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Posts Tagged ‘winter photography’

Hatchery Falls, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Hatchery Falls, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

This morning I awoke at 5:00 a.m. to begin my journey north to Ontario’s Muskoka region to meet up with fellow photographer / friend Kyle McDougall. Do take a moment to check out Kyle’s work as he is a very talented photographer.The plan was to visit several of the areas secluded, woodland waterfalls. The weather forecast was for cloudy conditions with temperatures hovering around 2-3 degrees Celsius. Perfect weather for a comfortable day photographing winter waterfalls.

Ontario’s Muskoka region has been hit hard this winter with tons of snowfall. There is roughly four feet of snow on the ground and significant ice formation at some of the waterfalls, due to the brutal cold temperatures encountered this winter. At each of  the destinations it was somewhat tricky getting into position for some of the images as I would often sink to my waist in deep snow along the riverbanks. My lower back problems did not appreciate this very much and are now getting even with me for heading off without my snowshoes.

Potts Creek, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Potts Creek, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada (10-stop Neutral Density Filter Used)

On today’s waterfall excursion I experimented with some new techniques, gear, and camera features. In the image that opens this blog post I used the focus stacking technique, whereby I created three separate images with each focused at a different point from foreground to horizon and then assembled them in photoshop to create one image file. In the above image at Potts Creek I was very disappointed to see lots of foam floating in the creek below the falls, but I noted that it was floating around in a circular motion. By attaching a B&W 10-stop Neutral Density Filter to the lens I was able to create an image with a 30 second exposure that would record the circular motion making it a pleasing element within the composition.

Skeleton Falls, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Skeleton Falls, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada (in-camera HDR)

The final experiment I tried was setting my Nikon D800 to it’s in-camera HDR function. By doing so the camera would create a natural-looking TIFF file of 100 MB. I was quite pleased with the in-camera HDR results and will use this mode often. For winter imagery I found it opened up the shadowed areas nicely and brought out the greens in the cedar trees well too. While optimizing these images I chose to add a touch of Nik / Google’s Detail Extractor filter from Color Efex 4 to bring out the fine details in the snow.

Please click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper version.

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Snowdrift, Thornton, Ontario

Snowdrift, Thornton, Ontario

I am bound for the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac, which is the most easterly of the Cayman Islands. As a result, the blog will be relatively quite for the next two weeks, but if I can find a wifi connection I will stop by with a Smartphone Snap update. I am quite excited about this trip for a number of reasons. First and foremost I am going to try my hand at underwater photography and secondly there is a wide variety of wildlife subjects to photograph including; numerous species of wading birds, Ground Boas, Cayman Racers (another type of snake), Iguanas, Parrots, Brown Booby (nesting season), crabs, and even several frog species :)

As I write this post we are being hit with yet another round of snow from Mother Nature. Around my home the road signs are virtually buried in snowbanks, and the wild winds of last week have created many cool snowdrifts along the county roads as well. On my way to pick my daughter up from school the other day I had a few minutes to kill so I decided to grab a couple of fresh snowy pics to share. Hope you like the new photos. I’m outta here – palm trees and sand here I come :)

On a side note – the February issue of Denise Ippolito’s Creative Photography eMini-Magazine is now available, please click here to check it out, and to see the article by yours truly click here. To check out Denise Ippolito’s blog follow this link.

Please remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions.

Winter Farm Scene, Thornton, Ontario

Winter Farm Scene, Thornton, Ontario

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Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Capturing pleasing images of songbirds at my backyard bird feeding set-up in a pleasing pose is always a challenge. When I select perches to use I am always mindful of how I will position them during use. This is mostly because I prefer to capture the songbirds that frequent my set-up in such a pose whereby the tail feathers are not merging with the branch. Often the birds arrive on the perch and move about quickly, as a result I find it is best to pre-focus on the perch and when a suitable subject comes in for a landing a will fire off a burst of images. By doing so you are almost certain to capture an image with the tail raised up away from a merging position and you will likely get the head angle in a pleasing position too. One of the hardest birds to photograph at my set-up is the Northern Cardinal…try as I might I cannot get them up onto the perches, but they do frequent the snow covered ground below as they forage for any spilled seeds. Here are a few songbird images from my last sitting in the backyard photo blind a few days ago, as I took a break from my preparations for my upcoming trip to Cayman Brac in the Caribbean Sea. Hope you like the images :)

Please click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions.

Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Black-capped Chickadee in Winter

Black-capped Chickadee in Winter

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter

 

 

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Windswept Snowscape

Windswept Snowscape

Today was a day of wickedly, wild winds, snow and numerous road closures. As the daylight began to fade I could not resist grabbing my Sony RX100 for a troll down the rural road that I live on and play around with a few compositions of windswept snow patterns amid the blowing snow. Above is my favorite image that I captured. Operating the tiny controls on the Sony RX100 is just a tad difficult with gloves on so I had to work quickly with bare hands, tucking them into my jacket pockets to warm up when I had the chance. After about ten minutes my hands were thoroughly frozen and it was time to head back into the house to warm them up.

Please do remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper version.

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Snowy Owl in a Snow Storm - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in a Snow Storm – Thornton, Ontario

Today amid snow squalls and strong winds I made another trek over to see the neighborhood snowy. As usual she was plunked down in the middle of a field that was planted with soy beans last summer. Most likely the field mice and meadow voles are foraging beneath the snow for spilled beans from the harvest, which is likely why this owl is so content on staying at this field, with the well stocked buffet.

To create this image I used a tripod mounted Nikon 80-400mm VR lens on a Nikon D800. After framing the scene accordingly I utilized the Live View function of the camera to manually focus on the owl. An ISO of 1250 was dialed in and an aperture of f16 @ 1/1000 second was used for the exposure, due to the high winds and my desire to enough depth of field for the owl and the distant trees, as well as wanting to capture some of the snow flakes in the air.

Hope you enjoy the images. Please do remember to click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

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Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park – Toronto

On Friday January 17th I decided to make the drive down to the Toronto region to search for Snowy Owls. This year we are experiencing record numbers of of Snowy Owls in Ontario as they have migrated down from their Arctic home.. My destination for the day was going to be Colonel Samuel Smith Park. Upon my arrival a strong wind was already picking up off the lake, which was sure to make things a little uncomfortable and cold. After much searching I came to realize that I was not going to have any luck at my chosen destination. After a few icy shoreline images I decided to head a little to the east and try my luck at Humber Bay Park – at least it is good for ducks and I can usually find a few co-operative Long-tailed Ducks, which also migrate down to this area from the high Arctic.

Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park – Toronto

Long-tailed Duck (formerly Old Squaw) at Humber Bay Park - Toronto

Long-tailed Duck (formerly Old Squaw) at Humber Bay Park – Toronto

Alas my day would come to an end and I would make the long trek home so that I could make it on time for a chiropractor appointment in Barrie and then pick-up my daughter when school ended for the day. After picking up my daughter, we began to drive home and wouldn’t you know it, not 5 kilometers from my home there are two Snowy Owls. As fate would have it I drove roughly 200 kilometers in search of Snowy Owls when they were virtually waiting at my doorstep, but had I stayed home I would not have captured my best image, to date, of a Long-tailed Drake.

On Friday evening and today as well, I went out to create some photos of these Snowy Owls and will continue to do so as long as they are wintering here. No more long drives to find them :)

Snowy Owl on Hydro Pole - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl on Hydro Pole – Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight – Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight – Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Winter Farm Field - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Winter Farm Field – Thornton, Ontario

 

 

 

 

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Innisfil Creek In Winter - Sony RX100

Innisfil Creek In Winter – Sony RX100

The images in this post were all created today, handheld, with my new toy – a Sony RX100. This is an amazing 20 mega-pixel, point and shoot camera that will fit easily into my pocket. It is my intention to carry this little gem everywhere I go, so that I never miss another photo opportunity. I spent some time today playing around with it to familiarize myself with the controls and such because on February 3rd I depart for 10 days on the beautiful island of Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands. I will be using the Sony RX100 in an underwater housing for my explorations in the Caribbean Sea. I can’t wait! Iguanas, crabs, parrots, wading birds, caves, ocean-scapes, and frogs await :) If any folks have previously visited Cayman Brac please do share any tidbits of info that you may think will be beneficial upon my arrival on the island. I have been busy doing as much research as I can, including studying the island on Google Earth, which is a great way to see what to expect prior to being there.

Each of these images were created using the Sony RX100′s RAW file option, which produces a stunning image with a file size of roughly 20 megabytes, and images created at ISO 800 are astonishingly clean – noise free. In the last image the macro setting was used – the Sony RX100 can focus down to 5cm; how is that for a macro lens?

I will post several more images with this lovely little gem before departing for Cayman Brac. Hope you like the first images created with this new toy :)

 

Woodland Stream in Winter - Sony RX100

Woodland Stream in Winter – Sony RX100

Lichens on Tree Trunk - Sony RX100

Lichens on Tree Trunk – Sony RX100

 

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Winter Trees, Orillia, Ontario (original version)

Winter Trees, Orillia, Ontario (original version)

On Saturday I was in Orillia, Ontario helping my folks with a few chores that needed to be done, as they have received a significant amount of snow this season. There is roughly four feet of snow on the ground. It was a dreary winter day with a mix of fog and rain due, so I took some time to go for a drive in search of some fresh winter tree images. I only found one scene that really caught my attention. I was immediately drawn to the form of the main tree. You will notice that I carefully composed the image by choosing a low perspective to eliminate any merging of the trees branches with the distant trees or horizon. Also note how I lined up the main tree with the distant trees so that the tallest trees help to fill in the space to the left of the main tree. After composing and capturing a few variations of this scene it was time to have some fun at the computer. Here is what I came up with. Let me know which is your favorite version and why.

Please click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper version.

Winter Trees with Silver Efex Pro with the Preset Film Noir 1

Winter Trees with Silver Efex Pro 2 with the Preset Film Noir 1

Winter Trees with a Panoramic Crop

Winter Trees with a Panoramic Crop

Winter Trees - 3 Image Stitched Panorama

Winter Trees – 3 Image Stitched Panorama

Winter Trees - Invert Adjustment Appication

Winter Trees – Invert Adjustment Appication

 

 

 

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Abandoned Tractor in Winter

Abandoned Tractor in Winter

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I thought I would ring-in the new year with grunged rendition of an old abandoned tractor that sits at the end of a laneway on a nearby farm. To grunge the tractor I made a selection of the tractor using the quick selection tool in Photoshop CS6 and then hit it with a double-shot of Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro Detail Extractor.

 

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Farm-scape after ice storm near Bradford, Ontario

Farm-scape after ice storm near Bradford, Ontario

On Christmas Eve day I spent several hours driving around to take in the beauty of the ice laden landscape and create a few fresh photographs. For these images I wanted to focus on the beauty that the ice storm created. To me it appears as though the landscape is made of crystal.

Hope you enjoy these scenes…to see the larger, sharper versions please click on each image :)

Winter pond after ice storm near Cookstown, Ontario

Winter pond after ice storm near Cookstown, Ontario

Holland River after ice storm near Bradford, Ontario

Holland River after ice storm near Bradford, Ontario

Ice laden trees lining agricultural field near Bradford, Ontario

Ice laden trees lining agricultural field near Bradford, Ontario

Ice laden trees lining agricultural field near Bradford, Ontario with a panoramic crop

Ice laden trees lining agricultural field near Bradford, Ontario with a panoramic crop

 

 

 

 

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