Archive for February, 2013


Clousdscape at 40,000 feet over the Caribbean Sea

I returned from my trip to Port Antonio, Jamaica late Monday night after a lengthy delay with the plane leaving the tarmac in Kingston and further delays upon arrival in Toronto. It is never a good sign when you watch the pilot walking across the tarmac on his way to the back of the aircraft with a roll of duct tape in his hand. As it turned out the plane had a crack in a fire retardant panel in the rear luggage compartment and due to safety reasons was unable to fly with luggage in the hold. The plane would have to fly back to Toronto leaving the rear luggage compartment empty. Upon arrival in Toronto folks would have to wait and see if their luggage made its way back in the front luggage hold. Any bags that did not make their way onto the plane were going to be transported by West Jet to Montego Bay and flown up to Toronto the next day. As luck would have it mine did not which meant a further delay to line-up and fill out the necessary paperwork for the delivery of the luggage at a later date. A tip-of-the-hat to West Jet for delivering my suitcase to my door-step in less than 48 hours of my arrival home.

While it can often be difficult to create decent photographs through the plexiglass windows of commercial airlines it is still worth a try when conditions are optimal and interesting compositions present themselves.Whenever I fly I book a window seat in advance and select a seat near the front of the plane so that I do not encounter the heat distortion from the airplane’s engines, which would affect images photographed from the rear of the plane. When I am creating the photographs I keep the lens as square to the plexiglass windows as possible and position the lens close to the window without touching it – there is a lot of vibration on the window pane. In addition, by shooting with a fairly wide aperture the scratches in the plexiglass windows, especially those found on older planes, will not be noticeable in the resulting photographs. The cloudscapes here were photographed with an f-stop of 5.6 at 40,000 feet over the Caribbean Sea, while the plane was traveling at roughly 500 miles per hour. The first image was captured at mid-day while the second image was created during the last hour of daylight. Which is your favorite?


Cloudscape over the Caribbean Sea

Read Full Post »

Oxtongue River_3536-B&W

Autumn on the Oxtongue River near Dwight, Ontario

One last post before heading off to Port Antonio, Jamaica for a week and a half of sun, fun, and of course photography too 🙂 I am planning on visiting a couple of lovely waterfalls, a hike in the Blue Mountains, and of course assorted bird life and reptiles as well.

Lately I have been using Nik Software’s Silver Effects II software to convert some of my river / waterfall images captured over the last year or so into B&W photos. Often I am finding that I like the B&W versions just a little bit more than the color one. I guess I will have to try my hand at some tropical B&W images upon my return.

Please remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions and leave a quick note letting me know which is your favorite and why.

Take care folks.

See ya soon!

High Falls on the Muskoka River near Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada

High Falls on the Muskoka River, Bracebridge, Ontario

Magpie Falls_1422-B&W

Details at Magpie Falls, Wawa, Ontario

Magnetawan River_4009-B&W

Autumn along the Magnetawan River, Emsdale, Ontario

Read Full Post »

Hairy Woodpecker_4336

Hairy Woodpecker

The above photograph of the male Hairy Woodpecker was created at my backyard bird feeder set-up. He would visit the bird feeder to collect seeds and then hide them among the cracks in the bark on the old apple tree stump that support the feeding station.

In the image below you will see the set-up I am using this year for my winter songbird photography. In the center of the frame at the bottom you will see the speaker that is connected to an old MP3 player that I keep inside the photo blind to play the songs of various bird species that frequent the area around my home, to lure them in closer to the feeding station.

Now for the cheapskate part – use an old set of automobile jumper cables affixed to a flexible type of clamp and presto you have an easy, effective set-up to hold various perches and the ability to change them around as needed without too much fuss. The flexible clamps were purchased from Princess Auto for a mere $11.99 CDN and now I have a set of magnifying glasses for my daughter to play with too :). The cardboard over the feeder actually has a small hole cut in it which tend to make the birds land on the perches rather than the sides of the feeding station.

To see the larger, sharper versions of each image please click on them to enlarge.

Winter Feeder_4242

The Backyard Set-up

Just a reminder to all full-time photography students enrolled in an accredited Canadian University or College to click on the Sigma Scholarship Contest logo in the sidebar of the blog for a chance to win $3000 towards their tuition and $1000 worth of gear from Gentec International.

Read Full Post »

Winter Tree Fractalius ArtFlakes_4629-4

Fractalius Rendering of  Winter Tree

Fractalius is a Photoshop plug-in that is both fun and highly addictive. The winter tree above was photographed on a slightly foggy morning just down the road from my home. Often during periods of winter fog or hoarfrost I will jump in the car and go for a drive down some of the rural roads in search of pleasing subjects. For the fractalius treatment above I chose the ‘ArtFlakes’ preset as a starting point. I was quite pleased how the Artflakes preset picked up on the greenish lichen that covered much of the tree’s larger branches. Finishing touches were applied to the image using Nik Software’s Color Efex 4 Detail Extractor filter.

To find out more about photographing winter trees be sure to take a look at my latest article in Denise Ippolito’s ‘Creative Photography eMiniMagazine’ and while you are there be sure to check out the other great articles by the many talented contributors.

On another note: Denise Ippolito and I have completed working on an eGuide to using the Fractalius plug-in which should be published in the near future by Arthur Morris. The guide is loaded with many images with the Fractalius rendering applied to them, and we will be including both the before and after versions of each image, as well as our custom presets that we frequently use to achieve our desired results.

Do remember to click on the photo to see the larger, sharper version.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: