Alpine Lakes in the Cline Pass

The October 16th Mastering Your SLR class is filling up fast, but there are still a few spots left!

For those of you wondering what I’ve been up to: the last couple of months I’ve been honing my leadership, teaching, and outdoor skills. It’s been a challenging and interesting journey that’s taken me down a few rivers, up into the mountains, and even inside a classroom. It has filled up most of my days, and I’ve missed time for focusing on my photography and posting updates here. I hope I get a chance to write down some of the stories and share some of the photos here soon.

Photo taken in the White Goat Wilderness Area
12mm, f10, 1/400 of a second

St. Albert Photo Club Talk

Mountain in Jasper Rising Through the Clouds

On Wednesday, Jan 13th (yes – in two days) I’ll be giving a talk at the St. Albert Photo Club. There will be a lot of practical photography advice, plenty of photos to critique and enjoy, and hopefully some inspiration. It will include a lot of nature photography, as that is mainly what I do, and it will also include other photos that I’ve never shown before. This may be slightly embarrassing for me, and hopefully entertaining and educational for you. I hope to see you there!

Jasper National Park, AB
210mm, f4, 1/5000 of a second

Impressions Gallery Update

I’ve just updated the Impressions gallery on my website. You’ve probably seen many of these images before, but there should be a few new ones too. The general idea of this gallery is to include photos that are about the feeling rather than the subject. They’re impressions as opposed to representations. This doesn’t mean that I’ve done a lot of editing on the photos. As with almost all my images, I’ve done some color correction and contrast adjustments. That’s about it.

Canoeing on the Kananaskis River

More photos from a summer of pushing myself in a different direction. You’ll notice that some of my photos now actually have people in them. It’s been a strange time of not exactly doing what I love, but of expanding horizons around the edges of what I love. Soon I’ll post some of my more normal nature photos, although opportunities for me to focus on photography this summer are few and far between.

Getting ready to go at Canoe Meadows.
17mm, f9, 1/100 of a second.

Surfing an easy wave. You can see that without paddling the wave is keeping them in the same place while the water rushes by.
40mm, f20, 1/20 of a second.

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.

Ermineskin Craft Fair

This year I will be selling photos and pendants at the Ermineskin Craft Fair at 10717 – 32A Avenue Saturday, November 5, 10am to 4pm. Admission is $2.00.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Sleeping by the Tracks

Sometimes on roadtrips it can be hard to find a quiet place to sleep. My trip to BC was quite the opposite — there seem to be old abandoned logging roads branching off every few kilometers. This was my home for one night on the way back from BC. The train went by once in the night and woke me up, but I love the sound of trains, and it lulled me back to sleep with dreams of far off destinations.

On a related note, I’m sad to be parting with my old Ford Escort wagon, which has been my home on many a road trip. The transmission went, and it’s an old car, and not worth repairing. I’m now on the hunt for another cheap, old, reliable vehicle that can haul my photos and display to shows, and that can sleep two.

Chaos Photographed

This week has been crazy. My computer, fridge and car died. We’ve had tons of errands to run. I have design work which I’m trying to get to, a chaotic house, and guests staying over. Anna’s candidacy is next week (after which we’re leaving to see my parents), I have a wedding to photograph this weekend (I get to drive a borrowed car for that), and I work at McBain on Friday. We were planning on camping this week. That seems laughable at this point. I have to frame my photos for the VAAA photo competition before Saturday, and for that I need an art store to have cool white matboard in stock.

But good things are happening. I’m looking at getting my photos into another retail location in Edmonton (more to come once that’s finalized). I’m typing this on my shiny new Mac Mini. The Daffodil has been busy selling our photo pendants. Oh, and I had the best ice cream I’ve ever had today — at Kirstin’s Chocolate shop on 112 street — amazing.

This photo is a fairly accurate expression of my current state of mind. Things are in complete chaos around me, but it’s a centered chaos.

Wildlife and Wedding Photography

When you see an elk, what do you do? You stop and take a photo of course. And if the elk stays there, you get closer. After all, wasn’t it Robert Capa who said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”?

But for some reason your brain starts to throw up little red flags. Wait a minute, you also want context — the animal acting in its habitat. And maybe you don’t want a photo of an elk eyeball, maybe you want the whole elk. And anyway, isn’t it bad for animals to get accustomed to people? And dangerous for the people?

And then, for some strange reason, you start to think of photographing weddings, of posing and of lighting. Direct evening light is pretty good — it’s warm and lends definition to shapes, but what if you backlight this? That would wash it out and give it a dream-like quality. But animals are not as cooperative as people who hire you to take their photos. You have to do the moving, and there’s no adding light. You know that flash would bother this elk and disrupt his feeding, possibly making him aggressive.

So you do the moving, far enough away that the animal is not disturbed. You wait for the animal to move into a position that works, you get the sun at just the right angle, and you get a photo. You don’t know if it’s a good photo or a great photo, but you’re pretty sure it’s not a bad photo. And that is satisfying.

A Bloomin’ Gallery Show

The Daffodil Gallery

This Saturday, August 13 from noon to 4pm is the opening for “Blooming“, a new show at the Daffodil Gallery. I’ve got two pieces in this show — one you’ve seen before if you’ve been to the gallery, and the other is new for this show. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be there for the opening, but even without me the gallery is a relaxing and enjoyable place to go and see new art.

Kasaa Gallery

Also coming up soon is the VAAA Open Photo Exhibition. The opening will be Thursday, August 25th from 6 to 8pm at the Kasaa Gallery in the Northern Jubilee Auditorium. I am excited to have two pieces in this show, which is a juried show open to all Alberta photographers. There should be quite a variety of photo styles there.

I may have to get a calendar up on the site to keep track of exhibitions and shows for those interested.

But where are all the photos from BC?

I’m getting there slowly. Everything else is pretty crazy right now, so they’ll start trickling out over the next week or two. To get started, here are some cracked rocks in Medicine Lake in Jasper National Park. This was taken after my first day on the road, which is always a very liberating experience.