Saturday, September 23, 2017

The long awaited Tombstone Park, Yukon photos

In some ways I'm still digesting the Yukon trip. Each photo I edit brings back memories and thoughts, these Tombstone ones in particular.

I still can't get over the light and how it reacts with the vegetation and stone. Sometimes everything is so dull because the shadows are so dark, and a few minutes later it will look entirely different because it's in strong sunlight. Plus I was taking photos with different lenses and focal lengths, so forgive me if it looks like I've repeated a photo.

If I went through the file numbers and thought about it I could probably tell more closely where the photos were taken, but all you need to know is they were on the main road, with a minor detour up a road you can't drive on anymore. We drove all the way to the north end of the park, enjoyed the view of Chapman Lake, and drove back, with frequent stops along the way. I don't think we hit every scenic lookout, but if I were doing it again, I would, and probably lots of random spots along the road. Maybe renting one of those RV campers would be a good idea, since it would take me forever to get anywhere.

Especially since the view changes about every 10 feet, and the light changes everything just as quickly. The landscapes beg to be looked at through the prism of lines, shapes, forms, textures, but then your brain melts and you're overwhelmed all over again.

Every time I think I want to print one of these, another catches my eye and begs to be printed as well. That might turn into a problem really quickly. I'm suspecting one of the Tombstone photos will be image of the month, but lets wait a week or so and see.

I'd like to think these will need to be looked at on a desktop, even if they aren't panoramas like the other day. There are still some auroras to be made into time-lapse movies, but I need to make some space for that. Plus there are probably some lovely photos that have slipped through my editing process, and I'll just have to include them as I go along. I know that will damage the souls of my readers, but you'll just have to cope.


Friday, September 22, 2017


Today was a quiet day, partly drinking mint tea and being a lap for cats, partly thinking about stuff. A cool rainy day is a good day for that. The most active thing I did was run 5K, 36:30, 7:17/K pace followed by editing a pair of contemplative photo. See below. Yes, Yukon, part of the large beaver pond in Tombstone.

I'm thinking about what my next photo project will be, now that I'm back from Yukon, though I'm still chewing through photos. I wanted to give myself a break today. I'm thinking of some art projects, but also of building a light box and learning to photograph small round shiny glass objects. Glass paperweights, if you must know. Plus macro stuff, of course. I have some ideas there. We are thinking of assembling a bunch of the 2017 garden photos into a large mural to get printed. There are several thousand shots to go through, and we need to think about how to design such a thing.

I'd also like to do some day trips with other photo people. I've some ideas there, including more winter Fish Creek walks/snowshoes, exploring more of the river pathways and pedestrian bridges. If you want to come along, or if you're looking for company on an expedition of your own, let me know.

Yesterday I finished the seasonal wine bottling, and I'm looking at the next batch of wine kits to buy. So far there are 5 or 6 kits that look like winners, but I don't think I've seen all the choices yet. Right now I've got 5 kit's worth of glass to fill. I've also got about 10 cases of glass I want to sell. It's clear, but the bottles have a dimple in the bottom I don't like, and are a touch narrower than the rest of my glass. I'll give you a good price on it if you come get it, and when the last of the wine in those kinds of bottles is done, you get first call on those bottles as well.

While up in Yukon I was hot to trot to buy a longer lens (150-600mm, still need to research the fine points of difference between Sigma and Tamron), and maybe a new camera body. Now that I'm home and reviewing my budget I'm less hot to trot. There's some storage space changes to be made first, I think, and my buddy Ken was really helpful in that regard.

I'm just coming up on 3 months without a day job, and I'm loving it so far. It seems like we've always got something on the go, and the weeks have gone by quickly. I guess the next few weeks are going to be putting the garden to bed for the winter, and tidying up the garage for winter. Linda has had a lovely summer in the garden, and is sad to see her plants bowing before the inevitable. She's started a Master Gardener course through the Calgary Hort society and the Zoo, and so far so good.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Yukon panorama day

Along the way I took various kinds of shots. Some documentary, such as signs about the places we were. That's an easy way to remember where and what the surrounding shots are. Some are tourist shots, because you can't help yourself. Some are HDR because of the lighting. Aurora and star shots, of course, that was the whole point of the trip. Some I've tried to be artistic in one way or another. A couple were macro shots. I'm a big fan of reflection shots and work those in wherever I can. Some are panoramas because, well, the scene is so huge. There was lots of huge scenery. Here you are. You'll probably want to embiggen these on your desktop, and play with your browser screen size to be as wide as it will go.

This is the Fox Lake Burn outlook. Loved the textures of the different trees and the hills. Just off to the right it's a long way down.

Pelly River outlook has a huge view. Here's the first shot you saw with the bridge. It's only a small fraction of what you can see. Just in front of us is a long way down.

Here's the panorama of it I was talking about. It's the widest I've ever done, and I'm not sure how successful it is on screen because it's 38437 x 5159 pixels, or just a hair under 7.5 units wide for every 1 tall. What you see here is just under a MB file size, while the actual image is about 900 GB. So much detail if you zoom in. Perfect for that really wide space you've been wondering how to fill.

This is above carcross desert, and is included here in case you missed it in the desert blog.

 Five Finger Rapids. There were stairs, but if you missed them, it was a long way down.

 Tintina trench overview through a wide lens.

Same view, through a 70 mm lens. This is 22794 x 5903 pixels, or about 3.8 units wide for every 1 unit tall. Say, 2 feet by 7.75 feet.

Tombstone day. I think was on the road to the park, not within it.

From the park interpretive centre. There will be more photos from Tombstone.

Technically, this isn't a panorama, but it feels like it, and plus, if you stepped forwards it was a long way down. This was the view on the last night, when we weren't looking up at the spectacular auroras.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wildlife. Wooden or otherwise. Caged and free.

One of the highlights for many people on photo trips is to capture images of wildlife.  I don't have quite a big enough lens to go hunting for those shots, but sometimes I get lucky. A couple of these images have appeared on Facebook or my blog, but I'm losing track. Forgive me. I suppose I should have built a system of file naming so I'd know if I'd published an image or not, but that seems over the top on the geek front.

This little guy had a den in the Sundog Retreat. We saw him several times, but without a camera in hand. He came up to check me out while I was setting up to shoot the aurora. There I am, super wide lens, on the tripod all set up, and there he or she is, within about 6 feet of me. Not aggressive, just curious. I tried a couple shots with the wide lens, then he sat back a bit and I switched lenses. I was so happy with this shot in camera, especially since he or she started trotting off. On screen I see a bit of vegetation obscuring the face. Sigh. The rest of the shots are much worse.

This is the wooden one. I liked the smile.

An injured eagle at the wildlife preserve.

Even though he was on the other side of a sturdy fence, that glare and beak, to say nothing of the claws, were plenty intimidating.

 The raven was in the same enclosure as the eagle, but the two were not quite buddies, our guide said.

The Lynx were cool. We didn't see them at first, but they showed up when our guide produced the white bucket. She told us to stand over there, because that's where the meat was going. I had somehow envisioned a more elegant solution than throwing it over a tall fence, but I guess that's the Yukon way, go with what works.

This was along the road to Fish Lake, I think. Everybody else was shooting these 5 big birds in a tree, but I knew I wouldn't get any detail. Then one flew off.

I know I included Mr bear earlier, but some of you may have missed it. We saw it far enough ahead we could stop. Neil was trying to get everyone organized to get a shot without the driver freaking out. It seemed ok with us being quite a ways away. Everybody was all jammed up at the front of the bus getting ready, so I slid the window open. I couldn't get the camera out so I shot slant-wise through the opening. A second later a truck drove by and startled the bear and he vanished into the bush. Everybody was pretty cheesed.

This beaver is the only wildlife we saw in Tombstone. Its a big one, with a huge long dam, a big house, and a big supply of food nearby. If I overheard our guide correctly, beavers had been working on this for many years.We saw a beaver in Bonanza creek, but all I got was his nose.

We were all disappointed that we didn't see a moose in the wild. Or get a photo of that wild lynx, that would have made my week.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Yukon has a desert. Really. Who knew?

Time for some landscapes. These are between Whitehorse and Carcross. This is a very pretty drive as the leaves are changing colour, with some nice lakes. The surprise just outside Carcross is a desert. Truly.


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