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Silverton Falls texture

The texture of falling water matches the rock faces surrounding Silverton Falls in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Silverton Falls textures

Speaking of shutter speeds and water texture, for this image I used a fast shutter speed (1/640th sec at f/8) to freeze the motion of the falling water. It’s interesting to me that you can see how the water was accelerating as it fell—the texture gets blurrier near the bottom of the fall. I also like how the texture of the water matches the patterns in the rock faces surrounding the falls.

For printing this photo, I tried to make sure to retain detail in the shadows and in the highlights while maintaining the high-contrast nature of the scene. In the final print I did notice the highlights wash out just a bit in one spot of water (far right, about 2/3rds down), and when I checked the image on my monitor it also showed almost no detail, although it was not quite clipped. Funny how I didn’t notice it as a problem on-screen, but it stood out in the print immediately. Lesson learned…

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Athabasca Falls in motion

After my previous post “Athabasca Falls in black and white” with the motion of the water captured with a slow shutter speed to give a streaked effect, I remembered that I had also captured some video on that morning. So—for your interest’s sake—here is: a short video clip of Athabasca Falls shot at 30 fps with a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second at f/16; a still photo of the same composition captured at 1/5th of a second at f/8 and iso400 (the same settings as the image in my previous post); and a photo captured at 1/125th of a second (which I’ve been told best captures how our eyes/brains see motion) at f/9 and iso800.

The Athabasca river flows over the granite cliffs of Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Canada

Athabasca Falls II (1/5th sec)

The Athabasca river flows over the granite cliffs of Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Canada

Athabasca Falls III (1/125th sec)

 
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Athabasca Falls in black & white

The Athabasca river flows over the granite cliffs of Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Canada

Athabasca Falls

I’ve noticed that I make a greater proportion of black-and-white images than I tend to print—so I’m going to try to correct that. I took this photograph the same weekend as this photo (it was a great weekend).

And, although it’s not an uncommon technique in landscape photography (especially of waterfalls), I also haven’t experimented much with slow shutter speeds and flowing water, although a fellow Edmonton photographer, Joel Koop (see an example of his work here), has inspired me to try more.

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Small boreal waterfall (video)




I’ve recently upgraded my computer to a newer machine capable of processing the beautiful high-definition video files that my 5DmkII can produce. It’s a lot of fun to learn about the whole new world of video capture and editing, and I’m just starting to get a bit of a handle on things.

One thing I’ve been doing recently as a first step into working with video is to make a photograph and a video of the same subject. These are basically still photographs, with motion. What I like about making shots like these is that sometimes, the motion in a scene is an important part of the “essence” of the scene, and now I have a way to try to capture that too.

In this example (compare the video in this post with the still photograph in yesterdays post), I used a long-ish exposure for the still image (1/2 a second) to hint at the movement of the water, but I also captured this short video clip. I tried (somewhat successfully) adding a vignette effect to match the processing of the photograph. What do you think? Is there something additional in the video that’s missing in the still photo? or does the video just add complexity to the image without adding to the “essence”? In any case, it’s fun to experiment with, and that’s the whole point. I hope you enjoy it.

Small boreal waterfall

Small boreal waterfall in feathermoss

Small boreal waterfall in feathermoss

It’s been a busy summer, but I’m slowly starting to work my way through all the photographs that I made during my time in Banff and in the boreal forest of north-western Alberta. This photograph is of one of my favourite things to come across while walking through the forest—a small creek flowing over a little waterfall. You can usually hear them a few steps before you see them and it’s such a peaceful, relaxing sound—birds in the background, cool morning breeze in the tops of the spruce—beautiful.

One of the big challenges of photographing in the boreal is that there is so much detail—understory plants, fallen leaves, twigs, etc. that it is sometimes hard to concentrate the focus of the viewer on the intended subject of the photograph. In this case, I used a fairly heavy vignetting in post-processing to darken the detail from the corners and concentrate the attention to the water and moss. I have a portfolio of boreal photography where I used another, more experimental technique to achieve the same goal. Click here to have a look at that portfolio.

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Johnston Canyon waterfall

Lower Johnston Canyon falls I

I had a great time camping and photographing in Banff National Park, and now I’m back in town for a few days and then off again to do some bird surveys in the boreal forest of north-western Alberta.I haven’t had much chance to go through the many photographs I made while there, but I thought I’d quick share this one to tide you over until I get back to posting more regularly.

I took this photograph along the lower section of the gorgeous Johnston Canyon, just a half hour north of the Banff townsite. The path through the canyon is normally packed full of tourists, but I had the pleasure of being there mid-week and early-season, giving me plenty of time (and room) to do some photography. This photo shows the beautiful clear, green colour of the water flowing through the canyon, and gives a feel for the almost claustrophobic closeness of the overhanging rock cliffs.

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