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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.

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

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.

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

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: $

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.

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

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: $