Upper Kananaskis Lake is my favourite place in Canada and the first place I go to when I've been away for any length of time. You are always rewarded for making the trip to the upper lake, sometimes it's a big grizzly or a moose or two, sometimes it's the spectacular colours of autumn or the perfect solace of having this wonderful location all to yourself.
Whatever it may be, I swear, if you make the effort to go there you'll be rewarded. Maybe that works for me because I believe it and therefore look for evidence of my reward on every visit. One thing for sure, there's no arguing with the gift of perfect calm on such a huge expanse of water. I was actually just out for a hike to Fossil Falls when the breeze fell away leaving the lake a perfect mirror. A little cloud helped fill the empty skies and the very last of winter ice made the foreground for me.
Definitely not an image for the portfolio but they don't all need to be. Sometimes it's enough to capture a memory and record it for future enjoyment.
I found myself in Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan Canada this week. After enjoying a day exploring the area I decided to hang around for sunset and potentially, a 'milky way over the prairie' shot. During the day I had noticed an old gnarly tree and thought it would make an interesting foreground.
I made some nice sunset shots before driving to the location of the tree. Once there I made a few practice shots for framing and composition. When I made those test shots I didn't much like the silhouette in the foreground, it was just too dark, so I decided to have a go at light painting.
I've had a bit of a go at this before and enjoyed it, but then forgot all about it and didn't do any more. So, with my trusty little LED torch in hand I wafted this way and that across the tree during a 20 second exposure. Once the shutter closed I saw the abomination of light and shadow I'd created and immediately tried again, and again, and again.
Eventually I began to get into the torch wafting and got a more balanced light across the tree, though it really is much more difficult than you might imagine. At first I didn't like the spill light on the grass but after making a few shots without it I changed my mind.
Ultimately, I managed a couple of reasonable shots, the haze was caused by wildfire smoke and brought with it some scattered light from sunset adding to the image overall. I'm sure I will look back on this shot and cringe a little, but it's an experiment and one that worked out ok for the first try.
If I manage to nail the technique after a bit more practice I'll post a tutorial, for now all you need to know is, make a long exposure and shine a light on your foreground object during the shot. If you are new to night shooting you might want to check out my basic night shooting tutorial.
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