1. Christmas Gifts from the Gallery
St. Saviour’s Church, Barkerville
© Chris Harris
|The New Look: Many of the old classics have been printed and framed with a delightful new look. The images are printed as a Giclée on archival photographic paper, mounted on archival gator board with a matt lamination, and framed with a dark charcoal moulding. They look beautiful.|
Remember, we have introduced Free shipping in Canada here at the Chris Harris Gallery. This applies to books and framed prints; and since we are now framing without glass, it’s stress-free.
There is a large selection of framed prints ready to go, including many classics such as Spirit in the Grass; Bluebunch Wheatgrass; St. Saviour’s Church; Forest Trail; and many more. Call us toll free at 1-800-946-6622 for more details. There is still plenty of time before Dec.24.
Fraser River and Gang Ranch Bridge
© Chris Harris
|Photographer’s notes: In this composition I used the line of the river to create two equally-sized triangles of grasslands landscape. The tree in the lower left, the clump of grasses in the lower right, and the bridge form an implied triangle in the centre. As the sky holds little interest, I made its rectangular shape fairly narrow. All together, we have an overall landscape image with a pleasing composition. Canon EOS-1Ds Mk.III, iso 200; f-16; 1/13 sec; 24-105mm lens; on a tripod.|
Wanting some new winter imagery for my Christmas Newsletter, my friend Mike and I set off in the early morning darkness toward Churn Creek Protected Area.
With snow-clad grassland images dancing in my head, I was actually a little disappointed when we found the grasslands surrounding the Fraser River looking almost like summer.
As a photographer, this is a lesson I have learned many times. Never be disappointed when expectations let you down, for when you really open your eyes and start seeing, there is unexpected beauty everywhere. After pulling over to the roadside to make an overview image of the landscape (above), Mike and I looked at each other and said "wow", look at the ice flowing down the river. Suddenly we were so excited. We jumped back in the truck and headed for the Gang Ranch bridge.
Ice Flows on the Fraser River
© Chris Harris
|Photographer’s notes: I only carry one filter these days and that is an 8-stop neutral density filter. This enables me to subtract between 1 & 8 stops of light which allows me to use a very slow shutter speed, even in bright daylight. I carry it specifically to make images like the two above. The small aperture of f-22 helped me acquire a large depth of field (especially needed for the image on the left) and the resulting slow shutter speed. One needs to experiment with different shutter speeds and decide which results you prefer most. To be honest, my fingers were so cold I didn’t do much experimenting!! Canon EOS-1Ds Mk.III, iso 100; f-22; 30 secs; 24-105mm lens; both images on a tripod.|
No need to worry about traffic here, (we saw one vehicle with two cowboys throughout the whole day!) so we went out onto the bridge and started photographing. I started by using fast shutter speeds while shooting straight down, capturing patterns of ice-flows as they floated downstream under the bridge.
Next, I switched to very slow shutter speeds to capture a sense of their motion. Above are two examples. An hour passed quickly. With frozen fingers, we got back in the truck and drove a short distance to where Churn Creek flowed into the Fraser. As you will see below, beauty surrounded us everywhere and there was no need to drive again.
© Chris Harris
|Photographer’s notes: Moving deliberately over the ever dangerous icy rocks, I chose a composition based on ‘flow’. Not only did I want to capture the flow of the river, I wanted the viewers eyes to ‘flow’ around the entire picture space. Look at this image carefully and examine how your eyes move through the image. My eyes move quickly up the creek into Churn Canyon, they slowly make their way back along both sides of the creek, while examining the rocks, defoliated trees, and hills. My eyes follow this route over and over, appreciating more and more details each time. The colour of the creek and the little pile of rocks at my feet also play an important role in this composition. Canon EOS-1Ds Mk.III, iso 100; f-22; 1/4 sec; 17-35mm lens; on a tripod.|
For the rest of the day Mike and I just walked and explored the water, the rocks, and the sand bars. We felt at home here. We have explored this area many times before, but today was different. It is always different, and we, as always, were excited.
Exploring pattern, line and texture
© Chris Harris
|Photographer’s notes: When shooting a person or animal, I usually prefer wide angle lenses rather than telephoto lenses. In this way I can reduce their size and give greater attention to context. Using a tripod is imperative in these situations. With a large depth of field (f-22) being my most important consideration, my shutter speed becomes too slow to hand-hold. You will also note that in both images above, my primary subject is in the immediate foreground close to my feet, the ripples in the sand (not Mike) and the small fish. (left) Canon EOS-1Ds Mk.III, iso 100; f-22; 1/13 sec; 17-35mm lens; on a tripod. (right) Canon EOS-1Ds Mk.III, iso 100; f-22; 1/5 sec; 24-10mm lens; on a tripod.|
From a photographic perspective, Mike and I enjoy our days quite differently. Mike carries a small Canon G-9 and feeling so unencumbered, he travels far greater distances than I do, ever searching for little photographic treasures.
I, on the other hand, carrying two camera bodies, several lenses, and a tripod, approach my shooting quite differently. One of the most exciting aspects of these two approaches is to later look at each other’s images and see how differently we each saw the landscape. During these times we laugh a lot, take verbal shots at each other, and most importantly, we learn a great deal from each other about seeing.
Massive Glaciers on the Lee Side of Huge Mountains?
© Chris Harris
Notes: The primary consideration in making this image was twofold. First was depth of field so that the entire picture space was sharp and in focus. Next was the examination of all the ripples before me. I searched to find a sense of balance and repetition in their arrangement. Canon EOS-1Ds Mk.III, iso 100; f-22; 1/4 sec; 24-105mm lens; on a tripod.
Everywhere I turned, the forces of nature were creating compositions of beauty. Here in the sand bar along the mighty Fraser River, dustings of snow gathered on the lee side of small sand ripples. It was easy to imagine how huge glaciers formed on the lee side of massive mountain ridges.
A Creation of the Fraser River
© Chris Harris
Photographer’s Notes: There is a lot going on within this picture space. The bottom half is made up of two triangles facing in opposite directions, and the top half of two roughly shaped rectangles. Within those shapes are numerous lines and smaller shapes. After walking up and down the river bank and zooming in and out with my zoom lens, I chose this compositional arrangement. Canon EOS-1Ds Mk.III, iso 100; f-22; 1/4 sec; 24-105mm lens; on a tripod.
We were heading toward the truck about to leave when something caught my eye. "Just one more shot" I yelled over to Mike, as I ran over the bank and set up my tripod.
The Fraser has followed this path for thousands of years and has carved out that beautiful cliff in the background. Its water level also rises and falls with each season, creating the amazingly beautiful rippled pattern in the foreground. Snow flakes and rain drops keep this whole process going year after year, millennia after millennia. The Fraser River, set amidst the world’s most pristine temperate grasslands, is a favourite place to enjoy the wonders of nature and to photograph. Each time it is different and equally beautiful.
Frost Flakes at Sunrise
© Chris Harris
|Photographer’s Notes: As soon as the sun came over the horizon, the cold blue/grey frost crystals took on a warm, golden hue. As the light changed I just kept shooting, mesmerized by the beauty of each individual crystal. Canon EOS-1Ds Mk.III, iso 200; f-11; 1/15 sec; 100mm macro lens; on a tripod.|
It’s below freezing here in the Cariboo, and the lakes are frozen. We just need a little more snow, not only for Santa’s sleigh, but so we can get out on the x-country ski trails!
We all had a wonderful and productive 2011. Rita put a lot of energy in community-building this year; participating in the creation of a regional food hub and development of our localized agricultural economy. That work will continue and carry on for some time to reach its goals. Our daughter, Teresa, ran the Gallery, kept the business afloat, and us organized. This allowed me the freedom to work with my co-author and friend Sage Birchwater, flying with numerous pilots, photographing for our new and upcoming aerial book Flyover: British Columbia’s Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. When I wasn’t in the air, I was out photographing in the mountains with my friend Mike.
Over the winter a team of us will be working on the new book, which we are all very excited about. If Santa is good to you, maybe you will find a copy under the Christmas tree by this time next year!
Thank you for being a Newsletter subscriber and for sharing in the search for beauty in this wonderful Cariboo-Chilcotin region of Planet Earth. Your emails, thoughts, ideas, and supportive comments have been greatly appreciated.
To all, wherever you may live, we wish you health, friendship and peace. Merry Christmas and a happy holiday.
Chris, Rita, and Teresa
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