Sunday, February 20, 2011

Full moon and ptarmigan!

 Well, we had quite the interesting week here in the Northwest Territories! There were some massive solar particle ejections this week and that mean aurora!  They hit us on the 17th and 18th, and were supposed to produce huge aurora storms, unfortunately the storms hit around 8am on Friday morning...not that great for photographing the aurora in the day time...blah!

But it turned into a few good nights of a photography because we had a bright full moon! This moon allowed me to photograph Alexandra falls at night. The light from the moon and reflection of light from the snow lit up the whole landscape. There were even a few visible aurora (they,re harder to see with a full moon).  I took 8 photographs at 6 seconds long at ISO 500 and F2.8 and I stitched the photos together for the panoramic...I'm quite pleased with the result!

After weeks and weeks of searching for ptarmigan, I finally found them..oy! There were about 5 that I was aware that I was photographing. Some enjoyed a little camera time and some didn't. But I'm so relieved to finally have my ptarmigan photos!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Beginning of the Year...2! Featuring photos from Feb 5

Oh! We had some great aurora last night, so I'll post those now instead of doing a brand new blog about aurora. Enjoy!

And finally I got my first taste of aurora for 2011, it's just whetting my appetite. I have a previous blog on how to photograph the aurora (just look for older posts) so I won't get into it too much here. My new gear is capturing the aurora soo much better than last year. And to end on some great news, I've just been accredited as a professional photographer by the Professional Photographers of Canada!

Well December was a bit of a lack luster month for me unfortunately. I was able to travel back home for Christmas for the first time in a few years and it was lovely to be home. The unfortunate part is that it rained for 85% of my time there. I brought the camera and my hiking boots but barely got a chance to use either.  The trip down to Edmonton made for an interesting one, the heater in our 14 year old car is on the fritz and we were dressed in our parkas and wrapped up in our sleeping bags while driving over ice encrusted roads for hours...but it wasn't that bad! We were lucky enough to miss all of the really horrible weather for our travel dates. AAANNND I saw a great grey was far away, even for my 100-400mm but with the sensor on my mark III I was able to crop in tight. The resolution is fine for a blog, but not so much for printing.

  When we came back to the north I was again excited for the winter. I had plenty of ideas of what I wanted to shoot and where/when I should be there. My first idea was to climb down to the river and hike up from one waterfall to the other. I'm relatively new to my area, but so far there has been no recollection of anyone else doing this...let alone with a camera. So I figure my photos are probably the first!  I had a bunch of my buddies come along for the hike and the 6 of us packed up our snow shoes and parkas. We had a cold snap (try saying that north of 60) and it plunged to about -40 and then I didn't even know the windchill.  We climbed down toward Louise Falls and walked up to Alexandra. It was beautiful.


The ice only had a few inches of snow on it so it made walking very easy, I'm not really sure why. There's a large hole in the ice at Alexandra falls allowing for the mist from the falling water to rise into the air. I was lucky enough to catch the shadow of the tree line in the mist and that just added to the photos. I had to bracket my frames since there was such a high contrast that day. I did this expecting to process the photos as HDR but I was able to pull out the shadows and highlights in an easier way without looking garish and overworked.

A group of us has recently started hiking every Sunday in efforts of making a trail guide for Hay River. There may not be a lot of things to do here, but there are plenty of walking trails. If you know where to go. So we're trying to help those who don't!  I found our way into a Jack Pine stand in hopes of photographing porcupine in the pine trees, but all we found was grouse.  Another day we found plenty of Lynx tracks, fresh ones. This is an active time of year as they're searching for mates. Lynx love is in the air.