Tag Archives: Jasper

It is not “beautiful” sunset but… – Overlapping Memories

As I mentioned before I sometimes have precise vision of final image before I press a shutter button at the scene, but also I often just capture a scenery without particular idea of final image. Occasionally, images are just only “beautiful” and did not speak to me regardless of how process the image, but occasionally my imagination grows while I am editing the image.

This is one of the such type of my photos. I took this photo in Jasper last year. I was shooting sunset on the mountains and reflection. While I was waiting for the sky turned to beautiful orange, this scene came to my eyes from the position I stood to different angle. I changed to long distance lens and took some shots. Even I did not use a tripod for this image.

I edited the “beautiful” sunset shot but it did not speak to me even though I took hours for processing. Then I looked at this image. It somehow appealed to me. Although I needed some trials and errors before I got an idea of editing map to the final image, I like this image much better than the sunset image….maybe because this reflect my personality? The sunset image is staying in a hard drive; this image was exhibited at my Wabi-sabi wanderlust show in February and sold.

 

Overlapping Memories

 

By the way, I am on process of rebuilding my business and my business name will be changed to Wide Bright Sun photography from Wide Bright Pass Photography. I hope I can announce my new web site before long.

 

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Revisiting Pyramid Lake in Jasper

This place is a super popular location for photographers and I meet some photographer whenever I visited this location. In early October, I don’t have to wake up 6 am to catch sunrise, but, for this location, I have be there by 6:30 to set up a tripod to get a good spot, otherwise it’s been taken.

The reason I kept trying this scene is I have not gotten the image I expect. Last year, it was raining, and this year, it was cloudy. I want to capture beautiful morning glow reflecting on the foggy lake. Well, I have to wait until next year. Having said that, I can still do something in cloudy morning. I knew the sun would come out and the light would hit the mountain so I stayed longer even after another photographer left. I set my infrared camera and filters. I waited for the moment. This is the shot I got.

Pyramid Lake - Infrared

Please click the image for the larger size. I tried a little different composition I usually do; everything line up on center from bottom to top.

Talking about tripod, I bought a new tripod, Gitzo 3541XLS, which is super tall. I can literally make a tent with this tripod. The newer version, 3542 was just released so I got this tripod for bargain price at the Camera Store in Calgary, Alberta. This is great investment since it allows me to raise view point much higher. That makes huge difference in composition. Please check my old blog about disadvantage of lower tripods as well.

Related post: Gallery show at Mount Royal University – Size matters, but be gentle (man)

Flash light in Landscape photographey.

I had a vacation this fall again. I visit Lake O’Hara and Jasper every year to pursue leaves changes. Although I had bad weather last two years, the sun was smiling at me most of the time this year in Lake O’Hara. However, it means light condition was a little harsh for photography. So I had to use HDR a lot in Lake O’Hara.

In Jasper, the weather was not as beautiful as when I had been in Lake O’Hara. But lighting condition at the golden time is usually difficult. I did not want to use HDR for this shot. Instead of the HDR, I tried off-camera flash light to the boats. I added tinge of colour with gels.
Rainy Evening in Japser, Alberta - 2 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Rainy Evening in Japser, Alberta – 2 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Please click the photo for the larger size.

Film is not dead (3) – Borrowing someone’s eyes

It’s been long time since the last blog. This is the last episode from “Film is not dead” and this time is not quite about film, more toward to a topic about style making . When we had the film development session, Samantha Chrysanthou did not have film to develop so she tried one of my film. I have just picked up the film randomly so I did not know when and where the film was taken.

One morning, while I was JUST photographing the sunrise at lake Louise, Alberta, I saw one guy carrying large tripod and Hasselblad was looking for an open spot. Yes, it was FILM Hassel, one of the most prestigious cameras.  The location was quite busy with photographers. The best time of the morning passed and I started packing my gear. He approached to my spot and IMPATIENTLY waiting for me leaving. Then as soon as I moved my tripod, he set his tripod on the completely same spot and raised it to the same height. I shacked my head. The hundreds of similar images of the location can be found in Google images and more importantly the best moment was long gone. I spoke to myself his Hassey would cry.

So after the film was developed by Sam, I found that the images on the roll were ones I took in Jasper, Alberta last autumn. The trip was hard since I was out of luck of the weather. I visited Pyramid lake in the morning, aiming to shoot the gorgeous sunrise and orange color on the Pyramid mountain but weather quickly turned to gray. I know Photographer’s saying “No bad light”, but also it is true overcastted sky with no cloud pattern is not encouraging. Anyway, I had to change my strategy. Then I was thinking of Sam’s images. Her subtle, soft, calm images with a kind of melancholic feel, rather than gougeous and powerful typical landscapes. That motivated me to try something in the difficult situation. The result is, I think, pretty good. The funny part of this anecdote is Sam herself developed the film accidently.

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Please click for the larger size.

Do you see the huge difference in the creative approach between the photographer at the lake Louise and myself. I believe the process of developing creative eyes and learning music is not so different. At first, being interested in someone’s works, then we try the same things but usually did not work. Start pursuing the artist’s works more seriously,…sometimes thoroughly analyze their works. Try at the field again and see the some sort of the achievement . After this long process, the artist’s style blends into own style, becomes own flesh. In my case of Jasper, I used Sam’s influence more consciously. It is not stealing. I call this approach “Borrowing someone’s eyes”. Accepting influences is also important, I think. Mick Jaggar stated that ‘You can’t always get what you want” was inspired by “Hey Jude”. I guess that is cool.

Please visit oopoomoo.com to find Sam’s appealing photos.

Gallery show at Mount Royal University – Size matters, but be gentle (man)

One fantastic thing at the Stampede western photo gallery is I met so many amazing photographers and people. Also I was kindly offered another exhibition at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. I had to add 2 more images for the exhibition so I checked my website and I found the photo below was highly viewed. However, I am not 100% satisfied by the result of the image.

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Woodman 4×5, Fujinon 90mm, Velvia 100F, Click the photo for larger version.

What is wrong with this photo? Actually I wanted to have more space between rocks and the summit of the mountain reflecting on the lake. I had known the problem but this was only I could achieve with my TRIPOD. There are reasons why professional photographers carry a giant tripod. My tripod extends as tall as my height, but in this case, I was standing on the rocks and some part of tripod legs were submerged in the water. So the camera position was much lower than I expected. And what was worse,  I was shooting with my 4×5 view camera so I could not extend a center pole since it may have caused camera shake blur. For a lot of times in nature photography, a tripod which is as tall as your height is not high enough. Furthermore, after people become more serious on photography,
they tend to upgrade to heavy cameras and lenses. Then an extended center pole will result in blur images. Now selection of tripod is getting narrow. So which model I am looking for ….after some research…Gitzo systematic series is only option for my purpose due to their lightness and durability. (I would not go with ones made in Taiwan.) I hope I can sell some of my photos and I can scratch off one item in my “to purchase” list.

One more anecdote about this photo. The location in the photo is a kind of Mecca for photographers in Jasper, Alberta. I woke up early morning not to miss sunrise. When I arrived at the location, a lady had already started photographing. She set up a flagship model of camera on a huge tripod. I was mad since I had to give up the location. I left her with a parting shots, “you must
be professional”. After I took pictures around the area I came back to the location. The lady was still there with her husband, shooting photos. I tried talking to her and actually, they were really nice people. They were professional photographers from near Edmonton, and she told me how hard nowadays being full time photographers in photographic industry. When they were leaving they gave me their business card. It says “Outdoor photography Canada Contributing Editor”. I know this magazine! I subscribe to the magazine!! They were Lealie & Mark Degner. I felt embarrassed by my attitude before. I, being as a nature photographer, cannot control conditions of the locations,….so just be happy! Who knows how amazing people they are. Next day, I woke up really early again, and I tried the same location again. While I was waiting for sunrise, a car arrived at the location and a guy took off from the car. It was still dark outside, but I heard voice, said “shxt!”

Roll over the rule of thirds!

Eaug(9)(11), this truly unusual chord is the one that a famous British rock group used in one of their songs. I wrote about consideration of Rhythm and Light in my previous post. This time let me take the occasion to talk about composition since there was a discussion about composition in one of my photos.

As you may know, the Rule of Thirds is considered to be rule of thumb for composition in photography. I do not have to explain what the rule of thirds here since I think readers already know what it is. About one and half years ago, I traveled to Jasper and was taking pictures at Patricia lake. The water was very quiet and smooth. It was perfect condition to shoot reflection images of Mt. Pyramid. And below is the image I got in the morning. Typical landscape photo based on the rule of third composition.

Then I had a little conversation with a lady who was a professional photographer from Sweden. She showed to me her images which had just taken at the same location with her Nikon D3x. Her image taken by her fisheye lens had Mt. Pyramid on very bottom of the frame and majority of the frame were occupied by interesting shapes of clouds lighten by beautiful morning light. I would say it is rule of tenths composition. It was eye-opening for me. I had not thought about such a way to compose images.

Unfortunately, the moment was gone at the location so I wrapped up the morning shoot. But while I was driving after breakfast, I saw an interesting cloud pattern on the lake. I picked up the widest angle lens, 21mm, and attached polarizer to the lens. This is the photo.

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I used layering technique to control contrast, which is the same technique  used for multigrade paper in darkroom.

So what was the discussion about this photo? Some people think the clouds were too dominant in the image, on the other hand other people think it was fine since
the clouds pattern was main subject in this photo. What do you think? Do you think bottom image is more interesting, or do you prefer top one?

My point is the rule of thirds does not make an image interesting. It may be safer to get ribbons at contests, though. I personally do not think about the rule of thirds; I tend think about leading lines and combinations of the shapes in a frame. For a power point, I use golden ratio rather than the rule of thirds. Darwin Wiggett wrote an very useful article “Break the rules” in Outdoor Photography Canada issue 12 Winter 2010.

By the way, which rock group used the wired chord Eaug(9)(11)? It is The Beatles. The song is “All I’ve got to do” in Album “With the Beatles”. Beatles music is full of unusualness and surprises. Roll over the rule of thirds!

Upgrading computer

Recently, my computer has been acting slow since I installed photoshop CS5.   Also spaces of hard drive is getting slim. So I have decided upgrading my computer.  I am planing to install 64bit windows system and debian 64 bit (dual boot), and more memory will be installed. This is really the 2-full-day project at least. I need to organize all image files scattered all over the hard drives. Yes, it is pain, but it can not be avoided for photographers in the digital age

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This image is the one I got 1st position on the contest by a local art gallery. I will talk about infrared photography next time after the upgrade is completed.