When you think of an outdoor lens, the 50mm is not usually the first lens that comes to mind. However, if you mainly shoot with primes, and don’t have the option or convenience to change the composition on the fly, practising with a lens is a great idea. Taking one lens on a photo outing forces you to think of all your shots with that particular focal lens. It is a challenge I love doing and this time was no exception.
For me, personally, I find I use my wide angle or telephoto primes mainly with shooting, so I relished the thought of practising with my 50mm this time. We went out to Anne and Sandy Cross conservation area just south of Calgary. Easily one of my favourite places to explore as they have tons of trails but also its fairly quiet when you think of other places close by like Fishcreek or Nose hill park.
Having over 20km’s of trails, it is perfect if you are just looking for somewhere close to home that has beautiful views, Cross conservation is the perfect place to get shots of rolling hills or forests. As a photographer, the only scene it is missing is running water like a stream. The watering hole near the main house near the entrance has signs around it that ask people to keep their distance.
There is an abundance of wildlife if that type of photography interests you. I have often seen a large herd of deer on the way up to the Mountain Lookout. As well as tracks of weasels, skunks, coyotes, to name a few mammals. The abundant birdlife during the summer is spectacular. (Since I was only using a 50mm, this is the closest I was able to get to the local fauna).
If you get a free day and want to explore near Calgary, I definitely recommend grabbing your camera and heading out to the Cross Conservation Area for the day.
Spring and Summer are easily my favourite seasons and now that the weather is warming up, I am planning the places I want to see this spring and summer. As the year proceeds, I will be revisiting this list marking which ones have been completed.
Hike to Sunshine Meadows
Hike around Upper Kananaskis Lake
Hike to Rawson Lake
Bike the Legacy Trail (Canmore to Banff)
Bow and Peyto Lake
Hike up Ha Ling Peak
Lake Louise Gondola
Hike up Galatea
Hike Mount Indefatigable
Do a Horseback ride in the mountains (Any suggestions anyone?)
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to head to Ucluelet and Tofino out on Vancouver Island for some rest and relaxation. To me that means an opportunity to take travel photos and explore the peninsula both towns reside on. Needless to say, a large portion of the week was spent doing the various walks with a sea kayaking trip at the end.
Tofino and Ucluelet are on the west side of Vancouver Island, about 2 and a half hours outside of Nanaimo if you take the Pacific Rim Highway. With many things to do in both towns, from hiking to surfing, kayaking to whale watching, there is something for everyone.
I had to opportunity to play around with the Extral HD Action camera on the hikes so at the end of the week I had 150gigs worth of images and video to go through. I still have most of it to go through but here are some teaser shots and a bit of an introduction to the place.
Half-Moon Beach Hike
Rainforest Trail Walk
Cathedral Grove Walk
If you would like to see more shots, be sure to follow me on Instagram too where I will be posting the vast majority of pictures. @gj_hull
The last couple of weeks I have had the chance to play around with the Lightroom presets and brushes as part of the “Through the woods” bundle from Sleeklens.com. Its been great fun and definitely worth checking out if you want to speed up your landscape workflow. Here are three shots I took and edited with the SleekLens presets. Click on the image to see the larger version. Also, check out my Instagram page to see more shots edited with these presets.
I would definitely recommend the presets if you are looking to speed up your workflow. All of the main editing points are there from increasing the saturation to warming up the image or adding contrast. They are organized into steps which makes things easier to find. You can check out their Landscape presets here
They do presets for a bunch of different types of photography. Even if you don’t specialize in landscapes, I am going to buy their portrait one too to help with my other work. check out their other products here. As well as their other Lightroom Presets here.
Canada Day, the one day when all Canadians celebrate their stereotypes and embrace all things Canadian. What better way to celebrate it staring out at what, in my opinion, one of Canada’s most jaw dropping views. Two Jack Lake is about 2 hours outside of Calgary and basically directly across the Transcanada Highway from Banff. One thing that I was not able to get a picture of as I was driving, is the fact that while driving up to the lake, I saw my first wild grizzly bear up close. I’m used to seeing lions in the wild but man are bears big, some very impressive animals, thats for sure.
Well last night was supposed to be the best Aurora show in quite a few years so I went to see what I could capture. I did get some pictures, especially over Calgary, which is what I was looking for, but the lights could just barely be seen by the naked eye. Hopefully my pictures made up for it but we shall see. Either way though, the sight of the city at night is something I treasure. It is a really beautiful view from the Anne and Sandy Cross Conservation Area.
Lake Minnewanka is one of the numerous stunning lakes in Banff National Park. The first time I had been there was two weeks ago and I completely fell in love with it. After being there for sunrise the first time and seeing which way the mountains lay, I knew I had to come back for sunset as well. I was finally able to return last night, where I was able to see the lake in a completely different light (excuse the pun) and I was able to get some interesting shots as well, including my first ever selfie. Have you ever been?