Winter in Canada can be a long, drawn out affair (I'm looking at you 2017/18). This year winter has been kind by Canadian standards, but the spring melt is no less welcome. The deep snow blanketing the mountains has started to shift and in low lying areas it is in full retreat.
My friend and I were keen to get out and make a few images this week, for no reason other than practice. Though perhaps we were not too keen, as we didn't rise early to catch the sunrise or stay late for the sunset. We just had some 'pressure free' time roaming kananaskis in the cold light of day making what images we could.
Sometimes these are the very best of days. There's no expectation, no time to be on location, no requirement to find those perfect conditions for the group to capture. It's just two friends out enjoying their love of photography. I find that making shots in daylight really presses you to work your composition skills to the max, you don't have good light or golden hours to save the image, so you had better get the composition right.
One thing that will always help in these circumstances is a reflection, it doesn't matter where you find it as long as it works. This filthy melt water puddle didn't look at all appealing from a standing position, but getting low down with the wide angle lens and creating symmetry (of sorts) either side of the dead grass strip across the centre of the frame made for a nice mid afternoon shot. Mt Indefatigable always provides an impressive bulk and the cloud filled skies helped add interest to the image.
Is it a world beater of a shot, no. But it would sit comfortably in a calendar in either spring or autumn months. Very often as landscape photographers we are driven to chase perfect conditions and withdraw, wounded, when we don't get them. Sometimes it's just nice to be out in good company making what images we can, when we can, without that pressure to deliver.
For more information on composition, you will find my 18 basic composition tips here, I promise you that becoming familiar with these, and considering them when preparing a shot will help improve your image making overall.
Lovely Leadenhall Market
London is my favourite city bar none, of course I'm strongly biased, I was born and raised in the north of England but worked in London for many years. Over that time I came to enjoy almost every aspect of this truly cosmopolitan city.
I have walked hundreds, if not thousands of miles along its streets and yet seen only a snapshot of the incredible melee that draws so many visitors from around the world. Because there are so many wonderful things to see throughout the city it's difficult to squeeze in any more than the usual circuit of 'big name' attractions, and there's nothing wrong with doing just that.
But there is so much more, more beauty, more history and more wonder in every step along the city streets that even Londoners walk by daily without noticing much of it. There are ferryman's seats along the river, there's a lighthouse tucked away in docklands, french canon from the battle of waterloo used as street bollards, original gas powered street lights, a scattering of execution sites and England smallest police station which is in one of the busiest areas in the city and unseen by almost all who pass by.
I think perhaps I'm missing home, and more specifically, London. I miss the people, sights, sounds and smells of this wonderful city. I miss the incredible diversity of photographic topics and the thrill of the chase in image making on the bustling streets. I miss the staggering amount of options when seeking food, entertainment or pastimes.
Perhaps I should be thinking of another London photo tour, it was on the last one that I made this image of the beautiful 14th century Leadenhall Market. Though featured in many films, books and even music videos it remains 'quiet' in terms of tourism.
Early morning is the best time to go for open images like the one below, because once the day gets going there will always be foot traffic in good volume passing through in all directions. Leadenhall is not the least known attraction in London but it is one that relatively few tourists visit. You'll find an entrance on Gracechurch Street to get you started, and you'll no doubt find a myriad of images around the small stores and adjoining alleyways too.
Winter Hanging On
After a two week hiatus back home in England I felt like I'd not made any images for weeks. It's good sometimes to put the camera down and just do family stuff, shoot a few snapshots for the memory but leave the image making alone. So, that's been me for the past two weeks, family snaps and nothing else.
I confess to rising very early one morning and hauling myself through blackberry bushes to a stunning lakeside in Milton Keynes UK. I worked hard and really did get a hammering from the thorns to reach a perfect location. With trees overhead just reaching into the frame, bulrushes reaching in from below and an island on the lake in the centre of the frame, it was to be a wonderfully framed sunrise, unfortunately the sun failed to get the message and the shot was lost. That was my one attempt at serious photography in the whole two week period, and it was kind of nice not to be chasing images.
So, back in Canada I decided to head out to kananaskis and stretch out my 'plane legs'. There was a surprising amount of snow since we left and it heavily restricted the images available to me, but I found some ice formations poking through the blanket of white allowing me to exercise the lens too.
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