On Dave’s Pond – Images from a Prairie Slough

During my three week stint as a temporary kennel operatorI managed to get out to photograph a couple of sunsets on Dave’s Pond which is a little prairie pothole pond on the Gone Wild Kennels property. The great thing about the Cochrane, Alberta area is that we get fantastic sunrises and sunsets especially in the winter when a chinook arrives. Anytime I see an arch of chinook clouds I head out for sunset in hopes of a colourful light show. Literally it’s as easy as  ‘f8 and be there’. I am not joking. I use my 24mm tilt-shift lens, tilted to match the plane of the prairie, and then set my aperture to f8 (for the best resolution) and start pressing the shutter button. I also always have a polarizer on my lens (to reduce reflected glare) and in all the cases below I also used a grad filter to hold back brightness in the sky. In two of the images I used  a combination of a grad filter and HDR together to make sure I got a photo with detail from the darkest shadow to the brightest highlights. For the square and the vertical panorama image I used shift on the tilt-shift lens to make a multiple image stitch. To learn more about these photo techniques, simply click on these links: filters, Tilt-Shift lenses and HDR.

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

Pond in winter on praire near Cochrane, Alberta

©Darwin Wiggett

Pond in winter on praire near Cochrane, Alberta

©Darwin Wiggett

Pond in winter on praire near Cochrane, Alberta

©Darwin Wiggett

Pond in winter on praire near Cochrane, Alberta

©Darwin Wiggett

Pond in winter on praire near Cochrane, Alberta

©Darwin Wiggett

Pond in winter on praire near Cochrane, Alberta

©Darwin Wiggett

Pond in winter on praire near Cochrane, Alberta

©Darwin Wiggett

About the Author

I am a Canadian landscape and outdoor photographer who loves long hikes in the woods, yummy food, hairy dogs, good company and a good guitar jam.

14 Comments

  1. Steve Dionne
    December 18, 2012

    Such a simplistic view turned to a series of stunning images. I was particularly taken in some shots with the matching of ice and cloud texture and shape. Understanding the mechanics of the shots is a huge help to those of us with (very) limited knowledge. Thanks for the continued education!!

    Steve

    Reply
  2. Bob Perry
    December 18, 2012

    Darwin; you are the master of the tilt shift lens…great pictures as Steve said thanks for the education and inspiration .
    Bob

    Reply
  3. Dorine Kohn
    December 18, 2012

    Awesome images!

    Reply
  4. Dave
    December 18, 2012

    The sunsets we get at the kennels west of Cochrane are truely spectacular. Both of you guys are welcome anytime to take more pictures.

    Have a great Holiday season.

    Reply
  5. Gerald
    December 18, 2012

    Awesome! Love how you can turn an ordinary prairie pond into glorious images with great light and good technique. Gerald

    Reply
  6. Wesley Picotte
    December 18, 2012

    I’m officially jealous. The lid, as it were, is firmly clamped on here in the PNW. No chinooks, no sunsets, just gloom. Good for b&w, though!

    Darwin, as you know, I’m a tilt-shift convert (in part thanks to all the great info you and Sam have created about it) but have yet to purchase a polarizer for the 24mm, which is a larger diameter than my other lenses.

    You use a drop-in polarizer, correct? Does this perform any differently than a screw-on, in terms of managing an equal effect across the entire wide-angle scene? And, when shifting horizontally, do you find the need to adjust the polazer, again to produce an equal effect?

    Reply
    • Darwin Wiggett
      December 20, 2012

      Wes,

      A drop-in polarizer has the same effects and workflow as a screw-in polarizer.

      The uneven polarization effect you describe is due to wide angle views which can not be corrected with shift or tilt. We describe how to overcome uneven polarization in our filter eBook.

      http://oopoomoo.com/ebook/essential-and-advanced-filters/

      We do not adjust the poalrizer when shifting.

      d

    • Wesley Picotte
      December 20, 2012

      Definitely aware of what causes uneven polarization, and I use these filters regularly. I haven’t used a drop-in, though, and my question is whether its form factor — larger in circumference than both the lens or screw-in polarizer — changes the likelihood of uneven polarization. Thanks for the response!

    • Wesley Picotte
      December 20, 2012

      Hey Darwin – thanks for your correction (via email) on my comment. I should have said I know how to cause uneven polarization 🙂 I haven’t read your filter ebook but if it’s anything like your tilt-shift ebook (which I DID read), then it’s awesome.

      Cheers!

  7. Nathan
    December 18, 2012

    Wow these images give such inspiration. Darwin you are one of my favorite photographers. I learn from you.

    Reply
  8. Anne Jutras
    December 18, 2012

    Aww… beautiful landscape! Love the simplicity and the gorgeous colors of the sky.

    Darwin, do you use filters when you do an HDR image? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Darwin Wiggett
      December 20, 2012

      Anne, we are probably a rare bird but we use filters when we make and HDR (the filters help us control contrast so we do not have to make as many HDR images and so we do not have to have such a widespread EV range of exposures). We find our HDR images look more realistic when made with filters.

  9. Anna
    December 19, 2012

    Darwin ~ these are stunning! The rich colors and simple, bold designs are powerful combinations.

    Reply
  10. Darwin Wiggett
    December 20, 2012

    Thanks everyone for the really nice comments and thoughtful questions

    Reply

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