Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Annapolis Valley Light: Favorite Photographs of 2016!

Favorite Photographs of 2016!

 
This collection of twelve fine art landscape photographs were all taken close to my home in the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia in 2016. They represent adventures and unforgettable moments that I have been privileged to experience and share with you. With each photograph comes a short description of the work and my thoughts about the image as I remember each capture with vivid clarity.

I hope you enjoy and have a wonderful New Year!

Symphony of Light, North Medford

From Feb. 21st 2016. Symphony of Light, North Medford.

For a few glorious minutes the light over the Minas Basin at dawn created a scene of sublime beauty. One of those very rare moments when all of the natural elements seem to come together. I consider this a gift. Stunning and unforgettable. This is the reason I make landscape photographs!
Window on Cape Blomidon

From March 13th, 2016. Window on Cape Blomidon
High on sandstone arch at North Medford catching the beautiful light at dawn, a perfect framing for a snow covered Cape Blomidon in the distance! This is a photograph I had visualized many times but was never able to capture until this moment. I love how sandstone seems to absorb the ambient light and glow with the subtle magentas of dawn.
Double Rainbow and Little Community Church

From June 23rd 2016. Little Community Church at North Grand Pré
 

I found myself chasing rainbows under very dramatic skies last evening in North Grand Pré. Years ago as a child growing up here my family helped in the restoration of this beautiful landmark in the Land of Evangeline. This was one of those photographs where I had very little time to find my composition. Literally scrambling to set up my camera and tripod, my hands shaking with excitement as the powerful scene unfolded before my eyes.
Daybreak, Derelict Train Bridge at Hortonville

From Aug. 07th 2016. Daybreak, Derelict Train Bridge in Hortonville.
The rising sun bursts through a gap in the clouds highlighting the wildflowers that cover the old rail bed. A few minutes earlier I had watched two raccoons come across the bridge and noisily pass me by as I stepped out of the way and into the thorns. This is one of my favorite locations to make photographs and I have photographed this bridge many times before in every season and weather condition always finding something surprising and new. There is magical quality about the wildflowers glowing in the morning sun as they reclaim the derelict tracks.

Fading Twilight, Little Split Cove

From April 09th, 2016. Fading Twilight, Little Split Cove
As the last remaining light fades away and the darkness settles over the shoreline at Little Split Cove I decided to try one last exposure to see if I could pick up any detail in the seascape. It is technically difficult to make good exposures in the very dim light especially when you are contending with an incoming tide and very slippery beach rocks. I was also struggling with the desire to get back on the trail for a long hike out the Cape Split Trail at night. Looking at my LCD playback I was surprised and thrilled to see the amount of vibrant colour that my camera's sensor was able to pick up in the dark. Colours that were not readily visible to the naked eye but there nonetheless. Astonishing, beautiful and well worth the discomfort.

Extraordinary Sunrise, Blomidon Provincial Park

From July 07th, 2016. Extraordinary Sunrise, Blomidon Provincial Park 
Minutes from my tent at Blomidon Provincial Park I stand at the edge of the meadow watching rapidly changing light fill the sky with spectacular colour over the Minas Basin. These are the moments when I can truly rejoice in the beauty we have here and nothing else seems to matter.

Autumn Reflection, Cape Blomidon

From Oct 20th, 2016. Autumn Reflection, Cape Blomidon
The calm leading up to sunrise at low tide on the shore of Cape Blomidon. These giant pools steadily drain as the tide recedes and it seems as the sun comes up over the Minas Basin it typically brings the wind that disturbs any chance of capturing reflection. I had previsualized this image in the past and it took many attempts and a rare combination of elements falling into place to make it possible.

Winter Twilight, Blomidon Provincial Park

From Jan. 24th 2016. Winter Twilight, Blomidon Provincial Park
Reaching the Blomidon Park meadow well before the sun comes up over the Minas Basin, the deserted park illuminated in an unforgettable twilight glow. As the morning unfolds we snow shoe the sun filled Jodrey Trail.

Paddy's Island at Dawn, North Medford

From Sept. 05th, 2016. Paddy's Island at Dawn, North Medford.
The sandstone formation Paddy's Island silhouettes in the beautiful twilight of dawn. The tide moves very quickly here on the Minas Basin and I needed to wade into the water to set up my shot so I could capture the beautiful light from the sky reflected on the receding water's surface.

Nightfall, Cape Split

From March 27th, 2016. Nightfall, Cape Split Shoreline
Traditionally the Mi'kmaq considered this site a sacred and significant place of power where the spirit and physical worlds connected.
No other place I have visited here gives me the same feeling of awe as the sea stacks at the end of Cape Split. Combined with the last glow of twilight before darkness takes over, the sound of the tidal current and the gulls' cries echoing from the towering cliffs makes for an experience I will not forget.

Mist and Rock, Lumsden Pond

From Oct. 06th, 2016. Mist and Rock, Lumsden Pond
A study in photographic minimalism. Standing as still as possible in the shallows so as not to disturb the subtle reflections as the sun rises through an ethereal mist over Lumsden Pond. This is my Zen photography and every bit as peaceful as it looks.

Autumn Clearing, Gaspereau Ravine

From Oct. 13th, 2016. Intimate Landscape Series: Gaspereau Ravine 
A clearing deep in the Gaspereau Ravine fills with the late morning light and the rich, golden hues of autumn come to life. I'm not sure for how long I sat here simply taking in the sunlight and the sounds of the river. If you have not had a chance to hike the Gaspereau River Trail from White Rock autumn is perhaps the finest time of year to do so.

Thank you for letting me share these moments with you and please take a moment to share this blog or the Fundy Rocks Facebook page with your friends. I greatly appreciate the support and would love to hear from you!
 

About the Artist

 
My name is Chris Sheppard and my passion is to make fine art photographs of the natural world. Particularly the incredible beauty I find here in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. I am known for sharing local scenes under the name Fundy Rocks which evolved from years of rockhounding adventures that got me into serious photography in the first place.
 
I am a self taught photographer and the most important thing I have taken thus far from my photographic journey is to learn from my many mistakes and never be afraid to try new ideas or push myself out of my comfort zone. This is where I believe creativity stems from. My goal is to share an image that reflects myself as an artist with an emotional message to give and creative vision to share.
 
This process is time consuming and at times frustrating beyond belief. Overcoming the fear of the unknown. Hiking solo in the dark over difficult terrain in all weather and seasons trusting in my knowledge and experience of local tides and conditions. Not always having the best quality equipment for the job demands creativity. Sacrificing comfort and sleep to put myself in a location that might offer up a glimpse of the sublime if all of the elements come together as they did for many of the images above. This has happened a few times each year in my photographic Journey and the rewards are incredible. With each of these photographs come memories that will last a lifetime. The potential to capture something special keeps me going and trying.
 
A familiar landscape or seascape can be transformed by a fleeting moment of extraordinary light, the right weather or tidal conditions or everything at once! This process only begins with the capture. If I have previsualized an image I will certainly have an idea which direction I will take the digital negative in post processing to create a final photograph I feel is worth sharing. It may look quite different from the RAW capture I started with. Sometimes not. Some of these images are several exposures blended together to ensure maximum quality and dynamic range. I'd be happy to share any photographic techniques of capture or processing. Send me a note...
 
Thank you for following!
 
 
 

Information and Prints!

 
We have updated our pricing formula for Fundy Rocks prints by Chris Sheppard. Giclée prints of exceptional quality are done here in the Annapolis Valley and many sizes and custom framing options are possible. If you are interested in a print or joining Fundy Rocks on a future adventure or would like more information on rockhounding or my photography I'd love to hear from you too. I am considering organizing some photography adventures for the new year. Please email fundyrocksgroup@gmail.com for further info.


 




Follow our adventures on the popular Fundy Rocks Facebook Page at: 

Fundy Rocks Facebook Page



 

Bonus Photographs from 2016!

Luminous Clouds, Minas Basin
Man's Best Friend, White Rock Pond
 
Mist at Sunrise, Amethyst Cove
 
Wind Tunnel, Cape Split
 
Sunrise Panorama, Blomidon Provincial Park
 

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Photographic Journey: The Intimate Landscape in Details

 


A Photographic Journey:

The Intimate Landscape in Details

Intimate Landscape Series: Indian Springs at Cape Blomidon
 

Forest Floor Detail, Wolfville Watershed Nature Preserve

A Little Background


 
My name is Chris Sheppard and my passion is to photograph the natural world. Particularly the incredible beauty I find here in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia.
 
I'm picking up the Fundy Rocks Journal entries again because I have reached a cross roads in my photographic journey. I am known for sharing local scenes under the name Fundy Rocks which evolved from years of local rockhounding adventures that got me into serious photography in the first place.
 
Looking back over my portfolio the quality of light at dusk and dawn (in twilight) exemplifies my work and style. I consider myself in essence a fine art photographer more by approach than the content of my work. Labels are difficult. I don't pretend that all of the images I make are fine art photographs but my goal is to share an image that reflects myself as an artist with an emotional message to give and vision to share. I'm not interested in making "post card" images of local scenes using well worn formulas and overused clichés like big foregrounds with blazing sun stars on a distant horizon just for the dynamic punch. I am after something far more subtle and difficult to achieve. A more personal and lasting effect.
 

 


Symphony of Light, North Medford



 
 
This process is time consuming and at times frustrating beyond belief. Overcoming the fear of the unknown. Hiking solo in the dark over difficult terrain in all weather and seasons trusting in my knowledge of local tides and conditions. Not having the best quality equipment for the job. Sacrificing comfort and sleep to put myself in a location that might offer up a glimpse of the sublime if all of the elements come together. This has happened a few times in my photographic journey and the rewards are incredible. With these photographs come memories that will last a lifetime. The potential to capture something special keeps me going and trying.
 


Cape Split at Nightfall



 

 
A familiar landscape or seascape can be transformed by a fleeting moment of extraordinary light, the right weather or tidal conditions or everything at once! This process only begins with the capture. If I have previsualized an image I will certainly have an idea which direction I will take the digital negative in post processing to create a final photograph I feel is worth sharing. It may look substantially different than the Raw file I started with. Sometimes not.
 
 
Autumn Twilight, Cape Blomidon
 
I recently had a lady contact me about purchasing a print of Cape Blomidon for her son's office. After sharing with her a couple of my available Blomidon images she said she was looking for something more recognizable and "traditional". This to me was a great compliment. I was heading in the right direction by making images uniquely mine. I don't want my images to look like something you could witness at any time. Special circumstances must be present to transform the scene and I must be confident in my technique so I can devote my attention to finding the strongest composition possible. I don't care how talented a photographer might be, this takes years of practice and familiarity with equipment and exposure strategies.


Paddy's Island at Dawn


This has been a particularly stressful year in which life for the most part got in the way of my creative work.  It took over my ability to concentrate on making meaningful photographs and I now need to challenge myself with photographic goals and commit to them. I must learn to overcome the ongoing frustrations I have with my equipment, pressure to deliver images to followings on various social media and start making images for myself that satisfy a need to be creative and for the pure joy of it again. Create personal favorites that may endure and I might be proud to share. Hopefully they will resonate with other like minded folks. Photographs I could hang on my wall and live with every day. Get back into nature for the profound health benefits. I will still make grand images in my mind, previsualize and study the weather and tides to put myself in the best locale during optimal conditions. But I will continue to make photographs of details and scenes that simply capture my attention as I explore by keeping an open mind and heart because pictures are everywhere if I'm ready to find them.

 
 
 

The Details!



“The beauty of the natural world lies in the details.”


— Natalie Angier

 
 

Ice Formation, Lumsden Pond

 
These intimate detail photographs become some of my lasting favorites. As I move along on my photographic journey I am constantly studying new techniques and absorbing quality writings and images from photography books and magazines. I collect quality landscape photography books and can't get enough of them! I never tire of looking at details like I would a grand sunrise seascape no matter how dynamic or colorful.

 
Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject
- Eliot Porter
 
 
November Leaves, Gaspereau Ravine
The possibilities for creative photography with intimate detail images are great. They demand strict attention to composition and the visual design elements in the photograph. I always crop my images in the field for maximum file size and quality. I can't even try to make a worthwhile image without a tripod. I need the discipline and ritual of careful set up. I need to concentrate carefully on the task at hand while keeping my eyes and ears open to my surroundings.
Twilight Ripples, Ells Creek Beach
 
 "One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are" - Minor White
 
I carry a framing card which is basically a white 8 x 10 matte and hold it up to whatever catches my attention. By closing one eye I can get a sense of the final image. This works surprisingly well. What I  keep outside that frame is as critical as the content within.
 

 

It is difficult to not give into the ease and temptation for the junk food of landscape photography. Those glorious sunsets and sunrises that gives the viewer a quick fix and are so popular on social media. With few exceptions these types of landscape photographs lose appeal and interest to me over time. I need something healthier right now. I know pursuing the intimate details will allow me more opportunity for creative expression, fulfillment, and ultimately enjoyment but it will always come at a price. Fewer Facebook "likes" and "shares" and not as many requests for prints. For now, I think it is worth the price to produce something that is original, hopefully creative, and definitely from my heart. Something unique. 
 
I hope you enjoy! I look forward to sharing more in the way of blogs in the near future. Thank you for following Fundy Rocks and if you enjoy this content please pass it along to a friend. I'd love to hear from you too.
 

Information and Prints!

 We have updated our pricing formula for Fundy Rocks prints by Chris Sheppard. Giclée prints of exceptional quality are done here in the Annapolis Valley and many sizes and framing options are possible.  If you are interested in a print or joining Fundy Rocks on a future adventure or would like more information on rockhounding or my photography I’d love to hear from you. Email fundyrocksgroup@gmail.com 
 
 
 
 
 
The Fundy Rocks portfolio of photographs is here:
 


Follow our adventures on the popular Fundy Rocks Facebook Page at: 

Fundy Rocks Facebook Page


 
 
 




Sunday, December 27, 2015

Favourite Photographs and Adventures of 2015!

 

Favourite Photographs and Adventures of 2015!

 
I’d like to share my selections for the Fundy Rocks favourite photographs of 2015. Thank you for following and sharing my photography with your friends. This past year we had some amazing adventures and some of you shared them with us. We are looking forward to more adventures in the New Year!
These photographs represent moments for me often close to home and in places I feel a strong connection to and visit frequently. Moments where I feel I have succeeded or at least came close to expressing my creative vision.
I remember with vivid clarity all of these moments. The entire experience. I hope you enjoy and have a Happy New Year!
 


Delicate ripples of sand catch the fading blue twilight as night falls over the beach near Ells Creek at Scott’s Bay, Nova Scotia.

 



First light catches a group of trees on the cliffs of Cape Blomidon, some still retaining their late autumn hues.

 



Incredible light before sunrise at the derelict train bridge in Hortonville, N.S. As dawn unfolded I hiked along the dykes and was greeted by a large fox who gracefully bounded off along the salt marsh with amazing speed!

 



Brilliant splashes of colour captured near Vaughan, Nova Scotia on a morning drive. A simple, elegant and striking arrangement. These two photographs were taken the same morning. A wooden gate in an overgrown pasture next to an old farmstead caught my eye. In soft, diffused light the fall colours come alive and glow. I love discovering and photographing these special fragments of the larger landscape.



 

I hiked the low tide line at sunrise as the fog drifted in over the cliffs at Cape Blomidon. The trees glowed and the cliffs caught light from breaks in the cloud cover. I steadied myself on the rocks and took a series of photographs as the tide came in around my boots!
 


A Fundy Rocks guided adventure at Little Split Cove, Cape Split. We all found some very fine agates and for many it was a first time taking in this awe inspiring view from the shoreline at land’s end.
 

A few nights ago we hiked to the end of Cape Split via the shoreline to watch the sunset. As we made our way back beneath the towering cliffs I captured this photograph of the sea stacks in twilight. The very long exposure pulled delicate colours from the sky and turned the waves into an ethereal mist. Perfect. Now for the two hour hike back in the dark…
 

Standing in the shallows of Lumsden Pond as the light rapidly changed, the surrounding mist catching the colours of twilight. I felt as though I had entered a surreal, dreamlike scene.
 

Nova Scotia Agate as Art Series. Panoramic detail of fiery seam agate found at Lobster Hole near Cape Split, Nova Scotia. Nature’s artistry!
 
Storm Clouds at Sunset, Horton Landing
 
The sun bursts through a gap in the cloudscape over Horton Landing illuminating the plaque on the Deportation Cross a few minutes before sunset. Afterward I stay and watch as dramatic clouds move in the twilight over the Minas Basin. I can hear the voices of Striper anglers, positioned along the dyke walls for high tide, as they are carried across the still water. The light and atmosphere creates a powerful and moving scene.
 


These two photographs go together and taken a few minutes apart. The Memorial Church at Grand Pré emerges from the dense, early morning fog creating a scene of ethereal beauty. I grew up in North Grand Pré and dawn is my favorite time to visit the park with my camera and reflect. I found it especially mysterious as I snow shoed through the thick fog and mist.
 

Following tracks into the glow of twilight at the edge of the Grand Pré dykes in the Land of Evangeline. As the darkness gave way to dawn I could see many tracks winding and circling through the Park. I imagined the nocturnal pack racing back to dens before sunrise and wished I could have watched.
 
All of the photographs featured here are available as custom fine art quality prints made here in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. If you are interested in a print or joining Fundy Rocks on a future adventure or would like more information on rockhounding or my photography I’d love to hear from you. Email fundyrocksgroup@gmail.com 
 

Follow our adventures on the popular Fundy Rocks Facebook Page at: 

Fundy Rocks Facebook Page