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.
My friend who was volunteering for Calgary Stamped went home today with her lovely horses. I guess her part of the summer 2012 has been done. When I visited the barns which spreads to huge area of the stampede park, I saw hundreds of campers. Most of the volunteers stay in their own campers and take care of their horses from early morning to the end of the fireworks which is around 11:30 pm.
Volunteers are not only for livestock, I noticed thousands of volunteers are helping Calgary Stampede. Without their help, Stampede could not be opened. My photos are being exhibited at the Stampede Western Photo gallery, and the gallery is run by 10s of volunteers. They are the ones giving me the opportunity to show my images in the world event in 2011 and 2012. They are working not only the period of Stamped opened, but also they start planning for the next gallery show months ahead
I took picture of my friend’s love, Jazz. I would like to give this photo to her for showing my small appreciation. Thank you so much, all volunteers. Only one day left.
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.
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.
- Related article: Ethereal Photographic Art Show (6) – Samantha Chrysanthou
As I mentioned in the last post, I will showcase the results of the film development session. Craig Taylor developed his two roles of 35mm Ilford. I picked 3 images which I felt interesting from his roles. For some reasons, the last image caught my eyes. This image would not get a ribbon. Judges would leave negative comments from points of composition, a focal point focus, contrast, etc. But to me, all these aspects considered to be failure give a certain edge to this image. It makes me feel unease. It means this image successfully communicated to me. Is it only me to call “Lee Friedlandar’s America by Car” to mind through this image?
Heather Simonds tried her Holga toy camera. At the shooting, we did know how to advance film. Just after the film development session, we discovered, her Holga came with two attachments and could select 6×6 cm or 6×4.5 cm format. So at the shooting, she thought Holga was always 6×6 cm format but actually the 6×4.5 cm attachment was loaded in the camera. Therefore, the sides of the all images taken in the film was overlapped each other. Followings are her images . Do you think if these are just failures or something interesting. I will leave to you.