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Archive for the ‘Creative Visions’ Category

Star Trails, Lake Traverse, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 125
f4 @ 30 minutes

We wrapped up the Lake Traverse program this morning to enable folks plenty of time for their long journeys home. We had a fantastic group of participants and created many superb landscape images. I would also like to extend a very BIG thank-you to Don Johnston for assisting me during the program. Don is a great teacher who’s dedication to helping folks get the most of the experience is greatly appreciated.  In the coming weeks I will share the participant images with you here on the blog. Aside from our regularly planned landscape photography locations we organized two night-scape sessions and were blessed with clear skies on both nights, however the second night was the clearest of all due to the first night having a very light haze in the sky. The northern lights were visible for both nightscape sessions but they were not very pronounced. Tinges of color are present within the star trails image above. After spending a couple of hours creating Milky Way Nightscapes over the Petawawa River and the Algonquin Radio Observatory satellite dish we had three participants that wanted to capture a star trail image. We made our way down to the shore of Lake Traverse, set up our compositions, dialed in the ISO, f-stop, and set the shutter speed to BULB. We then tripped the shutters on our cameras and chatted for a half hour while we created our star trail images. We completed our start trails imagery by approximately 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Just in time to grab a few winks before heading back out for misty sunrises at 6:30 a.m.

I arrived home late this afternoon and immediately unpacked and began packing for my departure tomorrow afternoon to the rainforests of Tarapoto, Peru.

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Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 440mm (35 Equivalent = 660mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec

 

Earlier this month while relaxing by the water of Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario I took notice of the patterns created by the gentle, undulating surface of the lake. The weather conditions at the time was mostly sunny with numerous puffy white, cotton clouds in the sky. In the sections of water that were cast in shade, the reflected sky and clouds were creating ever-changing patterns of white and blue. Using my Nikon D500 and Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens I zoomed in on different sections of the water to record several images of these patterns as they evolved. I found it best to set the Nikon D500 to record the images at 10 frames per second so I would not miss any of the subtle changes in the patterns. After creating a rather ridiculous number of these images I narrowed down the keepers to these three images. Each of the images in this post are straight out of the camera with only minor adjustments to contrast and some cloning of debris floating on the surface of the water.

Please do remember to click on the photos to see the larger versions.

 

Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 200mm (35 Equivalent = 300mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec

 

Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 440mm (35 Equivalent = 660mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec

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I’d like to announce an awesome eBook entitled “ONE IMAGE” authored by good friend, fellow photographer, and colleague Kyle McDougall. ONE IMAGE is a 196 page eBook that is full of inspirational landscape photographs, all created using Kyle’s one image methodology with stellar results. As Kyle states within the early pages of the book: “In a nutshell, the One Image process is the act of setting out to create only a single photograph while on location, or at the very least, exhausting all of your options before moving on to the next.”

In this day and age where it seems photographs are judged by the number of likes they receive on Facebook or Instagram. ONE IMAGE is thought-provoking, adaptable and flexible concept that reminds us to slow down, become one with nature, and make deliberate decisions when crafting our landscape imagery, rather than run around a location creating a multitude of images only to select our favorite image at the home computer. Something we are all guilty of at one point or another during our photographical pursuits.

From the first chapter “Concept – Take Control of Your Art” to the last chapter “Moving Forward” Kyle reminds us of one of the most important and thought-provoking points that we must first and foremost be creating our photography for ourselves. After all did we not purchase our camera gear because we enjoy taking photographs?

The ONE IMAGE process will raise your awareness for creating meaningful landscape imagery by making deliberate and specific choices when crafting your photographs, by consciously deciding what to include or exclude, and by understanding light and how it plays a significant role in shaping the resulting photograph.

ONE IMAGE will help you develop a workflow that will guide you through the process of creating meaningful landscape imagery for YOU! Just as Kyle states on page 185 Take the time. Do the work. Be thoughtful. Be unique. Create for yourself”

To order your copy of ONE IMAGE please click here.

 

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Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm

 

One of my most favorite winter subjects to photograph is the skeletal forms of tree in winter. Living in a rural area in Essa Township provides me with ample opportunities to photograph these winter trees. Often I will head out at either sunrise or sunset to photograph them and when doing so I always search for the trees that are a slight rise in the terrain so that I can compose them against the sky being very careful not to allow any of the branches on the tree to merge with the horizon. It can also be rewarding to create artistic renderings of winter trees with a variety of photoshop plug-ins. In this post I am revealing two such creations that utilized the Topaz Labs plug-in Simplify. For the two artistic renderings at the end of this blog post I selected one of the sketch presets in Simplify and tweaked the sliders until I achieved the strong black and white treatment.

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

 

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

 

Winter Tree - Topaz Simplify

Winter Tree – Topaz Simplify

 

Winter Tree - Topaz Simplify

Winter Tree – Topaz Simplify

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Hattie Cove on Lake Superior in Pukaskwa National Park Sleeklens Light Rays Overlay Applied for Creative Effect

Hattie Cove on Lake Superior in Ontario’s Pukaskwa National Park
Sleeklens Light Rays Overlay Applied for Creative Effect

 

Recently I was given the opportunity to try some overlays by Sleeklens on my landscape imagery. I was drawn to the Light Leaks and Light Rays overlays for their effectiveness in regards to enhancing the sun for a “natural” creative look. When the right image is chosen to apply one of these overlays the result can be pleasing and not over-the-top in terms of it’s creative effect.

In the fisheye scene above of Hattie Cove on Lake Superior in Ontario’s Pukaskwa National Park I composed the early morning scene to catch a sunburst effect with the fisheye lens. By applying a Light Rays overlay I was able to give the sunburst a more pronounced and dramatic appearance within the scene. Converting the image to black & white was not my initial intention but I felt it brought the image together for a natural look.

In the below photograph of a misty morning on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario I chose to apply the same Light Rays overlay that was used in the Hattie Cove image above. Once the overlay is brought into Photoshop I can easily maneuver the rays around using the Move Tool or the Transform Tool. Since the overlay is on its own layer the Opacity of that layer can be adjusted to taste easily as well. Here I chose to reduce the opacity significantly so that the rays of light were just becoming visible through the misty conditions of the morning.

Misty Morning Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake. Parry SOund, Ontario Sleeklens Light Rays Overlay Applied for Creative Effect

Misty Morning Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Sleeklens Light Rays Overlay Applied for Creative Effect

Below is a photo created along the Georgian Bay Rugged Hiking Trail in the town of Parry Sound, Ontario with a Light Leaks overlay applied. This image would express the most creative use I applied, but I do like the added interest it gives to this mid-day scene. To created the desaturated look to this image I originally was creating a B&W conversion in Nik’s Silver Effects 2 but later decided to reduce the opacity of the Silver Effects to bring back a touch of colour to the image.

Georgian Bay Rugger Hiking Trail. Parry Sound, Ontario Sleeklens Light Leaks Overlay Applied for Creative Effect

Georgian Bay Rugged Hiking Trail. Parry Sound, Ontario
Sleeklens Light Leaks Overlay Applied for Creative Effect

While these Light Rays and Light Leaks overlays may not be everybody’s cup of tea, they do work for me when applied to the right situation. I often create artistic renderings of many of my landscape and wildlife imagery and the Sleeklens overlays now give me another option in my toolkit to utilize along the creative pathway. If you also like to explore the artistic / creative rendering side of your imagery, then you may also find the Sleeklens Photoshop Overlays to be a useful tool and rewarding option too.

 

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American Toad (Bufo americanus) Artistic Rendering Using Topaz Glow

American Toad (Bufo americanus)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Glow Wire Preset

I have been very busy over the last few weeks with print sales, writing projects, and household renovations. Each of the images in this post have had an artistic rendering applied to them by using the Photoshop plug-in Glow by Topaz Labs. To check out various examples of what this great plug-in is capable of doing please have a look at the Topaz website by clicking here. I was very hesitant to give Topaz Glow a try when it was first released several months ago because I was so accustomed to using the Fractalius plug-in available from Redfield Plugins, however, with the release of the newest version of Fractalius I was very disappointed and found it virtually impossible to create my most favorite frog fracts that I used to do. With Topaz Glow I feel that my artistic frog imagery has been given new life and that I am able to create effects that I was never able to create with the Fractalius software. I was able to create a couple of nice custom settings with the new version of Fractalius, but do feel that I will revert to my older versions for my most favorite custom presets that were featured in the eBook Fractastic, which I co-wrote with the very talented Denise Ippolito.

Please click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper version and let me know what you think of these Topaz Glow amphibian creations 🙂

American Toad (Bufo americanus) Topaz Glow Fur & Feathers II Preset

American Toad (Bufo americanus)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Fur & Feathers II Preset

 

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Topaz Labs Glow - Heavy Metal Preset

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Heavy Metal Preset

 

Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix)  Topaz Labs Glow - Fur & Feathers II Preset

Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Fur & Feathers II Preset

 

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Topaz Labs Glow - Glow Wire Preset

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Glow Wire Preset

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Winter Details at Hatchery Falls in Muskoka, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 180mm ISO 100, f16 @ 0.6 seconds

Winter Details at Hatchery Falls in Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 180mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 0.6 seconds

I am looking forward to departing this bitterly cold winter soon for the warmth of the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac, but thought I would share a few winter detail images that I recently processed while I finish-up on some of my much needed tasks prior to my departure. Some of these photos were created last winter, but I did not have time to edit them until recently. For each of these images I used my old Nikon 80-400mm VR lens to zoom in on some of the interesting details that can be found within the winter landscape.

One more week of cold temperatures to endure 🙂 I have been in contact with some of the folks I met last year on Cayman Brac and can’t wait to get down there to photograph the Brown Booby’s with chicks as they have been hatching over the past week!

Winter Details Along the Skeleton River in Muskoka, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 185mm ISO 100, f16 @ 0.5 seconds

Winter Details Along the Skeleton River in Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 185mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 0.5 seconds

Frozen Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400 mm VR lean @ 135mm ISO 800, f29 @ 1/125 sec. Handheld

Frozen Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400 mm VR lean @ 135mm
ISO 800, f29 @ 1/125 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber bay Park, Toronto Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 135mm ISO 800, f16 @ 1/640 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 135mm
ISO 800, f16 @ 1/640 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber bay Park, Toronto, Ontario Nikon D800, Nion 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm ISO 800, f16 @ 1/250 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm
ISO 800, f16 @ 1/250 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 240mm ISO 800, f16 @ 1/800 sec. Handheld

Frozen Lake Details on Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 240mm
ISO 800, f16 @ 1/800 sec. Handheld

 

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