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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Photo of the Day - Newfoundland Icebergs

Locked in the heart of the longest, coldest winter I can remember in the twenty years I've lived in the Canadian Rockies, my thoughts naturally turned to snow this morning when I saw yet another fresh skiff on the front steps.  So when I started thinking of what today's Photo of the Day should be, my thoughts first turned to snow again...but I figured that was too easy.  Snowy, wintery shot, blah, blah, blah, boring!  So to spice it up today I have turned to snow's close cousin, ice, and to really step outside of the box, I've posted a couple that I thought told an interesting story from my trip in 2009 to Newfoundland to photograph icebergs (yet again, this is what happens when you're two years behind in editing, you start to think that shots from 2009 are 'current' and 'Photos of the Day' because, well, they are photos that I'm working on today!

The reason I thought these two photos were interesting is because they were taken mere minutes apart with one small difference.

Twin icebergs along the northeast coast of Newfoundland

The first shot is a 30 second exposure at f22 at ISO 50 with my 17-40 mm lens set at 21 mm.  I have it at 21 mm to avoid vignetting because I've got a polarizing filter and a 5-stop neutral density filter on (these filters show vignetting on the 17-40 at 17-19 mm) to maximize the length of the exposure and bring out the subtle late afternoon colours on an otherwise cloudy, colourless day.  I was also hoping to smooth out the wave action of the surf hitting the shoreline, which this long exposure really did well.

Then I began wondering what my long-lost blue-gold polarizer would look like in this situation.  I used to use the blue-gold quite a bit back in the Velvia film days to add colour to scenes and to help me feel more like I was creating art rather than just capturing exactly what I saw in a scene.  Unfortunately, digital cameras don't quite see and interpret the blue-gold filter the same way as film did, so the filter has been relegated to the back shelves of my filter bag over the past six years, rarely used and rarely needed.

Icebergs on the north coast of Newfoundland photographed with a blue-gold polarizing filter

I put the filter on and to my surprise, it rendered what looked like a rich, reddish image (30 second exposure at f13) on my camera's LCD.  Sure enough, when I was going through my edits yesterday, this image stood out in the batch of otherwise drab images from that sunless day.  And while I still really like the original without the creative red colouring, this is easily one of my favourites of the trip.  It certainly uses a bit of creative licensing, but then again, that's what landscape photography is often all about!

Your thoughts?

Happy shooting,



  1. I really like the first one John, it's really soothing

  2. So where the icebergs not moving? Or moving that slow that they seem to be stationary with a long exposure like that?

    About the second one, did you process it in terms to keep the reddish glow? Or is it close to 'out of the cam'? When I use the g-n-b my shots look like your second one until I use the eyedropper tool on them to correct the color.

  3. Thanks Buck. Hendrik, the icebergs were far enough away that their movement didn't show on the photos. Plus, it was marginal over 30 seconds. I did process to keep the reddish glow, so basically I didn't do a thing to it in post-processing.

  4. Hi John,
    Darwin Wiggett has a good article on the Singh Ray website about blue+gold. Turning off the auto white balance is his big secret!

  5. Hi Don, yes, I do that all the time in post-processing (which of course has the exact same effect as turning it off in camera if you're shooting RAW), but still find that the filter just doesn't produce the same effects as it did on film, for the most part.

  6. Hi John: the original is beautiful and very relaxing to look at. the second gives the scene an extraterrestrial appearance. Icebergs on Mars, perhaps? I'm posting an "anonymous" but that's because I don't know how to post under my name. Its really Catherine Fox.

  7. It does have a Mars sort of appearance to it, Catherine! The more I look at them side by side, the more I like the original.

  8. Absolutely beyond words. I am a "rank" amateur, but
    I am also "adventurous." I love this...

  9. Hiya John, I Like Both images the second image is really different but very appealing I like it . Steve Woods

  10. Hi John, I like both. They are both beautiful shots and I can't decide. The bottom one gives warmth and creativity. I always say just go with your heart. :)

  11. Wow those are really incredible shots,it must be nice when you totally understand the true works of the camera and its settings.I am a mere amateur.Newfoundland is a great place for photos.Gros Morne Park and the Cabot Trail from the east coast are very scenic.Thanks for your creative spin on Pictures,that gave me more Ideas in creation,pictures or video.Have a nice day!