The Aurora is something we rarely see on Prince Edward Island but for the past week it feels like it has been routinely in the news due to high CME activity. Some of the images coming out of Iceland and western Canada have been incredible but despite all – I have not heard of anyone local to PEI witness the show this week.
Landscape and nature photography can often be rewarding but also very frustration with one trip after another to the same location time and time again – only to return without what you went for. We chase weather and we chase light. Two forces that are hard to predict and over the past 7 days, I have fallen asleep more than once parked in my car staring at the sky in the early hours of the morning on the north shore.
As rare as it may be – the lights can be seen when all the stars align. This is an image from last summer in the National Park. The posts you see next to the road are the relatively new don’t park here along the Gulf Parkway. This particular night remains to be the first and only night I have witnessed the show in person.
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.
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.
If you’re a photographer, the internet has been polluted with people eager to spend money on either the new D800 or 5D. Both are reasonable upgrades but for the most part, Nikon and Canon has a similar fan base to Apple in which everyone complains what’s missing, but they’ll still line up to buy it. But that’s beside the point.
The D800 comes with a resolution of 38 million pixels and while there are for sure people that can use and need every bit of that, those people are not the average user. I don’t even think Canon makes an slr under 18 MP now. Marketing tells us bigger is better.
I’ll go on record by saying that I want as much resolution as I can possibly get. You never know when an agency will call and in the stock world, pricing is determined by use and size. But regardless of what the market desires, how much is actually necessary for most use cases?
Today’s Image – Covehead Lighthouse
Here is an image that I’ve shared before on my old blog as well as in my portfolio. It’s special for a couple reasons. For starters, it was made at 3:30am in the National Park during a meteor shower. It was a great all night marathon that I remember well. To top that off, Parks Canada eventually requested a license to use this image for their 100th anniversary campaign featuring a different National Park across Canada for each hour of the day. Shockingly, the 2am to 5am slot was hard to fill. :-)
The point about resolution is that this photo was created with the original Canon 5D. It has a total of 12 MP of resolution but I lost some of that due to cropping and horizon straightening. The final print still measured 5 feet wide and found it’s home in both Ottawa and Toronto with a very close viewing distance.
This is primarily a nature and landscape blog and will remain my subject of choice because it is what I enjoy photographing the most. But that doesn’t mean I need to be exclusive and very much enjoy event photography in the form of concerts and sports. Similar to a great sunset or a perfect storm, there is no second chance.
If you’re interested in landscape photography, occasional event photography and some random design talk, I’d love to have you stick around and visit again. The best way to stay in touch will be to receive email updates by subscribing to Google’s Feedburner. You’ll receive an email only with each new blog post. Approximately 1 or 2 emails per week with images primarily from Prince Edward Island.
I’ve been creating digital content now for almost 15 years and it remains to be frustrating how confused people are about the meaning of pixels (or dots) per inch. Either it be working for a web client, a magazine editor or with another photographer, the reference to the resolution of an image file in terms of pixels per inch continues to surface. What exactly does 72 pixels per inch mean? Nothing at all on it’s own because without a physical print size, that could literally mean anything.
DPI (or PPI) is the value that tells the printer how many drops of ink to place on a page for every inch of paper but it has very little to do with the actual files resolution. From a computers perspective, the only values that matter are the total number of pixels and a 4×6 inch print at 300dpi is the exact same file resolution as a 16.5×25 inch print at 72dpi. Note that I’m talking about the file resolution and not the print resolution. In both cases, the file itself has 1800×1200 pixels.
300 pixels per inch * 6 inches of paper = 1800 total pixels.
72 pixels per inch * 25 inches of paper = 1800 total pixels.
In my opinion, the dpi (or ppi) is simply the printed results of the true resolution. If someone asks for an 8×10 print at 260dpi, what they are really asking for is a resolution of 2080×2600 pixels. This same file would print 16×20 at 130dpi proving that without a width and height measurement, the dpi value by itself is simply a random number. And you can’t define a width and height using inches on digital displays.
Which brings us to the myth claiming the internet is 72ppi. It’s not true because no browser actually reads the ppi value and simply displays the image at 100% in relation to the grid of pixels known as your monitors resolution. That monitor resolution is a fixed value and unlike printing where you can control how many dots of ink (dpi) fall on the page per inch, you can not control the pixels per inch (ppi) of an image displayed on your monitor. If your destination is anything but print, talking dpi just complicates everything. Ignore it.
Unfortunately many popular sites are still teaching that 72 is required but today’s monitors are much more advanced than those original Apple 72ppi monitors. Take this chart for example. The monitor I’m currently typing on is set at 128 pixels per inch. If you are at all curious why 72dpi started in the first place, consider reading this article on text sizes.
I participate in several photography related groups and the question routinely comes up asking how the so called professional can convince clients that they offer a higher quality product than the so called amateur. Well, for starters, a self labeled professional never means quality so instead of this all too common campaign “Why hire a professional” to generate sales, they should be saying “Why hire me”.
As someone that will take the cheapest route in other industries, it’s all about the perception of value. What makes an art piece in a gallery worth more than those found at the local department store? It’s much more about the ‘who’ or the ‘why’ and less about the ‘what’.
For example: Joshua Bell is a Grammy award winning violinist that sells out concert after concert at $100+ per ticket. The following day he takes his $3 million dollar violin to the subway and plays that same performance again and earns $32 total while all but 7 ignore him. Without the ‘who’, the value is lost and nobody takes the time to see or hear the difference. (reference)
In the world of an artist, what actually defines value? Art has always been subjective and I’ll never understand several museum pieces that cost millions – but it’s worth something to someone. As I write this and look at all the books on my bookshelf or the prints bought for my wall, it’s obvious I spent money based on the name associated with it. Change the author and I never would have considered buying most of them.
Today’s Image – The Start of a Storm over Bryce Canyon
This is one of those images that has a much more interesting story than possibly the image itself. The weather conditions were the most memorable of my travels.
Patiently waiting high above Bryce Canyon National Park late in the day, the skies were clear with some clouds in the distance and shaping up to be an interesting sunset. I was not expecting how fast a weather system can move in and quickly turn into a snow storm. The high winds were incredible and something I can’t illustrate in a photograph. With the tripod weighted down and the legs spread as wide as they could go and as close to the ground as possible for this frame, I was the only fool not taking shelter. When I did finally pack up and started my route back to our hotel, the skies cleared up just as quickly before dark. Possibly some of the most amazing weather conditions I’ve experienced.
The seasonal community of Cavendish located on the north shore is a primary entrance to PEI National Park. It will host tens of thousands of visitors during the summer but will also become completely boarded up and abandoned for the winter.
Cavendish is home to the popular tourist attraction Anne of Green Gables. Visitors and fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery travel from around the world to visit this house all summer long but very few walk these grounds in the middle of winter. The Green Gables Heritage Place is included in this years 75th anniversary celebrations of PEI National Park.
You may be asking yourself what the heck is a Bloggie? I kind of did too. It’s no Webby but I remember 12 years ago when the Bloggie awards were first introduced. A fun little competition that actually received a fair bit of attention. Fast forward to 2012 and I had forgotten all about them until Sandee left me a comment this morning letting me know how she found my site through the 2012 nominations. Surprise. Not only did someone take the effort to nominate this weblog but Focused on Light has actually some how ended up as a finalist for “Best Photography of a Weblog”.
And of course, now that I’m aware of the nomination, the competitor in me would like to win so I’m going to run with it. If you agree with the nomination, please consider voting at http://2012.bloggi.es/. Voting ends Feb 18th and you could help me win 2,012 pennies.
It’s oddly timed due to a recent archives reset. So much has changed since I started this weblog back in 2001 and originally under the domain newrecruit.org. Somebody must be visiting and maybe even reading it.
Today’s Image – Traces of Snow and Ice
A small stream that runs under the Gulf Shore Parkway from Rollings Pond out to the beach. While deep in parts, if you are careful, you can navigate your way out to the center by rock hopping without getting your feet wet. You will find this location (N 46 27.790 W 63 17.936) just past the entrance to PEI National Park on the North Rustico side.