2018-08-18: Smoky Skies

Like last year, Northern BC has been hit hard with wildfires.  It’s actually pretty scary looking at the wildfire maps, as it looks like most of the province is currently on fire.  Thankfully, there is currently no danger in our immediate vicinity, other than extremely poor air quality from the substantial amount of smoke that has settled in the region, and the airborne ash that lately has been coating my car every night.

Yesterday morning started out normal enough for the past few weeks, a bit smoky but nothing too terrible.  But then as the morning wore on, it got darker rather than brighter, and at 9:10am it looked like we were in the midst of some type of solar eclipse event.  I went outside to try and capture a few images; it was extremely smoky, cold like it would be in the middle of the night, and all the photo sensitive lights had come on.  It was spooky quiet as all the birds had dropped to complete silence.

By 10am the darkness had passed but it remained incredibly smoky throughout the day.

I was in the middle of work so I didn’t have the opportunity to drive anywhere more interesting to take pictures; this is a view down my driveway to the road… not that you can really even see the driveway in the image.  It was just the sky I was focused on.

This shot was taken on my Fuji camera with the 18-55 lens, shot at f2.8, ISO 2000 and 1/60 sec.  I created the merged panorama in On1 Photo Raw, and for efficiency edited it in On1 (back to the Luminar processing tomorrow).  The merged panorama was a bit of a challenge because the images were so dark.  I had to up the exposure slider on all the individual images, and then reverse that on the panorama.  My camera is basically always set to auto white balance, and I changed it in editing to daylight, and that got the sky to be true to life.

Just to give some perspective, sunrise this week is around 5:55am.

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A merged panorama of 5 images shot at 9:18am yesterday morning.  A single shot definitely captured the spookiness of the colour of the sky, but having the panorama really shows the variation in different areas of the sky.

 

All of us here are praying for the safety of all the incredibly brave people working to put these fires out, and hoping that some favourable weather will be heading their way soon.

 

2018-05-20: Painterly Effects Project – Namibia

I was inspired this week to explore images from Namibia with my painterly effects project for the month.  In the brief time I have spent there, I have found it to be a magical place. The light is beautiful and the landscapes are at times surreal.  From the air, the vast open spaces seem lifeless, but on the ground, it is a completely different story.

I hope you enjoy my selections for the week.

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A group of oryx walking in front of one of the impressive dunes in Sossusvlei.
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A lone elephant moves through the desert, looking to catch up to her herd that had already reached the river.
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Sunset over the desert in Hoanib.
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A group of flamingos in flight over the Skeleton Coast.
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The land of vast deserts sometimes surprises with lush greenery.  This lion was lounging in the cool grass with the rest of his pride nearby.
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Large groups of seals awaited us when we visited the Skeleton Coast from Hoanib Camp.  Inland it was a clear, blue sky day, but on the coast, fog and mist obscured the view.
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A group of lions, newly evicted from their pride, roaming through Etosha National Park.
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In Damaraland, you can easily feel like you are the only people for miles around.

 

2018-04-30: Monochrome Monday

The sun over the Boteti River.  Each time I have been to Botswana, I have found the sky there completely mesmerizing.  This past trip was no exception.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead – happy Monday 🙂

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Leroo La Tau Camp, May 2017.

2018-04-29: Kenya Highlights Video

I’ve had a great time over the past 10 days reviewing all of my video clips from my time in Kenya and putting together some highlights as the last instalment of my wide angles only project.  With the exception of the lion cub video clip, which was shot on a Panasonic FX1000, all clips were done on the Gopro, and I edited and built the video using the free Gopro studio software.

 

If you missed the video from Uganda, you can find that here.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.  It’s time for me to ponder what my topic will be for May.

 

2018-04-28: WPC Lines

The photo challenge topic for the week is lines (not the kind you were stuck writing in school if you were misbehaving in class…) 🙂

Here are a few images that I found that I feel have a strong linear element to them.  I hope you enjoy.

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A game trail through the desert leads up a hill and around a bend.  Don’t you find yourself wondering what might be just beyond the line of sight?  Namibia, April 2017.
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Jagged hills zigzagging into the distance in this aerial shot above the Damaraland region of Namibia.  April, 2017.
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Game trails through the desert again, but this time leading us to a lioness heading towards the river for a drink.  Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, April 2017.
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A road through the Nxai Pan leading to the Baines Baobabs.  The image is deceiving, as the tree trunks are as wide as a vehicle.  Botswana, May 2017.
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I took this image of the sky while on a sundowner drinks stop; I was drawn to the way the setting sun was illuminating the linear clouds.  South Africa, May 2017.

WPC: Lines

2018-04-22: Wide Angles Project

My wide angles only project took a bit of an unexpected detour this week, into video editing.  I took loads of GoPro stills and video during my 2016 trip to Uganda and Kenya, and never did anything with them.  I think I edited one, possibly two GoPro still images.   Since the GoPro is by design a very wide angle camera, I thought going through my archives to find some still shots might be fun, but it turned out that compiling a video was more compelling.

I’ve created a short video that follows my journey through Uganda; from Kihihi to Bwindi, onto Ishasha, the Kazinga Channel, the Kyambura Gorge, Kibale Forest and then ending in Entebbe.  The still image for the post and the video of the Batwa tribe were shot with my Nikon camera, but the balance was all with the GoPro, generally on a head mount or out the window of a vehicle.  Video is not something I’ve ever spent much time on, but it does provide a good feel for what the areas, and a little glimpse into what the gorilla and chimp treks are like.  Pardon the shakiness at times and awkward head bobbing; when I was with the gorillas I was taking stills with my Nikon while wearing the GoPro on a head mount.

I hope you enjoy this week’s project. I’ll be going through my Kenya videos for next week.

Wishing you all a fantastic week ahead.

 

 

 

 

2018-04-08: Wide Angles Only – Cottonwood Park

It’s only the second instalment of my wide angles only topic for the month, and I was honestly ready to bail on it already.  The days when it was nice this week, I was knee deep in work and couldn’t sneak off with my camera.  Then the weekend arrived with the promise of more free time to get out and explore, and for the most part, dull, grey skies have been the order of the days.  Add to that the slowly melting snow carpeting the landscape in a dirty blanket and you’ve not really got the recipe for epic landscape images.

But, despite all that, I went out for a wander in one of the local parks yesterday and I had a great time.  Sure it was muddy and slushy and lots of paths and areas were inaccessible, but it felt awesome to go out and shoot.  It was also fun to be limited by only having one lens with a small range, and having to focus on things that wouldn’t probably be my first inclination.

I’m definitely going to have to get creative though if I am going to come up with something for each Sunday of April.  Stop by next weekend to see what I have come up with.

I hope you enjoy the selections for this week.

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A foot bridge heading into Cottonwood Park in Prince George.  1/150 sec, f13, ISO 400 at 10mm.
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Do you feel like you are being watched?  The park features several carvings in the massive trees that line the paths.   1/180sec, f6.4, ISO 400, 10mm
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Another view of one of the carvings in the trees.  1/450sec, f6.4, ISO 400, 10mm.
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This is as colourful as the day was when I was out wandering.  Even then, I still applied a “colour boost” filter during editing.  1/5800 sec, f4, ISO400, 10mm
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The trees reaching their barren limbs up towards the sunshine.  Soon, there will be leaves to obscure all the birds that chirped and sung as I wandered along.  1/340 sec, f20, ISO 400
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I had never contemplated photographing a small, fast moving bird like a chickadee with a wide angle lens.  But the birds in the park are so tame and used to people, that I had one land on my hat while I was taking images of the face in the trees.  I crouched in front of this stump after seeing the birds landing on it, pre-focused, and waited for one to stop by.  1/680 sec, f4, ISO 400 at 24mm