Monday, September 19, 2011

Takkakaw Falls - Yoho Valley - 9.19.2011

Phew! Finally caught up on blog updates. This is my trip from yesterday :)
The last few days I've been feeling down. No need to go into the reason why, but I've been down. There's usually only one cure for that, when it comes to me, and that is to get the hell out of town and into the mountains....let's see if it worked.
It was a nice morning when I loaded up the FotomanMobile. A bit on the cool side, but still, nice. I had made the decision that I would do a little bit of a hike out at Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National Park. I've never hiked down the Yoho Valley Trail so I figured I'd make the day about waterfalls, and go for a bit of a hike.
Heading through Banff, I could see the dark clouds forming over the mountain tops. Low cloud cover and parts of the highway were damp. I had forgotten any kind of jacket, but did remember to bring a sweater - which is a good thing. Heading down the steep grade into Field, B.C., it started raining. I don't mind rain, especially in the mountains and on a hike, as I find it intesifies the smells and even some sounds.
It had been a couple of years since I had been out to Takkakaw Falls, and arriving at the parking lot, it's majestic look, and amazing sound of the water rushing over the top, confirmed that it definitely is a jewel to visit and photograph.
Taking the quick walk from the parking lot towards the very short trail that goes to the falls, I realized that everyone I had walked by, said "good morning" and most asked "how are you today?". Although still feeling a bit down, I couldn't help but say "I'm great thanks! How are you?" How can you not be great in a place like this?? This trip really did start to help my head space, right from the start.
I set up the tripod and took a shot from one of the "normal" spots that most people take a photo of these falls from, then packed up the tripod, and started the walk down the trail. Most people (young and old) were from Europe. I talked to one nice couple that were from Germany, and they were hiking the same direction I was, although they overtook me because I stopped to take a lot of photos :)
Not far up the trail, is the Takkakaw Warden Office. I'll have a photo of this up soon, as I was able to get a shot of this rustic looking log cabin, with the falls to the right of the photo. Man, that'd be an awesome place to "work"!! Just passed that, since it was drizzling a bit with rain, yet the sun was peeking out now and then, was a rainbow over the Yoho Valley. Unfortunately, it didn't show up on the photo. Not sure if it's because I had my circular polarizer filter on or not, but next time, if it's overcast like it was, I'll leave that off.
I couldn't help notice, even on the drive up the road to the falls parking lot, that the water level was quite low compared to most times I've visited. Although, this is the latest in the year I've been out here, so understandable considering runoff season has finished. Just past the Takkakaw Campground, is a thin, wooden, footbridge that spans a wide water way. At this time though, it's pretty dry. a few streams of water run down it, fed by a small waterfall on the left. These mountains are just waiting for the snow. I'll have to do this walk earlier next year, when runoff is happening. I'm sure the amount of water down some of these areas will be amazing!
Past this section, the pine trees line the trail and make for an amazing smell all the way. Coming to a "T" intersection, I turned right to have a look at Angel's Staircase Falls. This was at 2.21km from the falls and unfortunately, no water was running down these falls at this time. Turning back, I went the short walk .25km to Point Lace Falls. This had water...I could hear it before I got there. It's quite a tall waterfall, nothing tall like Takkakaw, but probably a good 200 feet. Although there wasn't a huge amount of water flowing over the top, it was good because I'm sure my lens would have gotten spray on it if I came up in the runoff season. That was a nice waterfall.
At this time, I was considering continuing on for another 1.5km to Yoho Gorge Falls, but I didn't want to get home too late so I turned back towards the parking lot.
On the way back I met a couple of really nice (and really pretty) young ladies from Eastern Europe (just from their accent...I never did ask where they were from). At this time the sun was coming out and it was warming up a bit, even though it was still a bit windy and still drizzling, at the same time.
At the parking lot I loaded my equipment back into the FotomanMobile, and headed off to Emerald Lake. I don't know what it is, but every time I'm in Field, I have to come to Emerald Lake. It's called that for obvious reasons and if you have a look at my photos of it on my flickr photostream, you'll see why. The color of the water is amazing, and one hot summer day I'll rent a canoe and go out on the water with my camera for some "different perspective" shots. They always have some really nice colors of plants hanging off the small bridge that goes from the parking lot, over the water to the resort/lodge, and I always like to include these in my photos of the lake too. Again, due to the weather being a little overcast, and a bit cooler than when I've been up here previously, there was a small amount of people. In the summer time, it's hard to even make it onto the bridge at times with the amount of people there.
Time was pushing on, and if I was to go the way home I wanted to, I'd need to get going, so I started on my way back towards Calgary. Taking the turnoff at Highway 40, I headed south towards Kananaskis. I'd heard warnings (and seen signs) that bear were still quite active in the Kananaskis area, so I was hoping to get a glimpse of a bear for the first time, this year. Unfortunately, that wasn't going to happen.
Heading up the highwood pass, the fall colors started to really pop. I can't wait for another month until the colors really start to come out. I love the mountains in the fall. The colors from the leaves are amazing and really add to a photograph. I didn't even see a deer or a Rocky Mountain Sheep along the 40/Highwood pass. Got to Longview and headed north then East towards High River just for something a bit different. After that I headed to Hwy 2 and headed into downtown. Arriving at home I felt a bit different from when I started off. Felt in a slightly better frame of mind about things, than I have, lately. Back to 100%, definitely not, but better? Yes, definitely.
So, 697.9km, and a 10 hour day later, I got some fantastic results. Next weekend, I'm taking my best mate Tim out to Takkakaw falls as he's never been there before. I'd like to get out there for about 9am, as there is a historic chalet at "Twin Falls" which is 7.9km away from the parking lot. Built in the early 1900's it used to be a stop over for CP Rail workers that hiked out that way. There is a lot of Railway history in Field B.C., and also the Burgess Shale which contains fossils from a long, long, long, long, time ago. :)
Next weekend should be a fantastic weekend. Heading out with Tim on Saturday, and my friend Samantha on the Sunday.
Until next time,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chicks and there any better combination? - 9.11.2011

My friend Don has a 55 Bel-Air. Beautifully restored, with passion, and love, for the vehicle. From the first time I talked to him he wanted photos done, and instantly I wanted to include a model or two.
My long time friend Victoria was in on this one, as she loves old cars, and I also got a new model friend Miranda to come out for this shoot.
On my way back from Edmonton a week before the shoot, I saw a gas station that last year was operational, but has since closed down. Looking at the exterior of the building, it looks run down - a perfect place to put a 55 Bel-Air. Kind of a "newish old vehicle" with a "newish old looking building".
I think the majority of the photos turned out really well, unfortunately, it was really windy so my reflector, for the most part, was useless....I REALLY need that set of studio lights!!! That's ok, next year!! :)
As always, photos from this shoot can be seen on my various sites.

Secluded Shoot With Kelsi - 9.10.2011

When was the last time I did a one on one shoot?? That would have been with Jacqueline the Saturday before my "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit" Sunday. Jaqueline couldn't make it Sunday so we did a one on one shoot on the Saturday. So, this time, it was with a long time friend, Kelsi. We had been wanting to work together for a few years, but our schedules never matched up. This time, they did and we got some fantastic shots!!
We did a bunch of different styles, with her new leather jacket, new leather shoes (both items from her Italy vacation), lingerie, implied nudes, the whole bit. The location is an abandoned house I found last year, just north of the city. It's hidden by trees and easily missed and nobody goes there. Perfect for a nice secluded photoshoot where no stray public eyes can see.
I have a bunch of photos from that day on my Flickr site, my main site, and on Facebook too. Have a look and comment on them! Let me know what you think!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Son of a BEACH! - August 27th, 2011

Sorry for my late update, but I've been busy shooting :)

August 27th, a week after the initial Sports Illustrated style swimsuit shoot in a stream, in Fish Creek park, I decided to do a beach type shoot at Sikome Lake. Little did I know that you need a "permit" to shoot in a park. The guy at the gate said I needed a permit to shoot as a business. I told him it wasn't a business today, as the models weren't paying me, and I wasn't paying them. So, I got in. :)

What amazes me, is the amount of photographers that are against Time For...whatever - baiscally, taking photos of models, for free. How else are you going to get the photos? In Calgary, you're not going to get paid by a top model, because oh're in Calgary, NOT in LA, New York, London, Paris, what's wrong with a trade of service?? NOTHING!  I get the photos I want, they get the photos they want. Now if you go into professional Fitness, or bodybuilding personalities, they're willing to pay for photos, which is great, but you'll get very few Alberta models that are just starting out, paying you to take their photos. Of course, it'd be great if we all got paid to shoot, and to be shot, but that's not going to happen in Calgary. Yes, there are circumstances where you will get paid, but in general, when dealing with models that aren't getting paid by an agency/company, it's going to be a trade of service.

Now back to the shoot....

Sikome lake...nice little beach area and a great lake. It wasn't too busy when we got there so we set up towards the south side where it was quiet. Joining me that day were Shaii and Samantha from the week before, and a newcomer Jessica who was great to work with - they all are. :)

Shooting and shooting is what I did...about 700 photos of all 3 models. Not bad for a few hours worth of shooting. I had my new stand for my reflector which really gave the photos that extra "kick" of light, which was really nice. I'll be using that for all of my future shoots too, as I loved the extra light.

Towards the end of the shoot, we had quite the crowd gathering near us...I guess people aren't used to seeing a guy with a camera in the lake, carrying a large reflector and stand around LOL!

Well, it was another great day, and this coming weekend (September 10th and 11th), I'll be doing some more shoots with some more gorgeous women (and a 1955 Chevy Bel-Air) so early next week I'll update this blog again with my latest adventures. :)

Shots from August 27th can be seen on my Flickr photostream and on Facebook.