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Archive for September, 2013

Agawa Rock_2307Agawa Rock in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park

On my recent trip to Lake Superior Provincial Park, which is located north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Gentec International, the Canadian distributor for Sigma lenses, kindly loaned my the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fish-Eye Lens. Having visited this park on four separate occasions, I knew exactly how and where I would put the lens through its paces. In the image above that was captured at Agawa Rock, I waited for the late day sun to cast shadows of the evergreens upon the massive, pink granite cliff for an interesting perspective, knowing that the distortion qualities of the lens would curve the evergreens in towards the cliff.

Katherine Cove_2004Sunburst at Sunset at Katherine Cove, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario

In my previous post I shared a similar image of this sunset at Katherine Cove. Above you will see the fish-eye version of the same scene. The Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fish-Eye lens captured the sunburst much better than my Nikon 18-35mm lens did. At first I was unsure about the distorted horizon in this capture, but the more I look at it, the more I really like the distorted qualities of the image, and the nice thing with fish-eye lenses is the creative opportunities they provide photographers due to their ability to distort the landscape.

White Pine Roots and Granite_1926White Pine Root-scape on Granite Outcrop

After I had finished photographing various compositions at Chippewa Falls, which was also featured in the previous post, I turned to see this interesting root-scape spreading out across the granite outcrop. With the rounded look of the granite outcrop I immediately reached for the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fish-Eye to accentuate the effect.

I found this amazing lens to be most useful along woodland trails and the rugged Lake Superior shoreline where the terrain did not allow much room for a photographer to roam, without ending up in the lake 🙂 If you love photographing creative landscape imagery be sure to add a fish-eye lens such as the Sigma 15mm to your tool kit. The possibilities are endless when it comes to fish-eye lenses and the Sigma 15mm version is capable of photographing almost twice as close as the Nikon 16mm version!!!

Be sure to click HERE to read my review of the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fish-Eye in Denise Ippolito’s Creative Photography eMiniMagazine – an amazing, free, on-line resource for photographers wishing to explore their creative side. Be sure to sign-up for the mini-mag…it’s free!

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Chippewa River_1873Chippewa River in Ontario’s Algoma County

While on route to Lake Superior Provincial park last week a fair amount of the drive was through torrential downpours. The last thing this area needed was more rain. One week prior to my departure for the big lake the area was hit was severe flash flooding, which washed out a section of the Trans-Canada Highway at Iron Bridge. Fortunately a temporary solution had been constructed by the time I arrived and detouring around the wash out was not required. When I arrived at the Chippewa River the rains seemed to be subsiding so I decided to take a break from driving to grab a bite to eat and grab a few images of the Chippewa River. On each of my last four stops at this location the river had been not much more than a trickle, so I was elated that there was significant flow to the river on this day. On a side note: this location is the official halfway point along the Trans-Canada Highway, which stretches from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia.

Chippewa River_1898Chippewa River in Ontario’s Algoma County

One thing that is very apparent when photographing waterfalls and rivers that feed into Lake Superior is the large logs that tend to be present on the river banks and stuck in the flow. These massive logs are carried down river in the spring when the rivers are raging torrents and will occasionally get hung-up in the river, awaiting the next spring run-off to lift them out and onward to the lake. The power of the river is quite evident in the sheer size of these tree trunks that are carried down to their river mouths.

Chippewa River_1903Chippewa River in Ontario’s Algoma County

And alas, as my drive ended upon reaching Lake Superior Provincial Park the rains had passed and the sky cleared and I was ready to capture the setting sun at Katherine Cove, which is undoubtedly one of the best locations within the park for sunset imagery.

Katherine Cove_2006-1Katherine Cove at Sunset in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park

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

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Agawa River at sunrise_3316Agawa River at Sunrise in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park

I arrived home from my jaunt to Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park late Wednesday night. My brother Gregg, founder of WorkCabin, Canada’s largest eco-friendly environmental jobsite, accompanied me on the trip, which brought back memories of how we use to wander off deep into the forest to explore the woodlands around the family cottage near Parry Sound, way back in our early teenage years. On Wednesday morning the alarm clock rang out at 5:00 a.m. and I walked down to the Lake Superior shoreline to assess the skies for any possible sunrise opportunities. I could see some low-level, alto-cumulus clouds forming. These clouds are typically characterized by parallel bands or rounded masses, and when present have the potential to create stunning sunrise imagery. I decided it was best that we head over to the Agawa River to see if we could capture a couple of sunrise images before departing for home. The decision to head to the Agawa River was bang-on as the skies were on fire about half an hour after we arrived on the scene, well prepared for the action. Without a doubt this was the most beautiful sunrise I have ever witnessed. Now, if only a bull Moose could have been standing in the river.

To hold back the intense glow of the sunlit skies I used my Singh Ray 2-stop Graduated Neutral Density Filter on either my Nikon 24-85mm lens or my new favorite lens the Nikon 18-35mm attached to a Nikon D800.

The three images in this post represent the transitions in the sunrise, from it’s most intense glow to the moment the color began to disappear.

Please click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions and let us know which is your favorite of the three.

Agawa River at sunrise_3320Agawa River at Sunrise in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park

Agawa River at sunrise_3324Agawa River at Sunrise in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park

 

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Katherine Cove at sunset_0919-HDRKatherine Cove on Lake Superior at Sunset

Long before the sun rises tomorrow I will be bound for one of my most favorite photo destinations – Lake Superior Provincial Park. The rugged terrain and stunning shoreline vistas make this provincial park a photographer’s paradise. Here are a few images from my last trip through the area, which was about two years ago. This time around I am taking the Sigma 15mm fish-eye lens with me and I can’t wait to photograph some of the awe inspiring shorelines and forest interiors with this amazing little lens. I am also looking forward to venturing up towards Wawa for some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Ontario.

I am not looking forward to the chilly weather that is in the forecast though. The night-time temperatures are supposed to fall to 1 degree Celsius. Yikes! I am thinking it might get a tad chilly sleeping in my trusty old Subaru 🙂

Crashing wave on Lake Superior_2416Storm Light and Crashing Waves on Lake Superior

Katherine Cove_1699Katherine Cove at Sunset on Lake Superior

Upon my return from Lake Superior I will also be announcing what will be my inaugural workshop/tour to the tip of Long Point on Lake Erie. Long Point is essentially a sand-spit that extends out into Lake Erie roughly 45 kilometres. It is designated as a World Biosphere. Once at the tip of the Long Point peninsula you are almost half way across Lake Erie and there is only one way to reach the tip, which is by boat and the vessel that will be used to transport us to the tip is the safest way to go. Below is a photo that I created last week of sunrise at the tip of the Long Point Peninsula. I am hoping that there will be thousands of Monarch butterflies there when we arrive as they will begin their long journey to Mexico soon, and Long Point is one of there stopping off places.

Long Point_1720Long Point World Biosphere on Lake Erie at Sunrise

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

See ya soon folks 🙂

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Rosseau River_1635Rosseau River in Ontario’s Muskoka Region

Recently I purchased the new Nikon 18-35mm lens and have had a blast using it on my favorite subjects – waterfalls and bullfrogs.  If I could only have one lens it would most certainly be a wide angle zoom lens. The corner-to-corner sharpness of this lens is amazing. I will do a more in-depth summary of my thoughts on this lens in the near future. Above is a recent capture made along the Rosseau River. The water levels were quite low during my visit and I was able to cross the river to an area that is inaccessible during periods of higher flow. This image was created using the Nikon 18-35mm lens on a Nikon D800 firmly mounted on my tripod. An ISO of 250 was selected with the aperture set to f16 for an exposure of 1.3 seconds. After reviewing a few test images on the D800’s LCD screen to critique the amount of blur to the flowing river, I determined this to be the look I wanted to achieve. Below you will see a Black & White conversion of the image and a creative rendition too. The B&W version was created using Nik / Google’s Silver Efex Pro 2, while the creative version was created with Topaz Labs Black & White Effects 2.

Please remember to click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper version and take a moment to let us know which is your favorite and why.

Rosseau River_1635-B&WRosseau River in B&W (Silver Efex Pro 2)

Rosseau River_1635-B&W EffectsRosseau River – B&W Effects 2

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Bullfrog_1431

Male Bullfrog on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Technical Specs:
ISO 6400
f22 @ 1/40 second
Live View
Hand-Held

The last couple of weeks have been rather hectic, after returning from the cottage on Horseshoe Lake in Ontario’s Parry Sound Region I was only home for a couple of days prior to heading back to the cottage. During my first of the two stays I spent several nights working with the Bullfrogs. By the time I had noticed this fella with his head lifted nicely out of the water it was already getting quite dark out, as can be seen by the late setting sun reflecting in the frog’s right eye. I could have easily given up and called it a night, but if you don’t push yourself or the limits of your gear you will not know what is achievable down the road. It is very important for photographers to get to know both their limits and those of their equipment.

To create the above portrait of this male American Bullfrog I positioned my canoe in front of him and then sat in the bottom of the canoe for increased stability. Then utilizing the Live View feature of my D800, a bubble-level in the hot-shoe and a Nikon 105mm Micro Lens I framed the image. To capture the low perspective the camera and lens were hand-held at the water’s surface. In fact, both the lens hood and quick release plate were getting wet. As night was quickly falling upon the frog and I an ISO of 6400 was dialed in, which gave me 1/40 seconds at f22. The small aperture was necessary to maximize the depth of field at this close range. The canoe was sitting relatively stable due to very shallow water conditions at this location within the marsh and prior to pressing the shutter I took a breath then I clicked the shutter while holding the breath. This technique will help keep your body relatively still for slower than desired exposures, producing a better percentage of keepers.

When viewing the above image on my computer after I arrived home, I was quite impressed with the low-level of noise present at such a high ISO. It is critical to maintain proper exposure by remembering to expose to the right (ETTR). If you have to brighten a poorly exposed frame you will surely introduce noise into the image. In Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) I did perform a tiny bit of noise reduction and later in Photoshop I removed several dust bunnies 🙂 Otherwise this is how the image appeared on the LCD screen in the marsh.

After I created several frames of this fella he lunged forward and gobbled up a smaller frog that I had not noticed, in one quick motion. Bullfrogs are notorious for their canabalistic tendencies.

Please click on the image to see the larger, sharper version and the D800 quality at high ISOs.

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