Archive for the Good News Category

The Final Post – 3 Years Later

Posted in Good News, Inspirations with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2011 by Darwin

Three years ago in January, 2009, I made my first blog post. This post will be my last one on this blog.

It has been a wonderful experience sharing photos, stories and tips about life and learning through the lens. I’ve had photo contests where I gave away lenses and trips and other goodies (how fun!). I’ve had a seriously controversial camera review (Sam and I won’t live that one down… but we do get emails daily totally in agreement with our findings)  But best of all I have shared with you the amazing work of many fellow photographers through Inspirations and Photographer of the Month posts. Thanks to these photographers for letting me feature their work!

I have been inspired and humbled by he response to this blog. Thanks mostly to you dear visitor for stopping by to read and make comments!

Going forward Samantha and I will do all our photography and community posts over at oopoomoo where we will have tons of free photography tips and tricks and techniques and of course our popular How-to and Photography Guide eBooks and announcements of workshops and tours. We still plan to keep the inspiration up and have lots to stimulate the eye and mind on the topics of photography and living better on this planet. I hope you will join us at oopoomoo.

Finally, I want to thank a Samantha Chrysanthou, Sabrina Henry and Catherine Byram for help with posting blog entries.

Darwin

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Two Openings for SNAP! Weekend Workshop – Oct 27-30, 2011

Posted in Good News, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2011 by Darwin

We’ve had a couple of cancellations for the SNAP! Photography Seminars Weekend Workshop with John E. Marriott, Samantha Chrysanthou and yours truly coming up on October 27 – 30, 2011. This means if you are able to take advantage of a last minute opportunity, then now is your chance!  The workshop sold out early this year, leaving a few disappointed photographers out there – our apologies!  So don’t hesitate if you are interested.  The workshop, based out of beautiful Baker Creek Chalets near Lake Louise, is geared toward beginner to intermediate shooters. We cover topics ranging from artful compositions to useful filter techniques with plenty of constructive critique throughout the weekend.  A combination of class and field time ensures that you get to practice your new skills, and a low instructor-to-student ratio guarantees all your questions will be answered!  (If you have questions about the meaning of life, John Marriott will be happy to answer them!!). For more information on the workshop and topics covered visit the SNAP! website. To register contact Baker Creek Chalets.

We hope to see you at the workshop!

©Darwin Wiggett

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?

The Weekly Photo – July 18, 2010

Posted in Good News, Image Processing and Software, TCBlog, Techniques, Weekly Photo, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by Darwin

This week I am posting three photos from Island Lake and Island Lake Lodge in Fernie, British Columbia. Samantha and I are in the process of developing an exciting new photo workshop with Island Lake Lodge that we will announce in the next few months. Suffice to say if you want something completely unique and you like photography, wine, food, outdoor recreation and nature, then do we have a program for you! We can’t wait! In the meantime if you are in the Fernie area do check out Island Lake Lodge as a potential place to stay; you won’t be disappointed!

Also very exciting to me is a new software program introduced to me by Royce Howland called Oloneo PhotoEngine. Royce is the master of HDR and in my opinion is one of the best instructors out there on the making of realistic looking images using HDR. Royce told me he has been using PhotoEngine a lot and loves how simple and intuitive the program is for making HDR images. If Royce recommends something I try it!.

Sure enough I have become hooked on Oloneo’s PhotoEngine. It is super easy to use, has amazing capabilities and is fast. I made sixteen 3-frame HDR images in less than 1/2 hour. Of all the different HDR programs I have tried this one gives results that look the most realistic. Sure you can still make grunge cartoonish HDR’s if you want but the control sliders on this program make it easy to get precisely the image that appeals to you. This is software I recommend to anyone interested in extending the dynamic range of their digital images. I am going to get Samantha to try this program out because if anyone can find a bug or a weakness in a piece of software or a equipment it is Sam! Watch for a more detailed review in the future but my preliminary conclusion is WOW!  (Note: I am not paid not sponsored by Oloneo, I just am thrilled with the software; can you tell?).

Below is a the the middle exposure of a three frame bracket to build an HDR image (0EV, +2EV and -2EV). Yous can see that the image definitely needs more detail in the shadows and highlights that the other two bracketed photos will provide.

RAW image of 0 EV exposure

Here is the final HDR built in Oloneo’s PhotoEngine (click on the photo to see a larger version).

©Darwin Wiggett - 3 image HDR using Oloneo PhotoEngine

Here is another image of Island Lake and the Lizard Range using a 3-exposure HDR using PhotoEngine (click on the image for a larger version).

©Darwin Wiggett - 3-frame HDR using Oloneo's PhotoEngine

And Island Lake Lodge using PhotoEngine as the HDR processing software.

©Darwin Wiggett - Island Lake Lodge

Canadian Rockies Photo Contest

Posted in eBooks, Good News, Monthly Photo Contest, TCBlog, VWBlog on July 14, 2011 by Darwin

How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies Photo Contest

Contest runs from July 15 – September 30, 2011

I am happy to announce a new photo contest to celebrate the glory of the Canadian Rockies and promote my new website How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies. Enter your best images of the Canadian Rockies. Any subject matter is acceptable (sports, wildlife, landscapes, macro, travel, or people) as long as the photo was taken within the Canadian Rockies (see this map for geographical boundaries of the Canadian Rockies). The contest is easy to enter and the prizes are great!

Prizes: The winning image will net the photographer a two night stay at eco-award winning Aurum Lodge, located 45 kilometres west of Nordegg, Alberta, Canada in the heart of the Bighorn Wildlands and situated overlooking Abraham Lake. The prize includes accommodations for one or two persons in a superior corner room and includes one evening meal, two breakfasts and taxes (value $400 CAD).

The winner also receives a 20-image personalized portfolio critique by me (Darwin Wiggett) presented as an interactive PDF (value $200 CAD).

To Enter: Simply go to How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies Flickr group, join the group and enter your favourite image taken in the Canadian Rockies. You may enter up to 10 images per week. If you are already part of the group, your images are automatically considered for the contest. Every Thursday I will pick my favourite entry from the Flickr group and post it on the How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies blog. The final winning image will be chosen from the weekly picks and awarded the prize on Thursday Oct. 6, 2011. Enter weekly, enter often – final deadline is September 30th at 11:59 MST.

Terms and Conditions: Only images of the Canadian Rockies are eligible (open to any photographer, anywhere in the world). All images must be the original work of the photographer. By posting on the How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies Flickr Group the photographer grants publication of images on the How To Photograph the Canadian Rockies blog. The photographer retains copyright and the only use granted by entering is posting of a weekly winner and the final winning image on the How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies blog. If you are already a member of the How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies Flickr group and do not wish your images to be eligible for the contest, you must withdraw your images from the Flickr group for the duration of the contest.

The prize of two nights’ accommodation to Aurum Lodge is available only during the off-season, from October 2011 to April, 2012, excluding public holidays.  Transportation to and from the Aurum Lodge is the responsibility of the winner.

Good luck!

©Darwin Wiggett - The deck at Aurum Lodge

What’s in my F-Stop Bag? (a landscape photographer’s bag of goodies)

Posted in Camera Review, Filter, Good News, Instruction, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Videos, VWBlog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2011 by Darwin

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

One of the most common questions I get is about what gear I use and why. Of course, it does not matter too much about the gear. I get the same kind of photos whether I use my Canon G11, Canon Rebel or Canon 1ds Mark III; the only difference is in the quality of the files and the ergonomics and speed of the camera; the Mark III files can be enlarged to a greater size and is the fastest camera I own.

I have numerous other cameras and I use the one that offers the controls and features that I need based on what I want to shoot. I might use a Holga for mid-day ‘arty’ snaps in the city, the Canon Rebel for backpack trips, the Mark III for action, or a camera phone for everyday happy snaps. There is no perfect camera, just as long as you have one with you!

The same thing goes for camera bags and backpacks. I have numerous bags each one designed to do a different job. I use a different bag when I am biking, hiking or car touring. But over the last month or so I have standardized my  ‘landscape’ photo system into one bag that I am loving whether I use it for car-based shooting, short hikes or overnight back-country trips. My new bag of choice if the F-Stop Sartori EXP. This bag is the big gun of the F-Stop line and is touted as their ‘expedition bag’. For me it’s not too big but definitely can handle a lot of gear from my full landscape kit’ to everything I need for a couple of nights in the back-country.

What I like best about F-Stop bags is that they are convertible and you can put as much or as little camera gear in the packs as you need simply by swapping out the ICU’s (internal camera units). I use a small ICU for backpacking and take my Rebel and one or two lenses; the rest of the pack is filled with essential back-country camping gear. For everyday use I use a large ICU in the Sartori to hold my complete landscape photography kit with room left over for essential snacks, clothes and other useful items necessary for short hikes and messing around in nature close to the road.

If you want to see more neat features and other reviews of F-Stop bags check out these links: F-Stop Bags – High and Dry and Ben Horton’s Review.

For me F-stop bags are the most comfortable and well-designed packs for the active outdoor and nature photographer. I highly recommend them. The only complaint I have about F-stop packs are that they are designed for people with average to longish backs. Most women and shorter guys (under 5’6″) may find the shoulder straps and belt system too long to sit properly on the body. Samantha found this out the hard way when she tried to steal my F-Stop bag only to discover that even for a taller woman like her (5’7″) the strap system is too long. Sam also tried out a Loka and a Tipola pack and tested it on other woman and all the F-Stop packs had the same short-coming — the torso of the bag was too long for most women.

So… F-Stop needs to make some packs in smaller versions for the torsally challenged photographer! Or, at least make a series of packs with an adjustable harness. For me I am happy because all the F-stop bags fit me perfectly (and so I got to keep all the bags Sam tried to steal!). Seriously though,  if you are short or a woman I would hesitate at his point to order an F-Stop bag. But for all you average-backed and long-backed dudes, you’ll likely love this or any of the F-stop packs. For now this a guy’s dream outdoor and nature pack (the perfect purse for the rugged boy in us all!).

Note: F-stop is one of my sponsors; I get to tell it like it is and F-stop in no way influenced this review. I love the packs, Samantha wants to love them but they just don’t fit most women.

UPDATE: Good news, I just heard back from F-Stop and the good news is they plan to release a short torso version of the Loka pack this fall! Also the F-stop packs have really filled a niche and everyone loves them so supplies are a bit short at the moment because the bags sold even more briskly than anticipated!

To learn more about the Sartori Pack and to see every piece of camera gear I use for landscape photography watch the video below:

(warning, in the video I called my cable release a ‘polarizer’ — the mind is the first thing to go — always wear a helmet, the brain is a delicate organ!)

A list of the camera gear harmed in the making of this video:

Canon EOS-1ds Mark III

Canon 24mm TS-E Mark II

Canon 17mm TS-E

Canon 45mm TS-E

Canon 90mm TS-E

Sigma 120-400mm lens

Cokin Z-Pro Filter Holder

Singh-Ray Filters

The Lee Big Stopper

F-stop bags

If you are in the USA and buy from B+H Photo you are supporting this blog with tiny bits of coffee money (I might even buy an occasional beer on special days!). If you are in Canada please buy from The Camera Store simply because they are the best store in the country!

Darwin at the Columbia Icefield with an F-Stop Sartori EXP pack