triptych II

Autumn foliage triptych III

Click these thumb­nails to see a larg­er vesion of each image indi­vid­u­al­ly (use your arrow keys to move between them).

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