Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Was Santa good to you this year?  Thus far, I've had a great Christmas.  I received a couple of great new photography tools (among a number of other wonderful gifts), and now I'm excited to get out and use them in the coming weeks!  I hope everyone has had the chance to spend the holidays with loved ones as I have.  Everyone have a gear new year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Black and White Photography

If you spend the time to go through my galleries at this stage you won't find many black and white photographs.  I'll be honest, I more often than not find that my photographs are much more pleasing when in colour than when they've been converted too black and white.  I'm starting to warm up to it a little more though, especially after taking this gem, from my Around Vancouver Gallery.

As it turns out, it also happens to be an HDR photograph, and I must admit, I think it looks fantastic.  (Of course I suppose I'm more than slightly biased)  So, I'm warming up to a more monochromatic world.  It looks even better as a print - it looks even better framed!  So, what do you think, are you a fan of black and white?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow hits Vancouver (part deux)...

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Vancouver's cold weather, and the snow.  Unfortunately the rain has returned.  A rain warning was in place today...  Yuk!

To me Vancouver is one of the most beautiful places in the world for one reason.  Every winter there are a few days when the cloud parts, and you can be on the coast, and see our gorgeous snow covered mountains as a backdrop behind the city.  In the recent snow fall I captured one of those moments at sunset.

I'm in the process of having this printed for myself now, and I'm very happy!  Check out my galleries to purchase your own copy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Always carry a camera!

For week's I've been trying to find some fog in Vancouver.  Every morning I'd wake up and look outside to see if it's rolled in.  For me, I just haven't had any luck!  This past week I was driving into town from UBC, and voila fog!

Now granted, it's not completely taking over the scene, but at least it is obscuring the other trees in the background.  The moral of the story?  If I didn't have a camera with me, I never would have captured the moment.  As soon as I looked at the field, I immediately pulled over and started taking some pictures.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cypress Mountain's Snow

Today I had the opportunity to go snow shoeing for a couple of hours on Cypress Mountain.  Some argue Cypress is the best "local" Vancouver mountain.  I'll be honest, I think that the views from the snow shoe trails on Grouse are way nicer, but also infinitely more expensive.  A bit of a trade off I suppose.  I managed to capture quite a few nice pictures on the trek.  Here is a picture of tonight's very ominous looking sunset from the mountain.  Where did our day of sunshine go?

Take a few moments to have a look at my local Vancouver Mountain (Seymour, Grouse & Cypress) Galleries.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow hits Vancouver..

Amazingly we have some not so mild weather, in fact we've actually had a little bit of snow.  As I write this, with the wind chill, it's due to be -17 tonight - Yes, -17 in down town Vancouver.  BrrRrrr!  I'm excited for the expected dumping of snow we're apparently due to receive this year, mostly because I won't be driving in it.

This past weekend I managed to get out, and shoot a number of pictures both Saturday, and Sunday.  My favorite type of weekend!  I explored parts of Mitchell Island, Kits Beach, and the South Dikes in Richmond.  Lets just say I'm glad I don't shoot film - lots of pictures!  The best part about that is I'll be editing, and uploading in the next couple of days.  One of my favorite captures from Richmond:

I love the sprinkle of snow, and the yellow flowers, but then I suppose I'm a little biased.  You can see the image in my Flowers, Trees and Plants gallery.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vancouver's Spanish Banks

A few weeks ago I went down to explore the Spanish Banks beaches.  I'll admit that for whatever reason, that particular vantage point of Vancouver isn't one of my favorites, however on that day I captured a couple moments that I really liked.  I love the pop of green from the seaweed on the rocks.

 I also uploaded another picture with the city in the background that you can find in my Around Vancouver Gallery that you can check out as well.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver

I've been trying to find a spot somewhere in the city to take pictures of some dramatic waves crashing down on the shoreline in a storm somewhere in Vancouver.  At this stage, I'm not really sure where my perfect location might be.  Lighthouse park maybe?  Ironically enough, I think Vancouver is so protected from the pacific that I don't see big waves very often...

On my quest for the perfect location, I did capture the below moment as the sunset a few weeks ago.  Now, where are my waves?!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vancouver's Pacific Spirit Park

The last few weekends I've been lugging my tripod and camera around Pacific Spirit Regional Park in West Vancouver.  Everyone knows where Stanley Park is, but seemingly even some Vancouverites don't know where this little jewel is.  Prior to it becoming a park the area was part of the UBC Endowment Lands, and many still refer to it as such.  Guess where it is now?

Here is one of my favorite pictures this has been uploaded to my Vancouver Galleries:
It's a great place to explore as throughout every season the park has something new to offer.  I encourage locals to check it out.  Remember to say hi!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Garibaldi Lake

This past August I hiked up to Garibaldi Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park.  I've seen other photographer's pictures of the lake online before and I've always wanted to visit myself.  The park itself is huge with multiple entrances to multiple different recreational areas.  To get to the parking lot for the lake and meadows hike, turn right off Hwy 99 just after you cross the Rubble Creek Bridge, 37 km north of Squamish or 19 km south of Whistler.  (Note:  The turnoff itself isn't well marked)  2.5 km later you'll find the (pay) parking lot.  Get there early if you actually want a spot!

This is my favorite picture I took from that day, it's a wide angle panoramic image.
It's a beautiful hike and it's well worth all the effort to go.  I'll admit my feet felt a little like they were about to fall off, but we did hike around 23 kilometers in a day.  Taking the Black Tusk Meadows loop adds to the hike, and I thought it was worth the extra pain to see the meadows.  I'm told the bugs can be bad during some points of the year - bring bug spray..

I've heard the Elfin Lakes hike is also gorgeous, that's on next year's list!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall is here, the gorgeous colours are coming..

Fall is a little bit bitter sweet in these parts.  Don't tell anyone but Vancouver doesn't become igloo country in the winter, however it does get cooler and the rain really starts to set in.  The positive is that as we move into fall, all the trees start to change colour so on those rare blue sky days, it's always time to head out with my camera.

I took this picture as part of a project I'm working on, I'll probably be posting more over the next few months.  The colour of the leaves are just starting to turn, I think it's beautiful..  To bad it's raining at the moment..  Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Team Photographer

This past weekend I had the pleasure of being a team photographer for the CIBC Run For The Cure that occurred in Vancouver on Oct 3rd.  It's truly amazing to see so many come out to an event and have such a show of support for a cause - what a great thing to be part of.  Congratulations to everyone that finished!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography

Something that I've struggled with over the last few years is when I should create a high dynamic range (HDR) photograph.  These special images are created by blending multiple images with different exposures into one new image.  (You can also cheat if you're taking pictures in RAW and just use one image.)  In doing so you end up with an image that appears a little closer to what our eyes see in the scene.

However, you can also end up with an image that doesn't look at all realistic as with this type of post processing you could end up with over saturated colours, and/or an unrealistic oddly evenly exposed image.  Some people hate them, and others love them, admittedly they've also been over done the last few years.  I've included a couple examples below.  In each case the HDR image is on the top.

I will admit that in my case I think I like both HDR images better.  Spirit Island is a gorgeous place, however being able to see into those shadows really helps in my opinion.  Similaraly, the colour and clouds in the Great Pyramid picture are also more pronounced in the HDR variety.

Which do you like better?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Upper Kananaskis Lake

Upper Kananaskis Lake is within Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, and part of a larger region called Kananaskis Country.  (If you aren't confused, you should be).  The area itself is between Calgary and Banff off of the #1 in Alberta.  I'm sure if you're a local, you know exactly where it is.  If you're not, and you use google maps to try and find it, you'll end up in exactly the wrong spot...  You want to hone in on the provincial park name to be successful.  Learned that the hard way!

One redeaming part of the drive was the heard of goats we encountered on the way up!

The area itself is beautiful, we did a great hike around the lake (I wish the weather was a little clearer), and I'm sure if I lived in Calgary, I'd spend lots of time in Kananaskis Country.  If you're in the area, and would like an alternative to Banff, check it out!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jasper National Park Photography

After visiting the Southwestern United States, it was time to take in some of Canada's national parks...  It was really interesting to see similar "styles" of rock formations in the Rockies - only with a huge abundance of green (and of course lots of water).  It was quite the contrast from the desert landscapes I'd seen weeks before.
The wildlife in the park this year was amazing.  Bears of all shapes and sizes were roaming all over the place, and all over the roads.  Of course the one issue with that is bear photography, and driving don't go very well together...

 The only down side to the whole visit (beyond the fact that the weather was dismal as we drove through Banff) was that their were ranging forest fires in British Columbia at the time, and as a result there was some haze during the day.  Thankfully the smoke wasn't completely set in, but you can still see it in a couple of my pictures. 
Regardless, I still thought Jasper was and is a stunningly beautiful place! I wish I lived closer.  If you're interested in seeing more, please check out my all of my Jasper National Park Photography.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Route 66 - The end of photography?

Well, not really.  But it was the end of our Southwest trip.

After spending a number of days traveling all over Utah, and Arizona (and a few thousand travel photography pictures later), we drove back to Vegas, on our way home.  I'd seen all sorts of references to Route 66, but had no idea how close we were.  After grabbing the map, I realized how close I was to the iconic Route.  We of course had to drive it!

The trip itself was a blast, while we didn't eat at the road kill cafe, I'm really happy we took that route.  Seeing the place, and the little stops along the highway way really takes you back in time.  I think it's sad more people don't drive it!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Photographing Mesa Arch

Many have seen the epic pictures that have been captured over the years at Mesa Arch, which lies within Canyonlands National Park.  (Even windows 7 shipped with a Mesa Arch desktop background picture.)  The whole Canyonlands National Park is a majestic place, and I think watching the sun appear beneath the arch is something that everyone should experience.  It’s also seemingly become a bit of a rite of passage for landscape photographers to make the trek and capture that gorgeous orange light.
Mesa Arch lies is about a 45 to 60 minute drive from Moab Utah in the Island in the Sky district of the park.  In our case that meant a 3:45 AM wake up to be on time for the roughly 6:00 AM sunrise experience.  My photographer's assistant wasn't a very happy hiker.  (In August 2010, the turn off to the park on SR-313 of the main highway wasn’t marked headed northbound on Route 191 - Google says this is about 15 miles on 191 from Moab).

We arrived at parking lot (left hand side of the park road) for the arch, and made the short hike down to the arch itself.  I had plenty of time to spare to get setup, and amazingly I was the first photographer.  Apparently I was one of a handful of people that were crazy enough to wake up so early..

As for shooting the arch, I used my widest lens for 99% of the pictures I took, and remember to stop down if you’d like a sun star (f22?).  For me, I was happy with the soft orange light which in my case lasted for twenty minutes to half an hour.  I’d also suggest looking for alternative angles.  I’m actually really happy with the picture below, because it’s an angle you don’t see as often as some others.
If you'd like to see more check out my pictures of Canyonlands National Park.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Southwest USA (Photography) Road Trip

In late June I had the opportunity to go to a conference in Vegas (Cisco Live - AKA - Hard Core Nerd Fest).  As soon as I heard where the conference was, I started looking into if there were any sites to be seen around Vegas to make a bit of a vacation of the experience.

Of course as it turns out, Las Vegas is a short drive away from some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen - An amazing array of national parks are contained within Utah.  Zion, Bryce Canyon (Yes - Bryce!), Capital Reef, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are absolutely amazing.

I took this picture about half way through the trip as I thought it perfectly summarized the whole experience - looking at all sorts of rocks.  You can check out the gallery of the adventure here.  (The conference was great too!).

Thursday, September 9, 2010


So, I must admit this feels odd - after many years of shunning technology like this, and making fun of blogs, here I am typing something into a box in what will become my first blog post.  Yes, I'm even making a "First Post" post...  What has the world come too?  The next thing you know I'll be on Facebook!

This site is going to become the place where I post various anecdotes of my (often daily) photography.  My travels, a little bit of what's going on with me, and probably some pictures that capture moments that won't appear on my photography site.  In the next couple days, I'll be making a few posts to catch up on things.  I'm also launching a new website with a new host - completely different look and feel.  As much as I used to love white for it's simplicity, I've found often my photography really stands out against darker colours.  So, welcome to my world!