Sunday, January 24, 2010

This is Alberta

I have to admit that four images does not even come close to encompassing all there is to see in this province I live in. Heck, the four might not even be categorized as stereotypical at all.  Its not even a taste, perhaps just a half whiff of a fragrance that you can't quite place.  Nevertheless, the president of the Foothills Camera Club gave us this assignment for this month's President's Challenge.   Perhaps with contributions from each member we'll give the viewers of our slide show (a photo club in the UK) a taste of Alberta.

I took this shot last summer on an outing to Banff and Lake Louise. Not your typical postcard image but then again, who wants the typical shot?

 Another Lake Louise image here. It was one of those "Holy Crap! There's something cool happening!" type of shots. i.e. I turned and saw the sled and shot.

Yup. I submitted this and I have posted this on the blog before. I think one of the highlights of Alberta is the Canadian Rockies and this is one of my better shots.

My dad has been racing chuckwagons for around 40 years. This shot was taken at the Red Deer Exhibition last summer. The processing is more than I usually do because I didn't want the same old same old shot. Then again, for people who have never seen the sport it would be new anyways!

The set can be viewed as a slideshow on Flickr.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How do you like them Apples?

In this case that's not a quote from Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting but rather a reference to the subject for this week's submissions in the Work Mini-Club.  Apples are a simple subject but offer a lot of creative possibilities.

This shot was deliberately plain Jane and safe. Light was from a 45 degree angle with a bit of fill provided by a reflector.

Contrast the simple safe picture with the craziness of this shot. I have a small flash that can be triggered by another flash. (Check it out here). It has no way of controlling the output but its good for throwing light on a background such as this case. True, this shot is pretty overexposed but I like it because it has an almost "I was abducted by alien apples" feel to it.

This is the same shot but with a little more fill light. It still has the backlighting I liked in the previous shot but with a little more detail.

A little more "normal" and of course I had to try some water droplets. I couldn't find my spray bottle so I took a bottle of water and held my thumb over the end to create the spray. Unfortunately, I ended spraying water everywhere including my background and mat. Lovely.Lighting was from the side to try to emphasize the water droplets.

This was my favorite shot of the night. It has that backlighting I liked plus it has a good amount of fill to provide detail.

Check out series here

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Straight from the Camera - A Kensington Adventure

A few of us at work decided to form a sort of mini camera club to encourage us to get out and shoot and to also share knowledge, information and provide constructive criticism of each others images. Today we headed to Kensington to do our shoot this week. Today we had just one rule: we had to shoot JPG and we have to present our images straight from camera with no editing.  Ideally I'd tweak the levels a bit in post however these aren't too bad. I used my 50 mm f/1.8 throughout the day as I feel that its a lens I don't use often enough.

One of the things I like to shoot (when I don't have in particular to shoot) is things with a notable texture like this old power pole.  (ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/800 second)

I also try to look for patterns. This one is a little underexposed but its not too terrible given the subject matter: (ISO 200, f/1.8, 1/3200 second)

We also took turns posing for each other. Here's Charles in the foreground with Bao in the background.  Kensington has some interesting buildings with wild vibrant colors. I have yet to shoot it but the alley behind the Chicken on the Way has this terrific blue wall.  (ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/1000 second)

You can always get interesting shots in reflections. Unfortunately, this particular puddle had a fair bit of slush in it and it happened to line up with Bao's face. It was still a fun shot so I felt it was worth keeping. (ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/1000 second)

You can check out the rest of my picks here:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

10 New Years Resolutions Every Photographer should make

One of the blogs I try to follow is Lisa Bettany's "".  She is a modelographer (i.e. model/photographer) who also works for the the Vancouver Province.  She was also named on the top 10 hottest geeks by Wired.   Maybe a strange introduction but unfortunately photography is a male dominated industry and hobby so maybe its not so strange to point this out.  Did I mention she is Canadian? Never hurts to put in a good word for a fellow Canuck.

In her most recent post (as of this writing) she wrote about "10 New Years Resolutions Every Photographer should make". I have to agree with all of them however I was really struck by number 4. I will not be hindered by the gear I do not have.

That is an incredible notion. I mean, how often do we have thoughts like "if only I had this lens" or "if only I had that camera." A better camera doesn't necessarily mean better pictures. And in fact if you don't get your butt out there and shoot it doesn't matter what camera you have collecting dust.

I always laugh and get slightly offended when someone says nice picture --you must have a nice camera.  After all, its the photographer not the gear that makes the picture. Yet I have no problem feeling gear envy when someone else takes a nice picture with a newer/ more expensive camera, lens, or lighting setup.

I think the other resolution that made me think was  I will learn how to process my shots. I still feel quite inadequate with my processing. I can do the basics and know enough to wreck a perfectly decent shot.  That's one resolution I think I'll have to work on.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Muttart Conservatory - Edmonton, Alberta

My wife and I traveled north to Edmonton to visit my brother and his family for New Years Eve and the weekend following. My sister-in-law took my wife and I for an outing to the Muttart Conservatory in the Edmonton river valley. Its really a neat place especially seeing lush tropical plants, and cactuses that you would see in an arid desert all while its twenty below outside.

I played around with my macro lens and tried to get some different plant based abstract images. One of the pyramids is also the "feature pyramid" which has a display that changes throughout the year. The theme at this time of year of course was Christmas.
Check out the complete collection here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rocky Mountain High

I have to say that Banff National Park is always a favorite place of mine to shoot. Whether its revisting places I've shot before or finding something new I am always generally pleased with the shots I take there.

I have to thank my sister-in-law Holly and her boyfriend Daniel for inviting me along with them on their trip. I played tour guide to a certain extent but in a lot of ways the day kinda unfolded on its own.

We stopped at McDougall Church on the way out before we stopped at Johnston Canyon.

I've never been to the canyon in winter and it was absolutely breathtaking. We only made it to the lower falls but it was definitely worth the trip.

Lake Louise is another place I've been to in the past but always in the summer. We finished our trip just outside the Banff town site at Vermilion Lakes.

Check out the rest of the pictures here