Ontario Bioblitz (with iNaturalist)

Weekend Bioblitz at Rouge Urban Natural Park.  

It was very windy, and clouds moved quickly across the sky.  This created dramatic changes in value.

Return (sort of)

Although I continue to take photographs, I have been slow to review, edit, and post the results. 

That being said, I have finally posted some new photographs to "Landscapes", and to "Gardens in Summer".  

I enjoyed shooting high contrast black and white this winter, and I am still very much infatuated with gardens and the possibilities they offer for photography in and out of season.

Over this past year, my photography projects have focused on creating photo books through myPublisher for family and friends; an intensive process with very satisfying results.   

Cherry Blossoms in High Park

Most of the cherry blossoms are in full bloom in High Park!  Even at 6:30 am, the hill leading down from Grenadier Cafe to Grenadier pond was full of photographers and viewers hoping to see the beautiful blossoms.  

I took many pictures this year, and will post them to a portfolio later today. 

The High Park Nature Centre has an amazing website with information on the Cherry Blossoms and their story.  Steven Joniak also maintains a very thorough website on the High Park Cherry Blossoms.  Including photographs from 2012 of the various stages of growth.



Cootes Paradise (Second Visit)

April 17 2015 - Walk through a trail in Cootes Paradise, Hamilton, Ontario.   

Snakes, butterflies, turtles - the forest is coming alive with new and awakening life! 

I couldn't help but get excited by every Garter Snake and Mourning Cloak I saw, and every new bird call I heard.   After the seventh Garter Snake I stopped trying to get a picture.    

So spring is here!  I had a pretty uneventful winter, but I with the new weather and my improved health I am looking forward to experiencing all the changes that come with the changing seasons.

Raptors in Hamilton!

Between March 5 and March 9 I saw 3 Red Tailed Hawks and 1 Bald Eagle in Downtown Hamilton!   Not only that, but I was lucky enough to have my camera (and my new lens!) with me to capture photographs.  

This new lens is definitely living up to its potential (although I have had a few snags with using a polarizing filter - the lens rotates with focus which means I have to adjust the filter everytime I refocus.)!  The first sighting was of 2 Red Tailed Hawks perched in a tree just outside the apartment!  My heart always races when I see unexpected wildlife, and this was no different.  Although one of the hawks flew away, I caught some photographs of the other enjoying a meal of something small and feathered.

It was on the 9th of March that I caught sight of the Bald Eagle.  It was so far away I could not tell what it was until I looked at the pictures I had taken.  Knowing how big these birds are, I realized that it was much further than I had first thought.

I was very excited by these sightings, and I assume these birds were part of the Northerward Spring Raptor Migration.  I am excited to see more raptors this spring and am keeping my eyes open!  

To learn more about the Spring raptor migration, check out this "Return of the Raptors" article from Ontario Nature.  And this website from the Hawk Migration Association of North America.

These observations can also be found on my iNaturalist account.

New Store on Etsy.com

I have been looking into the organization Etsy.com for a while now, and have decided to try selling some of my photographs there as signed prints!  Selling photography does not seem like the most lucrative market, but Etsy is very low-risk so I figured I may as well see what comes of it.

You can visit my new Etsy store at www.etsy.com/ca/shop/NRulffPhotography .  

Right now I only have a few photographs up, but I intend to keep updating and adding new listings throughout the next few months and see where that takes me.  

Photoshop Experiment 1 - Composite Montages

I do not use very much post-processing in my photography for a number of reasons.  Mostly, it is because it is in the seeing and capturing that I find the most pleasure and interest (also why I enjoy plein-air sketching and painting).  

Admittedly, manipulating photographs post-process does appeal to me.  It adds a whole new world of potential for creativity and expression beyond the capturing, but in this it is also incredibly daunting.  I feel uncertain about whether I am ready to explore a new skill when I have yet to master the underlying skills of seeing and capturing.  

Despite these reservations, I have been playing around a little bit with some techniques that I learned during a Freeman Patterson and Andre Gallant workshop in October 2014.  The first technique is creating Composite Montages.  This involves the layering of two (or more) images to create a final combined image.

I am posting my experiments to my flickr page , and have included examples below.

I was experimenting with groups of similar photographs from earlier this year. From Left to Right, the layering techniques used are:  Hard Light, Overlay, Hard Light, Lighten, Multiply, Screen.  

October 2014 Kingston Peninsula Workshop

This past October 2014 I was lucky enough to participate in a fantastic photography workshop in New Brunswick, Canada with photographers Freeman Patterson and Andre Gallant.

I was hesitant to post a blog entry on the workshop so long after the experience, but in thinking about the week spent in New Brunswick I was reminded of the wonderful, inspirational and educational experience it was, and that alone seems reason enough to write a little entry.

I am not much of a documentary writer (or photographer for that matter), so rather than describe the details of the experience I will describe my impressions, my ideas and my thoughts.

Overall, the workshop was amazing.  Truly an experience of a lifetime.  The setting was breathtaking:  the Kingston Peninsula in wonderful fall colours. We were very lucky with the weather (cold but very little rain)

My main take-away from the workshop in terms of where I want to go with my own photography was not in the technical education that I received, but rather, in finding and understanding my own purpose for photography.  I have photographed for many years, but have almost exclusively focused on the pursuit as a cathartic act of seeing and capturing.  Rarely have I considered why I see what I see, or why I capture what I do in the ways that I do.  This is what I feel my photography needs from me.  Some definition.  Some thought.  Some questions (and maybe some answers?).

Some Technical/Practical Take-Aways:

  • Panning - I have taken pictures using this technique before, but Andre showed that it can be taken much further, for a much more startling effect.
  • Composite Montages - I had never done these before the workshop, but with Andre's help, learned how to.  A whole new world of creative exploration has opened up to me.  
  • Multiple exposures - still need practice with that, but the effects that I saw in the workshop were really neat.

I think that the most lasting impression I have from the workshop is of the inspirational photographers I was able to work with everyday, including Freeman and Andre.  I still feel filled to capacity with the amount that I learned from everyone at this workshop.  

For details on this workshop and others offered by Andre and Freeman visit Freeman Patterson's website here:  freemanpatterson.com/workshops

Notes from the last lecture given by photographer Freeman Patterson at the Kingston Peninsula workshop in October 2014.

Notes from the last lecture given by photographer Freeman Patterson at the Kingston Peninsula workshop in October 2014.

Notes from Andre Gallant's lecture of using Panning in photography.  Also, images of the only white pines I found all week and a spruce I am unfamiliar with.

Notes from Andre Gallant's lecture of using Panning in photography.  Also, images of the only white pines I found all week and a spruce I am unfamiliar with.

New Lens!

I have a new lens! A Sigma 70-300 mm with macro capability 200-300 mm.

This is my first new equipment purchase since I purchased my DSLR (Nikon D60) in 2010.

The new level of possibility it has offered my photography has sent me into a realm of pure colour, texture, line, shape and value.

You are sure to see a selection of work exploring the various moods of grass and similar wonderful subjects. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. mmm...grass