My good friend Ken Bennison asked me to come with him on a trip up the West Branch this past weekend. But before I get to that, I should explain the title on this blog post. It came up as we were waiting for the light to be in the perfect spot, and for the wind to die down a bit.
Extremist is (what I learned on this trip) more or less what his own family affectionately calls him, and it refers to the way he approaches his photography. There is a very good reason why Ken is an incredible artist/landscape photographer. He does what a lot of other people wont do. He gets up at an ungodly hour, drive,hike or canoe for hours, (obviously not at the same time, but most of the time he will have to do all three to get to his location of choice.) And when he gets there he will explore the area, figure out what he want to shot, and wait for the perfect conditions to happen. Ken is not afraid to wait for hours for his shot. He knows exactly what he wants in a picture, and if the conditions aren’t there, he wont even take the camera out of the bag, because he wont be able to use the shot anyway, so if he doesn’t get the shot, he will simply return to the same spot again and again until he gets the shot he has in his mind. And the results speaks for themselves. Check out his website. I should mention that Ken’s is shooting with a Canon 7D, one lens (28-135mm) and his trusty SLIK tripod. Yes, Ken only use one lens.
Anyway, so this past weekend we were up at the West branch north of Webbwood, Ontario. A place I haven’t been to in 2 years, so it was nice to go there again, and revisit some of the places I have shot before. Examples of previous posts can be found here, here and here. We are about 80 km (~50 Miles) in the bush, driving on a gravel logging road. The weather was perfect. No wind, sunshine and frost in the air. After having shot at a couple of locations, we wound up at the little lake where I had taken the Moonshine shot a couple of years ago. All of a sudden the sunshine starts to come through the trees, and lights up some grasses in the lake. Being the extremist that Ken is, gets up and wades out into the shallow waters. Ankle deep in loon and beaver crap he sets up his tripod and starts to compose a shot. I thought this would be a good time to get a shot of him in action, so I took a few of him shooting this sunlit grass, with some mist in the background.
The shot below is my shot from this location. Not being an extremist, I of course did not go into the water.
The skies here in Northern Ontario are usually one of two things. Grey skies, or no skies at all. Occasionally we get lucky and get some pretty spectacular stuff but that is rare. I wish we would get something like this or this - both shot by Scott Ackerman. Another great cloud shot is this one by Mike Olbinski – amazing stuff. Well, I got to work with what we get up here, so the next couple of posts will be feature skies and clouds from my neck of the woods.
We took a walk friday night after a small rain storm had passed. As the dark clouds were moving on leaving just blue sky behind, the sun all of a sudden peeped out beneath the cloud cover. A quick shot at f/22 to get the star burst effect. In LR a gradient adjustment to lighten the sky at the top of the image. My vantage point was not the best but I’m glad I at least had my camera with me.
So I was out shooting with my buddy Ken Bennison last Sunday at Killarney Prov. Park, Ontario. Absolutely beautiful place. Lots of rocks, trees and lakes.
On a day with ideal conditions, killer shots are there for the taking.
Well, last Sunday was not one of those days. It was way to windy to get any good shots of the lake (I have to get me a 10 stop ND filter). The trees were all over the place. The light was not really playing ball either as it got hazy late in the evening. We had hoped the wind would die down and the light to improve, so we could start shooting, but it never really happened. So instead of admiring the view, which we had already done for some time, I decided to wander off into the bush to see if I could find something else to shoot.
I saw this shot as an opportunity to practice some HDR. As you can see its just a pile of rocks with an old withered piece of wood leaning up against it. I shot a few sets of brackets and moved on. It was not until tonight when I imported the images into LR that I realized what I had shot. I thought it was kind of cool looking, and I also kind of hope you see what I see.
You don’t, huh? Darn it…
Well, lemme splain. I was whipping pretty fast through all the shots in LR because I did not expect to have anything worth sharing. But something made me go stop and go back to take a second look at the brackets I shot at this spot. Then I realized that the piece of wood looked like a fossilized head and neck of an old prehistoric bird. The shape of a bird’s head was there, it had the eye in the right place, the beak was in the right place too and it was long and slightly open. It even looked like it had something in its beak for crying out loud, maybe a small fish. – Cool!
The green mos on top of its head looked like it belonged there. Something I totally did not expect. Needles to say, if I go back there and it hasn’t been disturbed, I’m going to try to get some different angles and apertures on this “old bird”
It is not a spectacular shot in any way but it was a huge surprise to discover this, and since our outing was pretty much skunked as Ken put it I thought it could be fun to process the brackets and post the result here. As it turns out, looking through the rest of my shots, I found another rock feature that has the shape of another animal. Maybe I’ll post that later.
Let me know what you see.
Thanks for looking.