The Story of Richard Proenneke

I don't like shopping malls; the crowds and consumerism make me cranky. It's not that I want to become a hermit, I'm a joyful social person, but sometimes the thought crosses my mind. During these introspective moments I realize that it doesn't take a lot of money to enjoy the things I love (family, friends, my dog, nature) and I wonder why I'm working so hard. Modern society is full of distractions.

Then one day I was watching PBS and caught the story of Richard Proenneke. At age 51 he relocated to Alaska, where he lived for 30 years in solitude, in a cabin he built with his own hands. His story was amazing; a man focused on the one thing we hardly think about in modern society: survival. With less distractions he found pleasure in simple things like encountering wildlife or homemade berry syrup.

I'm working to appreciate the simple things more and trying to avoid modern distractions. If you're like me then I'd recommend watching "Alone in the Wilderness".


Jason Edlund

Explore the work of Jason Edlund and witness the beauty of the Canadian Rockies through his art!

There are many photographers who enjoy shooting in the Canadian Rockies but I’m sure you’ll agree that the work of Jason Edlund truly stands out.

One of the reasons Jason’s work is so compelling is his tendency to shoot off the beaten path. A lot of the areas he photographs require hiking, camping, and knowledge of the back country to get to. His photos of Mount Assiniboine Park make a visit very tempting and his pictures have brought international awareness to the area.

When photographing familiar places Jason Edlund sees them in new and refreshing ways. I've seen countless shots from Mistaya Canyon but none of them resemble the capture on the right.

To see more of Jason's work check out his Flickr Stream.

All images in this entry are © Jason Edlund. Used with permission.


Choosing Between Lighting and Scenery

Every photographer has different goals and values; some will favor good light while others will favor nice scenery. It's not always possible to have both so which do you choose?

I don't carry a magic eight ball or ouija board in my camera bag but 9 times out of 10 I seem to choose light. Recently, I was staying at Lake Louise, a very famous place, and the photographers had lined up on shore before sunrise. The lighting by the lake was flat and the scene looked dull; the magic eight ball would have said "looks doubtful". There was some beautiful colour starting to show on the opposite horizon so I quickly broke away from the herd.

Excited I started to follow the outlet creek towards the light. The scene was beautiful -- a perfect winter wonderland with snow covered trees, a flowing creek, and beautiful colour in the sky. For a brief moment I thought about the tripods around the lake and as Mr.T would say: "I pitied the fools". When faced with a choice between great light and great scenery I will always go with the first option. For me lighting is the most important element to creating stunning outdoor photos.

This image was created by blending multiple exposures (darker and lighter images) in Photoshop. Typically the foreground will be composed of the longer exposures while the sky will mostly contain parts from the shorter exposures. Further edits to colours and contrast are made to complete the image.


THE
SHOOT:POST
RATIO

Some photographers post a thousand photos every week and others are lucky to post one. I'm in the later camp but does that mean I only shoot a couple times a month? In reality I'm out as often as I can.

The story behind this photo illustrates why you'll never see large volumes of pictures from me. It took me three separate visits, spread out over two years, before I got the scene right. The first two times I photographed the falls in the afternoon and the light was poor. I reviewed my images and envisioned the scene at night. I'm happy with this image but you'll never see my failed attempts.

My hard drive is full of shots I'll probably never post. Last summer I took three trips to Jasper National Park but conditions were horrible (overcast skies and forest fires) so I never posted a single image. I'd rather have a stale feed if the alternative is showing the world how I can make really beautiful scenery look dull.

The brass-tacks is that my shoot:post ratio is quite low. If I had to wager a guess I'd say I post 2-3% of the photos I take. Other people can pull 4-5 solid images out of a single sunrise while different people upload their entire flash card straight to the internet. I believe that the best way to captivate an audience is to only show your best work. Being selective is an essential skill for an aspiring photographer and differentiates an amateur/pro from a tourist.

TECHNICAL NOTES


This was shot from a tripod. Snow reflects a surprising amount of light and can brighten up a dark scene. The sky is a separate exposure shot at high ISO to freeze the stars. Photoshop was used to blend in the sky and balance the colours and contrast.