Friday, March 31, 2017

The blogging adventure

You never know what you'll discover. You see, even though lots of people think of me as organized, and a prolific blogger, it isn't completely true. The prolific part is, I guess, sort of. Over the last half year or so I've been on a roll. I've blogged almost every day since mid-september, or so. The idea was to publish a photo a day. I'm well past that, since almost all the blogs have more than one photo.

Prior to that I blogged every day and a half or so, averaged since late October 2007. Some of that was so boring even I can't go back and read them, but some are pretty good. You can explore through the labels, or through the blog archive.

But not the organized part. Back to the photo of the day thing. After I'm done editing the photos in Lightroom I export them to a folder, and from there I add them to my blog on whatever basis seems good at the time. The problem, as I've come to realize, is that if I look at a photo in that folder, I have no real way of telling if I've blogged it or not. Sure, if it's only a few days old I'll know, but if it's older than that, we all know what happens to memory as people get older. I want to give you new fresh images to look at, or imaginative reworking of existing images, but if you notice I goofed, don't hold it against me.

I go through spurts where I have all these blog ideas, and energy to do them, and it seems like my material will last forever. One time I was three blogs ahead. Other times, like part of this week, I'm kind of scraping the bottom of the creativity barrel. Lets just say it's been a tough week at the day job. Then I'll forget I was going to blog a particular photo along with a specific writing idea. Lets also say maybe I need to take better idea notes...

One of my fans (not my mom, she already asked for one) wants a print of one of my photos. Really print, on nice paper, not commercial photo paper from an inkjet. To be framed and go up on the living room wall and everything! I think the finished size is 10x15. I'm so excited! I figured since I was going to get one printed, I might as well do some of the other ones that I really like, and update some of the art on our walls.

It was fun going back through the collection of over 1000 edited photos to pick the ones to print, and landing on 4, for now. Some of them you've seen, but even with my memory I know there are two of them that haven't been on the blog. Plus, I'm rediscovering that some of my photos that didn't make much of an impression at the time are actually striking to me now. And why didn't I blog them? Well, I'm pretty sure I didn't blog them. That memory thing...

So I've got 4 prints on paper, one going to my first paying customer. I'm also getting a big 18x32 canvas done of the red combine landscape, as I call it now. I have ever so subtly tweaked the photo from the original jpeg posted. That's going to go up in the living room. I'm also going to get a smaller version of it that I can show around.

The next related piece of news is that I'm closing in on creating an on-line portfolio of all my best work in one place. This scrolling through my own blog to show someone a particular photo is killing me. Remember what I said about not being organized? Stay tuned.

And lastly, thing thing that got me here today in the first place. I'd taken this one during a photowalk with Sean, and somehow it's never been posted. I'm pretty sure. I was scrolling through the folder of photos looking for ones that might like a little Photomatix love, and found this one. I stopped and looked. Not that I'm going to add colour to it, or tweak it. I like this exactly as it is.

Just think

The sound of running water can be so soothing. This was on my mind yesterday, but decided to enjoy my glass of wine and purring cats and go to bed early.

Even in the coldest weather there is still open water in Fish Creek. Not much of it, to be sure, but some. One of my plans this weekend is to walk through and see how much ice is left on the creek, and of course, take some photos along the way.

Let me know if you want in on the action and we'll work something out.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Critters going about their business

Here's a few critters hard at their business. I didn't mess with them. They were found during a photo-trip last fall. Never know what you'll find, that's why you go look.

On the way back in I saw these guys hard at it. The right camera was on the lens, and while I'm busy trying to find the focus I'm hearing my name. Several times. Yelling. A horn honking. Distraction. Can't they see I'm busy?

Then I recognized the voice, and it turned out to be my neighbour. I finished up, and got home just as he was finishing a smoke, and we chatted about it. They had seen me several times out and about, and finally felt guilty. Not that I had notice them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Instead of Canstruction

Once again it's time for Canstruction, where various teams build a themed response to a challenge, using food cans. There are rules, of course. I think the first one is, have a steady hand. Some of these things are huge.

I've been blown away in years past, but this year was sort of meh. The theme was super-heroes, and that's a tough one for me to get interested in. Super-heroes are boring, doubly so for the comic book editions.

There was a surprise, in that one represented various first responders. I think they'd be the first to say that they aren't "super-heroes". They are well trained men and women that spring into action when required, doing work that is usually difficult and often dangerous. It isn't one person making it up as they go along; its almost always a team effort, doing things they've trained over and over to do. It's nice to see them get the recognition.

I was musing about which lens to take, and in the end took the carry around lens, figuring that if I needed a different one for a shot, I could come back later. Just as well. I'd been looking forward to trying this with my good camera, rather than the iPhone shots of previous years, but no. None of them did anything for me.

But here's what did. It breaks some composition rules, and follows some others. I'm such a rebel.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Here we are, between

Spring in Calgary is cruel. People are sick of winter, and the snow is almost gone. The ground is beginning to thaw out. The dog poop is well and truly emerged and it has thawed out.

People can't wait for this.

They want to be outside, relaxing, not worried about frostbite.

Yet this wasn't so long ago.

Mark my words, Calgary. There is some winter left. We are almost certain to get at least one more good snowstorm between now and the May long weekend. Stay strong.

The first of those was taken last fall, and revisited over the weekend to bring up the colour a bit. The second is a winter sunrise looking west. (duh!) Also tweaked a bit to bring up the light on the trees.

Why, yes, I was outside barbecuing today. Bison burgers, since you ask. And the day before. Steak, if you were wondering. Both so yummy. But we didn't eat outside. One of the patio chairs is still frozen into the the ice in the shadowy parts of the patio.

Did you know that TIFF files are a lot bigger than full sized JPEG files? Like 5 to 7 times bigger? Fairly soon I hope to be able to show you why and how I know that now.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fake ice, foothills, clouds?

This is the last photo I took during a short photo-walk in Fish Creek last weekend. It's only a few steps from the stairs leading to the parking lot.

Some might say the ice looks weird, and they'd be right. The thing is, playing with the settings didn't change the ice hardly at all. It looks kind of like grainy blue plastic to my eyes and in the original shot. I was more interested in capturing the colour in the reflected trees.

But it gets me thinking about editing the images from the camera. Sometimes I'm after a fairly realistic look. Some tweaking to dress it up a bit and I'm done. Other times, what I see in my mind is not "realistic" at all. There's been a few times where I've played in Lightroom or Photomatix and deliberately pushed the settings well past realistic.

I shot this next one last October, but the original image was grey and subdued. I didn't really like it, but today I figured what the heck, lets play with contrast and brightness and a few other things and see what happens.

Those blues and purples are not the colours I saw that morning, but they are possible colours here, under some circumstances. I think the grass being a fairly natural green helps anchor it, though maybe I shouldn't say it was kind of grey as well. Once I got here, I liked the mood it evoked.

I shot this one a little later that same day, and was never happy with it either. I'm still not completely satisfied. It looks stretched sideways because of the clouds looking like they are crushing the mountains, and the clouds look kind of fake. Maybe I chopped out too much of the sky. At least tweaking the colour brought up the trees and detail in the foreground, and I liked that. Maybe cropping out some of the sides might make the photo work better. Hmmm.

During my run with BRBE in North Glenmore I was looking at the ice, thinking there might be a layer of water on it, good for reflections. But no. Still ice, if kind of mushy looking. We ran down into the weasel head, and turned around where the ice started at the bottom of the hill, right at the sharp turn onto the flats. It was a lovely day for a run, though we had to dodge lots of people and their dogs. 9 K, 1:08:30, nice and easy and relaxed. My legs were feeling pretty good about it till the last few hundred meters.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

What I wanted to do Friday

Yup. Curl into a ball and snooze. I'd been thinking about a swim, but no. We ran a few errands, and I found out I'd forgotten my wallet when we went to vote. Once home I napped. Big time.

Voting, you ask? As it turned out when the Conservatives were defeated in the last election, the Great Troll Harper decided he didn't want to play anymore. He essentially left our riding without representation while he job hunted. Not that he did anything for us anyway.

A by-election was duly called, and we ended up with 7, count'em 7 candidates. The usual main party suspects ran. (Conservative, Liberal, NDP, and Green) In addition we had Libertarian, Christian Heritage, and something called National Advancement, which I'd never heard of before.

My take on them:
Conservative. Bob Benzen, a Harperite. Enough said.
Liberal. Scott Forsyth. The Liberal name is a millstone around any candidate's neck in Alberta. Physician. Photographer.
NDP. Khalis Ahmed Federally the NDP are considered a left-wing party, but they've been moving toward the centre lately. He is a geologist with a background in project and financial management.
Green. Taryn Knorren. Federally the Greens are centrists leaning towards the left. She is an education postgrad, and a policy wonk.
Libertarian. Darcy Gerow They want to cut the carbon tax, and reduce the federal tax rate to 15%. Their way of balancing the budget is to eliminate the Canada Revenue Agency. They will loosen the shackles of gun ownership. His personal statement is that everything the government touches "turns to s#!t". And yet, he wants to be government.
National Advancement. Stephen J. Garvey. Their party platform is a barge of dog-whistling intolerance imported from Trumpistan and translated into a variant of Canadian.
Christian Heritage. Jeff Willerton. They want Canada to be governed by biblical law. With them in charge of interpreting it, of course. At least they're honest about being intolerant.

Let me just say this was not a terribly difficult decision keeping me up at night. I would be delighted if any of Liberal, NDP, or Green won, because that would mean Benzen lost. Canada is all the better for the remaining taints of Harper being scrubbed away. However, my neighbours are a conservative lot, and the habit of voting Conservative here is strong. Our provincial conservative MLA was one of the few that survived the long overdue NDP flood washing out the Augean stables of 4 decades of Conservative rule.

While I'm on the political soapbox, I've been amusing myself watching the shit-show in the USA. Is there anyone that still thinks electing Trump was a good idea? As for their efforts to write a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), they've been saying "NO!" to anything health related for 7 years now, and they couldn't break the habit. Part of the party wouldn't vote for it because it left in benefits for many people. Another part of the party wouldn't vote for it because it took benefits away from many people. Some were uneasy about the process that produced it, and some were probably pissed at Trump in general, and some were smart enough to realize it was all round bad policy.

All politicians lie. It's inescapable if they want to get elected in the first place, and stay in office after the next election. The trick is to tell plausible lies, ones with more than a hint of truth. The best ones are actually almost true, if you look at things a certain way, and allow certain assumptions.

But Trump tells palpably stupid lies. Many of them. Everybody knows they're lies, and lets him skate by. Well, not SNL. They had his number from the start. I nearly peed myself laughing at the Spicer skit. That's what you do with such people. You laugh at them. They can't take it.

I shouldn't be too complacent. As expected, Kenny won the leadership of the provincial PC party, which has nothing progressive about it. He was ruthless in driving out anyone with a pulse, I mean, with a heart, or a brain, out of the leadership race, and out of the party generally. And don't get me started on the federal PCs. They are hoping the Harper dog whistling will work once more, so they can get in on the gravy train, and reward their buddies, while they get off on the jollies of hurting the ordinary people they crow about so much.

That's enough serious stuff. I'm working through photography books, making notes, and thinking about my next photo-walk. There's still a couple of places left in Neil's Yukon trip in September. It's going to be great!

Next week is the long awaited day to drop into Resolve and get some prints done. I've never done anything like this before, and hope they can lead me through the various paper choices, and that I've got the files set up correctly.

There are hints of spring coming, but experienced Calgarians know there is going to be at least one more good dump of snow. In the mean time, people are tempted to get into their gardens and do something. Doesn't this look ready for some greenery?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Semi-abstract wood

These were a challenge. The light was changing quickly from clouds and gusty wind blowing the trees around. For a while I was twiddling the shutter speed dial back and forth as fast as I could and the light was changing faster.

Part of the plan was to walk around (wearing traction aids as it was extremely icy) and think about the scene, trying to find interesting images. There's no shortage of interesting lines and angles from fallen trees, one just has to compose them, while not walking into the half frozen swamp, or worrying about the deadfall making it the last few dozen feet to the forest floor, or impaling vital bits of anatomy on spiky tree bits. Lots of fun.

That last one has a bunch of images as I experimented with trying to frame the shot just right. This was one of the times I wished I'd had my tripod. I was getting this image of a mouth emerging from dragon scales, but couldn't quite find the framing. The footing was tricky and the light kept changing. I might have to go back and revisit this.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Last one of buildings

Here we are again, last one of buildings. For now. Unless I find more cool ones. I'd wanted to get a shot of City Hall right from the point of the triangle, but someone put a sculpture right there. Exactly there. Sigh.

I was a little disappointed in one shot. I could see a reflection of the cars on the street, and buildings in the other windows, but somehow it didn't work out. But these with the various lines and angles please me. Yes, I meant to have the triangle of dark in the picture. It's the +15, note the angle of it, with the vertical concrete wall, and the panes of glass. 

There is a building in there, really. Old City Hall is being renovated. There was something about huge  chunks of sandstone falling on pedestrians that City Council didn't like.

And just like that, another weekends starts! I'm going to go pour a glass of wine and contemplate my options. I expect to be busy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Off-beat buildings

Doesn't this one sort of looks like it belongs in a Mordor-lite? Maybe if Sauron were a competent leader, one with an office staff to properly organize ring searches, manage army logistics, run a ministry of (mis)-information, ensure that orcs had a proper chain of command, and so on. Of course, the real building is perfectly inoffensive, it just looks this way because the glass isn't flat. Which is sort of weird, when you think about it.

In real life, this is one butt ugly building. It's called a fine example of the Brutalism school of architecture. No kidding, you can look it up. I'm not even sure why I took a photo of it. But once I got home and looked at it, I sort of liked the composition. Cropping helped. Then I went nuts with colour, wondering what would happen if a graffiti artist with taste attacked the building.

There's a fence around it now. The Calgary Board of Education sold the building a while ago, but I don't know what's going to happen. I hope they tear it down (budget extra for demolition, guys) and put up a nice building in it's place. Tie in the +15 to the Bow and to Bow Valley College, and life is good.

Swim this morning was excellent! 8:45 for 500 m feeling really good, some stroke drill, and water running after. A nice lady I was sharing the lane with asked me to video her. She's been learning to swim and wants to put together a proper video showing her progress. Of course I did so.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I was rapt

The Bow can be a fascinating building. The interesting shape generates fabulous reflections in other buildings, and the reverse. Yesterday during my equinox photowalk I got some nice reflections of the Calgary Tower, and some shots of the brilliant sunshine that turned out really well, along with a bunch of shots of the Bow you haven't seen. There's been some nice things said about the LRT shot, thank you very much!

There were two problems with the Bow photos. One is that it's a tough building to compose a classically nice photograph. The other is the light show put on by the steam coming from the top of the building. It was sending these lovely cloudy reflections down the side of the building, echoed on the various faces. I clicked off almost 2 dozen shots of the clouds chasing each other down the building. It was almost like watching one of those old time barbershop spirals.

A few other people were standing there as well, heads tilted way back, watching. I was completely absorbed by it, thinking about light angles and reflections. I knew I was running out of space on the camera memory card so I put the camera down and focussed on looking at it.

I suppose if I'd been on the ball I'd have tried to video it, but I haven't done that with my camera, and I've no idea how it would have turned out on my phone. Plus, camera video eats memory space big time. As it is, I picked the one photo that I thought had the nicest cloud display, and tried to get the building shape looking nice.

Perspective is a funny thing. We know that most buildings are built straight up and down, but they appear to get smaller towards the top because of perspective. Our brains just deal with it, but cameras aren't that smart. Depending on the lens and a few other things you can get buildings leaning way over. There are settings to "correct" this but often the results look odd to our eyes. Having both sides going straight up in the photo tends to make the top of the building look much larger than the bottom.

Perspective is useful in other areas as well. Problem solving for instance. In one role I was viewed as an extraordinarily good problem solver, but the main reason for that is I had a lot of distance on the problem, wasn't involved in it's origin, and had no stake in the outcome. At work last week it took about 5 minutes to figure out an issue that was driving one person bonkers. It had never occurred to them that a database designer would not spell field names correctly, or even consistently.

There's lots of ways I'm enjoying the perspective that comes from getting older. Many fads are over before I even know they are a thing. Ignoring fads is so restful.  It gets easier and easier to determine if the floating elephant rule is appropriate or not. That's one of my most useful rules for living. Follow the link there and see if it will work for you.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Almost equinox shoot downtown

The equinox was yesterday, I think. For those that don't know, in Calgary the avenues run east west. Downtown it's pretty close to exactly east west. Meaning that a couple times a year driving downtown can be brutal. The pedestrians have to be really careful.

I'd wanted to do a downtown wander around the new Brookfield place building, and do some equinox shooting, and get some reflection shots. I'm so picky. Here we go. Calgary residents will recognize all of this, but feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Best image of the day! I even planned it, once I got the settings failed in. The difficulty with this light is that it's nearly impossible to see the info the camera is trying to show me.

This is pretty well what a driver is going to see if they try to turn east onto any of the avenues. Yes, I could have brightened the shadows so you could see what's there. Or shot it in HDR. But why do that? I was hoping to get both rails on fire, but wasn't about to kneel down in the crosswalk. There's an LRT in the sunlight. A few pedestrians every year get surprised at how fast they move.

Even going west can be tough. I nearly got run over here. Just because I was fairly sure the driver had seen me doesn't mean he or she actually had. Or had but didn't care. That happens too.

After this shot I begin to see the appeal of street photography. There's a guy in reflective safety gear standing next to the bus stop a block down. If I'd had the nerve, I'd have asked to take his photo. The hat and gear and light made a nice image. But I didn't.

No, I don't know why a couple of the windows don't have any glass.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

An abstract frame of mind

One of the sure signs of spring here is that we start getting nice fluffy clouds, instead of the flat grey overcast of snow bearing clouds. None of that rain fell on us.

There's an old saying, "What you see is what you get." I'm struggling to learn that this is almost true in photography. It's what you see in your mind's eye, provided you know the technical aspects of operating your camera to capture the potential for that result, that you've done your homework so you are in the right place at the right time for the right light, and a bit of luck in tweaking the light so it's extra special is always nice, plus knowing the software to realize your vision, is what you're going to get.

Sometimes I've been disappointed. Lots of that, actually. But a few times I've gone wow! What appeared on screen was better than what I'd hoped for.

Take these two, shot yesterday after the sunrise and landscape. I was looking around and suddenly realized these could be good. They aren't quite what I'd visualized, since the wind kept complicating things. But if it were easy then everyone would do it and it wouldn't be fun anymore.

I'm not going to tell you what you're looking at. Whatever you think you're looking at is fine by me. But I'm curious if these evoke a response within you.

That first image took more processing time than a dozen "normal" images would have. It's the first time I've deliberately done something so abstract, and I was trying to get a particular result. It still isn't quite right, I'd hoped for it being a little more sparklier.

Today I was out deliberately looking for more photos that could be the basis of an abstract piece of art, and I think I've succeeded with one beyond my dreams. I'm going to sleep on it, but I think it's one of my 10 best images, ever.

I talked a little about Bruce Barnbaum's book yesterday, and finished it today. I loved it! Some books you read and you are all meh. Others don't tell you anything you don't already know. Some tell you stuff you know, but do so in a way that compels your attention or relates it to other stuff in ways you hadn't realized. Some talk to your soul, hitting that sweet spot of saying what you need to hear, in a way that makes sense. I'll be going back over it again before it goes back to the library. What he says about composition knocks my socks off.

One of his points is that when he's shooting his medium format camera he takes quite a bit of time thinking about what he's about to shoot, composing it in his mind, before ever he clicks the shutter. (With rare exceptions when racing to capture the light before it goes.) He notes in the digital world it's all too easy to click first and then look what you've captured, and then do it again and again. Only when you get the images onto a computer do you critically assess them.

He doesn't say it quite like this, but it becomes easy to accept what you've got, as what there is to get. You might have to read that again. I've been really bad about this, clicking away madly, thinking I'll find out what's good on screen. What I'm trying to learn is to actually look at the scene and think about what would make it a compelling image, if there's a better way to compose the shot.

Or in another way of thinking about it, what *I* want to do with that shot. There's a bunch of things to think about, and I'm trying to take the time to do that. Since I'm still learning I'll also try other ways, just in case I don't have it right.

I know I can usually get a technically good picture of the scene. It's in focus, and people can see that it's a car, or a mountain landscape, or a bridge, or whatever. Then they yawn. The world doesn't need any more of those, and I don't need to take the time to do it anymore.

Sometimes I get people perking up and saying that they really like a shot, which is nice. And sometimes they are actually enthusiastic about it, which is even nicer. But if you don't know what you're doing to get the shot, then the next nice one will come along only by accident. I'd rather figure out what it takes to get a good, or even dare I say, a great shot, and do that.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Went for a sunrise, and

I got this instead. There was the faintest of rosy glows along the poles that I wish I could highlight a bit more, or wait till the sun was up a hair more, but that moon moves pretty fast.

That location wasn't working out for sunrise so I moved down the road a bit, and got a really nice landscape that has someone so excited they want to buy a print. Yay! So I'm not going to show you that one just yet.  You get this one instead.

There was a slightly earlier shot of this that had lovely pink clouds over the mountain. Unfortunately, that turned lurid on the computer. Really lurid. Won't be showing you that one.

In other photo news I tried sunset from the Anderson Pedestrian bridge, but that was bleah. The view isn't as good as I remember it being, so I probably won't shoot there again. I'm still thinking of an equinox shot tomorrow, and am willing to meet up with anyone else interested.

In fitness news I was out for a lovely run with BRBE today in South Glenmore park. People are ready and past ready for spring. I was hoping for shorts and a tech shirt sort of run but we were just a bit early for that, so tights and a light jacket were perfect. A few people were doing shorts, but they didn't look happy. I'm glad we got the run done then, it's become really windy this afternoon. That doesn't slow down the BBQ bison burgers, though!

Yesterday got my swim groove back on, right in the middle of a swim. Last Wednesday was a basking shark sort of day. I'm ashamed to say how slow it was. Friday started sort of rocky and clunky and about 400 m in something clicked and I found the groove. The first 500 m was 9:25 or so, and the overall swim was 18:10, so I seriously negative split that. The second 500 (does complicated math) was 8:45. There was a guy in the next lane trying to race me every now and then. Wearing fins. Sorry guy. Maybe if he swam with his hands instead of his elbows he'd go faster.

Deeply involved in this book. Deeply.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A director's cut, so to speak

You know how on some movies, after the theatrical release, and after the DVD or BluRay, and after it makes a ton of money or the director becomes famous, they release the director's cut? Blade Runner is probably the most famous of these. There are seven versions of it.

Some of my photos have two versions, but lets begin at the beginning. There are an infinity of things to photograph around me, and I choose only one of them at a time, captured a particular way. There might be another very like it captured slightly later. I gradually accumulate electronic data on my camera and eventually decant it to a computer so I can see a decent sized image. Some of those get rejected out of hand for a variety of reasons. Many get nothing further done to them.

Some get edited in Lightroom, and there's a subset of those that get further processing in other software. I end up with photos suitable for sharing on social media or showing to whoever might be interested in them. A very few I tweak for print settings, mainly to see what they look like, and in preparation for the long discussed trip to Resolve.

There are some edited photos that I'm still not entirely happy with, for whatever reason. Some maybe I shouldn't have edited it in the first place. Some might need a different crop to work. Others might need more software skill than I had at the time. I've been going back and revisiting some of those, applying more software skill, and more of a willingness to edit to match my visualization.

I can't remember if I blogged this one or posted it on Facebook. It was taken during a photo walk last August and was dark. I've learned a bit more about software and composition, and had another go at it. I changed the crop to include the people at the bottom and cut out a bit of the sky, plus other software tweaks to bring up the colour a bit.

I've been reading about Ansel Adams.

I'd known nothing about him, other than being one of the most well-known landscape photographers in North America. I recognized a few of the images in the book, (duh!) but many were new to me. Part of the enjoyment was looking at the photos and thinking about why the composition works. Why take the photo from that particular there, as opposed to some other place not far away. In some cases there is no other choice unless you want to walk off a cliff.

Plus, I hadn't realized that he made the prints himself, and Stillman goes into the process a bit. Each print is subtly different, and over his career they gradually got darker. In his case, each print is in fact a unique piece of artwork.

That got me thinking. I don't have a printer, but I could get one, then go buy the right paper. Or I could take the file to a printer and have them help me pick the right paper. From there they could produce prints till the cows came home, or they ran out of supplies. But each is essentially identical. I could put a digital signature on each and they would continue to be identical. Or could sign in ink and then there would be a slight difference.

But putting a number x of y prints is meaningless. Sure I could print 100 for example, and if they sold, what's to stop me from printing more? Some people buy art because they hope it will appreciate in value, mainly because it's a nearly unique piece. That isn't true with my prints, or in fact any photographic produced on a digital camera. I suppose they could buy a print simply because I've somehow captured an image they are fascinated with, and want to continue looking at it. That's nice. Very nice in fact, and if any of you have that feeling, call me day or night. I'll get you that print as soon as humanly possible, tweaked and sized for exactly how you like it.

I've been thinking of one of his quotes, "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept." Let that roll around in your head. There's a bit of a trick to learning how to get sharp images out of your camera. I'm getting the hang of it. But that part about the concept of the photograph, I've been struggling with that. I expect to continue struggling with it for the rest of my life.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Broken trees

In one of the earlier blogs I talked about trees lying half in and out of the creek, hanging on with every root to stay alive. Some pretty dramatic weather comes through the park. Everybody knows about the flood a few years ago that carried away several of the bridges. The wind can blow hard enough to snap trees.

There's a few I've seen where I want to get back with the 100 mm lens and get some nice close up shots of the splintered wood.

In other news fitness stuff is going ok. Running is slowly coming back now that my quads and hams aren't so cranky. Till Wednesday the swim was doing really well, but things were really stiff then. I've even been on the bike a couple of times for easy spin then some stretching and core work. I even did a minute of (gasp!) plank all at once.

I'm starting to think about equinox photos. Anyone want to get together for a sunrise or sunset session? Let me know.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


No that title isn't some obscure bit of SQL code. Not doing that to you today. This is Fish Creek bridge 2, not once, not twice, but 3!, 3! THREE times for all of you. There's a reason why I did all three. Before I tell you why, do you have any preference? Don't be afraid to take a minute and embiggen each one.

It wasn't a rigorous comparison, but I wanted to shoot the same scene (the bridge with just a bit of vegetation on each side) with 3 different lenses at different focal lengths and see how it turned out. I suppose for a proper comparison I should have measured the distance to the bridge with each shot, and been more careful about the crop, and ensured that each of the three were treated identically through software processing. Maybe another time, when I get my hands on a laser range finder. Or when I get paid to do such detailed painstaking work.

So far I think this is the prettiest of the Fish Creek bridges, especially when it comes to background. I just love how the bridge emerges from the trees on either side, and that hillside of trees backdrop is beautiful, especially with snow on the trees. The arch and colour of the bridge are a nice contrast, but not jarring.

But why? Ok ok. The first was shot quite close with a 50 mm lens, the second quite a bit further away (but I'm not sure if it's twice as far) with the 100 mm lens, and the third a long way off with the 200 mm lens. A really long way, on the order of half a K away. All the shots were on a tripod with the same aperture (f22 for you photographers), and shutter speed tweaked for slight variations in the light.

I suppose if I'd been on the ball I'd have a shot of each with the lens wide open to see what the shallow depth of field does to the shot, but the intent today was to get everything into focus. From these shots, and especially the last one, it looks like the bridge is right beside the bank with the trees, but it's not. It's probably a half K away from the bridge as well, so the trees are nearly a full K from the camera.

My preference, you ask? Well, I've just spent a few minutes looking at each shot blown up to full size on a 27 in monitor, and they all look lovely. Each is slightly different, but I think I prefer the middle one. That lens is just a hair sharper than the other ones, and I think the quality shows. The triangular peak of trees above the bridge adds an element of interest and a bit of layering.

Tell me which one you like best.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The dragon spine, as I thought of it

I sure hope you aren't sick of photos from Fish Creek. Sometimes you know as you take a photo that it's going to be good. Other times you know it could be, if you tweak the settings or shift the position of the camera a bit, or use a different lens (if you have one), or you hang tough and wait for the light.

This was the second. I was walking upstream of bridge 3 and could see this grouping of trees sloping over the river. I took some shots as I got closer, but they were just ok. There was a dead tree in the river that looked interesting, and got more so as I got closer.

I thought it had an wonderful shape and walked around it. As soon as I got close to the other end I knew there was a great shot with the sloping trees, if I could just find it. Here you are.

The camera was actually sitting on the tree, with me draped all over the roots, trying to get the camera positioned and focussed just so, and playing with settings.

I'm confident that once the weather gets much nicer this would be a great spot to bring a model to pose on the tree. Any of my trail running buddies want to combine a photo session and a run along the river?

Monday, March 13, 2017

A reflection

I'm jumping around a bit. These photos are from near bridge 8, shot last weekend as I write this. Flat dull light. As you all should know by now I'm always looking for reflection shots. The problem with that in winter is that water is mostly a mineral.

There are some exceptions, though. It had warmed up enough for some liquid to show, which makes for careful walking on the creek. Ice sometimes makes interesting noises, but no feet got wet in the course of this photo walk.

A little further along there was a nice little ice jam and a bit of a waterfall.  This was a case of knowing there was a nice shot if I had a different lens and was willing to risk getting really wet. I didn't. I wasn't.

The point of the walk was to get to bridge 8 and get a photo, but none of them really worked. For one thing, it isn't a particularly pretty bridge, and at least from upstream the background for it isn't anything to write home about.

I'll be making another trip there to try again. Maybe the other side is it's good side, or the light is better. Maybe at just the right time of year the sunrise will sneak under the railway bridge and light it perfectly.

A little earlier in the walk I found this tangle of bush. I like the tangles of dead or nearly dead trees as they collapse into the creek. The wood has such interesting textures, and I like the juxtaposition of the dead tree and the living plants. From a composition perspective I like all the diagonal lines.