Newsletter #117: April, 2015
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
1. A Photo Field Trip: join me on a visual adventure
2. The Story Behind my Blog: this month’s winners and losers
3. 2015 Seminars & Workshops: Registration
In this Newsletter I want to take you on an field trip, and to the virtual world for a look at the sometimes predictable and always interesting happenings on my blog and Facebook sites.
Workshop registration; there are still a few spaces in all the seminar and workshops, including the May 9th One Day Seminar. Please contact us to register, and share this information with anyone interested.
Thank you all for your continued support. Please enjoy my 117th consecutive monthly Newsletter!!
1. A Photo Field Trip: join me on a visual adventure
I needed fresh air and exercise, but most of all, I needed to play with my camera. Besides staying adept with my dials, it’s vital to remain visually astute. My ‘photographic eyes’ need constant practice, like playing the piano.
Seeing that the weather was going to be miserable, I called my friend Mike Duffy to go to the grasslands. As expected, “you bet; see you at 6 a.m” was the answer.
We, turned left at the traffic light in Williams Lake, heading west on Highway 20 to Farwell Canyon. As always, we commented on the last traffic light leaving town; the next one is in Tokyo, Japan!
Driving to Farwell Canyon:
Mike and I have made dozens of day trips to Farwell Canyon over the years. You’d think there would be nothing new to photograph, yet every time we are excited to be going there.
It is always different; never the same. We often joke about it; ‘what could possibly be different this time’, we ask. Well, this time the budding aspen trees were dusted with snow. We were pumped!
Notes on composition & technique: Using the road as a lead-in line, I used the rows of trees and different tonal values to provide a sense of overall balance.EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; Aperture priority @ f-16; 24-105mm lens; tripod
When I saw the above aspen grove, I pulled over and parked. “This is where we start”, I said to Mike. I made this overall representational composition to show you our subject.
Notes on composition & technique: When looking through my viewfinder I am aware of the two rectangular shapes; 1/3rd mostly white, 2/3rds coloured leaves. The placement of the rock is also a key ingredient. EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; Aperture priority @ f-22; 24-105mm lens; tripod
I made this image to take you one step closer to my subject of interest. Now, the question becomes, where do I go from here?
aspen trees; abstract I
Notes on composition & technique: by using a slow shutter speed I used up and down camera movement to create an artistic abstraction of the different tonal and colour values; bright values across the bottom, mid-grey tones across the middle, and the band of yellow/green values across the top. The width of each of those horizontal shapes was critical in the composition; also challenging to capture in those proportions.EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; 1/10sec @ f-22; 24-105mm lens; handheld
Thinking more as a painter might (as I often do), I wanted to ‘paint’ these trees in several abstract ways; ways to express the delicacy and mood of a snow clad forest in spring. I used several techniques to do this. Here are 4 versions.
aspen trees; abstract II
Notes on composition & technique: To add more texture to the abstraction I used a multiple exposure of 9 images with some camera movement.EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; 1/80sec @ f-8; 24-105mm lens; handheld
aspen trees; abstract III
Notes on composition & technique: once again, multiple exposure of 9 with different camera movement.EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; 1/60sec @ f-8; 24-105mm lens; handheld
aspen trees; abstract IV
Notes on composition & technique: shooting in a different part of the forest, I once again used a multiple exposure of 9 with camera movement.EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; 1/60sec @ f-8; 24-105mm lens; handheld
As you can see, the creative techniques and various outcomes are endless, just as they would be if you were using various paint brushes and paints.
We drove a little further toward Farwell Canyon:
Further down the dirt road, I saw a different aspen copse. The light was fairly dramatic, so I said to Mike, “lets hike toward that copse and see what we see”. We parked, and off we set. It wasn’t long before the texture of snow clad grass made me stop. The dark cloud added drama.
Notes on composition & technique: I aimed my lens upwards and downwards. Downwards was the composition of choice.EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; aperture priority @ f-22; 24-105mm lens; tripod
Meadowlark under dramatic sky
Notes on composition & technique: The story was about the meadowlark, however, the sky was much more dramatic than the grassland. I pointed my lens upward.EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; aperture priority @ f-9; 24-105mm lens; tripod
All morning long, Mike and I were serenaded by the quintessential grassland calls of the meadowlark. It was a delightful experience. When I saw the bird and the dramatic sky, I immediately made this image before the meadowlark flew off.
capturing the light
|Notes on composition & technique: I first saw the young leaves being backlit by exquisite light; then I saw the three triangular shapes. I rotated my camera slightly anti-clockwise to exaggerate the triangle of snow in the lower left. It played better against the triangle of the trees.
EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; aperture priority @ f-22; 24-105mm lens; tripod
Driving further, we descended into Farwell Canyon:
By dropping down over 300 m into the warmer canyon, we left the snow behind. Seeing a small area I had never walked before, I said to Mike, “let’s go there”. We did, and we saw a very familiar landscape from a new and fresh perspective.
Notes on composition & technique: I felt I found an overall sense of balance by using the lines of the road and the river to guide peoples eye throughout the picture space. I was happy with my composition.EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; aperture priority @ f-22; 24-105mm lens; tripod
grasslands and canyon wall
Notes on composition & technique: With moving clouds, I waited until the grass was in light and most of the cliffs were in shadow. This increased contrast and drama.EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; aperture priority @ f-22; 24-105mm lens; tripod
grasslands, canyon wall and beyond
Notes on composition & technique: By changing my perspective slightly from the previous image, and including the valley beyond, I was able to provide a broader context to the canyon grasslands and a greater sense of depth.EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; aperture priority @ f-22; 24-105mm lens; tripod
adding drama by simplifying the composition
Notes on composition & technique: By compressing distance with a telephoto lens, I was able to simplify the composition and accentuate form (three main shapes).EOS 50D; iso 400; aperture priority @ f-16; 100-400mm lens; tripod
To add drama to the landscape, I brought out my telephoto lens to compress distance. This brought the canyon walls closer to the grass, making for a more impressive background.
shadow, light, and hoodoos
Notes on composition & technique: The contrast, the colours, and the verticality of the trees and rows of hoodoos attracted me to making this image. I just waited until the dancing light gave me the shadows I wanted. EOS 5D Mark III; iso 100; aperture priority @ f-13; 24-105mm lens; tripod
In the early afternoon, we stopped to have lunch before returning home. I thought my shooting was over, but the play of light was too enticing for me to ignore. One more photograph, I said to myself. This was it, my last photograph of the morning.
It was another amazing morning of photography in Farwell Canyon; such diversity within a 5 hour shoot.
It was another example of why I love the grasslands, and why they have become a large part of my ‘sense of home’ here in the Cariboo Chilcotin.
2. The Story Behind my Blog: this month’s ‘winners’ and ‘losers’
About a month ago I started blogging once again, posting an image a day (when I am home) along with a quote or a thought for the day. The response has been overwhelming and my subscribership made a giant leap upwards.
I also advise people on facebook when I have posted to my blog. I am always interested in numbers of people reached, and what the responses are.
The number of people ‘reached’ is governed by facebook algorithms. So one post may reach 100 people, and the next one over 1,000. ‘Likes’ of course are related to those reached.
However, just out of interest, I want to share this month’s blog images that were the biggest ‘winners’ and others that were not.
Mountain bluebird – the winner!
1,044 people reached; 88 likes
It was interesting that the bluebird was viewed by 3 times the number of people compared to the equally beautiful bird, the Western meadowlark. Who knows why!
322 people reached; 45 likes
Sagebrush buttercup – my biggest surprise
466 people reached; 55 likes
This was my biggest surprise because I have learned over time that flowers usually get very low numbers of people ‘reached’. It was encouraging to see that so many people enjoyed this beautiful early spring flower.
Shipyard propeller – the big ‘loser’!
134 people reached; 7 likes
I had no idea what to expect with this image, as it is an unusual subject. I thought possibly that it’s artistic design might attract a following. Not so!
Lava flow – my favourite image!
332 people reached; 12 likes
This image was one of my favourite images of the month. When in the mountains I seek the land that speaks to me most deeply. If I listen closely, the image I make, will affirm who I am.
Walking over this beautiful volcanic landform was a powerful experience for me, so I am emotionally attached to it. I would have ‘liked’ it!
So there you have it; the latest in photographic appreciation according to facebook!
3. 2015 Seminars & Workshops: Registration
workshop in action
If you are interested in photography, becoming a more creative photographer, learning to see with photographic eyes, and experiencing the world around you differently, please review my seminar and workshop options, then choose one that is designed for you.
They are designed for all those interested in photography, from beginner to advanced intermediate.
Through illustrated lectures, in the field experiences, and critique sessions, you will leap into the world of creative photography.
To register your camera club or group of friends for a “Customized Seminar” at the Gallery, or to have Chris travel to your location to give this seminar, please contact the office directly by email or phone and Rita will arrange your event with you.