Archive for the Techniques Category

This Week’s Photo Contest Winner and More

Posted in Articles about Photography, eBooks, Instruction, Monthly Photo Contest, Photography Gear, Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2011 by Darwin

Go over to the How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies blog to see this week’s winner of the How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies Photo Contest. Be sure to enter before the the end of September to get that fabulous prize from Aurum Lodge!

Samantha and I are consolidating a number of our endevours into one landing place on the web. Watch for that coming soon! In the meantime we are doing some housecleaning and that means that some of our products and services will no longer be offered or will change significantly in the future. One of these products are our online courses over at Nature Photographers. Samantha is doing one more session of her acclaimed Learning to Speak the Language of Visual Expression six-week on-line course. I just reread her PDF lessons and I really think she has one of the best courses I have seen on creative and personal expression. If you are struggling with getting your voice to translate into photos, then this might just be the course for you.

And if you haven’t seen any of our instructional eBooks over at Visual Wilderness be sure to check them out. We are closing the shop at the end of August and this is your last chance to grab any of the titles that might be of interest. There are some free eBooks you can get like Good Photo in Bad Light, The l’il eBook of Trees, Trophy Hunting vs Immersion and Winter Musings. Grab ‘em before they are gone!

And of course you can get any of our popular titles like Essential Filters for Digital Nature Photography, Aperture: 3 Simple Rules, or The Basics of Light Painting. Grab them at 15% discount by using the code THANKS on checkout.

©Darwin Wiggett

The Weekly Photo – August 8, 2011

Posted in TCBlog, Techniques, Weekly Photo with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2011 by Darwin

Below are a few more photos from the backpacking trip I recently took with friends. These photos are from Norman Creek at Sunset Pass in Banff National Park, Alberta. If you want a great destination in Banff that is little visited and that is a relatively short backpack, then Sunset Pass might be one to consider. The campground at Norman Creek is perfectly situated on the edge of an expanse of meadows with grand views to Mount Coleman, Mount Wilson and Mount Amery. In spite of the name Sunset pass is great at both sunrise and sunset. To learn more about this hike check out this detailed article by Samantha and see some of the shots she made of Sunset Pass with the Canon G11. Click on the photos to see larger versions. All images were shot with my Canon Rebel T2i and the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 lens.

©Darwin Wiggett - Mount Wilson and Norman Creek at sunset

©Darwin Wiggett - Samantha on the Sunset Pass Trail

©Darwin Wiggett - Mount Wilson at sunset with the Gold-N-Blue Polarizer

©Darwin Wiggett - Mount Amery before an afternoon rain storm

Samantha posted a picture of me making this last image in her article on Sunset Pass (third photo in the article).

Visual Wilderness Website is Closing

Posted in Books about Photography, eBooks, Image Processing and Software, Instruction, Sad News, TCBlog, Techniques with tags , , , , , on August 6, 2011 by Darwin

One year ago Jay and Varina Patel and Samantha and I started a website called Visual Wilderness where we hosted instructional eBooks for nature photographers. Our eBooks have been well received and we have had many comments about how much people have learned from these products. But… to every thing there is a time and a season. This week we are announcing that Visual Wilderness will close by the end of August. Here is what we wrote over on the Visual Wilderness website:

What a year it has been here at Visual Wilderness!

When we look back, we are humbled by the support of all the photographers who have visited this site and found useful instruction in our eBooks.  Visual Wilderness was begun because we saw a need for accessible, high-quality instructional eBooks on how to photograph natural subjects.  Based on your comments and support, this belief was affirmed.  We truly appreciate your faith in us!

Looking back, we have also learned valuable lessons.  The photography market has changed a lot over the last two years with many new excellent photography products and services proliferating across the internet.   Being a nature photographer and photo instructor requires the wearing of many hats:  entrepreneur, graphic designer, book-keeper and marketer are just some of the skills of a successful modern-day photographer.  All of these roles take time.  Sometimes in a business you need to take an objective look at future directions.  Each one of the contributing photographers on this site has his or her own individual business offering services from stock, assignments, and prints to instructional products like seminars, webinars, workshops, tours, and eBooks. For each of us, making our individual businesses viable is our first priority, and to do so requires much investment into marketing and promotion. In the end there is little energy left for a ‘community’ project like Visual Wilderness.

So it saddens us to announce that we will be closing the Visual Wilderness website  and the Visual Wilderness store by the end of August 2011 to concentrate on our individual projects. We’ll post links here over the next few weeks about where you can find each of us and what we are doing in this new world of photography.

Before we close our store for good, we are having a big sale on all of our eBooks. All eBooks on the Visual Wilderness site are discounted by 15% until August 31 at 11:59 PM EST.  Just use the code THANKS on checkout to use the discount. Thank you for your support and happy shooting!

Jay, Varina, Samantha & Darwin

Be sure to take advantage of the 15% discount to get great instructional eBooks

Spring Photo Results – Alan Ernst

Posted in Techniques, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2011 by Darwin

Below are Alan Ernst’s image from the Spring Photo Tour in the Canadian Rockies. For those interested in one of the best spring photo tours in the Canadian Rockies, I highly recommend the tour based out of Aurum Lodge with friend and fellow photographer Royce Howland. To sign up for the Spring 2012 Photo Tour (May 12-16) contact Alan at the Aurum Lodge (info@aurumlodge.com).

©Alan Ernst

Driftwood at Graveyard Flats

Lumix GH1, 14-45mm lens at the equivalent of 42mm, ISO 125, 1/60 sec, f 13, +1/3EV

Landscape extractions and landscape detail are often overlooked when photographers are out to capture the grand mountain landscape, chasing after the magic light. When the light is less than spectacular, great foreground subjects can often be turned into interesting images on their own. I chose orientation, aspect ratio and focal length to exclude all the clutter around and behind my subject, moving back and forth, sideways and up and down until I had a composition I liked. Strong graphic images like this work great in black & white too.

©Alan Ernst

Mistaya Blues

Lumix G1, 45-200mm lens at the equivalent of 168mm, ISO 125, 1/3 sec, f 10, +1/3 EV, Cokin blue/yellow polariser

Tele-zooms are the ideal lens for landscape detail, as they allow you to crop close and refine your composition from any vantage point, while minimising surrounding distractions. The light was flat and visiting Mistaya Canyon ten times a year or more, I wanted to try something different. I rarely use the blue/yellow polariser and if I do, I generally try to “dial” it back from the peak saturation to avoid that artificial looking colour cast. In this case, I decided to max it out though, to emphasize the mill hole in the rock. Again, I spent a lot of time trying different orientations, angles and aspect ratios, until I found the one which showed only the components I wanted: the mill hole and the rock strata which seem to radiate away from it.

©Alan Ernst

Misty Morning in Kootenay Plains

Lumix GH1, 14-45mm lens at the equivalent of 28mm, ISO 100, ½ sec, f 11, 2-stop hard edge grad, solid ND

Fog is rare in our valley but it always makes for interesting moody shots, no matter where you are. The group of pine trees against the background mist attracted my attention first. After a few shots at various angles and orientations, it just seemed too flat however, so I started looking at foreground more closely to generate a feeling of depth. The young aspen tree worked well compositionally, but the flat backlight made it look dull, even though to the eye the leaves were a strong green. I tried fill flash first, which was too directional and affected the entire foreground. It then crossed my mind that light painting might do the trick, so I mounted an extra ND filter to slow down the exposure and shone a small LED flashlight top down onto the little tree.

©Alan Ernst

 Morning Dew on Shooting Star

Lumix GH1, Olympus 50mm macro lens (100m equivalent), ISO 125, 1/30 sec, f 10, + 1 2/3 EV, silver reflector

Mist on a calm and cool morning sets the stage for dew on just about everything. Spring is a great time for wildflowers in the area and the soft light created by the fog was ideal. To remove the flower from the distracting background, I had to go as low as I could and point the camera upwards, which created a silhouette against the bright sky. I did want to capture the subtle colours of the Shooting Star however and thus overexposed as far as I could without washing out the background sky. A small reflector to bounce the light back in to the flower was all that was needed to get the right balance, as fill flash would not have worked at this close distance.

©Alan Ernst

Rock and Water on North Saskatchewan River

Lumix G1, 100-300mm lens at the equivalent of 516mm , ISO 125, 1/125 sec, f 8, + 2/3 EV

Rocks around fast flowing water are usually polished smooth, showing the strata and seams very prominently. Various rapids and canyons along the North Saskatchewan display some very interesting patterns in the rock. In this location, the rock is intermittently covered by water gushing over a small fall. Thank God we have digital cameras nowadays… I took over 100 images of this scene at varying shutter speeds to create different blur and they range from no water showing to water only. The best results were the ones which were about half rock, half moving water as in this case.

©Alan Ernst

 Spotlight on Grizzly Bear

Lumix G1, 100-300mm lens at the equivalent of 200mm, ISO 250, 1/160 sec, f 5.6

Springtime from mid May to early July is the best time to see bears in this area. We have been fortunate to see and photograph a few black bears on virtually every spring tour and on some occasions have encountered grizzlies, like this one sauntering along the Icefields Parkway. When driving in this region, it is always advisable to keep a camera with long lens attached and all settings ready for grab shots. I tend to set my camera to Programme exposure mode, ISO 250 or higher, image stabilisation on, and continuous drive. Often there is only time for one or two shots, so preparation is the key.

The Weekly Photo – August 1, 2011

Posted in Filter, Image Processing and Software, Instruction, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques, Weekly Photo with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2011 by Darwin

©Darwin Wiggett

Here is a shot of Cataract Lake from the headwaters of the Brazeau River in Jasper National Park. This is just below Cataract Pass before humping up over the pass to get into the Whitegoat Wilderness Area (Canon Rebel T2i, Sigma 17-50mm lens, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer, f16 – 3 exposure HDR blend using Oloneo PhotoEngine).

©Darwin Wiggett

Upper Brazeau River Canyon in Jasper National Park looking back toward Nigel Pass (Canon T2i, Sigma 17-50mm lens, Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue Polarizer, f11 – 3 exposure HDR blend using Oloneo PhotoEngine).

©Darwin Wiggett

Upper Cataract Creek Valley in the Whitegoat Wilderness (Canon T2i, Sigma 17-50mm lens, f11 – 3 exposure HDR blend using Oloneo PhotoEngine).

First two winners of the How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies Contest

Posted in eBooks, Good News, Instruction, Techniques, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2011 by Darwin

Note: To see all future reviews please note this blog is no longer active, please visit me over at oopoomoo.com

Check out the first two winning entries for the How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies Photo Contest

Week one is Jeff Lewis and his Bow Lake Reflection Panorama.

Week two is Michael Jame’s Vermilion Lake Infrared.

To enter the contest just click on the banner ad to the right of this post and you’ll be set to win a two-day stay at the acclaimed Aurum Lodge in the Canadian Rockies.

If you are keen about learning how to make our own eBooks and marketing them on the web check out this interview with Stephen Desroches and me over at SMIBS TV.

For a recent review of the Rockies eBook see Younes Bounhar’s blog post.

2011 Tours and Workshops – Something for Everyone

Posted in Art of Photography, Artistic Development, Good News, Instruction, Techniques, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2011 by Darwin

Below is a listing of tours and workshops available for 2011 and into 2012. Their are only a few spots left in these events so if you want to boost your learning in photography then come join us for a great time:

Fire and Ice Photo Tour – November 10 – 13, 2011

This event is sold out but to be added to the wait list contact the Aurum Lodge or sign up for the 2012 photo tour. This is one of my favorite tours because of the short days with great light and the intersection of new ice with the fiery skies of late fall.

Just Announced! Do to popular demand we have added a second Fire and Ice as of Oct 10. Tour starts Wed. Nov. 16th 5pm to Sunday Nov. 20th 1:30 pm (four nights at Aurum Lodge!), with the option to join a day later (Nov. 17th) for those who cannot make the four nights, but wish to come for three nights only. Cost is C$ 1,359 for the four night tour or C$ 1,019 for the three night tour all in. Contact Alan at Aurum Lodge info@aurumlodge.com to book. Only two spots left

©Darwin Wiggett

Ice Bubbles on Abraham Lake – Winter Magic Tours 2012 – Feb. 23-26, and Feb. 29 – March 4, 2012

It seems that the Ice Bubbles out on Abraham Lake have now gotten a bit famous especially after my 2008 Travel Photographer of the Year Win which featured my Abraham Lake shots. I have taken many photographers out on the ice at Abraham Lake and now their great photos are circulating around and getting lots of views. I have been leading these tours since 2005 (see the results from back then when almost everyone was still shooting film!).

It might seem an easy proposition to just drive up to the lake in winter and get great shots on your own; and yes that is possible. But the ice bubble locations change from year to year, and most people are unaware of the extreme dangers of Abraham Lake and of the other great locations near the lake. That is where your guides (Alan who lives on the shores of Abraham Lake) and I can make sure we get you to the best spots in the best light no matter the weather. And plus you get the fantastic accommodations of the Aurum Lodge which is a nice retreat after a few hours out on the ice at -25 degrees C!

In 2012, there are two tours available; Feb 23-26, and Feb. 29 – March 4 (this latter tour is already sold out). So if you are keen to photograph Abraham Lake and other great spots this coming winter, then sign up for the Feb23-26 tour before it sells out!

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett - could you find this place on your own?

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