Monday, December 31, 2012

Favorites: End of 2012

And back into the snow. A couple from here in the garden. There is so little good light in the winter, but what little there is is often magical, even at midday.

A winter photo walk at Lake Louise and Johnston Canyon.

This little exercise has left me with 32 images in my favorites gallery, without considering my sport or portrait work! I'm hoping to whittle this group down to about a dozen and I invite comments and critique to help that process. You can comment here, on Facebook, or within the gallery itself. I really would like to hear what you think.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Favorites: Fall 2012

For as much as I lament how short our summer is, I do really love the fall, especially for photography. Rich greens, golds, oranges. 

Shallow depth of field for gorgeous colorful backgrounds. 

Dragging the camera with the shutter open, Ortonesque, to create a sense of texture. 

And then a very lucky happenstance to come across an aurora, on the way home, and have the camera and tripod in the car!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Favorites: Summer Scenes 2012

From the garden here at Windermere Studios, to abandoned mines in Utah, and back, my favorites from June, July and August.

Flowers, at least those that I grow myself, are regular subjects. Always striving for just the right light, angle, background bokeh. This is pretty close.

I'm a bit troubled by the shallow dof on this, but wasn't able to get perfect dof and the bee in the right location.

Ruins in the afternoon:

Ranchland Sunset:

Harvest Sunset:

Tickle the sky:

Check the whole collection of 'favorites'. I am definitely interested to hear feedback, critique and even criticism. Leave comments. Share with friends. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Favorites: May 2012

My favorite photo selection from May is from a visit to the Bay area, and a short road trip incorporating photography on the way to dinner one evening. I honestly don't know where we were! But, it was very pretty.

We stopped at a small park with some old buildings and I played around with detail and depth of field.

We stopped for a gorgeous view of the Bay, from the top of a ridge (possibly Honeymoon Bay) through some very interesting rolling hills and mist.

Love when I can work a bit of photography into business travel. Is one of these a contender for WS top photo 2012?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Favorites: April 2012, Maui

After a stressful and photographically barren March, we traveled to Maui for a wonderful week of sun, surf and sand in April. I've shown many of these photos in my travelogue posts  already. I am pretty find of the whole set, and used many of them in a calendar that I have for sale.

I think that my favorites of the bunch are the sunset from La Perouse Bay:

and the lacy surf at Baldwin Park, near Paia town. 

I've printed them both on aluminum, and they are very nice. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Favorites: February 2012. Snowy Owl!

Last winter was a bumper year for Snowy Owls. They are regular overwinterers here, but you do have to expend a bit of effort to find them. Last winter, you could find snowy owls in abundance here and much farther south as well.

I have a bit of a bucket list for animals that I would like to get worthwhile photos of, and I am happy to say that snowy owls are now off that list. We found this really cooperative model along the west side of Beaverhill Lake last February.

He would sit and pose, and then fly a few hundred feet away and pose again.

I've thrown a nice winter sunset from Elk Island Park into my favorites gallery too.

Tell me what you think! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Countdown to 2013 - Favorite Photos of 2012

I'm jumping the gun here! Getting my list of favorites started before the end of the year. I organize my Lightroom catalogue by date, putting everything from each month into one bucket with the exception of particular sport or event work, which might just warrant it's own bucket (e.g. Rugby 2012). This makes it "easy" to look back through month by month. I also tend to put the images I process up onto my website month by month. Running with that as the starting point, I'm going to try to choose my favorites - one month at a time, over the 12 days leading up to New Years.

January 2012, a trip to New Orleans for Imaging USA and a photo walk around Bourbon Street one night.

Red Bubbles:


From Windermere Studios Garden:

Woody Woodpecker:

And possibly my favorite of the month, Great Horned Owls Mating:

Now, I know that I could be picking favorites due to the memory associated with them - after all, a primary purpose for photographs (for me at least) is to invoke memory. That may not make them my best. So I invite comments on these - tell me what you think, and why. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Johnston Canyon, Alberta

After a pleasant lunch at Chateau Lake Louise, we accepted the invitation to join some others at Johnston Canyon. I'd been to Johnston Canyon at least once before, but only in summer with the hoards of tourists. I remembered it as a narrow, deep tree lined canyon and was pretty worried about having any light at all. But we had tripods, and no other place in mind, so onward we did go. Boy am I glad we did. I must say that it is at least as pretty in winter, and no where near as crowded! I was surprised by the fact that the water was still not completely frozen over,

and mesmerized by the lovely glacial colors of the icicles on the canyon walls.

There were interesting detail shots to be had as well. I spotted the repeating shapes of the snow, ice and rocks in the open water.

The color of water contrasted beautifully against the canyon at the Lower Falls.

There is a small tunnel through the rock that takes you close up to the Lower Falls, and it is very much worth crouching through. This is a 2 shot hand held vertical pano, made after blending 3 exposures for each of the two shots.

(One of the guys with us took a shot from pretty much the same place, with his Android. It made me wonder why I'd carried my backpack and gear!)

The detail of the ice  and water running under it was really lovely.

We were running out of what little daylight there was, and so didn't explore the upper falls this trip. Next time! This is a definite must do (and easy to do) hike during the winter, should you find yourself in Banff National Park some day.

We ended our day with some warm refreshments at the Banff Springs. Beautiful setting, all gussied up for Christmas. Sadly, no photos as I left the camera in the car!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter Photo Walk at Lake Louise: When the light is flat....

In early December I spent a fantastic Saturday visiting with an old friend, and looking for photo ops in Banff National Park. My first instinct, perhaps misguidedly, was to head for Lake Louise. Every time I've been to the jewel of the rockies, I've found it photo worthy. This visit, not so much. We arrived at about 10:30, perhaps 11 a.m. I don't think we would have had nice light at any hour, at Lake Louise, in December. The sun just doesn't get high enough in the sky to shine onto the glacier this time of year.

So what do you do when you are given photographic lemons? I shot multiple exposures for HDR, hoping to capture the dynamic range of the scene. I shot detail shots. I looked to try to find interesting and unusual perspectives. And then, I wasn't shy about trying unusual post processing. Here are some of the results:

The Glacier (well, kind of!). Same set of photos, processed 3 different ways. All HDR, different white balances, one black and white:

 Do you like one over the other?

Another processing triptych:

From within the forest:

Frosty Bearded Lichen:

I managed to get stuck in a snow bank for this photo. One leg quite deep, the other behind me but toe down so I couldn't maneuver out. Luckily I was with two big strong men, one of whom I'm married to, so that they could stand there and laugh at me!

Same lichen, but en bleu:

I am convinced that there is no bad light, and that there is always something worth photographing. If for no other reason than to give you something to practice post processing with. I'd love to hear about your adventures with poor light.

Gallery of photos. Up next, Johnston Canyon.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Welcome December: Winter Photography

The winter season can start long before the winter solstice in Edmonton. This year, for example, we've had snow on the ground since early October. I fight with winter every year. It is too long, too dark, too cold for my liking, and those that know me can attest that my grumblings start with the first brisk breeze and last as long as old man winter's icy grip.

I must admit that winter can provide some breathtaking photographic opportunities. And not all of  them require dressing up like the Michelin man. I do my best to embrace winter (really, the constant whinging is my best!), and to go forth and make great images as often as I can. To kick December off I've pulled a collection of some of my favorite December photo subjects: winter landscapes and frosty leaves, pretty birds, holiday festivities and family get togethers, and even tropical vacation memories.

Our garden and neighborhood are frequent subjects of mine, especially in the winter, since I tend to be a home body this time of year.

Mountain Ash Berries kissed with frost:

The path less traveled:

Red Poll atop the feeder:

Winter visits to family in the Okanagan also provide beautiful photo ops:

and the chance to gift a special memory:

Birthday celebrations and the Holiday Decorations make for great photos:

Not to mention spending New Years far, far away from the snow and cold!

If you've enjoyed this sample, and think you might like to hang a beautiful print in your home, or use one of these files as a screen saver or for your Holiday Cards this year, I've got a great discount so that you can do so!

Happy December! Enjoy Winter Photography!