A step off the trail

The Crossing

This bridge is used by many to wonder into one of the few parks we have by the Lasalle waters. I usually prefer to go out shooting during the golden hour as the low sun creates some very nice colors. This time I went at noon when the light was at the strongest, the bane of photographers. The sky was full of clouds and the sun peaking out every now and then made for some great conditions to do a long exposure capture.

long exposure water

10 otherworldly photos of a fall day in Montreal

People living in Montreal are used to extreme weather changes but not many have quite seen it like this. In the middle of the fall season a cold front hit and with the winds blowing created something otherworldly.

I first had a glimpse of it from the other side of the canal. You could see the trees covered in ice and with the sun setting I knew it would be quite a place. So the next day I braved the cold and made my way there. The water sprayed through the air with the strong winds causing me to clean the lens every few seconds but I managed to get the shots. Sadly no frost giants found.

Angel's wings
ice pods
ice christmas tree
ice land
path through the ice
frozen wave
ice stingers
moon light
ice world
frozen arch

Water – Nature’s Mirror

Reflections appear better in smooth water

Lakes, puddles and generally any other body of water that is motionless is ideal to capture reflections. This fall day I was passing by the Lachine Canal and the waters where so still you could almost lose track if your looking up or down. That is an actual problem for pilots that fly over lakes as they can’t perceive depth and makes it almost impossible to land. Luckily we have it a bit easier. All we have to worry about finding the right angle for the shot.

Lachine canal

3 tips to capture water flow

The fun part about shooting water shots is you don’t have to adhere to one method.

1 – Smooth water: this is the one with reflections you can get from anything over the horizon. You want to keep your ISO at the lowest (100) and shoot later on during the day when the sun is about to go down. The less light you have the longer you can keep your exposure on. You can use manual mode and have some very nice effects anywhere from 30 to 90 seconds.

2 – Rough water: to capture the action of the water such as waves and jagged water flow, you simple need to use a faster exposure setting. You’ll need more light for this, so make sure the sun is still visible. Set your ISO from 100-400 and snap away.

3 – Mixed: Sometimes you want to keep it smooth in the background and have some waves showing in the front. This requires taking multiple shots and blending them with layer masks in Photoshop until you get the desired effect.

Rapids Park Lasalle

This is a nice corner of Lasalle where you’ll see a lot of tripods and big lenses. Most photographers go there to capture birds, as there is a bird sanctuary island near by. People visit the park to enjoy some time by the water, surfing/kayak or even fishing. Although the later is at your own risk as water quality is questionable.

Lachine rapids

Some unexpected places

A lot of times I go out shooting not knowing where I’ll end up. I’ll have an idea of a place I’d like to visit but from there on forward any area to explore is fair game. In this case I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful and quite this hidden part of Montreal was. Truly one of the hidden gems of a rising metropolis.

sunset by the water

Heat warning over Montreal

Turn all files to HDR at once

Sometimes I like to see what all my photos in a series look like in HDR. For this I use “Batch Bracketed photos” function in the left panel when you launch Photomatix. Two things I set:

1- ‘Tone map and Details Enhancer’ click and select your favorite preset (I use my own), this will be applied to all images.

2- ‘Select Folder’ choose the folder your files are in but make sure it’s only the sequential bracketed files (remember -2,0,+2) as it will process through 3 at a time. Then the proceeding three and so on.

Click run, sit back and relax. You may want to get some coffee in the meantime as depending on the folder size it could take a while.

A bit of water to help cool things down

As I sit typing this with my AC at full blast, it is a nice change to have the heat back. Besides the obvious vitamin D boost, the heat is great for some scenic sunsets. And so here is a panorama from the Lachine Canal here in the west.

Heatwave in Montreal

Between two rocks, Luck prevails

St-Lucia

I wanted a family vacation that would be different from the usual Caribbean hot spots and so St-Lucia came into the picture. As the airplane was landing, I can already begin to feel a bit excited. The landscape is so foreign to what I’ve seen before. A lot of mountains, lush tropical trees and views of prehistoric land. Almost felt as if I was in Jurassic park for a moment. So we took the bus about an hour’s drive to the top of the island, where my resort was located. The roads on the way, where something else! But I’ll get in to it a bit later.. For now all that matters was the great views from the upgrade room and the great food at Captain Morgan’s restaurant.

Captain Morgan’s pier

The restaurant is quite a lovely with a great views over the waters towards the capital of the city, Castries. As I was dinning and reaching into my pocket for my phone, I could hear the clink clank of my room safe key as it fell between the cracks and unto what I thought was the last I’ll see of it. I motioned towards the attendant and told him what had happened. He said he would take care of it that they’ve installed a base just for that reason.

Well I couldn’t wait, I had to go down for myself and try to find it in the pitch darkness. Surely couldn’t be any harder than using my phone’s flashlight. As I started to inch my way towards the spot and trying to stay inconspicuous so know one would know.. I hear from the level on top “Excuse me sir”. I look up and one of the server’s tells me that the attendant had already found it and brought it back to my room.

Later when I came back to thank the attendant, he told me the key was hanging between two rocks!

Morgan's pier st-lucia

Chemin du Canal bench

Montreal has been temperamental with the way it wants spring to go. We’ve felt the icy winter frost over the barren lands and now it seems that we get a peak at the sun only to have it taken away the next day. Despite this unruly weather, it presents a prime opportunity to get some unique shots. Just have a look at my last couple of landscape prints, they where all taken during spring or a couple of days ealier.

raindrops limited edition print

Quintessence by melting waters

As the snow is melting, the fresh scent of spring is in the air and a new energy is building up. Still can’t claim victory over winter but now is ample opportunity for a fresh start. This shot was taken about a week ago on a frozen part of the St-Lawrence river. As the fisherman was finishing over the ice, I made my way towards the outer edges. Getting closer to where the rapids and ice met, was a basin of water, I saw an opening and jumped over unto a rock and so I was able to capture this ice formation from a unique angle.

landscape limited edition print