British Columbia Wildlife Panoramic challenge

large format panoramic image of a sealion colony

Capturing awesome shots of wildlife in British Columbia is not typically challenging if you are in the right place.

There is such a bounty of amazing animals and scenery to shoot in the wild places of Canada’s westernmost province. This year I decided to up the difficulty a little by trying to do some truly large scale images of the dramatic scenery, but including animals in them, such as whales, bears and salmon.

It was easier said than done, especially shooting multiple stitched images from the deck of a moving boat. With the unpredictability of whales that pop up in sometimes unexpected places, it made it challenging to frame the images.  But I still managed to get a few this year.

Large format image of killer whale pod in Salish Sea
A pod of Orca travel in the Salish Sea near Cambell River in this image that is over 27 000 pixels long

There is a large increase in the Humpback whale population in the Salish Sea and up the coast of British Columbia. There is something pretty cool about seeing a whale tail lifted out of the water against a backdrop of mountains.

HUmpback Whale raising its tail fluke in the Salish Sea. Super high resolution image at over 28 000 pixels.
A Humpback Whale with the nickname “Whiskers” flukes in the Salish Sea. Super high resolution image at over 28 000 pixels long.

On my first trip to the Oreford River in Bute Inlet I also tried a few large scenes with Grizzly Bears. Not having much time, and with the sometimes quickly moving bears, it proved difficult. But the scenery is so dramatic there that even with just one bear in the image it makes for an eye-catching scene. that is symbolic of the coast.

High resolution panoramic image of oreford river with a grizzly bear
A Grizzly Bear strolls along the banks of the Oreford River in Bute Inlet.
Super high resolution image of sockeye salmon in the Adams River
Every four years there is a dominant run of Sockeye Salmon on the Adams River in Central British Columbia. This large format image shows a section of the river in the fall of 2018. This image is over 30 000 pixels long.

Next year I plan to spend a considerable amount of time really focusing on wildlife panoramics. The challenge is fun and the images worth it.

 

Click here to go to the gallery featuring these high resolution wildlife panoramic images.

Note- These images and all the rest on the website can be used for many different applications including large wall murals, architectural installations, and billboard sign graphics. Contact me if you have any ideas you want  to discuss.

I also do free image mockups if you send me a photo of your space.

 

Canadas Maritimes. A journey through time.

Nova Scotia fishing village boat houses

I have always wanted to explore the Maritime Provinces of Eastern Canada.

 This August I finally got to go there for two very short weeks. With a wedding on Cape Breton Island and family to visit in Prince Edward Island we got to see a fair bit of two of the Provinces. New Brunswick will have to wait till another time.  After landing in Halifax we picked up our rental van and headed off to the first stop of many in what would become an epic adventure.  We ended up in the Atlantic Superstore parking lot and equipped our van to be our mobile base and accommodations.  After a few more stops we were off.

As we always like to take the road less travelled we headed up the eastern shore of Nova Scotia and took the long route to Cape Breton Island.  With dense fog enshrouding the bays we wound our way in and out of wonderfully remote fishing villages and other communities in the seemingly middle of nowhere. It was hard to discern what exactly people do who choose to live in some of these out of the way places.  What wasn’t hard to see was what a lot do on Sundays. It seemed here that there were a lot of churches. We liked to joke that for every five houses that made up a village there was a church.   And we can’t have been far off.

After realizing that the fog that obscured  a lot of the views was actually a blessing, we got excited about exploring some interesting locations.  One stop in particular had us fascinated for quite some time. seeing a derelict old fishing vessels unceremoniously perched at the side of the road we halted our journey and poked around.  After photographing a few boats that were in various stages of decay  on the shore we discovered a whole new scene just around the corner. Two large steel vessels were piled together at the edge of a working marina. The visuals of the rusting metal hulks and the lobster traps in the dense fog was just to great to pass up.

old fishing vessels on side of road in Nova Scotia
Along the Eastern shore on Nova Scotia there are many old fishing villages. This one contains a mix of in use and abandoned vessels.
Derelict fishing vessels at marina in Nova Scotia
Old derelict vessels lay alongside a working marina on the East shore of Nova Scotia.

It seemed as we made our way north we would be treated to many such feasts for the eyes. Cape Breton Island and the great people there made our time wonderful.  Around wedding activities we still got in some exploring, including some swamp diving,  and an epic fast trip around the  famous Cabot Trail. Fast because we didn’t leave Sydney till late in the day and we raced to catch the sunset on some dramatic scenery. As we got to the top of the trail we again were cloaked in fog and rain. So the sunset race became a quest to try to finish before dark and take in as many scenic points as we could.  I think we will have to return in better weather and take our time on this road.

Monumental Cabot Trail road on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Rugged rock cliffs along the western shoreline of Cape Breton Island.

The Confederation bridge is a pretty big deal.

In its record making construction but also how it changed the access to and from Prince Edward Island.  As we crossed this bridge onto PEI it was very obvious we had also changed provinces. PEI is well known for a few things. Among them red sand beaches, potatoes, and Anne of Green Gables.  Even before hitting the fertile soils of PEI we saw the red coastline,  and within minutes were surrounded by potato fields.  And I kept my eye out for Anne.

Confederation Bridge linking mainland Canada to Prince Edward Island.
Up close to the mighty Confederation Bridge joining Prince Edward Island to mainland Canada.

Of course I had to find vantage points to do some large panoramic images of this amazing bridge.  From areas in Charlton and Chelton  beach I was able to get some good views of the bridge extending out almost thirteen kilometers to New Brunswick.

The amazing 12.9 km long Confederation Bridge viewed from Carlton.
The thirteen kilometer long Confederation bridge stretches into the distance towards New Brunswick.

Every morning I tried to get up and catch a sunrise as it illuminated the fantastic sandstone cliffs along the north shore.  Orange sunrise light, red cliffs and beach and the Atlantic ocean made for some stunning scenery.  PEI residents are very proud of thier beaches and for good reason. There were so many. Some famous and some hidden away.  Sloping sand dunes  and beach grasses came to symbolise  PEI for me.  Oh and potatos.  But I never saw Anne.

Tea Pot Rock on the northern shore of PEI
Magnificent sandstone formations at Thunder Cove on the northern shore of Prince Edward Island.
Endless sand dunes on Prince Edward Islands North Shore.
Endless sand dunes and grasses on the north shore of PEI.

The last few days of our trip were spent cruising around Nova Scotia again. Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg and other lesser known places. We didn’t get everywhere we wanted to go but we did get a great taste of what the province has to offer.  Peggy’s Cove was a highlight and we even went back a second day. Partly because it was such a great place, and also because we saw a cute little house for sale 🙂 . One can always dream.  There are so many hidden corners in this amazing little village. So many people go there it seems to see the lighthouse,  but I was way more fascinated with the village and the cove and the local residents.  I even got in the water and did some over under images of the bay.

Famous Peggy's Cove
Houses a couple hundred years old line the cove at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia.
Peggy's Cove Lighthouse at sunset
One of the most iconic Canadian Maritimes scenes. Peggy’s Cove lighthouse and village attracts a million visitors a year.

Lunenburg really had a lot to offer, as well as some nearby small villages. One in particular called Blue Rocks really held our attention. Not as many people there but the small fish dock with quaint little buildings was so iconic and perfect for some large panoramic images.

Large format panorama image of colourful Lunenburg in Nova Scotia
Beautiful Nova Scotian town of Lunenburg.

Every cove and headland held something of value to explore, and two weeks we spent here was not nearly enough.  After a couple of nights in  Halifax we left for home,  planning our next trip back even as we flew back to the West Coast.

To see these and many more super high resolution panoramic images of Nova Scotia and PEI go to the image gallery Canadian Maritimes.

In the image galleries you can use a virtual Magnifying tool to inspect the images more closely.

 

 

Woodland Garden Rhododendrons.

masses of bright red Rhododendron flowers in super high resolution

A profusion of colourful flowers in a woodland setting.

May on Vancouver Island brings generally pretty typical spring weather. But this year we had some beautiful long stretches of sunshine with temperatures in the thirties. A local Woodland garden that features Rhododendrons of many varieties was in full bloom so I went and spent an couple hours wandering around and shooting. These panoramic images of various Rhodo bushes are all high resolution and show the detail of each flower in all its glory, yet offer a wider view than just the flower. By stepping back from the plant and using a telephoto lens I was able to shoot these images that are made made up many frames stitched together.  The following images could all be printed on a wall mural 10 feet high and you could walk up to it and see dramatic detail in each flower and leaf.

extremely high resolution image of rhododendrons in bloom
Super high resolution 25 474 x 12 214 pixel image of Woodland garden rhododendrons.

Shooting high resolution images like this of flowers and other vegetation is really enjoyable to me. There is so much beauty in the larger scene but also at he macro level there is a lot of detail to be portrayed.

This spring I also have been working on truly macro level multi shot panos of small forest flowers only a few inches in height. Watch for these in the next blog post.

multitudes of colourful rhododendron flowers in large resolution panoramic image
Shades of pink in profushion in large format image of woodland rhododendron garden. 23 120 x 9248 pixels
large bush of bright red rhododendrons in high resolution
Bright red rhododendrons in forest garden setting. 19 575 x 9788 pixels

To see these and more high resolution forest images go to image gallery HERE.

In the image galleries you can use a virtual Magnifying tool to inspect the images more closely.

 

 

New York- Big Apple and Big Panos

Early morning light on the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan

In May I went to New York City for the first time and was amazed by it.

Not being a big city person I wasn’t sure I would be happy there. But I LOVED it. Every moment that I wasn’t at the Art Expo I was out wandering the streets and riding the Metro at all hours of the day.  Most mornings I was up to catch the sunrise as it lit up the buildings or Central Park. On the last day I started at 4:45am by taking the subway to Brooklyn to capture Manhattan with early morning light hitting the buildings.

Manhattan bridge from Brooklyn
Sun rises behind the Manhattan Bridge.
Early morning light on Lower Manhattan
Early morning light paints the buildings of Lower Manhattan with a golden glow.
Cool lines formed by stringer cables on Brooklyn Bridge with view of Manhattan.
View of the Financial District in Lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Then all day was spent wandering around the financial district and the World Trade Center memorial. It was very poignant being here for the first time.  We also went up One World Trade building to the lookout. Here I took hundreds of images looking down on the city from one hundred floors up, including a few big panos with 80 to 100 images in them. I haven’t built those ones yet as it will take me some time to get to them.

World Trade Center memorial
Rose left on name of victim of 911 on their birthday.

Later that evening my sister and I took a little ferry over to Jersey City and looked back at Manhattan as the setting sun painted the amazing skyline with golden light. We sat at the ferry dock and watched as the ferry boats transported all the workers home from the financial district and the lights twinkled on for the evening.

View of manhattan from Jersey City at sunset
Setting sun paints the buildings of Lower Manhattan a golden glow. View form Jersey City.

I will for sure need to return here and spend another week  shooting. It definitely exceeded my expectations as a city.

To see more of these images go to gallery  Human Landscapes

 

Central Otago, New Zealand High Country.

Large rock tors on Central Otago high country plain

Middle Earth, or so it has been dubbed since the filming of the Lord of the Rings movies, is really in New Zealand.

During December and January I spent a few weeks at home for the holidays. While I was there I spent some time with my brother-in-law exploring some fascinating high country landscapes in Central Otago. Growing up in the Cardrona Valley and Wanaka imbued in me an appreciation for these vast and seemingly desolate areas.

The sun rises over the spear grass covered hills of Central Otago
Early morning sunrise over the tussock and spear grass hills of Central Otago, New Zealand

Leaving Lake Wanaka before dawn on two occasions we drove up through arid farmland and then on to the tops of some ranges as the sun broke over the horizon. The sunrise sent spectacular rays of light penetrating patches of fog that blew up the valleys.

Fog rolls around photographer
Wispy tendrils of fog curl up the valleys and soften the early morning lighting.
Spear Grass with fog formed dew drops in the morning light.
Spear Grass with fog formed dew drops in the morning light.

Large format image paradise.

This area lent itself perfectly to expansive panoramic images.  So I created a lot of large format images made up of multiple frames stitched together. There is not a lot of obvious detail in many of the scenes but with this photographic technique it allowed me to capture the essence of the landscape perfectly.  Wide expansive vistas combined with the ability to look closely at the images and see detail that is easily missed.

Fragments of schist are all that remain after eons of erosion.
Fragments of schist are all that remain after eons of erosion.

On our first foray we left town in shorts as it was the middle of summer after all. As we reached an altitude of sixteen hundred meters the temperature dropped to one degree celsius. Another couple hundred meters and it started snowing and we wished we had dressed a little warmer.  Shooting moonlike landscapes in the summer while snow blew sideways made for quite a contrast.

Hiking along the moonscape like terrain at 1800 meters above sea level.
Hiking along the moonscape like terrain at 1800 meters above sea level.
Summer snow storm in Central Otago High country
Sideways blowing snow and monolthic rock formations made for interesting shooting conditions.

The diversity of life and subtle beauty can easily be over-looked with a quick glance. By spending time in this alpine environment one can witness bird life and many varieties of unique plants.

A surprising snow and sleet storm coats alpine plants with ice.
A surprising snow and sleet storm coats alpine plants with ice.
Hardy New Zealand alpine flowers can withstand the occasional summer snowstorm.
Hardy New Zealand alpine flowers can withstand the occasional summer snowstorm.

Pied Oyster Catcher in New Zealand alpine countryTypically a seabird, this Pied Oyster Catcher seems out of place in the alpine environment.

Hardy alpine plants can withstand drought and cold.
Hardy alpine plants can withstand drought and cold.
Mounds of alpine plants in New Zealand high country.
Mounds of mossy like plants that take hundreds of years to develop. They look soft but are surprisingly hard.

Geography.

The most striking topographical feature in these areas is the Tors. These are Mica Schist rock formations that seemingly rise up out of the ground and are weather beaten and dramatic. Many years of wind and freezing temperatures have shaped these rocks into fantastical shapes. As time wears on the relentless forces of erosion break them down into ever smaller pieces.  Due to the mystical looking landscape the area has consequently been used as location for many movies over the years.

Tussock, Spear grass and rock Tors.
Tussock, Spear grass and rock Tors.
Endless miles of flat and rolling hills above 1500 meters.
Endless miles of flat and rolling hills above 1500 meters.

To see the full gallery of these and other large panoramic images from New Zealand go to www.largeformatimages.com/image-galleries/scenes-of-new-zealand

 

Wildlife Panoramics- A New Challenge

high res stitched panoramic wildlife image.

Overcoming the challenges of shooting stitched image wildlife panoramics.

Stitched Landscape Panoramics have been popular for a while now and I have been enjoying the challenge of making epic landscape images with this technique.  On a recent trip to Botswana my mission was to try super high resolution Stitched Wildlife Panoramics.

gathering at the local watering hole.

Large herds of animals at predictable sites like watering holes made it a bit easier to plan my approach. We were always in vehicles, making it a little trying at times. When the scene was on the other side of the vehicle nobody wanted me clambering onto their lap to get the shot. But fifty percent of the time the scene was on my side and I was able to experiment with this approach. I started with single row images, comprising of four to twelve or more images taken from left to right. (making it easier to visualize when loaded into in my photo processing software). I mostly used a gymbal head mounted on a tripod and secured to the open-sided vehicle with a bungee cord.

When the animals were more stationary it made it a bit easier to shoot a sequence without the movement of animals making the stitching process flawed.  Elephants and giraffes standing still were the best subjects.

Technique for taking stitched wildlife panoramic images.

Note how my first and last pictures in the sequence are index marker images. I use my thumb in the pictures to indicate this. Later in my workflow this makes it much easier to see all the images that make up a particular panoramic, especially if I am shooting single frame images at the same time. It also is a good conversation starter when onlookers ask why I always take pics of my thumbs.

herd of elephants captured in a stitched wildlife panoramic image
Final stitched image from above sequence with dimensions of 23 075 x 4615 pixels.
On the move.

When the animals are moving, such as a herd of zebra around a watering hole, the whole process is more difficult. In this case, I had to shoot and look ahead at the same time. Quickly composing the images with overlapping areas in spots that had no animals, or at least more stationary ones, made for better results . As you can imagine this was a very fluid method and it didn’t always work out well. But by taking several sequences I usually got something I was happy with. Of course this wasn’t confirmed until I returned home and started stitching the images together.

A successful stitched wildlife panoramic image of zebra.
A successful stitched image with a herd of zebra. Some of them were on the move but I was still able to stitch this image together well in Adobe Lightroom.
Processing

I mostly use Adobe Lightroom for the stitching process and Adobe Photoshop for final touches. Surprisingly, Lightroom is able to stitch images quite well even when there is some movement, eg a zebra walking.  It intuitively picks the best parts of the overlapping images and creates a good join. Only a couple times did I end up with an animal with five legs.

After I felt comfortable with this technique I started adding double row panoramics.  To do this effectively I had to be careful to not have any animals overlapping into the row above, as the animals would have moved enough by the time I got back to that area in the second row.

Wildlife Stitched panoramic image of elephants at sunset
High resolution double row stitched wildlife panoramic image ( what a mouthful) of elephants at sunset in Botswana.
One animal surprised me.

One animal that was surprisingly easy to photograph in this way was the mighty giraffe. I did not know this but, as gangly as they look, they actually stand stock still at times.  Thus I was able to do some creative images with them, singly and in groups. Some fun images I created were vertical stitched images going up and down their bodies as they stood motionless.

individual images making up a stitched panoramic image.
Here are all the images I took up and down the body of this motionless giraffe.
image showing placement of stitched images to make high res photo
After stitching but before cropping and final editing. As I was shooting hand held I accidentally missed a part of the sky in the top left. Some cloning in Photoshop filled this in later in the editing process.
Extremly high resolution of giraffe.
Finished super high resolution image of a giraffe. Final size is 20 000 x 17 000 pixels.
Detail available in super high resolution stitched wildlife panoramic image.
Close crop of above image showing level of detail available in this super high resolution image.

This was a very fun and rewarding trial and I am very happy with the results. Of course a return trip is in the works to perfect this process!

To see all of these wildlife panoramic images go to

https://largeformatimages.com/image-galleries/african-wildlife/

Side note- After a successful day out on safari we also gathered around a watering hole for some sun-downers.

Letaka Safaris
Letaka Safaris in Botswana were our hosts and did a fine job of catering to our every need.             www.letakasafaris.com

 

The Large Format Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

This website is an extension of my photography business to highlight my super sized large format panoramic images.  I am addicted to photographing and showing the world in a way that shows the full scene in front of me but also captures the tiny details present. Whether its a beautiful scene from my home of Lake Wanaka in New Zealand, or a herd of Elephants roaming through the bush in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, or a lone Orca swimming down Johnstone Strait, the desire is the same- To show the world in an exciting and dramatic way.

 

large format panoramic image of that tree in lake wanaka
That Wanaka tree. The most photographed (little) tree in the world.
Herd of elephants roaming through bush in okavango delta
High Resolution image of Elephants in Okavango Delta, Botswana
orca in johnstone strait
Orca swimming down Johnstone Strait with Vancouver Island mountains.
Underwater panoramic high resolution image
Underwater large format image of the Heber River Canyon near Gold River, BC.
pink fawn lily
Large format image of forest floor with  Fawn Lily flowers.
painted hills made up of different colours of volcanic ash and clay
Dramatic coloured Painted Hills. in Central Oregon

To see my other photography work including underwater and landscape photography go here www.eikojonesphotography.com