Photography Workshops in Enderby, BC!

Hi all, due to much demand in the Shuswap and North Okanagan for quality photography workshops in the area, I have put together some sessions to be held this month in beautiful Enderby, BC! Whether you’re just learning about photography, or you just need some professional tips to truly inspire and elevate your imagery, these workshops are fun, and affordable!

Please click here to download the PDF which outlines the dates, prices and workshop descriptors! Book your spot now by emailing me at darren@darrenrobinsonphotography.com or by calling (250) 838-6195. Hurry, space is limited!

Introducing the Purcells!

Well I’ve been talking about this for quite some time now and I am now very excited to announce it’s a GO! Join me this BC Day long weekend and vastly improve your knowledge of photography in one of the most iconic (and secluded) mountain playgrounds in the world – The Purcell Mountains.

Through Discover BC Photo Tours, come discover BC as you unleash your creative and technical savvy in one extraordinary wilderness landscape. Let the unmistakable Mt Sir Donald be your backdrop as you explore this vast mountain wilderness through your camera. This is considered the very centre of where the Columbia, Selkirk and Purcell ranges meet, so if you yearn for the mountains, this is undoubtedly your workshop!

Get up close and personal as we shoot some amazing waterfalls, mountain streams, forests, fiery meadows of indian paintbrush, fireweed and western pasque flowers and so much more! The grassy meadows of the area allow for some really great opportunities to see and shoot wildlife such as elk, moose, caribou, whitetail deer, black and grizzly bears, and mountain goats. With over sixty-three species of birds identified in the area, your bound to return home with some amazing stories to match the breathtaking imagery you’ll get to show off.

But don’t think for a second that just because we’re in the middle of nowhere (or everywhere!), doesn’t mean we’re sleeping in tents and sharing cans of pork ‘n beans after our field shoots. No, no, the incredibly astounding Purcell Mountain Lodge will be our headquarters for the long weekend. Luxurious mountaintop accommodations coupled with delectable meals using organic ingredients (all included in the workshop rate I might add), means that we can solely focus on the task at hand; vastly improving your photography!

Image provided by Purcell Mountain Lodge

All weekend long we’ll cover topics such as camera basics, lighting, exposure, composition, depth of field, essential gear, patterns and textures, creative approaches, working with subjects, landscape essentials, impactful portraiture, architectural photography, lightpainting and other in camera effects, post-processing and more!

To access the Lodge we will depart from Golden on August 3rd via helicopter! The flight is 15 minutes long and will take us over incredible mountain peaks and ancient glaciers, before dropping us off at the Lodge to begin our weekend of learning and exploring. Because participants will likely need accommodations in Golden on August 2nd (flight leaves typically between 8-9 AM), I am waiting on some discounted one-night rates exclusive to us. Before booking your Golden pre-night stay, be sure to ask me who to book with!

Also, if you plan to get new gear before our workshop, make sure you visit The Camera Store in Calgary, personally, I wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else for my photographic needs.

And I would also like to welcome the newest sponsor Experience the Mountain Parks! EMP is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting information on visiting the mountain parks of BC and Alberta. Publisher Bob Harris is not only responsible for creating this useful and beautiful guide, he is just a fantastic person and I am so happy to welcome him and CMI Publishing as an event sponsor!

The workshop takes place August 3, 4 and 5 and there is a maximum of 8 spots available! Booking deadline is April 30th, 2012!

To view the complete details and prices in PDF form, click here! You do not want to miss out on this workshop! Email me at darren@darrenrobinsonphotography.com or call (250) 838-6195.

Oh, I cannot wait for this one!

Bringing Multiplicity to Merritt, BC

Well it seems that many people are wanting their own “multiplicity” images. As such, I am now taking appointments for a special “Multiplicity in Merritt” weekend on April 6th (Good Friday), and April 7th, 2012. Create unforgettable images that you can use as greeting cards or simply to share with your friends on Facebook. These are perfect for just about anyone; kids, couples, families, pets, you name it, I can multiply it!

For $85 CDN (taxes included) you’ll receive:

– 1 hour Multiplicity session (if multiplicity shoot takes less than one hour, you will get a bonus professional portrait!)

– All post-production work included

– Final image (s) in high resolution

*Book now because there is only enough space for twelve appointments over the two days! Call me at (250) 838-6195 or email darren@darrenrobinsonphotography.com to book.

The Multiplier Effect

Late last fall I discovered the technique of “multiplicity.” Multiplicity is the common term for imagery that combines multiple exposures into one image. The effect is not only extraordinarily fun to create, but it also generates the wow factor from those that see it done well. I’ve had much fun coming up with multiplicity concepts since then and the more I attempt these, the quicker the process becomes. Below is the result of my first attempt, I like to call it “The Party”.

After seeing the results (and response) from the image, I was hooked. With my beautiful wife and gorgeous little girls away on a house hunting trip, this was the perfect way to keep myself busy for the weekend. As such, other multiplicity concepts were born. For my second attempt, I took the project to the back yard for more canvas space. Setting my camera on the tripod and the shutter on self-timer, I went to work. This time, I wanted to combine two new effects I discovered into one concept; multiplicity and levitation. The “me” being lifted into the sky was achieved by jumping off of an outdoor hot tub, over and over again, until I got the flying image I wanted. Took about 30 takes to get it (remember, I was on self-timer!). Man were my legs sore the next day. Then, in post, I simply “erased” the hot tub. For more information on levitation photography, see the end of this post.

The next day, I attempted another back yard riot. The original concept was supposed to be “Greens” vs. “Oranges”, but shortly after creating the image, I realized I forgot to change my shirt for one of the guys playing cards in the foreground. Nonetheless, it was great to practice the technique.

I had so much fun with multiplicity that weekend, that I showed up bright and early to work on Monday to attempt another one (I worked out of the Powell River Visitor Centre, so it only seemed right to have myselves helping….well, myselves).

Now that I was quite comfortable with the technique I decided to try some shots using my beautiful daughters as models. First up was my youngest, who wanted nothing more than to show off her Halloween ladybug costume.

Then my oldest daughter, who, by the way, came up with most of the poses herself.

A good six weeks or so passed before I attempted another multiplicity, but the next concept was always on my mind. It was time for another “Party.” This time, I wanted my lovely wife to be a part of the concept. I wanted her to be “surrounded” by a handful of Darrens. I am more than certain that for her sometimes this conceptual scene seems all too real ūüôā

I now have many family and friends asking me to create their own multiplicity images. Who am I to say no? These last two were taken just this last weekend during a visit to Merritt to visit my family. The first one is of my darling niece, and her many personalities.

And last, but in no way least, my nephew showcasing his hysterical sense of humour.

I have many multiplicity concepts brewing in my brain on how I can take this to the next level. Stay tuned as I work them out in my many heads.

To see how this effect is accomplished, watch this video here.

For a tutorial on levitation photography, click here.

Discover BC Photo Tours announces new People & Places workshops in Kelowna

My good friend and business partner, Kelly Funk and I have completed our 2012 Kelowna workshop schedule and we think you‚Äôre going to like it! ¬†The theme of the workshops is: ‚ÄėPeople & Places‚Äô. ¬†We‚Äôre offering 3 dates for each theme, for your convenience. The workshops are a full day and all the details can be seen on by clicking here. We‚Äôre very excited about these and we hope you will be too. We welcome all levels of photographers to explore their creative visions while perfecting any technical issues. Space is limited so be sure to book for your preferred dates early!

Mount Robson Workshop a Huge Success

I just got back from our 3 day workshop in Mount Robson Provincial Park as part of the Discover BC Photo Tours workshop series. Twelve enthusiastic participants joined fellow instructor Kelly Funk and myself in one of the most picturesque destinations in British Columbia. For the most part, the weather cooperated. A few hours of rain challenged us on Saturday morning and again on Sunday afternoon, but the clouds and fog made for some dramatic scenes. And the saturation from the rain added to the impact.

A good time was certainly had by all, starting with an awesome wine and cheese welcome, made possible by Tourism Valemount. Silvio and Jennifer went above and beyond in helping to make this workshop a hit, providing the transportation to and from field locations throughout the entire weekend!

Friday night also included classroom style instruction on Camera Basics, Lighting, Exposure and Creative Compositions. The group was just itching to get out onto the trail the next day.

Saturday included trekking up the Berg Lake trail to Kinney Lake.

Along the way participants were offered further instruction on vertical panning, shooting lifestyle imagery, shooting water, shooting stitched panoramas and using filters. On Saturday night the group was shown how to use long exposures to turn truck tail lights into streaming beams of awesomeness tunneling towards a clouded Mt Robson. It was the perfect ending to a great day of instruction and shooting.

Sunday arrived and the weather was rather subdued, borderline flat; the perfect conditions to be shooting Rearguard Falls.

The group spread out almost immediately to find their vision and create their scenes. It was really fun to see the creative energy surface and it was here that we stressed the importance of filters when shooting waterfalls and high contrast scenes. Just when it seemed like we had exhausted the location, two rafting groups decided to hit the water and give us an opportunity to instruct on action/lifestyle photography.

After lunch on Sunday the rain started in. The group voted and we opted to use this time to stay inside and instruct on a critical element in image creation; post-processing. Here we covered topics like work flow, using Photoshop, shooting RAW, clone-stamping, highlight recovery, colour matching and outputting. This was very well received and Kelly and I have decided to make this a regular part of our workshop curriculum.

Monday was an optional day and most of the participants stuck around for the added day. We used this time to head up to White Falls along the Berg Lake trail. We were available to the group for any questions along the way, but we made a conscious decision to let them put their newly acquired knowledge to work. I look forward to seeing the shots produced by our participants.

If you want to join us on an upcoming workshop, click here to see what’s coming up for 2012. We are currently working on adding more workshops throughout BC for summer and fall of next year.

Texada lightpainting experiment

We just got back from a family holiday on Texada Island, where we stayed for three amazing nights at Shelter Point, spending our time exploring Shingle Beach, Heisholt Lake, Gillies Bay and more.

Shingle Beach on Texada Island

It didn’t take long for the magic of the island to spark creativity amongst the family. We decided to set up down on the beach and try our hand at some unique lightpainting ideas. Long exposures, the faint light and deep colour of dusk, a few flashlights and whole lot of energy, helped us to create the images below.

Although we generated some great shots the first night, we were bursting with ideas for our second night of lightpainting. Everyone wanted to get in the action this time, despite the strange looks from other campers who had no idea why we were waving flashlights around in frantic fashion.

It was on the third night that we started to really refine our technique. I conceptualized a shot of a lightpainted car parked atop the log. After pressing the shutter on self-timer (45 seond exposure) I quickly ran behind the log and painted (with a regular flashlight) what I wanted my car-of-light to look like. I was quite happy with the outcome, but wasn’t finished despite the rapid loss of available dusk light. I employed the help of my neice and nephew for the grand finale. My nephew was tasked with lightpainting his sister, while I lightpainted a car around her. This was the last shot taken in a very successful (and a whole lot of fun) lightpainting experiment at one of the most beautiful spots on BC’s Sunshine Coast. If you want to learn more about lightpainting, be sure to check out¬†our¬†upcoming workshop in Mount Robson. I’ll bring the flashlights ūüôā

Hey is that a new lens, baby?

I love discovering new tricks in Photography. Especially tricks that save me money by not having to purchase new equipment. Case in point is this constant nagging in my consumer-driven psyche to purchase a Lensbaby lens to capture that dreamlike, selective focus effect that I fall for every time. I know that the lens would have been quite fun to play with…for about a week. After which, it would likely stay buried deep¬†in my camera bag talking about its glory days with my never-again-used Armageddon Red ND Filter that I just had to have when I first started photography. A filter that would turn any sky¬†a deep, unrealistic¬†red. Good impulse buy Robinson. Real good. That filter rendered one good image in the several years I have owned it and the¬†minimal times I even used it.

Aliens are coming...to get my red filter

So here I was contemplating another ridiculous spend, when my good friend and pro photographer Kelly Funk passed on a great tip in¬†Photoshop that will produce the same effect as a Lensbaby…when¬†applied correctly. It gives¬†you that dreamy, hallucinogenic-mushroom, Disney Viewmaster type of look and feel. Basically allowing you to keep one¬†element of your image in sharp focus (subject), while blurring the rest of the image elements to look like you just put in eye drops. This effect is used¬†mostly in wedding photography. I don’t see it too often in nature photography, so I thought I would give it a try.

Here is an intimate shot of Lois River near Eagle Falls in Powell River. The colour of the main rock in the image jumped out at me when I captured this shot last year. I thought I would apply the selective focus technique to really make the rock pop. Nothing against the original image, but adding this new application made me fall for this shot in a new way.

As captured in camera

After applying Selective Focus effect in Photoshop

Here’s one of my favourite shots of Saltery Falls, the very first bit of eye-candy you get when you start the 180 km Sunshine Coast Trail. I set up this shot on my tripod and used my self timer to add the human element to a magnificent natural scene. By placing a person in the shot, me, the image becomes more appealing to tourism marketers. Again, I like the original shot just fine. But there is something so cool about the new and improved shot post-effect.

Mushrooms anyone?

Here’s one last example of the effect as applied on this panoramic interior shot of Powell River’s historic Patricia Theatre. Once again, the sharp-as-a-tack image is commercial ready in itself, but considering it is like a time-warp inside the theatre I would try that effect here.

As shot

I woke up and it was 1930

The selective focus method has made me go back into some of my old files for some reworking. It is¬†a lot of fun to see images you¬†forgot you had and bring them back¬†onto your desktop.¬†I¬†anticipate a whole lot of experimental fun with this new technique….for about a week ūüôā

But that is ok, because this kind of fun cost me nothing.¬†I am completely¬†guilt-free and¬†I didn’t have to add any more weight to¬†an already¬†back-cramping camera bag. And my Armageddon-enducing Death Filter? It is now a lovely¬†colourful beer coaster for my cold bottle of Miller. Reduce, Re-use, Re-cycle.

Cheers!

PS. For those that want to know how to apply the selective focus effect in post, visit http://www.elementsvillage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47882

Tunnel vision to the extreme

A shot of Appleton anyone?

Up until¬†this point, the word Appleton has meant nothing more to me than as the brand name¬†of a certain¬†Jamaican rum. A very YUMMY brand of rum indeed. Little did I realize that it is also the name of a very yummy¬†two kilometer (or so) trail just north of¬†Powell River,¬†along BC’s infamous Sunshine Coast.¬†The trail is vastly rich in rewards and¬†challenging enough to justify mixing the night’s tea with an ounce (or two) of the¬†finer liqueur.

Finding the trail head wasn’t easy. Driving up to it almost cost me my Hyundai. Overstatement? Yes. But it could¬†easily had happened if I had been going fast enough. Glad I wasn’t.

The road was great until the first of two¬†washouts jumped out at me¬†like sniper ninjas, my poor¬†Santa Fe catching¬†its first taste of air, at least since we’ve owned it anyways.¬†It shouldn’t be too difficult to remember those hazards on the way back.

And then there’s the signage. Or rather, the lackthereof. Oh wait, there is one sign, it’s just doesn’t offer any clarity or definitive direction. It’s standing well away from the trail head and doesn’t point anywhere. I know. Where do you sign up for this hike, right?

But hey, it’s all an adventure and the best is still to come.

Yes, I’m kind of weird about waterfalls. There are¬†worse things to be weird about. I don’t know, they just move me. They make me happy. And this trail is chalked full of them.

The Appleton Canyon trail head is marked by aging pink ribbons waving mysteriously over a narrow trail in the gravel pit parking lot just before the less-than-helpful trail sign that sits on the main road. All things good are worth hunting for.¬†I recommend¬†adopting this mentality if finding the trail doesn’t come easily for you either.

The trail begins as a gradual climb beside the torrent Appleton Creek.¬†The creek¬†remains unseen for the first ten to twelve¬†minutes of the hike, but you can definitely hear it. I found it difficult to resist sliding down the embankment in anticipation of what I have heard about this trail. But I knew easier views would soon come my way. As the climb continues on, the rainforest becomes more beautiful, if that is at all possible. A dense green carpet of moss blankets the ground while the giant ceders tower above, acting as nature’s umbrella from the sun, or in my case the spring rain.

Fifteen minutes into the trail comes the first accessible waterfall. A narrow trail to the left guides hikers down to the creek for a view of the top of the waterfall. If you are hiking with kids, watch them closely as a fall into the creek from this vantage point would likely warrant unfavourable circumstances. The image here is of the headwaters leading up to the fifteen foot falls.

Appleton Creek - First Falls

Back on the main trail the silence of the forest on the right is harmoniously in sync with the rushing creek on the left. Carry onward and upward another eight or so minutes until you descend down towards the creek. I chose this opportunity for a glug of water and a photo. No waterfall here, but beautiful nonetheless.

Appleton Creek Pit Stop

The awaiting waterfalls are now screaming. Their sound is unmistakeable. A brief uphill climb along the main trail introduces the next waterfall trail on the left. Unlike most of the other later falls along this trail, this one appears to be nameless. My three year old daughter has since named it Gold Falls. The yellow/golden hues of the tannin-rich water is what I am guessing was the inspiration behind the name.

Gold Falls

 The trail then begins a solid climb upward for a good several minutes until you reach one the bigger falls along the trail. Again, hold on to your kids tightly here as you soak in the amazing views from high atop the canyon walls. The falls seem to get more impressive as this hike goes on.

Wide Angle of Falls

Close up of Falls

As the trail continues, each waterfall vantage point is separated by incredible forest tranquility. Unlike getting to the falls, it’s pretty difficult to get lost once on this trail. The only lead away trails are the ones that guide you to each set of waterfalls for viewing pleasure. But, much like any trail system in rugged BC back country, take caution, you never know when an encounter with a waking black bear or cougar¬†could possibly¬†occur. Be alert and¬†prepared.

Sylph Falls, Bandit Falls and Gorge Falls round out the waterfalls awaiting discovery along this remarkable trail. The headwaters to Bandit Falls are literally straight out of a fairytale. One could almost expect to see Hansel and Gretel frolicking amidst the vibrant greens and earthy browns¬†surrounding the rest bench provided by PRPAWS, a local trail group that deserves national recognition for their contribution to the area’s trails and treasures.

Headwaters to Bandit Falls

Touching Gorge Falls

The end of the trail is marked by a recreation campsite eagerly awaiting its next spring inhabitants. Maybe it will be you?

For more information on the Appleton Creek¬†trail, or any of Powell River’s extraordinary trail systems, visit www.discoverpowellriver.com or call the¬†Visitors Centre at (604) 485-4701. Happy trekking.

Lightpainting

Hello friends. With the sun setting before I even have a chance to leave my house these days, thanks to the short days of winter, I have been playing with lightpainting techniques to see how they impact my images, especially in the dark.¬†I must say, this technique can definitely take an ordinary, run-of-the-mill image, and turn it into a winning shot….one with some real pop.

First, I tried¬†the technique¬†on a rather phallic looking stump that graced the shores of Willingdon Beach on a recent trek along the beach.¬†I really like the drama that unfolded in this picture.¬† Because of the beautiful sunset sitting directly behind it, without lightpainting, this shot would be nothing more than an average¬†sillhouette.¬†By¬†utilizing a long exposure (I had on my George Lepp Solid ND Filter www.singh-ray.com/morefilt.html) which gave me an 8-second exposure at f 11 (so everything is sharp).¬†After I released the shutter, I “painted” the stump and foreground rocks with my 10 million candle flashlight for the duration of the exposure, lighting the entire stump in a fluent, “painting” motion.¬†The result, is a dramatic oceanscape, one for the website ūüôā

Since I was in light painting mode (and since my flashlight was full of juice), I decided to try adding some drama to a couple of my wife’s clown-like-dolls.¬† As if these little fellows needed the opportunity to look any more frightening.¬† The room was completely dark, allowing for a 25-second exposure.¬†Stacy and I then painted the dolls with a couple of smaller flashlights.

Lastly, I went to one of my favourite shooting spots in Powell River, BC (Palm Beach) and light painted this funky log that reflected perfectly in a tidal pool, accentuated by the end of a December sunset. With a 12-second exposure (thanks Geaorge Lepp) I painted the log (and its reflection) with my flashlight.  I find this picture to really pop, adding drama to relatively unexciting natural light situation.

If you are interested in learning more about light painting, stay tuned for more info on my photography event Coast in Focus, happening here in Powell River May 28-30. I will have the poster up here next week. People are starting to get excited about it.