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Every picture tells a story, the saying goes. For me that story usually is more about the feeling, the effect, and often the sense of wonder that I get from an image than it is about the physical subject. I am always looking for situations that visually capture my imagination. I am not a documentary photographer and I seldom deliberately shoot to a theme. Even when I do focus on a specific subject my intent is not generally to document it, so the collection of photos I produce tends to leave gaping holes in the literal story where I did not see anything that visually interested me. As such, most of my favourite images are too subjectively random to be easily categorized into themed galleries. When I post one of these on this website, it initially appears individually on the Home page in the “Feature Photo” spot. They are all archived in this section of the site, arranged chronologically because the path of my visual inspiration, albeit sometimes an erratic path, is the only thing that consistently connects them.

For those who are interested, I provide some explanation of the subject in most of these posts, as well as some photographic information for the benefit of my fellow photographers. But I do not want this to distract you from the images for their own sake. I regard this as my online art gallery. I encourage you to just look at the pictures and I hope that at least some of them will draw you in and capture a piece of your soul as they do for me ... or as they can do only for you.


 Note:  When you click on any image it will open the enlarged version in a new window with navigation buttons to advance through the larger photos. For optimal display and full functionality make sure you have javascript enabled in your browser.



Posted April 30th, 2017

photo: Goin’ North
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Goin’ North

These trumpeter swans had just taken off from M’Clintock Bay on Marsh Lake. The appearance of large numbers of swans and other migratory aquatic birds is much celebrated as it heralds the arrival of spring to this part of the world. During their northward migration these birds stage in this location known as Swan Haven, as well as at other places where the ice melts early off shallow water where they can feed on the bottom vegetation.
Pentax K-1, Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM @ 310mm, 1/400 sec @ f/10, ISO 400




Posted April 30th, 2017

photo: Trumpeters’ Progression
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Trumpeters’ Progression

I multi-exposed 10 times to produce this abstraction of a pair of trumpeter swans as they swam. A cold winter that did not relent until the end of March resulted in there being only this narrow channel of open water. Here, water flows through M’Clintock Bay, which narrows at the north end to become the Yukon River. The previous spring there had been open water right to shore in front of the Swan Haven reception centre, which was quite opportune for photography, but this time the birds were only visible as specks near the opposite side of the bay. It was necessary to walk down to the narrows and out on the ice to get close enough to photograph them.
Pentax K-1, Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM @ 500mm, 1/250 sec @ f/9, ISO 400




Posted March 28th, 2017

photo: This is your brain on drugs.
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“This is your brain on drugs.”

Actually, it is a scene from the Aurora Colour War at the annual Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, held in Whitehorse at the end of February. Participants throw coloured corn starch at one another, in an event that is inspired by India’s Holi Festival of Colours. This year’s Colour War was mostly over within a few minutes of its start, as almost all the packets of colour were dispersed at once. The colours blended into a dense off-white fog that engulfed the mob. After that, there was just an occasional flurry of activity when someone would find a full packet that had been dropped in the scuffle and they would let it fly. I managed to capture one of these occurrences with fortuitous timing in this image.
Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM @ 128mm, 1/200 sec @ f/11, ISO 400




Posted March 28th, 2017

photo: Winter Hues
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Winter Hues

It has been a generally cold winter in the southern Yukon, though broken up by a few very mild spells. When a stretch of frigid weather began to moderate in early January, I was anxious to get out on my snowshoes and shoot some photos. Conditions didn’t look particularly auspicious for good photography but I wanted to do some testing with my Sigma 150-500mm lens, particularly at the long end of the zoom range, so I set out with that big lens mounted on the K-1. I was pleasantly surprised when the oblique rays of the mid-winter sun snuck under the low cloud to bathe this mountainside with their orangy glow, and the shaded foreground fulfilled the complement of warm and cool hues. Loving how the long lens brought the scene up close, I shot a couple of different compositions without moving it off the 500mm setting. I ended up stitching two images in Lightroom to produce this panorama.
Pentax K-1, Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM @ 500mm, f/7.1, ISO 800




Posted February 12th, 2017

photo: Winter Woods Waltz
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Winter Woods Waltz

This stand of aspen trees near my home is a favourite photographic subject of mine. It sits as a narrow band at the base of a grassy hillside, where I can shoot down at it with the dark spruce forest providing a contrasting, largely distraction free background. Perfect for the abstraction technique I used here, making a multiple exposure (10 exposures) while panning vertically. I photographed this last November, when the grasses still stood tall above an unseasonably shallow snow cover. The sun had set and the deepening dusk produced suitably even lighting and a black backdrop of the forest in deep shadow.
Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM @ 98mm, 1/25 sec @ f/5, ISO 3200




Posted January 15th, 2017

photo: Exposed from the Shadows
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Exposed from the Shadows

One last Feature Photo to finally put my prolific month of September 2016 into the rear view mirror. I captured this one closer to home, at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve just outside Whitehorse. This lynx was lying at the edge of its enclosure, hiding stealthily in the shadows under dense vegetation as is their nature, when the sun moved to a position where a beam shone through to spotlight the creature. I had to shoot through a chainlink fence and tried several positions before I found a clear path through the undergrowth. The cat commenced a low growl as I finished lining up the composition but it stayed put until I made my exposure and moved back to review the image. It then got up and slinked off into the interior of the large enclosure, so this was my only exposure, but I got the shot I wanted.
Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM @ 250mm, 1/500 sec @ f/4, ISO 200




Posted January 15th, 2017

photo: A Fish By the Tail
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A Fish By the Tail

Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM, 1/320 s @ f/6.3, ISO 1000



photo: You're in my Space
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“You’re in my Space!”

Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM, 1/250 s @ f/6.3, ISO 1000


The Chilkoot River is a very short waterway that drains from Chilkoot Lake into salt water at Lutak Inlet about 2 kms away. It is a rich salmon stream, so of course it attracts bears. That is a big concern for park rangers, with the campground located adjacently on the lake and the location heavily used by fishermen, tourists and Haines locals alike. This sow (top photo) with a pair of two year old cubs has been habituating the area for some time apparently. They clearly are very accustomed to the hordes of spectators that crowd disturbingly close to them and mama seems too preoccupied with fishing to pay much notice. But the cub in the lower photo reacted with a threatening glare when an overly daring videographer pushed his luck with a recklessly close approach. I shot this image as the videographer retreated. Somehow, I barely noticed that the bear had turned its gaze on me, perhaps because the menacing quality seemed to have left its expression. Though the separation felt very uncomfortably small, my distance from the bears still was enough that, with the 250mm reach of my lens, I had to crop these images heavily to frame them as you see here. The K-1’s high resolution and high pixel quality came through for me while my Sigma 150-500mm was off at the distributor for a mount replacement.




Posted January 15th, 2017

photo: Chilkoot Forest
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Chilkoot Forest

Trees grow tall and straight in the lush coastal forest. I aimed to represent that in this image I shot in the Chilkoot state park campground near Haines. Under the forest canopy on a dull, drizzly day, I did not need a neutral density filter to achieve a slow enough shutter speed to produce some vertical motion blur and create the somewhat impressionistic image that I wanted.
Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM @ 140mm, 1.3 sec @ f/11, ISO 100




Posted January 8th, 2017

photo: Reclaimed by the Forest
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Reclaimed by the Forest

Beached, broken and abandoned boats are common sights along the coastal coves. So is lush vegetation in this wet, temperate environment. This thriving thicket of saplings appears to be consuming the cracked and weathered hull that seems to have been left to rot and feed the new forest.
Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM @ 60mm, f/10




Posted January 8th, 2017

photo: Crags Over the Chilkat
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Crags Over the Chilkat

Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM @ 80mm, f/9



photo: Craggy Peaks
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Craggy Peaks

Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM @ 250mm, f/9


This is the view across the Chilkat River, just before entering the town of Haines, Alaska. Once again, unsettled weather enhanced the photographic appeal of the scene, though such conditions are quite typical of the coastal mountains. It was a gift that the layers and wisps of cloud worked into this composition as they did, but the alpine scenery was largely obscured for much of the rest of our visit to the area.




Posted January 8th, 2017

photo: Showers at Dezadeash
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Showers at Dezadeash

Dezadeash Lake is a bit further down the Haines Road from Kathleen Lake. At its south end we encountered the first of the unsettled weather that would come to dominate the rest of this trip. But unsettled weather can create beauty in a landscape and, in a case like this, be a photographer’s dream. I merged two images to create this panorama.
Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM @ 153mm, f/11




Posted January 8th, 2017

photo: Kathleen Waves
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Kathleen and the Waves

Kathleen Lake lies at the eastern edge of Kluane Park, south of the village of Haines Junction. It is not a particularly large body of water but whitecaps are a common sight on it. On windy days this is likely the most tempestuous place around, as katabatic winds descending from the ice fields to the west are funneled by the lay of the land onto the lake. On this day, it was blowing hard enough to make walking difficult. I shot this last mid-September near the start of a second trip I took with my visiting friends, this time just heading for a couple of days’ stay at Haines, Alaska, one of my favourite area destinations. Yes, it is January as I post it and I am anxious to move on to newer stuff, but I haven't quite finished working through all my photos from that prolific month of September.
Pentax K-1, Pentax HD D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR @ 63mm, 1/125 sec @ f/11




Posted December 30th, 2016

photo: Dawson City Welcome Sign
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Welcome to Dawson City

Yes, this “building” is in fact a road sign which welcomes visitors arriving at the boundary of Dawson City on the Klondike Highway. Well, this view actually shows the back side of the sign which tells those who are departing “Thanks for visiting Dawson City”.
Still getting accustomed to my new camera in early September, I had not noticed that the exposure mode I had selected for this shoot was set to record JPEG rather than RAW image files, which I always choose for their much better malleability in post-processing. This is especially important for nighttime images that typically require significant adjustment of very low level dark tones and are already compromised by high ISO settings. But these K-1 JPEGs held up better than I expected, even with substantial lightening of the building/sign to lift it out of the shadows. Mind you, the brightness of the aurora and the wide aperture of the lens led me to use ISO 800, which really is not very high for this camera.
Pentax K-1, Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 UMC, 4 sec @ f/1.6, ISO 800




Posted December 30th, 2016

photo: Dead Paddlewheeler
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Dead Paddlewheeler

Just downstream from Dawson City on the west bank of the Yukon River lies the “Paddlewheel Graveyard”. Here, the remains of several abandoned paddlewheelers decay amongst the trees that have overgrown the site. Most of them are shattered and rotted beyond recognition; some are marked by nothing more than scattered remnants of boards, almost completely reclaimed by the boggy ground. The one whose wheelhouse and stack are depicted in this silhouette is decidedly the most intact of the lot.
Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM @ 60mm, f/8




Posted December 24th, 2016

photo: Showgirls
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Showgirls

Pentax K-1, Pentax HD D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR @ 73mm, 1/60 s @ f/5.6, ISO 640



photo: Gold Rush Music
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Gold Rush Music

Pentax K-1, Pentax HD D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR @ 95mm, 1/60 s @ f/5.6, ISO 2000


Diamond Tooth Gerties gambling hall in Dawson City maintains the flavour of the Klondike Gold Rush era. Throughout the tourist season, they present thrice nightly vaudeville shows with music, dance and costumes hearkening back to that period.




Posted December 20th, 2016

photo: 3rd Ave Complex
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Dawson Dilapidated

Pentax K-1, Pentax HD D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR @ 34mm, 1/6 s @ f/8, ISO 1250



photo: Red Feather Saloon
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Dawson Reconstructed

Pentax K-1, Pentax HD D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR @ 28mm, 1/8 s @ f/8, ISO 1250


Dawson City’s heritage buildings that date back to the Klondike gold rush are protected under the guidance of Parks Canada. They include abandoned, broken down structures that have undergone no repairs other than stabilization, and others that have been restored to pristine condition. The 3rd Avenue Hotel Complex (top photo) is a popularly viewed example of the former. The builders of the time did not understand the issues associated with building on permafrost, and when interior heating melted the ice below, the foundations sunk unevenly. This resulted in the inconsistent tilting of the different sections of this structure. The ruins of the original Red Feather Saloon, on the other hand, were removed and the building was reconstructed from scratch, incorporating only some token original materials.
These images were photographed hand-held in twilight, benefiting from the Pentax K-1’s excellent in-body image stabilization.




Posted November 21st, 2016

photo: Inuksuit on Top of the World
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Inuksuit on Top of the World

The Taylor Highway turns into the Top of the World Highway and crosses from Alaska into the Yukon on its way to our destination of Dawson City. The Top of the World Highway derives its name from the fact that it follows high ground, with frequent expansive views on both sides of the road. Just inside the Canadian border, where the elevation is particularly high, we noticed a white encrustation on one side of the sparse, little trees, which we came to realize was a heavy coating of solid ice. The air was cold enough that apparently it was condensing out of the misty atmosphere, continuously supplied by a stiff wind. We pulled off at the top of the hill and came upon this field full of inuksuit. (I only recently learned that this is the proper pluralization of inukshuk.) I processed this image with the same digital dreamscape technique I described for the preceding Feature Photo, Autumn Renewal, but I applied it much more subtly in this case and masked it out almost completely in parts of the foreground inukshuk. I feel that the effect supports the mystical quality of the scene. The smoothing and blending of the colour imparts a warm and gentle impression to the scene, which perhaps belies the bitterly chilling conditions, though the ice on the rocks reveals that truth.
Pentax K-1, Pentax HD D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR @ 45mm, f/11, ISO 400




Posted November 21st, 2016

photo: Autumn Renewal
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Autumn Renewal

After traveling past Sheep Mountain with my visiting friends, we continued up the Alaska Highway into Alaska and then turned off onto the Taylor Highway. This region is forested with generally stunted and spindly spruce. Forest fires in recent years have charred vast areas. But deciduous vegetation soon thrives in the open and ash-fertilized burn zones. In early September, it treated us to a fresh, magnificent tapestry of colour, contrasted against the stark, blackened tree skeletons. No smoke at this time, but fog was widely dispersed the day we passed through here and that is what softened the background in this image. Otherwise, the image was softened by my post-processing technique, in which I combined the photo with a blurred copy of itself. Many long time photographers will recognize this as comparable to an old in-camera film technique known as “Orton Imaging”, or an alternate method that involves sandwiching transparencies. André Gallant calls the technique I used “digital dreamscapes”. It can also be done the old way using a digital camera that has multi-exposure capability, and I have had some success trying that too. The effect is not identical amongst the different approaches. The great advantage of the post-processing method is that it can be applied to any digital image after the fact. I was inspired to do it in this case to emphasize the glorious, uplifting wash of colour over the landscape that represents the new life, whilst minimizing the distraction of the haphazard clutter of the new growth and de-emphasizing the solemn starkness of the burnt trees.
Pentax K-1, Pentax HD D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR @ 73mm, f/11, ISO 400




Posted October 30th, 2016

photo: The Flock
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The Flock

I was surprised to see the Dall sheep down near the highway in early September at Sheep Mountain on the edge of Kluane Park. They usually spend the summer in rich feeding grounds on a plateau over the other side of the mountain, and only come down when winter sets in. But low water levels in Kluane Lake, due to a natural diversion of the Slims River which feeds the lake, apparently have exposed mineral licks that have drawn the sheep down. I believe the cross is a memorial to a worker who perished at this location during the original construction of the Alaska Highway.
I shot this image while traveling through the Yukon and Alaska with guests visiting me from Ontario. Hosting them contributed to an extra busy late summer and fall, which is my excuse for another long gap since the last time I posted to this site. But I took a large number of photos with my new camera during these travels and I plan to add a few more of them here in a flurry of more frequent Feature Photos over the coming weeks.
Pentax K-1, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM @ 170mm, 1/250 sec @ f/11, ISO 200




Posted August 4th, 2016

photo: White Pass Waterfall
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White Pass Waterfall

This photo shows just a part of the river’s long cascade down a mountainside near the White Pass summit. It was shot from the South Klondike Highway, on the Canadian side of the border with Alaska. The backlight from the evening sun produced blinding reflections off the water, in extreme contrast to the dark shadows under the trees and cliffs.That made exposure and post-processing quite tricky, but the scene was exhilarating to behold and I think I managed to capture a good part of its essence in this final image. It was late June when I made this exposure; lately I seem to have a hard time getting around to processing my photos and posting to this site.
Pentax K-5, Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM @ 150mm, 1/250 sec @ f/5.6




Posted May 29th, 2016

photo: Dance with Fire
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Landscape in a River

Here is a bonus second Feature Photo post on this date, to help fill in the over two months gap following my previous entry.

When our scheduled presenter for the May main meeting of the Whitehorse Photography Club had to cancel on short notice, members were notified to bring their camera equipment for an impromptu photo shoot instead. The Yukon River runs right behind the Whitehorse Public Library, our regular meeting venue, and photographic opportunities abound right there along the river’s edge. The evening light was superb. The low sun warmly lit up the trees and clay cliffs above the opposite bank. These reflected as a wash of colours in the turbulent water, producing this impressionistic image.
Pentax K-5, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, ISO 400




Posted May 29th, 2016

photo: Beauty and Grace
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Beauty and Grace ... and maybe Hormones

It has been a couple of busy months since I last posted anything on this site, but that does not mean I have not been shooting pictures. This one dates back to April 20th, when I headed out to Swan Haven on Marsh Lake to photograph the Trumpeter Swans while they were staging there on their annual spring migration. They have this ritual of periodically spreading and flapping their wings while rising high in the water. I have seen a number of explanations for this sort of behaviour, but in this case it is probably a mating display. It is beautiful to behold and the light that evening was wonderful for photography.
Pentax K-5, Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, 1/500 sec @ f/9.5, ISO 400




Posted March 20th, 2016

photo: Dance with Fire
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Dance with Fire

A long exposure dissolved this spinning fire dancer into a nebulous axle for the disk of fire trails she was tracing, as the rapt audience peered from the shadows. The fire dancing performance was a prelude to the featured fireworks display, held at the recent Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival.
Pentax K-5, Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II LD, 8.0 sec @ f/13, ISO 80




Posted February 21st, 2016

photo: Hoary Twig Tip
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Hoary Twig Tip

A companion to the preceding Feature Photo, this one was made using the same focus stacking technique, combining 8 hand-held exposures. The Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 standard zoom lens focuses close enough to provide this magnification of the small subject (actually it is slightly cropped). And shot at a wide aperture, it also is able to produce the smooth, unfocused background you see here, though that also necessitated the focus stacking to render the subject adequately sharp from front to back.
Pentax K-5, Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II LD @ f/4




Posted January 31st, 2016

photo: Tiny Frosty Landscape
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Tiny Frosty Landscape

The tiny remnants of last season’s plant life poke through a thin cover of snow atop a barren hillside, and all is coated with hoarfrost. The scale of this scene is miniature enough that my macro lens was mere inches from the subject while I lay on the snow photographing it. The depth of sharp focus is very thin in such close-up situations, especially with the lens set at the wide aperture I wanted to use to produce a pleasant background with circular out-of-focus highlights. The solution was to take multiple frames, varying the focus point to cover the range of focus I wanted to capture, and combine them by focus stacking in Photoshop. At this very close distance and without my tripod, the easiest way to change focus is not with the focus ring but rather by moving the camera relative to the subject. Starting with the closest parts of the subject in sharp focus, I slowly rocked forward, pivoting on my elbow which was supporting me on the ground, while shooting in continuous drive mode until I was confident I had covered the full range of sharpness I needed. Only bits of these shots were sharp, but 8 of them combined to produce the image you see above.
Pentax K-5, Sigma AF 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro @ f/3.5