The waves of mild temperatures then bitter cold that have been winter’s pattern this year have played havoc with the ice.
Along the Elbow River the once smooth sheets of water frozen layer on layer, have buckled and split along the channel.
The temperature went into free fall yesterday but the blue skies pulled me outside this morning. Near the edge of the ice down the Elbow I spent some time photographing the forms created by the blanket of snow, broken ice cover, and the long shadows of winter.
From a small pond in Granville Island where a light rain was falling. The circular ripples created by the raindrops hitting the water distorted the reflections of trees above.
A few echos of the blizzard from last week blew through since then. More opportunities to photograph winter storms and with the image above I wanted to show the chaotic aspect often seen when the wind blows and the snow flies. Click on the image to open a page with a higher resolution version.
Dawn at the second Vermilion Lake was beautiful with some lovely colour in the sky around Mount Rundle early in the sunrise. As the sun climbed, I moved into the contrasts and this one worked well in black and white.
A dolphin slices through the waves of the Northern Swell off Kaua’i, Hawai’i. I was on a catamaran and the dolphin had no trouble keeping up
A storm threatened to cross over the western ridges in Kananaskis yesterday when I was in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. The ridge above caught my eye and displayed the tension high up on the mountains.
Stopping at a viewpoint along the Icefields Parkway on Sunday to photograph a pair of friendly ravens during the second day of John Marriott’s Jasper Fall Wildlife Workshop. This raven lived up to advance billing and was a pleasure to photograph. This portrait was one of my favourite images from a wonderful wintry day that saw us photographing mountain goats, bighorn sheep rams and bull elks in Jasper National Park.
The morning got bright quickly when I was at a set of reflecting ponds just west of Wedge Pond and the Galatea Trailhead in Kananaskis. I met a fellow Calgarian photographer, Graham McKerrell, along the water’s edge and we watched the most promising cloud slip behind the mountain just a couple of minutes before the sunrise hit the face. The early light was still beautiful on the rock of Mount Kidd and its reflection. I really had fun once the morning sun was well established as I switched from hunting warm light to thinking about the sun and shadows for black and white images as seen here.
(please click on the image to link to a larger, higher resolution version)
These ponds are a beautiful location to welcome the morning, I hope to get out there once more this season.
Along 9th Avenue in downtown Calgary, Gulf Canada Square’s dark panes of glass often provide a large mirror that abstracts the traffic heading east on the one way road.
I watched traffic for a while, looking down from the 12th floor of Banker’s Hall, until this taxicab drove by distinctive and separated from the other vehicles in that moment. The slight curvatures of the glass did the real work to create this warp of a simple scene.
We went to the Calgary Zoo a few days ago and we had a great time having a guided tour by our children through all of the areas. During one of their breaks, Kezia and Kian played around the outdoor theatre while mom photographed the zebras and dad photographed them.
The rain came in last night and, with dark clouds apparently anchoring directly above Calgary, fell all day.
The trains were a somber affair both in the morning and in the afternoon. I thought this gentleman’s body language and the resigned look on his face accurately portrayed the mood of the city on this rainy day in May.
Now spring seems to have asserted control and with that comes the storm clouds that roll out of the mountains through the summer. Here then are a couple of image from the start of the storm season from this afternoon.
The Sibbald Herd is a large group of elk that forage west into the front range of the Kananaskis mountains and east to Springbank near Calgary. They move within a relatively thin band along the eastern part of their land and are often in the scrub brush that edges the farmland along Highway 22 between Highway 8 and the Trans Canada Highway. They often graze behind this ridge in a shallow valley but on this morning I found them lined up among the trees and the rocks. They were quite interested in my for a couple of minutes and then resumed grazing and wandered back behind the hill.
I photographed these animals about an hour after sunrise with the sun still below the crest of this ridge. The strong backlighting made for wider range from dark to light than my camera can capture so I chose to work with the structural elements within the scene. Reduced to black and white, there is an interesting relationship between the land and the elk highlighted in these pictures.
I found this great faux zebra print and enjoyed creating this image out of the pattern.
Following a very pretty sunrise and a great walk with an elk, this storm started to build as it moved through the Bow Valley corridor in the Banff National Park. This great chunk of rock is Mount Rundle which looms above the towns of Banff and Canmore. It is a favourite subject for hikers and artists. I am certainly not immune to its siren call – I really enjoy photographing this mountain – year round it always presents an interesting face and is usually reaching into the clouds to create dynamic compositions.
In several spots along the Vermilion Lakes in the Banff National Park there are sections of open water despite the sustained cold that has frozen over all three lakes this winter. These breaks in the ice are due to runoff from underground hot springs that ring the lakes. The warmer water attracts birds and the occasional mammal in the winter. On the weekend, I saw an American Dipper and followed it flitting amid the reeds and diving for bits in the water. Following that, I turned my attention to working with patterns created by the sticks and reeds and their reflections in the water along the shoreline.
Here are two that I liked in particular. One presenting dominant vertical lines and the other creating horizontal movement across the frame. I enjoy working on these type of compositions while waiting for the dramatic landscapes to fill with clouds, light or anything else of interest. Sometimes those come, other times they don’t. Having a list of different types of images I want to create helps avoid a strikeout when things aren’t cooperating.
With Kian in the hospital for a few days, we have had time to just hang out, which has been great. Not good circumstances but a definite silver lining.
Along with us is the camera and as we’ve toured the hospital I’ve taken photographs of my little boy, here are a few.
It could be a Canadian rock band but here I am talking about a duotone process for creating black and white images of a moose I photographed yesterday.
Lately I have been experimenting with using the split toning controls to replace my black and white conversion workflow. The slightly metallic look appeals to me and I like the dimensionality that I can create using this technique. I have applied this technique to people and landscapes and wanted to try it on a wildlife subject. This moose looked great among the warm fall colors so it was fun to take that starting point and try to create a different feel to the images.
The specific process I follow starts in Adobe Lightroom’s Develop module but is applicable to Photoshop or any other editing program where you can set the colors. First I zero out the import settings so that I am starting with the unaltered RAW file and then I build the image following these are the steps to create this look.
Split Tone Color:
I like to set my highlight color to a shade between gold and silver (in LR I adjust the hue and saturation to get the tone I like). For the shadows, I set the color to some shade between blue and grey.
I apply an S curve and then tweak it to find the balance of shadow and highlight that works for me on that image.
Next, I adjust the Blacks, Fill, Clarity and Exposure to find the final look that I am looking for.
To finish I, like many, apply any noise reduction and sharpening that I feel adds to the image. I don’t use either very much but here with the fine detail in the moose’s coat, I found raising the sharpening amount and detail added to my enjoyment of the images.
Usually I have a pretty good idea of what I want the image to look like with this technique but a change to the tone colors or the mix of settings can make a surprising change to the feel of the image.
With this photograph, I used the split toning controls within Adobe Lightroom’s Develop Panel to make a different looking image. I converted the image to black and white then used the split toning section to set the colours that I wanted to use to tone the image (a grey-blue for the shadows and a grey-gold for the highlights). Using the sliders to tweak the hue and saturation of these tones, I was able to bring a subtle, metallic sheen to this monk’s skin. I had this look in mind recently which has a very different feel from the original, colour image which has warm earthy tones.
Here is a more typical look that I like in my black and white work
In the original, the dust in air has warmed the light and given a glow to everything.
I like how you can use great light to create different versions of the same image. I’m still not sure which one I prefer. Colour is pretty consistently a main theme in my images but I like the glow and the slightly metallic look in the split toned edition.