Friday, June 29, 2012

Elbow Lake - June 29th, 2012

After work on Friday I drove out to the Kananaskis for some photo time. It really feels like the month of June just whipped by and in a flash it was gone. I'm not really sure where it went. I remember lots of rain, heavy clouds flat light, I must not have been out much.

I`m a little disappointed as our spring and summer is fleeting. It feels like time was lost. We`ve already passed the first day of summer and the days are starting to getting shorter as we head straight into the darkness of winter!

As I drove down Highway 40 I figured I would go to Elbow lake and take a look around. I "discovered" the lake last year and I think there are still lots of photo opportunities to be realized. It's a pretty short walk far from the parking lot but you still get the feeling your deep in the mountains. There is a backcountry campground at the head of the lake I think I'd like to try staying there overnight. I'm sure Conor would come up with me.

The three times I've been here the clouds have always been moving past at a high rate of speed. It must get windy up there in the sky but in the valley where I was it was pretty calm. I wanted to smooth out the water so I used the dark filter to increase the shutter time to 30 seconds. This also caused the clouds to blur across the top of the frame. What I like about it is that the clouds were moving directly away and the motion helps highlight the center of the picture. This is a two shot panorama cropped to square dimensions.

Elbow Lake

There was a herd of mountain sheep on the highway and some glacier lilly's alongside the trail that I also took pictures of. As of this writing, I've not posted them to the portfolio yet, but when I do, you'll be able to find them and any other shots from today here.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Grotto Canyon - June 17, 2012

We went out to Grotto Canyon for a quick walk for Fathers Day. The sky was overcast and cloudy which works out when your trying to photograph in the canyon. There is a nice even light with soft shadows. If it was sunny there would be harsh super bright light on one side and and dark dark shadows on the other. It's not to say either one is better or worse, but you have to adapt to the conditions.

I was hoping for a nice soft light on this trip. I remember rounding a corner and gasping at how incredible the scene looked. I tried to capture the feeling that I was experiencing but I don`t think I was successful. Looking at my images it seems I focused too narrowly, the feeling came from the enormity of the location. I wish I had framed those shots a bit differently, taken in the whole view.

The picture below is another location that comes close to capturing the feeling I was trying to capture. I had tried to shoot this location on the way in but there were some rock climbers who decided that these were the rocks that they wanted to climb. I wasn't quite brave enough to shoot the scene with the climbers in there so I moved on and stopped on my way out of the canyon.

This shot is a composite of two photos, a top and a bottom to make up the whole frame. I really like how it turned out.

In Grotto Canyon

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mt. Yamnuska - June 14th, 2012

On June 3rd, I'd hiked around Mt. Yamnuska with Conor. Since that time I wanted to go back and see if I could get some shots with some better light (ie, sunshine) so I booked Thursday afternoon off of work with the thought that I could be up on the mountain by 4:30 or 5:00pm if I left Calgary around 1:00pm.

As I was driving out the sky had a bit of drama in it. It was partially cloudy with scattered rain showers. Once in a while the sun poked through the clouds and lit up the ground. I was a bit nervous about climbing up the mountain because the weather could turn on me and I really didn't want to get caught in a torrential downpour and I was hiking solo. Given it was mid week and later afternoon, I didn't expect to see many people on the trail.

As it turned out I had pretty good weather on my trip. There were rain clouds dripping across the landscape but no rain fell on me. The sun peaked out and gave me the light I was looking for. Actually, I think the shots turned out better than if there was only plain blue sky. The dramatic clouds were a nice addition.

Mt. Yamnuska

When I was hiking on Fullerton last weekend, I'd been thinking about how I seem to return to the same places and when in those same places I take the same shots over and over again. This case was different because I primarily came out here to make the shot that you see above.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2012 Calgary Stampede Photo Gallery and Competition.

Late one night in the coldest darkest month of the year (February) I mustered up enough courage to enter the Calgary Stampede's Photo Contest and Gallery Exhibition. I`m pretty sure I entered right at the last hour of the deadline which was at midnight. The theme for the contest was Western. I found it challenging to find Western themed photos in my portfolio because I primarily shoot landscapes but not Western landscapes.

To me that means horses, barns, cowgirls, pickup trucks, big shiny belt buckles and things like that. For some reason, I think the Western theme is dominant at the Calgary Stampede so if I want to enter next year I'll have to keep an eye out for those kinds of things - especially the cowgirls.

In spite of not having Western themed art in my portfolio I did submit a set of pictures for their consideration. The winners were to be announced and contacted by May 1st. I wasn't contacted and just yesterday found a list of winners on their website. Congratulations to those who won! It doesn`t look like the photos are posted so you`ll have to go down to the grounds to see them. I created this nice collage of the photo's that I submitted.

Left to right, the photos are: SilverFoothillsWheat Field SunriseCircled and Flow.

For the Exhibition, they wanted ten photos. I submitted the five from above and these five as well.

Left to right, the photos are:  OldmanMillions of years ago, Low Clouds, ContrastWhite on White

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fullerton Loop - June 10th 2012

I'd gone for a drive on Saturday heading out on the 1A towards Canmore. When I left Calgary it was cloudy but clear. It was raining in Cochrane and by the time I got to Exshaw it was snowing!! So instead of taking any pictures I had lunch in Canmore and drove home. It was frustrating in some respects.

On Sunday I still wanted to make some photos so I left thinking I wouldn't go as far west in case there was still inclement weather. I drove out to Kananaskis west of Bragg Creek. I thought I could hike  Fullerton loop near Allen Bill Pond or Powderface ridge which is further west near Little Elbow. Given that I could see snow on some of the western peaks, I decided on Fullerton.

As I walked along the trail I thought about how I tend to go back to the same places over and over again, which is fine, but what I find is that I often seek out the same photographic locations every time I'm there.

I have a picture from Fullerton Loop that I really like and when I think about walking this trail I think of that picture and I make a point of going back to that spot to see what it looks like. This isn't really a problem  because it could be a different season or different time of day or different lighting and maybe I'll get a better picture. The thing I noticed was that I was missing out on other opportunities because I was bee-lining it to the spot that I already know to see what it looks like.

So, with that thought, I purposely tried to find new vantage points to take photo's from.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mt. Yamnuska - June 3rd 2012

Conor and I hiked around Mt. Yamnuska on Sunday.

We'd left the house around 10:00am but had to stop for gas and picked up some snacks and bottled water from CO-OP and a bit of an early lunch from Wendy's, then I stopped in Cochrane to get a coffee, by the time we got to the trailhead it was noon.

Our goal was to hike to the summit of Mt. Yamnuska then circle around and come down the scree slopes. Last year when we hiked here we had gone the wrong way around and I say this because it meant we had to climb UP the scree slopes on the front of the mountain. The rocks are very loose and for every step you take, you lose about 4/5ths your elevation gain when the rocks slide and settle around your foot. When we were climbing up the slopes we observed other hikers (little kids even!) were coming down using a method of running/jumping that looked like a lot less effort and a lot more fun. They all had huge smiles plastered across their faces as they floated down the mountain. We wanted to float down the mountain too! We were both excited to go the right way around this time and were really looking forward to coming down the slopes.

Mt. Yamnuska

I'd packed my camera with a few lenses for the trip the weather was cool with heavy clouds and looking towards the west it looked like it was snowing or raining a fair bit and I was worried we'd get caught in inclement weather. I was also concerned that the light wouldn't be great. I really love the location in the photo above I think it's a real unique scene with lots of good photographic opportunities and I want to try going back with different lighting conditions. I'm thinking early evening with some real nice light to highlight the rocks. It took us about two and a half hours to get to this location. In my head I'm trying to figure out the logistics so that when the weather looks like it's going to co-operate I can dash out there and be on the mountain again.