Yukon Gold!
Our trip to the Yukon was richness in colour everywhere.

We struck gold on our recent visit to Whitehorse!  Beautiful weather, amazing scenery and a special week with good friends. One of our highlights was a circle tour from Whitehorse with stops in Haines Junction, Haines and Skagway, Alaska and Carcross. It was our first ever trip to the Yukon and we kept wondering why we hadn’t made it sooner. The September skies were friendly and the explosion of Yukon’s autumn gold was simply unbelievable.  Now I can understand the many stories of people who go there for a short time and never leave. And special thanks to our friends who shared their home and their lives with us, making it a wonderful week. 

Yukon highways
Our travels in the Yukon took us through scenic highways which were always maintained to the highest standard. Considering their winters, I was impressed!
Colours of Yukon
The Yukon colours on full display. All of these pictures have received only a little brightening and contrast adjustment. The colours really look like this!

porcupine
A surprise encounter on a trail with a big, prickly, not-to-social porcupine.
Miles Canyon
Miles Canyon near Whitehorse is a must visit. The basalt columns are the result of preglacial volcanoes. Simply stunning.

Yukon Yellow
No matter where we went in the Yukon, the colours were on full display!

Enjoying the peaceful beauty on a road stop.

mountain goats
These mountain goats were shy but not too skittish. We watched them up close as they ate rocks! Yes, rocks to aid in digestion.
bald eagle with salmon
A bald eagle loses his lunch!
Grizzly bear on the hunt.

For Photographers: Using a polarizing filter

As a digital photographer, I carry only three filters. Two of them are neutral density filters and the third is a polarizing filter. I never go on a landscape shoot without it. It is by far the most useful filter to own, partly because its effects cannot be duplicated in post processing. A polarizer does so many valuable things. To start with, it removes the glare from leaves, wet rocks and other shiny surfaces caused by reflected light. It saturates the colours. And it reduces the reflections on windows and the surface of water, allowing you to see through. Take a look at the pictures below, which are all straight out of the camera. The difference between each pair of images is caused only by the use of a polarizing filter (on the right).  Notice how, in the first pair, there is more contrast, the yellows are brighter and the colour of the water has changed.

In the second pair, you can see the dramatic difference the polarizer made in reducing the reflections on the shiny wall surface. And after looking at the third comparison, I expect you are convinced that you need one of these if you don’t have one already.

Polarizing filters saturate colours and add contrast
Polarizing filters saturate colours and add contrast.

 

A polarizing filter reduces reflections
A polarizing filter reduces reflections.
Notice the dramatic differences in colour and contrast caused only by the polarizing filter.
Notice the dramatic differences in colour and contrast caused only by the polarizing filter.

There are just a couple of things to know about using a polarizing filter. One is that they reduce the amount of light going through your lens to the sensor by about one stop, which means that a slightly longer shutter speed will be needed. Depending on your shutter speed, you may need to use a tripod. Secondly, always turn the outer layer of the filter as you look through the viewfinder. Stop turning the filter when you see the effect you are looking for. You should easily see the blue skies darken, the reflections and glare disappear and the colours get stronger.

And finally, when using the polarizer, you need to pay attention to the direction of light. A polarizer has no effect when shooting directly toward the sun or if the sun is directly behind you. In other words, if you are looking into the sun or you have a shadow that is in line with your picture, the polarizer will not help your image at all. In every other position, the effect of the polarizer will be noticeable, with the maximum effect when you are pointing the camera perpendicular to the sun’s direction.

Want to know more about polarizing filters? Check out this page.

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