Updates are Few and Far Between

Why have the updates been so slow this summer and fall? There are many reasons, but one of the main ones is that I’ve taken on a large graphic design project with Alieo Games, an Edmonton startup working on educational games. Specifically (at the moment), an online creative writing game for kids. And it’s been a lot of fun. I’m really happy with how it’s shaping up, and I’m working with great people!

But even an exciting project like this can not stop my photography. It has, however, cut down on my computer time for processing pictures and blogging, and I’m not planning on doing any shows this Christmas. If you’re looking for prints, you’ll have to email me, talk to Tix on the Square, or the Daffodil Gallery. So the backlog of pictures is growing on my computer, and I’m excited to share them with you as I get to them.

I’ll try to post when I can, and I expect things will pick up around here again next year.

12mm, f5, 1/500 of a second

Layers of a Canyon

A few weeks ago I saw part of this canyon from the highway in Jasper and I had to go investigate. There wasn’t really a clear trail to it, but quite a few people have been here before. I tried walking up the lower canyon to get to this wall, and it might be possible if I wasn’t carrying a bunch of camera gear. There is a lot of scrambling past boulders, trees, and dry falls to get up the canyon and I eventually gave up and climbed the ridge beside. I’d like to go back in spring and see meltwater pouring out of this slot in the rocks — that would be a sight to see.

I was late getting to the park, so I started hiking around 6 in the evening. This was taken after sunset. If you look carefully at the tiny trees (you might have to click on the photo to see them), you can see the scale of this thing — the large tree on the left is more than double my height.

Waterfalls in Color

OK, I just had to show you these, and I have questions. Not exactly a spectacular photo until you notice the colors in the waterfall. I haven’t changed the colors at all, this is what I saw as the sun rose over the ridge. Not sure if the color change is from the sun rising or from a slightly different angle on my part. I was climbing as the color changed, but these are only a few minutes apart. They lost all color shortly after. I’ve seen rainbows in waterfall mist before, but never the waterfall itself. Maybe someone with a optics or physics background out there could tell me how this occurs. Do I have to be this far away for the whole waterfall to change color? If I was closer would the rainbow just be a stripe across the waterfall (which is much more common)? Is it just the angle created by the sun, waterfall and me?

300mm, f11, 1/640 of a second

Alpine Crocuses

60mm, f2.8, 1/1250 of a second

The first day in Crowsnest Pass I climbed McGillivray Ridge, thinking it would be an easy re-introduction to hiking up mountains again since it’s been a while. Turns out the I need to climb a lot more mountains! It’s only 600m elevation gain, but I was pretty tired by the time I got to the top. Maybe the problem is that I always haul a lot of camera gear along, and I eschew hiking poles in favour of having a camera in my hand. Despite being a very warm sunny day at the bottom, by the time I got to the top I was wearing two jackets and a touque and I wished I had mittens along. I didn’t see anyone else the whole time though, so it’s a great hike for getting away from the crowds.

The crocuses near the top were spectacular. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen crocuses this purple. And they were everywhere. I got a chance to give my new Olympus 60mm Macro a good workout and I’m super impressed with that lens. Focusing is really fast for a macro lens, and it’s extremely sharp. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have a manual focus switch on the lens. But for being 1/5 of the weight of my Sigma macro and giving me similarly impressive results, I’m really happy.

60mm, f2.8, 1/1250 of a second

Early Summer Updates

This year has been a year for starting new ventures and hanging on to some of the old ones I like. My friend and fellow photographer Eric have started shooting together (Threaded Studio) and teaching photo classes together (St. Albert Photo Classes). All the while, I’ve been trying to keep up with my photo jewelry and prints in stores and still get to the odd craft sale (I’ll be at Edmonton Folk Fest again! Woohoo!). This hasn’t left much time for soul-soothing wilderness, but a couple weeks ago, Anna and I managed to get out to Crowsnest Pass for a few days. This photo is of Mt Ward, which is on the continental divide. It was taken from near Crowsnest Mountain a little after sunset. I’ll have a lot more photos from this trip coming in the next few days.

100mm, f7.1, 1/400 of a second


From a recent trip to Jasper.

300mm, 1/2000 of a second, f5.6

Shaped By a Glacier

The ridge around those spruce trees is called a “lateral moraine” and was left behind by the Athabasca Glacier as it receded. I took this photo at the Columbia Ice Fields on a dark and cloudy day. I get the sense that this moraine is protecting the trees — like they’re sitting safe in their own fortress. And then I notice the mountain behind, which, by it’s comparative mass, renders the trees and moraine almost insignificant.

If you’re not interested in lenses, feel free to ignore the next bit. The photo is taken with the Panasonic 100-300 lens on my Olympus OM-D. When I got this lens, I was worried about it not being very sharp. I have looked up many reviews, but a lot of the photos in the reviews had shutter speeds under 1/1000 of a second with image stabilization turned on. It seems to me that this comments on the effectiveness of the IS, but says nothing about how sharp the lens is. Even using the lens on a tripod I find to be questionable because the center of balance is far infront of the tripod. So I ordered a lens collar with a tripod foot from Rudolf Rösch Feinmechanik. It didn’t get here in time for my trip to the mountains, so I don’t have a definitive review on the sharpness of the lens, but my initial impressions are that, while not being razor sharp, it is fairly good. The lens collar itself is beautiful — I’m thoroughly impressed. I will be using it a lot in the next while, and I’ll report back on its effectiveness.

1/4000 of a second, f7.1, 140mm

After a Long and Barren Break

I’m finally back! With pictures! Happy New Year!

December was (as always) too busy, with far too little time for hiking and shooting. Thankfully I’m starting to recover, and last week I was able to go out to Jasper for a couple days, camp in the freezing weather, and completely enjoy it.

I also have some pendants back in stock after almost completely selling out at Christmas. I have many plans of updating websites and galleries, of taking lots of photos, of enabling online stores, and far too many more ideas to list here or ever complete. But I’ll work on stuff, and try to keep everyone updated.

Here’s a photo of a dry and dusty Jasper Lake from last week just after sunrise. I was getting blasted with a super cold wind, and even bundled up I had to run back to the shelter of the van after a few minutes.

Canon 5d with 17-40 lens.
Taken at 24mm, f8, 1/200 of a second

I’m planning to start adding these technical details below my photos. I know people are interested, and I’ve resisted for a long time because I believe they’re not really important. I think people place way too much emphasis on what the right settings are and way too little on getting a good composition. But to do photography well, you do have to at least know what all the settings do, and which are important in any particular instance. So for those learning, I hope this extra information helps, but know that the photo is the important part — the settings just help you get there. For example, I took this photo at f8. Would f5.6 have worked? Pretty well. Would f11 have worked. Yup, even a little better than f8. Did it ruin the photo that the aperture wasn’t as high as ideal to get everything perfectly in focus? Not at all, this will print beautifully at 20×30, and I’m really happy with it. Photography is about creating a feeling, not about an aperture. It would have mattered far more if I had angled my camera up or down a degree or two, or if I’d taken the photo from a foot lower or higher — those things could have easily turned it into something I wouldn’t look at twice.

At this point I think I’m rambling, and I’m impressed if anyone actually read this far. Cheers.

Inside an Ice Cave

There are some places on this earth that seem a little surreal. Ice caves are one of those places. And in these strange and beautiful places, I find it really hard to take photos. I’m often overwhelmed with the experience, and focusing on composition becomes impossible. Everywhere I look there is something new. I have to slow down, let the surroundings soak into me, and then I can start to express my response to a place.

Although I would have loved to spend more time here (it’s kind of scary with the falling rocks and ice), I’m pretty happy with how the photos turned out. The lines of the photo lead into a dangerous unknown.