… not a real leopard but this one behind the behind the bar at the Calcutta Cricket Club on 17th Avenue in Calgary is stunning. I hope to see one in the wild – perhaps with my friends in India – sooner than later.
When the snow was falling last week, I enjoyed trying to create some interesting images from the collision of weather with the fall landscape. The photograph I shared earlier drew some very kind comments about the style of painting it was similar to. I agree with Linda who saw suggestion of Pointillism. Using a short exposure of 1/400th of a second froze the snowflakes in that photograph. Here, I used a longer exposure of 1/40th of a second. The slower shutter speed let the snow trace blurry paths through the scene. I liked the level of abstraction that created.
Last week one of the snowstorms that came through Calgary picked up intensity after dark. I was staying downtown near the Bow River and watched as the increasing snowfall was illuminated by the city lights above one of the bridges crossing the water. A silhouette sped in front of a light at one moment and then a dozen more did the same the next.
A colony of gulls threw waves of their silhouettes into the storm circling low over the water and then above the lights for several minutes before they appeared to settle down.
I don’t know if it was the weather, disturbance by a someone or something or members returning to congregate for the night but they were excited for a short while. I loved the grainy sky created by the snow and the shape of these dark blurs as they flew into and out of the light.
Any guesses what this is? I’ve answered below but it’s kind of fun to let your imagination run on what it could be.
This is from a large inflated mat at the bottom of a tower at an indoor play structure we went to for my daughter’s birthday. The cords were lit and looked super cool. In post, I flipped the image, converted it to black and white and then darkened the two shadows at the bottom. It became this abstract science fiction scene to me.
I wish you and yours a great 2018. I hope the snakes are short and the ladders are long.
I created this image after the fireworks display in my small community (which was great!). The full moon made the whole winter landscape gleam. The lights from the skating rink to the right created interesting shadow layers in a covered trail across the sports field. An abstract start to the new year.
For me, I’m eager for a new year and all of the experiences that will hold. Looking back over 2017, I hope to crisply remember the many wonderful memories from the past year, and let those that were not soften.
On the first day of October, I was in Banff National Park and found great fall colors across the Bow Valley. I returned to Hillsdale Meadow along the Bow Valley Parkway where I expected the larch would be showing their best golds and yellows. I wasn’t disappointed! For this image, I used a slow shutter to abstract the landscape similar to how I had done with the same stand of trees in July. I moved the camera downwards during the 1/40th of a second exposure to exaggerate the vertical lines present in the golden trees and echoed in the evergreens in the mountainside behind.
There is a beautiful stand of aspen trees on the eastern edge of the Hillsdale Meadows which I have photographed for years throughout the seasons. Last weekend I stopped for another visit with them. This time around I was drawn to the contrast of the slender, white trunks and the dark spaces between them.
I worked a few different ideas before I found what an approach that allowed me to illustrate that contrast. Using longer shutter speeds (1/8th of a second – 1/4th of a second) and moving the camera vertically during the exposure, the blurs created illustrated the contrast in a way I really like.
Canon 5DIII camera and 300mm f/4 lens: 1/15th of a second at f/16 on ISO 200
I drove along the Grand Valley Road in search of raptors and was fortunate to come across a small group of fellow photographers who had spied a Northern hawk owl in a roadside stand of trees. I will share a couple of photographs of that fine bird soon but wanted to first show the abstract images I made earlier in the day. Before finding any wildlife, I was spending time looking for them among the trees and meadows along the road. Early on, I found this stand of Aspens and I loved the vertical pattern and the stark contrast between dark and light within and between the tree trunks.
Canon 5DIII camera and 300mm f/4 lens: 1/500th of a second at f/9 on ISO 1250
I loved the straight image and once I dialled that in the way I liked, I wanted to drag my shutter and play with the blurred images that I traced out.
Canon 5DIII camera and 300mm f/4 lens: 1/30th of a second at f/16 on ISO 200
I prepared a gallery of abstract and interesting images for a client recently and have added it to my portfolio page.
If you would like to see this new set, please click on the image or this link.
The many are the one
Fly over the world you have made
Share your vision with those who will see
Fly where you will and we will know you are
In time we will understand more of what is
And we will change as you change
We will fly in our way as you fly in yours
You are and we will be
The Red Rock Canyon is one of Waterton’s popular sites to visit. My son had a great time parkouring along the slick rock, jumping across the shallow stream that the creek becomes in the middle of summer. I photographed him mostly but the water, its ripples and the lines in this slab of rock, drew my attention for a minute.
I found this abstract tree form in the exposed bed of Medicine Lake east of Jasper. I liked how water was running down the branches that led into the dry ground.
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1/10th of a second at f/4.5 on ISO 640
Cars, motorcycles, buses and rickshaws swung by me one evening while I was in the heart of Cabo San Lucas. With the neon signs hanging above many of the shops and the sky still deep blue, I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to drag my shutter and play with what images I could create.
When practicing motion photography, I like to try different techniques. I switch between keeping the subject sharp by panning in sync with its movement and panning out of sync so that only a small part is sharp or the whole thing has a large or small amount of blur that pushes the image into an abstract shot.
For the better part of an hour, the traffic kept me happily occupied while I waited for my bus to arrive.
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.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 2 seconds at f/2 on ISO 1600
One more from the Northern Lights that I watched from my backyard last month. There was a pile of photographs from that night which I had not yet looked at. A few days ago, I worked through them and this one stood out for me.
A few nights ago, the Northern Lights came out in force and extended brightly above my home in Redwood Meadows just west of Calgary. We rarely see the Aurora Borealis here, when the lights are out I usually head further west to escape the nearby city glow, but the extraterrestrial storm that night was exceptional. The Aurora rippled throughout the night, with blues and greens early on and then adding in purples and yellows as the morning approached.
It was a wonderful evening spent in the backyard.
Granville Island is a favourite place of mine to stroll around on a rainy day in Vancouver. To be clear, it is great in good weather too but when it is wet the industrial-artistic buildings, galleries and walkways reveal beautiful details. The wood gleams, the rusty browns and reds in weathered metal become deeply saturated and the blooming flowers of mid-March glow despite the grey skies.
When I used to live in Vancouver I would head down to the market on the island regularly. When dark clouds greeted us one morning during a visit my friend Jack and I made to Vancouver in March, my memories of Granville in the rain came back and it was fun to wander around there once more.
Eventually we did head into the market for a little while. The food was, as usual, incredible and we walked out with several bags of fruit as a temporary keepsake from the morning.
I didn’t buy any fish but I did ask the gentlemen presiding over the chilly group below if I could photograph. The rough, inconsistent pattern caught my eye.
All of the morning’s hard work built up a thirst so we stopped by the Granville Island Brewery’s Taproom. These lightbulbs looked like they were from someone’s Steampunk dream and I was compelled to ask a couple if I could lean over next to them in order to grab a quick shot.
On the way out of the maze of buildings, this metal rail contraption drew my attention. It wasn’t in motion, I’m not even sure that there was anything that did move, but it was really cool.
A little earlier, I had really enjoyed the metal construction art at the entrance to the Ocean Concrete yard along the island’s waterfront facing the inlet. The two pieces seemed like distant cousins with the house suggesting a slightly more inviting alternate reality. It is a very cool place where even a concrete company gets into the artistic vibe.
Another great tour through Granville Island. I’m looking forward to the next one, rain or shine.
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.
I woke to a grey morning on the Pacific earlier this week. As the sun rose, its light diffused across the dull silver clouds and carried on to the waves rolling in. In these images I stretched some of these waves out with longer exposures (1/30 to 1/2 seconds) and swung the camera around a bit just to play with the idea a bit more.
Amid the abstract work, a few seals skimmed by. One of these glided inside a wave as it rolled into shore – which was fantastic to watch. I hope to share images from those encounters as well as a few with Brown pelicans from the same morning soon.
I was looking through my image library for abstracts that I could use for a print series I’m working on and found the image above. I had photographed a reflection pool from the fourth story of a hotel in Mandalay, Myanmar. Leaning out of the window and using a longer lens, I was first drawn to the koi swimming in the shallow water. However, the trees on edge of the courtyard were casting energetic shadows across the gently rippled surface. I photographed the fish with the shadows for a little while and then dropped the fish altogether. The patterns of the distorted tree shapes in the water mesmerized me. I think of dance in the one above.
My friend Jeff and I spent some time experimenting with different light sources last night. Generally referred to as light painting, this is an area of photography that is drawing a lot of people’s creative energy right now. We confirmed how much fun this can be both to photograph and to play with the light. We wanted to play around with some of the common tools and see how they worked in practice. We took turns being the subject (and consequently light-wielder) – Jeff presented great symmetry in his movements which created interesting imagery. By the end, we had learned some things, definitely had fun and now we’re scheming about the images we really want to create.
Note: If you want to see this images larger you can visit this web gallery on my website.
A chaotic globe traced out by a sparkler
This suggested one of the dark creatures from the fantasy genre. For those who may have played Dungeons & Dragons, this seemed like a Nightshade to me.
Gloves with green, red and blue lights on the fingertips allowed Jeff to trace out arcs that reminded me a little bit of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man drawing .
The photographs are presented in reverse chronological order (because the fiery ones look so cool so I wanted to put them up first). However, we approached this session with a measure of sanity and worked up from this glowing ball (one of the many balls in my children’s collective inventory) to the more exciting (read: burning) props. The image above is one of the first in the shoot where I was looking at ambient light in the area, the brightness of the ball and what flash added to (or detracted from) the scene.
The ball illuminates with red and blue LEDs that alternate creating purple tones in a long exposure. When Jeff was looking at the ball here it was hard not to be reminded of Gollum and “My Precious” from The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings.
Definitely my favourite photograph of the evening was with the sparks carving out lines of light. I converted it to black and white below and that changes the image in a different but, to me, equally interesting manner.
Kauai is also called the Garden Island. The lush vegetation that blankets the land from the edge of the beaches and up to the peaks of the mountains makes the name an obvious choice. I’ve spent a couple of mornings on the grounds photographing the leaves of the plants that line the walkways and the paths. The patterns and colors are amazing and I will definitely spend more time with them over the next couple of weeks.
I haven’t learned their names yet so my apologies for not being able to provide a little more detail about the species. I have a book of Hawaiian trees and shrubs so, if there are quiet moments, I will endeavour to shore up that gap.