Summer Sunset

Saskatchewan Summer Sunset

Just posting a quick warm photo of the beautiful province where I grew up: Saskatchewan. Spring is pretty much here and these are the evenings we have to look forward to soon!

135mm, f16, 1/25 of a second

Zoo Wildlife Photography Courses

This blog has been quiet for a while now. I have a lot of photos I’m excited to share, but only so much time to share them. In addition to teaching for St. Albert Photo Classes, I’m now employed by the city of Edmonton to teach photography classes at the Edmonton Valley Zoo! We’re starting up this spring with a full day class and we’ll see where it goes from there. I’ll keep you updated with links to register once they’re available.

Edit: You can sign up for the course at the City of Edmonton eReg page

In preparation for the course I’ve been around the zoo quite a bit lately, taking photos and getting to know the animals just a little bit. If you’re going to the zoo soon, make sure to visit the bactrian camel at the back – he’s always been super excited to see me. There are also some super-cute baby takins that were recently born.

I’m really happy to be teaching at the zoo, and I hope some of you can make it out to classes there!

Taken at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.
1. 600mm, f6.3, 1/400 of a second
2. 300mm, f5.6, 1/320 of a second

Composition Consistency

In a lot of ways these photos could not be more different. The top one was taken at Beaverhill Lake, which at this point is a big marshy field in the prairies. The bottom was taken near the Saskatchewan Glacier in the mountains. The top was taken in spring, the bottom one in fall. The top is macro, the bottom is a landscape.

But when I was developing the top one today, my mind immediately went to this bottom photo that I took four years ago. The tones of the images help to group them, but what really strikes me is the similarity of composition. Both are triangles with the base at the bottom of the photo. They both have interesting lines thrusting up at angles through the frame.

When I’m composing an image, I don’t often consciously think about what to call a composition or what photo it will be like. I’m usually trying to balance the elements in the frame once an interesting line catches my eye. After the fact, when I’m looking through my images though, I start to notice themes. In some ways I like this — consistency is good. But I also don’t want to overuse themes and become boring. It’s a constant struggle of evaluation, and I probably overthink it. But it’s something I’ve noticed and thought was kind of interesting.

Photo Classes

I’m excited to announce that I’m teaching photo classes in St. Albert. What will you learn? The principles of photography necessary to get awesome photos out of your camera. You’ll also get to practice with your camera with me and Eric there to answer any questions. It should be a fun day of trying new things and learning tons. We’re looking forward to it, and hope you can make it. The first one is on April 20th. More details are on the website:

http://stalbertphotoclasses.com

And because you’re probably expecting a photo of one sort or another, I won’t disappoint. Spring is coming, and I can’t wait till all the new greenery appears!


Taken in pouring rain near Abraham Lake. 150mm, f2.8, 1/400 of a second.

There Will Come Soft Rains

It seems like all my favorite photos lately are taken during storms or on rainy days. Looking back through my photos from this spring, none of the photos from sunny hikes grab me, and I gravitate towards softer, rainier photos. I think water adds a dramatic element to photos (as well as stories – yes, I’m a Ray Bradbury fan) — it sets a mood.

The first photo was taken near Beaverhill Lake on a blustery day with my Sigma 150mm Macro at 1/125 of a second and f5.0. The second was at Chickakoo Lake – 1/800 of a second at f2.8.

Long-Eared Owl

OK, this is much of an art photo, but I just saw my first long-eared owl (Asio otus)! Here it is in all it’s camouflage-ness. There were actually a pair of them, but this is the only one I got a photo of. I could have stalked them and maybe got more photos, but especially in spring when birds are breeding I prefer to leave them alone to do their thing.

Taken with a Canon 5d, 300mm, f5.6 at 1/160 of a second.

Birch Tree Beside Bellis Lake

Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) in front of Bellis Lake on a lovely summer evening.

The warm bright sunlight on the bark against the dark blue water caught my attention, and the cloud reflected in the water just topped it off. The hardest part of a photo like this is simplifying — getting rid of all the things that will detract from the feeling I’m trying to capture. There can be so much surrounding a scene like this. There are lots of trees crowding around, I’m standing in a grove of alders and rose bushes, the far side of the lake is just a little above the top of the frame. But I’m capturing what I love, and the surroundings almost fade away — I capture what captures me.

Huts, Doors, and Feelings

“He stretched out on his back and looked up into the spring sky. It was a clear dark blue straight above him and a sea green over the tree tops. Somewhere under his hat the tune began to move, one part expectation, and two parts spring sadness, and for the rest just a colossal delight at being alone.”
Tales from Moominvalley
by Tove Jansson