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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!

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

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.

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