Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Delicate Beauty

Gentle Snow

The gentleness of this snowfall is shown beautifully through my 75-300 mm lens. With the aperture set at f/5.6 there is a lovely blur in the foreground and background, further softening the scene. I shot at a speed of 1/160.

Allowing the posts to run through much of the image, from foreground to background, brings a sense of hurry. For the foreseeable future, this is as it is, a winter wonderland.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Different Together

Being different together works.
Being different together is quite beautiful.

Finding things that don't normally go together, together, often presents a wonderful photo opportunity. As you look around, notice the unusual. Does it speak to you? Is it beautiful? If it resonates somehow, it will quite likely translate into an interesting image.

Discovering this pinecone (it was obviously not where it originated) was quite interesting to me. The colour of the light and the surrounding landscape were also interesting. The snow falling brought another element of movement into the picture that was somehow connective. All of these pieces came together to produce a beautiful, uniquely unified scene, one that I felt quite at home in.

I shot at a focal length of 300, shutter speed of 1/160 and aperture of f/5.6. To ensure clarity with the longer lens choice, I bumped my ISO to 200 so I could maintain a faster speed. With a longer lens, the possibility of camera shake increases immediately.

Light in Dark

Light in darkness; it radiates; it multiplies; and reaches.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Points of View

I shot this picture looking down at my own feet but ended up flipping the image vertically as it seemed to present better that way.

The negative space adds to the subject of the boot tips. Called Points of View, we see immediately that there is more than one view, one way of looking at things. The faint lines in the white floorboards seem to agree with the one point of view. However, the one more forward takes the lead.

I shot with a speed of 1/40 and aperture of f/2.8. Once on my computer I brought this image into photoshop to add a texture layer but chose one that would not make the negative space disappear in clutter. Layers can add but they also can detract or distract from what the photographer is trying to say.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Railway Crossing

Once again, changing this into a black and white image resulted in a better photo. The bright golden yellow field in the background distracted from the flow of the pathway to the clearing and finally to the railway crossing.

When you import your images into your photo publishing/processing program, pull out the colour and see if the result brings an improvement. Of course, this largely depends on what your subject is...or is not.

Here, in this image, the subject is not the field but it presented that way with the colour. The railway crossing was all but lost with the distraction of the yellow mass. In addition, the flow was interrupted before the intended stop at the railway crossing.

I shot this image with a shutter speed of 1/80 and aperture of f/10. My ISO was firmly fixed at 100.

Manitoba Prairies

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


It sure is fun to imagine what these trees might think and do and say to one another. Seeing this towering tree bend down to listen to the smaller, younger ones is heart warming.

Personification can be used as a creative tool to get out of a photography rut. Look around with new eyes and see what human traits or actions you see in non-human form. You'll be surprised at how often you see this in the landscape around you.

To further play with the image in Photoshop also reaches beyond what one sees to something more. Adding texture and tonal layers can enhance and enrich the image, your story.

I used my 24-70 mm lens to shoot this scene. My focal length was 24 mm, shutter speed 1/400 and aperture f/7.1. ISO was firmly fixed at 100.

Can't See the Forest for the Trees

Contrast and colour in composition can be necessary to the whole. The yellow burst in between the grey trunks and the deep dark background is necessary to engage viewers.

I went back to this location a week after I shot this. The leaves had fallen. The scene no longer drew me in. Without the yellow, apart from searching for this same spot, I would have just moved on without a second glance.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Light is so magical! The absence of it makes things seem dark, still, stuck. The presence of light brings movement and hope.

I shot this on a beautiful crisp morning. Frost had come but the sun came out and before the warmth melted the frost, I was able to get some shots.

I used my 60 mm macro. When going out to shoot frost, that is my lens choice, every time. My ISO was 100 and my shutter speed was 1/800. I chose an aperture of f/2.8, allowing the background, which was not so far off to drop away into blur and movement. The sun and sweet bokeh created this magical swirl and feeling that just cannot be matched on a grey day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Catching Sunshine

We've had a stretch of overcast and rainy days here in Winnipeg. Yesterday the sun returned and this morning for a bit as well. The forecast is for the sun's hiding over the next several days so I made sure to get out there with my camera for at least a few minutes this morning.
There is a patch of sunflowers not from from us. The faded flowers share space with some corn and a few other things in a community garden.

I got in close and then once on my computer I cropped even closer. The way the sun shone through the tired flower was so pretty. The f/4 aperture was just right to catch the detail in the flower and seeds both, and allowed the stem to fall off into blur. I shot at a speed of 1/30. Because I did not have my tripod it was really quite a fluke that I did not get camera shake. I usually don't go slower than 1/50 or 1/60, depending on the lens choice. All in all I think the image turned out as I hoped.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Closer Than We Think

It is not so far away, Christmas.

When taking shots of Christmas ornaments it is a good idea to try and get close. Sometimes the big wow-wee photos of trees in all their splendor work out well but often the ornaments are lost to the greater show.

Get close and make sure you have good lighting. Take the ornament off the tree to decrease clutter. Here, some of the light spots in the back (some sweet bokeh) and also the shadow in front, echo the shape of the ornament, pointing to it instead of taking away from it.

Silver Beads

I found one stem that had raindrops all along its length. Fortunately for me, it was isolated from the others and I knew immediately I wanted shots of this.

Presenting in black and white was favorable for drawing attention to the lines and simplicity of the subject. The colour would have busied the composition.

I shot at 1/200 with an f stop of f/2.8. My focal length was 60 mm and my ISO 100.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Snowflake Tree

The snowflakes were ready for harvesting...
I'd like to talk a little bit about exposure in snow compositions. Left to our camera's mind and eye, our winter images would most often be underexposed. When reading the landscape, the camera sees a predominantly white image as too bright and will compensate by decreasing the exposure (when on automatic) or give a reading on the light meter that the image is overexposed (for those who shoot manually). Subsequently, we are often inclined to bump down the exposure ourselves. This leaves us with a dark image.

"Push the whites to the right." Remember that phrase. On your histogram (use it - it is most helpful!) often we like to see the bulk of the pixels right in the center of the graph. Not so with a white landscape! Adjust your settings until the peak of the pixels is at the far right of your graph, without spilling over off the graph. Then you will have a properly exposed winter image (or any white image).

"Push the whites to the right!"

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Winter Road

Last winter was an exceptional one for hoarfrost. There were many days when the frost would blanket the trees and stay well into the day, sometimes even overnight. It was a winter wonderland!
I shot this picture in Winnipeg. I chose to go to an older part of the city, where the trees were plentiful and mature. The resulting images I took had beautiful canopies of frost covered branches reaching across the roads to meet.

I shot at a focal length of 27 with an aperture of f/8 and shutter speed of 1/200.

Once on my computer I cooled the tones even more than what was already present, which resulted in a blue tint to the snow and ice that I quite liked.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fading Memories


I took this image when the fog was just beginning to lift and the morning sun found its way through the haze. The drops on the branches were as diamonds of light, sparkling in the woods.

I shot at 1/125 with an aperture of f/4.5 and a focal length of 130. As is my habit, I kept the ISO at 100.

Once on my computer I brought this into Photoshop to add a layer of soft texture and golden light, enhancing the enchanting light already present in the image.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


When taking pictures of fog it is good to have something in the foreground that is relatively clear and recognizable. If it is only fog, well, you won't see much at all.

Using my zoom, I wandered the trail this morning in the fog. As you can see, it was pretty dense except for right in front of me. This made for some interesting shots.

In the first image, shot at a focal length of 75, f/7.1 and a speed of 1/200, we can clearly see the path and colours in the grasses. Including colour in a fog composition works quite well.

In the second image, I zoomed in from a greater distance onto this tree. My focal length was 105, my aperture f/4.5 and shutter speed 1/200. The drop off of clarity is not as sharp as in the first image.

Little side note: I did not notice the bird perched in the tree until I got my pictures onto the computer.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ground Cherry

A macro lens was a must for this shot.  I got my settings just so and then held this wee tomato (aka ground cherry) between my fingers, watching as the light found its way into the ground cherry. I pressed and released the shutter and captured the translucent beauty.

I shot at f/2.8 and a shutter speed of 1/50. I used my 60 mm macro lens...and I held my breath. No tripod, just my fingers, so breathing was not really optional.

Sometimes you just have to go where the light is and that was the case for this picture. Turning the ground cherry until I found the light's sweet spot was what needed to happen. And when it happens, it is indeed sweet.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Grape Pie

Have you ever heard of Grape Pie? I hadn't until a few days ago.

Having finally picked my Concord Grapes from the vine, I had to do something with them. Most of them were washed and boiled up in a large pot and strained for juice, which I froze. But some of them, 5 cups worth, I reserved for the making of a Grape Pie. I found the recipe here and then got to work. Let me tell you, peeling grapes is time consuming! I wasn't sure what to hope for, a delicious pie or something I wouldn't bother making again.

By my husband's verdict of "very very good" I guess I'd make it again but I'm still on the fence on this one.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

First Snow

Last weekend, the south-east part of our province experienced the first snowstorm of the season. Power lines were down, visibility was poor, bringing much to a standstill for a day or more, especially for those without power.
Contrast can be powerful in an image. Here, the difference between the beautiful golden tamaracks and the white blanket of snow is much greater than if the snow was not present. The contrast is key.

The golden tufts of grasses along the creek edge draws our eye to the patch of tamaracks by way of sameness...sameness of colour. We tend to look for similarities and look at contrast. Both work well together in this image.

I shot this image at a speed of 1/400 and aperture of f/6.3.

Autumn's Feet

Autumn isn't seen in her branches alone. Look down and you will see a carpet of colours. Autumn shows herself all around.

I shot this image at 1/200 with an f stop of f/5.0. Getting low on the ground (and wet too!) I looked around with my eyes and then through my lens to see what I could see. The red creeper was perched just above the soggy orange leaves. Focusing so the creeper would be clear and not worrying about the orange below or behind as it blurred into the background made these scarlet leaves really come alive.

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

I noticed this little bird over the weekend in the Whiteshell Provincial Park. Initially I thought it was some kind of Woodpecker because of the way it was pecking the tree. After some research I learned it was a Red-Breasted Nuthatch.
It was a rainy morning so I took this shot from inside the cabin. The raindrops on the trees were beautiful little globes of light in the background.
I shot this with my 75-300 mm lens and deviated from my usual ISO 100 setting to 400. The light was relatively low and I did not have my tripod so bumping the ISO was necessary.
I used a speed of 1/250 and aperture of f/5.6. This aperture gave me the shallow depth of field I was after, creating some sweet bokeh and drawing attention to the subject by way of clarity.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Autumn's Warmth

Today the landscape looks very different than just one week ago. Last weekend, we had summer heat in the autumn woods. This weekend we have snow and cold. Looking at this image makes me forget the icy chill if only for a short while.
I used my 60 mm macro lens for this shot. It was a sunny day so I opted for a fast shutter speed of 1/1600 to compensate for the large aperture of f/2.8 which I wanted for good bokeh in the background. The blurred background lends itself to the impression of dancing flames which only helps the warmth I was trying to capture in this image.

I do not have the leaf right in the middle but rather a little off centre, which I find to be a more interesting composition.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


We all need it at some point: solitude. Some more than others but each of us, all of us, need this.

I shot this image on a beautiful autumn day. It felt more like summer than fall but the colours were definitely autumn's.

With the bright sky, I opted for an aperture of f/9.0 and fast shutter speed of 1/320. Though I didn't need the depth of field the f/9.0 provided, I didn't want to blow out the image because of the bright light. Choosing to bump up the speed also ensured a properly exposed image.

Once on my computer I added two texture layers, breaking up the negative space a bit. While some negative space was important to this composition of solitude there was too much I found it to be too stark, too bare, for the solitude to be inviting. There is a fine line between the solitude sought after in a chaotic world and the solitude that speaks of loneliness. Once I applied the layers, it was exactly as I wished the image to be.