Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hi again,

I had the pleasure of attending Darwin Wiggett's "Mastering Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography" seminar this past Saturday in Burlington, Ontario.  Darwin is a pro photographer from Alberta and rewarded us with a picture perfect presentation that took us from the discussions of JPEG versus RAW versus shooting in the RAW to aperture/shutter speed/ISO use and finally a list of too expensive equipment that I can only dream of owning (i.e. tilt-shift lens).  I have always enjoyed reading Darwin's articles in Outdoor Photography Canada magazine ( every month and have tried, tested, and embraced a lot of his advice.  He certainly has been one of my influentual photographers and, now that I've met him in person, know he's a pretty cool guy and has a great sense of humour, oh, and he likes BEER!  Check out his website:, you will truly be amazed.

I was lucky enough to also attend a group field session with Darwin on the Sunday morning.  Bright and early I might add, up at 4:45pm to get to the meeting location on time for 6am - thankfully with coffee included.  Darwin had noted during the discussion that he would find and talk to everyone of us in the field to ensure we were able to ask some questions.  I eluded (because of all the coffee I was downing) that I might end up in the bushes at one point to which Darwin immediately shot back that there he would not be following anyone into any bushes since that would be one lens that he preferred not to see!  Yes, he is even quick witted at six in the morning.

Here are some images that I took during the field session.  The location was LaSalle Park which overlooks the Burlington Skyway and the steel mills on the other side of Hamilton Harbour.  The field session was to use some of the techniques from the previous day's seminar.  So this first image is a landscape image that was intended to have full depth of field from front to back using a small aperture and focusing approximately 1/3 into the frame (and using a tripod of course!).  It has some foreground rocks with the steel mill in the background.

Canon17-40mm @ 17mm, f20 @ 6sec, ISO 100

I wanted to get a tight shot of the mill so I put on a 70-200mm and re-composed the frame for this image:

Canon 70-200mm @ 110mm, f11 @ 2.5sec, ISO 100

Finally, I'd like to share some images that Darwin had the group take to show how lens choice can totally influence an image.  There was a bench overlooking Burlington Skyway and he had us take a wide angle and then a telephoto image to see how the scene perspective changes.  I ended up taking 3 different images at 17mm, 75mm, and 140mm.  Check it out, it's quite amazing.  And I only walked about 20 feet total....

Canon17-40mm @ 17mm, f20 @ 0.6sec, ISO 100

Canon 70-200mm @ 75mm, f20 @ 0.4sec, ISO 100

and finally,

Canon 70-200mm @ 140mm, f22 @ 0.5sec, ISO 100

Pretty amazing eh?!  Notice how the both the bench and bridge change from image to image as well as the distance between them.  This result certainly will influence and force me to make my lens choice wisely.

Well, hopefully you enjoyed this entry - and if you ever get a chance to check out one of Darwin's workshops or seminars, go!  You won't regret it.

Oh, and Darwin would be proud to know that I wrote this article while enjoying a nice, cold beer.  Cheers to Darwin - thanks for the amazing show and experience. 



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Snapping Turtle

Hello all! 

I visited a local marsh late last week to see if I could photograph any migrating ducks or geese.  There weren't too many there that day and none within range.  On other visits, I have seen many Canada Geese, Mallards, and a couple pairs of Hooded Mergansers so I just need better timing!

As I was walking on the trail that leads around the marsh, I heard some rustling in the leaves and found this little fella catching some rays. 

This snapping turtle was quite accomodating in letting me take some images and after several shots, decided he'd had enough and started to head back to the water.  I had a 100-400mm lens so I was able to keep my distance and not violate his space.

I zoomed right in for some head detail images as well.  First a profile:

Then a straight on:

A little further down the path, I came across a Painted Turtle sunning on a log in the water.  However, he was spooked when I stopped and setup the tripod so no success. It would have been a good image too given the light and setting.  Oh well, maybe next time.

Enjoy the post - and happy shooting!