Thursday, December 31, 2009

I've bought the link '' and will be switching this blog to that link. What this means for those who visit my Google Blogger site (where you are now) is that you now have two ways to access this blog. That's it. Everything is pretty much the same only I'll now be able to make the transition to a more commercial slant on the site. It will also make all those business cards with a link actually work. :) I expect the transition will take 3 days to filter across the Interwebs.

At the transition from 2009 to 2010 and what for most is a fresh new decade my best wishes to you and yours for a safe, happy and productive new year. I have lots of photographic plans for the coming year and hope you'll be part of that journey. If you would like to receive e-mail updates to changes in this site's content feel free to e-mail me at

F/8, 1/60s and go!

Friday, December 25, 2009

BoB_25_2009 Lost Lagoon Swan IR Aug 12 2009 Nikon D80_DSC1371

This is my favorite capture from 2009. Thanks to the focusing complexities of digital infra red photography (manufacturers tune the focus of cameras for visible light) I learned a lot about hyper focal focusing this year.

This shot in particular is taken at one of my favorite composition spots in Vancouver - Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park look east towards downtown Vancouver. There are so many cool things about Vancouver but one of the best has to be the glorious park on the western limb of the downtown core.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

BoB_24_2009 English Bay Sunset Aug 29 2009 Nikon D300_DSC8268

The High Dynamic Range software I use (Photomatix) can create some rather interesting results even within a series of images that do not differ that much in terms of dynamic range and color.

Here's a lazy hazy summer sunset over English Bay in Vancouver in HDR.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

BoB_23_2009 Beach Avenue Spring IR May09 2009

This is a view of Beach Avenue in downtown Vancouver taken from the Burrard Street Bridge looking north. On the right are the high rise towers that run along Beach. To the left, nestled in the trees glowing white in the infra red light, is the Vancouver Aquatic Center and then off in the distance is English Bay itself.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

BoB_22_2009 Cypress Falls HDR Jun 05 2009 DSC6226_27_28_29_30_31_32

Here's the second High Dynamic Range photo from a trip this year up to Cypress Falls Provincial Park in West Vancouver. If you let your eyes relax a bit you might see the skeleton like face appear - eye socket top left and mouth middle bottom.

Monday, December 21, 2009

BoB_21_2009 A Quizicale Lucky on the Deck CNX2

Here's a scan of a photo from thirty years ago touched up with Capture NX/2. Getting the old photos in the 'digital domain' is turning out to be a very enjoyable spin off of the digital darkrooms available to us 21st century photographers.

The subject in the photograph is of the sweetest dog I ever had the fortune to get to know - Lucky. :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

BoB_20 Lily Beaver Lake Stanley Park After Aug 14 2009 D300_DSC8010

Water Lily - Beaver Lake - Stanley Park Vancouver

What I liked the most about taking this photo was that I was able to 'see' it after the considerable amount of post processing that I was setting myself up for. The original was taken in the middle of August on a warm humid day. By this time of year the water mites (tiny little black insects) were in full flourish and speckled everything with their presence. In a word - yuck.

However I was able to see past that and knew that given a few hours of patient retouching in Capture NX/2 the image above would emerge. A pond Lilly in a world without insects. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

BoB_19_2009 Queen Elizabeth Park IR 04 May 21 2009 DSC_8235

In the background is the arboretum at the Queen Elizabeth Park. Very spacey.

In the foreground, bottom right, are 3 confused tourists wondering how they wound up 11.7 light years from Earth. :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

BoB_18_2009 Sunset Beach HDR 01 May 08 2009

Here is a cool nearly cartoon-like rendition of the buildings you'd see as you drive into downtown Vancouver over the Burrard Street Bridge. The shot was taken from Sunset Beach and is an HDR composite of 7 images.

HDR cameras are beginning to emerge but I expect that while they will dramatically expand the dynamic range you can capture there will still be the need for the artistic touch that comes during the tone mapping phase of the composition process.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

BoB_17_2009 North Shore Mountains Vancouver Aug 13 2009 Nikon D300_DSC7986

English Bay gets some fantastic sunsets and this one is no exception. This is looking due north from downtown Vancouver towards the tail end of Cypress Mountain and the mountains surrounding Howe Sound.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BoB_16_2009 Bryce IR 23 June 2009 DSC_8347

Here's one of my favorite shots taken during a trip to Bryce Canyon Utah this June with my brother Mike. The color shots are great but for some reason I'm really drawn to the black and white infra red photos I took.

This one is at pretty much the ground zero view point in Bryce looking away from the canyon and towards the forests that lead up to it. Off in the distance you can see an approaching rain storm. In the foreground are the high alpine trees hanging on for dear life at the edge of a 5,000 foot drop.

Bryce owes it's fantastic geological formations to the regular rain storms that hit the region and just 10 minutes prior to taking this shot Mike and I were treated to a stunning and heavy sudden downpour. A bit creepy to have happen with expensive digital cameras hanging around your neck and slippery slopes just a few feet away.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BoB_15_2009 April Blossoms 01 Vancouver Planetarium

Vancouver is thick with blossoming trees during the spring so much so that there is a web site available that people use to alert others to where the best blossom 'events' are. This photo was taken at one of my favorite spots - the courtyard in behind the Vancouver planetarium.

Monday, December 14, 2009

BoB_14_2009 Sunset Beach IR Apr 24 2009

Here is a section of the famous Vancouver Seawall walk as it meanders beside Sunset Beach. In background you can see a bit of the north end of the Burrard Street bridge. In the foreground are two happy shoppers who've just returned from a productive trip to Granville Island.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

BoB_13_2009 Shannon Falls Mid Section Sept 24 2009_DSC8538

Located an hour's drive north of Vancouver along the Sea to Sky highway is Shannon Falls. The falls have a vertical drop of 335 meters making it the third tallest in BC. Thanks to the construction boom of the 2010 Olympics the parking and visitors area near the falls has recently received an extensive and well deserved make over.

I've visited the falls in all four seasons with my favorite, as a photographer, being summer. During a sunny west coast summer afternoon the sun will track across the falls providing numerous lighting options. During the winter it makes a great stop off on the way to or returning from Brackendale - the wintering grounds of nearly 4,000 American Bald eagles.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

BoB_12_2009 Cypress Falls HDR Jun 05 2009 DSC6154_55_56_57_58_59_60

One of the many hidden photo-gems in Vancouver is Cypress Falls Park. It's located in West Vancouver and straddles Cypress Creek which, as the name suggests, is one of the major run-off creeks for Cypress Mountain.

It's a very spiritual place for me and has been a frequent stop when I'm in the mood for doing slow exposure water fall scenes. The spiritual angle comes from the many faces that you'll find in the various rocks and cliff faces that surround Cypress Creek. This shot being no exception.

This year when I visited the park I shot nothing but High Dynamic Range. Initially I found the results a bit too visually 'sweet' for my tastes however months later I reviewed the series a second time and really liked what I saw. I'll post a second photo from the series on December 22.

This photo I think perfectly captures the Eden like pre-civilization feel that the thick and brooding old growth arboreal forests in BC really project.

Friday, December 11, 2009

BoB_11_2009 Mike the Photo-Guy at Bryce Canyon Utah June 19 2009 IR DSC_8300

Mike the photo-guy in the magic light that lives in the infra red spectrum. This was taken on our first day in Bryce Canyon Utah during June.

For anyone who loves taking outdoor/nature photographs you've got to visit this part of North America. It's a very accessible location with numerous photographic opportunities. The awesome vistas are even, for the most part, very accessible for the disabled.

I really like the composition as well as the dreamy pseudo colors that shooting in Infra Red sometimes produces. The trees and pine needles are black and white but the sky and ground a bit purple and Mike's cargo shots a bit teal.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

BoB_10_2009 The Kensington Beach Ave 03 HDR May 08 2009

Located four blocks west of my apartment building is the Kensington. A gorgeous heritage building that rents for between $3,000 (1,600 sq ft unfurnished) and $5,000 (furnished) per month. A bit out of my league but a building that nonetheless always delivers stunning High Dynamic Range photo-ops.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

BoB_09_2009 Burrard St Bridge Jul 11 2009_DSC7325

This is a view from the Burrard Street bridge in Vancouver. A heritage bridge (built 1930 to 1932) that connects the Kitsilano area to the downtown core. The shot was from the English Bay side of the bridge looking towards the downtown core. The building I live in is just to the left of the shot's field of view.

I love the colors in this shot as well as the 'old' versus nearly 'science-fiction new' dichotomy that Vancouver's architectural mix delivers. Given that the city burned to the ground on the 13th of June 1886 (during what was aptly named "The Great Vancouver Fire") Vancouver thrives on being a city caught in perpetual renewal. The 1986 Expo kick started the city into becoming a global metropolis and with the 2010 Olympics about to get rolling a similar effect will reoccur but be even stronger I expect.

The best part of downtown Vancouver though has got to be City Hall's perpetual dislike of the automobile. I live and work in downtown Vancouver so I love it but I'm certain there are thousands of daily commuters (I see them idling on this very bridge for many minutes during the morning rush) who hate it. In fact over the past 5 years the city has worked hard to make driving into and out of the downtown core even more frustrating. I love such an in-your-face green attitude. Heck - someone's got to take a stand against Henry Ford.

Vancouver transportation factoid: The city, during the 1980's, decided not to have a 10 line highway plow through its downtown core. As a result the downtown is mostly residential unlike most cities the size of Vancouver and up. I love this city. :)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

BoB_08_2009 Rock Stars at Whistler Mt. Sept 24 2009_DSC8598

Here's a pair of budding rock stars at the summit of Whistler Mountain in BC. I love the depth of field that vistas like this provide.

This image was converted from a color one and slightly tweaked using Nikon's Capture NX/2 software. A piece of computer wizardry that I consider the best piece of post-production software for us Nikon aficionados.

BoB_07_2009 Jerico Beach HDR Dec 03 2009_DSC9076_77_78_79_80_81_82_tonemapped

Here is another High Dynamic Range composite of a cool misty December sunset with Pt. Grey and Jericho Beach in the foreground.
English Bay produces spectacular sunsets year round but during December the twilight is so short it's like nature needs to pack an hour of spectacular colors into just 5 minutes. Conversely during the summer the sunsets are very typical in their westcoastness - slow and mellow.

For those new to High Dynamic Range photography (HDR) the technique while not without its pitfalls I honestly believe will be the normal way to take photographs 5 years from now. This image for example was created from 7 digital exposures with 1 image exposed at settings the camera's computer felt was optimal and then 3 shots underexposed at various settings and 3 overexposed. This series of photographs is then merged into a composite image that greatly expands the dynamic range of the picture. In effect it creates an image closer to how you see it rather than how the camera, with its limited dynamic range in a single picture, can 'see' it. Once I've created the 7 exposures I then use software (Photomatix Pro in my case) to create the HDR image.

If you have a camera that lets you adjust the shutter speed while keeping the aperture fixed (aka aperture priority) then you're half way to creating HDR images. Be warned though. Once you've create a few 'omg that is so cool' images you'll be hooked.

Monday, December 07, 2009

BoB_06_2009 Queen Elizabeth Park IR 02 May 21 2009 DSC_8231

This is such a fun shot taken in one of Vancouver's hidden photographic gems - Queen Elizabeth Park. It was taken with my Infra Red modified Nikon D100 on what turned out to be a great day for IR photography.

Something about the two grounds keepers surveying their work had me thinking about futuristic bio-dome guardians working in some alien conservatory for the rest of the day. :)

BoB_05_2009 Happy Valentine 2008 Dusty Dusted

If you catch a hibiscus at bloom using the High Dynamic Range (HDR) technique you can get something that sits on the border between the sensual and the erotic. Not that I'm into 'plant porn' (does such exist?) but there's something about this photograph nonetheless.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

BoB_04_2009 Fireworks

BoB_04_2009 Fireworks, originally uploaded by VancouverDoug.

For me one of the best parts of Vancouver during the summer is the annual Festival Of Light fireworks competition. Four nights of the best fire works the world has to offer smack dab in the middle of the city.

Here's a shot of the 'teaser firework' launched 15 minutes before the official start of the show.

BoB_03_2009 HDR Sunset July 4 2009_DSC7215_16_17_18_19_20_21

A fantastic pair of sun dogs complete with halo over English Bay Vancouver on July 4 2009. Thanks to the magic of High Dynamic Range photography the image that resulted was even better than my eyes could see.

The prelude to the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire, England in 1461 is supposed to have involved the appearance of a complete parhelion (like the one shown here) with three "suns". The Yorkist commander, later Edward IV, convinced his initially frightened troops that the apparition represented the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) and Edward's troops then went off to win a decisive victory.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

BoB_02_2009 Sheba At 3 Months Retouched 02

Five minutes after arriving home with my two current cats (Sheba and her sister Sirrus) I snapped this moment. Here's Sheba just as curious about me and my camera as I am about her.

What makes this a Best of the Best 2009 photo is that this is my first pass at removing defects in the photo. In particular I removed a good amount of condensation stain on the black vinyl at the bottom of the photo. Thanks in no small way to my brother Mike's nudging about how a great photo can be made even better with the right amount of post-production cleanup 2009 for me was the year I finally 'got it'.

Thanks Mike! :)

This image while still not perfect is leagues ahead of what it was before several hours of careful clean-up in Capture NX/2.

BoB2009-01 | English Bay Rainy Sunset HDR

To close out 2009 and get some traction on the thousands of cool photographs to come in 2010 here is the first of my 'Best of the Best" for 2009. Key to my photographic workflow for many years are the various "CoolPic" folders I create to hold what I consider to be the best of my photographs. Near year end when it comes time to create my Christmas calendar or cards that year's Cool Pic folder is the first and most often last stop I'll make.

This photograph is a High Dynamic Range composite created from 7 images of English Bay just past sunset on December 3 2009. What I liked the most about the series, even before post-processing the captures into the HDR composite, was the wispy tendrils of rain cascading from the approaching cloud bank.