Shooting Infrared on a Colourful October Day      








Fisheye is so much fun




Fall snuck up on me this year. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. Maybe that sharp and very quick transition from season to season will become the norm.

I had an appointment that meant a drive down and along the river valley to the village of Chase.  As I walked out the door not thinking about anything but the 20 minute drive that would probably turn into 30+ minutes if I got caught in the extensive road construction going on between my home in Pritchard and my appointment in Chase, Linda called “take your camera”.

Oh, right. Taking my camera is always a good idea.

As I drove along looking at the changing colours I thought about the constant submissions of fall pictures I have been seeing on the local photographer’s facebook group, however, I had decided I would have more fun being different and instead chose my infrared converted camera and added a 10.5mm fisheye lens I had just got into my shop.

I pulled onto the Trans Canada and turned into Chase 20 minutes later. The traffic was fast and I had driven through the construction without a stop. I made my appointment in plenty of time, but the receptionist informed me they had decided to close early and I would have to come back another time.

In frustration I walked back to my car, but fortunately I had my camera. So instead of returning home I decided to wander around Chase.

The fisheye was fun. I could take pictures of people on the sidewalk without pointing the camera at them. Admittedly the pictures were pretty weird with everything on the edges bending inward and I got bored with the town’s limitations. Fortunately Chase has a neat waterfall on one side and a big lake on the other. I left downtown and began with Chase Falls.

I photograph Chase Falls quite often, but this was the first time I was shooting in infrared and the first time I used a fisheye.   One can set up a tripod and capture the wonderful October colours that surround that inviting waterfall anytime, but capturing Chase Falls in infrared and with a fisheye is great fun, and a long ways off from what most photographers would every think of doing.

After an interesting time manipulating that environment I headed over to the lake for a complete change of scenery. Instead of large rocks, overhanging trees and falling water, there is a long pier jutting out into Shuswap Lake, large trees on the edges of a small park, and a wide sandy beach.

Infrared turned the trees to white, the sky a strange shade of blue and everything else a slight magenta. And what about the fisheye lens? Well, the fisheye lens just added to the already unreal quality of the image.

A Short Walk on Snowshoes

Photos by Snowshoe 2   Thompson River Valley

windswept snow

Old car in snow

Log building in snow

My snowshoe easily broke through the two feet of snow that covered the well and down I tumbled into the soft snow. My years of experience as a photographer reminded me to “  at all costs”, and although my leg twisted and snow covered me, I held the camera up high and safe from the wet snow.

I should have remembered that hole. It’s not like I hadn’t been there many times over the years photographing the rusting 1930’s car. I would go there spring, summer, fall and winter in the rain, snow, and sunshine. I should have remembered where it was, but as usual, it’s always about the photograph. I had put on my snowshoes and hiked up the rolling hills to a long meadow not far from my home.

I have always liked snowshoeing. In my teens my friends and I would head out cross-country trekking for hours through the deep powder in the mountains.  I remember overnight trips where we dug snow caves to spend the night in (snowshoes also made great doors). Then we’d ski down long valleys and snowshoe up hills as we moved through the snow covered mountains.

My rural home is surrounded by wooded forests and rolling hills that are perfect for walking, or as today, snowshoeing. Each year I look forward to enough snow-pack to snowshoe in, and after another morning of shoveling a path to my chicken coops, to the car and cleaning the driveway, I decided it was time for my first winter hike up to the high meadow above my home.

The day was overcast, but today’s modern cameras easily handle ISOs of 800 and 1600, so the lack of bright reflection and low contrast on a snowy landscape made everything so much easier to see and photograph. And handholding is undemanding as one can keep the shutterspeed way over 1/400th of a second and still achieve lots of depth of field.

I mounted a 24-70mm on my camera and set out to photograph the snow covered hills on the quiet, cloudy day.  I like hiking when the only sound is my footsteps, or in this case, my snowshoes.

I hiked up and, as usual, photographed everything. When I stroll through that long meadow I rarely see animals, but I always feel as though I am being watched. That’s a good thing. This time a crow swooped low and circled me as I photographed the Thompson River valley far below. I am sure it was wondering what I was doing there.

I could see a storm rolling down from the mountains and photographed that also. Soon another crow appeared overhead, and this time cried a warning that I am sure was about the storm. And then it began snowing. There is nothing like standing in a forest meadow during a snowstorm; it’s quiet. The sounds from both the Trans Canada Highway and the CN Railroad alongside disappeared.

Thirty years ago, when I first started wandering that area there were three buildings, two old cars and an apple tree.  Now the struggling tree no longer bears fruit, someone hauled off the better of the two cars, one building fell down, and the last two are just hanging on.

Still, it’s a great place to snowshoe with a camera and I was having fun and the heavy falling snow didn’t bother me, I just kept wiping the water off my camera as I photographed the on-coming storm, the old buildings and the remnants of that old car and that’s when I fell into the well.

I think stumbling, bumping into things and sometimes falling while paying more attention to the subject being photographed than things in the way isn’t that unusual to those of us that participate in the exciting medium of photography.

I was wet, but I was fine, the camera was fine, and the snowshoes were fine, and best of all, I got lot of great winter pictures.

I’d really like to read your comments.

My website is at

Deadman Junction Photographs – A Great Time

view of deadman junction buildings

view of deadman junction buildings

mining office and jail

mining office and jail

an old mining cart

an old mining cart

an old cargo wagon in the street

an old cargo wagon in the street

view from deadman's main street to buildings.

view from deadman’s main street to buildings.


a wall with saws and a photographer's sign

a wall with saws and a photographer’s sign

an old cargo wagon in the street

an old cargo wagon in the street


Cigar store sculpture in front of saloon

Cigar store sculpture in front of saloon

  walking down Deadman Junction main street

walking down Deadman Junction main street

Photographers driving about an hour west of Kamloops British Columbia, along the Trans Canada Highway 1, past Savona, and past the turn to Deadman’s Creek, will discover a neat, little gem situated just off the road.  All they have to do is watch for a big, home-made sign positioned on the side of the road, amidst the wide, low, rolling-hilled, sagebrush-filled landscape that declares, “Deadman Junction”.

At first glace that sign marks what looks like the remnants of an old town. There are already plenty of decrepit structures left decaying along that stretch of highway and travelers might be hesitant to stop because it looks like it might be, like so many others, private property, and I expect many readers have been run off occasionally by landowners intent on preserving their privacy. However, my suggestion is to slow down and stop because this is a camera-waiting, ready-made, western movie set that is definitely not restricted to private invitation and where everyone will be welcome.

Owned by dedicated wild-west enthusiast Matt Sandvoss, the partially constructed old-west replica is a perfect place for any respectful photographer that wants to work with western lore and old buildings.

Sandvoss, an enjoyable storyteller, guide, and visionary in his pursuit to construct this copy of an Old-West town in a remote part of British Columbia, is an eager, willing, and immediately likeable host.

When I arrived there were motorcycle travelers from Alberta, and a family from England, with both groups enjoying his commentary on the movies that had been filmed there and his ideas for the town’s future. He was pointing out features, western items he had collected, and was adding interesting anecdotes on each.

Although I was mostly involved in my personal photographic quest through the photogenic location, I did hear him mention the movie “The A-Team”, and that actor Harrison Ford had been there. I think that is great, having just found the place I’d hate to see in fall into disrepair, and movies will give Mr. Sandvoss the funds to not only maintain it, but also to add more buildings (for us to photograph).

Photographically the location is almost captivating. The landscape is wide and rolling with almost none of the modern trappings like wide parking lots, concession stands and electrical power poles that usually come with roadside attractions, and when one does see a power pole or something else that gets in the way, it is easy to find a different view.

I wandered back and forth, there was so much to photograph that I found myself continually returning for another look or angle. I was able to capture wide, picturesque images of a row of buildings with appropriate sagebrush and tumbleweed in front of, and around, rickety-looking old wagons, and even iron works close-ups on what I am sure were authentic mining carts.

Those travelers of Highway 1 between Kamloops and Cache Creek might want to stop to cool off at the Juniper Beach Provincial Park nestled in a shady, treed spot along the river, and if the Skeetchestn Indian Band rodeo is in progress, that’s a neat event also. However, for me I know I’ll be taking the scenic drive again along the mighty, winding Thompson River to spend some time listening to Sandvoss’ stories and a whole bunch of time photographing Deadman Junction.

I always appreciate your comments. Thanks, John

My website is at

Photographing Vintage Cars Along The Road

     A year ago I wrote, “Roadside Photographers Just Get Lucky”. I said those photographers that cruise the highways and byways by vehicle looking for subjects, “must be prepared and ready at a moment’s notice to grab the camera from its bag on the back seat, roll down the window (that’s a must), take a quick exposure reading, and shoot.” I saw them as distinctive among scenic, bird, and wildlife photographers and discussed how I thought luck played an important part in their photography.

These photographers don’t always have the luxury of time to attach a tripod to the camera base, and need to quickly and accurately meter, shoot fast, and be ready for other cars that slowly pass as people try to see why the car is stopped.

Loosing composure by madly waving or yelling, “Go, go, go. Get out of my way!”  doesn’t work very well.  That car will pass and hopefully won’t ruin the shot. The light isn’t always optimal, and the perspective and angle of the shot is going to depend on the road and the placement of the vehicle in relationship to the subject to be photographed. There are those roadside shooters that only use little point and shoot cameras, but the serious roadside photographer is equipped with a DSLR, the skill to use it effectively, and experience to understand how to work with restricting conditions.

Roadside photographers don’t go out to photograph a particular subject. Much of the time, skilled multi-taskers that they are, roadside photographers will be involved in other activities like going to work, visiting friends, or making that run to the store before supper, yet still are on the lookout for any kind of subject to photograph, and are silent about how the picture they are showing was made by chance, and from behind the steering wheel of their car. It sounds so much better for viewers to think the picture was made after detailed planning or some lengthy excursion on foot.

Over the years I have described what kind of photographer I am in many different ways. I won’t bore readers with that, but these days I see myself as an opportunist when it comes to the images I capture on my camera’s sensor. Most of the pictures I am able to make on the roadside are because of my sharp-eyed wife, Linda.  I thought about this roadside, opportunistic photography as I pulled off the Trans Canada highway to stop and photograph a field filled with pre-1920 cars that Linda saw and I almost drove by.

The Antique chapter from the larger organization, Vintage Car Club of Canada had picked a location just outside of Kamloops, British Columbia, to hold their meet and had been touring around the area for the past two days. We sometimes see groups of restored old cars on the highways which I suppose is not that surprising with a 23 chapter, 1200 member-strong, Canadian car club. However, spectators usually surround them and chances of getting clear shots or even talking to the owners are rare.

But in this instance the wonderful antique cars were parked in a circle in a wide-mowed field and, unlike other car shows, spectators were absent and I could take all the time I wanted composing pictures, and even talking to owners about the club and receiving personal stories about their cars.

I was lucky. I already said roadside photographers just get lucky. The cars, the lack of other people, other photographers, and because I had been working earlier in the day at another job meant that I had my 24-70mm lens and a good flash and I got to get out of my car ready for the pictures.  I was lucky.

The sky had clouded over reducing metal glare and the warm evening light was perfect, all I had to do was add some fill light with my flash to bring out the character of the vintage cars. I began by just photographing those that interested me the most, then after the initial excitement I slowed down and walked around again trying to compose my pictures to tell a story instead of just documenting cars in a field.

I like cars, and like many men view them as works of art. As a photographer the chance to wander around photographing vintage cars is just plain fun, however, truth be told, I will stop to photograph pretty much anything.

My website: