Snow Season

Temperatures are dropping and the first true signs of winter and snow fall are showing in the forecast. The cold and frost covered windshield is not the best motivator to get out of a warm bed while it’s still dark outside and for many, the camera goes into hibernation until spring.

Some of the best photography advice I ever received was how to dress in layers for winter temperatures. describes it: “Layers allow you to build a tiny microclimate that surrounds your body and can be adapted to moisture, wind, temperature, and exertion.”

Wearing loose fitting outer layers will trap heat inside and provide better insulation. More importantly, wearing boots and mitts that are a size too big helps maintain heat by creating a warm air cushion around your feet/hands. Nothing ruins an adventure and focus faster than wet or cold feet.

I have over simplified this a bit but if you avoid cotton materials that absorbs moisture and wear an inner synthetic layer, a middle insulation layer and an outer wind/snow/rain layer, cold weather photography can become as pleasant as summer photography.

Many of my favourite images were created during mid winter freezing temperatures.

Charlottetown Winter Sunrise

My Biggest Weakness

I believe that one of my biggest weakness is a lack of patience for gear. Like many others, I lust over that new shiny piece of plastic, but my desire to add more tools is simply wishful thinking.

If I’m being truly honest with myself, I still only use the first lens I purchased 8 years ago. I have certainly added more since then and those tools can be very useful in some situations, but yet I’m sure that 80% of my work still comes from that original 17-40mm lens.

The fact is that I detest changing lenses. Why can’t I have a camera that fits in my pocket, has a range of 8 to 800mm and is super clean at 6400iso with 10-stops of image stabilization?

Several times last month, the camera bag has stayed home and I went with the basics. One lens, tripod and a bag of filters. It has been great.

Bellevue Cove

Hitech Filter Review : Something Changed for the Worse

I do my best to keep this a gear free blog but I have had several frustrations with filters over the past several years. And despite those frustrations, I continue to see positive reviews. If you’re not a photographer yourself, you can skip over this post.

I love to hate filters. A pain to use but sometimes necessary. If I must carry around a set of expensive glass and resin slides, they better be worth the effort.

The basis of this blog post is that I believe the brand Hitech has been inconsistent with their manufacturing. When I bought my first Cokin-P sized Hitech filter, I was quite happy with it. Then I added a second, third, forth, and fifth by late 2010. They all preformed very well, were all neutral, and I became a supporter of the cheaper more affordable brand. But that has all changed and I now feel guilty for recommending them.

Vignette is a real problem on wide lenses and to solve that, I needed bigger filters. Without hesitation, I ordered the same but larger Hitech filters. Shock was an understatement when they arrived with a strong magenta coating. Nobody from the customer service took the time to respond so I’ll make my own conclusions.

The real icying on the cake was when I broke one of my good filters. I reordered the same filter in spring-2012 and it too suffers from the same magenta curse. Same part number. Same camera store.

What did Formatt Hitech change and why? Are they better again because I’m starting to see more and more positive support for them.

After much hesitations, last night I press published on the oopoomoo blog asking a very simple questions. Are Hitech Filters Any Good? You can see the full review there.


Late last week, it was asked in a group forum what was everyone’s “must have” photographic piece of equipment (excluding the camera itself). While I understand the bases of what was being asked, I was too focused on the words because “must have” is very different than “nice to have”.

So I type this from my bed watching the sun rise from my window knowing that I should be outside. And after reading this growing list of “can’t live without” gadget suggestions, my opinion strengthened that I (and you) don’t actually need to buy any of these – we only need the motivation and desire to get out of bed.

Exposed Coral

Today’s Image – Exposed Coral Reef on Haena Beach, Kawa’i Island

It’s so easy to delay the task of processing images. Knowing that the image files will still be there tomorrow is a great encouragement for procrastination. By accepting an invitation to share a small slideshow with the local photo clubs, I now have a hard deadline to prepare 3 weeks of images from a late 2012 visit to Hawai’i. This presentation will discuss the locations visited, the resulting images, and how some of the images were created.

If you’re local to Prince Edward Island, The PEI Photo Club meeting in Charlottetown will be May 28th and the Red Sands Photo Club meeting in Summerside will be June 10th.

A Round Sprocket Cokin P173 Blue Yellow Filter

I originally shared this on the now retired How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies weblog but it has enough value to publish again. The following steps may help you better use Cokin’s Blue/Yellow Polarizing filter.

If you are like me, you bought the Cokin P173 Polarizer and received it in a square plastic casing. You placed this filter into the Cokin-P holder, rotated the polarizer to the desired strength and then found yourself scratching your head because it was now near impossible to add a graduated filter. This limitation alone was a primary reason why my P173 filter found a permanent home in the camera bag. I actually had it listed for sale until I told Darwin Wiggett my frustrations. He happens to know a thing or two about photography and suggested this fantastic solution, but first, let’s pause to talk about today’s photo.

Prince Edward Island

A thin strip of Prince Edward Island coastline intersects two equal halves of the clean and competing colors in the sky and water. In the distance are the sand dunes of Cavendish. I’m not typically a fan of a clear sky but sometimes no clouds can be acceptable and for a very windy location like this, it takes a long 20 second exposure to make even the best of days look calm.

Back to the filter mod.

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