Archive for Royce Howland

The Weekly Photo – November 7, 2011

Posted in Art of Photography, Image Processing and Software, Techniques, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2011 by Darwin

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.

©Darwin Wiggett

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.


Another Weekly Win and More Mine Tour Results

Posted in Monthly Photo Contest, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2011 by Darwin

First congratulations to Scott Dimond for another weekly win in the How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies Photo Contest, to see his winning photo of the week, click on this link.

The Canadian Rockies contest closes by the end of September so be sure to enter for a two night stay at the Aurum Lodge and 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).

And below our Royce Howland’s six favorite photos form the Nordegg Mine Tour and the walk on the Athabasca Glacier.

©Royce Howland

©Royce Howland

©Royce Howland

©Royce Howland

©Royce Howland

©Royce Howland

Nordegg Mine Tour and Icefield Walk Results – Sonia Wadsworth

Posted in Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2011 by Darwin

On August 19-22, I co-hosted a photography outing with Mark and Leslie Degner, Royce Howland, Samantha Chrysanthou and Alan Ernst to the Brazeau Colleries in Nordegg, Alberta and to the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park. On the tour were six keen photographers that will share their favorite ‘take’ from the outing. Below are Sonia Wadsworth’s images.

©Sonia Wadsworth

©Sonia Wadsworth

©Sonia Wadsworth

©Sonia Wadsworth

©Sonia Wadsworth

©Sonia Wadsworth

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 (

©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.

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 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?

Special Summer Rockies Tour (Ice Walk, Nordegg Mines, Secret Spots)

Posted in TCBlog, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2011 by Darwin

Just a reminder about the special summer photographer’s tour based out of the Aurum Lodge in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. There are only a couple of spots left on this tour where we will have photographer’s access to the old Nordegg Mine, a full day on the Athabasca  Glacier in Jasper National Park and you will be guided to secret spots like the Cline River Canyon (see image below) that are just minutes from the Aurum Lodge. Dates are Friday August 19th through Monday August 22, 2011. Costs of $899 single, $749 double are all-inclusive (rooms, meals, guiding and entrance fees). You’ll be joined by photographers Royce Howland, Mark and Leslie Degner, Alan Ernst and Samantha and yours truly. Click on this link to see the detailed PDF. To reserve your spot just email Alan at the Aurum Lodge –

©Darwin Wiggett - click on the photo to see a larger version

©Darwin Wiggett - Old truck at the Nordegg mine

©Darwin Wiggett - Glacier photography at the Columbia Icefields

Spring Tour Results – Susan Richardson

Posted in Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2011 by Darwin

Below are Susan Richardson’s favorite images she made while on the Spring Tour in the Canadian Rockies. We had a wonderful group and it was a fitting end to highlight my last spring tour (I am still doing, fall and winter tours). For anyone wanting to go on a Spring Tour in the future, I highly recommend Royce Howland’s offering (contact him now to reserve your spot for 2012) also based out the Aurum Lodge.

©Susan Richardson

©Susan Richardson

©Susan Richardson

©Susan Richardson

©Susan Richardson

Fabulous Film Fridays – June 24

Posted in Fabulous Film Fridays, Image Processing and Software, VWBlog, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by Darwin

The three images below were all taken with Gail, my Fuji GA645 point-n-shoot medium format camera using Fujicolor NPS 160 negative film. All photos were handheld and were taken on a recent tour of the Brazeau Collieries in Nordegg.

Speaking of Nordegg, I am happy to announce a brand new tour based out of Aurum Lodge on August 19-22, 2011 where we will have special photographer’s access to the old mine at Nordegg and we’ll be going on a photographer’s ice walk on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park. As well you’ll be accompanied by some really great photographers, Royce Howland, Mark and Leslie Degner, Alan Ernst and Samantha and me. To learn more about the unique photo tour in the Canadian Rockies see the PDF – click on this link.

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

The last image above was converted to a tones black-n-white using Nik Silver Efex 2 which I use for all of my B+W conversion. If you are interested in any NIK software be sure to save 15% with the coupon code DARWIN

Workshops and Tours – Something for Everyone

Posted in Art of Photography, Artistic Development, Good News, Instruction, Techniques, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2011 by Darwin

With the official arrival of spring (at least on the calendar if not in the weather), it’s time to think about investing in your photography. Whether you are looking for an intensive instructional workshop, access to unique photo opportunities, or a combination of both, Samantha and I have come up with a number of options that will tickle your shutter bug.

Spring Photo Tour in the Canadian Rockies, May 30 – June 4, 2011 with Darwin Wiggett

This intensive photo tour to grab the best that the Canadian Rockies has to offer is based out of the Aurum Lodge in the Bighorn Wildlands. This tour has been sold out for a long time but, due to a recent cancellation, there are now two spots available. This will be the last spring tour that I am going to lead in the Canadian Rockies. So if you want to see the iconic spots and secret stops and spend full days outdoors absorbing the best scenery that Banff, Jasper, Yoho and the Bighorn Wildlands has to offer, then join me on this epic adventure. Please note that this is tour and not an instructional style workshop. Cost $1639 per person (single) includes accommodations, meals and guiding. For more information see here or the Aurum Lodge website.

©Darwin Wiggett

SNAP! Photography Seminars – Weekend Workshop at Baker Creek, Banff National Park, October 27 – 30, 2011

For those of you looking for a workshop and not a tour, there is still some space available in the SNAP! Photography Seminars Weekend Workshop.  This workshop caters to beginner and semi-advanced nature photographers who are seeking to make an investment in their passion for photography all the while based out of a world-class mountain lodge.  Samantha and I have teamed up with John Marriott to present this, our second annual event at Baker Creek.  Under the guidance of three pro photographers, you will master advanced camera controls, refine your eye for composition and benefit from extensive critique of images made during this intensive, fun-filled weekend.  For more information and a sample schedule, head on over to the SNAP! Photography Seminars website. The workshop is value-priced at $1395 (double occupancy) and includes meals, accommodations and workshop fees (plus we offer a killer, low non-photographer spouse rate!).

Light Matters Masterclass – Creative Expression Photo Workshop, November 2 – 6, 2011

For those of you looking for something different, consider Light Matters Masterclass.  This unique, mentor-ship style workshop is designed for advanced amateur and semi-pro photographers who desire to learn about the dynamic balance between the three fundamental pillars of creative expression: craft, art and profession. This workshop is an intensive learning experience designed for photographers poised to move into the realm of visionary photographer. We have teamed up with Royce Howland and the Aurum Lodge in the heart of the Canadian Rockies to create this one-of-a-kind workshop experience. We are only accepting nine students, so don’t delay with this exclusive opportunity.  For more information please go here. Cost is $2745 per person  and includes all instruction, accommodations and meals.

©Darwin Wiggett



Gaia Nudes – Nudes in the Landscape Photography Workshop, August 12 – 14, 2011

Samantha and I have created a unique opportunity to photograph nudes in the landscape on a private ranch 30 minutes west of Calgary, Alberta. Our sessions are limited to six photographers working with three models to ensure you achieve your photographic vision. Included is a 2-hour instructional seminar and two, 4-hour shooting sessions.  You will learn to pose models and compose  dramatic images that celebrate the human form in both stunning natural landscapes and on the ranch site with old buildings and cars. All property releases and model releases are included so you can use your images commercially.  To learn more about this  rare opportunity to combine a love of the landscape with an aesthetic appreciation of the human form, check out Samantha and my new Gaia Nudes website and the Gaia Nudes Workshop page.  Cost is $995 per photographer. We anticipate this workshop will fill up fast!


©Samantha Chrysanthou


Ghosts and Gullies Photo Workshop 2011 (dates July or August TBA)

Last year’s Extreme Saskatchewan was a popular and amazing event and we have had numerous requests to repeat the tour because everyone loved the access to old cars, farmsteads and awesome landscapes of southern Saskatchewan. The costs, logistics and the timing of the tour preclude doing the event every year. But for this year, we have found a great location just two hours from Calgary that offers many of the subjects so loved from the Saskatchewan tour. If there is enough interest we will organize and host this event which will likely include the following:

  • all meals, accommodations and instructor fees (a Thursday through Sunday event)
  • accommodations in a provincial historic site
  • access to historic old buildings and preserved pioneer town site
  • a photo session in an auto wrecker’s yard
  • landscape photography of badlands, gullies and natural areas
  • photography on private ranch land
  • instructional sessions, critiques and assignments

We are accepting only a small number of participants (8-10). We estimate the cost (accommodation, meals and fees) of this three day workshop to be around $1295 (a bit less for double occupancy). We understand that it might be short notice to run the event this summer, so we are canvasing for demand!  If you are interested in participating and are available this summer on either July 21-24 or August 24-28, 2011 email me and let me know!  Deadlines for serious inquiries is March 23 at midnight MST; first come, first served. We will only run this workshop if we have enough interest; otherwise, watch for it for next year!

©Darwin Wiggett

Great new Photo Tours with Royce Howland

Posted in Art of Photography, Artistic Development, Image Processing and Software, Inspirations, Instruction, Techniques, Videos, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2011 by Darwin

My friend and an amazing photographer, Royce Howland is now offering photo tours out of Aurum Lodge and has just announced his 2011 dates. If you want to go to killer spots in the Canadian Rockies with a photographer who really knows the area,  is a fine instructor, and is  a great artist and a hell of a guy, I recommend you sign up soon for this unique opportunity. For more information please see this link.

And if one instructor is not enough and you want three of us (Royce, Samantha and me) to help you take your photography to the next level with groundings in the art, craft and profession of photography then be sure to sign up for our Light Matters Masterclass to be held November 2-6, 2011