Oh, Canada

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You may have read my earlier posts here and here .  If so, you’ll know we just got back from a fabulous trip to Nova Scotia.  We enjoyed the seafood, the scenery, and the water.  We saw puffins, eagles, seal, grouse, pheasant, porcupine, deer, and caribou.

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It’s so awesome just to watch nature in it’s climates and storms, it’s moods and sweeps…. we just love it.  We can spend time just watching it’s many facets, meeting people, and taking it all in.  Oh my, how we have evolved.

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Becoming a photographer teaches one many things.  Not the least of which is juxtaposition, simplification, patterns and light.  It’s a joy to see something, capture it and make a seemingly ordinary commonplace item something extraordinary.  Not that a large lobster boat cast onshore is anything ordinary!

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There is something about being on the coast.  It produces such moods and emotion.  It giveth and it take away; the sea can be peaceful or unforgiving.  Many lives are lost on the seas, caught in it’s moods.  We saw a great testament and monument to that in Lunenburg where marble pillars list the names of the lost.  It gives one pause.

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Yet, on it’s good days the sea is inviting in it’s beauty and allure… a peaceful serene place. It’s no wonder we crave it and constantly go back for more.

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In Lunenburg we enjoyed fabulous Adams & Knickles scallops, the seaside village, and surrounding Blue Rocks.

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The evening light on Lunenburg was spectacular, but it does take a long zoom and tripod to get the shot, as it isn’t up close and personal… it’s across the way at the golf course.

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When we were there the flowers were blooming and the birds chirping, storms were brewing, and sun was still hesitant to shine through.  Yet the water was flowing and the animals active.  It was a quiet and fun time to be there.

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Peggy’s Cove

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Anyone that knows us, knows that we love the water.  We always find the water where ever we go (that and food markets, but I digress).  Peggy’s Cove is a popular photography place with it’s iconic lighthouse and multitude of photographs littering the internet.  So we figured it was our turn to experience it for ourselves.

We planned a trip to Nova Scotia that included both Cape Breton Island, Peggy’s Cove, and Lunenburg.  Check out more here.

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We found Peggy’s Cove to be fantastically picturesque.  It was stunning to take in… almost like props were set there for photography.  The iconic lobster traps, the colorful lobster boats, and rustic docks overlooking the bay.  Wow!

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The weather cleared for us for 2 full days when we were in Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg… then the fog rolled back in.  It gave us just long enough to get some great sunset shots in this magical place.

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I found the bay to be so much more picturesque than the lighthouse.  But thankfully I was the only one who thought so, as I had the bay to myself while hoards of tourists climbed all over the lighthouse.

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Milk Ranch Road

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Last I blogged, I spoke about the Mogollon Rim and it’s many faces.  We continue to explore it’s personalities and strive to find new places to capture it’s essence.  This week’s trip took us to Milk Ranch Rd, which is kinda on-the-rim-off-the-rim.  You still get those great views, but not the great winds (if you’ve been to Mogollon Rim you know what I mean, it’s always windy).

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We found a great spot and stayed overnight to get sunset and sunrise shots.    The sun casts shadows across the canyons creating dark lines, making it ever challenging to capture.  But I’m up for the continued challenge.

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Unfortunately, on this particularly trip I forgot my tripod.  Pretty humorous that was an issue for me, as I have never been a tripod shooter.  It always seemed such a pain.  Now that I have embraced it, I can’t live without it.  I can set up the tripod and take those low light photographs (sunrise, sunset, stars) while maximizing my aperture to let lots of light in but still keeping my ISO low to avoid noise.  Star photos were a bit dicey though taken on a sweatshirt.  The glow of our fire cast a orange hue on the pine trees above.

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The Pano

I often take Panorama’s, but seldom actually stitch them together.

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So let me step back a minute.  Panorama’s are a wide span photo, either vertical or horizontal.  These days you can do them with your camera or point & shoot, where in some ways they are easier.  Just press the button to go… and again to stop.  Wa-la.

To do them with DSLR is a little more complicated.  In Photoshop, you do a Photomerge, which is hidden under the obscure tree File – Automate – Photomerge.  Select the photos you want to merge and it will whir and wiz until it comes up with a compilation of your photos stitched together.  You’ll have to do some cropping or Content Aware patching to fill in any holes… but wa-la… the Pano.

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A good tip when you do the Pano in camera is to stick up one finger to designate that you are beginning a pano… then take your series, trying to remain level to the horizon and constant focus & exposure as you sweep your photos across, then stick up 2 fingers to designate that you are done.

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This way when you are going through you digital negatives you know you have done a pano and can stitch it together using Photomerge in Photoshop.

Admittedly, I will take them, but rarely get around to or bother to stitch them together.  Maybe it’s because they just don’t inspire me as great photos, they are difficult to print, and hard to email.  Some subject matters do lend themselves to the pano format however.  So don’t necessarily blow them off.  Give them a try to enhance the story telling of your trip.

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Arches National Park

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Arches, while aptly named with memorable arches to view and walk amongst, is so much more.  It is multiple spires, hoodoos if you will, large canyons and seas of rock formations jutting out of the valley floor… and arches.

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Arches true colors shine at sunset when the colors turn a brilliant unreal orange-red.

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The rock pillars radiate as if they were on fire, taking on an other worldly glow.  It makes you stop dead in your feet just to take it in.  It comes like a storm, lights up the world, then without pause or hesitation it disappears behind the horizon until it comes back tomorrow.

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For me, I’m just happy to be witness to it’s grandeur and share in it’s awesome beauty.

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Lake Powell – Alstrom Point

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Have you been to… or heard of Alstrom Point?  It’s on the back side of Lake Powell, north of Page.  We have seen photos of this amazing place and wanted to check it out for ourselves. If you go to Page, continue west to Big Water.  Stop at Big Water Visitor Center for a fascinating education in this dinosaur rich area, with over 4000 dinosaur’s being discovered just in the last 10 years, many newly discovered species.  They’ll give you a detailed map on how to get to Alstrom Point.  But essentially it’s behind Big Water along a long 2 hour dirt road.

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The overlook was nothing short of stunning.

hawkheadPSi.JPGWe camped out so we could get sunset, sunrise, and star photos.  We enjoyed it so much, we stayed 2 nights.  It was one of those magical moments that you remember for a life time.  Watching the full moon rise over the lake was fantastic.  This orange ball rose just behind Gunsight Butte, lighting up the sky like it burst into flames.

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Because we were there 2 nights we got to do sunrise and sunset, as well as night stars.

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Pictures don’t do it justice.  It was a fabulous couple days.

Bosque del Apache

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Sometime when we are young we learn that birds fly south for the winter.  So I’ve known that somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind, but haven’t really contemplated it or given it much thought.

Yet when we went to Bosque del Apache outside of Socorro, New Mexico that very principle is live and in your face.  Thousands of sandhill cranes, white geese, canadian geese, and other waterfowl fly from Alaska – south, to Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge.

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Even though it was a ‘light’ year for the birds flocking to Bosque, it was still a sight to see, watching these numerous birds of all different kinds spiraling into the ‘crane pools’.

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We watched them early morning (6 am sunrise) and evening (5pm sunset) as they would ‘lift off’ and go to safe ground in the ‘crane pools’.  During the day they would flock to the farm fields and feed off the grass.  It was definitely good cheap entertainment.

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Dinner Out

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I freely admit I like to enjoy a nice dinner out.  It’s gotten a little harder now that we live off the beaten path.  So I have to rely on my own cooking skills.. which is something I can easily live with.

The best dinner out we enjoy these days… is the one we take with.

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We pack up our grill and our picnic basket, our cooler, the dog (Journey), and the camera… and we’re off.  It doesn’t much matter where we go… it all in the journey… and the views.

This evening we watched the sun set over Mogollon Rim.  I think we had the best view in the house.

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