lunes, 30 de diciembre de 2013
domingo, 29 de diciembre de 2013
It's three days before Christmas, I roll out of bed at 7:00 am, it's still dark outside, I shower, dress and wait for my friend, Kamal Varma to drop by at 7:30 am. We grab a quick breakfast at MacDonalds and head east out of Calgary. It's -20°C, cold but not too cold. As we drive east toward Airdrie there is ice fog. Our plan was to look for snowy owls in the Irricana area. I drive down many of the back roads and we see some mule deer, white tailed deer, magpies, gray Partridges, ravens, snow buntings and several coyotes. The coyotes take off as soon as we stop the car. We encountered one deer that appeared to have been shot and only its head removed by a poacher and we just shake our heads. (Nikon D300s with 70-200mm lens).
The sky is completely white and appears to merge with the foreground. Barns, fences, trees and various irrigation equipment protrudes from the snow fields and we stop to photograph the interesting patterns. Everything appears in black and white except for some grass that pokes through the snow in places.
Irrigation pipe and wheels against the snow
Irrigation equipment in snow covered field fades off into the distance
Old storage sheds in a field
Two trees against a curtain of white sky
A few blades of wheat poke through the snow that forms a white canvas.
A pattern of cattail stalks grabs my attention as they recede into the distance.
We found several large flocks of snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) feeding on and next to the road. They feed on seeds, flies and other insects and buds on migration.
We often saw ravens feeding on dead wildlife such as deer next to the road.
White-tailed deer leaps through the snow and displays its bright white tail.
Mule deer looks back at me while I photograph her from the road.
Large group of Mule deer congregate north east of Calgary.
Mule deer aggregate in groups of 10 or more and feed together on the side a hill north east of Calgary.
Gray Partridge (Perdix perdix) are found primarily in the west in agricultural fields with crops such as corn, wheat and oats. Most of these birds are non-migratory. Hunters often call these birds hungarian partridges. The adults have a cinnamon coloured face, with a gray neck and black banding. The eat mostly seeds and row crops, green leaves in spring and insects when breeding. Photographed with a Nikon D300S, 300 mm f/2.8 lens.
Next to the road this field seems to merge with the white sky in the distance.
Some of the fences had a thin layer of rime and hoar frost
Fence and old cabin in the field
Thin layer of frost covers this fence.
I always find the repetition of fence poles in a snowy field interesting. This fence had two size of posts short and long ones.
In places trees form a fence line
In this photograph the snow covered field appeared to merge with the white sky. This image reminds me of the "stupid" art. I have seen in several art galleries like the Smithsonian where the curator hung up a blank white canvas and nothing else.
Without a building, fence, tree or road it's very difficult to make out where the horizon ends and the sky begins.
An old barn in the snow. I scanned the windows checking for a Great horned owl and hoping to see one perched there.
We stopped in Bieseker for lunch and asked some of the patrons if they might have seen any snowy owls, some had seen one a little further up the road. Folks seemed excited about Christmas and were generally chatty. After lunch we headed east toward Drumheller and then south again down more back roads. I had brought my Samsung Galaxy III phone in order to test its camera features and use the GPS with Google's mapping feature. The maps were great and showed me exactly where we were. I took some panoramas with the camera phone and a few pictures (see top banner image), but focusing was difficult with the phone camera in bright light. I felt so much more comfortable photographing with my DSLR cameras and although we complained about not seeing any snowy owls that day - we both acknowledge how great it was just to be outside exploring the country side with our cameras RB.
Credits: The Canadian Nature Photographer
|Photograph by Justin Hofman|
Hide and Seek
Justin Hofman was at the right place at the right time with this right whale.
The look-twice photo has captured imaginations around the web with its juxtaposition of the right whale's humongous mass with a small boat.
The irony is that right whales are among the gentlest creatures on Earth and are endangered because of human activities.
Hofman was recently on a trip on the vessel National Geographic Explorer, diving off Argentina's Patagonian coast from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and photographing southern right whales.
He used an SLR camera and an underwater video camera, getting as close to the curious, quiet, and shy animals as he could.
"Almost all [the images] are within six feet," Hofman said in an interview.
Shooting the photographs required a lot of planning.
"I was picturing the event almost every night before getting to sleep," Hofman said, explaining that his group’s diving permit was for just a single day. "I was almost obsessed with the right whales because I knew we'd only get one chance."
"Valdes Peninsula [off the coast of Argentina, where the shots were taken] is an incredibly windy place that can be closed down any day of the year, so us having the permit for only one day was a huge gamble."
As this photo has made the rounds online, some have questioned its veracity.
"I've gotten a lot of emails and comments about the over/under shot being fake," Hofman said. "I promise everyone that this is not a composition of two photos and was only possible with the help of a skillful boat handler who placed the boat in the perfect position."
|Photograph by Justin Hofman|
Nice to Meet You
The right whale is one of the rarest animals on Earth. They got their name because early hunters marked them as the "right" whale to kill.
Southern right whales are native to the temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere. They migrate toward Valdes Peninsula annually around this time to raise their offspring.
(Read "Right Whales"" in National Geographic magazine.)
Being a right whale, however, has not been easy as of late.
The animals have suffered a mysterious spate of deaths in recent years, with calves accounting for almost 90 percent of fatalities. Hypotheses about the deaths range from food shortages to toxins that may be in the food calves ingest.
There's hope yet for the whales: Conservation efforts have been strong, and studies show that right whales are on the rebound.
In this photo, Max Westman, a chef aboard the National Geographic Explorer and Hofman's friend and fellow diver, is shown approaching a right whale.
"He was a little freaked out to dive with whales," Hofman recalled. "But I told him to trust me and follow my lead. [He] did really well."
|Photograph by Justin Hofman|
Mama Knows Best
Hofman has followed right whales for years now, but the marine giants continue to surprise him.
"At one point, we were on SCUBA [self-contained underwater breathing apparatus], sitting on the bottom next to the mother whale. She was like a blubbery tripod on the sandy bottom," Hofman said.
"We sat there and watched for several minutes to be sure she wasn't disturbed, then swam closer for photographs," he continued. "Because the visibility wasn't very good, we were very close.
"Just feet away, I was sitting on the bottom staring a huge mother whale right in the eye. And she was looking right back.
"Then, she closed her eye," he said. "She shut us out. I couldn't believe that a mother with a calf would be so trusting as to take a little catnap."
|Photograph by Justin Hofman|
Hofman is not a trained photographer, but he has developed a knack for composition. Combined with love for travel and wildlife, he has been able to transcend standard wildlife images to produce work that is thought provoking and stunning.
This trip provided Hofman the opportunity to hone his skills and get in touch with the right whales he cares so much about.
"I know how to interact with wildlife, as I've been doing it professionally all my life," he said. "But this was my first chance to really photograph whales."
Hofman's passion for right whales stems from traveling with the Lindblad Expeditions fleet.
"On almost every itinerary we encounter whales," he said. "It's safe to say that a love affair has evolved, and I take every opportunity to photograph these charismatic creatures, most often from the bow of the ship."
One of these photos is above, showing a mother southern right whale resting upside down on the surface of the ocean while Dominican gulls fly overhead. The gulls may seem harmless, but they attack the whales by pecking at their skin, leaving gaping wounds that can kill calves.
Credits: National Geographic
sábado, 28 de diciembre de 2013
I recently stumbled onto the Tumblr of animator Matthias Brown who shares his numerous experiments with rotoscoping and other animation techniques in quick looped gifs. In case you’re unfamiliar, rotoscoping is method where animators trace real footage frame by frame to create live-action animations with a hand drawn feel, a technique invented in 1915 by Max Fleischer who used it in his series Out of the Inkwell. While the technique is a century old it’s oddly refreshing to see it appear in today’s barrage of animated gifs, gritty imperfections and all. You can see much more of Brown’s work over on his aptly titled site TraceLoops, and he talks a bit more about his process here.
jueves, 26 de diciembre de 2013
French photographer Olivier Valsecchi presents a series of photographs called Klecksography absolutely beautiful. Using the human body as a material, he offers us images of organic sculptures, playing on symmetry, like the Rorschach test. Images of great beauty, to discover images in the article.