Magic in the Sky and a Train (Winnipeg Nature Photography)


Last night the sky gave us the most amazing light show. It started very suddenly around midnight when the sky literally started to dance with light.  The lights  twinkled and sparkled and danced above us, in front of us and behind us.  It gives me shivers even thinking about it. It was impossible to capture the majesty of it with a lens because a lens cannot easily take the whole entire sky in one frame. I was shooting at 12 mm and that’s about as wide as most people have.

We started out near a cemetery West of the city and I got these images:

The orange lights are from a hydro plant.

The exciting part of the evening (actually by now it was 2:00 a.m. so it was technically morning!), was when we went to the grain elevator in Meadows. Our driver and chief said on the way to Meadows, that it would make for a perfect picture if a train came through while we were there. Well, Vic got his wish.  We got our train. At the first train whistle I headed over to the gates at the road and set up by the tracks. I wanted to get a shot of the train as it came towards me. (You might want to stop reading now Diane.) I got my shot but OMG, that train went by about 3 feet from me and the wind from the train almost knocked me over. I managed to hold onto my tripod so it didn’t fall down and I stayed in the wind tunnel for almost the whole 30 second exposure but my good sense told me that if I didn’t move the train might just knock me and my camera down. So I moved. I think it was a good thing but it did result in some blur in the image.

Here is the grain elevator before the train.

Here’s the train coming towards me. If you look closely you can see the other people with their tripods in the field.

And here is the train whipping by at an unbelievable speed.

What a night! I got home at 3:00, got to sleep at 3:30 and had a phone call to wake me up at 8:00. (Don’t worry about waking me if you are reading this, I had an 11:00 meeting today.)

It will be hard to beat last night’s excitement. And I didn’t even need to leave the province!!

Bragg Creek and Kananaskis (Winnipeg Photographers)

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Today was a great day for photography in the Calgary area; puffy white clouds in the sky and snow still on the creeks and ponds made for some stunning scenes.

Photos will follow but first an interesting story from today.

I’m here looking after some beasts and my 10-year-old grandson. Ashton, my grandson, comes out with some very interesting comments. Today was no exception.

One of his favorite places in Calgary is Market Mall, so we headed there today. I had my Map Quest directions to follow so I would find it. Good plan right? I have no sense of direction but am usually fairly competent at following written instructions. Today was not one of those days. I made at least 4 wrong turns trying to get there. At one point, Ashton told me to go one way, but I thought I was supposed to go the other way, so I didn’t listen to him.

His comment to me was,” And who has lived in Calgary their whole life?” (Never mind that it’s only 10 years as compared to my 10x? years!)

Well, I did find the mall eventually and guess what I did on the way back? I let him direct me and we got home with no wrong turns!

Bravo Ashton!

Here are my favorite pictures taken today:

(Just a note; there are some sun flares in some of them. CS5 has a great tool to remove spots like that but I only have CS3 on my laptop, so will wait until I get back home to remove them.)

Calgary in April (Winnipeg Photographers)

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I’m in Calgary looking after my grandson and taking care of the animals; namely 2 cats and 2 dogs. I brought my dog, Taylor with me, which has caused a few problems with the cats. But things are under control, or rather Taylor is. Under control, meaning tied up or kenneled whenever the cats are near. And Annie, the dog in the first picture, is best friends with one of the cats and she is protects her feline friend at any sign of trouble. It’s so sweet to see this adorable  dog get in front of his cat friend when she thinks Taylor is getting too close.

I went out shooting today. First to a dog park and then to COP (Calgary Olympic Park) to take pictures of the new complex that the National Hockey  Team is practicing at.  Here are some of today’s photos.

I love this one of Annie driving the car. If you look closely you can see Taylor’s ear on the other side of the steering wheel.

Dog walkers in the park with the city behind them.

My favorite from today is an iPhone picture taken with an app called Slow Shutter. I’m having a great time trying out different cameras and photography editing apps on my phone.

Graveyard Spooks and Sparkles (Winnipeg photography)

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It was a sparkly spooky night in a graveyard in the city after some people from the Manitoba Camera Club went there to take pictures. And we came prepared. We had a hunched over old lady wearing a long black dress and using a cane, a bride with long flowing hair, mourning at a grave stone and all kind of dazzling lights. We made magic and had a blast. It was cold. It was really cold but at least the wind had died down and those of us that dressed for it managed to stay outside for a couple of hours.

It is truly a blessing to hang out with like-minded people who enjoy making photographs and having fun and I feel so lucky to be able to call these people friends. There aren’t too many people out there who would walk around in a graveyard flinging lights around. Never mind, in a graveyard on a frigid night. Thank to you everyone who came out.  I had a blast!

Here are a few of tonight’s images:

Spring Crocuses (Winnipeg Landscape Photographers)

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The crocuses are out; a sure sign of spring. I went out shooting with some friends  this evening and found a ton of them. You can view a few of them below.

I also wanted to let you know that I would be away from April 14th to 22nd and will not be doing any sessions at that time. I’m going to Calgary to look after my favorite little guy. I have a number of people who have not picked up their orders. I don’t want you to be disappointed so try to get here this week, or contact me to make other arrangements. I do answer emails while away but don’t usually check phone messages.

And finally this neat picture that I found on Facebook. I wish that I knew who the maker was, so that I could credit them. I love it and would like to try something like this next Easter. Any takers?  For small children only!

This Photograph Is Not Free by John Mueller

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I read this on Alix Reynold’s Facebook page and thought it was a great article. I wanted to share it with you.

Most people would never see photography this way.

Read on:

So this was the first sunset I captured in 2012. It cost me $6,612 to take this photo.

$12 in gas to go from work to this spot and then home. The camera I took this with cost $2500. The lens was another $1600. The Singh Ray Reverse Neutral Density filter was $210. The Lee Wide-Angle Adapter and Foundation kit was another $200. The Slik Tripod was another $130. The shutter-release was another $60. When I got home, I uploaded it to a computer that cost me $1200, and then I used Lightroom 3 which I got for $200. I then exported it and tinkered with it in Photoshop which costs about $500.

12+2500+1600+210+200+130+60+1200+200+500= $6,612

So if you’re a magazine, website, corporation, sports team, or advertiser who wishes to use this photo, please don’t come and ask to use it for free, or in exchange for credit or “exposure”. You found my photo so obviously I have “exposure”. You have an advertising budget, and this is what it’s for. You obviously don’t expect your writers to work for free, or your secretary, or your boss. No one is going to publish it for free. Just because the picture is digital doesn’t mean it was free to make.

As someone mentioned, THIS single photo didn’t cost me $6,612, but if you wanted to create it, from scratch, that is what is involved. So I consider it the replacement value if it’s stolen, or how much my lawyer will send you a bill for if it’s found being used without my permission.

If you give your photo away for “credit” then the best possible scenario for you is someone will see your photo, contact you, and ask if they could borrow one of your photos… for credit. Try this… next time you’re at dinner, tell your waiter you’ll tell all your friends how good the service was if he gives you dinner for free.

About the author: John B. Mueller is a photographer based in Ventura County, California. Visit his website here.

The Farm and Steep Rock (Winnipeg Landscape Photographers)

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These are a couple of the images that I took yesterday when I was at  Steep Rock. The cliffs are not nearly as high because of the height of the water. If you look carefully, you can see a couple of my fellow photographers who came on the trip.


The other 2 images are from a friend’s hobby farm near Ashern. The first shot is taken through a silo that a tornado had lifted up and moved. The barn that you see through the silo had already collapsed.



The other side of the barn.

North Western Ontario (Winnipeg Landscape Photography)

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I’ve been doing a lot of landscape photography in the last week. First I spent a night in Kenora, got up at 5:20 a.m;  drove to Rushing River, followed by numerous stops on a  7 hour drive home.  I think Taylor enjoyed the trip even more than I did! I’m sure he found scents that he had never smelled before.

Yesterday I went to a fellow camera club member’s hobby farm and then went on to Steep Rock. I had never been to Steep Rock before but because of the high water on the lake, the cliffs are not nearly as high. I got some interesting shoots none the less.Watch for those images in a post later today.

Have a ton of editing to do but here are a few of the images from the North Western Ontario trip.Which is your favorite? Let me know and why.

This is one of the treasures that I found. I went down some of the gravel roads off the highway and found this amazing spot. I don’t remember which lake it was, but I love it!

This is Taylor at the above spot! He was a very dirty boy by the time we got home and had an immediate bath.

Rushing River. I love the movement in this picture!

The grain elevator in Defresne.


This is a view from my friend Heather’s shore line on the Winnipeg River.

Another shot of Rushing River.

Another stop on the way home.

I loved the combinations of flowers and rocks along the highway.

Another one of Rushing River.

This is  Kenora at about 5:30 a.m.