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Morning mist

Warm light from the rising sun glows on mist above a small lake at the Ministik Lake Sanctuary in Alberta, Canada.

Warm sun­light on morn­ing mist

This is another photo from my lat­est trip out to Min­is­tik. It was a gor­geous, calm morn­ing: warm enough to be com­fort­able, but cool enough to keep the mos­qui­toes down and the mist ris­ing from the lakes.

A few of my prints have come out with slight colour casts, usu­ally a (very lit­tle) bit green­ish, so I tried this one tonight as the colour of the ris­ing mist is very impor­tant to the feel of the pho­to­graph. We’ll see how it turns out…

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

Boreal lake sunrise

The sky glows orange and purple in the first light of dawn over Namur Lake. Taken from a helicopter over the boreal forest of northern Alberta, Canada

Sun­rise over Namur Lake

I took this photo on my way to work ear­lier this sum­mer — I just hap­pened to be lucky enough to be com­mut­ing in a heli­copter out to a gor­geous old-growth boreal mixed­wood site about 100km north-west of Fort McMur­ray to do bird sur­veys for the morn­ing! It was a neat expe­ri­ence to get to spend so much time fly­ing over the boreal land­scape that I know so well from the ground, and to get a bit of a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on things. I’m sure I’ll print and share here a few more pho­tos from my past cou­ple shifts up there.

I notice when I look through my photo archives, that my colour palette tends to be rather sub­dued, even som­bre at times. If I then look through the pho­tographs made by other pho­tog­ra­phers that I’ve marked as my favourites, (pri­mar­ily on the ter­rific photography-sharing web­site 500px.com (here’s my 500px col­lec­tion and my favourites from other 500px pho­tog­ra­phers)) I notice that the over­all impres­sion is very sim­i­lar — I guess it turns out that’s just what I’m most drawn to… So, for today’s print I decided to choose an image with a bit of colour.

I chose this photo in par­tic­u­lar because of the bright, highly sat­u­rated orange/red band on the hori­zon. When Light­room 4 was released (the soft­ware I use for 95% of my pro­cess­ing), I’d read about its new soft-proofing abil­ity (here’s another good arti­cle as a pdf), but never actu­ally used it before. I was pretty sure the intense warm colours in this image would be out of gamut for my printer and paper combo that I’m using for this Daily Print project (an Epson 3880 and Can­son Baryta Pho­tographique). Sure enough, Light­room was show­ing me clip­ping warn­ings, but with just a lit­tle finess­ing (lower sat­u­ra­tion and high­lights, increase vibrance and con­trast, tweak tone curve, etc), I got it look­ing good, and not show­ing any clip­ping. I ran the print off, and was quite impressed how closely the print matched my mon­i­tor. I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing the print in the day­light tomorrow…

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

Thunderstorm over Brazeau

A thunderhead cloud roils above the Brazeau Resevoir delivering high winds and a torrential downpour

Tur­bu­lent sum­mer storm over Brazeau Resevoir

We had a ter­rific thun­der­storm this after­noon in Edmon­ton, and the past cou­ple nights as well — it’s eas­ily one of my favourite things about sum­mer in Alberta. So, I thought for my print today I would choose an image of a wicked sum­mer storm that I had the plea­sure of expe­ri­enc­ing (and pho­tograph­ing exten­sively) last sum­mer. This storm rolled in rel­a­tively slowly, or at least, I could see it com­ing for quite a while over the open sky of the Brazeau Resevoir (just south of Dray­ton Val­ley, Alberta). The tex­ture of the under­side of the cloud was amaz­ing, and each minute it was more beau­ti­ful and scary than the last… until the very last minute… I was pho­tograph­ing from the beach, and after the first few big drops I ran (RAN) back to my truck a few hun­dred meters away, and was thor­oughly soaked by the time I got there. But it was all worth it, of course. It rained so hard it wasn’t pos­si­ble to drive away, but it didn’t last long and by the time it tapered off, I felt like tak­ing just a few more photos…

Tech­ni­cally speak­ing, my favourite thing about how this print turned out is that I man­aged to hold the detail in the high­lights in the upper-right cor­ner of the cloud (yay!) If your mon­i­tor is rea­son­ably accu­rate (most are not bad), and not set too bright (most are set way too high), you should be able to see faint wisps of cloud, even in the bright­est parts.

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

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…

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

Summer evening at Jasper Lake

Fluffy cumulus clouds are reflected in Jasper Lake on a warm late summer day in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

Fine sum­mer clouds over Jasper Lake

In August 2008 I was work­ing for the Cana­dian For­est Ser­vice, doing research in pine stands west of Edmon­ton. I made this photo after leav­ing from work for the week­end and dri­ving through Jasper on the way to a friend’s wed­ding in north­ern BC. I could see the light get­ting good as I got closer to the park and, after a speed­ing ticket in Edson (d-oh!), I had a ter­rific evening mak­ing many images that I was really happy with. This Daily Print project that I’m try­ing out is a great excuse to look back into my archives to find these images that I’ve kind of for­got­ten about. Watch for more pho­tos from this August evening in the next few weeks…

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: $

Mountain sunset under heavy clouds

The last light of the sun setting behind rugged peaks shines below a sky of heavy clouds

Sun­set under heavy clouds

If you’ve signed up for my newslet­ter you’ll rec­og­nize these past few images that I’ve shared — this one is from a trip to Jasper National Park that I took this spring. I was lucky enough to drive into the moun­tains just as the sun dipped below the clouds for a few min­utes before sink­ing behind the moun­tain peaks. I don’t recall my cam­era set­tings for this par­tic­u­lar image, but I was def­i­nitely think­ing of the golden rule for land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy — “f/8 and be there”.

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