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A Day and A Night in Hespeler

August 28th, 2012 by Colin Carmichael

This past weekend I was pleased to have some of my photos exhibited at the A Day and A Night; Art Meets Music event in Hespeler (a neighbourhood of Cambridge, Ontario). I ended up spending most of the day wandering around the festival snapping photos – here’s a look:

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Summer Sunset Portrait

August 14th, 2012 by Colin Carmichael

I love shooting at sunset. There are so many creative options that you just don’t get at any other time of day. It’s challenging, though, for several reasons – most of all because what you see in the viewfinder (if you can see anything) is not what you will end up with. The setting sun also completely fools the camera’s light meter making Manual your only option – and with no reliable light meter. Good times.

When it all works, however, it’s worth all the frustration:
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Family Portrait

August 13th, 2012 by Colin Carmichael

It’s always a little intimidating to take photos of children that aren’t your own. The little guy in this family, however, was a joy to work with!

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Click here to see my client work set.

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Louisbourg Lighthouse

August 12th, 2012 by Colin Carmichael

This photo has been languishing in my archives since February when I visited Cape Breton. I decided it was time for it to see the light of day. (pun intended)

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Cruise Night

August 8th, 2012 by Colin Carmichael

Another Wednesday night, another set of cruise night photos! My favourite thing about these cruise night photos is the ability to shoot into the setting sun. The timing, direction and background are perfect for creating fantastic sunstar and lens flare effects:

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There is also the other row of cars that face into the sun. While these aren’t as much fun, they do provide for some very good high-contrast shots:
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All of my cruise night photos are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carmichaels/sets/72157629764006232/

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Wishing Well

August 3rd, 2012 by Colin Carmichael

I don’t normally share single photos here on the blog (though i guess this is two recently) but I just love this image I captured last weekend so much that I had to share it with you.

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A Walk at RARE

July 29th, 2012 by Colin Carmichael

20120727_CRC4912We who live in Cambridge are blessed with many natural environments within the city boundaries. Friday we decided at the last minute to drive over to the RARE Charitable Research Reserve.

Luckily, I brought my camera and got some shots of two families – mine, of course, and the family of ospreys that live at the reserve.

RARE is a pretty amazing place – 900 acres of protected land and TON of research projects. A quick look at the projects page reveals things like “Floral interactions and the role of pollination-niche traits in the assembly of spring ephemeral communities”, “Does shear stress determine suitable habitat for juvenile freshwater mussels?”, and “Metacommunity dynamics and community assembly of restored tallgrass prairie.” Clearly not just a walk in the park!

I’ve selected a few photos to share below and the full set can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carmichaels/sets/72157630793135294/

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Strike!

July 26th, 2012 by Colin Carmichael

I’m proud of several of my photos. I work hard at learning and practicing the skills required to get the shot I want when I want it. Sometimes an opportunity presents itself that allows you to put those skills to work – often in a hurry – to create a really stunning image. That happened tonight.

We had been hearing all afternoon about the storm that was approaching promising strong winds, lightning and possibly hail. I didn’t think much of it because, well, we haven’t had much rain at all this year and every time the weather dude says it’s going to rain, it doesn’t. However, I found myself very awake at 1am sitting on my front step watching the intermittent glow of lightning over the north end of the city. I thought of my camera but realized that the trees and houses made for a very poor view of the horizon. Then I remembered the little park I found a few months ago at the south end of the city – on a hill overlooking all of south Cambridge.

I ran back into the house, grabbed my camera bag and tripod and rushed out my car. I drove VERY SLOWLY AND SAFELY the to the park on the hill. As I setup my tripod and got the shot framed up, I could see that rain was already falling on the horizon and I had little time. I had done exactly ZERO research on how to shoot lightning – but I trusted my instincts and set the aperture to 8 and the ISO to 100. I then set shutter speed to “Time/Bulb” and the drive to “Remote”. At the time I had no idea how I knew that this was what I should do. I now realize that it’s what I learned while shooting the Canada Day fireworks earlier in the month. I had researched that a LOT and that experience served me very well here.

Unfortunately, you can’t anticipate lightning the way you can fireworks. So I just opened the shutter and waited. Every so often, I’d close and re-open the shutter to keep the ambient light low enough to still look like nighttime. I captured lots of lightning but no ground strikes – it was all in the clouds. Then the magic happened and a big beautiful fork of electricity hit the ground just on the edge of the frame. I waited another second in the hopes a second strike would happen but none came so a press of the remote closed the shutter. I took a few more exposures of varying lengths but got no groundstrikes. This was it – and it was enough:

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The technical stuff: 23 second exposure at f/8, ISO at 100. The lens was my trusty 28-80G at 28mm
Post-production: no colour correction at all. I lightened the lights and darkened the darks and added just a touch of noise reduction. That’s it.

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37th Cambridge Highland Games

July 24th, 2012 by Colin Carmichael

20120721_CRC4684I am not a Highlander. The Scottish blood that runs in my veins is of the more sedate lowland variety. My wife, on the other hand, descends from the Sinclairs – the highest of the Highlanders – hailing from the most northern tip of the auld sod. It’s no surprise, then, that the Highland Games in our adopted city are a “must attend” event for the family.

The Cambridge Games have struggled in recent years with low attendance due mostly to uncooperative weather. This year, however, there was no evidence of the recent troubles. Media reports say that over 6000 people visited the site in the scorching heat. As this was my first games with a proper camera (and the skills to use it) I was excited to see what I could capture. One thing is always certain at a highland event – lots of interesting colours, patterns, and personalities!

I took a lot of photos that day – many of them duplicates and many more that just didn’t turn out for one reason or another. From my original number of 425 exposures, I ended up with 35 finished images. One of the 35, though, is pretty special. This is Keegan. He’s four years old and was at the Cambridge Games for his first competition!

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I had seen Keegan earlier in the day competing and so when the massed bands streamed onto the field during the closing ceremonies, I kept an eye out for him. 20120721_CRC4440As it turned out, the spacing between the other drummers worked out perfectly as Keegan came into frame – and just as I was snapping a few shots, he looked right at me with the slightest of smirks on his face. Perfect. I knew immediately that I had captured the shot of the day. It was a good feeling.

Of course, I had no idea who Keegan was at the time. That took a little bit of detective work after the games were over. I’ve since been in touch with Keegan’s Mom and they are as excited about the photo as I am.

Highland games are not ALL about the pipes and drums. There are the heavy events (which I didn’t get as many shots of as I would have liked, see right) and the highland dancing (which I didn’t shoot at all) and, the family favourite, TUG-OF-WAR! Perhaps I had just not paid as much attention in past years, but I noticed something fascinating about the tug-of-war participants this year… their footwear! If you look closely, those are hockey skates! they have hard plastic soles in place of the blades. Only a Canadian could come up with that!

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I’m already planning my shots and angles for next year’s games – there were so many that I know I could have gotten! In about a year’s time, keep an eye out here for my 38th Cambridge Highland Games post!

You can see the full set of 35 Highland Games photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carmichaels/sets/72157630723182230/

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Flashback

July 11th, 2012 by Colin Carmichael

hi DadAnytime an older photo of mine sees a spike in views on Flickr, I’ll post it here as a ‘Flashback’.

This is one of my favourite photos. There is so much going on behind her expression – and he is so obviously clueless to the game he’s involved in.

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