Author Archives: Kevin

Tumbler Ridge Trip – June 23rd – 25th, 2017

The photo club went to Tumbler Ridge a couple of weeks ago. I’ve spent some time putting more effort into editing my images and making a proper workflow for myself. I’m happier with my images and the results. I’ll post a few images below but I’m still processing, so there will be more posted in my flickr share in the days to come.

First though, I want to tell you a story of listening to “experts”. I have struggled with getting my images “sharp” for along time. Sometimes I nailed it, sometimes – not. I’ve asked over the years and I’ve been told many things. I’ve tried the katzeye but that didn’t seem to help me get consistent results. I tried the zoom in till you’ve zoomed all the way while chimping. But nearly everytime I got an image onto my computer when I zoomed in to 100% there was a problem with the focus. My images were, well – soft at best to much of the time. I’ve started obsessing with what was going on and finaly a month ago I had a breakthrough.

You see, I’ve been listening to “experts”. I had heard and was told over and over that lenses were created to operate best (sharpest) at F9 to F11 and I simply accepted that. My breakthrough came when I took a picture on a really bright sunny day (so a really fast shutter speed) and while sitting (so little body movement) of a sign (so absolutely stationary). It was soft – again. It finally occurred to me to try different apertures and I did.

The lens I was using was the lens I use most often, a Tamron 70-300 and boy was I suprised to find out that F8 was not sharp. The sweet spot for my lens turned out to be F19 – F22. I finally feel like I can take pictures again! Well, in Tumbler Ridge I did just that.

The club arrived at the hotel Friday night and we did our usual pot luck dinner.

Saturday morning we headed over to the Dinasour Discovery Gallery. From there we went to see the dinasour tracks along the Flatbed Creek. Afterwards we went for lunch near the city hall and then off to Bullmoose Marshes. We went to Western Steak House for dinner (I won’t do that again, see my review in the link) and then to Quality Creek Falls.

Sunday morning we headed out to the Shipyard-Tatanic Hiking Trails. Let me just say “OMG!” What a gem we have there.

I stayed at my son’s place Sunday night and headed home Monday and I’m glad I did. Stopping along the way I had the pleasure of taking pictures of wildlife I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to.

Better than that though is now that I know what is wrong with my hit/miss sharp pictures – I took hundreds of really nice images. Here are a few for you with more in my flickr share (with more to come there) here https://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel.

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Prism Photography 20170307

The photo club went and purchased twenty two six inch glass prisms. Members purchased them from the club and now our challenge is to make great images using prisms. In our last meeting in February we practiced a bit with our prisms in the church meeting room. Some folks brought lights, backgrounds and things to take pictures of. Here are a couple of my practice pictures, higher resolution ones will be in my flickr share here https://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel and I take more I’ll upload them there as well.

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Hill Top 20170206

We went to our little slice of heaven yesterday. It was a cold day but I enjoyed the time on the hill top. I took some pictures of tracks and things I just liked looking at. Nothing earth shattering but stuff I liked.

Here are a few images for you with more at my flickr share here http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel.

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Long Exposure Workshop – September 30 to October 2, 2016

A three day workshop with Marc Koegel a Vancouver, BC based photographer turned out to be a really cool way of learning a new skill. Marc was a great teacher as his teaching style was easy to follow and he concentrated his time on the workshop attendees. If you’re not familiar with Marc or his work check him out here.

Not only did I learn about Marc’s technique but I also learned an important aspect of working with my own images. I don’t have to have real to life images! I have been trying for so long to “get it right in camera” that I’ve forgotten to move on to post processing and photo manipulation. Probably the single most important thing I learned was that it was OK to create art from my images. Thanks Marc!

In the spirit of what I learned over the three days I’d like to share some of my work from the workshop and I will. But first, what is long exposure? There are various definitions but the one Marc gave is one I like – “Long exposure is anything that causes movement to be blurred.” Accordingly it can be a 1/250th of a second shot of something so fast that it shows up blurred or it can be a 1 hour shot of the moon transiting the sky at night.

It is the longer exposures I went to the workshop for. The kind that my camera can’t do by itself – not without the aid of really dark filters. Neutral Density filters to be exact. Also known as ND’s, they block light from reaching or camera’s sensor – or at least slow it down. Because the camera has to take so much more time to capture an image all ND’s end up introducing a colour cast. (Mine introduced a heavy magenta colour cast.)

Marc recommended taking a standard well exposed shot then putting the filters on and working from there. This recommendation allows you to compare before and after images for a variety of reasons. For me, it allows me to share the differing results along the way from start to finish.

Shows a pulp mill along a shore of a river.

Camera Defaults: F/16, 1/6s, 200 ISO

In the image above the camera was set for a sunny white balance (hence the blue cast) and the rest of the images here have the same white balance setting. I usually would process the image in DXO’s Optics Pro and be done. Something like this would end up being my “default” image.

Shows a pulp mill along a shore of a river.

DXO Processed Image

After putting the ND filters onto the camera – a total of 16 stops (two ND filters, 10 & 6) a recalculation of the duration needs to be done. In the next image a two minute exposure with the 16 stops of filters in place was made.

Shows a pulp mill along a shore of a river using a long exposure.

F/11, 121.3s, 200 ISO

In this camera processed image the magenta colour cast is because of the low quality filters I purchased. It turns out the Formatt-Hitech filters were likely “old stock” – Marc indicated new ones don’t have this bad of a colour cast. At any rate its easy enough to remove in post processing. So playing around in DXO again I ended up with this one.

Shows a pulp mill along a shore of a river using a long exposure.

The colour cast is still evident but already you can see the effects of a long exposure vs the original. Marc however doesn’t stop there – he likes to convert his images to striking works of art in B&W and with that in mind I didn’t bother trying to rid the remaining cast from the image. My next step was to turn it into my own flavour of a monochrome “art” piece (if I could).

After a couple of tries I’ve come up with a couple of versions.

swirling_smoke_mill_fraser_river-custom

I’m not done yet – but I think this one is good enough to get a feel for where I’m heading with this style of photography. Today I re-did my post processing with a similar image and I like it better this way.

Shows a pulp mill along a shore of a river using a long exposure.

F/4, 20.8 s, 200 ISO

Leave me a comment, let me know what you think.


Experiments in New Worlds, Perseids Meteors & Flowers

I started experimenting with making small worlds from my photographs. I’m not skilled in using Photoshop – despite that, I’m fairly happy with the end result. I’ll keep doing more of them and trying to perfect the technique so I can minimise my Photoshop-ing.

Shows a playground turned into a world of trees and the playground

Little World

Next up are some flowers my wife has grown from seed. I wanted to practice a little with my flash and capture the flowers using a macro lens. Using the flash allowed me to hand hold the camera. I’m happy with the results and look forward to doing more macro photography. Here’s a couple with the rest in my flickr share here https://flic.kr/s/aHskGjnDy6

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Persied Meteor Showers

I’ve been looking forward to this event all week. I planned to go to a lonely place in the dark and setup for a long night on my own to take pictures and hopefully capture a few meteors. Here are the images from the skies https://flic.kr/s/aHskGjE882 and couple to preview.

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While processing my images I discovered I captured a galaxy (Triangulum I think). To the galaxy you’ll have to go the Flickr share and look at the high resolution image there. Look on the right side of the image about middle of the way up. You’ll also see some meteor streaks near it. After a while I put my fish eye lens on and captured the Milkyway over West Lake.  


Pride Parade/Hubble Picnic/Gardening & Water Falls

What do all four have in common?

Nothing really, but I photographed the Prince George, BC Pride Parade, the Hubble Homestead picnic for our Photo Club’s annual picnic, some garden results we’re getting & Hixon Falls when I went there for the first time! I just haven’t blogged much about any of them so here they are with some select picture for you to view and as always the rest are on my Flickr share at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel.

Prince George Pride Parade

We went to the Pride parade on July 19th, 2016. I expected a bit more racy and drag stuff but it was very family friendly and nothing anyone could consider “offensive” (well, nothing anyone in this day and age should consider offensive.) Here are a couple of images from Pride.

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I enjoyed working with the images, making some with Black & White backgrounds. It takes more work but I like the results. More images are in my album here https://flic.kr/s/aHskCuhmqW.

Picnic at Hubble Homestead

Each year the Photo Club (Prince George Photographic Society) has it’s member picnic. This year we held it at Hubble Homestead. I had brought my remote shutter release and long exposure filters with me in the hopes of trying them out along the river. Unfortunately the shutter release didn’t work and I made a simple mistake of using the wrong ND filters. So, I bombed out on that try! Still, I got a few images on the O’l Homestead that I liked. Here’s a couple for you.

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More images are in my album here https://flic.kr/s/aHskAx4L69.

Garden Shots

I bought a new off camera flash for my gear. I hadn’t really worked with one before so when my wife told me she was going to harvest our currents I decided I better get out there and try it out. Putting on my Macro lens and using my flash off camera (remotely) I experimented with the currents. Then a few others! Here are a couple of images for you.

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There is more in my album here https://flic.kr/s/aHskAx6Bwb.

Hixon Falls

Hixon Falls is fairly close to where I live (Hixon being about an hour away). So, after living here for twenty one years there really wasn’t a good reason to have not been there yet! I thought this would be another opportunity to try out my ND filters with long exposure – cause who doesn’t like a great water fall shot! Right? Once again I ran into issues – but I over came them. This time I used the correct ND filters (yea me…) and managed a few long exposure images I’m happy with (if not terribly interesting at least technically correct!) So, here are a few for you.

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I took several pictures from above the falls to show how dangerous that area is. There are no warning signs posted – just memorial signs, so if you above the falls be careful. The slopes above falls are very step and extremely difficult to get up. We went back to the parking area and walked up a side road till we could hear the falls. Then started following paths in and quickly found the top of the falls. I think this image best displays just how dangerous it is up there.

Shows dangerously steep cliff side to water fall

More images of the top side are in my album here https://flic.kr/s/aHskETciaj


Barkerville (part 2)

I saved four images of the water wheel in motion and wanted to make them into a gif to show. Unfortunately though Flickr doesn’t seem to animate the gif, so I’m placing it here. I also uploaded a short video of some period actors singing “Oh my darling” which you might be interested in. It’s on Flickr here https://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel.

gif animation showing a 1800's era water wheel in motion.

Water Wheel


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