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Red-winged Blackbird flock

Red-winged blackbirds perch in the bare branches of early spring near Beaverhill Lake in Alberta

Black­bird flock in bare trees

I recent­ly received a request from a woman to use this pho­to­graph in a blog post she’s writ­ing, which gave me the great excuse to re-vis­it this image and to share it here (it hasn’t made it into the new web­site yet, but watch for it in the Birds sec­tion of my cat­a­logue, hope­ful­ly in the next few months).

I took this pho­to near the Beaver­hill Bird Obser­va­to­ry near Tofield, AB in the spring of 2007. At the time, I was exper­i­ment­ing with defo­cus­ing images, or por­tions there­of, for cre­ative effect. In this case, the orig­i­nal image was most­ly sharp, and I “paint­ed in” the blurred effect in post-pro­cess­ing. I was inspired to try this tech­nique by anoth­er pho­tog­ra­ph­er who would cre­ate the same effect in the dark­room by spilling chem­i­cals over the dry­ing print and using a brush or sponge to blur the image.

It’s always fun to try new tech­niques, and although I haven’t tak­en many defo­cused pho­tographs late­ly, you can view a selec­tion of these images in my “Bore­al Impres­sions” port­fo­lio. I’d also rec­om­mend hav­ing a look at William Neill’s “Impres­sions of Light” port­fo­lio for more great blur­ry images that were an inspi­ra­tion to me (although he achieves the effect most­ly through long shut­ter speeds and cam­era move­ment, rather than man­u­al­ly defo­cus­ing the lens).

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

Mushrooms at Ministik

I took a great walk through Min­is­tik Lake Game Bird Sanc­tu­ary yes­ter­day after­noon — always one of my favourite places to pho­to­graph (click here to see why). The weath­er we’ve had this year has been just right for grow­ing mush­rooms (warm days, lots of after­noon show­ers), and there was a fan­tas­tic selec­tion of beau­ti­ful species on show. I’ll not write too much, just post a bunch of pho­tos to inspire those of you who — like myself — have both pho­to­graph­ic and myco­log­i­cal ten­den­cies, to go out and find some fun­gi.

P.S. My mush­room ID skills are not ter­ri­ble, but do not take my word that these are what I say they are. Instead, I’d rec­om­mend tak­ing the word of Helene M.E. Schalk­wijk-Barend­sen in her gor­geous book Mush­rooms of North­west North Amer­i­ca by local Edmon­ton pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny, Lone Pine.

And, on that note, if you think I’ve got­ten the ID wrong on any of these or you can be more spe­cif­ic (latin names would be great!) I would real­ly appre­ci­ate a note left in the com­ments.

Singing ice at Islet Lake

Cold early winter evening at Islet Lake

Cold ear­ly win­ter evening at Islet Lake

Last week I took my cam­era (and my daugh­ter) out to the Cook­ing Lake-Black­foot Nat­ur­al Area, about 30 min east of Edmon­ton, for an after­noon walk while the weath­er was still rel­a­tive­ly mild. There has been just a dust­ing of snow so far this year, so the ice on the lake was bare and exposed to the quick­ly cool­ing air. As the sun moved low­er in the sky and the tem­per­a­ture dropped the ice began to make ter­rif­ic heav­ing, groan­ing and boom­ing sounds. The fre­quen­cy increased until there was near­ly con­stant, resound­ing, echo­ing sound com­ing from the ice. Every­thing else was per­fect­ly still, and the singing of the ice was the per­fect back­ground music while I took this quick pho­to­graph – just as the last sun­light made the bare aspen on the far shore glow a warm orange-red, in con­trast to the cool blue of the shad­owed lake ice in the fore­ground.

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

Sunrise at Beaverhill

Altocumulus sunrise and willow

Altocu­mu­lus sun­rise and wil­low

Here’s anoth­er pho­to that I’ve pre­pared for the Gold­bar craft sale (see pre­vi­ous post for details). I made this expo­sure in the sum­mer of 2008 while work­ing band­ing birds at the Beaver­hill Bird Obser­va­to­ry near Tofield, AB. I saw many beau­ti­ful sun­ris­es that sum­mer, although I didn’t always get the chance to cap­ture them in a pho­to­graph.

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