Finally, the snow has come and with it, all kinds of wonderful scenes.
Canada has some stunning scenery, and we’re extremely lucky as residents to have access to it whenever we like. All we need to do is jump in the car and pick a direction. Go Northwest for a few hours and you’ll find yourself in a truly remarkable place: Jasper National Park.
I don’t have a great deal of experience in nature photography, and when I planned a camping trip with my parents (both elderly) I didn’t have a lot of room for camera equipment. I packed my Nikon
D610, a Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 and got out to shooting.
The challenge with shooting photos in heavily touristed areas is trying to find the ‘special’ little subjects: the little pockets of texture and colour that people tend to pass by in favour of the big Post Card photos ops. I found myself falling into my urban photography habits and started looking around and outside the typical tourist photo-sites.
Easily my favourite part of the trip was having a chance to channel my inner Ansel Adams and take a crack at black and white photos.
The objective when shooting black and white with a digital camera is to find subjects that have a lot of texture, tone and variety of light. Ansel Adams had a whole philosophy in his technique with tonal range, and he put a lot of work into shooting photos that had an aesthetic quality in it’s lights, blacks, and shadows.
My approach when I shot these photos was to use the rule of thirds (if you haven’t heard of it, go ahead and search it in Google). However, I didn’t just apply the rule of thirds to the subjects in my frame visually; I made sure that the mix of tones of light and dark in my composition had a deliberate attempt to follow the rule of thirds. The beautiful thing about this is that I could have a totally dirty lens and it somehow improved the vintage look and feel of the photos.
Lastly, my father had brought along his 150-500mm Sigma lens. He didn’t have a chance to use it so much, but on a windy day, my parents and I took a trip on the Jasper Gondola. I attached his lens to mine, found a spot to prop it up and waited for the clouds over Mount Robson to clear up.
Some of the black and white photos have a bit of colour tone to them and I think it looks just fine. I’m an advocate of using Lightroom and Photoshop to process and adjust photos, the only trick is to make sure that the photo you bring into the software is of a visual and technical quality to be able to work with.
The entire gallery is available here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskHE2Pou
The Perseid Meteor shower was said to have peaked on for the year this past August 12, 2016. The meteor shower is a result of comet Swift-Tuttle which passed through our system years ago leaving a stream of remnants that burn up in our atmosphere.
These photos were shot at Barrier Lake, Alberta. The challenge was trying to get a decent view of the stars and The Milky Way, while contending with the huge amount of light pollution caused by our own Moon which was 2/3 full.
Barrier lake itself is about 75 minutes drive out of Calgary’s city limits. It’s a quiet place with some great scenery to use in night sky compositions. Even though the moon was still giving a significant amount of light reflection off the clouds, the effect was still nice to create a nice contrast between the sky, stars, clouds, and trees. I highly recommend this place for night sky photography–just make sure you show up during daylight and keep a good flashlight handy. Unfortunately for me, the GoPro camera I had setup for timelapse photos blew over and ended up in the lake.