Friday, April 07, 2017

Last Gasp of winter

The past several days up here in the highlands has been that ugly, muddy, wet, soggy time of year when everything is melting. I have a "pond" on the north side of my house. It's not very deep but the bottom is so soft that you sink in a few inches, resulting in a 'soaker' every time you go out for some firewood (taking it around to the front door for now). The driveway is all rutted at the back, although the 10 or 12 little trailerloads of gravel I spread last year at the entrance has worked. It's a muddy mess back where my garage is (and where my sump pump line exhausts!). So I parked my car in the driveway last night, not wanting to drive over it.

So of course, this is what it looked like when I got up this morning! Last Gasp.

iPhone pano. But it's all mud under that white frosting. I heard Algonquin Park got 15-25cm of the white stuff. Tempting to take a drive up but, nah... 

I did get one more trip into Algonquin Park before the end of March. Still snowy up there, but spring is on its way (I wrote this before I got up to the white stuff this morning!).

I culled my images back to three favourites as I promised (I know, should only be one. But it's better than the NINE I wanted to post here!

This young fox was in the Spruce Bog. Too accustomed to the presence of Man, s/he  followed us around in the hopes of a handout. The late day lighting was perfect. BTW I had a shot I liked better but there was a leaf or something stuck on the fox's nose! (if you subscribe to my blog you'd see that picture. I always send an unpublished picture to my subscribers! Click the "Newsletter" link at the top of this blog to subscribe. No spam, one click to unsub.)

This is a mink, making its way along behind the creek. I don't think it wanted to go in the water like the otter. I had a shot of it at full gallop, but chose this as one of my three! 

And here's the otter, snacking on frog's legs. I had closer shots but thought showing the environment tells a better story. 

This was created using a Photoshop Action called "Seven Styles Watercolor" (Google is your friend!) which I purchased for the princely sum of $6. I don't normally buy actions or presets, but this one was so intriguing when I saw it in the Topaz forums, that I had to try it. It could add a new creative dimension to my post-processing.

It was a rainy day... practicing for Newfoundland

When I'm in Newfoundland this summer, there are going to be a lot of photo ops shooting colourful little outports overlooking the ocean, with weathered, textured fishing stages and probably less-than-perfect weather conditions. I want to work up some techniques for shooting under those conditions.

Karen was visiting from Toronto so we decided to go out and shoot some pictures despite the rainy weather.

This first shot was overlooking the lake from my dock area. Um, the sun wasn't there and the duck was in a different place! I was showing Karen some post-processing techniques. Also my "blogframe" action (I wrote this one myself!). It needs updating, it doesn't work right on the Mac, especially since the fonts aren't available. Next time I get ambitious. 

One thing you need to do is work the scene. Sometimes you shoot close, sometimes more landscape. This ice fishing hut had lots of texture in the weathered wood but I decided that it competed with the graphic nature of the picture, so I smoothed it away. 

Then I thought that this scene might be typical of an outport in the rain, so I gave it a painterly treatment, bringing out the colours, especially in the reflections in the muddy foreground. This was actually a good test: I had the wrong lens, so I shot 6 images and stitched them together using the merge to pano function in Lightroom. I resized it before working on it, it was almost a 100 megapixel file!

I have two trips to look forward to: Newfoundland in July and Lake Superior in October. I can't decide which one is going to be more fun! Anyone want to come along?

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