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Warbler along mountain creek

A male Audubons Warbler watches for flying insects from his perch on a freshly budding willow sapling overhanging a small creek in Banff National Park, Alberta

Yellow-rumped War­bler on bud­ding willow

I’ve always liked this pho­to­graph, and the mem­ory of the day that I took it (which often con­founds a photographer’s abil­ity to tell if a photo’s any good or not). I’ve even writ­ten a post about this image before (which you can read here). Even so, I’ve never printed it, so I fig­ured this Daily Print project was just the excuse I needed.

Bonus ques­tions for this post: +1 point if you can tell me the sex of the bird, +5 points for the sub­species, and +50 points if you can tell me the age (hint: click the image to view it full size, and remem­ber that this photo was taken in May…)

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

Spring rain over Devona Flats

A late evening spring rain falls onto the dry lakebed of Jasper Lake at Devona Flats in Jasper National Park

Spring storm over Devona Flats

I recently had the chance to get away for a few days, and had the plea­sure of being able to do some pho­tog­ra­phy in Jasper National Park. The day that I took this pho­to­graph started out clear and sunny, and as the day went along these large clouds spilled out of the Athabasca River Val­ley to the west, com­ing east towards Pocha­hon­tas where I was stay­ing. And while the clouds made it less appeal­ing to sit out on the deck in the after­noon, they sure made for much more dra­matic pho­tographs later in the evening — well worth the trade-off.

I really like the con­trast in this image of the heavy, wet sky and the falling rain streak­ing down — con­trasted with the dry river flats still await­ing the melt of higher ele­va­tion snow and the start of spring and sum­mer weather patterns.

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

Early spring dogwood colour

The last light as the sun sets catches a patch of red-osier dogwood behind several thin bare aspen saplings already in the evening shadow

Glow­ing dog­wood behind bare aspen saplings

Another sun­set pho­to­graph taken while doing owl sur­veys, this one was taken on a clear evening which made for less inter­est­ing skies as the pre­vi­ous night but allowed for more pre­dictably pro­gress­ing, steady light on the ground.

This time of year, my eyes ache for colour after the long win­ter and the red-osier dog­wood shrubs are often the first real glimpses of spring colour as they flush red in the very early spring — even before the snow has melted. In this image, I like how the intense red of the wil­lows in the last, warm rays of sun­light con­trast with the cool blues of the aspen saplings that are already in the evening’s shadow.

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

Yellow-rumped Warbler in Banff

A male Audubons Warbler watches for flying insects from his perch on a freshly budding willow sapling overhanging a small creek in Banff National Park, Alberta.

Yellow-rumped War­bler on bud­ding willow

I don’t nor­mally pho­to­graph much wildlife (I don’t have the long lenses and patience usu­ally required), but I couldn’t resist this lit­tle bird (a Yellow-rumped (or Audubon’s) War­bler) that I watched feed­ing along a small moun­tain stream for nearly a half hour. It was very early in the sea­son and there had been a lit­tle snow overnight so the air was cool and damp, and the insects this bird was after were mov­ing really slowly. He would perch on these wil­low saplings over the creek, turn­ing his head to watch and then dart out to grab his meal from the air or the under­side of a new leaf. It was a lot of fun to watch, and — employ­ing the time hon­oured, fine-art, “shot­gun” approach to com­po­si­tion — I filled up a good por­tion of my mem­ory card try­ing to get just the right shot.

I know this pho­to­graph breaks a cou­ple “golden rules” of com­po­si­tion — you’re not sup­posed to cen­tre your sub­ject (rule of thirds) or have the sub­ject look­ing out of (rather than into) the frame. But I think it works this way (I even cropped in a lit­tle from a more “tra­di­tion­ally” framed shot). I think the shad­owed area in the top-left bal­ances the light, empty area at the bot­tom, and for me, the bird’s out-of-frame gaze gives a bit of the feel­ing that he’s just about to leave the frame him­self (which in fact he did). Let me know what you think — just click below to add your thoughts. Thanks!

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

Raindrop mosaic

Deliberately out of focus, a mosaic of light is created by light glinting through raindrops in a dense boreal forest stand.

Bright morn­ing after rain

I’m slowly work­ing my way to a major update/revision of my gal­leries (which, I apol­o­gize, have not been updated in a long time), and part of that process is a ruth­less editing-down of my col­lec­tion to best show­case my favourite images. Unfor­tu­nately, that some­times means leav­ing out ones that I really like, and this image is an exam­ple of that. While it’s cur­rently in my “Sum­mer 2007″ gallery, and I like it at least as well as some of the ones that “made the cut”, it just didn’t fit with the other selec­tions. So, I decided to post in the jour­nal here instead, where hope­fully it can still be enjoyed all on it’s own.

I made this pho­to­graph between Rocky Moun­tain House and Nordegg, Alberta in early June 2007. It had rained heav­ily the night before, and the branches and lichens in this dense black spruce stand were drip­ping wet as the sun came up. Each drop acts like a tiny prism, catch­ing the light of the low sun. When the lens is de-focused as I did here, each spec­u­lar high­light becomes a glow­ing cir­cle of light, each with a slightly dif­fer­ent colour depend­ing on the angle. I know my blurry, out-of-focus work is not everyone’s cup of tea, but in this case I think it really made for an inter­est­ing image (I’ve included a “straight” shot of the same stand below for interest’s sake), and it’s also a great exam­ple of how the optics in a lens can cre­ate effects “in the field” that are unat­tain­able using post-processing soft­ware (i.e. Pho­to­shop). I’d love to hear your reac­tions to this image, just click below…

Bright morn­ing after rain – in focus

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