I know, I haven’t posted on here in ages! Basically since I got my Facebook back, but I will start!
I can’t be lazy and let other projects fall to the wayside just because FB is easier and faster than writing a blog post. Plus this is connected to my website and makes anyone browsing there think I just haven’t been up to anything! I’ll post some of my best stuff so far this year soon!
This here is Abraham Lake, which took a surprisingly small amount of photoshop to make into a Valentines picture. Have LOTS more (non-photoshopped) pics from my trip that I’ll have up, so keep watch!
Branching out into other things!
O Pheonix is an upscale Vietnamese restaurant in NW Calgary that recently updated their menu, and needed some pictures of their new dishes for menu/website ect.
I was actually really impressed with my food styling and photography abilities since I’ve never really done food photography before. Got some GREAT shots, and the best part was I got to eat everything when I was done haha.
This is just a cell phone behind-the-scenes shot I took after I was finished. Real pictures of the dishes to come later.
The more I read about the milky way, and the night sky in general, the more I’m coming to the realization that I’m just in the wrong part of the damn world to get one of those Insane Milky-Way shots.
At my latitude, during the winter months when the sky actually gets dark enough to see it in all its glory, the best part of the milky way never rises above the horizon. In the middle of summer the best part will just peak above the southern horizon, but there’s too much ambient light remaining from the sun (we don’t get a true astronomical dusk during summer months here) That it’s also impossible to view against a dark enough sky.
Somewhat saddening to realize that because of this, I have never even seen the center of the milky-way with my own eyes, even though I at 28 years old have already spent more time staring at the night sky than most folks ever will in their entire life time.
I will try to explain this. The light band that we can see at night IS STILL THE MILKY WAY, actually almost every star we see is situated in the milky way. However, during our winter months here high up in the Northern Hemisphere at night we are looking out towards the edge of the Milky-Way, just one spiral arm and then deep space for infinity. During the daytime we would be looking in the right direction, towards the center of the milky way, but the sun obviously is in our way. To see the milky way in all it’s glory one has to be near the equator or even better, in the Southern Hemisphere. During our summer, or the southern hemispheres winter, the earth in on the opposite side of the sun and so when they look off into space they’re looking into the center of the milky-way, not just the outskirts that we see here.
With all this being said, I’m still going to get out as much as I can and practice shooting the night. We still do have a chance at catching a faint glimpse of the inside of the milky way here in the spring and autumn, even thought it will never rise to only slightly above the horizon. I don’t think I’m a good enough night time photographer to justify traveling south next summer just to photograph the sky, and I’m definitely too poor to do it just because, but one day.
This ones for everyone who doesn’t like the winter.
I love winter. It’s visually my favourite season, but also just on a deep personal level my favourite type of day that can happen any time of year is the day proceeding a horrible cold snap, snowy and cloudy and cold for days on end and then one morning the sun pokes out, warms the world up to a nice crisp -5’C and then you can go exploring the wonders that were covered in ice and snow.
Last winter was the warmest, driest, most disappointing dud of a winter I ever remember. So far this year (in Alberta) we’ve been having the worst indian summer. Most people probably picture Canada in a stereotypical way consisting of mounds of snow everywhere with us all huddled up in our igloos fending off our cariboo meat from polar bears. Truth is, especially here in western Alberta where we get Chinooks, we’re lucky to have snow on the ground all winter long without it periodically melting every few weeks.
I took this picture 2 days ago during my lunch break. The white on the trees is called Hoar Frost, which is just frost that crystallizes on hard surfaces when it’s humid and foggy. Generally as soon as the sun comes out the frost starts melting, and does so extremely fast, sometimes a matter of minutes. It’s very lucky to get a hoar frost photograph that is sun-lit with blue sky. Generally frosty pictures consist of a foggy grey background, so whenever I can capture something like this i’m stoked. The sun was only periodically lighting up these trees for a few seconds every 20 minutes or so, peeking out from the low laying clouds that were behind me.
Yesterday we got snow and most people aren’t happy about it. Well, instead of complaining about things you cant control (and should expect anyway, this IS still Canada damnit!) just bundle up and go outside instead of sitting around inside and see this season for what it really is, the most beautiful of them all!
Tried some light painting. This is only the second time I’ve ever tried so don’t judge me too harshly haha.
At first was trying to do a telescope looking up into the sky, and after a few attempts noticed that one of them looked more like a bird than a telescope. Realized that messing up a telescope so bad that it looked like a bird instead pretty much told me that it was going to take a LONG time to achieve a telescope, but inspired me to try getting a bird. This was my best of about 10 paintings of a bird.
Am still definitely going to try a telescope on a later date, because the image in my head looks pretty sweet.
After the bird I tried for a rocket ship blasting off, with billowing smoke out the bottom and a scaffolding breaking off and whatnot, but the ones that didn’t look like a penis just looked like a jumbled mess. After that tried a UFO and got a half decent one, but think I can take that idea way further so I’m not going to post it until I nail it.
Will also be investing in a less bright light so I can get more details. I think with a little practice I’ll be better at this than most people who try, and will be able to get something really cool if I put my mind to it.
The first of two good Milky Way shots I got at Crimson Lake last night. Not to make it sound like I spent 6 hours alone in the woods at night and only got 2 good photos, I have a dozen or so good ones, but half of them look a lot like this one and the other half are super close to the other one I’m going to post, so there’s only really a point in posting the best two.
Also did some light painting, and will most likely be posting the best of that effort before even my next milky way shot.
I have no idea what the super bright blue star is just below the exact center of the photo, but it’s in a lot of my photos from last night and I wish I had used that Skyview app to check. I generally don’t think about things like that while out looking at the sky or taking photos, and try hard to not ever look at my phone because the lights from it will make my eyes have to re-adjust to the darkness.
If you’re a new photographer, or in general an adventurer who’s just starting to get out into the country at night, I have a piece of advice that at first seems counter-intuitive but will soon prove to be valuable; If you’re walking around in the dark, out for a night hike, looking for something to photograph ect. DO NOT USE A FLASHLIGHT. Just let your eyes adjust and after 5 minutes or so of gazing into the darkness you’ll soon find you can see better and further than you could with any light. I always have a flashlight handy that I can flick on at a moments notice if I hear something and want to make sure there’s no hungry eyes looking back at me, but for the most part I try never turning it on. Same goes with looking at a phone, just don’t do it. I also try to look at the playback on my camera as little as possible, even though your playback screen while taking night photos is dark (because the pictures are dark) it’s still slightly brighter than the world around you and as such messes up your night vision.
Took off to Crimson Lake just North-West of Rocky Mountain House after work yesterday to do some astro-photography. It has been super high on my list of places to scout out for star gazing for a long time now, and with no moon and forecasted clear skies for last night, was my best chance of not wasting my time and money to make it out there.
I left work early, packed my jeep and took off. I got to the lake around 3:30pm which was great because I still had lots of daylight left to do some exploring. Really glad I got there so early because had it been dark upon my arrival I most likely wouldn’t have found this dock, which ended up being my base for several hours.
Was somewhat disappointed to find out that I could still pick up the lights from Drayton Valley which is 100kms to the north, and Edmonton which is 200kms to the North-East on my camera while photographing the lake. I don’t feel like trying to explain why, but I also couldn’t capture the Milky-Way over top the lake, so didn’t end up getting any spectacular shots of the lake itself. I did however spend a good three hours sitting out on this dock just staring at the stars. It was quite comforting being out on the water away from the forest at night because I felt like nothing could sneak up on me out of the darkness.
Although the lake didn’t work out photographically for me last night, I think it would be a GREAT spot to watch Northern Lights, or just take a girl out with a blanket and some warm beverages to look at the sky. Definitely not a “dud” of a location even if it didn’t meet my expectations, but is still a winner for the simple fact it’s less than 2 hours away.
After several hours on the dock/lake not getting any great shots, I decided I’d have to go play around in the forest if I was going to come away from this trip with any good sky photos. So, for the next 3 or so hours I walked around in the pitch black woods by myself with my camera trying to come away with something worthy of the gas I had to use my Visa to buy. Pictures of that to follow.