Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Woodpecker - March 30th, 2011

I took an excursion to the Bird Sanctuary at lunch for a short walk and to see if there were any birds.

The pathway through the sanctuary is a loop and in the summer time when the leaves are out its really quite enclosed and you can't see very much. I didn't have much luck spotting anything extraordinary there were the regulars - ducks and geese, and I saw a cedar waxwing but he was small and high up in the trees.

Towards the end of the walk I came across a woodpecker. It was cool because I could hear him knocking well before I saw him. I got a few shots but many didn't turn out because he generally kept to the shady side. After a while he had moved off and I had to get back to work.

knock knock knock knock...

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beaver Flats - March 29, 2911

I was out at Beaver Flats last night and had a good time walking along the ponds and taking pictures of the running water. When I was looking at the shots that I got I felt that they were missing something. Then I realized that they were lacking definition and depth that direct sunlight would help provide. So, I thought if the weather held up that I`d try to go out again tonight.

With that in mind, on the way into work driving across the Center street bridge I was struck by the nice morning light so I opened up the sunroof and stuck the camera out and was able to get this shot.

On the morning commute

That evening at Beaver Flats I walked along the river and there was lots of beautiful light. I took a variety of shots using different tools to try and create some nice effects. On this shot, I used the tilt-shift lens to vari the focal plane. I hope you like it.

Near the river

To see other shots from today, click here.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grotto Canyon - March 27th, 2011

I drove out to Grotto Canyon for a day trip.

On the way there the bighorn sheep were resting on a hillside just past Exshaw. I stopped to take some shots and a guy coming from the other direction asked if I had a camera. I said yes and he said I should go ahead a little further and look back because the sheep were all lying on top of the hill and I'd be able to get a good view. I like how the mountain in the background forms a nice backdrop for the sheep.

Bighorn Sheep

After getting to Grotto Canyon I walked along and looked for something to shoot and found this pine cone encased in the ice. A few years ago I shot a leaf on snow and used a flash to push some light across the top of it. I liked the effect so when I see opportunites I try to bring out the flash to add some depth. I used the macro lens here to get nice and close.


Towards the end of the main trail the ice-fall hadn't melted off yet. Exploring it I discovered there was a cavity in behind. I used the flash to help brighten up the shadows and stuck the camera in to the hole pointed straight up. I wasn't able to  look through the viewfinder to compose the shots so I would take a shot then review it on the back of the camera and try again. I had to continuously wipe water off of the lens but in the mess of shots I was able to find one that had an interesting composition.

in behind

While driving home, I saw a bald eagle flying across the landscape.. I pulled over near the weigh station and watched it for a few seconds but it was flying the other way. Further down the highway I turned off on Jumping Pound Ridge road and was driving along when I found this guy. He'd landed on the fence so I stopped the car and tried to get a few shots. After a few seconds he flew off.

bald eagle

I was happy to see the bald eagle up close-ish and get a couple of pics.. They`re migrating through and I don`t think will be here for long.

To see more shots from today, click here.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Frosted - March 26th, 2011

We've had a lot of foggy, frosty days here the last while. I`m surprised at how long it`s been hanging around. I was driving out past Cochrane looking for bald eagles as they've been migrating through the area. I'd seen lots and lots of opportunities to photograph the fog and the frost but it's hard to pick a spot when you're driving down the highway. Oftentimes I`ve seen a scene that moves me but I`ve already passed it and the decision to stop and turn around gnaws at me. Almost always - I don`t stop.

I have a catalog of potential shots that I missed because I didn`t stop. Next time, I think. Next time I`ll stop. Next time the light and the fog and the frosted trees look like that I`ll stop and make that photo. Until then, they`ll just be my private memories. In reality, the moments are fleeting, there most likely isn`t going to be a next time. I drive myself crazy thinking I need to capture everything I see because I`m just overwhelmed with the beauty of it all.

Here, I did stop - walked across the highway and tried to compose a shot of the frost and the fog. I like how the curves of the hills rest against the sky and the curve of the fence cuts across the frame.


Not much later, I was driving down another road in the area and came across this guy in the top of the tree. I stopped just past him and got out of the car and took a few shots before he decided that he`d had enough of me and flew off into the distance. I was able to get a couple of shots of him in flight. When he was lower to the ground I was impressed at how big he was.

Later, looking on the internet to find out if it was a juvenile bald eagle or something else, I discovered that he might have been a golden eagle because of the light brown patch on the back of his head. I don`t know about you, but I`m impressed.

Golden Eagle

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Short Eared Owl - March 20th, 2011

After finishing up with the hockey games earlier in the day I took a short detour on the way home. Actually, the hockey rink is just down the street so from a detour perspective I guess I really went on a short drive.

I was on a road just east of the city looking for birds when I came across a field where there was a fair bit of activity going on. I think there were at least two owls flying around and maybe a hawk or falcon it was hard to tell. I stopped the car and walked into the field to see if I could get close to the owls but didn't have much luck. Soon they were all flying far away from where I was so I left. I figured that I`d found an area where they might be nesting.

Later that evening I thought I'd go back and see if I could find the owls again. So I drove to the same location parked and made my way into the field. I was moving slowly, trying to be quiet. I had my camera, tripod and the remote release because it was reasonably dark and I wouldn't be able to hand hold the camera to make a shot. While I was walking an owl flew up from the ground quite a ways in front of me and landed on the ground again. I took a couple of shots and then tried to move closer. He saw me and flew to a fence post. I followed him taking a few shots then walking about 20 paces and taking a few more. When I got too close he would fly away and land on another fence post further down. This is as close as I could get.

Short Eared Owl on Fence post

Soon it was too dark for any more photos so I made my way back to the car. I drove down the road a little ways to see if the owl was still around and found him flying low above the fields. I watched him for a while until I lost sight of him in the darkness.

Thanks for looking,

PSA Hockey PM - March 20th, 2011

The final game of the tournament and PSA won 4-3 in a pretty exciting game. I would like to thank the team for letting me take pictures from the bench, I appreciate the opportunity.

Click on the photo below to see the gallery.

Thanks for looking

PSA Hockey AM - March 20th, 2011

Matthew's team was scheduled to play two games today - one at 9:00 am, the second at 3:15pm. The 9:00 game was against Crowfoot which turned out to be a physical game. A lot more hitting than I saw at the two games I've seen recently. I was wondering if body checking was frowned upon at this level before I saw this game. There were lots of hits and, as a result, lots of penalties. Unfortunately PSA wasn't able to beat Crowfoot. It was close with PSA giving up an empty netter in the last minute. The final score was 3-1.

Because Crowfoot won the game, these two teams will meet up again at 3:15pm. Should be a good one.

Meanwhile, click on the photo below to see the gallery.

Look closely, everyone is looking at the puck - can you see it ?

PSA Hockey

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

PSA Hockey - March 19, 2011

I was invited to shoot photos at my nephews hockey game again on Saturday. They were able to pull off a 3-1 victory over the Lake Bonavista Breakers. Click on the picture to go to the gallery.

PSA Hockey 20110319

Thanks for looking.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Arches - March 18th, 2011

After parking the car on my way to work this morning I stepped out onto the street and was stopped by the morning light streaming down 9th avenue. I hesitated with indecision - go get my camera from the car or head up to work. I decide to go get the camera from my car and try to get a couple of pictures.

I should have taken the stairs cause the elevator took forever to come. Then the doors didn't open quick enough, once they did open I got in and pushed the button for the floor and now the doors wouldn't close.. I was cursing the doors and urging the elevator to hurry up. A person walking through the elevator lobby looked at me funny, but when the light is there, its there - and it usually isn't there for very long so I was in a desperate hurry.

Eventually I got the camera and made my way back to the street. The sun had moved off of where I first saw it but I noticed the light pouring in under the arches above the sidewalk. The air was heavy with dust from the road. I waited for some pedestrians to walk into the sunbeam and took some shots.

I like how this one turned out.


Thanks for looking,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sunrise - March 15, 2011

I'd booked the day off work to volunteer at Conor's school field trip to Fort Calgary but that wasn't happening until later in the morning so I thought I'd go out and see what the sunrise was going to do. With daylight savings time in effect the sunrise is suppose to happen around 8:00am or so.   I left the house around 7:30 and started driving out east of the city again.

 I stopped the car on Garden Road near Conrich and got out the tripod and cable release. The sky was on fire I wanted to compress the line of telephone poles and fill the frame with the colour on the horizon so I used my 300mm lens. Using a long focal length, the camera is susceptible to any kind of motion so the tripod was necessary. I used the mirror lockup function - which raises the mirror on the first shutter release and takes the picture on the second shutter release and then lowers the mirror. To reduce the vibrations of the mirror slapping up and down you raise the mirror wait for five or ten seconds then take the picture. I use a cable attached to the camera to work the shutter so that I'm not touching anything.

This is the photo that I was able to get.
before the sun

Out on some back roads I tried to find something interesting to shoot as the sun was breaking the horizon. A stand of trees presented itself. Same kind of setup here tripod and mirror lockup.

First light

The prairie is pretty flat and I think you need to really search to find some interesting things to photograph. I drove around for a while until the sun was up far enough that the day had begun and all the drama of new light had moved on. I was looking for wildlife now - last week I saw an owl flying around and I didn't have a chance to photograph it. So secretly I was looking for owls. They are supposedly active 60-90 minutes before and after dawn and dusk. So I kept driving randomly long the township roads and eventually came across this fellow in a tree.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Diamond T and Elbow Falls - March 13th, 2011

Conor and I went skiing at Canada Olympic Park in the afternoon. They closed at five and have four hour rentals which worked out pretty good. It was busy though. After two hours we'd made a total of about four runs. The runs take about 4 minutes to get down the hill. The rest of the time was standing in the line waiting for the lift. While we were in line Conor said he had a headache so we decided to leave. We got some lunch which helped his head and he was feeling better.  Because it was such a nice day and still early we drove out to Bragg Creek and walked on the Diamond T trail at Station Flats.

The hike was fun, I shot some photos of him and we had a few snowball fights and even made a snowman whom we named George.. Click on the picture below to see some other shots from our hike.

Hiking Diamond T loop

After we finished the hike I drove down to Elbow Falls and tried to take a few shots of the river. I was hoping to try out my ten stop filter again.  I've posted two pictures, the first - "In Motion" was at 1/250th of a second and the water motion is frozen the second - "Flow" was a 20 second exposure. Both shots are from the same camera position and almost redundant but I like how both of them turned out individually. I hope you do too.

in motion
The second image..


Just for fun, here`s another shot of the river.

Elbow Falls

Thanks for looking.

Early Morning - March 13, 2011

After getting up and stumbling around a bit I noticed that the time on the TV/PVR said it was 7:30am.. it wasn't jiving because it still looked pretty dark outside. I checked my phone and it said it was 7:30 too. I looked  at the weather app because it shows the sunrise time, and it said the sun was suppose to rise at 6:57am which confirmed what I thought.

I'm standing on the deck in the back yard now and definitely can see that the sun has not risen.  From the light it looks like could be a nice sunrise. I make my way downstairs and check on the computer and find out that today is daylight savings time (as I type this, I'm remembering that I need to check the clock on the camera and make sure it's in the right place..) So I decide I'm going to go out and take some photos of the sunrise.

I grab my stuff and start driving out towards the city limits. I now had less than ten minutes before the actual sunrise so I wasn't going to go far. As I waited for the light at 68th and McKnight the sky was all orange and I made this shot.


I like orange. It's one of my favorite colours. The lines are wavey because of atmospheric turbulence. I scaled down a copy of this one and made it my computer desktop wallpaper.

I drove down the road and stopped by a field with some trees.

In this next shot, I like the colour gradient that the light is making. I tried to hide the sun behind the tree so the brightness wouldn't overwhelm the image and black out the rest of it.

shining through

In the next image I like how the sunlight is hitting the snow in the foreground. It didn't last long though the sun soon moved up behind some clouds and the light was muted. I setup for a more involved shot with the tilt-shift lens which let me get the foreground and background in focus but the light was flat and missing the playfulness that this image has. Something to take away for next time. I like that I can review images and see what works and use that to think about what I should be looking for when I'm in the field. I think it helps to try and pre-visualize what I might do differently next time.
sun on snow

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In the field - March 9th, 2011

I had a few minutes and the sun was setting so I parked the car and made my way into the field. I liked how the trees looked against the sky which had some nice clouds rolling through. I used the tilt-shift lens to throw some of the frame out of focus.

I hope you like it.

Thanks for looking,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chinook - March 8th, 2011

Driving home from work.. the sun entered the gap between the upper clouds of the Chinook arch and the lower bank of clouds. By the time I was at this location, parked, over the barbed wire fence, gear out, composition chosen, camera settings tweaked, the sun was down. I had missed it by a few minutes, but this is what I was able to get before the colours started to fade..

Thanks for looking.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

PSA Hockey - March 5th, 2011

I was lucky to get to shoot my Nephew's hockey game - he wears number 15 in the white jersey. They were playing in a playoff match with the Trails West team at the Calgary Village Square leisure center. When I got there they had just taken to the ice. I was able to stand on the end of the players bench - which was a pretty good spot for this arena. The rink is surrounded by plexi-glass and topped with netting. If I wasn't on the bench I would have had to shoot through either of those obstacles, and I don't think anything would have turned out.

The place was pretty dark from a photography perspective, I made most of the shots iso3200, f3.2 at 1/320th on my D300 using the 70-200mm lens, and still had to push the exposure in post processing.

PSA Hockey

Click on the picture above to get to the photo gallery.

Thanks for looking,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Coyote - March 4th, 2011

Took a short drive on some country roads and came across this coyote walking through the snow. I stopped and had to go into the back of the car to get the camera out and change the lens. He didn't flee while I was fiddling with my equipment so I was able to get a few shots.

I like this shot because there is a small catch light in his eye. Afterwards I noticed how many of his tracks were all over the place.


Thanks for looking

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cold again - March 1st 2011

It's cold again.

I had an urge to make a picture so I walked down near the river looking for something interesting after wolfing down my lunch.. for the most part it wasn't interesting. Cold, grey, blah, flat, featureless white on white. I walked closer to the rivers edge where there was a small ribbon of open water. Steam rising up into the cold air. I could hear the chunks of ice bumping into the frozen edges as the water raced past. The steam might have been interesting, the sun was in the wrong spot I couldn`t get any reflections to bring out the texture of the water.

I kept walking, ears starting to burn, hands tucked into my jacket sleave, the skin on my face feeling heavy and numb. Then I came across this tree. At first I noticed all the holes in it from where the birds pecked away to get at the bugs. I took a few shots looking for some composition. Then I noticed the huge branch lying on the ground, I took a few more. I thought I had it, my fingers were stiff from the cold, it was difficult to work the controls.

I was walking away, trying to look through the moisture on the LCD in the bright light. Trying to see what I captured, see if I got anything. I didn't think that I had. I wanted to tilt the lens and make parts of the image out of focus, put emphasis on the tree, but for some reason I didn't do that. I went back and took a few more pictures, trying again. Fingers starting to go numb from holding the camera in the cold. I wanted to get it, so I'd shoot, review the shot - the tree's to high in the frame, adjust the composition, another shot, tweaking the focus this time. Couldn't feel my fingertips anymore. Think I got it. fingers hurt now.. time to go. I head back to the car, trotting along the frozen bike path.

Later, processing the image, I like it. Trying to come up with a name. I looked up synonyms for separate, broken and apart.. Disjoined is what I came up with. The branch is disjoined from the tree.


Later in the day, I tried to make a shot of the downtown skyline. This time I had gloves on, but I had to poke my fingers out to work the controls and they got pretty cold again. I think I've got to figure out a way to get circulation into my hands so they don't get so cold. Perhaps it's a sign of getting old. I'm not old though.

I wanted this image to make you feel how cold it was but I'm not sure if it does. Maybe it's because the colours are too saturated. Perhaps cold shouldn't be so vibrant and colourful.

Deep Freeze

There was another view that I thought would be interesting, but there was a fence in the way and some other obstacles that I couldn't overcome so I'll have to remember to try it out next time.

Thanks for looking.