Getting Lucky

“You got lucky and have a couple good photos. I imagine everyone has a few great pictures on their computer.” These were the words spoken to me today by a “photographer” who saw me selling prints at Folk Fest. It was interesting to hear, and I agreed with him. After all, it is true that many people have a few great photos; it is also true that I occasionally get lucky while taking photos. But I think he was implying that photographers (maybe nature photographers specifically) don’t have control over the quality of their photos. And that is completely false.

I don’t control the weather, the sun, the way the trees grow, or the layout of the mountains. This is the challenge of nature photography – adapting to the environment, finding strong compositions, waiting for or creating the right light. It’s about working with what is there to create a mood, a story, a little world within a frame. This takes a great deal of practice and skill, along with some experimenting. But there’s always a little luck involved.

These are from the Moss Lake trail in Elk Island National Park last night between 10 and midnight. It was overcast and a new moon so – pretty dark. (For what it’s worth, I was trying to create my own luck and time my visit right to catch the perseid meteor shower. As it turns out I had to work with an overcast sky, so I got these instead)



Prairie in the Mountains

That is the meaning of “Ya Ha Tinda”, Parks Canada’s ranch where they raise and train all the horses they use for backcountry travel. Besides a relatively small fenced area, the ranch is open to the public and there is a free campground which is usually filled with horses, horse trailers, and a few people. This is a beautiful area of open grassland spotted with trees, full of wildlife, and surrounded by mountains. There is a spectacular waterfall a short walk from the campground where the river cuts through the prairie creating a canyon.

New Thoughts on Old Photos

A couple days ago I was cleaning up my library of photos and came across a couple photos that I haven’t seen in a long time. For some reason I had originally rated them quite low and they were lost in the depths of my computer until I stumbled on them again today.

The first is from my Yellowstone trip of 2007. There seems to be some sort of interesting complimentary / reflective thing going on here. The yellow reeds are almost exactly mirroring the trees and mountain, and the water contrasts the sky – the tones are almost reversed while the colors are complimentary. Anyway, it caught my eye, and after staring at it for a while I do believe I like it.

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The second is just from last year in Jasper, but it got lost in the shuffle of more bold and colorful pictures (or maybe dark and brooding, I occasionally gravitate towards that). This one has a more quiet feel but still has a lot going on.

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