All photographs were taken with a Panasonic LX-5 point & shoot camera at a wide aperture, usually f/2.8. I pressed the camera lens right to the surface of the ice, as close as I could get to the features buried within, and used a small pocket LED flashlight for selective lighting. Each final image was developed with HDR processing (using Oloneo PhotoEngine) from 2 – 3 bracketed exposures, followed by finishing work in Photoshop for additional contrast & color.
Archive for Canada
This one is from the November Fire and Ice Tour. I used my trusty 17mm TSE lens to give me a wide-angle view with a leaf in the foreground. I used tilt to give me incredible DOF. This one is from Preacher’s Point on Abraham Lake. I used Photo Engine (HDR) and Nik Color Efex Pro 4.0 (for contrast control) to process this one.
Detail shot done with the Canon G11 and processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and Nik Colour Efex Pro 4. Save 15% on all Nik products – use the code darwin on checkout (this code will expire Dec 1, 2011).
Alberta recently passed a distracted driving law where you not supposed to text, put on make-up, or sketch while driving. I looked carefully at the regulations and there was nothing there about using a Holga while driving (but electronic cameras are banned – yeah for film!). So last time I went into Banff National Park I pulled out the Holga at nearly 100 KMPH (check the speedometre in the photo) and snapped this shot of Cascade Mountain from the Trans Canada Highway (as you can see the road was empty so who was I distracting anyway?). Safety first though; I was wearing my hard hat and steel-toed boots while doing this dangerous exercise (and I did put my coffee down before snapping the shot)! ;-)
I just got back from the final Fire and Ice Photo Tour this year. We were ‘blessed’ with cold temps (-25 degrees over night) and therefore some nice ice and even a little bit of fire (sunrises and sunsets). The gang of shooters were a blast and everyone was open to the amazing possibilities nature tossed our way.
Part of each tour is a safety meeting about ice conditions. You can see here what happens when someone does not listen to the safety spiel! The good news is with my super long exposure of the scene (5 minutes using a Lee Big Stopper ND filter), the waves and bubbles of the struggling participant did not even register in the image. So let this be a lesson, always listen to your instructor….
This one is dedicated to Joe (thanks for leaving the camera gear on shore) ;-)
The colour version – Canon EOS-1ds Mark III, Canon 24 TSE, 5 minutes at f11, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer, Singh-Ray 3-stop soft-edge grad, Lee 10-stop Big Stopper ND filter.
The B+W version (conversion done in Nik Silver Efex Pro) – which version do you prefer?
Below are Alan’s six favorites from the Fire and Ice photo tour. We had ‘interesting’ weather that forced participants to dig deep to come up with creative images. As you can see from Alan’s images below, there is always something to shoot no matter what kind of light and weather nature throws at you.
Cline River Canyon
Lumix GH2, Zuiko 11-22mm lens at 22mm (44mm equiv.), ISO 160, f8 at 1/60s, + 1.33 EV
Lumix GH1, Lumix 100-300mm lens at 200mm (400mm equiv.), ISO 100, f16, 1/10s, +0.7 EV
Morning Sun on Vision Quest
Lumix GH1, Lumx 100-300mm lens at 170mm (340mm equiv.), ISO 100, f9, 1/40s, +0.7 EV
Lumix GH2, Zuiko 11-22mm lens at 21mm (42mm equiv.), ISO 160, f16, 0.6s, +1 EV, solid ND filter
Lumix GH2, Zuiko 12-60mm lens at 21mm (42mm equiv.), ISO 160, f16, 1/5s, + 0.66 EV
The Drain at Whirlpool Point
Lumix GH2, Zuiko 11-22mm lens at 11mm (22mm equiv.), ISO 160, f14, 0.8s, +0.66 EV
Here’s the Ice, Where’s the Fire?
This photo was taken on the last morning of the Fire and Ice Photo Tour in the Canadian Rockies which ended yesterday. Unlike most November tours, this tour we were given cloudy and snowy conditions. But even with the lack of ‘fire’ (sunrises and sunsets), the group of intrepid photographers made some great images.
One of the tricks I use in ‘bad light’ (e.g. overcast, grey days) is to set my digital camera to ‘monochrome’ so that the LCD of my camera shows B+W photos. I find it helps to strip away the colour to see compositions in B+W. Often there will be great images out there that speak to be taken even in the ‘crappy’ light. The image is a case in point. In colour it had no life but when I saw how it looked on the LCD in monochrome, I decided the photo was worth taking. If you shoot in RAW format the camera will display a B+W image on your LCD but record a full colour image in-camera which you can use to make B+W conversion later in post processing. I use Silver Efex Pro 2 as my default B+W conversion program (for a 15% discount on the software just enter darwin as the discount code on checkout). Stay tuned for great shots from participants in the following weeks most of whom used the monochrome setting on their cameras to mine wonderful B+W images in the moody light
For anyone wanting to see the new ice in the Rockies and hopefully to get a bit of fire to boot, there is one spot left starting this Wednesday (November 16) until Sunday (November 20). Contact Alan at the Aurum Lodge (email@example.com) to for more information.
Last week Sam posted a comparison of the same subject shot with film and digital. Her point was to show that the two media deliver very different results and that neither was ‘true’ to her experience of being there. Of course, we all know that cameras do not record things exactly like we see them. Some capture devices seem ‘truer’ than others but none record the ‘truth’ (5 human observers to the same event will all ‘record’ or remember the event differently – so what is truth anyway?).
Given that there is no universal truth then it simply becomes a question of what tool (camera, film type, digital sensor type, processing workflow etc) returns results closer to the way you view or want to present the world in your art. Of course you can enhance or alter the capture in processing (either in the digital or chemical darkroom) to get the results even closer to your personal view. I believe it’s always better to use the media that delivers results closest to where you want to end up, rather than shaving a square block down to fit into a round hole (but maybe that is just me, some of you might like the shaving process ;-)).
The two images below were photographed at the Nordegg mine and were taken at the same time as Sam’s shots in her post. The results of the comparison look similar to the Sam’s in terms of colour and contrast. Which you prefer is personal, you might like one better than the other, or you might not like either rendition. Your job as a photographer is to translate what you see and feel about a scene to your viewer. Using the media that gets you the results you want is really all that matters.
Above – Shot with a Tachihara 4×5 view camera using Fujichrome Velvia 50 slide film (I used a flashlight to paint light onto the wheels – the orange cast).
Below – Shot with a Canon EOS-1ds digital camera and light-painted as described above.
Making photos usually does not stop at pressing the shutter. Image making is a three part process and this process was really popularized by Ansel Adams in his series of books; The Camera, The Negative and The Print. In today’s digital world photography world, we capture images in our camera, we process the resulting image (often a RAW ‘negative’) in the computer and then we output our images to print (or the web) so the process has not changed just the technology of how we do the process.
I would add a fourth component to Ansel Adams equation and that is The Person. The camera does not make the image; it is the photographer. What interests you, what attracts your eye, what you choose to include or exclude, how you compose and ‘see’ are individual and personal. So let’s not forget that the end product is the result of the personal vision of the photographer (and this vision can and should carry through from seeing to capture, development and print).
As a photographer who learned and grew up photographically using slide film, I was mostly denied the luxury of carrying my photographic vision beyond the press of the shutter. The end product was the slide (a piece of positive film). The image was ‘processed’ by a lab and there was little ‘creative’ input at the processing stage (save for altering the the exposure by pushing or pulling the development). Really, the film was developed in a set formula to insure that the exposure captured in-camera was the exposure that came out on the slide. And as far as printing was concerned slide film could be printed but with difficulty and serious photographic printers stuck with negative film. Mostly slides were used to hand to publishers who printed the image in books and magazines and calendars (the printing was out of the photographer’s control). The simple point here is that a slide shooter had to use all his or her craft and art in the capture stage. The image had to be finished in-camera. End of story.
I was reminded of the ‘getting it right’ in-camera during a recent Creative Expression Masterclass workshop with Royce Howland and Samantha Crysanthou. For some of the exercises in seeing we needed participants to capture images in-camera using JPEG and the images were not to be processed after the fact. Having to capture what to what you see and getting it the best possible in-camera is great exercise in discipline. Even this former slide shooter realized just how much I have come to rely on ‘enhancing’ my personal vision through the development of the digital negative. The image below is an in-camera JPEG capture and this image reminded me how rewarding it was and is to get a completely finished image in-camera. No post-processing was done on this image save for resizing and sharpening for the web.
Canon EOS-1ds Mark III, Canon TS-E 24mm lens, 1/4s at f11, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer, Singh-Ray 3 stop soft-edge grad filter.
When Catherine, Darwin’s assistant, wasn’t running around trying to herd all the participants to a designated spot, or wasn’t busy collecting lunch garbage, headed for the recycle bin at Aurum Lodge, she did manage to take a few photos. Below are the six favorite pictures from Catherine Byram on the Fall 2011 Photo Tour.
Near Nordegg Alberta
Misty Morning at Waterfowl Lake
Forest fire area near Abraham Lake
Garden Path at Nordegg Mine Site
Exposed tree roots on a well used path at Waterfowl Lake.
Sunset at Reflecting Ponds
Below are the six favorite pictures from John Deines on the Fall 2011 Photo Tour.
Allstones Creek gave us opportunities in landscapes and macros. Here, I present the image of a cliff which shows a vertical pattern of alternating layers of rock. I was impressed with different rates of erosion between the brown and gray layers and the darker or black layers. Splashes of green show the life that clings to the steep fins. Canon 50D, 24-105 f/4L, 100 ISO, 55mm, 0.6s, f/11.
Sunrise on a somewhat windy morning on Abraham Lake presented a beautiful sky of red and dark clouds. I chose to keep the mountains in silhouette to preserve the intensity of the sky and light painted the blowing grasses in front of the camera to provide some foreground. The four second exposure smoothed the lake waters somewhat. Canon 50D, 10-22 EFS, 200 ISO, 22mm, 4s, f/22.
As we waited at Preachers Point, a set of vaguely lenticular clouds caught the gold and pink rays of the setting sun. The wild grasses on the near shore provided a nice foreground and the sprinkle of yellow-gold trees on the distant shore provide some mid-range interest. Canon 50D, 10-22 EFS, 200 ISO, 22mm, 1.3s, f/22.
The Nordegg Mine site was a treasure trove of images. One image that represented to me the past life of the mine and the impact of machinery on the process of mining coal was this set of three gears balanced in the grass. A little post processing to blur out or vignette the edges of the frame amplify the focus of the image. Canon Powershot G12, 80 ISO, 11mm, 1/100s, f/4.
Upper Waterfowl Lake presented us with the rising sun behind us, trying to illuminate the peaks through a heavy mist. My early frames such as this one, showed color in the mountain tops and reflections, through the thickening mist which almost obscured the forested shoreline across the lake. Canon 50D, 10-22 EFS, 400 ISO, 14mm, 1s, f/22.
This boat dock on Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, BC, provided some nice color and pattern leading to the emerald colored water beyond. Canon 50D, 10-22 EFS, 100 ISO, 13mm, 5s, f/16.