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An Intimate View of Muskoka's Rosseau River

An Intimate View of Muskoka’s Rosseau River

 

A couple of days ago friend and colleague Kyle McDougall posted a very inspiring short film on his blog. Kyle is a very talented photographer, filmmaker, and cinematographer. The film is centered around landscape painter Terry Gill, who creates very impressive works of art in a unique style. Please do follow this link to Kyle’s blog post and scroll down to the video, click the white triangle to hear Terry’s message. I think you will be glad you did :)

Farmer Jason

Farmer Jason_1264

Every now and then I like to take the blog on a detour and go back to the days when I had dreams of becoming a singer songwriter in Nashville Tennessee, but today we won’t detour to far away from nature or even farming. In short, when I began crafting songs there were four very talented songwriters that influenced my writing; Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, and Jason Ringenberg. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the late Townes Van Zandt twice (Townes is often referred to as one of the best songwriter ever), as well as Guy Clark and Steve Earle. I never had the opportunity to meet Jason Ringenberg, the brainchild behind the legendary band Jason and the Scorchers – the best country band in Nashville. Jason is also an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award winner and is also considered to be one of the pioneers of the modern Americana and alt-country genres.

You may be thinking by now “what does all this have to do with nature?” Well in 2002 Jason Ringenberg created Farmer Jason to educate and entertain children with songs about farm life and the wonders of nature. The Farmer Jason character is based on Mr. Ringenberg’s own farming background and love of the great outdoors. Farmer Jason has released 3 records (A Day at the Farm with Farmer Jason, Rocking in the Forest, and Nature Jams) and a DVD “It’s A Farmer Jason.” He has starred in the “It’s a Farmer Jason” video interstitial program which airs on several PBS stations around the United States, earning 3 Emmy nominations and one Emmy Award win for Best Children’s Program. Farmer Jason’s records have also won numerous awards, including the Parents’ Choice Gold Award and the Los Angeles Times’ Children’s Record of the Year list.

Farmer Jason’s highly acclaimed live show involve sing-alongs, dancing, and discussions about appreciating nature, ecology, and farm animals. Farmer Jason performs solo with only his acoustic guitar (no fancy gimmickry). He is a true showman whose performances are spontaneous and high energy in nature. Even though the shows are aimed at children ages 2 to 8, everyone gets involved.

So folks, if you have children, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren and want to introduce them to some good clean fun, be sure to check out the Farmer Jason records by clicking here. I guarantee that you’ll be singing along too. Follow along and Like the Farmer Jason Facebook page here.

Check out these links for a sample: Punk Rock Skunk & Moose On The Loose.

For the above photo (do click on the photo to see the larger, sharper version) I grabbed my old 1970’s Gibson J200 and placed it on the back deck along with my three Farmer Jason CDs, which my 7 year old daughter Ava absolutely loves. When we go for long drives these records travel along for sing-alongs down the highway. Ava is a big fan of Jason and the Scorchers too :)

 

River Detail on the Rosseau River - Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm, ISO 800, f16 @ 30 seconds

River Detail on the Rosseau River – Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm, ISO 800, f16 @ 30 seconds

I created this image during the summer of 2013. I am only getting around to processing it now. I have been very busy these last few months with not a lot of time to get out for fresh photos, but I am looking forward to this season’s fall colors which seem to be shaping up nicely, so far. When I photograph along rivers I always take the time to seek out intimate views of the river’s details. This image was created quite late on the evening of August 20, 2013 on a clear night, hence the blue tones throughout the photo. Some folks tend to dislike these blue tones often referring to them as a color cast. In scenes such as this though, they can actually add more interest to the resulting image. I was particularly drawn to the curvature and subtle reddish tones in the granite here more so than the flowing water, however, the flowing water does add a nice passage of time element.

Please click on the photo to view the larger, sharper version.

 

Hatchery Falls, Muskoka, Ontario. Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 22mm, ISO 100, f22 @ 1 second.

Hatchery Falls, Muskoka, Ontario. Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 22mm, ISO 100, f22 @ 1 second.

When I am out photographing along rivers and waterfalls I always take the time to stand and watch the flow of the river to predict how it will blur during longer exposures. I will then select a perspective to compliment that flow. Note in this image of Hatchery Falls in Ontario’s popular Muskoka region that the river is flowing on a diagonal from right to left and exiting the frame in the lower left corner. Also make note that I selected a composition that allowed for a clean bottom edge, which often makes for a more pleasing composition. I did not however arrive at this composition from the get go. I worked the situation, fine tuning and tweaking my perspective until I was happy with the results. I am eagerly looking forward to photographing Hatchery Falls in the coming weeks when the autumn colors will be all a blaze.

Please click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

 

 

 

The Art of Flower Photography

On August 13th Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris released their latest eBook ‘The Art of Flower Photography.’  As I read my way through the pages of this wonderful new eBook the imagery within has been filling me with the inspiration to get out and start photographing flowers again. When I first became interested in photography I began by photographing wildflowers and accumulated thousands of 35mm slides before switching to digital, and subsequently stopped photographing flowers as often.

Throughout the eBook Denise and Arthur explain how they approach flower photography, which is interesting as they each have different methods of doing so. Denise will often handhold a 100mm macro lens with impressive results, while Arthur won’t shy away from using a 600mm or 800mm lens to create stunning portraits. This eBook contains 203 pages and discusses various topics including; composition, lighting, selective focus, high key imagery, flower-scapes, light pads, pleasing blurs, multiple exposures, and lens / gear choices. There are also various ideas for creating artistic renderings with Photoshop plug-ins like Topaz Labs Simplify and Fractalius. And let’s not forget Denise’s signature flowers with texture overlays and how to apply these texture overlays to your own photos.

This is a must have eBook for anyone who enjoys flower photography. You will be inspired to take your own photography to the next level as you explore these creative ideas with your own imagery. For further inspiration from Denise and Arthur be sure to follow along on their respective blogs, which can be found by clicking on their names in the side-bar under the Blogroll section.

The Art of Flower Photography can be purchased by clicking here.

 

American Toad. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 800, f8 @ 1/100 sec

American Toad. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 800, f8 @ 1/100 sec

One of my favorite ways to photograph smaller critters with the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens is to utilize the sensor crop feature on the Nikon D800. For each of the images in this post I selected the DX 1.5 crop. which is the sensor size of  DSLRs with the APS-C size sensors. When this crop is selected the 15mm fisheye lens becomes the 35mm equivalent of 22mm. Considering that the Sigma fisheye lens already focuses down to 5.5 inches once the sensor crop is selected you have a very effective tool for creating up-close-and-personal portraits of small critters that also give a sense of the habitat in which these critters live. Do note that the Sigma Fisheye lens will focus almost twice as close as the Nikon 16mm Fisheye Lens and for the type of imagery I like to create with the fisheye perspective this is what makes the Sigma lens such an important tool that now follows me everywhere I go :)

Here are a few American Toad images and one Spotted Salamander photo that were created a couple of weeks ago while exploring the woodlands for toads and salamanders. You may note that the salamander only has one eye, which is either a deformity or a past injury now healed. I purposely photographed the good side in hopes of hiding the closed eye. Interestingly enough I photographed this same salamander last fall, so the deformity allows me to monitor this particular one, which resides beneath a log on the cottage property at Horseshoe Lake.

Please do remember to click on each of the photos to view the larger, sharper versions.

American Toad on Haircap Moss. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 1250, f11 @ 1/250 sec

American Toad on Haircap Moss. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 1250, f11 @ 1/250 sec

American Toad. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f 2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens. ISO 1250, f11 @ 1/40 sec

American Toad. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f 2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens. ISO 1250, f11 @ 1/40 sec

Spotted Salamander. Nikon D800, SIgma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 1250, f11 @ 1/160 sec

Spotted Salamander. Nikon D800, SIgma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 1250, f11 @ 1/160 sec

Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 200 f16 @ 1/100

Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 200 – f16 @ 1/100

On the afternoon of August 22nd as a storm was approaching I ventured over to the North Shore Rugged Fitness Trail in Parry Sound, Ontario with the fisheye lens. This was my first visit to this section of the Georgian Bay shoreline and it will most certainly not be my last. In fact, I am planning to organize some landscape workshops at this location – stay tuned for more info on this. Georgian Bay is noted for its spectacular and photogenic scenery – a photographer’s paradise. The rugged and rocky terrain  has been carved by glaciers and battered by waves, which have led to some very cool rock formations and patterns. During my visit I had a blast using my new Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye lens for an up-close and personal look at some of the splendid vistas I encountered. For the image above I had to precariously position myself and my feet to avoid seeing my toes on the bottom edge. Below are a few additional images, all created with the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye lens.

Each of the images in this post received a touch of Nik’s Detail Extractor Tool from Color Efex 4. I will often use this tool on photographs that do have a significant amount of rugged and rocky terrain in them as it helps give the rock a nice boost in details.

Please remember to click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper version. And please take a moment to let me know which is your favorite.

Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens. ISO 200 f16 @ 1/125

Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens. ISO 200 – f16 @ 1/125

Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 100 f16 @ 1/100

Georgian Bay Shoreline, Parry Sound, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, ISO 100 – f16 @ 1/100

As you can see in the above image, the sun came out and created a somewhat harsher than desired light on the scene. I did however feel that it was not all that bad, but that it would also be perfect for creating a black and white conversion with Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

Georgian Bay Shoreline Parry Sound, Ontraio. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens. ISO 100 f16 @ 1/100

Georgian Bay Shoreline Parry Sound, Ontraio. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens. ISO 100 – f16 @ 1/100

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