I went hiking 1 month ago in Kananaskis country, Alberta. It was snowing…quite strongly. The hiking was basically regaing strength after a long winter…sitting on a computer. But I was still snapping and when it is snowing, that excites “normal” photographers.
At the end of August, I visited “Forget me not pond” in Kananaskis Country in Alberta with some PPOC members. The pond is basically for family activities and nothing like “landscape photography spot” photographers imagine. Also It was around 2 pm; the sun was way high up. Possibly, at this time of the day, I would take a nap in my car. But I am photographic artist of year of PPOC national competition. I should be able to come out some images.
First thing my eyes caught was shining reflection of sun light on wavy surface of the pond. I was playing “out of focus”. I shot the reflection as out-of-focus, and creating rings of light in frames. Then I remember one of the purpose of this visit was testing my new gear, Nikon PC 24mm lens. At this point, I did not care about typical landscape photography. I wanted to do something with the shining and moving reflection of the light.
So when using a tilt and shift lens like my new gear NIkon PC 24m, one of the purpose is obtaining hyperfocal focusing, technique to focus from foreground to infinity. But in this case, I wanted mountains and clouds to be on-focus, and foreground to be out-of-focus to get large bokeh of light ring. I could achieve it by tilting the lens to opposite direction from when we tilt for getting hyper focal focusing.
Regardless this is a good or just okay image, I could get the photo I imagined. So this shot is considered to be successful. The image I saw the was lights fallen from the heaven like falling leaves. So this image was titled “Falling lights”
You can try out Nikon PC 24mm lens and more lenses including Canon lenses in my fall workshop in Kootenay plains in Canadian Rockies. Please register from my website before sold out.
In my last blog, each parts of the image were looked after and vignetting was applied. It is getting close to what I imagined. But I felt the island, the woods at the center, was somewhat still weak as a main subject. So I need to spice up a little bit. I used “Curve” layers to modify contrast and brightness. But it did not give delicate control over the intricate patterns of the woods. So I used a different technique.
Before showing the process, please allow me to talk about a little bit about conventional dark room process. In darkroom processing, can contrast be adjusted LOCALLY, like I did in my previous post? Originally, contrast was determined by a GRADE of the paper (#1 to 5, #1 is lowest contrast and #5 is highest) so the contrast can’t be adjusted locally. Then Multigrade paper was developed. With the MG paper, contrast was determined by different density of filters, placed between enlarging lens and the paper. The darker filter, the more contrast. By applying different density of the filter to particular part of the image, contrast can be adjusted locally. This is same as I have done in my previous post. As a more advanced technique, different densities of filters are applied to the SAME part. The principle of enlargement is same as shooting with a camera. It requires certain exposure time; it is just longer than shooting. Now please imagine you need 30sec to get proper exposure to a particular part of the image. With a moderate contrast filter, you get a result with lack of punch. Now, you need more contrast but you don’t want to lose gradation of the tone. So what you can do is divide the exposure time (30 sec) to different filters. E.g, High contrast filter for 8sec, medium one for 15 sec and low contrast one for 7 sec to preserve the gradation. I use this technique for the wood part in digital processing.
Step 1. Create a mask on the woods as precise as possible.
Step 2. Create a Curve layer for high contrast. Please take a look a curve and the image below.
Step 3. Create a Curve layer for low contrast.
Step 4. Change opacity of the each curve layer. The high contrast curve adds edges of lines but it will sacrifice tonal gradation. The low contrast will recover the tonal gradation. I find this technique is effective to clouds or hair.
It is done. I saw bluish toning would suit this image so I added selenium toning by Nik SilverEfex. This is finally competed image.
- Black and white photo – “Island”
- Black and White conversion to the image “Island” (1)
- Black and White conversion to the image “Island” (2)
I visited Banff, Alberta at the end of May. Unfortunately, I had a very cloudy morning, which is considered to be not ideal for landscape photography. But I believed I still can capture something. Then while I was driving to Lake Louise, snow started hitting the window shield of my car. When I reached to Icefield park way, I found a sign saying “The load is winter condition”. Again it was the end of MAY. Anyway, I decided driving up to Bow Lake, about 30 min drive from Lake, Louise. Snow was getting harder and actually trees covered by snow were pretty beautiful.
When I get to Bow Lake, the lake was re-frozen. obviously, I could not expect big shots. I was walking around the lake shore and looking for something to come to eyes. This photo is the one I found interesting.
Please click the image for the larger size.
I used TrueGrain for B&W convertion and added structure and toning by Nik Silverefex. I would like to talk about my waorflow for B&W process in the future.
I really think my landscape photos are getting more subtle. How does this photo appeal to you?
Last time, I posted portraits of Leya Russell on the Peace Bridge in Calgary taken with a wide-angle lens. This time, I share the photo taken with long focal lens (telephoto). This lens was disigned in 1960’s. I like this lens since the images are something I can’t get from modern zoom lenses but they are still so sharp.
When going shooting, I still bring a film camera, even to serious sessions. These images on film are for myself,…just for satisfying my artistic ego. When I have chances to “snap”, I tend to pull my film camera from a camera bag. So these photos may not be published forever; just sit in my photo album. A camera I take with me varies depends on my feeling. It can be Nikon F3 and expecting “thin line” sharp image, or old Minolta and expecting beautiful bokhe. Sometimes I expect very sharp images from medium format camera, Mamiya 645pro; some other days, I try pinhole with rangefinder camera to get ethereal feels. This time, I wanted to try very grainy images from Ilford HP5 B&W film (Iso 400) pushed to 3200.
Although last time I tried the grainy photo from the same method was about 10 years ago. I am pretty satisfied the result this time. I used the telephoto lens made in early 1960’s. I like this lens for portraits because its contrast is not harshly high compared to modern lenses. I can get mild and gentle portraits but well balanced images. This character of the lens looks more distinguishable with film than digital. I often feel film is honest…..! So I have to be a little more serious while I snap.
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.
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.