January Serenity Blog Circle - A warm winter walk

Here in Calgary, Alberta we have had an unseasonably warm and dry winter. In October, we had an early, large snowfall putting a quick end to the beautiful fall season we often enjoy here. We received about a foot of snow. Since then, we’ve had minimal snowfall and mild temperatures. While it makes for a comfortable winter and good driving conditions, I know it is not good for the farmers or our lawns and gardens or the wildfire season.

I’ve tried to take advantage of the mild conditions and have been getting out walking with my camera. This week, I headed out to one of my favourite local urban parks and enjoyed temperatures of +9 degrees celcius while soaking up the sun. I encountered numerous people on bike or foot, taking advantage of the weather - here in Alberta, we could be up to our knees in snow again by the next day, you just never know.

All pictures in this post were taken using my Lensbaby Sweet35, a lens I don’t use often because I’m not sure I love it. I always see images that someone else takes using the same lens and fall in love with them, so I keep trying to use it.

Click on the images to see them larger.

Every Christmas season, someone decorates this little tree at the entrance to the park.

There is beauty to be found in all seasons.

I think one of the reasons I love this park is all the water elements - pathways wind along the river and around ponds where birds, waterfowl, beavers, deer and coyotes all live. There is just something about water that draws me in.

Ice and light patterns

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project featuring images that bring a sense of peace and calm. Please continue the circle to to see what has brought her serenity this month. Joan Showers of Joan Showers Photography is up next. Click the link to see what serenity looks like for her this month! Thanks for being here.

The Travelling Burnside Project

Earlier this year I received an e-mail notifying me I had been accepted to be a participant in the Travelling Burnside Project, organized by Lensbaby .  Lensbaby is a company who creates camera lenses that give special creative effects to your images.  The Burnside 35mm is their newest lens and they were giving photographers around the world the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks photographing with the lens before sending it on to the next participant.  I was thrilled to have this chance to try out the lens!

I received my copy of the Lensbaby Burnside35 in mid June and set out to shoot a variety of subjects and genre with it.  

The Burnside provides a swirl effect to your image, which is especially effective when there is a lot of texture in your background.  Your aperture setting will dictate how much swirl is created.  On top of this, there is an effects slider that lets the photographer add in camera vignetting to the image! You can decide how much of a vignetting effect you add by how much you adjust the slider.  The slider also adds a pop of brightness to the center of your image.  The bokeh and rich colours created by this lens were fantastic! 

I started my shooting with a variety of foliage around my own yard. 

Wild roses in the late afternoon sun - look at that swirl!! 

Wild roses in the late afternoon sun - look at that swirl!! 

Amazing bokeh and rich colour!

Amazing bokeh and rich colour!

The Burnside 35 really brings the focus to your subject!

The Burnside 35 really brings the focus to your subject!

I took it on a trip out to the Canadian Rocky Mountains to see how I liked it for landscape.  The effects aren't as obvious, but it still provides a painterly softness to the edges. 

Two Jack Lake, Alberta, Canada

My daughter was willing to be my subject so I could try portraits with the Burnside.  Now this is where I really struggled with the manual focus! I really fought to get sharp focused eyes.  In hindsight, I needed to use a smaller aperture and create a larger focus area. 

I love the 35 mm focal length of the lens - it makes it very versatile for so many genres of photography.  

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Burnside35 lens.  I could definitely see adding it to my collection of equipment to use when I felt the need to get creative. The Travelling Burnside Project was such a great way to really get to spend some time learning the lens and understanding it's capabilities. 


June Serenity Blog Circle - A morning at Reader Rock Garden

Life has been busy lately and I was feeling like I never had the time to just get out and explore with my camera on a walk or a drive.  So I booked off a Friday morning and headed to one of my favourite little places to explore, Reader Rock Garden.  The Garden is tucked into the hillside next to the Calgary Stampede Grounds, close to downtown.  The gardens were restored in memory of the man they are named after, William Roland Reader.  Mr. Reader was the Parks Superintendent for the City of Calgary for 30 years and started the Calgary Horticultural Society.  The gardens are located on the original piece of property that he and his family lived on and their home has been restored into a lovely little cafe.  I hope you will follow the links and read a little about this recently designated National Historic Site and the man who had a passion for plants and gardening. 

Wandering the stone pathways with my Lensbaby Sweet 35 and then my macro lens, on the beautifully sunny morning was the relaxation I was looking for. 

Double click the images for a larger view. 

The sound of a babbling stream is always so peaceful! 

A little bit of light leak on the peonies

Stone pathways guide you through the gardens

Lilacs still blooming here

Peekaboo blue!

Reader Rock Cafe

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project featuring images that bring a sense of peace and calm. Please continue the circle to Nancy Armstrong Photos to see what has brought her serenity this month. 

May Serenity Blog Circle - Finding Serenity in a Large Urban Park

I am excited to be sharing my first blog post as part of the Serenity blog circle.  The circle is made up of a group of talented women photographers who share their beautiful art together every month.  

I recently took a long weekend visit to Vancouver, BC.  It's a beautiful, bustling city on the West Coast of BC.  A trip to Vancouver wouldn't be complete without time spent in Stanley Park, an urban oasis on the edge of downtown.  At 1,000 acres, it's bigger than Central Park in New York City! 

I visited the park on a Saturday morning - it was full of people walking, biking or inline skating along the seawall, hanging out in grassy areas,  playing cricket or rugby.  I decided to take one of the quieter trails into an old growth forest area away from all the people.  It was there that I found my serenity!! I thoroughly enjoyed taking my time to absorb nature and its sounds, smells and sights, shooting as I went.  I put my Lensbaby Velvet56 on my camera and played to my hearts content! 


Please continue through our Serenity blog circle to see what my friends have shared this month.  Next in the circle is Eileen in San Antonio http://eileencritchley.com/2018/05/16/exploring-nature-the-serenity-project