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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: $