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Peach festival 32mm, ISO-100, F16, 33 sec.

I woke up early and went to Niagara on the lake to capture the downtown street in the morning light. Though more importantly with less people & vehicles. Much to my dismay when I arrived that day I realized that it was the Peach Festival. The road was closed off and full of people. I immediately thought of something I have been wanting to try for a while. Long exposure photography can be done with the use of a neutral density filter and a tripod so you can slow down the shutter speed at anytime of the day, even in broad sunlight. The most popular use of this technique is with running water or waterfalls. I am always open to other moving subjects that can benefit from a long exposure. The possibilities are endless. Like a river flowing down a stream, the people at the Niagara on the Lake Peach Festival flowed down the street and made for a very interesting image. The fun part was watching people's faces as they passed me standing in the moving crowd with my camera and tripod.

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Old Fort Niagara 35mm, ISO-100, F8, 1/125 sec.

It has been said that one of the best pieces of photo gear is an alarm clock. Certainly true if you want to take advantage of the golden hour around dawn. This shot of Old Fort Niagara was made just before the sun breaks the horizon in the few minutes that the light sometimes reaches the underside of morning clouds. I love the light in the two windows of the fort, It kind of gives a spooky feel.

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Queens Royal Park Shoreline 70mm, ISO-100, F16, 1/25 sec.

Minutes after I made the image of Old Fort Niagara the sun came over the horizon and lit up the shoreline brilliantly. A vertical composition with a leading line drawing your eye in to the frame. With the distant shoreline and the detail of clouds that give your eye somewhere to land.

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Dream in the Park 24mm, ISO-100, F4, 30 sec.

Another very popular form of shooting these days is Infrared Photography. Using a filter on the end of your lens (or a converted camera) you can limit the light coming into your camera to infrared light only. This can give you soft dreamy ethereal images unlike anything else. This image was taken just after sunrise with an R72 IR filter and tripod. Compositionally I really like having the main subject offset giving room in the frame for the subject to sit. To complete the look I converted to black & white and sepia toned.

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Picnic tables 38mm, ISO-100, F16, 1/8 sec.

Repeating patterns or rhythms can always make for an interesting photograph. They don't have to be obvious, but can be more abstract like the repeating trees and picnic tables in this park. The way this pattern runs diagonally in the frame draws the eye to the back of the image giving it depth.

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Tractor & Trees 40mm, ISO-100, F22, 25 sec.

Another long exposure image, but in this case there was no neutral density filter used. I simply waited until the sun was going down which gave a soft low light. It was then easy to achieve slow enough shutter speed to let the wind blow the trees into a soft paintbrush look. What is particularly interesting for me with long exposures is the contrasting softness of things in motion versus the sharpness of things that are static in the same frame. It can give images an artistic look.

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Fort Wall 52mm, ISO-400, F8, 1/200 sec.

I was drawn to this section of wall at Fort George because of its graphic nature. It makes for a nice flat composition (no depth). You have the wall, the structure behind it and this nice little bush growing. Arranged like this in the composition they have balance. The original image has an uninteresting bald sky so I composited another image in Photoshop to give it the feel that I was looking for.

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Medieval Mask 52mm, ISO-400, F8, 1/200 sec.

Because of the bald sky at Fort George I also shot cropped compositions that had no sky in them. It's amazing how we are programmed to recognize anything that even vaguely resembles a face. Cropped tight and square this reminds me of some sort of medieval mask.

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Grill Lines 18mm, ISO-400, F8, 1/400 sec.

When I saw this old truck and started making images of it I asked myself what drew me here? What was it that made me pull over the car to photograph. It was the lines and texture. As a lover of black and white imagery, when I see strong lines and strong texture together I can't help myself, I must photograph it. Sometimes that means getting up close and making things a little abstract to emphasize those aspects. Remember as a photographer it is your job to make the viewer see what you see instead of getting lost in the whole scene as it was first presented to you.

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Gazebo 70mm, ISO-800, F16, 1/160 sec.

The gazebo in Queens Royal Park makes a great photographic subject especially in the morning with all the colors of a sunrise behind it. This particular morning there was not much color in the sky so I changed my thought process to black and white, lines and texture. The sidewalk served as a perfect leading line into the frame and the main subject. I also like the trees framing in the top of the image.

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The Clock Tower, Business and Casual 70mm, ISO-100, F8, 1/160 sec. - 70mm, ISO-400, F5, 1/2500 sec.

It's fun to approach the same subject in different ways. The first image of the clock tower is very simple with little distraction, strong contrast and stable vertical lines. The second image plays with out of focus elements that are backlit by the sun and angles giving it a less serious more playful feel.


The Courthouse 24mm, ISO-100, F8, 1/100 sec.

Sometimes when I see something that is visually symmetrical like The Courthouse, it begs to be shot symmetrical, and in this case it worked out well. I chose to shoot from a very low angle with a wide angle lens to exaggerate the building's already powerful stature. Some would try to correct the distortion caused by this low angle, but I like it. It makes the building look even more powerful and dramatic. A black and white treatment emphasizes the texture and character of the stone work.

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Copyright 2014, Darren Creighton