Win a Maple Leaf Flag!

I’m giving one away! A 24″x12″ gallery canvas of my image “Maple Leaf Flag”:

How do you get it? I’ll draw a random name from people who do the following:

“Like” My Facebook Fan Page – near the top center of the page!

“Share” My Facebook Fan Page – bottom of the left column, you’ll find the “share” link… if you like my work, share it with your friends!

Deadline is November 5, 2011

That’s all. If you’re already a fan on facebook, and you’ve talked me up at all in the past, you are already entered in this contest. Good luck! This piece typically has a value of $160.

Photographing the Moon & an Unexpected Surprise

My first time around with Canon’s 800mm monster lens, I was disappointed in not getting a photo of the moon. I’m borrowing it again this weekend, and to my dismay the forecast called for cloudy skies… but I wasn’t about to give up!

I grabbed a friend, Ben, who’s camera has a higher pixel density than mine to get the most detail possible, and headed to the only region in Ontario last night with “variably cloudy” skies – we’d certainly need luck on our side. We ended up at the Cheltenham Badlands, as I knew the area was slightly remote and had a great view of the horizon. We were greeted with clouds.

Through equal parts luck, skill and stupidity, we managed to find a few breaks in the clouds after waiting nearly an hour with the cold dark wind keeping us company. Right after we got a clear shot, the rain started to roll in… we packed up and headed home.

I haven’t shown you the picture yet, because as fate would have it I had another chance later that evening. It was late, passed midnight I believe and I was in bed… I looked up at the sky and Bam! There it was lighting up the night sky. The clouds were breaking even though the forecast called for complete cloud cover and rain. I jumped out of bed, frantically assembled the camera, and headed outside to take this image:

I was thrilled. This image is taken with Canon’s EF 800mm F/5.6L + 2x extender II + 1.4x extender III, effectively giving me a focal length of 2240mm. A very expensive telescope. The detail, however, was incredible:

If only I had Ben’s camera to test the difference for this shot – we’ll have to try again some time. It’s amazing how much detail I could grab on an object 384,399 km away (420,383,858 yards for some! hah – inside joke).

Satisfied with my moon image, I was about to pack up when I decide to spin my camera slightly down and to the right to a bright star in the sky, just to see what I could find. To my surprise, that was no star.

I’m not an astronomer, so I have no knowledge of where the planets are in the night sky. Randomly pointing the camera at a bright dot and finding not only Jupiter, but all of its moons was a very fun surprise.

And off to bed I went.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a wonderful thanksgiving and give an update on my classes!

Macro Photography went extremely well – everyone enjoyed the course and our outing went perfectly. I typically do not shoot when I’m teaching, however I made one image at the end of the day:

Nature & Landscape Photography is coming up, starting October 24th. I have six students signed up so far, and I need a few more before the course will run. Check it out if you are interested!

Also, I’ll be speaking at the Orangeville Camera Club on Tuesday October 18th. The topic will be macro photography, centered around snowflakes.

A trip to The Grotto

One summer evening, a friend of mine, Brent, suggested that I head to a place called The Grotto. I made a note of it and completely forgot about it until a few weeks ago. On a whim, I decided to head out and make a day trip up to the Tobermory area.

The Grotto is effectively a small cave with two entrances – one large opening accessible to hikers, as well as an underwater tunnel. As a hiker, you’ll need to scale a rather steep rock face to get down to the cave:

When I got down to the cave, a film crew was setting up to shoot a music video. They didn’t mind me shooting while they set of their lights, and I thought this behind-the-scenes shot turned out well:

I waited for the film crew to leave before I was able to have full access to the cave without any obstructions, and it took a while to find a great composition. A couple had come to visit, and I asked them if they wouldn’t mind posing on the edge to show a sense of scale. They agreed, and I was able to make this image:

The scale isn’t accurate, however. The above photos were all taken with my Fisheye lens which does a great job of showing more space than there actually is. The Grotto is a great place, and a fisheye lens gives a much more expansive view of it.

It was early evening and I noticed the sun starting to set. Deciding to play with silhouettes a little more, I made a silhouette panorama on the cave opening:

At this point, I began to worry a little bit. You see, it’s about a 40-minute hike to this location from the head of trails where I parked. The sun is setting at this point, and I don’t have 40 minutes of sunlight left. Scurrying back up to safety, I start heading my way back…. the shoreline was rocky and hard to navigate, but I couldn’t help but stop to make one more image, probably my favourite from the day:

That Inuksuk was taller than me, sitting right on the water’s edge. Careful of my angle to get water between the rocks forming the legs, the distant shoreline not coming in contact with the inuksuk, etc… it required a bit of playing around – with time I didn’t have but gave it to the photo anyhow.

Then, I sprinted. Nothing but twilight was left as I entered the forest trails back to my car. 20 minutes later, I arrive exhausted and happy that I can still – just barely – see my car in front of me. Next time, maybe a good idea to bring a flashlight! After I hit the road, I headed down to spend the night in Toronto with my lovely fiancée 🙂