Category Archives: Inspiration

Mysterious onlookers

This photo really lets your imagination soar, and works well on it’s own.  I captured these curious onlookers on Vancouver Island’s Long Beach on a very foggy morning.  I like the mystery it creates, and wasn’t sure whether to include the second image that shows what they were looking at, but after a little consideration, here it is below.

I guess the title could have just as easily been “Dog Lovers”

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Photographing the Canadian Prairie: You don’t need exotic travel locations for good photography!

Living on the Canadian Prairies, at times can seem like a disadvantage for the travel or landscape photographer.  But it really isn’t, there is a huge diversity of things to photograph.  And I’m not only referring to fields of Canola, or Wheat.  Sure there aren’t majestic mountains, many waterfalls etc.  But if you search for interesting subject matter, you will find it.  Often in your own backyard, granted the Black-Eyed Susan shot above is from Assiniboine Park, but I consider it in my own backyard.  Sometimes you need to look a bit closer, or be a little more creative but great images are everywhere.

Here are a few recent landscapes shot in my own big backyard of Southern Manitoba.  Now tell me the Lake images couldn’t pass for exotic coastal location’s.  Keep in mind your own neck of the woods is exotic to people from other parts of the world.  I have seen evidence of this time and time again.  In Banff or Assiniboine Park, I have seen Japanese tourists in awe of the common squirrel.  Several years ago I was short-listed in the International Travel Photographer of the Year competition.  Competing with images from around the globe including the Great Barrier Reef, Images of Africa, people riding the trains in Bangladesh etc.  My images were of, you guessed it, Canola fields and Agricultural landscapes from Southern Manitoba.  But to judges in Europe they were exotic enough.  Although I didn’t win, it was a good lesson in appreciation for the Prairie Landscape.

Lake Winnipeg

Honey Beehives

Rainstorm over Canola

Plains Bison

Lake Winnipeg sunset

Pelicans on the Red River

Landscape Photographer does a candy shop: Expanding your photography with the real eye candy

So you’ve traveled hours to get to your destination, with the intention of shooting some great landscapes.  But the weather man has let you down.  Constant rain, overcast, generally dreary conditions.  Sometimes this type of weather can be the most interesting conditions to photograph in.  But sometimes you might just not be up to the task of standing around in the miserable damp rain.  So why not expand your photography into a totally different direction.

That’s exactly what I did on a recent visit to Banff.  By slipping into an interesting candy shop, I left with some interesting images and thankfully without a stomach ache, although many things were tempting.  So put away your tripod and polarizer, and get out your fastest prime and give it a go.

Banff National Park, from fall, winter, summer in 2 days

Fall colors, Vermillion Lakes

We all know weather in the Canadian Rockies can change at the drop of a hat.  On a very recent trip over a two day period, we arrived to rainy, foggy and overcast skies.  The following day we had a large dumping of very wet snow, temperatures well below freezing, this included power failure and satellite failure in our hotel.  The next day the snow melted and soon after, sunny mid July conditions prevailed, with the temperature approaching 20 Celsius.

Fresh snowfall, Vermillion Lakes

Clearing skies, Vermillion Lakes

Clear blue sky, Peyto Lake

Photography, behind the scenes, in memory of my dog ‘Wallace’

So much of what makes photography fascinating and so popular to the masses is the capability of freezing moments in time.  Those fleeting brief slices of your life that you may never experience again.  What struck me recently was that there is so much more to creating an image then just the final outcome viewed in print or digitally.  It’s about the process or background, think of it like how a song from your youth stirs up a vivid memory of a specific time, person or event.  The same can be said for the photographic process.

So why is this important?  I never really thought that seriously about it until recently, when my dog “Wallace’ became gravely ill and died at 12 years.  Wallace had been such a major and important part of my life, I never realized just how much.  He accompanied my wife and I for years on most photo excursions and was always there.  He slept on the floor in my office while I edited, or keyworded for stock agencies.  But he did all those amazing things that dogs do that make them the wonderful soulful creatures that they are.  But the reality is he’s gone and it will take some serious time to accept it.  I don’t want to get too philosophical but each image has lost a little something.  So I am dedicating this site and these recent images of Mountain Goats in Jasper that I know Wallace would have loved watching me photograph from the car patiently waiting as he always did.

Wallace on his favorite chair

Wallace, his best friend Angus and my wife

Mountain Goats he would have enjoyed seeing.

In better times

Summer holidays at the cottage, Lake Winnipeg, Gimli, Manitoba

Gimli Beach on Lake Winnipeg, an hour’s drive north of Winnipeg.

With my wife’s nephew in for a visit from Thunder Bay, Ontario, and him suffering from extreme boredom of hanging out with a couple 40 somethings, we decided to venture out to a friend’s cottage in Gimli.  More specifically Loni Beach, just north of the resort town.  The day trip was short, since we had left Wallace and Angus at home and needed to get back to them before too late in the evening.  Rather then my usual landscape and nature images, I got a chance to photograph what for many sums up and depicts summer vacation and cottage life.  That would be kids having fun in the good old outdoors.

This was as close as I got to having all three still at the same time.

A couple of real hams, no problems getting these two to pose, but the dark lighting proved a bit challenging for kids that don’t stay still for long.  Even shooting with the very fast canon 85L nearly wide open at f1.4/1.6 I had trouble freezing the action at iso400/800.  Yes, I know I could up the ISO but rarely go to 1600, unless really necessary.

Little Kahuna

I’ve written before how as a photographer you can get fixated on technically perfect images.  Which of course as a pro is a necessity, but it can also impede the creative aspect of photography.  I know I can be guilty of this, just have a look back at one of my earlier post entitled ‘The Rule Breaker’, with the motion blurred image of the moose from Jasper National Park.  Well here is another example.  A slow shutter speed, out of focus shot, very difficult to capture.  Shot at f1.4 at ISO 800, with the slow focusing 85L and full frame Canon 5D mark II.  Not an action or sports photographer’s combination for sure, but it does capture the movement and context well.

Loni Beach, Manitoba on Lake Winnipeg

Food and drink photography and a fresh new cooking blog

A new foray into food and drink photography, thanks to my wife and her wonderful new cooking blog.  I’ve only dabbled in this form of photography from time to time, usually on long dark winter days.  But with a little coaxing I’m now a part time food photographer and contributor to her food blog.  It’s worth a look, of course I am biased, but should provide for a very useful resource for excellent tried and true recipes and other culinary adventures, and of course Wallace and Angus will be stopping by often.  Check it out at cookingwithwallaceandangus.blogspot.com

Pasta sauce for Spaghetti Bolognese

Greek olive oil buns with onions and blue cheese, they were good…

Angus plopped down in the middle of the kitchen waiting patiently.

A few lemons on a wooden plank, destined to become  Meyer Lemon Gnocchi.

Man’s best friend, The Forks, Winnipeg

Two best friends sharing a park bench at The Forks in downtown Winnipeg.  I really like this image, not only because of this wonderful dog, but the fact he and his owner are glancing at each other as they watch passers-by.  Photography is much about timing and this is a prime example of that fleeting moment that can disappear very quickly.  The sun also manages to filter through the trees creating a nice catch light in this beautiful Golden Retriever’s eye at just the right moment.

Cracked clay of the Red River Valley, Winnipeg, Canada.

When the spring flood waters of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers recede, Winnipeg riverbanks leave behind the clay that the Red River Valley is well known for.  Locals know all to well how fun it can be to dig a hole in this stuff.  With little rain recently it takes on it’s drought like appearance.  These were shot on the banks of the Assiniboine River.

Alberta Landscape in Black and white

Rolling Prairie meets mountains, near Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta.

Fog shrouded mountains, Banff National Park, Alberta

A couple of my favorite landscapes images from the past year in black and white.   These were originally in color, but I much prefer the quad toned black and white conversions.  The multi-layered tones in these images suit the style very well.  I plan on increasing my black and white output substantially in the coming year.