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Old growth aspen trunks

Three massive aspen (Populus tremuloides) trees dominate an old-growth mixedwood stand in the boreal forest of west-central Alberta.

Old-growth aspen

This was a gorgeous forest stand to work and photograph in, and, unfortunately, a bit of an oddity to find such large, old aspens left out on the landscape. My goal printing this image was to preserve the subtlety of tone and light & shadow, but still capture some of the brilliance of this stand in the early morning light.

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Boreal understory

A Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) spreads it's fronds across the understory vegetation in a boreal mixedwood forest in west-central Alberta, Canada

Boreal fern

A good friend of mine, an old BC Parks naturalist, shared with me the following short verse that I am always reminded of when I come across ferns like the ones in this photo:

Fringing the stream at every turn,
Swing lo’ the waving fronds of fern.
From strong cleft and mossy sod,
Pale asters spring, and goldenrod!

It’s a great little rhyme, and the exclamation mark that Al added at the end captures the feeling of coming across one of these little spots just perfectly. Try to get out this weekend, and find one of these for yourself!

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Athabasca Falls in motion

After my previous post “Athabasca Falls in black and white” with the motion of the water captured with a slow shutter speed to give a streaked effect, I remembered that I had also captured some video on that morning. So—for your interest’s sake—here is: a short video clip of Athabasca Falls shot at 30 fps with a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second at f/16; a still photo of the same composition captured at 1/5th of a second at f/8 and iso400 (the same settings as the image in my previous post); and a photo captured at 1/125th of a second (which I’ve been told best captures how our eyes/brains see motion) at f/9 and iso800.

The Athabasca river flows over the granite cliffs of Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Canada

Athabasca Falls II (1/5th sec)

The Athabasca river flows over the granite cliffs of Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Canada

Athabasca Falls III (1/125th sec)

 
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Athabasca Falls in black & white

The Athabasca river flows over the granite cliffs of Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Canada

Athabasca Falls

I’ve noticed that I make a greater proportion of black-and-white images than I tend to print—so I’m going to try to correct that. I took this photograph the same weekend as this photo (it was a great weekend).

And, although it’s not an uncommon technique in landscape photography (especially of waterfalls), I also haven’t experimented much with slow shutter speeds and flowing water, although a fellow Edmonton photographer, Joel Koop (see an example of his work here), has inspired me to try more.

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Greyscale tones in a boreal lake

Reflections of clouds, a dark shoreline and ripples in the water combine to create a full range of tones on the surface of a small boreal lake

Greytones in boreal lake

I took this photograph at one of the five lakes in Emerson Lakes Provincial Park, northwest of Edson, Alberta—a great little place that was almost completely deserted the weekend I was there. If you don’t mind a little bit of gravel road, I would definitely recommend this spot for a quiet boreal retreat.

Although the middle of the afternoon is not normally the best time of day for making photographs of the landscape, great photographs are still out there—and (if you ask me) any photographer that tells you otherwise isn’t looking hard enough. In this image, made at just past 4pm on a nice sunny day, I just love how the lake holds nearly the full range of tones from the nearly black shadows along the shoreline to the bright white reflections of the high cirrus clouds and the midtones of the shallow lakebed itself—all mixed together by the slight breeze causing the ripples on the water’s surface.

Add in a couple Bonaparte’s Gulls, a pair of Belted Kingfishers, and a chorus of songbirds—and you’ve got yourself a pretty good spot to sit for a while, making photographs as the clouds shift by (which is exactly what I did…)

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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.

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More snow on spruce

Fresh snow covers the upper branches of two black spruce trees in the Wagner Natural Area

Fresh snow on two black spruce

Here’s another photograph from the same outing to Wagner Natural Area as my last post. I like how the wispy-ness of the clouds contrasts the solid, high contrast forms of the snow-covered trees.

These are pretty classic Alberta winter clouds—high, thin, light diffusing layers without much definition (see this post that I wrote last winter). In this case though, I used a polarizing filter to darken the blue sky showing through these thin cirrus streaks, and that added enough contrast to show the delicate patterns of the cloud.

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