QR Code Business Card

Dried grass calligraphy

A single grass stem with a curled dried leaf casts a calligraphic shadow across a rolling bank of fresh snow

Dried grass cal­lig­ra­phy on fresh snow

Yes­ter­day was a beau­ti­ful, sunny win­ter day in Edmon­ton (although a bit too warm — things shouldn’t be melt­ing yet!) and I took the chance to take the snow­shoes (and kid, and dog, and cam­era) out to the Cook­ing Lake-Blackfoot Provin­cial Recre­ation Area. I like going into the park from the south end, park­ing at the Islet Lake stag­ing area.

With all the snow we’ve got­ten, the lakeshore topog­ra­phy has been smoothed out to gen­tle undu­la­tions of per­fect, smooth snow. That, com­bined with the low sun this time of year, pro­vides lots of chances for pho­tographs with sim­ple, ele­gant lines and min­i­mal visual clutter.

Cooking lake post-top snow cones

Cook­ing lake post-top snow cones

(And then there’s this one — pretty much on the other end of the spec­trum — using the same basic ele­ments for slap­stick rather than ele­gance… but can you guess which one my daugh­ter preferred?)

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

The Golden Hour - all day long

Late afternoon sun brightens up a patch of dried grasses along a wintery fenceline

Dried win­ter grasses along barbed wire fence

The “Golden Hour” is gen­er­ally thought of as the first and last hour of sun­light in the day. Dur­ing this time, the low angle of the sun casts soft, warm side­light­ing that gives beau­ti­ful def­i­n­i­tion to a sub­ject while keep­ing the con­trast low and enhanc­ing the rich colours. But dur­ing the win­ter, here at our north­ern lat­i­tudes, that light can last for most of the day.

It’s not uncom­mon for land­scape pho­tog­ra­phers to pack it in after first light, how­ever another Edmon­ton pho­tog­ra­pher whose work I really enjoy, Joel Koop, recently wrote a pair of blog posts (here and here) shar­ing how he takes on the chal­lenge of mid-day light. I couldn’t agree more with him, and espe­cially at this time of year I love to be out­side in the after­noon, look­ing for just the right patch of light. (I took the pho­to­graph above in late Novem­ber at just before 3 in the afternoon.)

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

Trumpeter Swans at Ministik Lake

A Trumpeter Swan floats with a raft of ducks on Bray at the Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary

Trum­peter Swan at Min­is­tik Lake

A pair of Trumpeter Swans float with a raft of ducks on Bray Lake at the Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary

Trum­peter Swan Pair at Min­is­tik Lake

I was walk­ing the Waska­he­gan Trail though the Min­is­tik Lake Game Bird Sanc­tu­ary a cou­ple days ago (Oct 5th, to be pre­cise), and came across this pair of swans. While it’s fairly com­mon to see migrat­ing Tun­dra Swans fly­ing (and honk­ing) over­head in flocks this time of year, I am pretty sure these are the much less com­mon Trum­peter Swan — but I would really appre­ci­ate if some­one more famil­iar with Trum­peters could con­firm (or con­test) my ID. These two birds were on Bray Lake, right in the mid­dle of the sanc­tu­ary, and were there when I first passed the lake, and still there later in the after­noon on my way back. This is what I love about Min­is­tik — there’s always some­thing new to see, you just have to get out there and look for it.

Boreal colours at their autumn finest

Aspen, birch, reeds and grasses all glow golden in evening light along the shore of Oliver Lake at the Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary

Golden autumn aspen shoreline

If you’re in the Edmon­ton area, and haven’t been out enjoy­ing (and pho­tograph­ing) the fall colours this week, I have one word for you — go! I’ll let this pho­to­graph speak the thou­sand words’ encouragement.

I’ve been explor­ing the south-west cor­ner of Min­is­tik Lake Sanc­tu­ary, fol­low­ing game trails along the shore of Oliver Lake and com­ing across views like this one. This is one of my favourite autumn com­bi­na­tions — yel­low aspen & birch, bright dried grasses, all against a blue sky reflected in a still lake, and with just a few dark spruce thrown in for accent. Gorgeous.

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

Autumn foliage triptych

Autumn foliage triptych

Autumn foliage triptych

Here are three pho­tographs of autumn colour in the plants out at Min­is­tik Lake. While pro­cess­ing these images, I played around with de-saturating all the colours except for those of the main sub­ject. This kind of manip­u­la­tion of the image is out­side of the reg­u­lar “darkroom-style” pro­cess­ing that I usu­ally restrict myself to — but in this case, I really like how it looks. I also added a fairly heavy vignetting effect (the dark­en­ing of the cor­ners) to fur­ther accen­tu­ate the main sub­ject of each image.

With their sim­i­lar­i­ties in colour, sub­ject mat­ter, and pro­cess­ing tech­nique, I found that these three pho­tographs com­ple­mented each other when viewed side-by-side. I don’t know the “the­ory” behind why some images work together as a group, but I do know that some­times a trip­tych is def­i­nitely greater than the sum of its parts. (Click here to see a cou­ple more of my favourite trip­tychs). As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts — just leave a com­ment below.

Autumn foliage triptych I

Autumn foliage triptych II

Autumn foliage triptych III

Click these thumb­nails to see a larger vesion of each image indi­vid­u­ally (use your arrow keys to move between them).

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

Waterfowl on a misty Minsitik lake

A pair of Canada Geese and a small flock of ducks rest on a calm lake on a foggy morning at Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary

Water­fowl on misty morn­ing lake

Here’s another pho­to­graph that I made the same morn­ing as the one in my pre­vi­ous post. Although I took it less than ten min­utes later than the pre­vi­ous photo, from nearly the same spot on the lake shore, and rotated only about 90 degrees, this pho­to­graph has a com­pletely dif­fer­ent feel to it — and that’s one of the things that I love most about pho­tograph­ing the landscape.

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

Early autumn sunrise at Ministik

A light fog hangs at sunrise in the yellow foliage of birch leaves just starting to turn to their fall colours

Morn­ing mist and early autumn birch

I had the plea­sure of spend­ing a morn­ing out at Min­is­tik Lake, and what a morn­ing it was. The fore­cast was for clear skies and the first good overnight frost of the year, with tem­per­a­tures down to a few degrees above freez­ing. As the sun rose, light fog rose from the lakes and hung in the still air, frost hung lightly on the under­story leaves, and the clear autumn light shone off the first of the birch trees just begin­ning to change colour — it was exquis­ite.

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