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Morning mist

Warm light from the rising sun glows on mist above a small lake at the Ministik Lake Sanctuary in Alberta, Canada.

Warm sun­light on morn­ing mist

This is another photo from my lat­est trip out to Min­is­tik. It was a gor­geous, calm morn­ing: warm enough to be com­fort­able, but cool enough to keep the mos­qui­toes down and the mist ris­ing from the lakes.

A few of my prints have come out with slight colour casts, usu­ally a (very lit­tle) bit green­ish, so I tried this one tonight as the colour of the ris­ing mist is very impor­tant to the feel of the pho­to­graph. We’ll see how it turns out…

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More Ministik mushrooms

A fresh Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) mushroom grows in late summer from the floor of the boreal forest.

Fresh amanita mushroom

Almost exactly two years ago (less one day), I had the oppor­tu­nity to pho­to­graph a tremen­dous diver­sity of mush­rooms at Min­is­tik (click here to view a gallery of images). Today, I went back to the same spot and, while the diver­sity was much lower than the pre­vi­ous year, there were some great mush­rooms out — and I had a great time pho­tograph­ing a few of them. This is a very fresh, still grow­ing “Fly Agaric” or “Fly Amanita” mush­room (Amanita mus­caria). Beau­ti­ful to look at — and pho­to­graph — but don’t eat it!

me photographing mushroom

me pho­tograph­ing mushroom

For most of the morn­ing, I used my 50mm f/1.4 and flipped the cen­tre col­umn of my tri­pod upside down to make low-angled, shal­low depth-of-field pho­tographs of these mush­rooms. I see mush­rooms like this often while doing field work, but rarely have the time to take delib­er­ate, care­ful pho­tos of them. I’ll share a cou­ple more from this morn­ing in the next lit­tle while, so please come back again soon. (Here’s a quick photo of my hard at “work” this morning…)

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Foggy boreal morning

Mist rises from several small mirror smooth lakes in the early morning of a warm summer day in the boreal forest of northern Alberta, Canada

Morn­ing fog over boreal lakes

Here’s another photo that I took from the chop­per on my way to work one morn­ing last shift. It’s from a dif­fer­ent morn­ing as the pre­vi­ous photo, but from the same gen­eral area—near Namur Lake in north­ern Alberta (~100 km north­west of Fort McMurray).

This was a tricky image to print. I tried to get the bal­ance right between detail in the shad­ows, but still hav­ing the land­scape dark with just the top of the fog light­en­ing as the sun first peaks over the hori­zon. It was also hard to fig­ure out the right white bal­ance to use — the Auto WB on my cam­era was quite cool (very blue shad­ows), and set­ting it to Day­light WB made every­thing very orange-y. I set a man­ual bal­ance some­where in the mid­dle, lean­ing towards cool — does any­one know a good tip for set­ting white bal­ance for sunrise/sunset so accu­rately rep­re­sent how the scene was per­ceived at the time?

This’ll be my last post for a lit­tle while as I’m going up for another shift, but hope­fully I will return with many more new pho­tos to share!

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Boreal lake sunrise

The sky glows orange and purple in the first light of dawn over Namur Lake. Taken from a helicopter over the boreal forest of northern Alberta, Canada

Sun­rise over Namur Lake

I took this photo on my way to work ear­lier this sum­mer — I just hap­pened to be lucky enough to be com­mut­ing in a heli­copter out to a gor­geous old-growth boreal mixed­wood site about 100km north-west of Fort McMur­ray to do bird sur­veys for the morn­ing! It was a neat expe­ri­ence to get to spend so much time fly­ing over the boreal land­scape that I know so well from the ground, and to get a bit of a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on things. I’m sure I’ll print and share here a few more pho­tos from my past cou­ple shifts up there.

I notice when I look through my photo archives, that my colour palette tends to be rather sub­dued, even som­bre at times. If I then look through the pho­tographs made by other pho­tog­ra­phers that I’ve marked as my favourites, (pri­mar­ily on the ter­rific photography-sharing web­site 500px.com (here’s my 500px col­lec­tion and my favourites from other 500px pho­tog­ra­phers)) I notice that the over­all impres­sion is very sim­i­lar — I guess it turns out that’s just what I’m most drawn to… So, for today’s print I decided to choose an image with a bit of colour.

I chose this photo in par­tic­u­lar because of the bright, highly sat­u­rated orange/red band on the hori­zon. When Light­room 4 was released (the soft­ware I use for 95% of my pro­cess­ing), I’d read about its new soft-proofing abil­ity (here’s another good arti­cle as a pdf), but never actu­ally used it before. I was pretty sure the intense warm colours in this image would be out of gamut for my printer and paper combo that I’m using for this Daily Print project (an Epson 3880 and Can­son Baryta Pho­tographique). Sure enough, Light­room was show­ing me clip­ping warn­ings, but with just a lit­tle finess­ing (lower sat­u­ra­tion and high­lights, increase vibrance and con­trast, tweak tone curve, etc), I got it look­ing good, and not show­ing any clip­ping. I ran the print off, and was quite impressed how closely the print matched my mon­i­tor. I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing the print in the day­light tomorrow…

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

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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Mountain sunset under heavy clouds

The last light of the sun setting behind rugged peaks shines below a sky of heavy clouds

Sun­set under heavy clouds

If you’ve signed up for my newslet­ter you’ll rec­og­nize these past few images that I’ve shared — this one is from a trip to Jasper National Park that I took this spring. I was lucky enough to drive into the moun­tains just as the sun dipped below the clouds for a few min­utes before sink­ing behind the moun­tain peaks. I don’t recall my cam­era set­tings for this par­tic­u­lar image, but I was def­i­nitely think­ing of the golden rule for land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy — “f/8 and be there”.

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Greyscale tones in a boreal lake

Reflections of clouds, a dark shoreline and ripples in the water combine to create a full range of tones on the surface of a small boreal lake

Grey­tones in boreal lake

I took this pho­to­graph at one of the five lakes in Emer­son Lakes Provin­cial Park, north­west of Edson, Alberta — a great lit­tle place that was almost com­pletely deserted the week­end I was there. If you don’t mind a lit­tle bit of gravel road, I would def­i­nitely rec­om­mend this spot for a quiet boreal retreat.

Although the mid­dle of the after­noon is not nor­mally the best time of day for mak­ing pho­tographs of the land­scape, great pho­tographs are still out there — and (if you ask me) any pho­tog­ra­pher that tells you oth­er­wise isn’t look­ing hard enough. In this image, made at just past 4pm on a nice sunny day, I just love how the lake holds nearly the full range of tones from the nearly black shad­ows along the shore­line to the bright white reflec­tions of the high cir­rus clouds and the mid­tones of the shal­low lakebed itself — all mixed together by the slight breeze caus­ing the rip­ples on the water’s surface.

Add in a cou­ple Bonaparte’s Gulls, a pair of Belted King­fish­ers, and a cho­rus of song­birds — and you’ve got your­self a pretty good spot to sit for a while, mak­ing pho­tographs as the clouds shift by (which is exactly what I did…)

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