I hope you are enjoying time with those you love these holidays. Warmest wishes to you and yours.
I’m in Seattle for a dear friend’s photography workshop on the Olympic Peninsula this weekend. I was lucky enough to wander the gardens and forest around his wonderful home yesterday. Coming from Alberta, the blossoms, warmth and greenery was almost a shock to me. Certainly a glimpse of a future we will hopefully see within a couple of weeks. The light on the bark of this cedar danced well with the abstracted shapes in the background. Those were thrown out of focus by the a shallow depth of field using a 24mm lens at f/2.0.
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.
It was -26°C as I stood with my tripod watching the sun climb off the horizon to start the day. Hoar frost enveloped these branches creating a beautifully tangled, chaotic pattern. The sunlight streamed in, reflecting off of the ice and snow.
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
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.
This strange cloud and a few stragglers lit up brilliantly ahead of the rising sun. I was driving east towards Calgary and stopped for a few minutes to watch what looked more like a stack of cotton candy than a regular cloud. Mind you, whenever I think a cloud is just a normal one, watching it morph unpredictably as it crosses the sky reminds they are magical creations.
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.
I have been working on updating all of my portfolios to include work from 2013. It’s been weighing on my mind and more than a few clients have requested an update. I made some good progress over the past week and will be posting the new galleries as I complete them.
First up is my abstract portfolio. These are a collection of images where the subject caught my eye and I let my imagination have the reigns.
Please click the image above or this link to have a look.
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.
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.
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.
My post yesterday, Downward Spiral, had me thinking about patterns and prompted me to dive through my image library for patterns in nature. As I looked at these images, I assembled a loosely connected collection under this theme.
Pulling together this short set, really fired me up to go find new patterns in the forests, fields, rivers and mountains where I get to spend my time.
Just a couple of nice abstracts from a stretch of water near my home. It was well after sunset so I was able to get a very slow shutter speed to really stretch out the lines traced out by the moving water. These are two of the long exposures both were 30 seconds at f/16, creating smooth edges to the small rapids in this creek.
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.
Ran across some beautiful, warm evening light when I was in North Myrtle Beach a few days ago. I was walking on the boardwalk around Prices Swamp Run and the reflections in the rippling water were beautiful.
I found this great faux zebra print and enjoyed creating this image out of the pattern.
As part of my ongoing fascination with glass, I am working on a collection of abstract images involving windows. Here are three photographs that have made it into the series so far.
I love these thick blocks of glass that are often found in homes. They are great for allowing light in while keeping the interior private. For me, they warp scenes on both sides of the glass and I love the effect. The crazy pattern in this pane is actually a plain window in the brown brick building about ten feet away.
This one strays a bit from the glass theme but I was drawn to the strange pattern created by the window frames from this angle at ground level in and alley in downtown Calgary.
I had the opportunity to work with glass (blown glass) for fun a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I love working it into my photography whether as the subject or as part of the supporting cast – it really is wonderful.
I don’t actively hunt graffiti out but occasionally there is a piece that demands a second look when I see it. Whether because of the color, the shapes, the location or something less tangible, I have to photograph the occasional piece. Here are four pieces where I like the art and the way I captured them in a photograph.