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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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More Ministik mushrooms

A fresh Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) mushroom grows in late summer from the floor of the boreal forest.

Fresh amanita mushroom

Almost exactly two years ago (less one day), I had the oppor­tu­nity to pho­to­graph a tremen­dous diver­sity of mush­rooms at Min­is­tik (click here to view a gallery of images). Today, I went back to the same spot and, while the diver­sity was much lower than the pre­vi­ous year, there were some great mush­rooms out — and I had a great time pho­tograph­ing a few of them. This is a very fresh, still grow­ing “Fly Agaric” or “Fly Amanita” mush­room (Amanita mus­caria). Beau­ti­ful to look at — and pho­to­graph — but don’t eat it!

me photographing mushroom

me pho­tograph­ing mushroom

For most of the morn­ing, I used my 50mm f/1.4 and flipped the cen­tre col­umn of my tri­pod upside down to make low-angled, shal­low depth-of-field pho­tographs of these mush­rooms. I see mush­rooms like this often while doing field work, but rarely have the time to take delib­er­ate, care­ful pho­tos of them. I’ll share a cou­ple more from this morn­ing in the next lit­tle while, so please come back again soon. (Here’s a quick photo of my hard at “work” this morning…)

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Back at it, and back to Ministik

Sarsaparilla leaves show the first hint of fall colour on a warm morning at Ministik Game Bird Sanctuary east of Edmonton, Alberta.

First fall colour

So, I’m back from my work in Fort McMur­ray, I’ve had a chance to rest up a bit, and I’m look­ing for­ward to resum­ing my project of mak­ing a new print every day. Just a sim­ple print today from a pho­to­graph that I took early last Sep­tem­ber at the Min­is­tik Game Bird Sanc­tu­ary. I’m headed out to Min­is­tik tomor­row morn­ing for the first time in a long while, and hope to come back with some new pho­tographs that I can share here.

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Birch trees in black and white

Three thin birch trees cling to the last leaves of fall

Three autumn birch

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a new photo, and to be hon­est, it’s been a while since I’ve made any new images. I have been work­ing on re-processing some images into black and white, includ­ing this one here.

I love a great B&W pho­to­graph, and after lis­ten­ing to this pod­cast by LensWork edi­tor, Brooks Jensen, I’ve been inspired to fig­ure out for myself what it takes to make a great B&W image, rather than a pretty-good image. And, thanks to the flex­i­bil­ity afforded by cap­tur­ing and pro­cess­ing dig­i­tally, I’ve been going through my image cat­a­logue and giv­ing it a try.

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Frost on dried Goldenrod

Strong backlighting highlights the hoar frost coating the transluscent leaves of a dried Goldenrod stem

Dried Gold­en­rod leaves with hoar frost

Although this pho­to­graph was from a lit­tle ear­lier in the sea­son than my last post, it was a sim­i­larly frosty, beau­ti­ful day. It’s amaz­ing how a lin­ing of frost can add def­i­n­i­tion and visual inter­est to an oth­er­wise sub­dued scene. This is espe­cially true when pho­tograph­ing with the sun behind your sub­ject, the back­light­ing mak­ing the frost shine while the rest of the sub­ject remains shad­owed. I also added a fairly heavy vignetting effect while pro­cess­ing this image, to fur­ther draw atten­tion to the lines cre­ated by the curled, dried gold­en­rod leaves.

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Hoar frost on lakeshore trees

Thick hoar frost covers the birch and spruce trees along a frozen lake edge at the Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary

Frost cov­ered trees on bright win­ter day

It’s been too long since I last posted a new pho­to­graph — my apolo­gies. Here is an image I made recently, on a par­tic­u­larly gor­geous after­noon at the Min­is­tik Lake Game Bird Sanc­tu­ary just east of Edmon­ton. All of the trees, shrubs, and even each blade of grass was bear­ing a thick cov­er­ing of frost. The sky was per­fectly clear and every­thing was sparkling — it was beau­ti­ful (and cold).

When I was pro­cess­ing this pho­to­graph, I used the dig­i­tal equiv­a­lent of the tech­nique of plac­ing a red fil­ter in front of the lens to darken the blue sky. This tech­nique (a favourite of Ansel Adams) adds a dra­matic look to the sky and mak­ing the bright­ness of the fore­ground trees stand out even more.

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Birch tree along rocky shore

A small birch tree stands in full autumn colours among the rocks and reeds along the lake shore at the Ministik Game Bird Sanctuary near Edmonton, Alberta.

Paper Birch along rocky Min­is­tik shoreline

It is unusual to find exposed rock along the shores of the lakes in this part of Alberta, but this beau­ti­ful shore­line along Oliver Lake in the Min­is­tik Game Bird Sanc­tu­ary just east of Edmon­ton had sev­eral hun­dred meters of this gor­geous blue-grey stone typ­i­cal of the Beaver Hills/Cooking Lake moraine land­form. Tall reeds and grasses, all dried up by this time, grew from between the stones and above the high water mark there were aspen, birch, and spruce. And then there was this tree — grow­ing near the water in a lit­tle clearing.

My tim­ing was just right — all the tree’s leaves had turned to this red­dish yel­low, with a few fallen to the ground to con­trast the colour of the rocks (the next few days were quite windy, strip­ping most of these leaves for the sea­son). When I first arrived at this spot, the sun was rea­son­ably low in the sky, but the white bark of the birch tree was still reflect­ing too much light and the con­trast was more than my cam­era could cap­ture. Some­times, brack­et­ing expo­sures and com­bin­ing them to an HDR image for pro­cess­ing can reign in such high-contrast scenes, but in this case a slight breeze was rustling the leaves and grass stems, which makes it very dif­fi­cult to blend mul­ti­ple expo­sures successfully.

Look­ing to the west how­ever, I noticed that a bank of high stra­tus clouds rose a few degrees above the hori­zon in the oth­er­wise per­fectly clear sky. Nor­mally, this is bad news if you’re try­ing to pho­to­graph dra­matic late-day side­light­ing and sun­set colours (which I was try­ing to do). In this case though, I waited until the sun had just dipped behind the thin lead­ing edge of the clouds, caus­ing the light to dim a lit­tle and to dif­fuse ever so slightly — reduc­ing the con­trast in the scene, but still light­ing the bril­liant fall colours. I hur­ried to cap­ture a few com­po­si­tions that I’d deter­mined while wait­ing for the light, and far too quickly — the light was gone. I walked back to the truck as the lack­lus­tre sky sim­ply grew darker with the sun hid­den behind the advanc­ing clouds — but I couldn’t pos­si­bly have been any happier.

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