Old GMC truck and farmhouse, note it does have modern electrical service.
A common site on the Canadian Prairies, this elevator was painted a vibrant orange. The color contrast against the blue sky was originally what caught my eye. On my return trip through the Saskatchewan countryside I got lucky with a dramatic sky at sunset and chose a black and white conversion. I’ll post an original color daytime image tomorrow for sake of comparison.
I finally got around to planning a trip to photograph some Sunflower crops under good conditions. The last year or so it seems I would stumble across a field of these normally colorful plants in exactly the wrong time. Either they were hanging straight down well past maturity with seemingly all the life sucked out of them, or it was too early in the life cycle for anything interesting. I was fortunate enough to discover this vibrant Grasshopper on the flower head. I’m sure the farmer wouldn’t be quite as impressed.
Storage silos on the Manitoba Prairie.
In my neck of the woods, once the winter snow recedes I often slowdown my shooting. Garbage and brown messy snow rears it’s ugly head and landscape images in particular don’t do much for me. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to photograph. The rebirth of the Spring season can be a fantastic time, but there is a period before the rivers and streams start flowing and the first plants emerge from the soil that can be a little on the bland side. I really concentrate on using dramatic lighting and simple compositions during this period, and often incorporate more industrial elements into the landscape image rather then just the natural environment.
The above image, is an example of simple storage bins in silhouette at sunset. The foreground snow covered field shows some interesting texture when back lit, but is pretty unappealing during the day. This photo reminded me in a small way of Stonehenge in England, of course not nearly as interesting.
Hydro electric transmission towers north of Winnipeg
Fall harvest near St. Leon, Manitoba
Thanks to farmers stubble burning and filling the sky with smoke, the shot of working combines in silhouette becomes an interesting combination of shapes and tones.
The above image of grain silos, probably doesn’t really apply to the post. The Canola fields are in full colorful bloom and the sky is clear and blue, not bad conditions at all. But I thought it emphasized the tight and simple composition of the Silos, and the small yellow/blue background. The close crop and isolation of the metal bins can turn a shot in bad conditions into something really interesting. Of course it’s even better when the conditions are perfect. But, you can’t be everywhere at once.
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.
In a shameless attempt at self promotion, I’ve included in this post four of my images that have been shortlisted for the 2009 International Travel Photographer of the Year photography contest. Needless to say I was surprised to make it this far. Apparently their are thousands of worldwide entrants, both professional travel photographers and photo enthusiasts. My images were all taken in the southern Canadian Prairies, three in Manitoba and one in Saskatchewan, and submitted under the Homeland Portfolio theme. It does say one thing in particular, it’s not always necessary to be in an exotic locale to get a good image. I think too many of us fail to appreciate what’s in our own backyards. Who knows, maybe those who are unfamiliar with the Canadian Prairie might actually consider these places exotic; I know in many ways I do.