Friday, August 15, 2014

Lonely Sentinel

    Eastern Alberta is home to many abandoned houses and barns. Not so common are old grain elevators. Years ago these huge structures dotted the prairies and and because they were so big, pilots would use them as directional landmarks when flying airplanes. Unfortunately, these prairie giants are disappearing, many being replaced with more modern structures and even more being destroyed.
     This particular elevator is found at the small hamlet of Dorothy, near Drumheller Alberta.It is very popular with photographers and rightly so. It is rare to find one of these old sentinels still standing tall but at the same time displaying their age, having a real historical feel. Thanks for looking!




Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nina Sola

     While preparing to leave the small village of Quimixto on the Bay of Banderas in Mexico, we watched the local children playing on the beach. Running around the beach, dodging the tourists, the small group of ninos were chasing a soccer ball. All except one. This little girl was content to be alone, drawing pictures in the sand. Fortunately, after a little while, one of the boys wandered over to where she was sitting and joined her in making sand art. Minutes later, I put down the camera and challenged the kids to a quick game of 'footie'.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Simple Serenity

     Stay the night in Canmore, up at 5:30 am, drive through McDonalds, $20.00 park entry fee, get off the highway before Banff and a few minutes later, this scene is there to greet us.
    Mount Rundle reflecting in Two Jack Lake is very popular with tourists and also photographers. Literally thousands of people have stood exactly where I was standing and composed almost identical images. That being said, it doesn't make the scene any less beautiful. Besides, I was the only one there taking photographs at the time. So that means I captured this image, with this light, at this particular time of day, from this angle and no one else can say that. This is a one of a kind photograph of a scene that is often photographed, that will never be repeated. That is the beauty of photography. Thanks for looking!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Huff & Puff

      This is a photograph I took a few years ago of an abandoned house on a windy afternoon. Sometimes it's nice to go through older files and look at them with fresh eyes. Since I took this photo, I have learned a few other processing techniques and I can apply them to pictures from the archives. This way a person can get a new take on an old scene, so don't forget to check out your older stuff and make another attempt at processing. Thanks for checking out the blog and don't forget to click on the picture for a better look!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wedge Pond at Dusk

     Went for a drive a week or so back along Highway 40 in Kananaskis, Alberta. I have traveled this road numerous times to many of the trail heads that lead to great hikes in the area. But even if one is not into hiking, this area has spectacular scenery that one can enjoy from the road.
      Wedge Pond is found right beside the highway and makes for great photographs. The water can be very calm which makes for nice reflections of the mountains on the other side of the road. One mountain in particular that catches ones attention is Fortress Mountain. It is the flat topped mountain on the left which kind of does look like a fortress. A number of years ago I summited this mountain with a friend. Every time I visit Wedge Pond or drive this highway, I always think back to the day I stood at the top of the Fortress!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New Book!

     Many people love art in all its various forms. They take part in art walks, tour galleries and attend local art shows and fairs. They appreciate the time, effort, skill and creativity of the artist; sometimes even to the point of expressing a desire to part with their well earned cash to take it home for themselves or buy as a gift for a friend. Unfortunately, when it comes to photographic art, there is a problem........ wall space. I can't even begin to count the times I have heard- "I love this photograph, but I don't have anymore room on my walls."
    While it is definitely a thrill to have your photograph printed large on canvas or acrylic, hanging in someones home or office, lets face it. For some, it is too expensive and for others, they have no room. One way around this problem is to print a book of some of your work. The photographer can get his work out into the hands of the public and the art lover can enjoy the images without breaking  the bank and giving up space that is taken by art that they no doubt, already appreciate.
     With this thought in mind I will soon have available for purchase my third photo book entitled " Textured Rurality". It is a collection of 49 photographs taken in rural Alberta that have interesting textures, borders and vignettes added to create unique looking images. Now, having no wall space is no excuse! ;-)  If you would like to have this 'gallery' for your coffee table, drop me an email and I would be happy to give you details on how you can purchase it. Thanks for looking!


Monday, May 26, 2014

Summer Sunrise

      Here is a textured image of a sunrise shining through a window of an old shed in Morrin, Alberta. As I walked around the shed looking for different compositions I noticed the front door lined up with the side window. This allowed the rising sun to shoot through. Later in post I added some textures to to create a little more interest in the photo. Thanks for checking out the blog!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Playin Around

       Well, recently I bit the bullet and joined the cloud, I subscribed to Photoshop CC. I use Lightroom to process my images and find that it is all I need for the vast majority of my editing. But there are some instances where I have wanted more options. Exposure blending was my main reason for purchasing Photoshop. Many times in landscape photography it is difficult to correctly expose an image with one shot. The camera tries to find a middle ground and the result may mean an overexposed sky or underexposed foreground. Bracketing your exposures and running them through an HDR program can help, but sometimes the results are not realistic. But with Photoshop, I can take a correctly exposed sky and blend it with a correctly exposed foreground and have a realistic result. I also wanted the ability to focus stack and blend these images together in Photoshop to have a photograph with great depth of field and sharpness. These techniques are not possible in Lightroom. Well........I have gotten sidetracked.
      I plan on using these techniques in my landscape photographs in the near future but in my quest in attempting to understand how to use these techniques, I have come across some neat tutorials. And the results are really cool in my opinion! Below, are two images I created just playing around with my own photographs in Photoshop. I took a photo of the grill of a semi truck, removed the sky and replaced it with a different sky containing lightning. I did the same with the picture of the abandoned house. I then added some filters in Photoshop to simulate rain. I really like the moody, graphic, illustrative look of the images. Kind of interesting how I wanted to use Photoshop to help make some of my photographs more realistic and I ended up creating pictures that are far from real. Thats what happens when your just playin around.



Friday, April 4, 2014

Sharper Photographs

      There are a lot of factors that can contribute to a photos sharpness or lack of it. Sharpness is important especially when printing larger images as this will magnify any deficiencies. There are many programs out there that can clarify and sharpen photographs, even reduce camera shake. But, as in all areas of photography, if you can get it right when taking the picture, the results will be much better. Are there any techniques that can be done in the field that will help make one's images sharper, even before the post processing stage. The answer is yes!
     Notice these photos of a corner of a picture frame. I used an 18-200mm lens zoomed out all the way as I thought this would exaggerate any shake. Then I made approximately 100% crops of a portion of the photo.     The first photo was shot at f8 to bring the shutter speed down to 1/4 second. The following four photos were shot at f22 for a 1 second shutter speed, settings fairly common in landscape photography. With these settings it is definitely possible to have a blurry image.

Picture #1- handheld, vibration reduction on lens turned on  f8 1/4 second
Picture#2- tripod. f22 1 second
Picture#3-tripod, remote shutter release. f22 1second
Picture#4- tripod, remote shutter release, mirror lock up f22 1 second
Picture#5- tripod, remote shutter release, mirror lock up, vibration reduction on lens turned off  f22 1 second
    The results are interesting. Picture #1 turned out not too bad considering it was handheld. No doubt the VR on the lens and the f8 setting helped. Surely we could improve. So for Picture #2 I put the camera on a tripod. WOW! Way worse! Even though the camera is on a stable tripod, it looks like my pressing the shutter button caused some camera shake. The biggest improvement came in Picture #3 where I used a remote shutter release. This eliminated that issue. Can we improve the sharpness even further? Yes, although the improvements were small in this test, they are sharper pictures. Picture #4 shows the results of locking up the mirror before pressing the shutter. Normally the mirror moves when taking a picture and some say this can cause a vibration. Finally, in Picture #5, I added one more step. I turned off Vibration Reduction on my lens. While VR is very helpful when shooting handheld, some feel it can degrade the sharpness of an image when the camera is on a tripod. And looking closely at this unscientific test, I would tend to agree.
   So what have we learned? I was surprised at how bad the quality was when putting the camera on a tripod as you would think this would automatically make the picture better.  For me, the biggest improvement was seen using a remote shutter release. Using the timer on your camera and setting the shutter to release a few seconds after you press the button would also help. Hope you find this informative!






Prehistoric Pause

       This is a photograph of our two daughters pausing on a trail in the Columbia River Gorge area of Oregon, U.S.A. As I have mentioned before, this area has some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen, especially if one is interested in waterfalls. The atmosphere on these trails can be very surreal. I definitely want to return to collect more images of this unforgettable landscape. Thanks for looking!