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Reflections on Emerson Lake

Tall shoreline spruce are reflected in the glassy calm surface of Emerson Lake in northwestern Alberta

Spruce reflections in Emerson Lake

I made this photograph last summer at Emerson Lakes, easily one of the most beautiful campgrounds I’ve stayed at in Alberta. The weekend I was there was perfect for camping, yet we still had the place nearly to ourselves. There are several lakes, all surrounded by steep ridges (unusual for boreal Alberta) with a hiking trail weaving around them. Sundance Provincial Park is nearby with more hiking (to hoodoos!), and even a multi-day backpacking route. I can’t recommend this spot enough if you like quiet, out-of-the-way camping spots.

The detail I like best about this photo is the line angling up and left from just above the shoreline on the right. The line is initially, and most strongly, created by the fallen spruce trunk but in the centre of the frame, the fallen tree becomes hidden but the visual line continues along first one branch and then, more weakly still, another branch. I find that this angled line and its reflection, create a subtle point of interest for the eye to follow through the otherwise very vertical composition.

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

Finally some new photos!

A warm late autumn breeze rustles the dried grass around a small mountain lake in Jasper National Park, Canada

Marsh grass in mountain lake

It has been a long time since I’ve posted much here—my apologies—but it should get better again shortly…

I have decided to try “The Online PhotographerMike Johnston’sSpecific, Detailed Program for Absolutely, Positively Getting Better as a Digital Printmaker“. In short, this is an exercise to get in the habit of working on my photography daily, for a few minutes at least, and to start practicing making prints of my work. I tend to make a few prints occasionally if I’m really excited about a new batch of photos, and a stack of prints for craft sales, etc. The emphasis of the SDPFAPGBAADP program (nice acronym…) is to just practice processing and making prints in a low pressure kind of way.

I’ll give it a try for a while, hopefully I can find the time most days and really get in the habit. If I have a little extra time, I’ll post the day’s photo here too—it should be an interesting mix of images, and I hope you’ll enjoy seeing them. I just printed the photo above, which I took on a trip to Jasper National Park with the family last fall. I have rarely experienced a more pleasant and photogenic evening than this—the fall colours were in their prime, the temperature cool but the breeze warm, and the family was patient… perfect.

And, as always, I appreciate your feedback—please feel free to leave me a comment with your comments or critiques!

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

Birch trees in black and white

Three thin birch trees cling to the last leaves of fall

Three autumn birch

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a new photo, and to be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve made any new images. I have been working on re-processing some images into black and white, including this one here.

I love a great B&W photograph, and after listening to this podcast by LensWork editor, Brooks Jensen, I’ve been inspired to figure out for myself what it takes to make a great B&W image, rather than a pretty-good image. And, thanks to the flexibility afforded by capturing and processing digitally, I’ve been going through my image catalogue and giving it a try.

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Off to Banff…

View from Wilcox Pass

I will be away from posting for a little while (although to be honest, I haven’t been posting a whole lot anyways—sorry), as I’m off to Banff National Park to go camping for a couple weeks. I’m pretty excited—I spend most of my time photographing in the Rocky Mountains in Jasper National Park, so it’ll be fun to explore some new areas (with my camera along the whole time, of course).

Hopefully, I’ll be able to share some new work with you once I get back, but in the meantime I thought I’d post this photo taken half-way between Jasper and Banff, along the Icefields Parkway (one of the most beautiful drives in the world). We parked near the Icefields Interpretive Centre, and climbed up along the Wilcox Pass trail on the other side of the valley as the glaciers. What I love about this photo is the scale of the view. If you click to enlarge the image, you can just see the trail running down to the right, and there’s even a couple of (very small) hikers on it.

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

Wintery details

Frost and snow cover a dense tangle of thin branches near Edmonton, Alberta

Tangle of winter branches II

Here’s another detail-oriented image taken during our recent spell of grey, overcast winter days. As I mentioned in a previous post, when the light is diffused so evenly by the low, bright stratus clouds that are common over central Alberta in the winter (especially the past few weeks), it’s often these close-up, detail oriented compositions that I find work best.

I don’t commonly convert images to black and white, and even less often do I process them quite as heavily as I have here. While the contrast was fairly strong to begin with, I’ve “crushed” the darks all the way down, and bumped the background sky all the way up, to really emphasize the somewhat abstract pattern of the tangled branches, accentuated by the lining of snow and frost. Perhaps I’ll also post the original version as well, and I would love to hear your comments as to which you prefer.

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

Alberta's drying lakes

Tracks along drying channel

Tracks along drying channel

Recently, Dan Jurak, one of my favourite Edmonton-area photographers and blogger, published an image on his photo blog that reminded me so strongly of this photograph of mine taken this past summer, that at first I thought they could have been taken at the same place. It turns out it’s not the same location, but similar compositions and similar subject matter—Alberta’s lakeshores are turning to mudflats (and our mudflats are turning to grasslands). I took this photo at the Ministik Game Bird Sanctuary, near the location of the photo in another recent entry of mine, it’s a different lake, but the same trend. I like the moodiness of this photo, with the somewhat threatening sky and the animal footprints receding towards the remnant lake.

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