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Foggy boreal morning

Mist rises from several small mirror smooth lakes in the early morning of a warm summer day in the boreal forest of northern Alberta, Canada

Morning fog over boreal lakes

Here’s another photo that I took from the chopper on my way to work one morning last shift. It’s from a different morning as the previous photo, but from the same general area—near Namur Lake in northern Alberta (~100 km northwest of Fort McMurray).

This was a tricky image to print. I tried to get the balance right between detail in the shadows, but still having the landscape dark with just the top of the fog lightening as the sun first peaks over the horizon. It was also hard to figure out the right white balance to use—the Auto WB on my camera was quite cool (very blue shadows), and setting it to Daylight WB made everything very orange-y. I set a manual balance somewhere in the middle, leaning towards cool—does anyone know a good tip for setting white balance for sunrise/sunset so accurately represent how the scene was perceived at the time?

This’ll be my last post for a little while as I’m going up for another shift, but hopefully I will return with many more new photos to share!

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

Reflections on Emerson Lake

Tall shoreline spruce are reflected in the glassy calm surface of Emerson Lake in northwestern Alberta

Spruce reflections in Emerson Lake

I made this photograph last summer at Emerson Lakes, easily one of the most beautiful campgrounds I’ve stayed at in Alberta. The weekend I was there was perfect for camping, yet we still had the place nearly to ourselves. There are several lakes, all surrounded by steep ridges (unusual for boreal Alberta) with a hiking trail weaving around them. Sundance Provincial Park is nearby with more hiking (to hoodoos!), and even a multi-day backpacking route. I can’t recommend this spot enough if you like quiet, out-of-the-way camping spots.

The detail I like best about this photo is the line angling up and left from just above the shoreline on the right. The line is initially, and most strongly, created by the fallen spruce trunk but in the centre of the frame, the fallen tree becomes hidden but the visual line continues along first one branch and then, more weakly still, another branch. I find that this angled line and its reflection, create a subtle point of interest for the eye to follow through the otherwise very vertical composition.

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

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: $

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…)

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

Beautiful grey day at Ministik

Receding Ministik shoreline

Receding Ministik shoreline

This photograph is not brand new (it’s from earlier this winter), but I have been working with it recently, and would like to share it here. It had been a while since I’d had the time to hike in to this lake in the Ministik Game Bird Sanctuary, and it was a shock to see how far the water had receded since I’d last seen it. Not that I was terribly surprised–every lake at Ministik (and in most of Alberta) is showing the effect of the dry years we’ve had. What did surprise me was the colour of the mudflats–the pinkish-reddish hue in the photo is an accurate depiction (as much as is possible–but that’s another debate). The grey sky complemented the mudflats and dried grass, giving a very subtle, subdued pallette.

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