Autumn is here!

It’s been a busy September for me – too busy to even write a post.

For the past week, I’ve been up at Bark Lake Leadership Centre with a group of Grade 10s from St. John’s-Kilmarnock School. It is the first of two intensive weeks of a locally designed Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems science course. We have the students working outdoors and in right from our 7:30am microclimate data gathering session to the end of evening case studies at 10pm – which, for me, leaves precious little time to capture the spectacular beauty around Bark Lake.

Each morning I had about 40 minutes of light prior to the microclimate study I supervise. With sunrise around 7am, that meant most of my dawn shooting was before sunrise. I also got out one evening for some night photography plus another morning of landscapes. However the beauty and accessibility of spectacular views more than made up for the limited time I had. Below you’ll find a small gallery of images from the week. I think the over-riding factors for success this week was the wonderful lighting and the almost complete lack of wind. There’s nothing that spoils a great landscape like wind and having consistently beautiful mornings made the few minutes of photography I had a complete pleasure. In fact, I probably had more minutes of  ideal conditions in this week than I had all year long!

All images are shot with a Nikon D800e with Nikkor primes and are processed in Lightroom 4. The D800e performed magnificently – especially with the night photos. Combined with Lightroom 4, I was surprised with what could be brought out of the shadows with virtually no grain or noise, just a few hot pixels after 4 to 8 minutes of exposure. I will work some more on this to determine if it is better to have a shorter exposure with higher ISO (more grain) or a longer exposure at a lower ISO to reduce grain.

The new adjustments of LR4 were really stretched as I often used -100 Highlights with +100 Shadows to reduce the contrast of the bright autumn sunshine. I am continually amazed at what LR can do with images to tweak them to what I pre-visualized in the field.

My 24mm was the workhorse with the Micro-Nikkor 105mm also a favourite. Less-used were the 20mm, 50mm and 300mm. Although all were needed at some point, I could have lived with only the 24 and 105.

Here’s the gallery – Enjoy!


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