Feature Photos 2007 - 2008

I created some of my favourite images in 2008 when my creativity was fueled by the acquisition of a Pentax K10D, my first DSLR camera. That followed a few years of just shooting with a compact digital model, albeit that the Konica Minolta Dimage A2 provided great control and flexibility by the standards of that category.

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 Note: The pages for these oldest of my Feature Photos have not been rebuilt with all the added functionality and modern coding of the newer ones. That means you will have to click on each individual photo on this page that you want to see in its full sized splendour as there is no navigation in the enlarged view. I hope to get around to remedying this in the future.

   Posted December 23rd, 2008


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Christmas Greetings, 2008

This is the image that graces the front of my annual Christmas card that I sent to close friends and family members this year. It is another HDR creation which I produced from 4 different exposures of the scene, covering a range from -1.5 ev to +3 ev. It comes out of the same photographic session as my December 15th Feature Photo and is another view overlooking the valley near my home. I am blessed to live here!
I want to wish everyone the best of the holiday season and a New Year that blesses you and yours with health, happiness and satisfaction with your lot in life. Throughout the world, may peace and love prevail and prosperity return in 2009.
Pentax K10D, Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD IF Macro @ 48mm

   Posted December 15th, 2008


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Carcross Valley Winter Afternoon

One week last month when hoarfrost gilded the landscape and imparted a magnificent glow under the low winter sun, I photographed many compositions with multiple, widely bracketed exposures, intending to later merge exposures into HDR (high dynamic range) images. This is the product of one of those efforts. It was created from four exposures bracketed at 1.5 stop intervals. That allowed colour and detail to be brought out of the bright sky surrounding the sun, even while the forest is exposed satisfactorily.
Pentax K10D, Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD IF Macro @ 23mm

   Posted November 10th, 2008


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The title says it all, this is November in the Yukon!
Pentax K10D, Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD IF Macro @ 180mm, f/11

   Posted October 21st, 2008


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Winter Again

Winter comes early to this part of the country and, as of October 17th, it looks like it has settled in again for the next six months. The snow and cold temperatures held off a week or two longer than I often have seen at my home and that gave me more time to lay in plenty of firewood and otherwise prepare well for the long, cold months ahead. Meanwhile, my camera sat idle for a few weeks while all my energy went into the heavy autumn chores. With the arrival of the snow, when some people would be putting their cameras away, I am shooting ... and Photoshopping ... again. This close-up scene had more depth than could be captured sharply in a single exposure so I made separate exposures focused on the rosehip and on the foreground plants respectively, then combined them in Photoshop.
Pentax K10D, Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD IF Macro @ 155mm, f/16

   Posted October 5th, 2008


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Autumn Aspen Gold Mine

The aspen leaf miner is a minute larva that has affected the region’s aspen trees profoundly in recent years. It tunnels through the cells of the leaf surface creating tight, wavy patterns and giving the leaf a dull, silvery appearance which makes the trees appear quite sickly. But after the chlorophyll had retreated, I was attracted by the more delicate translucence and added patterns of colour in the fallen leaves so I went to work with my macro lens at close focus. It was only when I later examined the images on the computer at 100% magnification that I saw the surface texture of the leaf, beyond the acuity of the naked eye but resolved by my lens. This gave me new direction and the image here is an extreme crop of the original to offer something close to that 100% view in a web image. (Click on the image for the enlarged view that best shows the texture on your monitor plus a view of the uncropped original image.) It is a tribute to the Sigma 70mm macro lens that the image quality holds up so well at the pixel level.
Pentax K10D, Sigma AF 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro @ f/13

   Posted September 9th, 2008

Spiraling into Autumn_sm02

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Spiraling into Autumn

Autumn comes early to the Yukon. The first tinges of red and yellow appeared in the ground cover around the middle of August and now we are fully into it, with the aspens and willows rapidly transforming from green to gold. This image was shot with the lens pointed straight up at the treetops in an aspen grove. As I pressed the shutter release, I rotated the camera while zooming inward from the Tamron’s 18mm wide angle setting. The blurring softened contrast and created an impression of fog, but it was actually a bright afternoon and a neutral density filter was required to allow a slow enough shutter speed to achieve the effect. A note to users of the Tamron 18-250 zoom: shooting wide-angle with two stacked (low profile) filters is a no-no and severe vignetting required use of Photoshop’s clone tool in two corners to salvage this photo.
Pentax K10D, Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD IF Macro with ND8 filter + Polarizer, 1/4 s @ f/22

   Posted August 29th, 2008


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Mount Lorne in Infrared + Colour

I have been experimenting with a Hoya R72 infrared filter on my lenses this summer. My biases lean strongly towards colour photography and none of my monochrome conversions of infrared images have inspired me much, but a week of very rainy weather has seen me trying other things with them in Photoshop. Here, I have blended the colour from a regular RGB exposure into a b&w version taken with the infrared filter. The hues and saturation did not translate well to the different tonality of the infrared image and insipid pastels seemed inappropriate for the hazeless clarity that infrared renders, so the colours have been heavily tweaked. The K10D strongly attenuates the infrared spectrum so exposure times with the filter are long, 30 seconds in this case, and motion in the clouds is evident. Cloud movement complicated blending of the images and necessitated more manipulation. The final result thus is remote from the original component images. Such attempts to remanufacture reality tend to be dicey and I can’t decide whether I love or hate this creation. For better or worse, I put it out here for your reaction.
Pentax K10D, Kiron 105mm f/2.8 Macro @ f/9.5, 30s with Hoya R72 / 1/250s unfiltered

   Posted August 19th, 2008

Floral Goblet

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Floral Goblet

Another petunia close-up. This one collected some rainwater, which also created a pattern of redistributed pollen, adding interest to the center of the flower. Sunshine fell obliquely on the petals, highlighting their structure as well as producing a bit of sparkle.
Pentax K10D, Kiron 105mm f/2.8 Macro @ f/16

   Posted August 12th, 2008

Petunia: a Bee's-eye View

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Petunia: A Bee’s-eye View

Usually I am more inclined to photograph wildflowers, but when friends recently left their petunia baskets with me to tend while they were away on vacation, eventually I was drawn to explore these showy blossoms through my macro lenses. I almost missed the opportunity while waiting for calm enough weather. That would have been a shame because ultimately this subject  provided me with a couple of very satisfying and productive photo sessions.
Pentax K10D, Sigma AF 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro @ f/19

   Posted July 27th, 2008

Windy Summer

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Windy Summer

Windy, cold, damp and dreary! The evening I shot this photo offered a rare bit of sunshine but I fumbled with numb fingers and impending hypothermia as I worked the scene. The frequent rainfall and low temperatures have produced a profuse, persistent display of wildflowers but the incessant wind has limited my ability to photograph them as they are in constant motion. For this image, I wanted to work with the conditions and try to capture a sense of the wind by intentionally letting the flowers and grasses and trees blur, so I used a neutral density filter to extend exposures to as long as 1.5 seconds. I made 5 exposures at about 1-stop intervals to cover the brightness range from the brilliant sky surrounding the sun to darker foreground elements. In Photoshop, I merged these into a 32-bit HDR (high dynamic range) composite and then remapped the tones to compress the range for the final 8-bit JPEG that I can show here.
Note: The motion effects in this expansive wide-angle photo show best in enlarged view. Click on the image.
Pentax K10D, Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD IF Macro @18mm, f/13, Hoya Pro 1 ND8 filter

   Posted July 9th, 2008

Lupine Glade

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Lupine Glade

The lupines put on an especially luxuriant display this year and our cool, damp June prolonged their blooms for almost a full month, though a couple of warm days last week finished them off shortly after I exposed for this image. I wanted to create an impressionistic portrayal of the rich growth that would also blur out the distraction of forest litter. I made a series of focused and unfocused exposures to blend in Photoshop as well as an in-camera double exposure. Ultimately, I liked the double exposure best except I wanted more definition and "solidity" in the tree trunks so I blended that in from some of the other images.
Pentax K10D, Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

   Posted June 29th, 2008

Yukon June Full

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Yukon June Full Moon

This image was made at about the darkest point of the night, which was perhaps not quite as dark as it appears in this exposure, depending upon the brightness calibration of your monitor. With the sun not far below the northern horizon, the full moon skims just above the southern horizon and it was visible only for about half an hour before it set behind the mountains
Pentax K10D, Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD IF Macro @250mm, 4 sec, f/9.5, ISO 100

   Posted June 9th, 2008

When its June in the Yukon

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When it’s June in the Yukon

It has been a while since my last post and I know I promised a warmer weather theme for the next feature photo. Well, ... maybe next time. In all my years here, I have never before seen a snowfall like this in June. It caps off a late and generally miserable spring but, to be fair, it hasn’t all been bad and we even had a week of summery heat in the mid-20’s C, as evidenced by the fact that the lupines are blooming. My garden is prepared and seeded, though fortunately I had not begun transplanting the starter plants that are crowding their containers in my sunroom. Now the spring rush of urgent outdoor work is slackening and I hope to resume more photography with a bit less time between posts again, although I’m also somewhat preoccupied with setting up a new notebook computer (Dell XPS M1330).
Pentax K10D, Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD IF Macro

     Posted May 11th, 2008

Life in a Frozen

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Life in a Frozen Puddle

It seems rather late in the season to still be posting pictures of ice but a late spring has kept it relevant, though it was a bit more so a week ago when I started preparing this post. I got delayed while working out some site refinements, including the ability to view a larger, higher quality version of this image, tailored to your screen resolution. (See the post in the What Else is New section.) My next feature photo should have a warmer weather theme (I hope!).
Pentax K10D, Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro @ f/16

     Posted April 27th, 2008

Ghosts in a Frozen Puddle

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Ghosts in a Frozen Puddle
I love getting really close to a good subject with a macro lens. From a normal human viewpoint this was a boring, ugly puddle, but at this scale, details and textures we normally don’t see with the naked eye are revealed while identifiable objects and features are largely excluded. This gives free reign to the imagination and such a photograph can be like a Rorschach inkblot. This is a sort of image I can stare at for hours and keep discovering new things in it. Because it takes time to fully evaluate such abstract imagery and shooting extreme close-ups can be difficult and physically awkward and uncomfortable, typically I find the image I want within my original shot only while viewing it later and I crop out extraneous content for my final composition. I photographed this at near 1:1 macro and cropped fairly heavily, effecting further magnification.
Pentax K10D, Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro @ f/8

     Posted April 13th, 2008

Emergence 2008

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Emergence ‘08
The spring melt is underway! The scenery is blah at this time of year but getting really close with a macro lens reveals a magical micro landscape where last year’s plant life is released from the crystalline, shrinking remains of the snow that has preserved it in all its delicate forms. I am enjoying the flexibility my new SLR provides for this sort of photography, including the shallow depth-of-field I chose for this photo. It will be hard to access subjects for the next couple of weeks, though, as there are now too many bare patches on the trails for snowshoeing but still too much soft, deep snow for walking. This part of the season always frustrates me.
Pentax K10D, Kiron 105mm f/2.8 Macro @ f/2.8

     Posted March 31st, 2008

Pussy Willow

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A Sign of Spring
Our weather has not been particularly warm for late March so there has been little melting of the snow and things still look quite wintery. Hence, when I came across these bursting pussy willows I guess it had an impact on my psyche and I feel compelled to share them as a feature photo.
Focussed close at full 1:1 macro, there was insufficient depth of field even at a small aperture to capture the entire pussy in sharp focus and very small apertures produced enough definition in out-of-focus background elements to create a busy, distracting background. Thus, I created this image by combining three separate exposures using “photomerge” in Photoshop and masking the layers to show the part I wanted from each. Two exposures taken at f/19 with slightly different focus provided sharpness in the outline and in the closer central area of the pussy while another shot at f/11 contributed the soft background.
Pentax K10D, Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

     Posted March 15th, 2008

Dancing Stumps

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Dancing Stumps
A snowshoeing neighbour down the road recently broke a trail connecting to my network of snowshoe trails, giving me easy access to an area further down in the valley where I seldom explore. It is mostly swampy ground with scrubby brush and no scenic vistas, but it adds some welcome new subject matter to the too familiar surroundings along my usual circuit. In this area there are many heavily weathered stumps that appear to be remnants of an ancient forest fire, including these ones which piqued my imagination with their arrangement.
Pentax K10D, Tamron 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD IF @ 35mm, f/11; image inverted horizontally

Click on any thumbnail below to view a larger image and description:

March 1st, 2008

Moonrise over Mount Lorne
Moonrise over Mount Lorne

February 18th, 2008

Gathering Clouds over the Mountains
Gathering Clouds over the Mountains

January 27th, 2008

Mid-Winter Shades of Grey
Midwinter Shades of Grey

January 16th, 2008

Resolution: Energy Audit
Resolution: Energy Audit

December 31st, 2007

Texture of a December Day_thm
Texture of a December Day

December 2nd, 2007

August Reeds
August Reeds