I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time getting up early in the morning. I know it’s one of the best times to go shoot things. Most of my best, and unexpected pics have all been early morning. But when the time comes I just can’t seem to pull myself out of bed.
Now that Summer is approaching, the sun here in Canada starts getting up really early! Sunrise will be around 5:00am in the morning. And the next golden hour won’t be until 9:00pm! So if there was ever a training program for this sort of regiment, I want to know where to sign up…
One thing I try and do more and more with landscapes, is take them with a telephoto lens instead of a wide angle. This may come naturally to some. But for me it took awhile to get used to. Wide angle lenses have always been my go to. I like the size and scale, with the disappearing horizons. But with a telephoto you get this cool effect known as lens compression. This is often referred to as tunnel vision. This is where the foreground and the background appear to get closer together. Quite the opposite of wide angles which push these two elements further away. The result can be epic. Like a mountain range appearing to be towering over a valley, when it could be miles away. Or in this case, a storm cloud sitting onto of the lake!
One neat thing to try is to also widen your aperture, as to single out a closer subject, while leaving your background slightly out of focus, and therefore appear further still. But yet close enough that it looks like you can still touch it.
This Winter has really been horrible for seeing the stars at night. When you get a warm Winter here in Canada, it generally means cloudy. For like 3 months. Pretty depressing. But every once in a awhile I will throw on the snow pants and head out into the frozen tundra. Okay so it’s not that bad. But it’s still cold!
I was really trying to get a nice shot the Northern lights. Which can be see almost every night out here, when weather is working with me. But I need to test my camera with night shots more anyway. So the Milky Way is just fine too.
The trick with night shots, especially when you have little to no light whatsoever, is to up your ISO enough that you can deal with the noise. This has become a problem for me using a Sony camera. I’m sure the cameras they tout as super low light, are just that, but not mine. I struggle with what’s called chroma noise. Which are little, very bright, pixels that clearly did not get the memo about what we were all doing. They pick a random colour like purple, or red, and have to be taken out one by one. There are many other ways to get rid of standard noise I am aware. But there is always a trade off when it comes to noise reduction. Or else we would just be cranking the ISO all the time right!
Here in Canada it should be no surprise to anyone, that we don’t get a very long Summer. But the Summer we do get is amazing! Really hot, really long days. And one thing that you can find in abundance around here is fresh water lakes.
Close to the border of my province, it seems like nothing but lakes. This is where I like to go to get great seasonal pics of changing colours, or in this instance, the last remaining Summer nights.
This shot is actually really late at night when the last glimmer of the sun is actually long gone. I had the camera on a tripod and shot this with an almost two minute exposure time! I don’t normally recommend this, as digital noise in your shot can start to get out of control. There are many ways to deal with this problem, but none that will fix it completely. A good tripod is definitely your best friend at times like this.
I feel like no blog would be complete without a little slice of my home. Though not very interesting at times, you are bound to get the best shots of your life from your own backyard based on pure volume of shots. I find this to be more true the more I shoot.
This one was a case of sitting at home watching the weather get worse and worse. Then my wonderful wife Diana says to me, “Hey it looks like a storms coming, why don’t you go outside and take some pics?” She knows me very well 😉 And she was right!
I tried really hard to get one of those great lighting strike shots you only hope for in your career. And I didn’t… But I still sat out there for a good 3 hours watching the storm come in, and paint the sky all sorts of wonderful golden colours. Rainbows, and every sort of nasty looking cloud you could ask for.
I also want to speak a little about composition in this one. When it comes to composition of a landscape image, it can be very difficult. Especially when your subject is something like the sky.
Here I tried to use the hay bales to my advantage. I walked around them, shooting from all sorts of angles trying to get it just right. Trying to keep focus on the wonderful shapes of the clouds, and the colours that complemented the grass so well.