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High-key mountain peak

The textured faces of Leah Peak are highlighted by the bright side lighting of a winter day in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

Leah peak in bright winter light

Yesterday I printed a very dark, night-time image, so I thought today I’d go the other direction, and print a very bright, winter daylight image. Leah Peak is on the east shore of Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, and in my opinion, one of the most subtle yet striking mountain in the area.

I took this photo on a very bright day and it was a bright image straight out-of-camera. In Lightroom I did my best to make the print as bright as possible while retaining good contrast and detail in the highlights. I also tried converting it to black-and-white, but I found that I missed the very slight blue in the shadows and warmer sun light on the shoulders of the ridge.

And, just for the interest of the real photo geeks—here are the histograms from yesterday’s photo and from today’s:

low-key

high-key

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Dried grass with green fringe

Dried grass seed heads glow in the warming evening light of early spring.

Tall dried grass

I’m trying to print a wide range of photos as I start up on my Daily Print project to give myself a feel for what kinds of prints I’m fairly good at making already, and which areas I could use more practice.

I’m also trying to use a range of tools and techniques that I haven’t used before, to try to add them to my regular workflow to be used as required. This image showed just a hint of “green fringing” chromatic abberation, so I tried out Lightroom 4.1’s new “Defringe” controls. I don’t know if the slight fringing would have been noticeable in a print originally, but it sure wasn’t after a little bit of extra tweaking. Cool.

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Fiery cirrus clouds at sunset

The days last sunlight illuminates high icy clouds behind a clean horizon of fresh snow

Fiery sunset over snowy horizon

I’ve been out conducting nocturnal owl surveys in south-central Alberta for the past few weeks, which has given me the chance to take some great sunset photographs, and to try out photographing at night—lots of fun (but lots to learn too!)

This photo came after a whole day of cloud that finally broke at just the right time to allow the setting sun to peek through. If they cooperate, a sky full of clouds sure makes for more interesting photography than a “perfectly” clear sky.

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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?)

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More snow on spruce

Fresh snow covers the upper branches of two black spruce trees in the Wagner Natural Area

Fresh snow on two black spruce

Here’s another photograph from the same outing to Wagner Natural Area as my last post. I like how the wispy-ness of the clouds contrasts the solid, high contrast forms of the snow-covered trees.

These are pretty classic Alberta winter clouds—high, thin, light diffusing layers without much definition (see this post that I wrote last winter). In this case though, I used a polarizing filter to darken the blue sky showing through these thin cirrus streaks, and that added enough contrast to show the delicate patterns of the cloud.

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Snow-laden black spruce

A thick cap of fresh snow covers the top of a thin, sparsely branched, black spruce tree

Snow cap on thin black spruce

After receiving huge amounts of new snow over the past few weeks, we finally got a day where the sun managed to peak—weakly—through the clouds for a few hours. Since I was already on the west side of town, I decided to head out to the Wagner Natural Area where, I hoped, the dense spruce trees covered in deep snow would provide an interesting photographic opportunity or two.

It was more challenging than I expected—the huge amount of snow often looked like just a big pile slumped over everything, rather than contrasting or complimenting the forms of the trees. But a challenge can be good fun, and I did get a couple images that I’m quite happy with—I’ll share some more over the next little while.

Non-vignetted version

Non-vignetted

The processing in this one was inspired by an image by a local photographer who I’ve mentioned before, Joel Koop. He posted an image on his blog that was heavily vignetted (darkened in the corners) in post-processing—and it looked great. I had already processed this one with a little bit of vignetting, but his image inspired me to try pushing it a bit further, and I think I like it this way. What do you think? (I’ve included the non-vignetted version here for comparison—use your arrow keys to switch between versions.)

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Bright sun on Whirlpool Mountain

Whirlpool Mountain catches the bright morning sunlight on a cold clear winter day in Jasper National Park

Bright morning light on Whirlpool Mountain

Here’s another photograph from my first photo-trip of the year in Jasper National Park. I made this image from along the Icefields Parkway, about 20 minutes south of the town of Jasper. I’m not sure about the name of this peak, but my best guess is that it’s Whirlpool Mountain, just south of Mount Edith Cavell and north of Mount Geraldine (if anybody can confirm/correct this, please leave me a comment).

The deep blue of the sky is due mostly to the use of a polarizing filter which really brought out the contrast between the sky, the shadows on the mountain, and the bright snow-covered faces.

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