As you have probably noticed, there have been several changes to the site in the last week. I decided to organize my galleries into four themes; Closeup & Macro, Landscape & Intimate Landscape, Industrial, and Spotlight. The first three are obvious as to their content, while the Spotlight gallery contains the most recent trip photos. The gallery re-organization will ensure that the photos that define my photographic style are easily accessible. I will be updating all four galleries as new material becomes available. Another note on the galleries is that I am now using a different gallery management plugin and with that change it allows the photos to be displayed with both thumbnails and slideshow views. I have also added a Video page to show videos/multimedia shows, hosted on my YouTube site “Off of the Trail”.
I really like visiting Johnston Canyon (Banff National Park) in the winter as it offers great winter photographic opportunities. Today I headed off to Johnston Canyon early and spent the day taking some really good photos. The lower and upper waterfalls were nicely covered in ice and the adjacent forest was snow covered. The day started off cloudy and about -14, and ended with snow falling. I do find that the flat lighting from the cloud coverage is ideal given how reflective the snow and ice are.
At the upper waterfall, there was a large group of ice climbers scaling the ice wall adjacent the waterfall and even one climber on the waterfall. At one location I had to contend with a crow the size of a turkey that seemed to have a real interest in my pack…actually, more like interested in the food inside the bag! If you do visit in the winter I would certainly recommend wearing boot traction such as the MICROspikes I have. The trail is hard packed snow and ice and slips and falls are likely without good traction. Here is the lower waterfall and trees along the canyon.
Happy New Year, hard to believe another year has come and gone.
A few days back (Dec 31), I visited Brothers Creek in West Vancouver. This is another location that I have not visited in a long time and in fact, the last visit was to the section of creek further upstream. This section was just above Millstream road and has some very interesting sections of creek. Lots of boulders and deep canyons along with snow and ice. I photographed the section just above Millstream road and then a bit further upstream where the powerline crosses the creek. At that point, there is an ice covered staircase down to a sagging and snow covered bridge. The lighting was very good in the early morning and then a bit bright in the afternoon. This is definitely an area to return to, given how beautiful the creek and adjacent forests are. I know there is also Lawson Creek nearby that has some historical features and I presume a nice creek.
In the late afternoon, I headed over to Vancouver’s New Brighton Park to capture some photos looking across Burrard Inlet at the North Shore mountains. There were some nice photos of the ships at Lynnterm (North Van) and at the facility adjacent to the park. As the sun was setting, the lighting on the North Shore mountains was very nice. Ranging from warm orange to soft pink. I also found some of the best hoar covered leaves, laying in a shaded location.
Yesterday night I headed out to take some night photographs on the North Shore. It was a very cool evening and the ocean breeze did not help. Mental note, don’t wear jeans…way too cold! Anyway, through the cold I managed to shoot some nice scenes of Vancouver from the pier just to the east of Lonsdale Quay and the Lions Gate bridge from Ambleside Park. The photo opportunities from Lonsdale Quay are really impressive. You have a clear view of the illuminated downtown across Burrard Inlet, the colourful lights at the quay, and Cypress mountain ski run lights. The Lions Gate bridge is well lit up, with the downtown behind it and the dark forest of Stanley Park adjacent to it.
Yesterday I visited the Cypress Falls Park. It has been a while since I was here last, and I do enjoy the coastal mountain streams and forests. There was no ice or snow around so it made accessing the creek safe. The creek itself has lots of boulders and logs surrounded by moss covered trees (cedar, Douglas-fir, and hemlock) and ferns. It was a very enjoyable outing and I managed to capture some interesting photos of the creek and adjacent forest. I did find the low light a challenge with capturing video, but still managed to get a few videos that should help out on my next multimedia presentation.
In Vancouver for the break, and decided to visit the Historic Stewart Farm in Surrey. I have photographed here and wanted a close location to where I am staying to start off the south coast Christmas shoot and given the afternoon family Boxing Day visit. It was a cold shoot, I will say! Early in the morning and with a very cold breeze made for a cool outing. With the low light and breeze, it was a challenge to obtain sharp photos without getting the high ISO noise. I did manage to find several interesting compositions.
Yesterday I headed out to the Kananaskis area shooting at various locations along the Spray Lakes road starting at the Lower Kananakis Lake at sunrise. It was interesting to see the sun rise as the partial cloud coverage did not hinder the sun illuminating the snow covered peaks. Next up, I drove down the Spray Lakes Road to past Mt. Shark road to try to capture some more of the early and low angle winter light highlighting the snow covered peaks. I then photographed around the Mount Engadine Lodge, capturing the snow covered mountains and trees. It started to snow late in the morning with some wind, so it was a challenge to capture clear photos. I also photographed at Mud Lake and then Black Prince area. All in all, it was a beautiful day with some amazing lighting conditions.
Today I went out to the Elbow River and Elbow Falls. As an indication to how busy I have been and thus out of practice, I arrived without my normal winter gear, snow pants. This was the first “seriously” cold outing with the new camera, but as expected there were no problems with it…my legs were another story though. I started out in the Elbow River canyon section adjacent to where Canyon Creek joins the Elbow River. I like that section of the Elbow, it has a nice S shaped curve, rock walls, and boulders. Unlike in the summer, I did not wade across and head downriver…way too cold today to pull that stunt! There were some nice snow and ice scenes even in the reachable upper section.
Next, I moved to the waterfalls and happened upon Frosty keeping warm with his bottle of wine (and yes, that is an oxymoron). The waterfalls were nicely iced though not completely covered. After the 2013 flood, the waterfalls are much shorter given the tremendous amount of infilling that occurred at the base.
Okay, so I know that it has been a while and that some of my friends are wondering when I am going to write another post. I did promise, didn’t I? After a busy couple of months of spending numerous if not all weekends in Vancouver, I finally had time to get out and take some photographs. I decided to check out the Sheep River area prior to the annual winter shutdown on December 1. It was a real treat to see some snow and ice in the Bluerock Creek, Gorge Creek, and Sheep River given the lack of accessibility in the winter. The photographs were plentiful and I spent all day capturing some interesting shots and video. The weather was mostly overcast with some sun and not too cold, perfect shooting weather. It was one of those great shoots where it was hard to leave. I must say that am really enjoying the camera and Sigma 35mm lens, it is a great combination.
When I was using my Nikon F3 (film), my favourite lens was the Nikon 35mm. I found the focal length to be the perfect blend between including enough details while excluding extraneous details. Recently I upgraded to a full frame DSLR and the old Nikkor 35mm was noticeably soft outside of the centre on that camera. After researching lens options including Nikon, Zeiss, and Sigma, I decided to purchase the Sigma Art 35mm 1.4. According to several review sites, it was the sharpest lens available. I headed out to Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park on Sunday to test out the lens. It didn’t take long to appreciate the joy of the 35mm focal length and the quality of the Sigma lens. The lens auto focuses quickly and with very little noise, allows quick setting for manual and auto focus, and appears very solid. The initial tests indicates that the lens is very sharp, edge to edge.