Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday Travelogue: Maui's East Side

Since winter has decided to stick around, I've decided to be distracted by a  few more views of marvelous Maui, beginning at Paia and traveling south.

Paia is the 'starting point' of the road to Hana, but we manage to do more than just stop here for road snacks. There are several nice boutiques and restaurants and it's pretty easy to while away several hours here. I mean, why rush? On our last visit we'd had a tip to eat at the Maui Flatbread Company, and were treated to some amazing thunderheads forming over the Iao Valley and the northern tip of the island.

Paia Bay from Lower Paia Park

On our 2011 trip, we started down the Road to Hana once again; we've started that trip previously, but the winding road had always gotten the best of our young children. Success at last!

Nua'ailua Bay

We stopped at both a Banana Bread and an Ice Cream (don't blink or you'll miss them!) stand on our way to  Wai'anapapa State Park, gorgeous views, black sand, and cave swimming.

The girl at the ice cream stand had advised us that it was perfectly fine to travel back to west Maui via the Piilani Highway (31) to  the Kula Highway, and so after stopping for lunch in Hana proper, we continued on through the most incredibly diverse bunch of ecosystems and spectacular scenery.

Haleakala ranchlands from Kalama Park Road

You can visit my Maui gallery for more great images. Keep watching this space on Tuesdays for more  travelogues!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Photowalk Thursday: Elk Island Park in the fall

Ever  wonder what to do with yourself in or near Edmonton? Edmonton offers lots of great festivals, interesting shopping, good dining and a picturesque river valley to explore and photograph. I'll take you on some of my favorite photo walks, season by season, within Edmonton or a couple hour drive thereof.

Elk Island National Park is one of my favorite places to spend a day with my hubby and my camera. It takes us less than 45 minutes from our home in the southwest corner of the city to reach the park, via the Anthony Henday. We head that direction every couple of months and always have a great walk along one of the many hiking trails. Spotting bison is almost a certainty, but finding other large mammals a little more difficult.

Last October we walked the Beaver Pond Trail, #7 on the map, in the late afternoon.

The trees had already lost their leaves, but there were plenty of great fall colors in the grasses around the ponds.

While driving through the park it's important to be on the lookout for wildlife, and to share the road with them. Bison (elk, deer, moose, coyotes) roam freely through the park. (Photo taken from within the car, with a telephoto lens. Bison shouldn't be approached.)

Astotin Lake is in the center of the park, and one of many great places for picnics. It's also a fantastic place for sunset photos.

We always have a great day at Elk Island exploring the paths season by season. What are you waiting for? Get in your car and drive!

These, and other great photos of Elk Island Park can be purchased from my store, www.windermerestudios.ca

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Travelogue: Maui

As winter creeps ever closer here in Edmonton, as the need for layers of clothes, down jackets, mitts and toques becomes a reality, I find myself thinking about beaches, warm tropical winds and spectacular sunsets.

Maui is one of my very favorite places to travel to. We first visited Maui in 1994, returned twice more in the next 6 years, and for reasons that escape me (economics, likely) not again until 2011. Like quite a lot of Canadians, Kihei has always been our home base.

That certainly doesn't stop us from exploring or me from doing my best to photograph the amazing views. We've been to the very northern

and southern tips,

 upcountry and to Heavenly Hana. It's all spectacular and very, very special. You can visit my Maui gallery for more great images. Keep watching this space on Tuesdays for more  travelogues!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Red and Yellow, Orange and Gold

The wicked winds today have likely ended most of the fall color show here in Edmonton. Luckily, I took advantage of the morning light yesterday and spent a bit of time exploring the shrubs around the garden here at Windermere Studios. I experimented with the 135mmf2 and a really narrow depth of field, trying to include rich background colors as part of the composition.

The evening before, I'd revisited a technique I first tried last fall, moving the camera while shooting with a slow shutter speed to create painting like images. The colors of fall seem to be especially well suited subject matter for this.

There are beautiful things all around us. Making time to notice and find interesting ways to capture them is why I take photos. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Always wear great shoes

Went out with friends last night, had a really fun evening. I threw the camera and tripod in the trunk because there've been aurora alerts most nights this week and I was a Brownie once (always be prepared). The sky was full of ominous black clouds as we drove toward Old Strathcona, and in fact we had a bit of lightening. I pretty much gave up on the idea of auroras. When leaving our friends around midnight, the sky was lovely and clear, full of stars. No aurora though. Not until we turned the last corner toward our house. There it was, not super bright, but bright enough. Dancing away over the river valley.

I grabbed the tripod from the trunk, set it up in the dark, fumbled with settings and the remote shutter, and took my first shot. I decided to move locations a bit, and walked through the unfinished curb (i.e. wet muddy clay dirt) to set up on the sidewalk the other side! 

Life's too short, and auroras too fleeting, to worry about getting mud on your great shoes! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

I used to hate camera phones

It doesn't seem so long ago that seeing folks snapping camera phone shots drove me crazy! How could they get a worthy shot? What good is that blurry tiny little photo? Are you really pulling your phone out to show pics of your grandkids?

Well, uh, hmm, I seem to be capable of changing with the times, as it were. I'm now a frequent cell phonographer! I always have my phone close by, whether I'm walking the dog, shoveling the walk or out for date night with the hubby, and I'm not shy about pulling it out to use the camera. One of the biggest regrets that I have, as a mom and a photographer, is a lack of 'snapshots' that capture the every day, run a day moments of the last decade or so. Photos of my kids just hanging out are few and far between. Maybe if I'd had a cell phone camera sooner, I'd have more of those!

I use my iPhone camera to grab self portraits, and fun pictures of the dog, and pictures of food and drink. I share them on Facebook, and send them by text to my kids. I suspect that those are the most common things people do with their camera phones and I am gleefully guilty.

But then I also use it to grab photos when I don't have my other camera with me, photos that I might not try, photos that document where I've been.

I used my iPhone camera on our road trip to Utah this past summer, to take a set of themed shots from moving vehicles, processed with the Camera Awesome filter called Road Trip!

I actually enjoy using my phone camera enough that I'm contemplating trying the iPad camera next!

How do you use your cell phone camera? Is it becoming your go to, in the moment, tool?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wintery Wednesday

This is what is happening in my world today. Much, much (much) too early.

Snow does often lend itself to some pretty photo ops though.

Hopefully this will be short lived, brief, a fleeting moment.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Light the Night Edmonton

The Annual Light the Night walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada happened on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Edmonton. My hubby was walking, and had introduced me to the lovely Katie Suvanto | Light the Night Campaign Manager earlier this summer. I tagged along to the walk, camera in hand to get some photos for Katie. It was an amazingly beautiful fall night here is Edmonton, warm and dry and absolutely perfect for an evening in the park. The event started with a picnic like setting, complete with face painting, food and a pink firetruck! 

Dancers from Bedouin Beats lead a warm up for the approximately 1000 (yes, one thousand) walkers just before dusk. The firetruck sounded it's siren to signal the start of the 5K walk along Victoria Park Road. By the time the walkers returned, the sun had set and the full effect of the lighted balloons could be seen. The walkers raised over $250,000 for this great cause! 

I'm very pleased that I took in the evening and got some great photos for a great lady. 

 And, on the eve of Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, I am thankful for my wonderful family, my health, and my friends. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wildlife Wednesday

It's #wildlifewednesday on Google+, so I decided to share this photo there.

Our yard is bordered on the south by a creek bed, with a well established tree stand. We are pretty close to the North Saskatchewan River, and before all the farm land was paved, we had a lot of wildlife around. This breeding pair of Great Horned Owls returns each winter, but I've never found a nest. I did, long ago, see one in the daylight along with a fledging owlet. Most encounters I've had have been silhouettes at dusk. This past January I caught sight of one of the owls on a tree top, and thought there might be enough light left to grab a few shots. I stood with camera pointed toward one, when the other flew to the next tree top. As I moved my camera toward her, this happened. It was all over before I knew it (poor girl!). The whole series is in this gallery.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Travel on Tuesday

This is to be the start of an effort to post my photography on a regular, well paced basis. Looking around Google + yesterday I came across "Mountain Monday" and "Macro Monday" and blame them for this weak arse alliteration!

I love to travel, and I love to take photos when I do. I find I'll try new things, attempt things I would not try at home. Like going out to shoot at midnight, in the midst of a blizzard in a city not used to blizzards, just because I'm at Times Square ;-), and it's Saturday night and Hallowe'en!