Monthly Archives: October 2010

Go shooting to Prairies

In this summer, I visited Canadian Rockies on most of the weekends, and I have not been to prairies for long time. I think Calgary is a convenient city for nature photographers. Driving to west for 1 hour and you can enjoy the beautiful mountains.  Going out side of Calgary to east or south and  photogenic prairie scenes are found on every country load. Now the autumn season is done; I think it is about to visit prairie areas. The picture below is taken on my way home from the Writing on Stone park last week.

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It was overcast on the weekend and I was not feeling like shooting many photos. But I got eventually this image.

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Nature Photography – Luck and patient(2)

Here is the continuation of the last posting, and will talk about the image I received 2nd position in the monochrome competition.

I had a weekend trip to Kananaskis country in Alberta in early June this year. In the afternoon, it became cloudy and eventually I got shower. When I was driving in the rain, I found a lake over woods on my left side. I retuned my car to the parking lot and decided to wait until it stopped the rain. Finally, the shower was over but the sky was covered by thick clouds. Anyway, I started walk around the lake shore, then I found the stump. Somehow, it attracted me so much. I felt “I may be able to do something with my flash even though I can’t good light”, so I went back to my car; picked up whole my equipment including my 4×5 camera.

I was trying some different lenses, composition and technique, but I had to wait until the sun came out from the gap in the clouds. What was even worse, it was pretty windy so I could not get good reflection on the surface of the water.

This is okay shot, but see…messy clouds and waves on the water.

I had taken about 40 images of the stomp and the lake. It took about 1hr. The sun came out again; the water was calm; clouds were more formed. And good surprise! A piece of ice was flowed next to the stump. Then I got this infrared image.

Mud Lake

To capture one image, I think, I had stayed at the same location for over 2 hrs since I parked my car. Is this unusual? I would say “No”. It may be depends on shooting style of a photographer, but I heard many episodes of nature photographers to wait for hours or even days until the right moment comes. Got to be patient! How many times I see the moment after I put away my tripod…. Seriously!

Nature photography – Luck and patient (1)

Surprisingly, I achieved one-two finish in the foothills camera club monochrome competition. Although it is the competition by a local camera club, it makes me feel good.     

The B&W image is the last shot on my lake O’hara trip at the end of September. After 3 days of rainy days, eventually, I got a blue sky… it was a beautiful blue sky….boring blue sky…I need some cloud patterns! I guess photographers are kinds of species who are never blessed. Anyway, while I was hiking up to the Opabin circuit, I found this location. But the sun was already up high. I took some pictures but they are not even close to “okay”.

You know I mean…the blue sky is boring. This is a  HDR image  and I used LEE Big Stopper filter to calm the wavy water. But I failed to bring punch in the image.

I took whole day in the Opabin circuit until the sun disappeared. It was around 05:20 pm. The last bus to a parking lot is 06:30 pm. I rushed to the camping site because I left my tent and I had to pack it up. When came back to the location where I found in the morning, It was breath-taking…nice side light, mirror-clear surface of the water, now some cloud in the sky. I spoke to myself “which photographer misses this shot”. I quickly set up my tripod and camera, and took 5 color images, then took other 2 shots with infrared set up.

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I think I was lucky…only 7 shots for about 10 min from setting up to leaving the location, and I got this gorgeous image. What I learned from this experience? …COME BACK LATER…light is more ideal in evenings, and usually you can expect some clouds near the horizon. I will talk about the patient part next time.

Women have better eyes?

I like backcountry camping or staying at a youth hostel because I can meet new people and excellent photographer from all over the places. On my last Canadian Rockies trip, I met a very dedicated photographer from Colorado, Sarah, in Lake O’hara. One evening, I was watching her taking pictures on the lakeshore in the dusk. I found she did not extend her tripod, kept short for most of her shots. I was wondering what she was taking. Later the evening, she showed me the images which she was taking on the lake shore, and I was impressed by her way to compose images. She told me she was looking for lines found in the rock formations, and composed as these lines extended to the mountain. So the rocks will be paid attention first, then the lines in the rock formation lead your eyes to the main subject, which is the mountain in this case. I like this 3D effect and this type of composition is the one, I think, I tend to look for on locations. Here is my photo I took on the lake O’hara trip. 

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If you find a Japanese guy carrying camera gear, looking down and walking around a lake shore, it can be me. I myself tend to look for rocks lining up to a main subject.

You should check out her blog site, Sarah Fischler – nature photography. I even felt jealous of her outstanding works. Don’t you think female artists often have better eyes?

My hiking outfits for photography

This is the photo of myself after hiking to the saddleback trail in the lake Louise area. I am carrying full set up of camera gear to fields including 4×5 view camera. One thing missing in this photo is my digital camera, which was used to take this photo. Since I do not use zoom lenses, I have to carry bunch of prime lenses. So the waist pouches are essential to access and to change the lenses quickly. The backpack is actually a long-lens carrier.  However, I use this backpack to carry my 4×5 lens fitting well in this backpack, and still I can put some film folders and large format lenses. Other things stuffed in the bag are extra clothing, a rain jacket and pants, lunch and bunch of snacks. You can not predict mountain weather so clothing keeping myself warm and extra nutrition are must items. You can see the panorama head built by Greg Nuspel.

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I wish the BMW next me would be my car.

Even I tried the All Souls Alpine route in Lake O’hara last year with this whole sets of the camera gear.  At that time, I did not have a carbon fiber tripod. It was 15-years-old, over 4 kg alminum one. Here is the proof shot.

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