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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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