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Silverton Falls texture

The texture of falling water matches the rock faces surrounding Silverton Falls in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Sil­ver­ton Falls textures

Speak­ing of shut­ter speeds and water tex­ture, for this image I used a fast shut­ter speed (1/640th sec at f/8) to freeze the motion of the falling water. It’s inter­est­ing to me that you can see how the water was accel­er­at­ing as it fell — the tex­ture gets blur­rier near the bot­tom of the fall. I also like how the tex­ture of the water matches the pat­terns in the rock faces sur­round­ing the falls.

For print­ing this photo, I tried to make sure to retain detail in the shad­ows and in the high­lights while main­tain­ing the high-contrast nature of the scene. In the final print I did notice the high­lights wash out just a bit in one spot of water (far right, about 2/3rds down), and when I checked the image on my mon­i­tor it also showed almost no detail, although it was not quite clipped. Funny how I didn’t notice it as a prob­lem on-screen, but it stood out in the print imme­di­ately. Les­son learned…

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Yellow-rumped Warbler in Banff

A male Audubons Warbler watches for flying insects from his perch on a freshly budding willow sapling overhanging a small creek in Banff National Park, Alberta.

Yellow-rumped War­bler on bud­ding willow

I don’t nor­mally pho­to­graph much wildlife (I don’t have the long lenses and patience usu­ally required), but I couldn’t resist this lit­tle bird (a Yellow-rumped (or Audubon’s) War­bler) that I watched feed­ing along a small moun­tain stream for nearly a half hour. It was very early in the sea­son and there had been a lit­tle snow overnight so the air was cool and damp, and the insects this bird was after were mov­ing really slowly. He would perch on these wil­low saplings over the creek, turn­ing his head to watch and then dart out to grab his meal from the air or the under­side of a new leaf. It was a lot of fun to watch, and — employ­ing the time hon­oured, fine-art, “shot­gun” approach to com­po­si­tion — I filled up a good por­tion of my mem­ory card try­ing to get just the right shot.

I know this pho­to­graph breaks a cou­ple “golden rules” of com­po­si­tion — you’re not sup­posed to cen­tre your sub­ject (rule of thirds) or have the sub­ject look­ing out of (rather than into) the frame. But I think it works this way (I even cropped in a lit­tle from a more “tra­di­tion­ally” framed shot). I think the shad­owed area in the top-left bal­ances the light, empty area at the bot­tom, and for me, the bird’s out-of-frame gaze gives a bit of the feel­ing that he’s just about to leave the frame him­self (which in fact he did). Let me know what you think — just click below to add your thoughts. Thanks!

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Johnston Canyon waterfall

Lower John­ston Canyon falls I

I had a great time camp­ing and pho­tograph­ing in Banff National Park, and now I’m back in town for a few days and then off again to do some bird sur­veys in the boreal for­est of north-western Alberta.I haven’t had much chance to go through the many pho­tographs I made while there, but I thought I’d quick share this one to tide you over until I get back to post­ing more regularly.

I took this pho­to­graph along the lower sec­tion of the gor­geous John­ston Canyon, just a half hour north of the Banff town­site. The path through the canyon is nor­mally packed full of tourists, but I had the plea­sure of being there mid-week and early-season, giv­ing me plenty of time (and room) to do some pho­tog­ra­phy. This photo shows the beau­ti­ful clear, green colour of the water flow­ing through the canyon, and gives a feel for the almost claus­tro­pho­bic close­ness of the over­hang­ing rock cliffs.

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Off to Banff...

View from Wilcox Pass

I will be away from post­ing for a lit­tle while (although to be hon­est, I haven’t been post­ing a whole lot any­ways — sorry), as I’m off to Banff National Park to go camp­ing for a cou­ple weeks. I’m pretty excited — I spend most of my time pho­tograph­ing in the Rocky Moun­tains in Jasper National Park, so it’ll be fun to explore some new areas (with my cam­era along the whole time, of course).

Hope­fully, I’ll be able to share some new work with you once I get back, but in the mean­time I thought I’d post this photo taken half-way between Jasper and Banff, along the Ice­fields Park­way (one of the most beau­ti­ful dri­ves in the world). We parked near the Ice­fields Inter­pre­tive Cen­tre, and climbed up along the Wilcox Pass trail on the other side of the val­ley as the glac­i­ers. What I love about this photo is the scale of the view. If you click to enlarge the image, you can just see the trail run­ning down to the right, and there’s even a cou­ple of (very small) hik­ers on it.

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