October photographer’s drive through Wells Grey Park   

 

 

 

My friend Jo and I decided to test out a big 400mm lens that came in to my shop.

I had brought it home to test and had tried couple shots in my yard, but decided it needed distance subjects for a realistic workout.

Jo had stopped by one evening and after a couple glasses of wine I flippantly said, “if we took it to Wells Grey Park we might find some bears”.

I was joking. Jo always tells me she would be afraid if she saw a bear wandering in the woods where we live. However, in an uncharacteristic comment she took a sip of her wine and said, “can we do that?”

A week later we drove into the wilderness park and Jo had that big six-pound lens attached to her Nikon D800. We had began by stopping at Spahats Creek Falls 400mm lens for some wide angle shots, then wandered around a long deserted homestead and were heading to Helmkin Falls when we spotted the bears.

In the forest town of Clearwater, just before the park, I talked to a local that mentioned there had been a sow and two cubs hanging around a large meadow on the way to the park’s entrance, so we were watching and as we turned a corner there were cars parked on the roadside. And there in a farmer’s mowed field were the three bears.

I stopped, placed my beanbag on Jo’s open door and stepped back as she rested that big lens 400mm f3.5 on it and began pressing her camera’s shutter.

After that exhilarating event we drove on into the park.

We couldn’t have chosen a better day. The temperature was cool enough for a light jacket and the fall colours were inviting so we stopped and stopped and stopped again to take pictures.

The park is a favourite of hikers, boaters, trucks towing large trailers for overnight camping and for anyone, like Jo and I that want to do roadside photography.

Like most photographers, we over packed. We had our cameras, tripods, lots of lenses, a bag of filters, two flashes, extra memory cards and enough food for two or three days.

We didn’t eat very much of the food, use the filters, flashes or tripods and had no need to mount a flash on either of our cameras. I only used my 24-70mm and other than when she photographed the bears with that 400mm Jo stayed with her 20-40mm. But although the need never arose for us to employ that trunk full of equipment we were well prepared.

October is my favourite time of year for scenic photography and as last year at this time, Wells Gray Park is always on my list for fall nature photos.

When the shadows grew and the temperature began to drop we knew it was time to head home. Clearwater to our homes in Pritchard is about two hours and for us that meant two hours of talking about the photos we took, photos we plan to take and places we want to go with our cameras.

I looked for a quote to end with and found this by the most famous scenic photographer of them all, Ansel Adams.

Everybody now has a camera, whether it is a professional instrument or just part of a phone. Landscape photography is a pastime enjoyed by more and more. Getting it right is not an issue. It is difficult to make a mistake with the sophisticated technology we now have. Making a personal and creative image is a far greater challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking Ahead to Photographing Fall Landscapes

   

This time of year I always begin thinking about photographing fall landscapes. As of yet the colours aren’t really how I want them, everything is still hot and dry. I think I’ll be waiting the better part of a month for the changing leaves and landscape before venturing up into the mountains just a short drive north of my home in Pritchard, British Columbia

Books, especially those written by photographers, easily seduce me. I am in the mood for what is going to be weeks of fun colourful photography anyway. So when I walked by the well-worn copy of my favourite scenic photographer/writer, Eliot Porter’s book on landscapes I decided to thumb through it.

Porter’s book, “Intimate Landscapes,” will always get me thinking about taking time to visit some of the many picturesque locations in my part of the world and even though the book by Porter features photographs in north-western New Mexico and south-eastern Utah, it is filled with photographs that inspire me.

I have mentioned him before, but for those readers that don’t remember my past comments on this man, or those that aren’t familiar with him, the following is a quote from this book. “The natural world has always attracted my eye: associations of living and inanimate phenomena, from the tropics to the poles and from rain forests to deserts, have been favourite photographic subjects for almost half a century.  Grasses and sedges, especially, appeal to me – an appeal like disordered hair across a face, or a windblown field of hay before the mowing. When associated with water, as sedges so often are, the magic of restlessness is enhanced by reflections not foreseen. In mixed woods of pine and maple, the needles of pines drop throughout the year, building jackstraw mats of thin brown bundles on which, at the time of the fall of the leaf, the bright maple leaves settle at random, arranging themselves in harmonious patterns that defy improvement as though placed there intentionally.”

Reading this book or any other on photography for that matter, helps me examine the way I make photographs, and encourages me to try photographing landscapes differently.

Although I like to plan my photographic excursions and am apt to stand looking at a scene for a while before releasing my camera’s shutter, (The reason I like using a tripod is because it slows me down.) I do think photographic ideas and opportunities sometimes happen in a moment that once has passed will never be the same and I release the shutter for no other reason than it is fun to try photographing that scene.

Here is another quote from Porter’s book that I like.  Porter says, “I do not photograph for ulterior purposes.  I photograph for the thing itself – for the photograph – without consideration of how it may be used.  Some critics suggest that I make photographs primarily to promote conservation, but this allegation is far from the truth. Although my photographs may be used in this way, it is incidental to my original motive for making them, which is first of all for personal aesthetic satisfaction.”

Sometimes just the process of making a photograph for no other reason than doing it is enough and I have friends that regularly show me all types of pictures that are just made because they enjoy the medium of photography.  Photography, in this era of high tech digital images, has become so very easy. However, in my opinion, good photography is as time consuming as it ever has been, requiring practice and education.

I am hoping for a long, cool fall here in the interior of British Columbia with lots of colour. I’ll be driving to Wells Gray Park in the upcoming month. The environment of Wells Gray, although very diverse from the scenic locations in Porter’s book, has many of the features that I am sure would have appealed to him and if you have a moment check out landscape photographer Eliot Porter in your local library or on-line, and hopefully his photographs will inspire you as he does me.

PS, the two pictures are from last year…I’ll soon have some for this year…..

My website is www.enmanscamera.com