Perhaps it’s because I generally root for the underdog that I find myself wanting to portray the beauty of Saskatchewan. I’ve never lived there and have only crossed over our middle prairie province a couple of times, always by motorcycle. When I hear the comment, “It’s pedal to the metal when I travel through the prairies …” I can’t help but think of all the things they are missing. And I want to stop and soak in as much of those infinite landscapes and big skies as I can. The brilliance of a canola field and the endless faces in the clouds scudding across the skies fascinate this west coaster, where ‘the mountains block the view’.

When I rode my motorcycle across Saskatchewan last week, I didn’t have the luxury of time to go slow enough to really see much of the beauty, but as I made my way home, I did stop when the landscape really turned my head, and that was often. I took a few liberties by photographing in farmers’ fields and making roadside stops in the heat of the summer day.

I felt fortunate to taste this land and in awe of the pioneers who made it productive. Here are a few images from just one joyful day of discovery in Saskatchewan, the land of living skies.

photocrati gallery


Photography in Saskatchewan

All of the photos above were taken in very strong, harsh sunlight. This is generally not the recommended lighting for landscape photos but, when travelling, it’s alway a challenge to be in the right place with the right light. One of my techniques for solving this problem is the use of HDR photography. High Dynamic Range is a technique where three or more photos of different exposures are blended to balance the deep shadows with the strong highlights. The first, third and fourth photos above are examples of this.

I also use NIK software along with post processing to adjust the exposure and colours. This program works seamlessly with Lightroom and is amazing at how it brings an image to life. NIK’s Colour Efex Pro 4 was used in many of the images above. In most cases, the changes are subtle enough to be not noticeable without comparing to the original. In other cases, I’ve deliberately gone past the realistic look to create an effect. The three images with the old trucks are examples of that. When processing photos, my goal is normally to recreate the look that I saw. However, some photos just call out to be pushed beyond the realistic view into more of an artistic, impressionistic rendering.

Having said that, the second image, with the leaning red barn, was touched up with a program called Snap Art 4 from Alien Skin. It offers a zillion choices in painterly tools, from pencil sketching to oil paint to watercolours. You can spend a lot of time playing with an image until you get it so it feels right. I used an oil paint effect to give it a bit of a classic look.