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Archive for the ‘Landscapes’ Category

Summer 2017 Issue of ON Nature Magazine

The Summer 2017 issue of On Nature Magazine has hit the newstand. On the cover of this issue is a starry nightscape created by yours truly. I created this image from the deck of my cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario with a Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens mounted to a Nikon D800 and pointed it straight up at the sky. The wide angle view of the fisheye lens also caught the tree tops as they were silhouetted against the dark starry sky.

Ontario Nature (formerly known as The Federation of Ontario Naturalists) dates back to 1931. They are dedicated to protecting our natural places through conservation and education. To find out more about Ontario Nature and how you too can get involved please click here .

Please click on the photo to see the larger version.

Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement about a nightscape workshop in one of Ontario’s absolute best locations for viewing the night sky.

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Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 100
f16 @ 8 seconds

When I was a kid I used to love watching a TV series called “Land of the Lost,” which aired on the NBC network from 1974 -1976. This series was essentially about a family that was trapped in an alternate universe inhabited by dinosaurs. There are a few locations throughout Ontario, especially along the Niagara Escarpment where I am often reminded of this show as the landscape really does make you feel as though you are entering a different world. On a recent excursion last week I found myself again in this situation. The place was the Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Park which is a small, park with no services, just hiking trails. The hiking trails are part of the historic Bruce Trail that runs from Niagara River to Tobermory. This trail is more than 890 kilometres in  length with an additional 400 plus kilometres of side trails. Within the Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Park we find the Standing Rock and Caves Side Trail which is where all of today’s images were created. After climbing down into the first crevice blue trail markers guide you through the deep, cool crevices with walls that are draped in thick carpets of moss, liverworts, and numerous species of ferns. I spent the better part of about 4 hours exploring these crevices and will definitely need to schedule a return trip to complete the exploration. I took only two lenses with me on this excursion; the Nikkor 18-35mm lens and the Laowa 12mm Zero D lens. The conditions in the crevices were very cool temperatures and due to the steep crevice walls many of the exposures were seconds long. The day was a hot, muggy kind of day but down in the crevices I was actually catching a chill. When I made my out of the crevices my lenses fogged immediately upon exposure to the warmer, humid air. Here are several images created during my first outing to this newly discovered location.

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

Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 3 seconds

 

Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 4 seconds

 

Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 1 seconds

 

Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 3 seconds

 

Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 1.6 seconds

 

Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 30 seconds

 

In the below image we can see how the center slab of rock, millions of years ago, broke free of the rock wall on the right and went crashing into the rock wall on the left side of the composition.

 

Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 100
f16 @ 25 seconds

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Hogg’s Falls, Flesherton, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
Nisi Polarizing Filter
ISO 50
f16 @ 1/5 sec

It has been several years since I have made the short one hour drive to Hogg’s Falls on the Boyne River along the Niagara Escarpment near Flesherton, Ontario, however, with perfect over-cast conditions this past Monday I felt it was time to make a return trip and this time I would be taking along my extreme wide angle Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens, complete with the newly arrived Nisi Filter System that allows me to fit a polarizing filter over the bulbous front element of the lens to effectively polarize scenes such as the one featured in today’s post. I am loving the 12mm perspective that is offered by this amazingly sharp, light weight lens and foresee many return visits to some of my most favorite locations throughout Ontario to create unique, ultra wide, landscape imagery. To create this extreme wide angle view of Hogg’s Falls first required me to climb down into the gorge, secondly find an angle where the spray from the cascading water would not be too problematic, and finally position my camera low to the river.

Please remember to click on the image to view the larger, sharper version.

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Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f11 @ 1/6 sec

 

In the summer of 2016 Venus Optics released the Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens, the world’s fastest 12mm lens available for full frame cameras. The Zero D designation stands for zero distortion. Recently I purchased one of these lenses for both commercial and landscape photography. The Laowa 12mm lens is a fully manual lens (exposure and focusing). The Exif data recorded for images created with this lens will show no value for f-stop used or focal length of the lens, but that is by no means a deterrent to using this lens. All metal construction give this lens a “built like a tank” feel. It is also a very small lens and light weight at only 609 grams!

Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f11 @ 1/6 sec

While this is not intended to be a lens review I will mention a few of things I like and dislike about the lens. First of all, light fall off is very acceotable and virtually disappears as the lens is stopped down. Chromatic aberration is also very well controlled and any that does become visible is easily fixed by simply checking the Remove Chromatic Aberration box in ACR. As mentioned the lens is an all metal build and this includes the two lens hoods. Yes I said two lens hoods. The lens has a small built-in lens hood that helps to protect the bulbous front element and there is also a removable petal-style lens hood as well. A disappointing note about the removable lens hood is that it causes slight vignetting. I simply choose to not use the removable lens hood when photographing with this lens, although at some point I will likely modify it so that it can be used with no vignetting.

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f11 @ 0.3 sec

The front element of this lens has what is called a “Frog Eye Coating” for repelling dust and water. What I have noticed with the coating is that water droplets will bead on the front element and can thus be easily wiped off the lens. I love this feature!

Does the lens live up to the claim of zero distortion? Yes! If the camera is square with the world straight lines will be straight. When you point the camera up or down you will notice that trees will have a tendency to lean in or out depending on the angle at which the camera is pointed, but this common to all wide angle lenses so it is not really a downside to the lens.

Oxtongue River, Dwight, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 1/8 sec

 

Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f11 @ 1/13 sec

As mentioned this lens is a manual focus lens. It also has an excellent hyperfocal scale engraved on the lens barrel that can be reliably used for focusing the lens. I simply compose the scene before, dial in my chosen f-stop, set the hyperfocal distance on the lens barrel, and click the shutter – everything from near to far is in sharp focus. To learn more about hyperfocal distance please click here for an excellent article that explains it in depth and how to apply it to your own photography.

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River, Muskoka, Ontaro
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 50
f16 @ 1/10 sec

The Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens will not accept filters due to the bulbous front element, but there are specialized filter holders available that will permit the use of polarizers and 100mm square or rectangular Graduated ND Filters or ND filters. I am currently awaiting the arrival of the NISI filter holder and will post a review of the functionality of that filter after I have had a chance to  put it to use. Today’s images were all created without a polarizing filter. I would normall prefer to photograph waterfalls and rivers with a polarizing filter.

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f11 @ 1/5 sec

 

Oxtongue River, Dwight, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 0.3 sec

If you are looking for an affordable, extreme wide angle lens for your full frame camera then look no further. The Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens will produce razor sharp imagery at a fraction of the cost of the Canon 11-24mm or Sigma 12-24mm lenses and at a fraction of the weight.

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

 

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Recently I created a slideshow presentation of my February trip to the Caribbean Island of Cayman Brac using Adobe Spark and shared it on my social media sites. I wanted to share this project with those that follow along here at the blog as well. To view the slideshow simply click on the above picture and scroll down through the project.

Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement in the next week or so about an exclusive opportunity to join me in Febraury 2018 for a guided tour of these stunning vistas on Cayman Brac. Folks that are interested in this photo tour can send a quick email here to have their email address added to my workshop email list to avoid missing out on this incredible opportunity.

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Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 100, f11 @ 1/60 sec.

With each and every excursion I undertake into natural environs the negative effect of humans on our natural world is sadly noted. From the highly destructive nature of ATVs, to the illegal dumping of garbage, degradation of the environment through vandalism or trampling, and to photographers engaging in unethical practices for personal financial gain have become commonplace within our wild places. It is time for a change.

This is where the ‘League of Landscape Photographers’ comes into place. They are a group of artists that have bound themselves to photograph by a code of ethics. To better protect our wild places, the flora, and the fauna, developing a code of ethics in which we conduct ourselves is of the utmost importance to protect the places we love.

In my own photography I have always maintained a high ethical standard whereby the welfare of my photographic subject rises above any photographic opportunity. For me it is always about the experience first, with resulting images being an extension of the experience. Whenever possible I photograph the degradation of our environment and publish resulting images on social media to help raise awareness of such concerns. I show respect for the environment with each visit and to each individual I encounter along the way, hoping they will exhibit the same level of respect to me, to others, and to the environment. Education is also paramount to the protection of our environment, therefore, informing others on how the negative effects of their behaviour will impact a given situation is brought to their attention whenever it is safe to do so.

Please visit the League of Landscape Photographers by clicking here.

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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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