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Walking the creative path, camera in hand.

It was one of those welcomed autumn days when the sun shone brightly with a clear blue sky, giving us relief from the pre winter rains. A perfect day for a walk in the park so off I went with camera and no agenda but to play with making pictures.

These are the perfect conditions, I think, for creative photography: no agenda and a playful attitude. And when I go by myself, there is no time pressure, I’m just to enjoy the environment and solitude. A familiar trail at Campbell Valley park in Langley, filled with happy memories of walking our dog, was my playground.

Resplendent in its mossy coat, this back lit tree greeted me as my adventure began.
I began with a few macro shots of the small details.
I’ve always been a sucker for ferns …
Ferns give us rhythm and movement and are sometimes decorated with diamonds.
These ferns were jumping with joy toward the sun.
Autumn palette.
The winter sun revealed the intricate detail of this leaf before it disappeared.
A few remaining leaves decorate the forest.
With the motion of my camera, this strong tree trunk appears to be wearing an autumn coloured dress.
Looking down the path , V1.
Looking down the path, V2. These two pictures are actually of the identical scene but appear to be so different simply because of different camera settings. The challenge is to know which one to use with any given scene. Often I’ll photograph it both ways but in this case, I like both, although they convey different moods.
Heading home. Another pair of pictures of the identical scene yet different in-camera techniques.

For Photographers

While going through the pictures after the shoot, I was disappointed. So I set them aside and came back to them 10 days later and, guess what? Liked them much better. This is common and it’s always a good idea to allow time to pass so that we become more objective about our creations.

I often tell my students that photographing in the forest on a bright sunny day is not a great idea. The brights and darks are at too wide a tonal range for our camera sensors. But the trick with these was to exploit the beautiful backlight to create highlights, reveal texture and add drama to the lighting.

A few of the techniques used were:

Intentional Camera Movement (ICM): with a shutter speed between 1/3 sec to 2 seconds, I move my camera while the shutter is open to create photos like the second from last one, above. In fact, the six photos that precede the last one are all made that way. Every time I do this, I make about a dozen so I have choices afterward.

Multiple Exposure: The last image, and several others are the result of hand holding the camera while multiple images are made, anywhere from 5 – 10. These are then combined in camera and adjusted slightly in post.

Many of the shots were made with a 105mm macro lens. When I get in very close, the image can become abstract, where the subject matter is unknown and the images relies on colour, shape, texture and line.

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