Ominous clouds to the west
Today was one of those spring days where the weather gives us all four seasons in a day. We had sun while other parts of the area had hail and/or snow. Towards sunset, the clouds gathered and threatened a downpour. It never came – at least for us – but the clouds looks dark and foreboding as the weather system tracked north along the Salish Sea and up towards Howe Sound.
I looked out of our west-facing window to see the dark rain clouds. Thinking there must be a picture in there somewhere I stepped out onto the balcony and sized up a few photos. As I looked through them on the computer I found I just hadn’t been able to capture the feel of the weather. Until I got to this photo: the full 3×2 frame was just of the cloud formations, and I took it because it looked kinda interesting. However, when I first saw it on the screen I passed over it because it looked, well, boring and dull. It was only as I went through a second time with a more critical eye – having processed a couple of others and not feeling they conveyed anything – that somehow I instantly saw a square crop, the frame neatly divided into light and dark, with some really interesting cloud shapes along the boundary. I loaded it into DxO PhotoLab, desaturated the colours (after setting the white balance to “shade” to make it nearly grey) and applied some contrast to emphasize the extremes.
I set out to capture the dark clouds over the city and instead ended up with a more abstract cloudscape that actually captured the mood far better. I’m really happy with it.
Last night’s most slender of crescent moons 🌙
On Sunday night I scanned the western horizon to see if I could make out the tiniest sliver of a crescent moon with no luck. Last night I thought I’d stand more chance (given that it was now 4.5 % illuminated), but was still unable to spot it for some time after sunset – until about 25 minutes later and suddenly there it was: a slim crescent low in the sky. Knowing how unpredictable our 55-200 mm lens has become, I opted for resting it on the balcony, propped up on a small wedge (rather than wobbling in the wind on a tripod), and using the 10-second timer. Before I took my moon shot (ha ha), I made sure to focus on something distant as the camera was having trouble focusing on the faint moon (I used the radio towers on the summit of Mt Gardner), and turned off the autofocus and image stabilization.
I took 4 or 5 photos with that arrangement and picked the one that suffered least from atmospheric effects too (a problem when the moon is so low in the sky; barely 7 degrees above the horizon). The wind had blown around the foreground trees to a distracting blur, so I cropped them out of the final picture. Then all I needed were a few adjustments to the exposure, contrast, and vibrance and I had my photo. I really like the gradient from blue to yellow across the image.
I don’t think it’s the thinnest crescent I’ve captured, but it might be one of the faintest. I like that subtlety.
Postscript: I feel I should explain the odd title of today’s post. The BBC radio show I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue has a “game” called Mornington Crescent, where the aim of the game is to be the first person to say “Mornington Crescent”. (Read more on Wikipedia to learn how this can even make sense!) Since the photo is of a crescent moon taken in the evening, I couldn’t resist the play on the name of the game, although it would actually make more sense if the photo were taken in the early morning. Maybe I’ll save that for another day?
It’s ferry Friday – here’s the Queen of Capilano on her way back to Horseshoe Bay from Bowen Island at dusk last weekend.
A clear evening, a view of the ferry, and a pink sky. All I had to do was keep the camera steady. I was hoping to be able to push the colour a bit more to make it a bit more dramatic but it didn’t really look right, so I kept my adjustments modest. More realistic, albeit at the expense of being a little less eye-catching.
On the whole I’ll take realism any day – I see too many photos on Instagram (and Flickr and Facebook) where the colours have been pushed to ridiculous levels in the hope of attracting more likes. (And that’s before we get into discussions of HDR.) At least I assume that’s the case – perhaps the posters genuinely like their photos to look that way? Maybe that is “realistic” to them? Who knows? I don’t see exactly the same as them and my screens are setup differently.
It occurred to me as I was writing this that eye-catching is probably the name of the game for many people on Instagram. Given the continuous scrolling through dozens of photos, it takes something to literally catch your eye as you go, something to make you stop scrolling and take a closer look, tap the heart, or even leave a comment. Sure, I enjoy seeing those “like” notifications as much as anyone, but at the end of the day, if only a few others like my photos, I’m fine with that.
I will admit, though, that I do get a little irked when I see mediocre photos being lauded as “excellent work”, but I also recognize that the number of likes and comments is pretty much directly related to the number of followers, and I’d have to work harder to gain more followers in order to increase my likability. I’m not so heavily into my own self-promotion to do that. And do I want followers who can’t tell a good photo from a bad one? What’s the value of their likes to me in that case, other than for massaging my ego?
So I will go on just posting photos I like, those that can jog a memory or two for me, and, yes, I hope that others may find them interesting.
Alpenglow. Flashback Friday to a Thanksgiving 2012 backpacking trip to Garibaldi Lake.
I couldn’t think what to post today, but I have had this photo in mind for a while now. It didn’t feel like a floral-Friday so I went with “flashback” instead. The summer of 2012 was a good one for us when it came to camping. I think we spent over 20 nights in our new tent as the backpacking season lasted until Thanksgiving in October. For the weekend, we called out a hike through Wanderung and headed up to Garibaldi Lake with a couple of fellow hikers.
The weather was perfect, and we enjoyed two lovely evenings by the lake watching the daylight fade. I was even inspired to take some long exposure photos of the lake to smooth out the ripples and get this nice reflection of the distant glaciers catching the last light of the day. Alas I totally missed the superb auroral display that graced the skies on the night we drove home…
I see a full moon rising – throwback to a chilly December evening in 2011, much like these past couple of days.
I both successfully planned and botched this photo. The success was catching the moonrise over the city. The failure was that I was expecting the moon to rise over Mt Seymour. If I’d checked a little more carefully I’d have realized that wasn’t going to happen! Ah well – there’s always a next time, and if we can believe the current weather forecast, it might even be next week.
A few pink rays over the Howe Sound peaks
Another perspective on last night’s incredible sunset. As the saying goes, as you’re watching a sunset (or sunrise), don’t forget to look behind you. I really liked the pink rays of cloud over the deep blue cloud-capped peaks along the Howe Sound Crest Trail.
Last light on Garibaldi. Pink snow and a pink sky.
This photo was taken from the pedestrian bridge over Highway 99 at the parking lot for the Stawamus Chief. When the light gets this low it’s a bit of a challenge to keep the camera steady because the bridge flexes as people walk on it. Not much, but enough to jiggle you and/or the camera. The other problem with taking this shot is you have to be very careful not to drop anything into the four lanes of speeding traffic below… Tip: either pocket your lens cap before walking onto the bridge, or get one that attaches to your camera.