Fall is Upon Us.

Plan for a Fall Harvest.

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We are very lucky to be living in the heart of Canada and specifically Manitoba. The diversity of photo opportunities here is amazing if you just look around you. I’ll bet if you talk to some of your photographic friends there are spots you’ve never heard of, share them and enjoy the bounty we have here.

Ian Tamblyn Concert Wpg., Feb 24 2012

The prairie harvest is one event that takes place all around us. I’ve seen some amazing images in fact there are photographers that dedicate their entire portfolios to farming. Fall is prime time so don’t miss out and maybe even take in a fall supper while your out and about.auto remote camera

I’ve enjoyed shooting the harvest for a number of years now and they’re not difficult to do. There are some things that you want to be aware of. When you see an opportunity don’t just jump in and start shooting, survey the area. Which direction is the wind coming from. Watch the patterns they are using to work the field and pick your spots, whats the back drop etc. Make sure you only bring out the gear your using the rest stays in the car away from the dust, trust me sometimes its a cloud. There’s a good side to this because the dust creates great sunsets or sunrises. Hey and wave to the farmers, they’re out there 12 or more hours mostly by themselves, so be neighborly, cautionary note sometimes they’re not so receptive.

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Enjoy the harvest and maybe have a great meal to boot.


I tried some thing new and reprocessed these images to show a soft silky sky. When shooting a very dusty field you’ll notice a haze and that’s what I wanted to replicate, most people will try to get rid of it with clarity or contrast adjustments but I say keep the dreamy hazy look.

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B&W September Challange

Cemetery Highlights

I’m a solitary kind of guy so I do most of my photographic work solo. Especially when I’m looking for some very moody images I don’t want to be thinking of other people or a time frame to finish by. I like to stop and spend time when visiting those chosen locations, I want to relax and really get a feel for them.

Back lit or rim light.

Back lit or rim light.

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Cemeteries are one of these locations I like to quietly meander through. I have to be in the right mood and that will usually strike me early evening or near sunset. I lean toward grounds that have an abundance of trees, they offer very interesting highlights and shadows, backgrounds or great silhouettes and vistas to look beyond. I also look for older cemeteries with the grand head stones topped with amazing sculptures or if your lucky you can find architectural limestone or marble crypt.

Looking to the sunset a distant vista of light through the trees.

Looking to the sunset creates a distant vista of light through the trees.

Its also important to note that stepping into a cemetery I have already converted my eye to thinking that I’m shooting with B&W film. Its a different mindset for me. I’m looking for more contrast and texture, more depth in shadows and highlights in a scene or subject.

Think outside the box and this may still sound a bit creepy, some will call this getting into the zone, but, as I wander about I listen to the sounds of the birds, trees rustling in the breeze, I watch the dancing dappled light filter through, I’ll become comfortable and a sense of calm will come over me, if the stars align my instincts will begin to guid me.

This is when the magic either happens or not, if not, I may not even take a shot and just walk. I may see the most amazing sculpture and try my best techniques to capture it but if it doesn’t want to pose for me then it won’t work. On the other hand you may find your drawn to a detail, for no apparent reason, one you’ve never had an interest in but suddenly its the most fascinating feature on the grounds, they speak to you and your excitement grows and you say why haven’t I shot this before. Is this divine intervention, I like to think so because I’m not in control I was brought here.

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I saw her from afar and  stay here for some time, "together forever".

I saw her from afar and stayed here for some time, “together forever”.

Have you had a moment when you felt someone watching you or out of the corner of your eye you see movement but don’t see anything. I treasure these sensations here and I’ll let them guide me and most often I’ll see something that is truly moving and capture an image that is compelling.

I may have walked by this marker many times and never seen.

I may have walked by this marker many times and never seen it till this day.

When I return to my studio I’m usually excited to down load the days shoot. In opening these image files I usually have a different sense of first impressions. One of my first processes is to do a general B&W conversion, I don’t know why but I feel that cemetery shots are best suited to a B&W conversion and I need to see all the files that way. I have my own B&W conversion formula that produces all my shots dark, its where I like to start. Out of the abyss I will select the highlights that I want to bring forward therefore the mood is instantaneous and more in tune to what I experienced.

Dappled light through trees.

Dappled light through the trees at Fraser’s Monument.

Alright so now you know that I’m totally crazy. I hope you find this set of images inspirational and when you next visit a cemetery say “hi” to the folks there for me.
Word of caution if your visiting a gated cemetery make sure you park outside and walk in, nothing like having your car on the wrong side of the gates when they close at sunset.

September B&W Photography Month

B&W September Challenge

Being that Sept. was designated as B&W photography month, and now with all my surgeries are behind me I’m starting to feel myself again. So, I thought I would have some fun and begin a post that would challenge everyone that wanted to build on their B&W portfolios.

I’m challenging myself to find as many different image genres in my archives to show you in B&W. I hope it inspires you to build on your own creative ideas and to help you develop your style and techniques in image capturing and processing. If your wanting to share an idea or related image here feel free.

B&W Movement

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One of my personal favourites in B&W is the movement of water in particular water falls. Most water movement expressed in B&W has a magical feel that is simply calming but liberating. When you see a well captured image it takes your breath away then it lulls your senses and feeling of calms prevail. Contrast is of major importance in these images, the back drop of rocks must be deep and dynamic showing strength and structure. The waters movement is the opposite it must be light demonstrating fleeting cascades of movement but should never be over exposed, details must be in the highlights. I like to find in these captures faint details of a rock or a splash or droplet juxtaposed to the main movement of the body of water. You will often find hidden rocks below thin vials of water along the edges, these are seen and appreciated in B&W renditions so pay attention to these fine details.

In processing B&W images never think that a simple third party filter set or global adjustment programs with sliders will suffice, they only create a starting point and you need to spend some time here with a brush, radial tool or point adjustment tool and begin to dodge & burn the details in. Having been a trained painter and pencil sketch artists I find the brush tools have given me the best results but recently I’m working more with a radial tool and creating some amazing results.  auto remote cameraauto remote camera

Remember don’t be in a hurry, spend time with your images and the results will be well worth the effort.