Tag Archives: Matlock

Dramatic Photography with backlighting and the silhouette

Sunset over Mt. Rundle, Banff National Park, Alberta

Often as photographers we are fortunate to get those magical lighting situations, where the sky or background is stunningly lit, but the foreground is deep in the shadows.   This is when it’s time to really concentrate on the silhouette or backlit shot.  Sure if it’s a landscape you could bracket, or blend multiple exposures, or create a HDR image, but I often revert to a silhouette of the foreground, particularly with people or any movement in the image.  Silhouettes can be very dramatic, often creating a powerful visual statement.   So remember to expose for the background and give it a go.

This is a shot of a group of birdwatchers during fall migration, at Fort Whyte Centre in Winnipeg.  It was extremely dark and this shot was actually taken handheld at an aperture of 1.2, fast enough to freeze the birds in motion against the evening sky, but still include the birdwatchers in the foreground.

Woman strolling a Lake Winnipeg Pier at sunrise.

Fall harvest on the Canadian Prairie at sunset, near St. Leon, Manitoba.


Wooden Piers of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba

One of my favorite places to photograph is Lake Winnipeg.  It’s close proximity to where I live and shear size, provide endless opportunity for exploration.   It’s the world’s 11th largest freshwater lake, and at times you would swear you’re on the shores of one of the world’s great oceans.  Locals call it the ‘Inland Sea’.  Lake Winnipeg is historically significant to Manitoba, and remains intertwined with the lives of all Manitoban’s to this day.   It serves as a massive reservoir for the large hydroelectric dams in the north, functions as a major commercial fishery, and is lined with thousands of cottages and sandy beaches.   Along the western shore, are Matlock and Dunnottar; cottage towns that are known for the series of wooden piers that line the lake.

The piers are roughly assembled from local timbers.  At first glance you may think they’re scenic, but nothing particularly special about them.  But they are unique; in this part of the world, the lakes freeze solid.  So every freezup the piers are disassembled before  succumbing to the crushing ice.   From what I’ve been told a local craftsmen then uses the wood to make log furniture, and in the spring the whole process starts all over.  When I first learned this, it put a whole new perspective and appreciation on the piers.

It’s impossible to represent an entire province with one type of landscape, you could argue an image of the prairie is more suitable in describing the landscape of Manitoba.   But when I think of Manitoba, it’s images like these of Lake Winnipeg that I always think of.