Archive for intimate landscapes

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.



Inspirations – Kouji Tomihisa

Posted in Inspirations with tags , on December 15, 2011 by sabrina

© Kouji Tomihisa

I normally take photos on my way to the office. As a result I take a lot of photos at sunrise, sunset, night and in train stations. One thing that differentiates my photos from other photographers is the height of my view. I often use the ‘live view’ finder of my camera, thus the view is as low as a 5-year old child. I intentionally take my photos that way so that you can feel you have gone back to those days. ~ Kouji Tomihisa

Inspirations – Andy Brown

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , on December 8, 2011 by sabrina

© Andy Brown

I shot with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Canon EF 17-40mm L.  Exposure was 0.2 seconds at f/14 and ISO 160.  The camera was handheld throughout and I panned vertically to achieve the ICM – it’s the first time I’d tried this technique and a concept I hope to revisit soon.  Processing was done in ACR and CS4.

Intentional camera movement goes against the grain of so much I have learnt through my imagery – there are no hard and fast restraints on focus, clarity and detail.  Instead, it’s an intriguing way to try and reveal the spirit of your subject – and of course trees work well given their familiarity and strong vertical lines that react so well to panning!  My intent was to work a contrast between the all pervasive mist and the vivid hues of the woodland vegetation, with the trees providing a pseudo-abstract link between the two planes.  It’s funny how with the creation of some images I spend hours deciding on composition, deliberating over subtle lighting nuances and suchlike prior to releasing the shutter.  This photograph was borne of completely the opposite.  I was on my way to an entirely different destination when I drove through this woodland, laden in early morning mist.  I stopped, took just a handful of shots and was back in my car within twenty minutes and on my way… ~ Andy Brown

The Weekly Photo – Nov 21, 2011

Posted in TCBlog, Weekly Photo, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by Darwin

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) 😉

©Darwin Wiggett

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.

©Darwin Wiggett

The B+W version (conversion done in Nik Silver Efex Pro) – which version do you prefer?

Inspirations – Bluebell Sunrise by Antony Spencer

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on November 20, 2011 by sabrina

© Antony Spencer

The image was made in a Beech woodland in the U.K in an area it has taken me a few years to locate. I would walk through these vast woodlands each spring trying desperately to locate a section where the forest floor was uncluttered, the bluebells were dense providing a decent colourful display and also where the early morning light would break through the trees and illuminate sections whilst leaving others in shadow.

When I finally worked out the location it took another year to to get a subtle mist just to help with the highlights a little also and add to the atmosphere I wanted to create.

The image was made on a canon 1dsmkiii using an old Contax/Yashica mount Zeiss 35-70 lens. The micro contrast of this particular lens is phenomenal, perfect for a detailed image like this.

I absolutely love our British woodlands in the spring when these beautiful colourful bluebells transform the forest floor into a sea of purple and blue. One of the most amazing natural events to capture and one I will continue to work at for many years to come. ~ Antony Spencer

Inspirations – New Forest by David Baker

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on November 9, 2011 by sabrina

© David Baker

Canon 5D II with a 24mm TS-E II 0.6 secs @ f/11 with a 0.3 Lee ND grad

I wanted to capture a typical New Forest scene at around dawn. The weather forecast was for mist/fog and I knew that if it appeared, it would linger at a favourite location in the Forest due primarily to the depression of the land.

It’s a typical forest scene because of the New Forest pony (there are usually at least two or three Forest ponies here at around sunrise), the singular tree and the heathland. I was fortunate that this pony stopped where s/he did. The autumn colour in the heath was just about to show but I like the muted palette due to the mist. At this time of day it’s a peaceful place. ~ David Baker

Canadian Rockies Fall Photo Tour Results – John Deines

Posted in Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2011 by Darwin

Below are the six favorite pictures from John Deines on the Fall 2011 Photo Tour.

Photo by John Deines

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.

Photo by John Deines

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.

Photo by John Deines

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.

Photo by John Deines

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.

Photo by John Deines

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.

Photo by John Deines

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.

Inspirations – Gary Mitchell

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , , on October 23, 2011 by sabrina

© Gary Mitchell

This image of Adrina among the roots was made with my Canon 50D and 16-35 2.8 back in June of 2009. It was f8 at 1/100. Sounds great, right? Well, it’s also shot at 1600 ISO, because just prior to arriving at this location, the model and I had been trying to shoot in an abandoned space that was very dark. So I’d cranked up the ISO to try to get a workable shutter speed under those conditions — then forgot to adjust it back to my usual 160 or 320 before resuming outdoor shooting. For various reasons, a tripod was not practical for this location, so the high ISO actually worked out well. It did allow me to shoot at a an optimal aperture for sharpness and depth of field, plus a high enough shutter speed to get very good sharpness hand-held, so a little noise is a trade-off I can live with. I’ve exhibited a 16×20 inch print of this image and the noise does not detract in my opinion — being properly exposed and not having heavy shadow or solid areas makes noise less of an issue. Converting to monochrome in Lightroom, adding a little vignette, and some secret herbs and spices completed the picture. I frequently shoot RAW with monochrome picture style because it gives me a good preview of what the image will look like in B&W, which is pretty much my “native language” when it comes to photography. Of course, the RAW file gives me the option to use color when an image calls for it.

About the image, we were in pursuit of a purported waterfall in an area south of Dayton, Ohio, but I’d not had a chance to scout this location ahead of time. So it wasn’t until we were on the scene after a 20 minute walk into the woods that we saw the stream was nearly dry, and nothing even resembling falls in sight. But the roots of these two trees on the shore of the stream bed provided a lot of visual interest and possibilities. Adrina tried some poses in the little cubby hole on the right side of the trees — I like those shots, but finding the spot where she could stretch out among the roots was a clear winner. As serene as this image looks, she was contending with the usual spiders and insects, while still managing to look graceful. We worked the scene a bit more, as well as some other spots near there before we headed back to the car, but I was confident that this frame would be the standout from that location. ~ Gary Mitchell

Fall in the Canadian Rockies Photo Tour Results – John Smeeton

Posted in Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2011 by Darwin

Below are John Smeeton’s six favorite photos from the 2011 Canadian Rockies Fall Tour. Great having you on the trip John!

©John Smeeton

Abraham Sunrise

The adage “f/8 and be there” was surely intended for this shot. One of the many great things about a photo tour is that a skilled guide, like Darwin or Alan, can interpret the local weather conditions and take the group to where they can get the most out of it. Half-awake I hiked by headlamp with the rest of the group to the shore of Abraham Lake, set-up low looking eastward and came alive as the underlit clouds progressively exploded with colour over the next 20 minutes. It was a pleasure to stand there, cable release in hand, and admire nature’s artistry. Canon 5DMII, TS-E 24 f/3.5L II, 100 ISO, 0.8s, f/11.

©John Smeeton

 Aspen Impression

A long exposure captured the leaves’ and branches’ motion in the light breeze at this aspen grove near Preachers Point on Abraham Lake. I remember thinking at the time that a landscape painter would surely find this vista every bit as irresistible as did this landscape photographer. Thanks to some post-processing, I met the painter halfway. Canon 5DMII, 24-105 f/4L, 100 ISO, 65mm, 0.4s, f/11, Singh-Ray 5-stop ND.

©John Smeeton

 Aurum Vista

We walked down the hill from Aurum Lodge to capture the sunrise over Abraham Lake. I twiddled about and made some OK shots but I just wasn’t feeling the love. I decided to head back to the Lodge for a hot cup of coffee. I shouldered my tripod, took a dozen steps up the hill, glanced up and over to my left and voila! The majesty of the trees standing witness to the fog-shrouded mountains was not only a scene I just had to capture, it also energized me for another great day of photography in the Rockies. Canon 5DMII, 70-200 f/4L, 100 ISO, 200mm, 0.3s, f/11.

©John Smeeton

Canyon Study

This was taken under an overcast sky in the late-afternoon at the Kicking Horse River in Yoho National Park. It’s a three-shot HDR that looked pretty good in colour but the black and white conversion really emphasized the incredible texture in the rock formations. Canon 5DMII, 24-105 f/4L, 100 ISO, 40mm, +/- 2 EV bracket mid 1.3s, f/8, Singh-Ray 5-stop ND.

©John Smeeton

Mistaya State of Mind

I’ve lived in Calgary for 17 years, less than three hours drive from the Mistaya Canyon. I’m at a loss to explain how, until now, I was unaware of this photographer’s treasure trove that lay just a short walk beyond the tree cover along the Icefields Parkway. This was taken on the Mistaya River just upstream from the Canyon. Getting a bracketed three-shot capture while keeping the lens surface dry of the wind-blown rain was a challenge. Canon 5DMII, 24-105 f/4L, 100 ISO, 28mm, +/- 2 EV bracket mid 1/15s, f/11.

©John Smeeton

Waterfowl Confection

Even in the pre-dawn shadow the silent vista that greets you as you emerge from the trees to the edge of Upper Waterfowl Lake is awe-inspiring enough to almost make you forget to capture the images you came there for. Then, like a kid in a candy store, the challenge is to choose something to savour from amongst the limitless (but, at sunrise, time-limited) visual confections offered-up by nature. I like this shot, taken on a frosty morning, because it combines the serenity of the reflection and low-lying fog with the nobility of the sunlit mountain. Canon 5DMII, 24-105 f/4L, 100 ISO, 40mm, +/- 2 EV bracket mid 1/8s, f/11.

Canadian Rockies Fall Photo Tour Results – Don Allen

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

Below are Don Allen’s favorite images from the Canadian Rockies Fall Photo Tour.

©Don Allen

Photo 1: Canon 5dm2, 24-105mm f/4 lens at 24mm, 1 sec at f11

This first image was from sunrise from at White Goat Lakes. Like most of the group I began the sunrise by shooting from the main pond, but when the wind kicked up I retreated to this small pond that was better protected. I stood in the edge of the pond while making this shot, trying to carefully align the mountain reflection with the grasses in the pond.

©Don Allen

Photo 2: Canon 5dm2, 24-105mm f/4 lens at 73mm, 1/160 sec at f11 at f8

At mid-morning the light on Abraham Lake is phenomenal. For this shot I merely composed to have the beautiful trees in the foreground with the peak cropped tightly so that it looms large over the scene.

©Don Allen

Photo 3: Canon 5dm2, 16-35mm f/2.8 II lens at 20mm, 1/5 sec at f8

While I did not find the sunsets around Abraham Lake to be as spectacular as the sunrises, I always took the opportunity to shoot the sunset when able to do so. On this evening, there were just two of us shooting with Darwin from this spot. I liked the colors and the natural features of the landscape flow together to create strong visual interest.

©Don Allen

Photo 4: Canon 5dm2, 24-105mm f/4 lens at 24mm, 1 sec at f11

Sunrises can be spectacular in the Canadian Rockies and this morning was no exception. I alternated between shooting into the direction of the sun and the mountains in the opposite direction that were just being lit by the morning sun. This photo showcases the colors present while shooting towards the sun.


©Don Allen

Photo 5: Canon 5dm2, 24-105mm f/4 lens at 55mm, 2sec at f11

For most of the workshop, I was usually one of the last to finish shooting each scene. This image was a last second shot at the end of a sunrise shoot. I chose to use the Aspens to frame the lake and the mountains. The colorful fall grasses allow for some easy compositions around Abraham Lake in the fall.


©Don Allen

Photo 6: Canon 5dm2, 90mm Tilt/Shift f/2.8 lens, 1/8 sec at f8

While most of the group shot at Meeting of the Waters in Yoho National Park, I admired the ground cover near the parking area. Since fall colors are rare in my part of Texas, I was thrilled to see the myriad of colors in the leaves. Though I did not have a macro lens, I was able to utilize my 90mm tilt shift lens to provide a reasonable close-up with a focus plane parallel to the leaves.