Land of fire and ice

The very name Yukon sum­mons up thoughts of wide-open space – and Si­mon Blakesley is cap­tur­ing its full beauty

NPhoto - - Over To You… -

I’m for­tu­nate to live in an in­cred­i­bly scenic part of the world. Canada’s Yukon Ter­ri­tory still has wide-open spa­ces un­touched by the hu­man hand, and a wide va­ri­ety of wild an­i­mals. The weather con­di­tions can be chal­leng­ing, par­tic­u­larly in win­ter; at times the tem­per­a­ture can fall to -40°C, mak­ing out­door pho­tog­ra­phy as much as a sur­vival pur­suit as a hobby! I’m a for­mer Royal Cana­dian Air Force air­craft me­chanic, and I love shoot­ing air­craft as well as na­ture.

That the Yukon is north of 60 de­grees makes for short days where the sun sets at 3:30pm. In De­cem­ber, the light is never pure ‘white’ sun­light, but al­ways has a warmer colour tem­per­a­ture due to its low an­gle to the hori­zon. A ben­e­fit of

At times the tem­per­a­ture can fall to -40ºC, mak­ing out­door pho­tog­ra­phy as much a sur­vival pur­suit as a hobby!

this is that sun­rise and sun­set take much longer to tran­spire, re­sult­ing in long dusk pe­ri­ods where the light is very colour­ful.

Freeze frame

Prepa­ra­tion is re­quired when shoot­ing in cold cli­mates, both for com­fort and safety. Warm cloth­ing is a must; skin freezes in less than a minute at -35°C (and it burns if your bare fin­gers touch an alu­minium tri­pod at that tem­per­a­ture!) so ad­e­quate mitts and gloves are cru­cial. Check­ing the weather re­port is im­por­tant, as a cold, clear

fore­cast can make for great con­di­tions, par­tic­u­larly if the aurora bo­re­alis is pre­dicted.

Ma­te­ri­als snap more eas­ily when frozen, so it’s im­por­tant to treat equip­ment gen­tly. I keep my equip­ment well in­su­lated in a Kata pack, and on longer trips I carry a plug-in charger in my car to top up my bat­ter­ies as they drain faster when it is cold. I al­ways use a lens hood to keep the snow off my lens. Once home, I al­low my gear to ‘thaw’ in the back­pack for an hour or more be­fore tak­ing it out, to avoid con­den­sa­tion build-up.

I use a Nikon D800 with a D600 as backup, par­tic­u­larly on shoots for avi­a­tion clients where they’re pay­ing dearly for the flight time. Both cam­eras per­form flaw­lessly in tough con­di­tions. I use a se­lec­tion of Nikon lenses – the 80-400mm for an­i­mals and air­craft, a 24120mm as an all-rounder, and a 16-35mm for land­scapes and cock­pits. I carry a 50mm f/1.8G for emer­gen­cies, as I’ve dropped and de­stroyed a lens be­fore.

On re­ally cold nights I en­joy pro­cess­ing my images, us­ing Light­room 5 for reg­u­lar ad­just­ments and Nik Sil­ver Efex Pro to con­vert to black and white. I be­lieve the pho­tog­ra­pher’s cre­ative vi­sion makes the pho­to­graph.

01 Fire an d Ice, Kathl een Lak e Nikon D300s, Nikon AF-S 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED IF VR DX, 1/80 sec, f/10, ISO320

03 CP-140 Aurora in a snow sto rm Nikon D80, Nikon AF-S 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED IF VR DX, 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO250

03 02 Frost on th e Yukon Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED IF VR, 1/250 sec, f/22, ISO200


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.