I am very excited to let you all know that I will have a solo show of my photography at this year’s The Works Art & Design Festival here in Edmonton. If you’re not from Edmonton, The Works is a large festival that runs for a couple of weeks in the summer, with artists from all over the world displaying their work in various downtown venues. My show will be displayed at City Hall from the start of the festival on June 23 through to July 5 and there will be a reception for my show from 2-3pm on Saturday the 2nd of July.
As for the work itself, it is much different in content than my usual landscape and nature photography, but I think that my personal photographic style still shows through quite a bit. The exhibition will be twenty large prints of images I made last August when smoke from large forest fires in BC shrouded the refineries just east of Edmonton (and everything else in central Alberta) in a dense, orange haze. I wrote an entry about it at the time (click here), but haven’t shared any of these images since then. I am busy setting up a new website for this collection (it just doesn’t fit on this site), and I’ll post here once it’s up.
*UPDATE* The exhibition is now up! Thanks to the whole Works crew that did such a great job — it looks terrific. While The Works Festival isn’t “on” yet, if you’re downtown you can drop by City Hall and have a look at the prints on display. I would really appreciate hearing your reactions and comments — either here (by leaving a reply below), by contacting me personally, or in person at the show reception on July 2nd.
I took this photograph during a beautiful lunch-time walk through the Whitemud Ravine. Although it was mid-day, because of the season the light was angled low and filtered through a very light haze, giving it a warm tone. It’s unusual to see warm-toned colours much during the winter, but if you catch it just right they can add an interesting mood to an image.
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.
A good friend of mine recently asked if I had a photo of a mountain ash tree, and this one sprang to mine. I took this photo in January 2004, having just traded in my film camera for my first digital SLR camera. I still remember the walk — it was a classic sparkly, crisp, bright Edmonton winter morning. This is one of my best-selling christmas card images, so I thought I’d share it, and wish you all the best for the holidays and in the new year.
This past year I upgraded my camera to the Canon 5DmkII, it’s a terrific camera that I’m very happy with, and one of the neat tricks it does is shoot high definition video. I don’t shoot too much video — I’m a stills photographer at heart, regardless of what the camera can do — but it is fun to try once in a while.
I took this short video this past week during the cold snap — it shows a small flock of Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) ducks swimming in the river then taking off and flying, landing again a ways upriver. The ducks dive briefly under the water surface a couple of times before flying — my best guess is that they’re “de-icing” their wings (it was about –35° C that morning).
You can push the fullscreen button (four outward arrows at the bottom-right of the video) to view it larger, or follow the link to watch a high-definition version at vimeo.com.
That’s “cold” with a capital “C”. An arctic air front descended on the prairies, sending the temperature to extreme lows and sending all reasonable people safely indoors — the landscape photographers however, grab their cameras and head out. I find that when it gets below –30° C you can actually see how cold it is. The light is exceptionally clear, the frost on the grasses and shrubs accumulates and holds on tight, and the air seems to literally freeze — there is often an ice fog lying low to the ground, providing photographers a pale frosty blue/white background. If you’re well dressed, careful, and have a spare battery for your camera in your warm pocket (for when the first one freezes), it’s a beautiful time to be out capturing the landscape in a state that not many people get to experience.
This afternoon I went out for a walk at the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area. I spent several hours happily walking the Lost Lake/Islet Lake trails in unseasonably warm weather, but with a flat, grey layer of drab altostratus cloud overhead. That is to say, there weren’t many good photographic opportunities. As I was driving home, however, the sun snuck through a gap in the cloud just above the horizon – with stunning effect. I had to pull over to watch the – all too brief – colours spread across nearly the whole sky, and of course, take some photographs. I find this type of sky can be very hard to get a good exposure, where it’s not too dark but the highlights (especially the yellows) aren’t blown out or over-saturated, leaving detail-less areas within the wispy strands of cloud. I think this one turned out quite well, and I really like how the pattern of the cloud could be easily mistaken for fire, which is just what the sky looked like for a few minutes – aflame. I hope you enjoy it too.