Project 26

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What else could it be? Nature photography. I would hazard a guess that more people consider themselves nature photographers than would classify themselves as any other type of shooter. There’s an unending wealth of opportunities out there for those of us who love to take our cameras into nature in any of its many forms, flora, fauna, landscape vistas, skies, trees, ranges, etc etc. And it’s a constant learning opportunity for the photographer who needs to deal with ever-changing light sources as well as trying to capture that shot that will make people sit up and take notice. It’s extraordinarily difficult to produce something out of the camera that truly reflects the glory of what we’ve seen while out walking, or sailing or climbing, or even from inside our cars as we take yet another magnificent drive through whichever country we happen to be in.

I have to remember that this is a blog post and not an essay; I could ramble on for pages on where I’ve been , where I would love to have gone, where I still plan to go. I’ll keep it short and just add that yesterday I took a walk on the Hockley Valley Trail just north of Toronto. I hadn’t walked here previously, but set off at a reasonably early hour in order to try to get the best light I could. It’s a sacrifice that I was willing to make! At one point on the trail I came across a potential shot that I’ve had on my bucket list for ever – the sunbeam through the trees. As I shot and then moved around the light, more beams and angles came into play. I took a number of shots before I thought I had enough, and then took a few more just in case. When I walked back along the same part of the trail a couple of hours later the beams had completely disappeared. And that is why we go out in the early morning. And yes, I know, the sun is blown out. I said it was a bucket-list shot, not a perfect shot.

Hockley Sunbeam photography

Sunbeams photography

This shot is a more painterly photograph of the fall colours that are now beginning to appear in Southern Ontario. While Algonquin was at its peak this weekend, our neck of the woods is a little more sedate in its rate of change. I expect to head out over the next couple of weekends, weather permitting, but this one was taken at a pond on the Hockley Valley trail. The painterly style isn’t produced by camera movement or any Photoshop filter. It’s the photograph of the reflection of the trees in the water, flipped 180 and then cropped. Easy and real.

Reflections photography

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Meteors (or the lack of them)

On Friday night / Saturday morning it was expected that here in Canada we were going to be in prime position to see a spectacular meteor shower – the Camelopardalis shower. Now, a couple of weeks ago I was reading an article in a magazine about what settings to use for star photography, so I thought that never having taken star shots before, this would be the perfect opportunity to start. A few of us, including my niece Paula, got together at unearthly o’clock on Saturday morning and headed out for a great dark-sky spot near Caledon, Ontario.

The weather had been changeable on Friday and there were some residual clouds on the drive up, but the skies cleared just like the forecasters predicted and we had a great view of the sky filled with stars. More and more cars arrived at the site, waiting for the meteor shower to begin. And waited. And waited. It was a bust. Ok, we saw a few meteors, including a couple of spectacular ones, but overall it was a bit of a dud.

However, I did get my night shots, I did get to practice the technique and I did get to be out with my camera. It was still a pretty good night. This time I concentrated on single, relatively short images. Next time I’m thinking about the long exposure star-wheel shots and the Perseids.

The settings on the D7100 for the shots below varied slightly, but mainly were:

F4, ISO around 1600-2000, exposure 25-30 seconds. Manual focus at Infinity. On the bluer shots I dropped the White Balance down to around 2600K in post.

Sky02

Sky02

Sky02

Sky02

Still, any photography opportunity is a good opportunity. Next time.

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