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.

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

Abstract Oil Pipe Explained

At craft sales, I always have tags on the back of my photos with a title and short description. People seem to enjoy this, but sometimes a short tag is not enough. This photo, for instance, is only partially explained by the tag which says “Oilfield Remains”. So I often get questions, and I try to explain, but usually fail miserably. Well, here’s my (hopefully successful) explanation of the photo.

The story starts with me and Jason driving around the countryside finding nice things to take pictures of. This is a fairly common occurance in the life of a nature photographer. Oil rigs are also a fairly common occurance around Edmonton, so the two often coincide. We found this lovely oil rig just as the sun was setting, and of course I took the standard oil-rig-sunset shot which is the same as twenty billion other oil-rig-sunset shots. But hey, it gives me some context for the story.

Getting good photos means investigating things a little more, and while we’re wandering around the rig, we find (among other things) these random pieces of pipe on the ground. Rusty texture and curved lines catch my eye, and soon I’m down on the ground taking photos of this pipe elbow.

Well, in this photo there’s a bit too much going on for there to be a clear focal point, and the lines aren’t leading where they need to be leading. So I got a little closer, focused into the pipe, and took the photo you see at the top.

Beaverhill Lake Grass

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.


A couple weeks ago I was out at Clifford E Lee Wildlife Sanctuary. It was dreadfully cold and winter depression had set in. I walked around for a while, not really inspired—just trying to soak in enough sun to stay sane. I hardly even looked through my photos when I got back. Today I was going through them and found this:

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) has provided me with so much color and so many great curvy lines to work with that I feel compelled to do a bit of a tribute to fireweed.

Keeping Warm on a Cold March Day

Here’s a warm sunrise from Barbados. I suggest ignoring the frost on your windows and the snowstorm outside, and for just a few short moments drinking in the sunlight streaming through your monitor from this tropical isle.

I was going through some photos from our Barbados trip trying to stay warm and secure in the belief that there is a sun and it is warm.