Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumnal Days

It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. ~P.D. James
Autumn's light was perfect for this shot. Summer's temperature made it easy; no chilly fingers to contend with.

I shot at f/7.1 with a shutter speed of 1/60. 1/60 is about as slow as I would opt to hand-hold my camera. Any slower and the risk of camera shake increases.

The path brings our eye into the picture and guides us through it, without allowing us to leave the scene. Once we reach the top of the image, the yellow leaves welcome us and then the evergreen brings us back down to the foreground brush. And then we begin again on the path...

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Though at times they are thought of as flying rodents, I maintain that these geese are beautiful in appearance and community. I love how they gather each autumn to journey together.

Sometimes we cannot get the crop of the photo we want in camera. There is no shame in going in with the scissors in processing! Both of these images were much better presented once their ratio was changed. Knowing this is available to me, I shoot with the crop in mind and finish the composition on my computer.

Both images were shot at the same settings. I used f/5.6 with a shutter speed of 1/200. ISO? You guessed it...100.


Sometimes, choosing black and white to show texture and contrast is more effective than using colour. Here, the contrast between the solids in the geese and the texture in the grasses allows the geese to stand out a little more.

I shot at a focal length of 70, f/5.6 adn shutter speed of f/5.6. The speed was fast enough to stop some of the birds' movement yet allowed the wings to blur. Being able to show both makes this motion composition more interesting. We can almost feel the wind their wings create.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Indian Summer

These next few days are supposed to be very warm and sunny. I guess this might be our Indian Summer. I'll take it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Old School

I shot this image at f/2.8 with a speed of 1/60 using my 24-70 mm lens. Getting close and eye level brought an interesting perspective and allowed for the focus to be drawn to the uneven edges and beautifully aged paper of this vintage book.
I decreased the saturation in Lightroom and also added a layer in Photoshop to soften the lighting.

But Is It Random?

What if life is not as random and happenstance as it sometimes seems?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Last Bits of Summer

The sunflowers have been pulled from the garden. This bloom escaped the garbage bag to sun itself a little longer. After taking her picture, I left her to warm for at least another day. The last bits of summer remain and I cannot bag them up and put them on the curb. Not all of the bits. Not just yet.
The warmth of today made it easier to lie on the grass and take this shot. Getting low, face to face with the bloom, I shot with my 60 mm macro lens. The bright sunny day meant I had to use a faster shutter speed or smaller aperture. I wanted a shallow depth of field for this image, so I chose to use f/2.8 which also meant a shutter speed of 1/800 so it would not be overexposed. If you've been following my blog, you've come to assume that I chose to use ISO 100...and you are right.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Beholding Beauty

Just before I was about to cross the Louise Bridge this morning I made a quick decision to pull into the parking lot for the boat launch by the river.

The leaves are starting to change colour and drop...the skies are a deep grey today. It is the last day of summer and it feels like autumn is already here. I'm giving summer her due and am posting today's picture in sepia tones. We'll keep autumn in the waiting room for another day.

I used my 24-70 mm lens for this shot. With a speed of 1/200 and aperture of f/5.6 I kept the ISO at my predictable 100.

Choosing to shoot from a lower perspective resulted in an interesting composition. The trees seem taller and more bold. Or...I feel awe of what I am beholding.

Pulling the colour allows for this scene's subject to be something other than autumn. If the strong yellows and oranges remained, fall would dominate, rather than the scale of the trees in relation to me.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Quiet Place

Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.
Mark 6:31
One of the best tips for autumn photography that I've ever received is from a friend who takes pictures as a hobby. He takes amazing pictures; his eye for composition is exceptional.

This friend said that for the oranges and reds to really pop you need to have some green in the picture. We need to see, by contrast, just how orange or red or yellow the leaves really are. I think we also like to see the difference between what was and now is. Some leaves that have not yet surrendered to autumn help to tell this piece of the story.

So when you are out and about taking pictures of autumn, find patches of green and include them in your shots. You won't be sorry.

Beauty from Brokenness

This morning I chose to wander with my camera instead of going for a power-walk. As it turns out, it was just as good for my heart...maybe even better.

On my hikes and walks, I much prefer to bring a lighter lens. I used my 60 mm macro lens for this shot. I chose an aperture of f/4.5 with a shutter speed of 1/100. Once on my computer I brought this into Photoshop and applied a texture layer, one in a Driftwood series I particularly like. After application, I erased some texture from the petals using an opacity of 50%.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Prairie Diamonds

How beautiful, these prairie diamonds! Soon to disappear, like riches can and do, these glistening gems of frosted wheat were to be enjoyed in the present, not hoarded nor wasted, but enjoyed...and shared.

Positioning myself and lens so the sun was shining just right on on the subject with the right amount of glisten and silhouette, I began to shoot. My shutter speed was 1/640 with an aperture of f/9. As is my habit, I used ISO 100. This was no problem with such bright conditions.

I softened the image by adding a gentle texture layer over top in Photoshop.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Time Before

Hungry for Colour

I am hungry to take pictures and hungry to see the world around me before much of its colour gets buried beneath a blanket of snow. September's colours are deeper and darker than many of spring's or summer's. They take on a warmer hue as the temperature cools. Funny how that works.
My garden's produce is mostly cleaned out. The sunflowers remain as do a few tomatoes that cling to the shrivelled vine.

This flower caught my eye because of its fiery tones and also because of some movement. If you look closely you'll see a bug just off center. I'm not sure what kind of bug this is. Perhaps it is not one that I should leave to its own intent with my garden but the season is all but finished.

I kept my ISO at 100 which I mostly try to do and shot at a speed of 1/160 with an aperture of f/2.8. I used my 60 mm macro lens. This really has become my favourite lens. I reach for it more often than not.

Once on my computer I added a "driftwood" texture layer in Photoshop and that was about it. The colours were autumn's - no need to enhance or deepen.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Homestead in History

Aged, tired and beautifully rich with stories and life, I am sure, but quiet enough for us to remember our own.
I love to add textures and layers over-top of images of old structures, like homes and barns. Playing with the colour and feel of each image is so rewarding once the right mix appears before my eyes. I know it is right when what I see marries with what I feel and it becomes one.

I shot this at a speed of 1/500 and an aperture of f/10. The speed was necessary as I was in a moving vehicle when shooting. The depth of field afforded with f/10 was adequate to the image.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Weathered Wonder

Pressing on and through, these blooms move past the barrier of fatigue to see and touch the world around them. Even in this, especially in this, they inspire.
When composing this shot, I chose to place the focal flower off to the side, not centered. This makes for a more interesting shot. Using the two blooms in the background as echoes, gradually more distant and blurred, points by way of repetition to the subject.

I played with the colour in Lightroom until I found a bit of a metallic grey accent that went well with the worn iron fencing that the bloom found its way through.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Sometimes when I feel off-kilter my images will show it. Though there is a strong structure in this shot, the ground feels like it is shifting, moving.

The moon's presence reminds me that though things seem chaotic, busy, crazy even, there is Someone much bigger who hasn't lost control, who is not off-kilter no matter what.

When I can see that by training my eye to look for it, then I can begin to see beauty in scenes like this while in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.
I took this image in a moving vehicle, which is why the foreground shows blur and movement. Making sure to focus on the poles and wires while essentially panning my camera by way of movement in my vehicle, I was able to keep the rest of the scene in acceptable focus.

I shot at a faster speed of 1/500 and used a greater depth of field at f/11.

Once on my computer, it is obvious that I played with layers in processing, adding texture and a little chaos to the feeling of this shot. This also deepened the colours and brought out the moon.

Branching Out in Black and White

Monday, September 10, 2012


Today was the perfect day for a photo shoot along Waterfront Drive in Winnipeg. Before I got started with that shoot, I wandered by the river and took a few images for myself. Autumn is definitely on its way as shown by the carpet of leaves that crunched beneath my feet. I do not feel so ready for the cooler weather but on a beautifully warm day such as today, Autumn's arrival isn't so daunting.

I love to use echo in my images. What I mean by that is the repeating of a pattern. In these images, the strong dark lines of the bench legs are repeated in the trees around them and in the lower picture, the light standard as well. The domed inverted 'V' on the bench in the top image is also repeated in the domed inverted 'V' in the branches of the trees. The circular legs on the bottom bench are echoed in the round lights on the standard and, more subtly, in the forming of a circle or half-circle by the light standard and tree branch.

Patterns bring comfort. I think our minds automatically search for patterns and familiarity in images and also in life.

Summer Stacked...

...and ready to be stowed.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pocket of Summer

It didn't feel like summer today as we found our way through the cold wind at the Farmer's Market. I did find a little pocket of summer that I just had to bring home. I feel a little warmer just looking at this.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Which Way is Up?

To inspire creativity, to think outside the box...grab a mirror (one with no frame works best) and your camera and head outside. See what you see...and play! The use of reflection in our images reaches beyond what we know to more.

I used my 60 mm prime lens and focused on the bunch of grapes, allowing reality and reflection to blur as distance from the grapes increased. I leaned up close to the fence and shot downward. The grapes were resting on a mirror tile butted up close to the base of the fence.

In processing I turned this image into black and white. I felt the colour distracted from the textures and lines.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunflower in Black and White

Though Autumn's colours are beautiful, her textures are often better captured in black and white photography. I've said this before and as the weather turns, I'm saying it again. I have this image in colour and black and white, both, but much prefer it sans colour. The etchings and lines show much better without the distraction of the deep orange hue.

If you haven't shot Autumn in black and white, I encourage you to give it a go.

I used my 60 mm macro lens for this shot. I chose f/2.8 and a shutter speed of 1/100. It was a beautifully overcast sky - just the right lighting that was none-too-harsh. Once I converted this into black and white the textures popped immediately.

I can hear the crunch of the leaves underfoot...

Like a Whisper in My Ear

I can almost feel this.