After I received a “real” camera for Christmas 2010, I left it in “auto” mode for a good few years. And I used the “spray and pray” approach to taking pictures. Sometimes I got lucky. But mostly the results were not what I hoped for.
Thankfully, ten years is a lot of time to learn a new skill. In my case, it was a combination of trail and error, webinars, photography books/magazines and even a few in-person workshops. Now I shoot mostly in “M”anual mode. And while the results aren’t always what I envision, they’re good enough to keep me snapping away. 😉
1. From the Car
I’m almost always the passenger in our car. And when I’m in the passenger seat, I usually hold my camera on my lap – especially when we’re heading into the Canadian Rockies. If we’re lucky enough to spot bighorn sheep, deer, elk, or a bear, I start shooting, often through the windshield. Then, if we pull over for a minute or two, I’ll pass the camera off to Mr. GeoK to get off a few shots. We spotted this bruin along the shoulder of the Icefields Parkway on our way to trailhead parking for a hike.
2. On the Fly
We usually have a pretty good idea of the kinds of things we’re going to photograph on a hike: mountains, lakes, waterfalls, flora, (hopefully) fauna and each other. When I spotted larch needles floating around in a little inlet on the shore of a mountain lake in late September, I wondered how a long exposure photo would work. After fussing a bit with the exposure triangle I realized I might as well use the tripod Mr. GeoK packed along.3.
3. On Foot
The main reason we use Olympus gear is because it’s compact. And when you’re hiking up to 25 km (15 miles) in a day, every bit of weight savings counts! We hiked 5 mountain trails in September, racking up 88 km (55 miles). I came back with over a thousand photos from those hikes and I’m sure Mr. GeoK shot at least that many. Of course we don’t process all of them. Even so, it’s hard work to select just 20-30 for each hiking blog post. Here’s one from our hike to Sunset Lookout and Sunset Pass in Banff National Park. The shrubs in the high meadow were in full fall colour – absolutely glorious!
4. Early in the Morning
At 51 degrees N, September is a great month for sunrise photography. The sun comes up between 7 and 7:30, so we don’t need to drag ourselves out of bed in the middle of the night to catch that often elusive sunrise colour. One day towards the end of September we arranged to meet friends at 8:45 the trailhead parking for a short hike. Unknown to them, we were almost to the trailhead by 7:30 so that we could stop at Wedge Pond for a sunrise photo shoot. Including us, there were about a dozen photographers set up along the shoreline, chitchatting and snapping away.
5. Late at Night
Another good thing about September? The sun sets relatively early, which means we can head out for a night shoot by about 9:30, and be back home before midnight. And this year we photographed the Milky Way for the first time! Night photography is challenging – trying to focus when there’s almost no light, doing some math to figure out how long your exposure can be before the stars start to produce trails and then keeping your fingers crossed that a plane or satellite doesn’t come into your shot. Plus if you want to do a composite start trail, you have to keep snapping away – minimum 20 minutes or potentially for several hours.
That’s it from me this month. Now snap to it and head over to host PJ’s post, scroll down to the link up and see what the other participants got up to this month.
While you’re there, please consider joining this photo blogging challenge. I think of it as a low-stress photo assignment – an excuse to hone photography skills. For each month’s theme, share five photos taken with any camera. The amount of accompanying text is up to you. The next theme will be posted at a ‘lil Hoohaa in early September.