One Moment in Time





Photography is all about capturing moments in time and preserving them. When your presented with that moment be prepared or loose it. Most photographers will admit, if they are honest, that they’ve missed far to many and will try to be better prepared at any time. Today that is made a lot easier with the advent of cell phones that have reasonably good cameras but these certainly don’t replace a DSLR for quality files but they’re easily accessible to make that capture.


This is one of those moments that came up very quickly and was over with in a couple of minutes.

Recently, on a student outing, we were at a lake location for a sunrise shoot. All the cameras were set up on tripods facing east and everyone was anxiously waiting for their moments to capture the aura of a new day. A steady wind was coming out of the west and as the wind picked up I turned and there was this amazing boiling cloud formation know as mammantus clouds coming over our heads. Alone these are an interesting cloud structure and poised on a broad scene they are very dramatic. Then I noticed all the birds scurrying about sensing an impending storm and higher up the gulls were souring in the air turbulence. I collected my camera in hand and I began to shoot the larger birds with the back drop of the clouds.


The birds were moving very quickly partly due to the winds but also gulls are generally quick fliers. I immediately thought of capturing them as a silhouette, at the altitude they were flying the details were not necessary so I made a setting selection. I always shoot manual so with the ambient light low and by increasing my shutter speed to keep the birds sharp I ended up with a setting of 1/180 to 1/500 sec, f 2.8 and the ISO was already set at 200 for the sunrise. I always check my in camera metering to make sure I don’t blow out any highlights, if there is any danger I shoot on the dark side and bring it back in Lightroom.

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In post production the decisions were almost immediate. There was very little colour so a conversion to B&W was obvious and it was the first step. I took the first image and tweaked it till the clouds were well defined yet the bird remained the darkest point which became the focal point. I saved this as an action and applied it to the 56 images as a base line. The clouds were really quite uniform in brightness so I could make a decision individually as to where a stronger highlight could be placed. The obvious choice would be around the gull but I chose not to be that obvious because in mother nature its more random. In stead I let each images cloud structure decide where the brightest point would be and the bird was secondary even though it was the focal point, bit unusual, but I believe it worked out well.



The last bit of artistic license was to convert them to a deep sepia tone which gives the images a more menacing and intense essence. To finish all the images were taken into FX pro and given a simple frame and a light glow with no blacks, to make sure there was no halo around the birds.  The glow gives the clouds a very nice soft look and deepens the background from the foreground, with a sharp bird detail, almost appearing 3D.

Natural Moments

Our Roll On Planet Earth

On planet Earth the human race is not a greater being, we are just one of the creatures that share this planet, unfortunately our intellectual egos get in the way of this understanding. Instead of intelligently and consciously managing the ecosystems we take the planet for granted. Sadly the earth is not considered sacred, we don’t truly believe its a place to honour and nurture. Humans look at it as a place with resources, something we own and have the rights to exploit, to create trade to show supremacy over one an other regardless of consequence, including conflicts among ourselves over false boarders or self proclaimed godly rights.

Our neglect is resulting in climate change which is altering the pattern of life on the planet, causing species extinction, forcing unnatural migration and behaviour changes. How many changes do you recognize in your own communities at home or at the cottage. How many plants, insects and animals are harder to find or have gone, and how many are new that have migrated in. A changing climate forces many plants and animals to migrate in order to survive.

Seagulls gather at first morning light.

Seagulls gather at first morning light.

To make matters worse, on land human settlements and infrastructure have already subdivided ecosystem habitats into isolated patches. One study looked at whether species can migrate quickly enough to survive in a rapidly changing climate or habitat. It found that Canada is likely to be one of the hardest hit because of its northern location, and that more than 45 per cent of Canada’s habitat could be lost by the end of this century, resulting in a 20 per cent loss of species in vulnerable ecosystems, such as the Arctic and boreal forests.

Research has shown that most plant species are only able to migrate at 1/10th of the speed required to keep up with human-induced environmental changes. We are not only influencing land surface conditions the research is showing that at current rates we will cause a near extinction of a great number of the wild fish species we are used to consuming within the next 40 years.

The resulting climate changes will make many of these ecosystems uninhabitable, here are a couple of specific issues:

* Canada’s increasingly dry Northern arboreal forests, stretching across the Canadian Shield, have seen burns escalate from one-million hectares to three-million in the last decade.
* Female caribou migrate in Spring to small pockets of vegetation where they feed and raise their new borne calves. But for the past decade, spring has come so early that by the time the caribou reach the coastal plain, their principal food plant has already gone to seed.
* A receding Arctic icecap and earlier-than-normal breakup of sea ice has affected polar bears, which depend on sea ice to hunt seals. Recent studies shows polar bears in some regions are down a third in body weight. The latest generation of seals have also been found to be much thinner than usual.

We are quick to condemn corporate mishaps such as oil spills and other news worthy chemical fires and contamination’s to a-point blame and shame but what have you done to change your demand for these products. If you are complacent and not proactive you are part of the problem that has helped to caused these issues. Do not be afraid of learning slowly, be afraid of not learning, effect change one by one and be a positive part of the future for our children and our children’s children. Play your part in the health of humanity and our planet.

As humans we have an intellect that can dream and dreams can effect creative evolution. We need to dream of how we can create a better place to harmonize with our earth and each other, but do we truly have the will to do it?

Thank you to Dr. David Suzuki for the work you do to enlighten our understanding of the world we live in.


Natural Moments

Thoughts on our relationship with wildlife.

Time is beginning to run out for me and my generation,
fall is coming and another year is coming to an end and what have we accomplished.

Nature is everywhere if your aware.

For me, my personal connection to the natural world has been through the lens of my camera, yet, I believe its our challenge to learn to live with nature and wildlife, to learn that we need to pass down our concerns for conservation.I feel its important to develop that person relationship with the land and its myriad of inhabitants, plants, animals, soils and water. Its only by learning to love the wild that we will want to save it.

I’m feeling more optimistic as each generation is becoming more aware, our children are beginning to understand developing that stronger personal responsibility for the natural world.

We need to make some room in our lives for the wildlife that we live with, if we could begin to share space and share the landscape, then, I feel we have greater hope for the future and that of the wildlife we live with.

In my relationship I share and try to understand nature through my photography, I feel I’ve gained and benefited the most, what is nature getting back from me, what can I give back, we get so much and we give so little back and we unfortunately take too much for granted.

I’ve come to realize that the survival of wildlife on our planet is not only going to be found in the parks and protected lands, its got to be found in the real world, where people and wildlife have to share the landscape. The fact that today we can still find wildlife, in spite of our impact on our land still gives me hope for the future.

Thank you to Jeff Turner who’s documentary on the finding the grizzly was the inspiration behind this natural moment.