A couple of weeks ago I was pleasantly surprised to see for the first time in my yard, a pileated woodpecker. A couple of days ago, as I was sitting on the front porch admiring spring coming into its own, I heard the unmistakable sound of a pileated woodpecker. This time, I had enough time to quietly sneak into the house and grab my 'wildlife' camera and capture a couple of images of the once threatened species as it foraged for insects in my tall Manitoba maple tree. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for my tree!
I returned to Sandilands Provincial Forest this week with colleagues Dave Benson and Chris Gray to check out the progress of the prairie crocuses that Dave and I found last week. It was heartwarming to discover that spring had finally sprung! I made a number of images of Manitoba’s provincial flower growing in various micro-habitats. This particular image was made along a gravel road using the road as the background. Three images were made with a 200mm micro Nikkor lens set at an aperture of f/8 and focused at different points. The images were later stacked into Helicon Focus software to produce one image with as much depth of field as possible without incorporating any distracting background elements. To add to the challenge, mother nature began to blow and gust as we enjoyed the cool, evening weather. But it was just ‘grand’ to experience the great outdoors!
The prairie crocus, our symbol of spring on the Canadian prairies, is one of those wildflowers that I can never get enough of! I photographed these early blooms in Sandliands Provincial Forest on a cold morning using a 200mm macro lens. I made 7 different images focused at slightly different areas on the flower to gain a little extra sharpness on the closest bloom.Shooting at a wide aperture allowed the background to remain blurred and soft. I later processed the images in Adobe Camera Raw and then brought them into Helicion Focus, software that combines any number of differently focused images into one final image. The green color in the background is the result of fruiticose lichens growing amongst the crocuses at the edge of this particular jackpine forest.
Happy Earth Day! Let's celebrate the small things in life as much as the big ones !
Some of my images of Leo Mol's exquisite sculptures were recently published in a Russian Art Magazine called Золотая палитра. If you are like me, you may not speak much Russian so I asked the author, Maria Lakman, to translate the title of the magazine; it is 'Golden Palette Art Magazine'.
There is a short series of events leading to my involvement with the above article which I would like to mention. Maria first introduced herself in December of 2012 following a telephone conversation I had with one of the daughters of the famous painter Nicholas de Grandmaison. After years of trying to connect, finally I was able to chat about this painter of 'indian portraits' who also carried the same name as me. I mentioned to his daughter that Nicholas has written a letter in 1954 to one of my relatives asking him whether he was related to our family. The letter was printed in a book called 'Sur les traces de nos ancetres - Jean-Baptiste Grand'Maison , ses descendants et le Drame acadien' (2003) by Dr. Reginald Grand'Maison. It is essentially a book about my Grandmaison family from the time my first Canadian descendant (Guy-Jean-Baptiste Guillot) landed in the Province of Quebec (likely in Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre) from France in the period between 1700-1712. Maria Lakman contacted me and asked whether she could read the letter as she was currently involved in writing a book in Russian about Nicholas de Grandmaison. I eventually received a copy of the book (2013) but, unfortunately, I can only 'look at the pictures'!
Maria contacted me again in 2014 and asked if she could meet me at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden in Winnipeg as she was now writing an article about the sculptor. I had a very pleasant walkabout through the gardens with Maria and her husband and later I submitted a selection of images of the sculptures that I had created over the years. The above images were those selected for the article, along with other photos from other sources. Incidentally, if anyone is interested in reading a translation of the article, you can do so by clicking here. Should you like a challenge and wish to read the article in Russian, please contact me and I will forward you a pdf of the article. Interesting how one event can lead to another!