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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…

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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: $