Yellowknife Photography Tour HighlightsRead More
Following our trip to Ottawa we decided that it would be a good time to visit the Rockies one more time as they were only a two-day drive away or 22 hours if you drive straight through which is what we did on the return. If you are interested in reading more about Jasper, you can do so via this link.Read More
I know I am late. My father used to tell me that I would be late for my own funeral. And I'm ok with that. It is just that I've been conflicted about where to start and what to write about. I mean I've taken over 12,000 photos this year and have photographed everything from frozen landscapes, northern lights, portraits of northerners, an International Environment Commission, the Premier and Members of the Legislative Assembly for Yellowknife, a First Nation Dene Wedding, trips to Jamaica, Jasper and another 10 day drive back across the country not to mention my poochie.Read More
I have a couple of new years resolutions already and one is to write more often in my blog. It is not enough these days to just merely be a photographer, one has to be constantly talking about it. More importantly it is about me not being silent anymore. To help me with this task, I thought I would begin a Print of the week series to discuss my print work. As well, it would serve to be a shameless plug for selling my work wholesale via my website before putting it up on Saatchi for a wider audience.
So given my first sale of a 30x40" print of one of my Aurora Borealis photographs, I thought it would make sense to start the series with that image.
On September 27th of this year, I witnessed one of the most amazing Aurora G2 storm. Eddie was traveling and Saydee and I were alone with some guests from China. It started just after 9 pm. I was thinking I should really get serious about doing a time lapse before we had to leave Yellowknife to go back home to Ottawa. On previous outings, my friend Bill Braden, who also shoots with Fuji in Yellowknife, encouraged me to be more patient with Timelapse. Also, Fujifilm Canada kindly let me use their new medium format camera: GFX50s for this reason. They were enjoying my photos from Canada's north.
I didn't have to go far for this scene as I just had to open the back door, take a few steps out past my balcony and there it was. It was an intense storm which lasted for a couple of hours. What was unique was that it wasn't very cold out. It was probably 8 degrees Celsius meaning I didn't have to wear mitts and with a good winter coat I could stay outside comfortably for the entire evening without succumbing to frostbite which is the norm during the winter months.
I set up the tripod, camera to ISO 3200 to enable a faster shutter speed of 2 seconds which I've learned is essential in capturing the crisp curtain-like effect of the aurora. I was shooting with Fujifilm's GF23F4 lens which was perfect for shooting the aurora. It was easy to mark infinity via the LCD screen. The tilting LCD screen is also genius so that regardless of the angle you are shooting it is easy to see what it is you are doing. Especially useful when tipping the camera straight up to photograph an exploding korona.
Anyway, it went on for about an hour and a half and I was somewhat diligent. Halfway through I thought it would be neat to have a photo with Saydee and I in it. It was great to have this photo but I have to admit it didn't really add to timelapse. Oh well.
In any case, a friend of a friend down south was looking for a large print of an Aurora to display over the fireplace and having shot with the GFX I was pretty confident that I could make a beautiful print of the size they were asking for which was a 30x40".
For this, I turned to Jim Lamonte, one of Ottawa's premier printers who also teaches the art of fine art printing at SPAO (School of Photographic Arts in Ottawa). Jim is a pleasure to work with. He was very considerate about making the print exactly to my specifications and vision. He recommended Canson Baryta paper as being the best one with the Highest D-Max which is a measure of the deepest black tone a printer/ink/paper combination can reproduce. If properly cared for this combination of Epson inks and paper should see the print last for well over 100 years. It will outlast me and the people who are purchasing it. It is a limited edition 1/10 and I can't wait to see it framed!
Huge thanks to all who were involved: Fujifilm Canada for lending me their GFX50s, Peter Waiser for connecting me with a friend who was looking for what I have to offer, Jim Lamont for helping me produce this size of print and my husband who is supportive of my work.
To purchase your own copy see Fine Art Prints
We pushed off our annual outing of going to get our Christmas tree until the snow came. It just didn't seem right otherwise. Here it is almost mid-December and finally, we got a couple of centimetres of snow last night. So today was the day.
We decided to go to the Fallowfield Tree farm. We had been there three years before - the year before traveling to Yellowknife. It was a mild -3C so given that we are used to -30C at this time of year, that was no big deal. I was looking forward to photographing the typical Canadian winter scene of hay rides, Christmas trees, goats and horses. Since I still have Fuji's medium format camera I wanted to try it out at the tree farm.
So here are some favourites from the day.
I had done a business portrait for Ingrid a couple of years ago and while we were still in Yellowknife she emailed and asked if I was around to do another shoot? The good news was that we were planning on moving back to Ottawa and I would be around just about the time when the fall colours would be at their peak in mid October. We met at the Arboretum of the Experimental Farms - which is always a great place for a photo shoot regardless of the season. The reason for the photo shoot if there needs to be one is that they were celebrating their 60th birthdays.
Anyway, I thought I would share a few of my favorites from their session. All photos were photographed with Fuji's GFX50S medium format camera and the 120mmF4 lens.
On Saturday I had the honour of photographing the wedding of a young couple from Behchoko. Kelvin is a wildlife officer with the Government of the Northwest Territories and Leah is studying business at the Aurora College. They have two beautiful daughters. They were wed at the Legislative Assembly by a Justice of the Peace with many friends and family as witnesses. Following the ceremony, we went to Pilot's Monument and a few other places for photographs followed by a potluck dinner at the home of the Bride's sister. It turned out to be a beautiful day. Here are a few of my favourite pictures.
All photos were shot with Fujifilm XT2 and GFX50S.
Most recently we have returned from a week long trek to Edmonton and Jasper. The purpose of our trip to Edmonton was to have some car maintenance done which can't be done where we live in Yellowknife. Also my Epson 3800 printer needed some repair. It is a two day drive to Edmonton, which is the nearest major city where these kinds of services can be had. Since it is hardly worth driving two days just to get car and printer repairs done, and we had a bit of time before Eddie had to get back to work, and with Jasper being just another four hours drive away, we decided to go to Jasper for a mini three day holiday.Read More
A tri-national environmental organization which the governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico collaborate held a conference in Yellowknife to teach participants how to use their web based application.Read More
Exploring our new home
We set up in the Explorer Hotel while looking for a place to live. We quickly learned that it would not be business as usual and that Yellowknife has its own pace. We would be staying in the hotel for 42 nights.
Despite the cool weather for autumn, we found the people to be very warm and hospitable.
LOOKING FOR A HOME
The architecture was certainly interesting with its rustic and artsy vibe. It is very different from Barrhaven! There seem to be a lot of artists in town as even the garbage dumpsters are artfully painted with colourful northern scenes.
Having a dog in Yellowknife is a very good thing. It forces you to get outside and makes it very easy to meet people and make new friends. Saydee and I spent many afternoons hiking at the Fred Henney Territorial Campground.
THE STREET DURING RUSH HOUR
One early morning after dropping Eddie off at work, I decided to get out briefly for a walk and do some street photography. Given that it was -21C there didn’t seem to be too many people out.
“You’re going to need a new coat!” a friend advised. A Canada Goose Parka is not a fashion statement here but absolutely essential for survival when the temperature dips down to -40C.
NO SNIVELING AND FINE DINING
Bullocks Bistro, with its wild northwest vibe is one of the most interesting places to dine while in Yellowknife. There you will find lots of warnings that snivelling will not be tolerated while you wait for your dinner which happened to have been fished out of the lake across the street just a few hours before. However, you are invited to carve out your name on the counter and or leave your business card or Fuji Instax print on the wall. It is a unique dining experience and the fish is amazing!
With the sun setting at 3:15 pm at winter solstice, the nights are long and dark in Yellowknife during the winter.
And the days are short. One morning Saydee and I ventured to the top of Pilot’s Monument to greet the sunrise at 10:15 am.
There is something very mystical about the quality of light here in the Arctic. You will see colours that will literally stop you in your tracks as you will probably have never seen anything quite like it before. Not sure exactly why… is it due to the lack of pollution or is it due to the angle of the sun which never really rises above the horizon?
With a good coat you can pretty much enjoy the winter. There is much to do here from driving on the Ice road to Dettah, a Dene first nation community on the other side of the lake, to chartering an aircraft for a tour, snowshoeing, skijoring - a blend of cross country skiing with your dog, dogsledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing and of course plenty to photograph!
HOUSEBOATS ON YELLOWKNIFE BAY
There is a small community of folks who have decided to rough it out on a houseboat on Yellowknife Bay where one doesn’t have to pay any municipal taxes and where one can enjoy the most amazing sunrises and sunsets not to mention the tranquility of actually living on the water. When the lake freezes over in the winter you can drive right up to the front door. Spring and fall can be a bit tricky because the ice is neither frozen solid enough for a car and too patchy for a canoe or a boat. If you would like to try it, some are available as Bed and Breakfast’s via Airbnb.
From mid October through to almost the end of December, the skies were overcast and grey for almost the entire time. It also snowed a little bit each day but never enough to block you in like it does down south. Anyway, the skies would not be clear enough to see the aurora until Great Slave Lake completely froze over. I’m kind of glad we arrived during this time so that I could explore the day to day beauty of the north. But oh my …. to see the Aurora that first time was magical! They were directly overhead and quite strong. Yellowknife boasts that it is the best place in the world to see the Aurora Borealis.
I thought they were kind of interesting in black and white.
LOOKING FOR WILDLIFE
Equipped with Fuji’s new 1.4x Teleconverter and 100-400mm lens, we set out down the highway past Behchokǫ̀ looking for wildlife.
And of course there are plenty of Ravens to practice your tracking capabilities.
THE SNOWCASTLE AND LONG JOHN JAMBOREE
On March 1st, the 20th annual Snowking Winter Festival opened along with the Snowcastle - a huge fort made from the ice and snow of Great Slave Lake. Construction begins in November with the harvesting of Ice slabs that will form the windows of the building. It has become the venue in town during the month of March for everything from music to fashion shows. It coincides with the Long John Jamboree at the end of the Month where Yellowknife's’ gather to celebrate the end of winter.
Every year at the end of March Yellowknife’s gather around a large wooden structure that they would burn to mark the end of winter. This year’s theme was about Balance. We were invited to reflect on what we were balancing in our own lives.
Burn on the Bay
And finally the ice begins to break up in April. People who have lived here a long time and are familiar with the ice conditions would still venture out to do some ice fishing. Where else can you venture out onto a major lake, one of the largest in Canada from downtown and go ice fishing? It’s the lifestyle that keeps many people here.
All photos taken with Fujifilm XT1, XF lenses including XF16-55, XF16, XF10-24, XF35, XF50-140, XF100-400. Special thanks to Fujifilm North America for all their support.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it.