Friday, August 31, 2012

The Sun Sets While the Moon Rises

We moved our daughter last night. I shared with a friend that the anticipation of this event was harder than the reality. When finished unloading the totes and boxes into her suite, we said our goodbyes. Before we drove away we watched as she walked down the path, like she was walking out of one chapter and into this new chapter of her life. And it was okay.

Life is like that. Things have to end before new ones begin, and sometimes they end and begin at the same time. As we drove back to the city, we saw the moon rise on one side of us as the sun set on the other, at the same time. This change is much like that. The sun is setting on my daughter's childhood, living with mom and dad, dependent, at the same time that light rises on her future.

 I shot this image at a speed of 1/100 while my aperture was set at f/10. My ISO was at my preferred setting of 100. I chose a greater depth of field for this landscape shot because I wanted as much as of this scene as possible to be in focus. I could do this because the light I was shooting into was so bright, even though it was setting. Composing this shot was fun. With every foot or even inch I moved, the picture changed while the sun set a little lower. I chose to have the sun just off center for interest's sake, flanked by the tree and the park bench. Making sure not to split the image in half I opted for more sky instead of foreground, as that really was more important for the shot.

I could not use the same depth of field for this shot as I did for the sunset. There was not nearly the same amount of light as the sun was pretty well finished with the day though it still hung over the horizon a touch (on the other side of the road from this scene). I opened the aperture much wider to f/4.5 and used a speed of 1/100. For the moon shots I bumped up my ISO to 400 to help keep the exposure at an acceptable level for the subject.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer's Light is Still On

Though only a few days left in August, summer continues by way of weather and calendar both. I am very aware that soon we'll turn the page on the calendar and fall will quickly advance. Talking with some friends, I understand I am not alone in finding challenges transitioning to autumn. To be sure, there is beauty in fall's canvas, winter's and spring's too for that matter, and I will enjoy their beauty when it comes. But for this heat-loving gal, there is a greater sadness in this season's departure than any other.

For today, summer's light is still on.

In shorts and flip flops,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Getting Some Air

I shot this image using f/5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/50. That's about the slowest I'd hold my camera with this lens before reaching for my tripod.

For me, this picture needed a bit of processing beyond what I would normally do when converting an image from RAW. I brought it into Lightroom and played until the saturation and contrast were what I wanted. I developed my own preset awhile ago which I used and changed it up a bit with a few tweaks. Then I exported to Photoshop to add a texture layer over top, further aging the image while warming up the colours a touch.

Creativity begins long before the shutter is clicked and long after the image is uploaded to the computer. Don't stop short.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Winnipeg BBQ & Blues

We took in Winnipeg's first ever BBQ and Blues festival yesterday. We bought the day pass and were not sorry we did. Amazing talent, amazing food and amazing atmosphere! 

Tim Butler

Driving Wheel
Driving Wheel
The Kathy Kennedy Blues Band

The Kathy Kennedy Blues Band

Eddie Shaw Jr
Eddie Shaw

Jimmie Vaughan

For more pics of the event check out my facebook album Winnipeg BBQ & Blues Festival.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Autumn's Shade

The strong lines of the tree trunk and branches echo those in the window frames on this building in Chicago. The yellow umbrella of leaves are a beautiful contrast to the dark browns and blacks in this autumn scene.

Once in Lightroom, I increased the contrast and saturation until the image popped with autumn.

The hints of teal in the windows compliment the orange tones beautifully without distracting from the main subject focus.

The Great Adventure

Landscape Shooting

East Braintree, Manitoba
For this kind of landscape shot, it is important to have a significant depth of field. Having an overall clarity to the entire scene is key. The detail in the old wood on the bridge, the frost on the grasses beyond, the dirt road leading to the treed area in the background are important, each one.

Because of this, I chose to use an aperture of f/20. This required a slower shutter speed to allow as much light in as possible. Because I didn't have my tripod handy, I used 1/50, a reasonable speed for a hand-held camera.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More From Chicago

Currently I have some work in a show just north of Chicago. My heart is there even if I cannot be. I've been going through my archives from my visit there one year ago and finding some gems that I had forgotten about as well as some mediocre images and of course, the duds.

The city, though large and bustling is also quaint. How it can be both, I am not really sure but it seems to me that it is.

Autumn's Rest

Summer is Sad Today

Taken through my screened window with my macro lens, I used f/2.8 and a shutter speed of 1/25. Admittedly, this shot is on the blurry side but I decided against re-shooting. Who sees clearly through tears?

Going against my protocol of using ISO 100, I bumped this up to 500 because of the low light on this rainy day - and because I did not want to haul out my tripod.

My shooting is definitely impacted by the sunshine, or lack of sunshine. Still moved to show you what I see on grey days, I find the results are touched by lower energy yet still true to what is.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Curtain Came Down

Here is another example showing how black and white photography is great for showcasing definition and contrast, such as in a scene like this. The storm clouds were less threatening in colour than in the black and white shown here. The reality (and intensity) of the clouds' anger was best displayed void of colour.

Bumping up the contrast a little more was all that was needed to effectively show you how the storm descended on the fields. The curtain came down and brought with it the night.

I shot at f/6.3 with a shutter speed of 1/200. I kept my ISO at 100, my preferred setting for almost all conditions. My focal length was 70 mm.

Docked - Composition and Processing

For a photographer, engaging viewers is an important piece of composition. To draw the viewer's eye in and through this picture, I used the lines of the railings as an entry point, then moved up the dock, followed the lines of the sailboats' masts up and back down to greet the boats and back into the picture again. This flow allows me to keep the viewer engaged, assuming they are interested in the subject matter to begin with.

I wanted to give this image a nostalgic feel to it. To accomplish this, I decreased the saturation and clarity in Lightroom which resulted in a softer image, almost like a painting.

Reflections Ripple

Reflections do ripple; they are not always so clear.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Grassi Lakes, Alberta

Safety in Numbers

Though none too sure about my presence, not one of these wee ones was willing to leave the safety of being together.
The sun shone so beautifully on this cute little huddle. It was difficult to improve on that but I was after something a little softer. Taking the image into photoshop I used a soft light layer over top and also removed most of the colour in processing. The result was a gentler scene that better showed the tender vulnerability of these young ones.

I shot at f/2.8 with a shutter speed of 1/400.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


The definition of juxtaposition is to place side by side for comparison or contrast. Here, the clouds and the tree are placed near one another for exactly this reason. We immediately compare the two. Are they alike? Or different?
Including just the two subject matters with only negative space to separate them moves our minds to find a way to make them fit. So how do they fit? By shape or contrast? Perhaps the answer is yes.

I decided to take this image into photoshop to add a layer of colour and texture over-top. As a result the contrast in the "colour" of the subject matter (black vs white) is accentuated but so is the comparison of form. Interestingly, the colour of the cloud, or non-colour, is echoed in the lights of the tree, encouraging our mind to again compare and see how they fit alongside each other and together.

I used f/5 and a shutter speed of 1/1250.

We long to make things fit and if they do not, we tend to find a way to exclude. Rather than looking deeper for similarities or including the differences, if it takes too much work, we might just give up.

Images such as this can challenge my default thinking patterns.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Our Little Italy

We spent the evening wandering Corydon Avenue. This is Winnipeg's "Little Italy" complete with patio restaurants, gelato and live music. The atmosphere is celebratory; summer plays on every corner.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rural Storage

Wind's Sigh

To catch the spirit of the prairies one must include wheat and wind.
Finding a new perspective when shooting can make a big difference in the outcome. Getting low to the ground and shooting the subject of the wheat upward gives a sense of shelter and security.

Shelter and security are both strong characteristics found in homesteading on the prairies; we see the wind but are not fearful.


Silently she slips below the glassy surface. She is home.
The use of negative space can be powerful in an image. It can inform and create mystery, both. Here, the expanse of water and relative void of colour add to the silence heard in the whale's descent home. We understand that her home is greater in size than we see and we're also left wondering what home is like for her.

Thursday, August 9, 2012



Nothing urges me to be present in these summer days like the first signs that fall is on its way. Geese seem to be more prevalent, already gathering before they bid summer goodbye. Leaves are just starting to change colour, though only a few. And then there are the sunflowers; they symbolize the changing of the seasons for me, from summer to autumn.
I used my 60 mm prime lens to capture this bee on the sunflower. I shot at a speed of 1/200 with an f stop of f/2.8, keeping my ISO at 100.

The sunflower is so very familiar that we need only to see part of it to know what it is. Composing the shot to keep the focus at the point of the bee's presence is effective.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Autumn's Canvas

Winnipeg's skies and fields are painted by Autumn.
I shot at f/5 and 1/640 with a focal length of 190. Once in Lightroom I used a preset but then increased contrast in the buildings and changed the hue of the golds from there.

Presets can be a great starting point. When I use them I'll continue to play and tweak until the image looks as it does in my mind.

Moonlit Pass

This shot was taken near Oakville, Manitoba. It was a beautiful late autumn day. Many leaves had already found their way to the ground. The grasses were dry and the fields were mostly stubble.

Though pleased with the initial colours and tones in the daytime capture, changing this up in Lightroom also changed the entire mood of the image. Adding a moonlit preset brought a mystery to this scene that wasn't there initially.

Stories are woven. Imaginations soar. We play and explore.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


The tree and leftover crop seem to be on fire on this autumn evening. The heavy bank of clouds lifted enough for the sun to paint the field with gold before it set for the night.
Keeping my ISO at 100, as I normally try to do if at all possible, I shot at a speed of 1/1250 and an f stop of f/2.8. The reason for the speed was I was in a moving vehicle at time of capture. Had that not been the case, I would have tried for a greater depth of field with an f stop of around f/11 or thereabouts. Having said that, the point of focus was the tree and it didn't really matter if the rest of the image was not as clear.

Urban Shooting

Just an ordinary day on an ordinary street yet still so interesting to me. I am finding that although I love to take pictures of anything and everything, I am leaning more towards the urban shoot as being my favourite kind of shoot.
Composing the shot to capture the character of the scene, or what I interpret to be its character, is what I try to do. Bringing the image into Lightroom to bump up the contrast and intensify some of the colours enhances the old brick work and architecture we see here, further showing the scene's character.

Using f/6.3 and a shutter speed of 1/400 seemed adequate to capture enough detail for this composition.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Double Up

I shot at f/6.3 and 1/400 with a focal length of 52. I deepened the yellow in the building's brick-work in processing and changed up the hue of the blue just a touch. Increasing the contrast drew attention to the strong lines of the architecture and also to the shading differences from window to window.

Artist's Calm

I snapped some shots of my sister's workspace while waiting to take some head-shots for her work as an artist. I loved this little area in her studio and couldn't resist shooting.

It invites me into her process of expressing to the world what she sees.
I shot at a speed of 1/60 with f/2.8 using only natural light. I bumped my ISO to 200.

After importing into Lightroom to do some initial processing of the RAW image, I added a layer in Photoshop. I used a canvas look with weathered edges that seemed to enhance what was already there.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Finding the Exception

When on an urban shoot, I am delighted when I come across the exception to the rule. Here in the midst of high-rises and old brick walk-ups was this beach-type building. I can picture it on the sand overlooking the sea instead of flanked by a back-lane and street, both filled with neighbouring businesses.

The exception is often what makes an image interesting. What is different about your subject? Does it stand out?

When out and about, take a look around and find the exception and begin to shoot (pictures, that is). The result might surprise you.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Black and White Storm

Often, black and white photography can be the best way to show contrast. Originally in colour, the storm clouds in this image lost much of their definition and drama that were present in reality. No matter what I did to increase the contrast, it did not show as it had on the evening of the storm...until I pulled the colour. Immediately, I could hear the wind whip up the trees and I could feel the heavy skies reach down over and around me.

I used a shutter speed of 1/80. Though not fast enough to freeze all the movement in the trees, it was exactly the right speed to show the increased wind pockets. Some areas of the trees, the motion was stopped but other areas, where the wind was crazy fast, there is blur.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Turtle Island

Though happy with the original capture (shot at 1/80 and f/10) I thought I'd bring this island picture into photoshop and see what I could do.  I added a few layers, multiplying the effects and flattening the final result. The textures and golden overlays really seemed to turn this into a springboard for the imagination.

Our minds step onto the island and wander through the trees, perhaps cautiously. What do you see?

Three of a Kind

Taking pictures with a theme in mind can make for an easy grouping of artwork. Here I shot a bunch of pictures in a retro diner with thoughts of a series. Once on my computer I enhanced each image with identical treatments so they would blend even better together.

The simplicity found in the colours of the diner were easy to work with and easier to bring together.