I’m not sure if it’s growing up on a farm and now living in a city, or if it’s a symptom of a hectic life, or if it’s just another “grass is greener” kind of thought, but living here looks like a beautiful life to me. I’m sure it comes with its own struggles and frustrations. I wonder if the owners would be surprised to know that I sometimes dream of living there.
Taken in central Cuba.
40mm, f2.8, 1/4000 of a second.
I’ve been enjoying the warmer weather lately and, despite the lack of ice to photograph, I’ve enjoyed coming up with compositions of what is available. Being able to go out in a t-shirt is just a bonus.
On June 25th from 6:30 – 8:30pm in St. Albert, I’ll be teaching a composition class. This is open to anyone — whether you only use your cell phone or you regularly haul around multiple SLRs. The class will cover a wide variety of techniques for composition and should be enlightening and fun. Although I mostly show nature photography professionally, I’ll have examples of everything from studio sessions and weddings to wildlife and of course lots of nature as well. So if you want a painless way to drastically improve your photos, come join me! You can sign up at St. Albert Photo Classes. You’ll notice I’m also teaching a “Mastering Your SLR” course, which is very helpful for the technical side of photography, but composition is my favorite subject—learning to compose thoughtfully is an easy way for anyone to set their photos apart.
The photo is a grass curl over a burnt log near Landslide Lake in a forest fire affected area.
90mm, f2.5, 1/1000 of a second
In my design studies at university, we had a fascinating sculpture assignment called “Drawing in Space”. We used strips and small blocks of wood to create a sculpture with interesting lines when viewed from any angle. Both the lines and the negative space they defined were equally important. I really enjoyed framing spaces and cutting into volumes of space, and that is something that I don’t get to do quite as much with photography. But when opportunities present themselves, as they did this last week, I get lost in the creating. I’m not sure how long I spent in this particular treasure trove of grass curls. The shallow depth of field I’ve used here really adds to both the ethereal-ness and the depth of the photo, letting you almost feel the space around the grass.
All taken with my 5d, 150mm macro, f6.3, 1/200 – 1/640 of a second.
Taken on the Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park.
If you’re still reading and interested, I’ll just write a quick note about composition. In the last two photos I’ve done something that is generally disapproved of in standard compositions – there is a strong line running vertically through the frame (even directly in the middle of the frame! the horror). In these cases I think it works as an unusual visual device to emphasize the depth of the photo. If the grass curls did not wrap around the vertical line it would not work.
Warm sun and cool breeze: a beautiful fall day. The wind had matted the grass into interesting patterns in some places.
This was taken before all the snow hit. Looking out my window now, from the 12th floor, I can only see a couple blocks before the deluge of falling snow obscures everything. This snow would actually be perfect weather for photography but I really need to get winter tires on the van before I feel comfortable driving out to a natural area.
This photo was taken in Cooking Lake Provincial Rec Area. Actually the name is “Cooking Lake – Blackfoot Grazing, Wildlife Provincial Recreation Area”, but that’s a ridiculously long name, and I don’t intend on typing it out every time I mention it. Anyway, this is the area just south of Elk Island National Park. It’s almost exactly the same, except it has a few fields and no bison. And you don’t have to pay to get in. All in all, a great area to go hiking.
This was an overcast day, and a little misty. There were water droplets on the grass and a bit of a breeze rustling the leaves too. It was in this muffled darkening atmosphere that I first noticed the elk. The bull was watching me, with his herd off to the side, behind a copse of apsen.
I crouched down and watched them for a while. A calf was still nursing, and many of the elk were grazing, but the bull kept watching me. As the light faded along with my vision, the herd moved off into the trees. That first photo was taken in the trees where the elk disappeared into, after it had become quite dark.
Me interpreting water interpreting grass on a sunny day near Ya Ha Tinda.
Because I’m sure most people will be wondering about this, here’s the explanation. The top photo is the same as the bottom, except that the top has a cropping and shutter speed that I’m much happier with. This shows a little bit of the exploration of a subject process I go through when I see something interesting. (if it’s not clear — it’s a mini waterfall in grass, about a foot high)
Taken at the Ya Ha Tinda ranch.
Things are finally turning green and the sun is shining.
The curving lines of dry grass provide so much picture fodder.
Taken in Elk Island National Park.
Taken near Beaverhill Lake.
If anyone knows what species of grass these are, I’d be very curious. I’m getting better at my fauna taxonomy, but when it comes to grass, I’m lost.
Grass texture near Hasse Lake.