Santa Day Fireworks

Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Photoblog Intention, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Uncategorized, Winter

Midway through this December, Saturday afternoon, my daughter and I were in the Cab of my white 2000 GMC Sierra half-ton working our way through town and our list of errands. Not having read this week’s newspaper, The Echo, and without the town of High Level having a Twitter-feed we chanced upon the Santa Parade moving through mainstreet. Later, at supper, I learned about fireworks being among today’s events – at 6:00 p.m. the High Level Fire Department would begin a fireworks display. With all the night photography I’ve done, I hadn’t yet captured fireworks.  I found my blue folder of Night Photography notes from Darlene Hildebrand (Her View Photography http://www.herviewphotography.com/ ), skimmed them, briefly, put my Canon 60 D on top of my Manfrotto tripod, changed lenses to my Canon 15-80mm zoom and set the shutter release for a 2-second countdown.  The camera settings for the photographs I took are ISO 100, f-8 with an exposure of 13 seconds. I got to the fireworks site, aimed my camera into the sky toward an anticipated fireworks target area and made rough calculations for focusing to subject; using live view I adjusted composition area against where fireworks were bursting open and fell from; each of the 79 pictures taken are at a range of approximately 200-300 metres from the camera. Above, you’ll find some of the better exposures I snapped.

Refit & Refuel

Canon 50mm, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Gas Station, Photoblog Intention, Prime Lens, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Service Station, Vehicle, Winter

Shell Service Station - High Level, Alberta

I’m going to study this picture.  It does capture a sense of this being an outpost and a place to refit and refuel in night’s darkest hours. The intent, however, was to capture something iconic, a gas station lighting the night … it being more of a beacon for a point of rest before continuing on, more something you’d expect listening to John Mayer sing ‘Route 66’. High Level’s Shell Service Station is open 24/7 year-round and is midpoint between Edmonton, Alberta and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. In terms of the shot taken, it may be that the 50mm prime lens limits what can happen with plane of focus and composition; more movement on my part would be needed to find the right location and composition. Still, I like the crispness of most parts of the photograph.  I may try a few shots looking more straight across to the service station one of these nights.

Highway & Town

Canon 50mm, Canon 50mm Lens, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Photoblog Intention, Prime Lens, Project 365 - Photo-a-day

Highway 35 ... Going North

This evening I was working with a prime lens, a Canon 50mm f1.4 lens.  I’m getting a sense for the distance to subject it accommodates.  With my 60D’s sensor having a correction factor of 1.6, the 50mm lens behaves more like an 80mm lens; so, this evening I’ve been putting distance between me and my subjects.  In this shot, I’ve created some blur (light trail) with a 10 second exposure and the tail lights of a vehicle moving through the photo from left to right.  Working with live view is helping focus manually to different parts of the landscape; this is f-10 for five seconds … I’ve probably focused on the second lamp post to the right.

I also listened to episode 6 of Sid & Mac’s Shutter Time podcast, a discussion with Randy Pond regarding social media and its uses – good discussion of flickr, google +, facebook, tumblr, wordpress and how an upcoming photographer would use them.

Grain Elevator

Photoblog Intention, Project 365 - Photo-a-day

Viterra Grain Elevator - High Level, Alberta

The Viterra grain elevator in High Level, Alberta is the subject of this shot. Weather attracted me to this shot.  The day has been cold starting at -31C and warming to -17C this evening when this photograph was taken. The grain elevator shares railroad tracks with the local lumber mills and a sulphur car loading station. Steam blows from the mill from right to left (east to west) surrounding the grain elevator, blurring. In this shot I’ve used shallow depth of field (f-5.6) with an exposure of five seconds . The point of focus is the structure holding the light on top of the elevator; it is the clearest area of the photograph. Also, I’ve been using ‘live view’ on the Canon 60D as a means to find better, more crisp manual focus with regard to the subject. As I left the site, two deer crossed in front of me … perhaps having accessed grain spillage.

Winter Sunset

Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Winter

In my first steps exiting school the following sunset confronted me. Using my camera free-hand and with tripod I captured thirty-three images, one of which I present here. For most images a wide aperture of f-4.5 allowed for freezing of the image. A smaller aperture of f-22 tended to increase the blur of moving clouds as well as producing a star effect from the lens’ shutter leaves through 30 seconds of exposure. This image is the corner of our elementary school with swings in the foreground. A colourful night.

Sunset through Playground Swings

The Art of Bringing Your Mind Home

Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty

In his Greenbelt lecture – Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace – John O’Donohue hinted at the fragmentation of Life and Lives and that work is involved in making sense of one’s Life; he also hinted at the incredible beauty to be found in those who engage in Life-work, understanding and maintaining the integrity of their Life toward identity.

The mind is an old crow
Who knows only to gather dead twigs,
Then take them back to the vacancy
Between the branches of the parent tree
And entwine them around the emptiness
With silence and unfailing patience
Until what was fallen, withered and lost
Is now set to fill with dreams a nest.

(Excerpt  from  ‘Thought Work,’ a poem by John O’Donohue from his book Conamara Blues)

“This is the art of bringing your mind home, that if your mind was able to retrieve and re-weave all that is withered and forlorn and lost in your life then the integrity of your memory and identity of your life would be incredible [if not beautiful] (Divine Beauty – The Invisible Embrace, John O’Donohue, Greenbelt).

Cathedral Grove - Vancouver Island, British Columbia