Category Archives: Nature

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.


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


Farm

We were out on the farm (private property, so geo tags are not included on this set of images) to plant potatoes (well, my wife was…) and thought I’d go in search of pictures. As I walked to the hay-field I noticed a path through it, so I followed that. I came across a few flowers and I took images of them. I was surprised at how “alive” the rose was, it was crawling with very tiny insects – cool!

I carried on into the forest beyond the fence and found a few opportunities there as well. I walked towards a creek on the property and surprised a bear in hiding – not a good thing to do. It jumped up a tree to get a better look at me (and presumably size me up for dinner?) I immediately started backing away from it as I was only about 20 feet away. I took the chance to snap a quick shot (or two) but not much more. The second was blurry and the bear was starting to grunt and climb down. Fortunately the brown, black bear and I went our separate ways. My wife reminded me that it could have ended much differently…

From the hay-field I tried to set up a number of images to use for a panoramic view of the Rockies off in the distance – but I’ve spent several hours trying to correct Windows 10 upgrade issues with permissions on my computer (way to go Microsoft…) It seems that Hugin can’t handle something about the images as well and the latest version won’t install (actually any Microsoft installer seems to be having issues.) So, when I get that straightened out I’ll post something about it then. Till then here are a few images I’m happy with and the rest as usual are on my Flickr share at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel. I’ll always try to upload smaller resolution images here to help you with viewing and you’ll always be able to view higher resolution images on my Flickr share.

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Ginter’s 2nd Night 20160506

I wasn’t satisfied with the previous nights attempt and since it was now Friday I wanted to try again. I was really after stars in a photograph and to learn more about my camera and night-time photography.

This time I chose my 35mm prime lens. I wanted some city type shots with stars overhead. I also wanted to get the “Big Dipper” and try some different things with aperture, ISO and shutter speeds to see how the images were affected.

Again I setup my tripod, camera and tablet and let loose with finger tapping on the tablet screen. While it was a lot darker than the night before the connected tablet let me do previews of what it would take. This gave me the opportunity to do some composing for the shot, before the shot. Which ultimately is actually just taking a picture, view the results and then deciding if it was good enough before taking a picture to keep.

I’m curious also about the program I’m using to edit images – DXO OpticsPro 10. OpticsPro 10 has a high noise reduction option which DXO claims to be the best. Since I shoot RAW & Fine JPG combined I’m going to compare Nikon’s D90 JPG image processing with the results of the RAW processed images to how DXO and Nikon look side  by side.

First up is a set of images that show the effect aperture has on the image with this particular lens. These images are all straight from the camera using Nikon’s built-in jpg image processing.

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While its pretty clear that the aperture lets more light in the image suffers because the lens isn’t designed for optimal focusing at F4. F8 gave a better result for sharpness in the stars but at ISO 400 it was pretty dark. Boosting the ISO to 640 helped show more star light.

Next lets take a look at DXO’s processing of the RAW images. Using DXO’s Night preset (I didn’t alter anything.)

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OK, I think DXO wins. It seems the worst image clearer after DXO processed the RAW. I like what the presets did for the rest of the images too.

The remaining images are in my Flickr share here http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel except for this one. I’m including it here just because it caught a satellite passing. The image is pretty bad but it does demonstrate what happens when you’re focusing on technology instead of trying to pay attention to your surroundings.

Ginters at Night May 6, 2015 15Small

Satellite (passing lower right)


Ancient Forest August 23, 2015

The ancient forest is north america’s only inland rain forest. It’s ancient because some of the trees are estimated to have been alive since the time of Christ. It’s nice to have this gem so close to home (about an hour away). We got there later than I wanted to be and I had to leave earlier than I wanted but I still got a few images – nothing spectacular. Here is one for you with the rest on my flickr share at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kwgagel/.

Shows Sir Alexander mountain peak in the background

Sir Alexander


Teapot Mountain

We went to Teapot Mountain yesterday (Thursday June 25th, 2015). A steep climb up but a doable climb if you’re reasonably fit/mobile. Not for the faint of heart or those with mobility issues. It was a lovely day to make the ascent – even with the mosquitoes nipping at our heels.

We had the pleasure of multiple views – with Teapot being an abrupt lump in the middle of a relativity flat landscape. I was surprised by the amount of wild berries on the mountain top. We had a bunch to eat while we looked, explored and experienced the wilderness as many before had as well. If you ever make the trek, please clean up after yourself and pick up something extra to make up for those who didn’t.

Among the many views we saw the beaver habitat below us and to the west. Summit Lake to the south. Crooked River to the north and east along with the highway and the forest service road that brought us to this lovely park.

While on the summit we saw a Western Tanager and a Three-toed Woodpecker. Both were males as evidenced by the tanager’s red cap and throat and the Three-toed’s yellow cap.

I took lots of pictures, but here are just a few to wet your appetite, the rest are in my flickr share at https://flic.kr/s/aHskeVJk19.

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