Pitt River Sunset-click to enlarge-
Even though it is nearing the end of July, Summer has not yet reached Southwestern British Columbia. Normally we have had a warmer July than this, and we are just starting at least about 3 weeks with no rain and warm temperatures. Not this year. As I generally do not like hot weather anyway, I have not been too disappointed with this. No sunburns, no “heat domes”, no drought. The other side of this coin is we had a much cooler, wetter spring/early summer than usual. While that is nice weather for being outside a lot of the time, it can also mean mosquitoes.
I have never purchased bug spray. I used it once, but it gave me a rash so I’ve just put it out of my mind for the last few years. With the exception of one evening up at Artist Point near Mount Baker, I have had very few run ins with mosquitoes. At worst an evening in the bush or near a lake meant a bite or two at the very worst. Returning last week to the Pitt-Addington Marsh I was in for a very different experience. Luckily, the light ultimately did turn some of the clouds a nice pink color, so I got the sort of shot I was looking for. What I was not looking for were the 45 mosquito bites I suffered while making this and other photographs of the area. The back of my neck was like bubble wrap the next morning, but the majority of the bites were actually through my shirt on my back. I will be buying bug spray soon!
I have learned from previous experience that “stay until all the light is gone” is wise advice. I made this photograph after I had completely packed up my equipment having had decent but not awesome colour in the sky. I stayed in the location though, and the image above shows what ultimately showed up in the sky. I quickly setup my tripod again, got out the GND filters, and tried to take advantage of this light. From start to finish I had 4.5 minutes before it was completely gone, for good this time.
I made this image with my Canon 7D, EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens, B+W Polarizing filter, and my Sing-Ray 2-stop graduated neutral density filter.
Late Evening Light at Mount Rainier National Park
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Save your photos! Well, some of them.
Sometimes I read how others delete all the shots they aren’t immediately happy with, not just those that were out of focus etc. As I have written before I do go through and quickly delete photos that are obviously not up to par (focus accidents, test shots etc) – but then I tend to sit back and digest them for a while. Immediately after I shoot the impressions I have of the results may not be very objective. I wait for a while to process most images so I can more clearly see what is going on, and to distance myself from my initial expectations. Even after some distance and thought I do not always get things “right” in my choices, and sometimes images fall through the cracks.
The image here is one such example. This is a late evening shot I made in Mount Rainier National Park in October, 2010. Ricksecker Point is a good vantage point for Rainier itself, but unless you get some really special light things will look just like all the other “iconic” shots from the same spot. I had gone there hoping to get some good sunset shots near the Tatoosh Range but this just wasn’t going to happen with that day’s conditions so I started looking for alternative compositions. I noticed the glow of the late evening light on these fir and cedar trees and made a few photographs of what I saw. When I first looked at these at home though, they did not really seem to stand out.
A few weeks ago I was going through some of my folders of photographs from 2010. I like to review things occasionally and look over shots I have passed by in favour of images that, at the time at least, appear stronger. I noticed this shot and was somewhat surprised I had never really noticed it before. It had not been a throwaway but was not selected for bigger things at the time either.
I am curious what other photographers do with the shots they initially think are “borderline”? Do you purge everything but the strongest images right away or do you sit on a lot of shots so you can evaluate them later?
Great Blue Heron
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A few weeks ago I visited the Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area near Pitt Lake. Shot a lot of landscapes, but this area is always a good place to spot a lot of birds and general wildlife. I walked along the dike for a while, then down into the marsh. What I should have done was look at the marsh before I came down off the dike into it – as there was a Great Blue Heron standing about 5 feet in front of me looking a bit startled. He took off immediately and landed at a distance just near enough for me to see him and just far enough away that my longest lens wasn’t quite going to cut it.
I must not have looked like too much of a threat because once I got the wide angle lens back on and started shooting the landscape he flew close again. Not as close as our original encounter but close enough for me to be happy with the photographic opportunity. Was hoping for some hunting shots like I had at Stanley Park but today this one seemed much more intent on cleaning and preening itself. So much so that I actually shot a short video of it which you can see on Vimeo. I have not shot much video on the 7D yet – it is definitely a separate skill from photography.