Snowbirds, The Ex, Summer 2006

Snowbirds, The Ex, Summer 2006

Finally getting around to getting a few photos from last year’s Canadian International Exposition.  This was my first attempt at shooting an airshow, and has left me with some ideas of what to do better next year, but I thought I would share these few.

The Snowbirds are the Canadian close-formation/stunt squadron, equivalent to the U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds or U.S.N. Blue Angels.

American White Pelican, Oxbow Bend, Grand Teton NP, Summer 2007

American White Pelican, Grand Teton National Park, Summer 2007

While I never had a great dawn or dusk view of the Tetons from Oxbow Bend in three days of trying, Oxbow Bend did provide good opportunity for viewing wildlife: while there, I saw beaver, wapiti (bulls and cows), a bear, pelicans, and more commons ducks and ravens. This particular pelican stood out due to the colorful reflections on the water behind it.

Dragonfly, Butchart Gardens, Summer 2006

Dragonfly, Butchart Gardens, Summer 2006

While I am sorting through my recent trip for photos to post here, I thought I would post an older photo that remains a favorite of mine. After wandering around Butchart Gardens in bad light, I was rather disappointed (definitely spectacular gardens, but I had somehow imagined more) and on my way out. I saw this dragonfly on a bird-bath, and its color struck me. I recall being surprised at how very tolerant of my 50mm macro lens the subject was–to focus this close, I had to be only an inch or two away, and it was still there when I left. The flowers, a bit past their peak when sharp, look great out of focus, and this shot shows a lot more color than my usual photos–something I have been trying to think about more as I am out shooting.

I carried that lens (sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro EX) with me everywhere I went–itwas a real gem, and my favorite . . . up until the time it was stolen. Moral of the story: kids, don’t carry your expensive camera and lens with you everywhere you go . . .

Least Chipmunk, Zion National Park, Summer 2007

Least Chipmunk, Zion National Park, Summer 2007

I am back in Toronto after a vacation which included visits with family and many national parks in the Western United States. I am looking forward to editing more of the 5,ooo frames I took on this trip, but unfortunately, I have a lot of work to do in Toronto as well, so it may be slow going.

I had visited the main valley of Zion before, but was not aware that there is another area of the park to the North and West of the valley which is also open. The Lava Point campground (dry) overlooks the valley at a distance, allowing one to see the top of the features which most visitors only see as huge cliffs from the bottom. There is also a trail that starts at Lava Point and goes all the way down into the valley; a fine idea if you can convince someone with a car to pick you up in the valley or at the visitor centre (accessible by shuttle)–I would not want to hike back up it.

The dawn light on the day I was camped there was unexceptional, but the overlook was alive with least chipmunks going about their business; this is my favorite capture of their activity.

On the Road: Highway 50 ‘The Loneliest Highway in the World’

As the image suggests, I am on the road, and will not be posting often. Hopefully, I will produce some images worth posting. I was fooling around with the ultra-wide-angle lens while driving on Highway 50 through Nevada to Great Basin National Park when I produced this image. I was lying down on the road at the time, as it was clear in both directions as far as the eye could see–might be something to that whole ‘loneliest road’ thing after all.

Next time, though, I do it in a camera with movements…

Katy and Cal’s Wedding

Last weekend I was down in the Boston area for the first wedding I have attended since I was small enough to be the ring-bearer. Cal, a friend from my high school years whom I have kept in touch with since. The ceremony, short and touching, was officiated by Cal’s mother, a judge, and concluded with the exchange of bands of mottled titaniam (mokume gane). It was held near sunset outdoors in front of blooming rhododendrons at a botanic gardens; the reception was in the nearby conservatory. It went off as well as could be hoped, and all the guests I talked to thought it was an amazing wedding.

The wedding photographer was unobtrusive, very competent, and had better gear, so, while I would not venture to compete with him, I did get a handful of photos that I would venture to share. I have tried selective saturation to get something of a dreamy effect in this shot and a couple others. There was no formal division, but the two sides split by age, and I chose to sit with the other twenty-somethings on what conventionally would have been the groom’s side, so, despite coming as a friend of the groom, I ended up in a much better position to capture the bride (something I will keep in mind next time).