Winter Solstice 2

Winter Solstice 2

Another image, just a few days old, taken during Toronto’s ice storm just around the winter solstice.

Oddly, many of the icicles on the trees were positioned horizontally suggesting either a significant wind during the storm or the weight of the ice altered the position of the leaves during the ice build-up.

With heavy rain and flooding and this ice storm, Toronto has seen some very unusual weather this year.

Winter Solstice 1

Winter Solstice 1

This year Mother Earth decided to give us an inspiring refresher course on how to decorate the Christmas tree.

These courses are really “cool” but are given maybe once every 20 years. After the course, we received some homework.

I never enjoyed doing homework – but this was extraordinary.

One challenge with this image was the height of the subject. The tripod was fully extended and marginally stable.

The other challenge was finding the proper compromise between minimum required sharpness and a soft and pleasing background, ie. which f-stop to use?

To figure this out, I had to estimate as well as possible the plane in which the main subject matter was located and arrange the direction of the lens perpendicular to that plane. That would give the best image sharpness with the most acceptable softness of the background.

The full extension of the tripod barely allowed this.

The camera date embedded in the image shows that I ended up with the following settings: 1/4 second at f-10 (F-100mm Macro.)

At this slow shutter speed with an unsteady tripod, mirror lock-up is a good idea. It reduces the chance that mirror shake will cause any vibration of the camera.

Before spending your money, make sure your camera has this feature. Most of the better SLR’s do. The alternative would be to jack up the ISO setting which would give a faster shutter speed, but reduce image quality.

The ice storm had knocked out the power in my house. But it sure felt like the Force was with me!

Early Christmas!

Early Christmas!

What a difference a day makes! One day, August 28th, the weather in Inuvik on the Arctic Ocean coast was sunny and the temperature was a balmy 20 degrees.

The next morning Ted Halwa and I awoke to a snowstorm, 10 cm of fresh snow already on the ground. A frigid reminder we were very close to the North Pole’s ice cap.

We were soon driving southbound and the scenery was spectacular. The storm let up after it had dropped 10 to 20 cm of wet snow on the boreal forest and the tundra.

Later in the day the snow cover thinned more and more and eventually there was only a trace left at the higher elevations.

On Eagle Plains, the mid point of the Dempster Highway, the snow on the trees, exposed to the cold northerly wind, was hanging on but the snow on the surface had almost all melted, and autumn’s bright-red bearberry leaves had re-appeared.

Something in this scene reminded me of Santa Claus who would be passing over this area in a little while. Was it simply the red, green and white? Getting this image sure felt like getting an early Christmas present. Thank you Santa!

Autumn in the Rocky Mountains 5

Autumn in the Rocky Mountains 5

Medicine Lake is just east of the town of Jasper, Alberta. Aspen stands grow abundantly on its shores. A mid- September snowfall in the area produced a treat for the eye and for this photographer.

Medicine Lake is really only a part-time lake. It usually fills up in the spring and early summer and just becomes the Maligne River later in summer and fall.