Macro Photography – Winter Leaves

winter leaves Winter leaves, as seen through a macro lens, are an amazing mix of color and texture. What may seem like a dead brown leaf from a distance becomes a mix of gold, green, red pink and tan. Up close the veins and stems create amazing patterns. The contrast of the white snow against the leaves adds to the visual interest.

These images of leaves are from the photography outing from yesterday. I am still amazed at how much there is to see when photographing in an area that is only 30 feet in length. When you look up close the natural world is amazing.winter leaves

winter leaves

winter leaves

winter leaves

winter leaves

winter leaves

Macro Photography – Winter Berries

Today I had the opportunity to take my fourth child out taking pictures. She loves getting to use “the kids camera” which is a Fuji XP20 waterproof point-and-shoot, the perfect rugged camera for a four-year old. We decided on an easy to get to location which turned out to be the natural area across our street. I thought it was the perfect chance to use my Canon EF 100mm f.2.8 macro lens which had not seen a lot of use since the snow arrived back in October.

We photographed this area from the side-walk as it is a steep forested hill. The area we covered was only 30 feet in length at the most. Once you get up close and personal with a macro lens there are an amazing number of things to shoot. I have decided to do a few different posts from this outing as there are so many images. Today I am featuring my winter berries.

cotoneaster berry

winter  mountain ash berries

cotoneaster berries with snow

mountain ash berries

Little Flower

"little flower"The last few days I have been shooting a bit in the studio. I have been concentrating on a bit more classical child portraiture. A look that is a little more timeless. The real challenge is to shoot children that are all dressed up but to make them look natural. This little girl is a princess at heart, which makes the task quite easy. She actually told me she is going to be a fairy princess when she grows up; pretty exciting stuff!

I am a big fan of black and white. I love the simplicity. In this portrait the little touch of color softens the portrait and adds to the sweetness of the little girl.

The New Wedding Coverage – Hunter Photographics

bride and groom

The Background

After years of shooting hundreds of weddings we have decided to change our format for the wedding coverage we offer. We had noticed that over the years the wedding photography had become less and less about the bride and groom. Weddings had gone from being about the bride and groom with a few wedding party and family pictures, to weddings full of family politics and wedding party drama (even months before the wedding, let alone on the wedding day) that we as photographers, for some inexplicable reason, were expected to sort out. We realized we had to make a change. Our choices were to either stop photographing weddings or to change the style of wedding coverage so that we could do what we do best …………photography.

bride with colored flowers

The Concept

The wedding is one of the bride’s and groom’s most important days of their life. We believe the photography should reflect the couple’s relationship. We believe that their wedding day photography should be carried out in an enjoyable, stress free environment and be carried out in a time efficient manner. For these reasons we have chosen to focus on a wedding coverage that is for the bride and groom only.

Our goal is to provide beautiful photography for the wedding couple. We can tailor the style of photography to be anything from classical portraiture to a journalistic look, but at the end of the day the couple will have a lovely selection of fine art wedding photographs. Our goal is to provide memorable images to last a lifetime in this age of disposable iPhone photos. Our goal is to provide photography to couples who take photography as seriously as we do.

bride and groom on bridge

How The Packages Work

The wedding photography industry has become notorious for having complicated packages so that the wedding couples have no idea what they are really paying for. My all time favorite is the “minimum investment” system, which has all the vibes of a used car salesman.

We decided we want to make the packages as simple as possible. Our packages are for a set time frame; one package is a one and a half hour time frame, the other package is a two-hour time frame. During the photography session we shoot an unlimited number of images, and photograph in an unlimited number of locations. The packages have a specific number of enlargements included, all are the most popular sizes we sell, and all enlargements are fully retouched.

Our goal is a simple and refined system for wedding photography.

bride and groom with flowers

The Packages

The Classic Wedding Portrait Package

The Classic Wedding Portrait Package is a two-hour photography session of the bride and groom concentrating on creative photography in studio or at your choice of locations in Red Deer.

This package also includes:

Six 5×7 enlargements in folders.

Six 8×10 enlargements in folders.

$795.00 (plus GST)

The Wedding Portfolio

The Wedding Portfolio is a one and a half hour photography session of the bride and groom. Photography is available in studio or at your choice of locations in Red Deer. This package is available September through April on Saturdays, and weekdays throughout the year.

This package also includes:

Four 5×7 enlargements in folders.

Three 8×10 enlargements in folders.

$395.00 (plus GST)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Please check out our website to view samples of our work and to contact us with any questions you may have.

Knit Beach – fibre art

"Knit Beach"8"x10" Naturally dyed cotton and wool embellished with glass beads.

“Knit Beach”
8″x10″
Naturally dyed cotton and wool embellished with glass beads.

This is a quirky little piece that I just finished this evening. It is quirky in the way that it came to be.

I had been dyeing some silk for another project and was using arbutus bark and blackberries as the dyeing material. I have a tendency to throw a few bits of this and that into the pots when dyeing just to see what happens. On this particular occasion I tossed  a bit of wool yarn into each dye pot and thought I would knit up the yarn at some point down the road if the dyeing was successful. The colors of the wool were very nice and the yarn sat on my desk. When I dye yarn I loop it into a big circle and tie it loosely in a few places just to keep it from being a huge goopy spaghetti-like mess while in the dye pot.

One day I decided I should at least roll this yarn into balls so I untied the pieces of yarn holding the yarn in the loop, rolled the balls, put them away, but left the loose strands hanging out on my desk, or more specifically my mouse pad. For a few days my mouse and these strands fought for position. A sane person would have just tossed them, but no, there they sat. One day while working on my computer I thought, lets see what these scraps could do (I had yet to knit up the main yarn), so I rolled up the main pieces but tossed a few scraggly scraps into the bin thinking I was tidying my desk. I start knitting away and all looks good. I break off to make my littlest two children good old Kraft Dinner for lunch. They are eating away. I am knitting away. The littles finish up, I clear the table, scrape the plates into the bin, hose down the kids (not really but it would be way faster than the washcloth routine), sit down and knit………and then I realized I needed those little scraggly pieces to knit into the piece. I did what anyone would do (well actually no one in their right mind…but anyway), I went to hunt for the scraggly pieces in the bin. Yes I dug past the half eaten cold mac and cheese and found the scraggly bits all safe and sound there in my garbage bin.

Whew! I had the pieces I needed. (And yes, I did wash them before knitting them up!)

Now most people are now saying “Why did you so desperately need the scraggly bits?”, so I’ll tell you a little about my inspiration for this piece. The original dye project was actually an eco-dyeing project that I started while out on Pender Island. It consisted of a bundled piece dyed with blackberries collected in the Trincomali neighborhood and arbutus bark collected under the massive arbutus tree at Medicine Beach. The dye pot at home was just to dye some silk thread to complement the project. As I knit I thought about the origins of the dyestuff and the beach where the bark had been collected, and so I decided to knit a beach. The scraggly bits, that I so desperately wanted, are the islands in the piece. I also decided that I would make the beach using only the remnant scraps plus plain un-dyed yarn; it was interesting to challenge myself to a limited amount of material. I also added a few glass beads to embellish the piece as there is always a little glimmer and reflection on the beach and around the water. The knit part of the piece is mounted on cotton dyed with arbutus bark after being tied for patterning.

I am quite pleased with the end result. I like that this was not a planned piece. I love that the dyeing materials come from a place that means something to me. When I see the brown of the beach, it is not brown, it is the huge tree by the side of the sea shedding it’s bark.

f.8 and be there

“f.8 and be there”  was this funky little saying that used to pop up regularly when I was studying photography. f.8 (yeah I know the “f” should be capitalized, but it just doesn’t seem right!) was this magical aperture. It was the sweet spot. Just the right amount of depth of field and often a pretty crisp result.

old court house

I had actually completely forgotten about this saying until I opened up one of my Christmas presents from my husband. It was the Olympus Body Cap Lens to fit my Olympus E-PL3 (a.k.a. my “fun” camera). This little number, and I do mean LITTLE, is only 9mm in thickness. Using the Olympus Body Cap Lens is a completely different shooting experience. It is a fixed focal length 15mm lens, fixed at f.8 (yep, no other choices!) and manual focus (yes indeedy you read that right!). Can you say “old school”? Can you say “super cool”? This Body Cap Lens is both.

old court house

The shooting experience is completely different. Your feet are your zoom. You need to plan to shoot in reasonably bright conditions if you are hand holding as f.8 is it. You need to remember to focus unless you are shooting at infinity. It is a blast. Working within the parameters means that you really stop and think about the shot and how to make it work. It reminded me of a time, way back, when I picked up an old medium format twin lens reflex to have a camera that shot differently. Waist level finder, leaf shutter, basic clean no-frills shooting. This lens lets me shoot old-school with new technology. It is awesome.

old court house

The pictures from today are of the Old Court House in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. This was the first time shooting with this lens. I was originally going to post the images in color as the color was stunning, but then I looked at the images in black and white and that was IT.

old court house

The Olympus Body Cap Lens is a brilliant little lens and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to explore a different way of shooting.

Canoes – Magic lake, Pender Island, BC, Canada

We are recently back from a trip to Pender Island. It was a wonderful break to escape the frigid  -30C temperatures of Alberta and walk around in spring-like weather on grass, not snow. The warm weather was definitely inspiring and it showed in how many images I shot. At last count I shot over 2200 images in the seven days we were on the island. For the next little while I will be sharing quite a few island images.

canoes magic lake

Today’s images are of the canoes at Magic Lake. The colors of the canoes and natural composition caught my eye. It is interesting how a normal object can be so visually interesting.

canoe detail

canoes

Simplify – My Theme For The New Year

I feel like I have been a little neglectful of my blog recently, but truth be known I have been happily un-plugged. We spent most of the Christmas break at our island home and it was an eye-opener. A simpler and quieter life with few distractions, as seen in the peaceful images below. No internet to spend hours and hours on, no t.v., no shopping except for a hardware store and grocery store (or the book store that was open on occasion but only to 4 p.m.), no errands to run and no real chores as the house is very streamlined. This experience brought me to the conclusion that my theme for this year would be to “simplify”. Perhaps not a groundbreaking or original concept, but now seems the right time to simplify life.

Sea ViewWith my photography business, Hunter Photographics, I began simplifying a bit last year. I redid one section of my studio and went for a clean, light and uncluttered look. I propped the studio out accordingly, went with soft lighting patterns, and the result was “simple”, but it worked. This year with Hunter Photographics I will be continuing to simplify. This year we have decided to change our format for wedding photography; gone are the old-fashioned version of the wedding package and instead we are introducing a photographic coverage solely based on the bride and groom. Seems like a simple idea to focus on the bride and groom on their wedding day, but in recent years the brides and grooms have become lost in the shuffle of family politics and wedding party dramas. We have decided to simplify and give the bridal couple the proper attention they deserve. The details of the new coverage will be available on our website shortly, or email us for the details. Portrait photography will also see a few minor changes in becoming more streamlined, as will the specials.

Boat NookI am hoping to simplify all the other aspects of my life as well….well as much as one can with five children (enough said!). I am hoping a simplified life will bring more time for all the other projects I am working on: my photography projects that are not portrait based, my fibre art and natural dyeing,  my painting and of course, blogging. I am hoping that by making life more simple I will become more productive.

canalSo how does one simplify life? That is a pretty good question. My approach is going to be to live life, even when we aren’t on the island, in the style we live when we are on the island.  It is time to streamline our house and business, stop running endless errands, have less silly commitments and focus on living life rather than letting all the insignificant stuff run interference.

I am looking forward to this new direction. I feel inspired by island life. I took the first step towards simplifing last night and cleaned my desk……and for anyone who has ever seen my desk they know that was no small undertaking!