Golden ducks of the morning


Muskwa-Kechika B.C. Canada, taken on horseback expedition, find out more about my expeditions at

These beautiful ducks were teasing me when I woke up at 5:00 am in hopes of photographing something in the splendid morning light. I could see expanding rings of ripples emanating from these boat-like creatures from the edge of the lake, if only I could get closer to see them. I set foot to intercept them given the direction they were heading, planning to have them sail by me on the shore. But they were weary of me, and drifted slowly away from me. 

I positioned the camera as close as I could to the waters surface, handheld to get the perspective I wanted: a duck's eye view. Snapping off a few photos I figured I had nothing to lose, maybe if I throw a stick in the direction the ducks were going they would veer away and perhaps come closer. But what they actually did surprised me.


They went towards the splash that my violently careening stick made in the still lake, piercing the morning calmness like a shattered mirror. What!? I threw another one close to me, and sure enough these brazen ducks wiggled their way towards me, as their unseen feet paddled them closer under the water. I decided not to tempt fate any further and let the morning calmness resume. The ducks and I eyed each other for a while until we both carried on our morning business, them with their aqua-stroll and me with my camera.


Rachel and Cassiar


Calgary, Alberta, Canada

We had a fantastic photo shoot this morning with Rachel of R.G Equine Therapy. Incredible morning light and sky east of Calgary. Cassiar the horse was so eager to please it made everything such a breeze! ...And I'm a poet and didn't know it!

As a side note, I've noticed sometimes on facebook there is a bit more interesting discussion. People seem to be  a bit more inquisitive there, so I thought I'd forward you a link where we talk about the lighting in this photo here:

#equinephotography   #horses   #photography   #strobist  

Hank's view

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Muskwa-Kechika, B.C. Canada

I've been ultra busy and am on a big shoot today so this will be a short one sent from my Nexus 5. Hank is one of the biggest horses I've ever seen, also one of the cuddliest. It's sometimes hard to get a photo of him because usually he is coming towards me to check me out and lick the salt off my fingers. He also liked to stick his face in my tent. +Wayne Sawchuk certainly has a keeper here! Taken on my horseback adventure with

The joy of golden light


Muskwa-Kechika, B.C. Canada

This gorgeous morning, +Rachel Gedaliya and I woke up at 5:00 AM to hike up the final 5% of a mountain we were camping on. It was like getting a 95% head start on an epic mountain hike. We literally woke up, grabbed our day bag full of breakfast and reached the mountain top 20 minutes after waking up in time for a sunrise mountain peak breakfast, talk about convenient! The ridge was littered with Elk and Mountain Goats. To have a golden morning sunshine look at these creatures was such a treat, kind of like a visual appetizer.

Photographic Details
Thank goodness the hot summer air was absent, replaced by cool morning refreshingness; this is one of the hidden benefits to waking up early for the golden hour, no sweltering heat.  I was taking tonnes of scenery shots, but I needed something to express how easy this place is to hike, and how wonderful it is to be here. So after catching my breath I asked +Rachel Gedaliya to stand in the exact spot I wanted to and to show the camera how wonderful it is to be here, she certainly delivered. Scenery shots are great, but having a person or animal in it really expresses how livable it is. If this was a landscape with no plants and no people it could almost be a photo from mars! So simply adding a person or animal really does bring accessibility to an image. I also shot this with my telephoto lens, this increases the size of the subject in the background, these lenses are not to be forgotten for landscape photos!

This was taken on expedition with +Wayne Sawchuk, if you want to go to places like these, check out

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon L 70-200 f2.8 lens, f8, 1/100/sec, ISO 100


Golden Horse Sunset


Muskwa-Kechika, B.C., Canada

I'm so excited to finally be posting the photos I got from my trip, it's only been two days but I have a whole load of awesome stuff to share!

Evening golden light was hitting our camp and the one horse that always loved being exactly 100 meters away from the herd was standing in the perfect spot. His name is Percy and thank goodness he was actually standing up, as he treats the ground like his personal sofa most of the time. Come to think of it, he's a pretty odd horse. Percy likes sticking his face in the smoke of the campfire, loves riding up front but walks slower than everyone else, and he's the only white horse in the herd acting like a visual beacon from far away. No doubt, he brings a certain useful quality to the expedition.

Photographic Details
Percy was stuffing his face with the Muskwa-Kechika grass, which wasn't very pretty. The light was hitting him perfectly and I positioned myself so Percy would fit in the right hand side of the image showing the beautiful highlighted peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the background. But I still had to get his attention, and the usual horse noises and weird sounds I made had lost their effect. At last, I threw my leatherman and everything I bought at +MEC that could fit in my pocket into the ground in front of me with a satisfying jingle, this was unusual enough to get Percy to look up and put his fuzzy ears forward for just a second, enough time for me to hit the shutter.

I think +Wayne Sawchuk might have already been in bed, but I was pretty darn happy to be out here in this golden light!

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 70-200 f2.8. f7.1 1/80th

+Rachel Gedaliya of R.G #equine  Therapy treating a horse in preparation for...


+Rachel Gedaliya of R.G #equine  Therapy treating a horse in preparation for our Muskwa-Kechika Adventures trip with +Wayne Sawchuk  this horse is actually enjoying it, she's so relaxed. Any horse people out there who can spot what's up with this horse just by looking? What do you see?

Off to ride the Muskwa-Kechika

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I'm actually writing this from my nexus 5 while on the road to Northern B.C. so here's hoping I don't make an unfortunate autocorrect. I'm joining +Wayne Sawchuk on one of his horseback expeditions to one of the wildest places I've ever heard of with two weeks of no electricity, hundreds of gigs of memory cards and and tonnes of batteries. I'm expecting enough gorgeous scenes to fill every card and empty every battery, and hopefully wear out my gopro. Wish me luck! And if you want to join some time in the future, check out 

Oh look! In support of the +Nature Conservancy of Canada Albertaviews magazine has...


Oh look! In support of the +Nature Conservancy of Canada Albertaviews magazine has published a great story, along with my photos of the Waldron with a very interesting discussion about the politics and state of #conservation   in Alberta and Canada right now. You can find a preview of it here:

The Golden Hours


Waldron Conservation Area, Alberta, Canada

I'm a little bit amazed at how many different looking photos of cows I got in one place. All the other photos I posted in the last few days were all taken in the same place, just a few hours apart footsteps from each other. The time before sunset can be incredibly magical, then there is sunset itself, and the afterglow and twilight after that. All of which combined with weather can create a huge variety of looks and colours.

Photographic Details
The original image of this is about 100 megapixels in size, this is just a small crop of the original. I shot this with my telephoto lens in a portrait orientation and stitched together multiple photographs to create a behemoth of an image.

If you like my techniques and also love the wilderness, check out these horseback expeditions I'll be on with +Wayne Sawchuk at

Canon 5D Mark III, 70-200mm f2.8 Iso 100 f8 1/100th of a sec.
#canada   #alberta   #natureconservancy   #cows   #conservation  +Nature Conservancy of Canada 

Creating useful images for clients


Keeping space for copy

One of the things you do as a commercial photographer is just anticipate images that could be useful for a client. This one was also done for the +Nature Conservancy of Canada . Normal or appropriate workflow when working with someone before a photo shoot is to establish a "shot list". Basically list out the kinds of photos you think you can achieve in a photo shoot combined with the wish list of the client. One of the things I consider is that it's important to keep some photos with "negative space". This is blank space where a graphic designer can have enough room to put in a block of text (or copy) without touching other subjects in the photos. While I try to get photographs that are beautiful on their own, full of subjects, textures and colour, it's often good to get a simple image with a lot of blank space, and a sky can do just wonderfully for such purposes. Next time you look at an advertisement with heavy text over a photo, notice how it might look without the text and you will see how simple a commercial photo might need to be. Sometimes you will be hired to create a body of work that your client doesn't even know it's going to need yet, hence thinking ahead to photos they might need in the future, before they even ask for it.

Photographic Details
These are the same cows in my previous photos from the Waldron, but by now they had started getting used to me and my strange behaviour of squatting by a tripod and even laying down. And because I wasn't chasing them or antagonizing them, they developed a curiosity and started walking towards me. After which their courage would run out and they would run away again. I was laying down in the grass to get more of that dark stormy sky that had passed over us, I made sure that I was focused on them and shot with a huge emphasis of the blank sky.

If You like this post, don't forget to check out the horseback expeditions I'm teaming up with +Wayne Sawchuk on!

Canon 5D Mark III, ISO 100 f5 1/100sec

#commercialphotography   #graphicdesign   #photography   #moo  

Calgary F16 Group Photo Show Reception


I would like to officially invite you to the opening reception for the F16 Group Photo Show which is part of The Camera Store's F16th Anniversary Celebration. We welcome you to drop by on Friday Sept. 7th from 4PM-9PM at Resolution Gallery in Kensington (233 10th Street NW) to check out the photo show which includes one piece of my work and work from: Andras Schram, Bill Peters, Dale Roth & Michele Ramberg, George Barr, George Webber, Jeremy Fokkens, John E. Marriott, Julian Ferreira, Kevin Jordan, Leah Hennel, Mike Drew, Olivier Du Tré, Peter Gold, Scott Dimond, Steve Speer and Todd Korol. Here are the details:

What: A Group Photo Show Opening Reception When: Friday Sept. 7th from 4PM-9PM Where: Resolution Local Art Gallery in the Eleven:Eleven Boutique located at 233 10th Street NW (In Kensington) Calgary, Alberta, Canada. For more information and to view some of the sample images, visit the camera store's webpage.

The Northern Gannet portrait


Ile Bonaventure, Gaspé Peninsula, Quebec, Canada I'm very used to seeing exotic and beautiful bird colonies out in some of the farthest reaches of our world. But this afternoon I spent time in my own country, the gaspé peninsula in a small and picturesque quebec town of Percé, Canada. After enjoying some fine french cuisine of arctic char for lunch I couldn't believe my eyes that after a short ride over to the island I was surrounded by thousands of beautiful white patterned Northern Gannets.  The first thing I noticed as I wandered through the forest is the pungent ammonia and fish like smell of a typical bird colony "they smell just like penguins" I thought. Then the cacophony of calls from the gannets filled the air as the landscape of the colony broke through the trees, the brown colony floor perfectly spaced and dotted with gannets, like they were dollops of icing placed down by some divine gingerbread house maker. It was remarkable to see how each gannet was just one "beak peck" away, as if they hate each other but have to be close enough because of safety in numbers.

I wandered around the colony where there was a wooden observation platform looking down on the gannets. I leaned over the railing and to my surprise just a couple meters below me there was a gannet staring up at me with curiosity. He didn't fidget, or look at me with concern, just sat there as the rain and fog beaded up on his head. I never had such a fantastic viewing angle from a such a beautiful bird like this before.

Photographic Details Because I was using a 400mm Telephoto lens, I had no choice but to actually lift my camera up as high as I could, farther away from the Gannet. These lenses have a   minimum focusing distance and I was actually too close to photograph this bird. I had to hold my camera away from me the way one might hold a baby away from them after they just filled their diaper: you would never drop what's in your hands but you want it as far away from you as possible. I put my camera into the very rarely used live view mode so I could see where the camera was focusing, and shot multiple photos like this. I had to use a high shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second as these birds were constantly looking around shaking their heads and my own hands weren't the most stable platform to be shooting from. I was very happy with the results and to get a shot like this without disturbing this beautiful bird was fantastic. I can't wait to see more places like this in my own "backyard" of Canada. The artistic quality of creating a vertical line from the bottom left to the upper right is what I was going for, I also wanted to express the subtle but beautiful yellow hues this bird has in it's pristine pelage. Focusing on the eye is the standard for a photo like this but the emphasis is in the strong diagonals this bird presents.

Camera Settings Canon EOS 7D ISO400 f5.6 1/1000 sec Canon 100-400mm lens

#birdpoker #birding #gannet #canada #wildlife #birds #quebec #FineArtPls curated by +Marina Chen , and #yisforyellow  curated by +Lucille Galleli and +YisforYellow

Also I'm back! I know you have seen many posts relayed to google plus by my wonderful helper +Kathryn Bechthold while I was away, hence the third person, but rest assured I'm back now and will be glad to answer your questions!

Supermoon, Airplane and Calgary Tower in one


Calgary, Alberta, Canada I really wanted a photo of the supermoon against something that was iconically Calgary. At the same time I didn't want to photoshop the moon to make it look bigger. In order to show a large moon I had to use a telephoto lens and be somewhat far from the tower itself. This meant mapping the path of the moon ahead of time and knowing where I had to stand to get the Calgary tower visible. After a few calculations I knew that I had to be at the Jubilee auditorium, a place I've always gone to and had a fantastic time watching Alberta Ballet or other fantastic shows.

One other problem with shooting such a bright object is that the camera can't capture the comparatively dim lights of the towers and the bright moon at the same time. This required that I take two photos at different exposure levels and mash them together to get the combined details of the moon's beautiful craters and the city's vibrant textures. I had the lucky bonus of an airplane flying in front of the moon while I took the shot, creating a cool streak across the sky.

I have to stress that the the size or shape of the moon has not been manipulated, the only "photoshopping" in this photo is the combining of the two exposures, the large size of the moon is magnified just as much as the tower is by using my 400mm lens on a canon 7D.

Exposure 1 for the city: 4s f/8.0 ISO200 400mm (Brighter) Exposure 2 for the moon 1s f/8.0 ISO100 400mm (Darker)

Cat Skiing


Monashee Mountains British Columbia, Canada "Cat skiing", that is riding this massive snow crawling machine called a caterpillar up rare and fantastic mountains to ski in the most untouched powder one has ever seen.

Sometimes I joke that we just strap cats to our boots, hence this is why ski hills need lots of groomers :P

Photographic Details: I know that the first thing many people will say is "wow is that an HDR (high dynamic range) shot?" or "did you photoshop that?" The answer is no to both. The secret here is RAW photography. Getting the most optimal exposure that covers both the highlights and the shadows in an exposure that is picked with such precision there is no room for error. In Lightroom I'm able to edit the raw file to coax out the details I want in the shadows and the flecks of light on the highlights while preserving the textures where they are needed most. This way I don't need a tripod, I can quickly snap off shot and move on my merry way knowing it will only take a minute for me to process this photo for presentation.

In addition one might wonder what created that fantastic star of a sky, shooting at F16 I employ the most aperture blades in my lens which makes bright objects shine in this wonderful pattern, sunny F16 is a rule for shots like this!

Canon 5D Mark II, 16-35mm Lens 1/160s f/16.0 ISO160 16mm

Viburnum opulus berries


Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada This plant was something that was hard to ignore. While walking along the snowy park with my family the landscape was mostly devoid of colour until a flourish of red caught my eye with a patch of bushes carrying these beautiful red berries.

Many of them were covered in bits of ice and snow, and I had to shoot quickly as the sun was setting. After marveling over the wonderful colour we couldn’t help but see if the berries were frozen too. I suspect they must have a natural anti-freeze in them like many plants fish and amphibians have in them because they exploded in my hand in the -10 degree weather like any berry would on a warm summers day. To me and my brother’s discontent, the berries had a very unpleasant smell to them, we nicknamed them “stink-berries”, and postulated why a plant would want to emit such a fetid aroma.

Photographic Details: Using my macro lens I was able to get very close to these berries. Mere centimeters away from my lens I had a very shallow depth of field so there was not much in focus at any given time, this makes for a very soft feel to the image. I decided to centre my subject and give it a square crop, as the near symmetry of this subject calls for this compositional arrangement.

ISO 640 100mm F2.8 1/60SEC

Also what is my new years resolution? it's: Do more, do it faster, do it better, and inspire as many people as possible!

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Get festive outdoor photos with light painting!


Wheeler Hut, B.C. CanadaMake sure you look at all three photos in this post to see the before/after

It was a cool festive evening at wheeler hut as the moon rose in the foggy night sky. A long day of backcountry skiing was well rewarded with hot chocolate, and a delicious meal. Even though we were “in the sticks” I couldn’t help but cook a hearty meal with turkey stuffing, asparagus and boursin stuffed chicken breast, can you tell I love food? A game of jenga on the dinner table brings bouts of laughter as we tell stories by the cozy wooden fireplace.

Photographic Details: I found the angle and composition I was looking for to show the front of this beautiful hut with the moon shining behind it but the hut itself was dark in the photograph. I had to add some light if I wanted the logs and the white fluffy trees to be visible. I knew I would be getting shots like this so I planned ahead to bring my massive maglite, it’s my favourite light painting tools as I can focus the beam of light and it’s bright enough to be very useful photographically.

Before Photo:

You can see the first photo is atmospheric but I had a vision for more detail in this photo.

So I set my camera on a timer on a tripod stuck in the snow and frantically ran to the right of the camera with my maglite (not easy in deep snow). Once I heard the click of my shutter set at 15 seconds I shined the light on every part of the photo that I wanted illuminated. I made sure to light up the part of the tree by the moon to help draw the eye toward the sky, I wiggled my flashlight all over the skiis, snow and front of the cabin. After 15 seconds my camera finished it’s exposure and the light that I shone in that timespan was “painted” onto the surface of everything it touched.

After Photo:

You can see the result is dramatically different and the image has a much brighter feel. Be sure to try standing in different places and avoid light painting from behind the camera, a light source too close to the camera may look too much like an in camera flash which doesn’t produce flattering results. light painting is a great way of illuminating subjects at night, the beauty of it is that you don’t have to be exact, and it’s easy enough to have a flashlight handy in your kit!

Lighting Diagram:

15s f/2.8 ISO800 50mm



An iceberg’s past


Canadian Arctic The history of an iceberg is always etched into the ice. But rarely is hard evidence of it’s birth so glaringly obvious the way it is in this detail shot of a piece of ice.

As I’m sure you’ve heard me say, an iceberg starts of as a glacier. A glacier starts off as layers of snow building up over hundreds or thousands of years along the mountain side. The tremendous weight of the snow on itself squeezes air out of the compacting ice and it becomes more clear and blue. So imagine a massive glacier slowly moving down a mountain side, the deepest part of the glacier is grinding away at the mountain, carving out U shaped valleys and pulverizing rock into dirt and silt. The ice at the bottom of the glacier is underneath hundreds of meters of ice, thus it’s the clearest, but it will also be exposed to the rock and dirt. When the glacier finally dumps itself into the ocean these ancient pieces of ice will carry remnants of the mountain with it.

That’s what you’re looking at here. A piece of a glacier that was actively carving away at the mountain that has made it’s way across the canadian arctic.

Photographic details: I had to poke my camera through a dark hole in an iceberg to get this, so it was relatively dark. I couldn’t shoot like I normally do, I just stuck my arms out with my camera and hoped for the best. Yeah professional photographers blindly shoot and do guesswork too! I think I would have made it easier on myself if I used a higher ISO of 400 or so instead of 100.

1/50s f/5.6 ISO100 260mm

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Inuit boy in seal skin


Grise Fjord, Ellesmere Island, Canadian ArcticFrom the kylefoto of the day at

Grise Fjord in Inuktitut is Aujuittuq (ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ), meaning "place that never thaws". What a fitting name for a hamlet that is often seen surrounded by ice even in the summer months on the northernmost island in Canada. We were arriving from our expedition ship and were greeted by the locals after we navigated a maze of sea ice grounded on the shore by the tide. Among them was an RCMP officer who was originally born in the Grenadines in the Caribbean, we joked about the stark contrast of his previous life and now. Even though the people here are mainly inuit, they are also canadians, and for the most part they dress just like me. But for the sake of preserving history and traditions, for special occasions they will put on traditional clothing.

The intricacy and beauty of this traditional wear is stunning. Made entirely of seal skin, every piece of the animal has been used for something. A close look at the crafting and stitching reveals how much work has gone into the making of these. Thousands of years of trial, error and inuit ingenuity has gone into the design of these beautiful, functional and life preserving attire. Another danger out here is the harsh glare of the arctic sun, it’s magnified by the amount of high albedo snow and ice of this landscape. The inuit have developed visors made of bone, with tiny slits letting in just enough light to see but not so much to get snow blindness.

Photographic details: We had the opportunity to photograph these people indoors inside the community hall, but we preferred a much more fitting environment. Mere meters from the hall we had the shore line covered in grounded sea ice. The harsh sunlight would have been too much for this shot so we put him in the shade of this ice. In hindsight the extreme brightness of the ice in the background would have been better off if I had gone the HDR route. Over exposed highlights in the background aren’t ideal, although not important. Despite those shortcomings this photograph isn’t about getting perfect technical photographic statistics, it’s about the subject, this amazing inuit child and the grand history that his garments represent, and that’s what the exposure is geared for, at the very least he is perfectly exposed.

1/200s f/5.0 ISO50 100mm

90 Degree iceberg


Canadian Arctic What am I talking about with this 90 degree iceberg? I’m not talking about temperature, I’m talking about angles.

Look at the striations on the iceberg, how the lines in the ice are going straight up and down. Those are the layers of snow that have been compacted into ice while this ice was still being formed on a mountainside as a glacier. Over hundreds, even thousands of years each layer of snow is piled on top of each other until the tremendous pressure compresses it into ice.

Because the ice normally stays more or less upright while it’s still a glacier, these lines should normally be horizontal. Once the glacier ends up dumping itself into the ocean the ice will bob around, melt, break apart, and in doing so this newly formed iceberg will rotate and change orientation. Thus the ice is now shifted 90 degrees from it’s original orientation.

Now go into my master collection of photos and look at every other iceberg and you will obsessively look at these striations and assess the history of the iceberg, you will never be able to unsee it, muahaha!

Photographic details: Nothing special is going on here for camera settings, I was more looking for unique and interesting shapes and this one caught my eye. Sometimes I don’t look at a subject as a whole and I just focus on the interesting detailed portions.

1/160s f/5.0 ISO50 170mm

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