Brandywine Falls – Whistler, BC

I love waterfalls. I mean I REALLY love waterfalls. I could stare and listen to the sights and sounds of thundering water falling onto rocks for hours. Whenever I’m visiting somewhere new and researching potential photo locations, I almost always search for waterfalls. They appeal to both the outdoor adventure lover and the photographer in me. They can make for some gorgeous images, especially being a big long-exposure photography fan. Long exposures can easily turn moving water into beautiful silky-smooth streams.

Needless to say, before I travelled to Canada, I spent many hours researching great locations and scenery to photograph. As most of my time was going to be based in British Columbia I searched for waterfalls in BC. Brandywine Falls, just outside Whistler, was one of the most dramatic, so I made my way there with camera gear in tow. Going in early summer was a great idea, as the water was pumping out from all the snow melting off the mountains. This image was made from the viewing platform above the waterfall, but I’m hoping to get back there to hike/climb/fall down the apparently very sketchy trail to the bottom of the falls.

If you’re planning to visit Whistler or BC, I highly recommend checking out Brandywine Falls. It’s an easy walk from the roadside parking lot to the viewing platform, and it’s well worth seeing for yourself!

Landscape photo of Brandywine Falls in Whistler British Columbia Canada

 

May 2016 Desktop Wallpaper

May 2016 Desktop Wallpaper

Canvas print of landscape photo of rocks at sunset, Mt Maunganui, New Zealand

It’s that time again, so here’s another free wallpaper for your computer or device. This one is a long exposure image I made on the north side of Mount Maunganui this last summer. Gotta love the long warm evenings for shooting during sunset and dusk. Being able to get out in the water to shoot these kind of images without worrying about getting cold makes landscape photography so much more enjoyable!

As always, this is a high-resolution desktop background that will suit any screen size from your smartphone or tablet up to laptops and large desktop monitors. Just click the image above and follow the instructions to download the image file. Hope you enjoy it, and please feel free to share with your family and friends!

The Power of Shutter Speed In Two Photographs

The Power of Shutter Speed In Two Photographs

Shutter speed is one of the first elements of photography that you learn as a beginner. Learning how to control your camera’s shutter speed to make sure your images are sharp and well exposed is Photography 101. Learning how to use shutter speed creatively to manipulate the look and feel of an image is something else entirely, and something that I continue to experiment with a lot.

No doubt you have heard of and seen long exposure techniques used to create beautiful images with smooth, milky water and clouds. Long exposure photography is addictive, and I use the techniques a lot, especially when I’m photographing seascapes. Leaving your shutter open for extended periods, from seconds to minutes, opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You can make a crowd of people disappear, capture stunning streaks of stars crossing the night sky, or turn crashing waves into haunting mist. Alternatively, faster shutter speeds can freeze motion.

The following two images illustrate the power of your camera’s shutter speed to create very different images. Despite the composition being almost identical and the images being captured within minutes of each other, they not only look different, they feel different.

They were captured recently on the rocks under Mt Maunganui, New Zealand. The waves were BIG this particular night, and I eventually had to abandon the spot due to the rising tide bringing them closer and closer to the point that I really wasn’t safe.

Waves crash over rocks under Mt Maunganui, New Zealand1/5s, f/11, ISO 200

Long exposure landscape photo of rocks at sunset Mt Maunganui New Zealand107s, f/11, ISO 400

As you can see, the the 1/5-second exposure freezes the waves beautifully while the 107-second exposure blurs the waves into a mist. The images have also been processed slightly differently to help with the different feel I was wanting to create.

Creating very long exposures requires neutral density (ND) filters, which are very dark and limit the amount of light being allowed through the lens and into the camera’s sensor. I personally use the Lee Big Stopper, but there are a number of options.

Next time you’re photographing a scene with movement, try experimenting with your shutter speed to create different images and play around with how different amounts of movement and blur make the images feel.

Leave a link to your images that show creative use of shutter speed in the comments, I would love to see them!

Mauao Summit Track Sunrise

Mauao Summit Track Sunrise

Sunrise at summit track on Mount Maunganui New ZealandClick to buy.

Walking up the Mount is a pretty popular activity for locals and visitors to Mt Maunganui. I really had no idea how popular it is though! I got to this location around half an hour before sunrise and even in the dark there were loads of people on the track walking or running up to the summit.

This is the only photo of dozens that had nobody on the track. I must be overdue to hike right up to the top for sunrise again. It’s well worth setting your alarm and getting up there for sunrise if you haven’t done it before. Great way to start the day!

April 2016 Desktop Wallpaper

April 2016 Desktop Wallpaper

Sunset at Leisure Island (Moturiki), Mt Maunganui, New Zealand

I’ve been lucky enough to call Mount Maunganui home for a few years now, and I’ve photographed Mauao (“The Mount“) many times from Leisure Island, but I haven’t spent a lot of time exploring the island itself as a subject. The island (also known as Moturiki) has a lot of history, including at one stage being a huge water park, complete with water slides. It’s hard to imagine, as it’s covered in trees these days. I made this image one night while exploring the beach. It’s almost unrecognisable from this angle, which I kind of like, as finding a new perspective on a popular location is always a challenge for a landscape photographer.

You can download this free high-resolution desktop background by clicking HERE and following the instructions. It will look great on any device or screen from your smartphone or tablet to your laptop or large retina display. Enjoy, and please share!