Photography

Snow falling on elm trees

Posted by on 31. March 2015 in Blog / Journal, Photography | Comments Off on Snow falling on elm trees

Snow falling on elm trees

With record high springtime temperatures in Saskatoon, it is easy to forget that not so long ago we had a few intense snow storms. Although, nothing like what friends in the Atlantic Canada had to deal with. During one heavy snowfall, I took advantage of a lunch break to snap a few images on the University of Saskatchewan campus. It is tricky to capture small crystals so I decided to use a telephoto lens (200 mm) to compress the space and enhance the soft effect of falling snow flakes. If you are familiar with the U of S campus, I walked around the Bowl until I found a nice location across the Biology building. I pointed the camera at a spot where elm trees created a compositional frame, and waited for an interesting subject (or subjects) to walk by. It was a quiet afternoon and it took a lot of patience to wait for someone wearing a brightly coloured jacket.     If you are familiar with the colour theory, colours have certain intensity or “strength” value. Less intense colours (like blue or violet) have a calming effect. More intense colours (like red or yellow) are often used as highlights because they attract our attention. If you assign a numerical value to colour strength, yellow would have a value of 9, followed by an orange (8), red and green (6), blue (4), violet (3) etc. Conversely, the area needed to be covered by a particular colour to make up for the lack of strength shrinks from violet to yellow. Red or yellow are “strong” colours so they only need to appear in a small area of our image to attract attention. Hence, try to incorporate small patches of red or yellow within the frame to add some interest.     Once I had enough of playing with colours, I started looking for patterns and shapes in the landscape. The University of Saskatchewan, with numerous building graced by beautiful stone masonry, offers a perfect environment to practice your photography composition skills. Diagonal lines, curves, frames within frames, it is all there. Here is a sample photograph of a building near Place Riel.     Next time bad weather comes your way, grab the camera and head outdoors – there are treasures to be found in those snowflakes falling on elm trees....

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SENS Photo Contest winning entries

Posted by on 7. August 2014 in Blog / Journal, News & Events, Photography | 2 comments

SENS Photo Contest winning entries

Two of my images won “Best in the Category” prize in the 2014 School of Environment and Sustainability Photo Contest. Each year, SENS holds a photo contest to showcase the photography talents of school’s students and alumni. Category winners and the overall show winner are selected by popular vote.  I entered several images and won in two categories: Sustainable Community and The Urban Environmentt. Category winners and the overall winner are posted on the SENS Web site. Besides bragging rights that my images are winning entries in the “international” photo contest (SENS students come from the United States, Mexico and many countries around the world), I also received as small financial award. My images will be displayed in SENS hallways at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. Here are the two winning entries and a short description that accompanied the images during the vote.   Category winner: Sustainable Community   Community Pasture Program, administered by the Canada’s federal government was designed to assist small- and medium-sized mixed farm operations. Each fall, PFRA pasture managers work with hired riders to sort out cattle for delivery to patrons at the end of the grazing season. These cowboys are crucial in maintaining a proper management of the pastures, for the benefit of pasture users as well as plants and animals that rely on a healthy prairie ecosystem. In October of 2013 I visited the Wolverine PFRA pasture near Lanigan, Saskatchewan to document the cowboy life, part of our cultural heritage and tradition that has a crucial role in sustainable management of our grasslands.   Category winner: The Urban Environment   Saskatoon city skyline reflecting in South Saskatchewan River at dusk. This is a panorama composite image created from 3 separate frames. I took this picture to mark the 2012 World Rivers Day.   P.S. You might be interested in seeing a few images from older posts celebrating the 2013 World Rivers Day and 2012 World Water Day....

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Canadian Bondar Challenge – a photo contest to connect youth with nature

Posted by on 30. July 2014 in Blog / Journal, News & Events, Photography | Comments Off on Canadian Bondar Challenge – a photo contest to connect youth with nature

Canadian Bondar Challenge – a photo contest to connect youth with nature

Roberta Bondar Foundation is launching the Canadian Bondar Challenge, a weekly photo contest to encourage Canadian youth ages 13 – 18 to explore the natural environment in their communities. The contest goal is to promote a hands-on outdoor experience that inspires the sense of awe, respect and appreciation for living organisms that share our planet. I am not personally connected with the Foundation, just passing on this information because I believe we have to do something about the growing nature experience deficit in our society.     The photo contest will run throughout the month of August 2014. At the end of each week (each Friday), participants are asked to contribute one photograph that demonstrates the weekly theme along with a mini-essay (maximum 200 words) explaining their image, and why they took it. The contest will provide some friendly competition for youth from every Canadian province and territory, to show off what makes their environment so special. Winners will receive a $50 gift certificate to various outdoor outfitters, The Roberta Bondar Foundation swag, a chance to have their photographs featured on the  Foundation web & social media sites, and images displayed alongside Dr. Roberta Bondar’s photographs in The Foundation’s Travelling Exhibition. To make the participation as easy as possible, there are no technical restrictions for submitted photographs. How to participate: Explore the natural environment around you. Take a photograph of what interests you most. Write a mini-essay (maximum 200 words) describing why you chose the photograph. Submit your image and written piece to contest@therobertabondarfoundation.org Follow the photo competition progress on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WIN. Theme of the Week: Week 1 – submit by Friday, August 8, 2014 The Colours of Canada: demonstrate the diversity of colours in different natural environments in Canada. Week 2 – submit by Friday, August 15, 2014 Finding Water: display the precious water source around you : lakes, rivers, oceans or a rainy day. Week 3 – submit by Friday, August 22, 2014 In the Clouds: capture life in the sky. This could be mountains, clouds, sunsets, trees or birds (for example). Week 4 – submit by Friday, August 29, 2014 What makes it Special: show off the uniqueness of the natural environment in your region.     Visit the Roberta Bondar Foundation web site to learn more....

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A cover like no other

Posted by on 25. July 2014 in Blog / Journal, Photography | Comments Off on A cover like no other

A cover like no other

My images appear on the front cover of magazines, books, corporate reports, calendars, phone books, and even lottery tickets. Now I can include a new item on the bragging list, a front cover of the scientific journal Plant Molecular Biology. Some time ago a co-worker asked me if I could help him take a few pictures of the plant subject he has been studying. The model in question was a wild relative of the common canola crop widely grown across the Canadian Prairies. This particular species, Brassica villosa for people who care about scientific names, has very dense trichomes (plant hairs) and strong resistance to many insect pests that like to munch on canola and vegetable crops. Trichomes, or plant hair cells, act as a natural barrier to plant predatory insects. They also act as a mechanical barrier that assist plants in reducing dehydration. Brassica villosa is a wild species growing on the limestone cliffs and rocky mountain slopes of Sicily, Italy. It is particularly hairy; someone actually counted that there could be over 2,172 trichomes per square centimetre. They cover all parts of the plant. Insects find this species prickly and avoid eating them. So, a research group at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada decided to study this species and try to figure out how the trichomes are formed, and if this characteristic could be bred into the commercial canola crops and related vegetables. Growing hairy canola would increase natural resistance to pesky insect and allow for reduced amount of pesticides that are regularly applied to crops every year. We took a few close-up images in the greenhouse showing the plants and all the hairy details. After the manuscript was submitted for publication, journal editors asked if we could submit images for a possible cover. At the end, this image was selected and used. Pretty cool, don’t you think?...

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Macro and flower photography hike at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park

Posted by on 12. July 2014 in Blog / Journal, Photography, Workshops | Comments Off on Macro and flower photography hike at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park

Macro and flower photography hike at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park

Join us for a hike of inspiration and photography instruction in a beautiful natural setting of Buffalo Pound Provincial Park near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Fine-tune your photography skills and try out photo techniques to help you produce beautiful and unique images of flowers and intricate details in nature. Date: Saturday, 19. July 2014 Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Place: Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, about 25 km northeast of the city of Moose Jaw. Please check the Park web site for up-to-date road conditions. We will meet at the Park Entry Office. Cost: Free to participate. There is a daily Park entrance fee. In this hands-on photography tutorial, I will share a few tips and tricks on photographing flowers in the field, talk about creative use of different lenses and camera settings to control perspective and depth of field, and show natural and artificial lighting techniques in macro photography. Suitable for photographers of all skill levels....

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