During my recent trip to Lake Superior Provincial Park I awoke on the first morning to a bitter, cold wind and a sky full of rather nasty looking storm clouds. I was hoping for weather conditions that would have been a little more favorable, but I always make a habit of getting up and getting out there regardless of the current weather conditions, especially on windy days when things can change in a hurry. One of my favorite spots in the park is at Old Woman Bay. The sandy beach at this location has many sun-bleached logs strewn about, presumably by extremely rough conditions on the lake during stormy weather, something that Lake Superior is noted for. I found an old tree stump at the water’s edge that I knew would make a nice foreground element, so I sat down on the beach with my 12-24mm lens and framed this scene. Why did I sit down? I wanted a low perspective so that the tree stump would not rise above the horizon line and merge with the sky and secondly, it was incredibly windy and it is much easier to keep everything steady (camera and tripod) when you assume a lower profile. I also used a polarizing filter to reduce some of the glare from the water and make the clouds a touch more dramatic. I also used my 2-stop Singh Ray grad filter to darken the sky. As I was playing around with various shutter speeds to get the desired amount of blur to the incoming waves when the sun began rising behind me and lit up a section of the clouds adding the final piece of the puzzle to this scene.
Archive for September, 2011
Posted in Black & White, Landscapes, tagged b&w effects, coastal trail, katherine cove, lake superior, landscape photography, nature photography, ontario, photography, photoshop plugins, topaz labs on September 23, 2011 | 9 Comments »
While wandering back along a section of the Coastal Trail in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park at Katherine Cove this pattern, caused by a previous wave, caught my attention. I used my 12-24mm lens and positioned my tripod low to the ground and chose a vertical composition so that this interesting pattern could dominate the foreground of this photograph. I was able to squeeze off a couple of frames before a rogue wave came ashore and washed away the design. Above is a version converted to black and white using the new photoshop plugin from Topaz Labs called B&W Effects. There is a free trial version available for download, but until October 3rd you can use Topaz Lab’s discount code from the website and purchase the plugin for a mere $29.99. Below you will see the original, colour version of the image which do you prefer?
Posted in Landscapes, Software Solutions, tagged aux sables river, chutes provincial park, hdr, lake superior, lake superior provincial park, landscape photography, nature photography, oloneo photo engine, ontario, photography on September 20, 2011 | 4 Comments »
I have always been hesitant to give HDR imagery a try. Recently, I became aware of Oloneo Photo Engine and was very impressed with how natural images processed with this software looked. On my recent trip to Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park I decided to try a few scenes as HDR to see how they would turn out when processed with Oloneo Photo Engine. I was quite impressed with how easy the software was to use and how natural the end results were. The image above of the sunset at Katherine Cove is a 5 frame (-2,-1, 0, +1 & +2) HDR composition. In the image below, as I was photographing the Aux Sables River in Chutes Provincial Park, which was on my route of travel while driving to Lake Superior, the sun broke through the clouds creating rather unpleasant contrast within the scene. I decided to shoot 3 frames at -1, 0 & +1 as an experiment to see how the scene would be rendered after processing the image files with Oloneo Photo Engine. So far I am very pleased with this HDR software for keeping my landscape imagery looking as natural as possible. However, when I am seeking the grunge look it is hard to beat Photomatix. A 30-day trial is available from Oloneo Photo Engine so that you may try out the software before deciding to buy.
Posted in Creative Visions, Impressions in Nature, Landscapes, tagged lake superior, landscape photography, magpie river, nature photography, ontario, photography, waterfalls, wawa on September 19, 2011 | 4 Comments »
While in Lake Superior Provincial Park last week I took advantage of several opportunities to shoot various water blurs around Lake Superior and beyond. These blurs included wave blurs and flowing river blurs which I could shoot all day long. I spent several hours along the Magpie River near Wawa, Ontario during some over-cast, rainy weather conditions creating many moving water blurs. There are several rivers in Ontario’s Algoma Highlands that flow rather quickly down from the highland terrain as they make their way to Lake Superior. I often find it best to bracket the length of my exposures for moving water blurs so that I can choose the amount of blur I desire in the flowing water later when back home at my computer. I will most often start with an exposure of about 1/15th of a second and increase the exposure time from there, depending on the flow rate of the river of course. There are also several waterfalls along these rivers that I will feature in a future post. This post contains a few of my favorite water blurs that I have processed thus far. Hope you like them too!
I spent a few days last week up on the eastern shore of Lake Superior in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park. All of my previous trips to Lake Superior the lake was always rather calm. Lake Superior is noted for being a dangerous lake as winds can change and the lake conditions can become extremely rough. In the above photo I would guess the waves this day were in the 4-5 foot range and as they crashed into the rugged shoreline they would create impressive sprays up into the air. The winds and rain persisted throughout for the above location which can be noted in the out-of-focus look to the background – it is a torrential downpour in the distance. These rains and winds continued for the duration of my trip creating various challenges and the nights were rather chilly for sleeping in the car, but I able to find several nice situations that I will share in upcoming posts. One challenge was creating sharp images in the brutal winds. For the image below I sought shelter on the down wind side of a small peninsula at Katherine Cove and choose a long exposure to blur the water and the forest. By shooting on the down wind side I was easily able to keep the massive boulder at the water’s edge in sharp focus to anchor the image.
Posted in Black & White, Creative Visions, Software Solutions, tagged abitibi river, b&w effects, creative visions, kakabeka falls, killarney, muskoka, ontario, photography, photoshop plugins, stock photography, topaz on September 10, 2011 | 6 Comments »
Since downloading Topaz Labs B&W Effects, I have been experimenting with the various presets and sliders, to fine tune the treatment of each individual photograph. I absolutely love the detail and detail boost sliders for creating a HDR-ish, grunge-like effect. I am also becoming rather fond of the transparency slider for revealing a touch of colour from the original capture, for a desaturated appearance. While I am still experimenting with the program, here are a few recent images that I have applied Topaz B&W Effects too.
Posted in Frogs and Toads, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, tagged bullfrogs, frogs, Horseshoe Lake, muskoka, nature photography, ontario, Parry Sound, photography, wetlands on September 7, 2011 | 4 Comments »
Over the course of last weekend I photographed many Bullfrog images. I have had trouble locating the adults in the Horseshoe Lake wetland this year. Not because they are hard to find, but because their numbers have been decreasing over time. I remember when my parents first bought our cottage, 30 years ago, and how the Bullfrog’s calls would fill the night air, but now it seems that there are substantially less frogs singing. On another note, many bullfrog tadpoles have emerged from their watery home to begin their new life above the water’s surface. Hopefully many of these froglets will make it to adulthood and replenish some of the frog numbers here.
Many of these new Bullfrog images will round out the images I require for a project I will be beginning shortly that pertains to frogs. To photograph the ‘frogscape’ above I used my 12-24mm lens set to its closest focusing point, a polarizing filter, a 2-stop grad filter and a bubble level. While handholding the camera just above the water’s surface, I leveled the camera according to the bubble level and fired away.
Below is a collection of images of a large, rather plump male Bullfrog that was most cooperative while it was at rest on a floating section of waterlily roots. Aside from the usual assortment of predators (herons, snapping turtles & water snakes), the juvenile Bullfrogs are also preyed upon by the adult Bullfrogs that have voracious appetites. If they can stuff it in their mouths they will eat it.
While processing some recent spider images I decided to pull a couple of additional spider pics from the archives to post a small collection of spider photographs. I find it easiest to photograph spiders with a small flash positioned out in front of my macro lens. The flash allows me to handhold my set-up and also stop my lens down for improved depth of field. Setting up a tripod to photograph spiders is an exercise in frustration unless, like in the image above, the spider is at rest in a location that allows for easy set-up of a tripod. The wolf spider above was photographed while resting on a cedar tree.
The Six-spotted Fishing Spiders above were photographed in the vernal ponds behind my home where I shoot the frogs and toads during their breeding season.
While searching the field behind my home in late summer for dewy spider webs I came across this colourful Shamrock Orb Weaver.
I find spiders to be fascinating creatures, but none fascinate me more than the Brownish-gray Fishing Spiders that are commonly seen around the dock and rocky shoreline at the cottage. These spiders when fully grown will have a legspan of three inches. They are rather timid and readily disappear when approached, making them difficult to photograph.
Posted in Horseshoe Lake, Landscapes, Muskoka, Wetlands, tagged autumn, beaver ponds, fall colour, Horseshoe Lake, landscape photography, muskoka, nature photography, ontario, Parry Sound, photography, wetlands on September 5, 2011 | 8 Comments »
Over the last few days I was up at Horseshoe Lake and took advantage of the over-cast, rainy conditions to shoot some backwoods beaver ponds that I frequently explore. As usual, there are always a few trees that go into peak autumn foliage several weeks early than the rest of the trees. I made my way to this pond by following along several older beaver ponds and streams that connect the ponds, making note of the bear tracks along the way. As I made my way around a large fallen log at the edge of one pond I heard a splash in the water. I looked down to see my Lowepro lens case that I keep my Nikon 12-24mm lens floating in the pond. I jumped in to fetch the lens, unzipped the case and drained out the small amount of water that had leaked in. After drying the lens off with my t-shirt I began to examine the lens and it appeared that no water had leaked into the lens and no water reached the lens contacts. I further dried the lens with some micro-fiber cleaning cloths and created the image above, mostly to test the lens for moisture. So far all looks well, but just to be sure the lens will spend the next few days in a bag of silica gel that will absorb any moisture that cannot be seen. Being prepared for mishaps, should they unfortunately arrive, may just save the day. I always take along several micro-fibre cleaning cloths, clear plastic bags (for rain), knife, bear spray, electrical tape and an assortment of other things including my asthma inhaler. Many of these items are never needed, but you never know when they will be required.