A couple days ago the phone rang and it was my good friend Paul Smith calling.He asked if I would be interested in going out to do some photographing.I never turn down an invitation to head out and get some photos.
The day was cloudy with various lighting situations and some showers.The clouds were moving very quickly.We headed up the Westbranch to a locale that I had previously taken a very nice photo.Upon arrival I headed to the river that ran along side the road.The first thing that happened was that I took a tumble on the rocks.These rocks get very slippery when they are wet.
I half crawled down the rocks looking for my previous photo location.I looked behind me and saw a beautiful scene before me.I quickly set up the camera and tripod and took the composition you see above.The sun sent a beam of light on the trees in the background and the reflection was gorgeous.When the rocks are wet the colors come alive.The mist gives that added touch.This shot was taken in the middle of the afternoon by the way.It is not often you get mist at that time of day.I did find my previous location but was unable to get any decent shots as the mist got too heavy to photograph.
I shot the above scene with a zoom setting of 85 mm and the shutter set at 1/10 sec @ f22.The mist got too heavy to photograph and I find that I then have trouble focusing automatically and manually.Is this the difference between a 800.00 camera and a 3000.00 camera?I will be upgrading in the future.
We decided to head back and go up the main road.By now the sky had cleared and the sun was shining.I was driving along and Paul said stop.He had noticed light reflecting on some rocks on a creek through the trees.I parked the truck and gathering up our gear we hiked into the creek.When we got there we saw a beam of light on some vegetation across the creek.I set the camera and tripod and took the photo you see below.
The rocks were pinkish and everything was still on the wet side to bring out the colors.I put a rock to the left in the photo to lead your eye into the photo following the shoreline and the clump of grass helps provide depth and breaks up the water.The beam of light adds that little extra touch to the photo.
This photo was taken with a zoom setting of 85 mm and a shutter speed of 3.2 sec @ f32.When you see light beams like this you had better be quick and get the shot as the lighting can go very fast.In this case the light lasted about 5 minutes as cloud cover moved in.These are the type of shots that requires a little luck and you must recognize that there is a photo to be taken.You also must compose on the fly with out thinking to capture the lighting.
Until next time,happy trails.
My photographic partner,Paul Smith and I unloaded the canoe in to the Aux Sauble River North of Massey at the 3 mile mark.We proceeded to paddle up river and we worked our way up to a small waterfalls and unloaded the canoe on a sandbar on the opposite shoreline.Paul elected to stay at the waterfalls and I proceeded upriver looking for photographic opportunities.Looking back down river I noticed a bit of a haze as the day was hot and muggy.
As I walked upstream I noticed a beam of sunlight highlighting the grass and ferns near the waters edge.The scene was on the opposite shore of the river.The time was getting on late afternoon and creating heavy shadows on the far shore.The sun also sets in that direction.I quickly set up and shot the scene that you see above.The dark background brings out the foreground and the reflections in the water.The dark background also helps eliminate clutter.It also helps to keep the shot tightly composed.
I photographed the composition with a zoom setting of 135 and the shutter speed at 0.6 sec and f25.
I continued walking upstream and I noticed some unique lighting ahead of me that you see in the photo above.The problem was that the background was very dark and the right shoreline was brightly lit.I set up the camera and tripod and created the composition you see above.I set the exposure for the sandbar and took a photo and then I took a exposure on the background and took a photo at that setting.This allowed me to bring both photos into Photoshop and achieve what I was looking for.
At this time it was getting late and walking further upstream was getting harder going.I had covered about a mile and a half.I retraced my steps back downstream and met Paul at the waterfalls.
We loaded the canoe and drifted back down river enjoying the stillness and quiet of the woods.Beaver were swimming ahead of and Paul heard twiggs snapping beside us up in the bush.We stopped paddling and listened for a few moments but nothing happened.It was dark by the time we got back to the truck and headed home.
It was a great afternoon and evening enjoying the wilderness and getting a quality photo or two in the process an added bonus.As you can see I am always watching for interesting lighting situations.This only can happen if you spend a lot of time observing what is happening around you.
So until next time happy trails.
Late afternoon last Thursday Paul Smith and I head up to the 42 mile mark on the Aux Sauble River North of Massey.This location has a good set of rapids which are not of much interest in photographing.The river above the rapids is quite interesting with good photographing opportunities.
We had been here the week before when there was an overcast sky and the air was heavy with moisture.As a matter fact there was a fine mist in the air that you could not see,but the mist showed up in the photos.I had a lot of unsharp photos,especially with the rocks.
This time around the problem was that we had shadow to the left and right of us and brightly lit shoreline ahead of us.There was a touch of wind that did not stop completely.Another problem we ran into was that the fish were jumping at a tiny white mayfly that probably measured about a 1/8 inch. I had seen one fly by me close up so I was able to identify it as a mayfly hatch.You would press the shutter and a fish would jump creating ripples in the water.
I walked out to a rock above the rapids in my chest waders and noticed some reddish colored rocks in front of me.Looking at the far shore line I saw rocks and deadheads reflecting in the water.By combining the reddish rocks for foreground and the far shore for depth I created an interesting composition.I set my zoom lense at 44mm and the shutter speed at 4 sec and the f stops at f25.
Once we lost our lightning we packed up and headed back down the road.We decided to take the crossover road that connects the Tote Road to the Westbranch Road North of Webbwood. This road is used by loggers to get in to the area to cut trees and haul the logs to the sawmill.Paul and I were driving along when we drove down a small hill and before us was a swampy area with blackish water by the road.What caught our eye was a group of deadheads on the far side with reddish orange grass behind them.The water was dead calm and the lighting was gorgeous.We parked the truck and proceeded to photograph and low and behold we again had problems with fish jumping.
The above photo was one of the compositions that I came up with.Shot with a zoom setting of 65 mm and a shutter speed of 3.2 sec @ f22.One of the things that I had to watch out for was there was a lot of gray in the background that would not look good.The lightning lasted about a half an hour,before we headed home.
So until next time happy trails.
Last week my granddaughter Tisha came for a weeks visit.On the Thursday past Tisha and I went out photographing on the Wakanassin River North of Webbwood.The previous week I had explored a section of the river that showed some promise.It was too late in the evening to get anything in the way of a photo.
So loading up our gear and wearing chest waders the two of us proceeded to wade down the river. I was just getting ready to set up the camera when the dark clouds rolled in and we got drenched by four separated showers.The wind picked up briskly and the rain came down very hard.With no where to seek shelter Tisha and I endured the showers standing out in the middle of the river,getting soaked in the meantime.
The showers were short lived and the cloud cover was moving fairly quickly.Looking up river I noticed swirls of mist moving across the face of the hill.I proceeded to set up the camera and tripod and looked around for a good setup to compose my shot.I anchored the left side of the photo with the left river bank at a group of rocks.The wind was now non-existence now so there was some reflection on the water. But what really made the photo was the sun started peeking out from behind the cloud cover creating some beautiful lighting.You had to be quick on the shutter to capture the various lighting highlights and at the same time capture the mist moving in front of the hills.
You will also notice a dark cedar tree in the fore-ground that tends to add depth to the photo.This photo was shot at a shutter speed of 1/13 sec @ f 25 with the lense at 60 mm.
My granddaughter Tisha and I had a great day together in the wilderness and when the sun came out the warmth of the sun soon dried us out.So until next time happy trails.
It has been a hot and dry summer so far and with very low water levels and I have been able to get some interesting shots.With the extraordinary low water there are more rocks exposed and more color.
A couple of days ago I drove up the Westbranch behind Webbwood to explore the Wakonassin River.I drove up to the 37 mile mark on gravel roads where I started hiking.I have found that you will walk many a mile sometimes before an interesting composition presents itself.Because of the low shutter speeds I shot at,the wind is a constant problem.One must be very patient and wait till the wind stops blowing. I have stayed at a setup for an hour or more waiting for that wind to stop.I am forever watching the trees waiting for the calm to come.At times you may only get a few seconds or a few minutes to get that photo.Be sure that there is no ripple on the water if it is reflections you are looking at.I will at times bring my fishing pole and fish while I am waiting for the wind to abate or the lighting to change.
I was walking downstream when I noticed some nicely colored rocks at the back end of a bend in the river.There was a fair amount of reflection of the rocks into the river.As the water is constantly moving you will never get a perfect reflection here.But that is okay.You will also notice that the predominant color is green in this photo.The trees are also reflecting into the water giving a green cast.There was a cedar tree in the foreground that I used to give depth and also to add more contrast and shadows to break up the background.I also have a boulder to the right of the photo that helped break up the green color and to again add depth.The old tree trunk on the left adds more interest to the photo,but I find the old tree on the right a bit of a hindrance but I can live with it.
This photo was shot at 115 mm at 1/5 sec @ f22.The wind as I have explained previously was a problem and I had to play the waiting game.I didn’t catch any Brook Trout that day but it still was a beautiful day to be in the wilderness.So until next time watch the wind and happy trails
I have been ask if the water is always dark and lots of shadows where I photograph.The great majority of my work is done along rivers and creeks.The rivers are usually flowing between hills with a lot of tree growth.A majority of my photographic work takes place in wilderness areas and the tree growth is mature.
Depending on the time of day,there is usually a lot of shadows created by hills and overhanging trees.The sun is usually starting to disappear behind the hills by three in the afternoon and starting to filter through the trees.I carry a compass with me and I can check to see were the sun rises and sets. This is important to determine whether you will get back lighting 0r cross lighting.
The shadows used in conjunction with the lighting can create some awesome photographs.Looking at the photo above,you can see the sun is cross lighting in the foreground and you have deep shadows in the background.The sun is on the right hand side of this photo.Using this to good effect you can create a mysterious turn into deeper woods and good depth of field.You will also notice that the sun is highlighting parts of the trees on the left breaking up the shadows.
The above photo was shot at 1/4 sec with the zoom set at 135 @ f22. You must always be patient and take many shots.This particular afternoon there was moving cloud cover.By watching the scene before me I was able to get many shots as the sun reappeared from behind the clouds By watching the light intensity I could get different effects and then choose the photo I thought gave me the best effects.So until next time watch your shadows and happy trails
There are times when I come across a particular locale that I have shot many times that I can improve on a previous shot.To keep the weight down I carry only one lense and camera.The lense is a 28 to 135 zoom.
At times you are limited as to where you can set up your tripod so I have to make the best of a given situation.As I do not carry a wide angle lense I will set up for a panorama.The above photo consists of 2 horizontally shot photos,overlapped.
The 2 photo pano allows me to compose a photo that shows the ruggedness of this scene.I used the rocks in the foreground and the left side to draw in the viewer and lead the eye along the edge of the river and also to create depth.I also have created a U shape in my composition by adding the rocks on the right to complete the composition.
This 2 shot composition was shot at 65 mm with a shutter speed of 1.6 sec at f32. Using photoshop’s photomerge to stitch the pano together,the final product is 34″x12″ with a 1/2″ border ready for matting and framing.
Next time you are out think about trying a small pano.Till next time happy trails
A good friend of mine,Carole Spandau made a comment last week that I had the heart of a true poet,your work is so personal,very heartfelt and very moving stuff.This got me thinking about the artist in the photographer.
Carole Spandau’s work is recognized nationally and internationally for her paintings of Montreal Quebec.
To view her work check out her site at FAA
As a photographer we are controlled by the weather conditions and the time of day.Luck also plays a big role in our work.We must be able to recognize a good shot when it happens,as Nature is very fleeting when it comes to lighting and shadows.
The above photo emphasizes my point.As I was walking back along the river I saw the light highlighting the greenery on the point in the river.By using the dark background to enhance the lighted point and the yellow reflection on the left side to lead the eye I created a composition very pleasing in an artistic way.You will also noticed the sunlight is highlighting the river bottom to give contrast to the darker areas in the water.
This photo was taken very late in the afternoon at a shutter speed of 0.5 sec ,f22.The zoom lense was set at 75 mm.
The artist in the photographer is when you take the components of what you see before you and create an exciting work of art.Learn to recognize a good composition when you come upon it and then be able to be creative when you compose that shot.So until next time happy trails.
The photo at your feet.Many times while out photographing I have come across a nice composition right at my feet.It really pays to look down and see what is there before you while you are scanning the whole landscape. I call this the photo within the photo.The above photo was captured during a late Spring evening and the water was glowing from within. Placing the 6 ” waterfalls in the top left hand corner and framing the gold color water with the rocks I was able to create this awesome photo as the color just pops out at you.
The photo was taken with a zoom setting of 41 mm and a shutter speed of 0.8 sec f29.The ISO was set at 100.You could almost call this micro landscape photograph or photo art.
The photo shown above is another capture that I created by looking down in front of me.This particular photo has beautiful lighting and pure energy.By using a slow shutter speed you create flow patterns that help in the creation of the photo.
The photo was taken with a zoom setting of 41mm and a shutter speed of 1.3 sec f 29.Remember at this close range you need your depth of field for the detail.So until next time,look down and happy trails.
As you have noticed most of my photographic work is in and around water. Paul Smith of Whitefish,Ontario and I have spent the last few months hiking into and along the Aux Sauble River North of Massey Ontario.This wilderness area offers excellent photo opportunities. The river system flows out of Aux Sauble Lake,52 miles North of Massey and twists and turns until it empties into the Spanish River in Massey.The Spanish River in itself empties into the North Channel, which is part of Lake Huron in the Great Lakes System.
There are many scenic locations to discover with beautiful rock formations.The river has a number of rapids and waterfalls along its length. We use a hand held GPS to explore the region.The terrain is rugged so you have to be in reasonably good shape.
The vast majority of my work is created in the evening.The drawback is that you have to allow enough time to get back to the truck before it gets too dark.The above photo was shot with the zoom lens set at 30mm and a shutter speed of 2 sec at f22. In setting up this photo I used the water as an S curve to lead your eye into the photo.Framing with the rock formations also helps when creating your photo.
The above photo was shot with the zoom set at 28 mm and a shutter speed of 0.4 sec at f22. This is the same location as the first photo but taken a couple weeks before. You will notice that the lighting is very different in these photos,creating different effects and tones.The first photo is much warmer and the color stands out.The 2nd photo was also taken earlier in the evening allowing for a faster shutter speed of 0.4 sec.You must go back to the same locales many times and observe the behavior of the lighting and also the time of year.
Just to be able to be in these locations is a blessing for me.To listen to the water rushing over the rocks and enjoy the serenity….pristine silence and beauty of these locations is well worth the effort to capture.Till next time happy trails.