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Foggy boreal morning

Mist rises from several small mirror smooth lakes in the early morning of a warm summer day in the boreal forest of northern Alberta, Canada

Morn­ing fog over bore­al lakes

Here’s anoth­er pho­to that I took from the chop­per on my way to work one morn­ing last shift. It’s from a dif­fer­ent morn­ing as the pre­vi­ous pho­to, but from the same gen­er­al area—near Namur Lake in north­ern Alber­ta (~100 km north­west of Fort McMur­ray).

This was a tricky image to print. I tried to get the bal­ance right between detail in the shad­ows, but still hav­ing the land­scape dark with just the top of the fog light­en­ing as the sun first peaks over the hori­zon. It was also hard to fig­ure out the right white bal­ance to use — the Auto WB on my cam­era was quite cool (very blue shad­ows), and set­ting it to Day­light WB made every­thing very orange-y. I set a man­u­al bal­ance some­where in the mid­dle, lean­ing towards cool — does any­one know a good tip for set­ting white bal­ance for sunrise/sunset so accu­rate­ly rep­re­sent how the scene was per­ceived at the time?

This’ll be my last post for a lit­tle while as I’m going up for anoth­er shift, but hope­ful­ly I will return with many more new pho­tos to share!

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: $

Rain at sunrise at Beaverhill Lake

The rising sun adds colour to banks of rain clouds moving in over Beaverhill Lake, Alberta

Heavy clouds over Beaver­hill Lake

I made this pho­to­graph back in August of 2008 on a beau­ti­ful, calm morn­ing at Beaver­hill Lake but which didn’t last long — by mid-morn­ing the clouds had com­plete­ly rolled in, and I pro­ceed­ed with get­ting soaked (all part of the expe­ri­ence).

I print­ed this pho­to today, as the first two prints (here and here) in my Dai­ly Print project (explained here) were both high­ly-detailed, fine­ly tex­tured images with bold colours, so I thought I’d try some­thing dif­fer­ent, and a lit­tle out of the ordi­nary for me. It was inter­est­ing to see the fin­ished print — the colours turned out great, but let’s say I need to prac­tice print­ing more soft-tex­tured images… (that’s what this whole exer­cise is about though, I guess, and I’m hav­ing fun doing it too)

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

Golden sunrise on boreal lake

The first golden yellow rays of sunrise light up the far shore of a small boreal lake closely surrounded by dense spruce forest

Gold­en sun­light on spruce shore­line

This pho­to­graph is from a gor­geous morn­ing that I spent in the Obed Lake Provin­cial Park in west­ern Alber­ta. This is not actu­al­ly Obed Lake itself, but one of the small­er lakes in the park. There were loons swim­ming around, spar­rows and war­blers singing, and it was too chilly still for the mos­qui­toes to be fly­ing — per­fect.

The yel­low colour in the image is actu­al­ly toned down a lit­tle from what it looked like straight out the cam­era — it was real­ly yel­low. (I guess that’s why they call dawn and dusk the “gold­en hour”.)

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

Sunrise on Mount Edith Cavell

The first rays of sunlight illuminate the southeast face of Mount Edith Cavell on a clear winter morning in Jasper National Park

First light on south face of Mount Edith Cavell

Hap­py New Year! After a great trip to the west coast for the hol­i­days, I had the plea­sure of spend­ing my first pho­tog­ra­phy trip of the new year in the heart of the Rocky Moun­tains — Jasper Nation­al Park. I could hard­ly have asked for a bet­ter way to start the year than to be out there watch­ing the sun come up over fresh­ly snow-blan­ket­ed peaks, and freez­ing my fin­gers on my cam­era. I have a bunch of new pho­tos that I’m excit­ed to share, so check back soon!

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