Abstracting II

On a warm idyllic autumn afternoon in a provincial park on the BC coast, I was exploring and taking photos, as I do. The warmth from the sun and the contrasting coolness of the forest was so peaceful. In photographic terms though (as is often the case in life), the details were a problem. There was really high-contrast harsh lighting and because it was pretty late fall, there were brown spots in a lot of the leaves. In this case I made that all go away to communicate a peaceful feeling. By using a wide aperture and purposely mis-focusing, I could communicate what I was actually feeling, instead of focusing on the exact details of the scene.

Below is what the shot would have been if I wanted things in focus – in this case a much worse photo.

Green and Full of Life

A photo from a long time ago that I completely overlooked. Today it looked sooo good to me — in winter the grass is always greener on the other side. I’ll have to get out to the mountains and remind myself that I really do like winter…

24mm, f5.6, 1/15 of a second

Magical Places

Taken near Livingstone Falls in the Rocky Mountain Forest Reserve.

After reading a lot of fantasy novels as a kid, moss edged pools of water in dark forests will forever be magical places for me.

In the Pines

Pine trees after a forest fire in the Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve. I just love the lines of these hills partly hidden behind the trees. It’s not every day I get to use hatching in my nature photography.

Palm Warbler in the Forest

I took my first Wildlife Biodiversity and Ecology class last night and it was fascinating. It was a three hour class on Ornithology (birds) and it seemed way too short. It’s always awesome to see a whole new world open up before you, that you vaguely knew was there, but had no idea what it involved. I hope I have the time and motivation to follow up on this brief introduction (although I suspect I’m going to hope the same thing for every other class). John Acorn is a very interesting prof, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of this class.

I thought I’d post a bird photo in honor of the class, but ironically I wasn’t able to identify it. I obviously need more classes and/or experience. So I suspect this is some sort of warbler (maybe a Palm Warbler? edit – yup, it’s a Palm Warbler — Dendroica palmarum). I found it in a poplar forest in northern Saskatchewan.

Fall Birch Trees by a Small Lake

Paper birch trees (Betula papyrifera).

Yes, these are getting shorter and shorter. But at least I’m mostly keeping up. In January I should have a bit more time to expound on all things photographical. Till then, enjoy the photos.

Harebells and Forest Lanscapes

In the interests of geographical diversity, today’s photo is from Morden, MB. I went for a great hike with my family around Lake Minnewasta this past summer. For those who have not been here, the park is very nice for people who like the resorty villages, but the trail is absolutely beautiful. These are harebells (Campanula rotundifolia — as opposed to the hairy flowers like this which are bluebells) against a lichen covered tree trunk.

As I was getting this photo ready for the post today I kept having problems. I like the photo – the complimentary purple and orange, the contrasting textures, the brightness of the flowers. But something didn’t feel quite right. I kept on going back and trying to edit it differently. I think I finally figured out my problem with it, which can’t be fixed with processing – there’s no clear focal point. The eye has so many places to go, but there’s no clear line to follow, no one point to rest at. I was going to scrap the whole post and start again, but I thought you might be interested in my thoughts and processes on how I reject photos I’ve taken.

And now, in the interests of posting a photo I’m actually happy with, here’s one from the same hike.

Finding Peaceful Spots

People seem a little out of place in the forest. We make trails to have a place that is not quite so wild and easier to navigate. We rush to complete a loop, or reach a destination. I find it very different to pick my way through an unknown forest to no particular destination. You can go 10 feet or 10 miles, there’s not much difference. There’s variety on every scale, from the moss to the trees to the elevation of the land. It’s always a little jarring to run into other people when I’m in this environment.

One of the benefits of doing craft sales is that I get to talk with people who enjoy similar activities. At Kaleido, I talked with a lady who pointed me to a couple new spots that I haven’t been to before. They’re out of the way, not many people know about them, and of course they are beautiful. I like sharing places I discover, because I think we’re better off when we’re more aware of and connected to nature. But when other people confide in me with their favorite spots, I feel it’s not my place to let the world know – I’ll let them do that. I went to one of these places a few days ago, and these photos are the result.

Up in the Air

Being suspended above the ground is a strange experience. It’s even stranger when two thin pieces of metal are all that’s holding you there. I got to fly a plane for the first time this last week. I’ve flown in passenger jets before, but having control of a little tin can of a plane is very odd.

A friend from Vancouver flew into town last week right in front of all the forest fire smoke. He has his own little Cessna 150 which was built in the ’60s. It’s a tiny little two seater – the smallest plane Cessna makes. We took a little trip out to Cooking Lake and tried some stalls and spins over the lake (which were pretty scary), and of course I took a few photos (which was pretty fun).

These first two are of Cooking Lake from the air (or maybe more accurately – Cooking Mud Flats).

We filled in gas in Cooking Lake.

It was pretty smoky around Edmonton from the forest fires in BC.