Well, so much for writing more…. My upcoming Yukon trip preparation is taking an incredible amount of time which has kept from writing, however I did manage to get out to the mountains several times this year to shoot, try out new backpacking gear and simply strap on a 58 pound pack and slog the trails in Jasper National Park. Mostly for conditioning, but also to get used to shooting to with the bare minimum of camera gear. One body, one lens, 3 filters and a lightweight tripod with extra batteries and memory cards is all I have allotted in camera gear in an attempt to keep my pack weight as low as possible for my trek through Tombstone Territorial Park this fall. All the gear in my pack will be required to sustain me for 7 days of hiking through the Tombstone range. Shelter, food, clothing, water and camera gear. More on my challenges with my very first backpacking adventures in future posts but for now, I wanted to share with you a couple of my favorite areas in Jasper that I have visited in recent outings.
One of the cool things about visiting the mountains in winter and early spring, is that while it can still be a little cold, low water levels and ice formations allow you to explore where you might not otherwise be able to during the summer and fall. Normally this portion of the Athabasca River in the images above is completely covered in fast flowing water. The low water levels and frozen sections of the river allowed me to my make my way to an exposed sand bar and a frozen section of river to make these sunrise images in February.
I have also been experimenting with focus stacking. This is a technique where multiple images taken at different focus points are combined or stacked, to give a final image with infinite depth of field. In landscape photography, to achieve apparent infinite depth of field, one would choose a higher f stop. However, image sharpness decreases due to diffraction at higher f stops. Diffraction essentially causes a loss of sharpness or image resolution when photographing using small apertures. Hence, if your lens is sharpest at say f/5.6 or f/8, you can maximize image sharpness by shooting multiple images taken at different focus points using your lenses sharpest f stops and then combing these images to produce a final image.
My Nikon 16-35mm f4 produces it’s sharpest images at around f/5.6-f/8. For the above image, I used f5.6 and shot about 5 different frames using different focus points from the far away mountain peaks to the green grasses under the flowing water just a few feet in front of me. I then stacked these images in Photoshop to achieve the result you see here. This technique is still a work in progress but I’m quite happy with the results for a first try.
Until next time…