The weather seems to be warming up – although this winter has been about as stable as Charles Manson… So I used this long weekend to take another photo walk around a Hamilton location. Today, I went up to Albion Falls.
I had a brief scare once I got there (it is near the end of the Upper Kenilworth bus route). I started taking pictures and saw my Pentax flashing at me, “No card in camera!” I swore harshly but then remembered I had space SD cards in my camera bag. Phew!
One of my goals for this walk was to photograph a waterfall with the Timer Mode. This keeps the aperture open and creates beautiful silky textures out of flowing water. However, you need a neutral density filter to pull that off. I don’t have one… But I do have Photoshop!
So my Timer Mode photo got blown out but I also took an Aperture Mode photo. Since I used my tripod, it was easy to blend the two pictures with Photoshop. I managed to get some of the silky texture in the water while keeping the rest of the image tack sharp.
All in all, I took 77 photos but only a few were worth putting up on Flickr.
I should have worn hiking shoes and climbed down into the gorge. I’ll do that next time!
I felt that some of the photos would look good with the Brad Goble’s Photoshop Actions. So I used the Watercolor Action on the photo to the right. That turned out surprisingly well and I only made a few minor tweaks to it.
Mountain Brow Boulevard crosses Albion Bridge just above the falls. On the other side of the road, I took a few photos at low angles of Red Hill Creek before it plummets over the Niagara Escarpment.
One of those photos got the Brad Goble Hand-Drawn Action applied to it. Pretty good there too I think!
Preparation is key! I really blew it on that front.
Today was forecast to be the coldest thus far of our very mild winter. Sure, I have been colder than this before, but when your breath and snot turn to icicles on your mustache – it’s too damn cold out there!
- I anticipated the cold but utterly underestimated it. That alone cut my enthusiasm to near zero.
- Camera controls and gloves do not mix. I really need a cable release too.
- Timing is key. I wanted to try some sunrise photos but there was no way I was going to endure that cold to wait for Earth to spin a bit further…
- Never assume your batteries have enough juice. I will invest in more to keep with the camera bag.
- Remember / research location. I wanted night shots of the city but completely forgot about the trees blocking the view from my vantage point.
I stood near the top of the Claremont Access. I took several photos of the access and the few vehicles on it with the goal of producing some light-painting. Weirdly enough, none of these photos even exist on my memory card. I am not sure what happened.
When I decided to head home rather than wait for the sunrise, I walked around to the James Street staircase. Back when I attended Mohawk College, I used to climb these stairs almost daily. I even got to where I could climb them two at a time without stopping to catch my breath.
I had set my Pentax K-x to shoot in RAW mode and I am glad that I did. The 11 photos of the staircase had an intense jaundiced colour tone from the quartz-halogen lamps. Fortunately, Adobe Camera Raw could white balanced this nicely; I doubt that would have been as easy if the camera was taking JPEG images.
I kept the image tweaking in Camera Raw and Photoshop to a minimum. The biggest changes were the white balance and resizing the photo to 2048 pixels wide. I tried a few sharpening filters but could not improve much.
Ultimately, only three photos could be salvaged. Clearly I have much more to learn about low-light photography.
Perhaps I will take more photos later today.
Now that I am back in Hamilton permanently – well, for the foreseeable future anyway – I decided that I should get out and take more photos of the city that I call home. My dear friend Catherine (who is an amazing photographer!) has also inspired me to click the shutter more often.
This morning, I walked around a few blocks near my condo and grabbed pics of anything that caught my eye. I created a new Flickr album for Hamilton pictures. There are only 8 pictures in there now but that will definitely grow in the future.
Here are my two favourites thus far:
Oddly enough, despite living in Hamilton most of my life – including just a couple of hundred meters from this spot – today was the first time I wandered the Whitehern Museum property.
I have walked past here more times than I can count. So today I decided to enter and take a few pictures of this historic place. I thought the trees made for a nice framing.
MacNab Street is to the left and CIty Hall is to the right. I am standing on the Jackson Street sidewalk.
Just behind Whitehern are the train tracks serving the Hamilton GO Station. My condo is right beside the station; you cannot see it in this shot though. The buses and freight trains do occasionally wake me up.
There are three GO Transit commuter trains that leave weekday mornings and return in the evenings. I wish they would expand the service to have a few more during the day.
My old apartment is just up the street from where this was taken. You can see the front entrance on the Flickr album.
I think this album will really take off when spring gets here. I can’t wait to take pictures around Gage and King’s Forest Parks. Or Webster’s Falls. Or the Niagara Escarpment.