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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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