Lee Sacrey Photography – Lee's Chatter

Mainly Photography but a little of everything at times

Spot Light on Natalja Westwood

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If you follow my blog, or if you are in the NWT and have been to a Skills Canada Northwest Territories Event, you may know that one of the things I love to do is mentoring students/youth in the Skills Program. I am the Photography Tech Chair for Skills Canada NWT and have done some photography workshops in a few NWT communities. I really enjoy that work, if you can even call it work. I love to see what the students create and I love their enthusiasm, it is a very rewarding program to be a part of. Recently I went back to one of those communities for a follow-up workshop and I was able to work with several students for a second time. So, I head back to Ulukhaktok. Jan Fullerton the E.D. of Skills Canada NWT and Aimee Yurris (a former Skills baking competitor who finished fourth at nationals) were also on the trip, the three of us would spend the better part of 4 days in the community teaching some of the high school students. Having Aimee added to the enjoyment because whatever her and the students would make I would get to eat, lol. It was great, thanks to Aimee for her amazing work.

Ok, before I keep rambling on about the trip and Skills I will get back to the reason for this post. One of the Ulukhaktok students has been bitten by the photography bug. Taking what she learned previously and applying it to her work, buying her own photography equipment and, as I am told, she can be seen around the community with camera in hand creating images. I hadn’t seen any of her work since my last trip so, I got handed a memory card (by the Vice Principal) and was told to look through the hundreds of pictures. Knowing we hadn’t done any work on photo editing yet, I wasn’t looking to see images that had lots of post processing but, images right out of the camera. Images that would tell me what this young lady was seeing. I would have a little insight into how she was applying her photography knowledge, knowledge gained from the previous workshop and a year of shooting. I wasn’t expecting anything, no preconceived ideas of what I would see, no idea of the subject matter, I was just interested in seeing the world of this young photographer. Well, I was very surprised. I knew to expect some good images but I was a little blown away. There were 624 images on the memory card I was given to review and there were lots of great ones. I had trouble deciding which ones I would use for a post production discussion and a general photography discussion. While Aimee worked with the students, I narrowed my choices – first down to about 65 images and then down further to a dozen or so. It was hard, not just because there were lots of great shots but also, because I was picking what I enjoyed with no idea what my young student liked. I told myself to be careful and continued. Once my decision was complete I went ahead and started some minor editing. No crazy post processing, just the basics. I would keep a copy of the original images for side by side comparison and again some discussion. When I had everything the way I wanted, I did a couple of private slide shows for some school staff, they were quite pleased. During our second day, Jan and I did a session on editing and Adobe Lightroom (I actually use Aperture but they have very similar tool sets). We had some images for discussion and would do some editing live on-screen. During one of the breaks I decided to play slide show I made to the young photographer who created the original images.  The slide show featured the edited images, the ones I had chosen for editing. After we did some editing on the original versions so she could watch what things I would do and what effect they would have on the images. I would guess we spent less than 2 minutes on each image. I think it was a great teaching tool and it was just as important to me as anyone else. So, what did I see you ask?

Well,  I would like to introduce you to the work/images created by Natalja Westwood a High School student in Helen Kalvak School in Ulukhaktok, NWT. I am proud to say Natalja was in a workshop I lead and I will thank her for showing me that this stuff I do with Skills Canada NWT is well worth all the effort. Great work Natalja keep it up and enjoy what you do. To anyone in Ulukhaktok or anyone who may visit there, Natalja is the one carrying around the Nikon gear and snapping away. Here are the images Natalja created, enjoy thanks for reading along and as Happy Shooting.

Natalja Image 1 - December 13, 2013

Natalja Image 2 - December 13, 2013

Natalja Image 3 - December 13, 2013

Natalja Image 4 - December 13, 2013

Natalja Image 5 - December 13, 2013

Natalja Image 6 - December 13, 2013

Natalja Image 7 - December 13, 2013

Natalja Image 8 - December 13, 2013

Natalja Image 9 - December 13, 2013

Natalja Image 10 - December 13, 2013

Natalja Image 11 - December 13, 2013

Natalja Image 12 - December 13, 2013

Written by leesacrey

December 13, 2013 at 7:30 AM

What I saw in Ulukhaktok.

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I spent the better part of four days in Ulukhaktok, November 30 to December 3, 2013. The first thing I noticed on this trip was that the sun no longer came up. It appears that Ulukhaktok has some light, it looks like the half hour before the sun actually rises and only last for two and one half hours, which is great if you have nothing to de between 10:30am and around 2:00pm.  For me I would spend most of that time at the school. On my second night, while out for dinner, the topic of discussion turned to Aurora. I thought that due to its latitude Ulukhaktok didn’t have big Aurora shows like we get in Yellowknife and I was told that was correct. As we left our dinner host for the evening there was a hint of Aurora sitting lower in the sky and as we headed to the hotel the Aurora grew. I was overjoyed that there was Aurora in Ulukhaktok and I quickly grabbed my camera equipment and headed outside to capture a few images. It was fun shooting the northern lights in unfamiliar territory. I shot for a little while and decided to stop after the RCMP came and checked me out in case I was drinking, lol. I guess walking back and forth behind my tripod in the middle of the street looked odd to the local RCMP. We all had a good laugh, I took two more shots and then headed inside for the night. I don’t think this is my best Aurora work but, when will I ever get a chance to shoot Aurora in Ulukhaktok again. I did some shooting inside the school and even got to photograph the Elders teaching some youth traditional culture. One of the instructors gave me some sweet root to try. I was told it was called Eskimo gum.  It wasn’t chewy like gum and after chewing for ten minutes or so I would describe it like chewing a dirty stick, lol. Maybe that is why no one else tried it. There were no more shots taken outside until we were at the airport waiting for our flight home. I capture a few images while waiting for First Air to arrive. From there we were on the plane back to Kugluktuk and then back home. Another great week to be me. Here is some of what I saw during my four days. Enjoy, thanks for being here and as always Happy Shooting.


Image 1 - December 12, 2013



Image 2 - December 12, 2013



Image 3 - December 12, 2013



Image 4 - December 12, 2013



Image 5 - December 12, 2013

Flying to Ulukhaktok, what I saw on the flight.

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On November 30, 2013, I headed to Ulukhaktok, NWT with Skills Canada NWT. I was asked to do another photography workshop with some students there. I love traveling to communities in the north, the culture, the people and just the new vantage points and the things to see are amazing. Normally while flying I will leave my big camera gear in the bag and any photos I want I try to capture with my trusty iPhone. Flying from Yellowknife to Ulukhaktok with First Air will take you to Kugluktuk, Nunavut. From Kugluktuk it is on to Ulukhaktok and back inside the NWT. It is a great flight, lots of room to move about, a good snack, a good meal and lots of beverages on board. While on board I captured lots of things I saw on the plane and lots through the window. While stopped in Kug, I captured a few images from the ground. I had fun on the plane which I usually do when traveling in the NWT. Here is a sample of what my iPhone and I captured. Enjoy, thanks for following along and as always Happy Shooting.

Image 1 - December 10, 2013



Image 2 - December 10, 2013



Image 3 - December 10, 2013



Image 4 - December 10, 2013



Image 5 - December 10, 2013



Image 6 - December 10, 2013



Image 7 - December 10, 2013

Written by leesacrey

December 10, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Fort Resolution, what I saw.

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During the workshop in Fort Resolution I didn’t actually take many photos. I captured a few while the class was on but nothing of my usual fair. The Remembrance Day holiday was the day I had chosen to travel between Fort Resolution and Fort Smith (I actually did another workshop at PWK High School in Fort Smith on the Tuesday and Wednesday and headed back to Yellowknife early thursday morning). For now, back to November 11, knowing I had lots of time to make it to Fort Smith, I wasn’t concerned about getting out of Fort Resolution to early and I wasn’t concerned about the number of stops I would make. I should have a good day to capture a few images. I was up pretty early and decided to drive around Fort Resolution and scout out some photo locations. Once I saw some interesting things I waited for the sun to rise and once it was up I started to capture a few images. After a couple of hours I hit the road to Fort Smith. I saw no big wildlife during the drive, no Bison, no Wolves, nothing. I only saw a few Spruce Grouse along the way. I did stop to photography some of those but, continued on at a good pace to Fort Smith. It was a great day and I really enjoyed my time in Fort Resolution. In the few days that followed I had another great time with the students in Fort Smith. It was a great week to be me. Here is a sample of what I saw. Enjoy, thanks for stopping and as always Happy Shooting!


Image 1 - December 8, 2013



Image 2 - December 8, 2013



Image 3 - December 8, 2013



I captured a few image of the beach in Fort Resolution and had some trouble deciding which one I liked best. I have narrowed it down to my final two. Let me know which one you prefer.


Beach Image 1 - my current favourite

Beach Image 1 – my current favourite


Beach Image 2

Beach Image 2


Written by leesacrey

December 8, 2013 at 7:28 PM

The Amazing Youth from Fort Resolution!

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Today I finished my second day of a two-day workshop at Deninu School in Fort Resolution, NWT. The workshop was arranged between a Teacher, Alex, and Skills Canada NWT. There were five students attending the two days of classes, Tori and Tamara (two-thirds of the triplets, lol), Braiden, Isaac and Sam (Sam is thinking I saved the best for last again, I can hear her, lol). Alex was also sitting in and she will be leading the photography charge from here. The workshop itself was pretty informal, getting in the ideas and some of the technical things but letting Alex and her class determine the direction we went and when classroom stuff would stop and actual shooting would start. I decided to not be involved in the shooting. I had a couple of reasons, one was that I wasn’t really prepared for the temperature (for an hour in near -20) and the second was I wanted to see if any of the classroom discussion was actually being learned (without me giving direction again). Did anyone pay attention? Well I guess you can check below to see what these five young people did. I also learned a few things. First, Alex is really dedicated to her students and is going above and beyond to make sure they get everything they can from their education. Second is the fact that these young people are great. They came to a workshop at school for two of the three days of a long weekend and they asked several times to stay later and continue with workshop stuff. All six (Alex and the Students) made me feel very welcome and glad I decided to come to Fort Resolution to do this event. I even got a photo thank you, Isaac decided to write “Thank you Lee” is the fresh snow and photograph it for a little slide show today. Thank you Isaac, I appreciated that. Thanks to Alex and the rest of the gang as well, you guys are great. Did I say “I love the work I do for Skills” lately? If not I am now. Tomorrow is a free day for me to travel to Fort Smith so I can do this all over again. Oh and before I go, thanks Jan and the Skills team for giving me this opportunity again. Last night I looked through all the images taken and picked seven from each student. I than edited each one and did a slide show for the class. I am posting only one image from each student today, leaving the others for a possible future follow-up blog post. Here is what the future of photography in Fort Resolution saw this weekend. Enjoy, thanks for following along and as always Happy Shooting.


Tori's Image @ Tori

Tori’s Image
@ Tori


Tamara's Image @ Tamara

Tamara’s Image
@ Tamara


Braiden's Image @ Braiden

Braiden’s Image
@ Braiden


Isaac's Image @ Isaac

Isaac’s Image
@ Isaac


Sam's Image @ Sam

Sam’s Image
@ Sam






The Pee Kay Aurora!

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The night before I headed to Paulatuk, there was a small Aurora show here in Yellowknife. The amazing Pat Kane asked a few days before that if anyone was going to shoot Aurora to let him know. Pat wanted to go out and shoot  people shooting the Aurora. I sent Pat a message and did the same to Steve Schwarz. We were off to capture the Northern Lights. We weren’t out long and the light show wasn’t the greatest but, we captured them anyway.  More importantly I was out shooting the Aurora and Pat Kane was out shooting as well. I am blessed!! Oh, it was great that Steve Schwarz was there as well. Here is a little of what I captured that night. Enjoy the images, thanks for hangin’ and as always Happy Shooting.


Image 1 - October 28, 2013



Steve Schwarz hard at work!

Steve Schwarz hard at work!


Image 3 - October 28, 2013


Image 4 - October 28, 2013


Image 5 - October 28, 2013


Image 6 - October 28, 2013

Sunday Morning Shooting

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This morning, a few of us Photographers from here in Yellowknife, met at Tim Horton’s for coffee and then went out for a photo shoot. Only three of us actually got up before sunrise and made it out for coffee. From Tim’s we headed out to the cliffs near the Dettah Road to create some images. The position of the rising sun was different from where I expected at that location but, that was fine, I would shoot anyway. Including coffee time I was out for about three hours. It was a fun, short shoot. Funny, I actually felt a little chilly and it was only minus eleven degrees. Wait until the minus forty weather arrives. It is always nice to have some company when shooting. I kept a few images from this morning and below are four samples of what we saw. Look for Trudy and Sherry in the last image, they really add some scale to the photo. So here are the images, enjoy, thanks for stopping by and as always Happy Shooting.


Image 1 - October 27, 2013



Image 2 - October 27, 2013



Image 3 - October 27, 2013



Image 4 - October 27, 2013

Written by leesacrey

October 27, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Place of Coal

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From October 16 to the 22nd I was visiting the Hamlet of Paulatuk. My day job on occasion allows me to travel to interesting places throughout the NWT. I was in Paulatuk to assist with some accounting/finance work and although I did bring my camera gear, I wasn’t sure I would get much time to photograph. Being that far north the sun isn’t in the sky as long as it is even in Yellowknife so daylight would be limited. I was also expecting snow and ice to be all around the area by this time of year. Flying in from Inuvik on a Beechcraft King Air, I was surprised that there wasn’t much snow and Darnley Bay was not frozen, there weren’t even any signs of ice starting to form. After landing I got settled into my residence for the week and began to plan for a week of work. Throughout the week Paulatuk experienced all types of weather, sunny skies one day, raining the next and snowing the next. For most of the week it was wet and overcast. Even in those conditions Paulatuk is one of my favourite places to visit. Two of the evenings I was there I got out for around an hour to create some images and on my final full day I took some time to go out and see the amazing landscapes around the area. I had use of a truck and drove around for about one and one half hours. Last time I was in Paulatuk, I saw five Grizzly Bears in six days. This time I didn’t see any but, there were three around the Hamlet during my trip. I captured only the landscape this time. Next time I go to Paulatuk it will be winter and I bet January is a cold month there, I guess I will find out. For now I can only show you how the area looked in mid October. Here is a sample of what I saw, enjoy. Thanks for viewing and as always Happy Shooting.


Image 1 - October 26, 2013



Image 2 - October 26, 2013



Image 3 - October 26, 2013



Image 4 - October 26, 2013



Image 5 - October 26, 2013



Image 6 - October 26, 2013



Image 7 - October 26, 2013



Image 8 - October 26, 2013

Written by leesacrey

October 26, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Third time’s the charm.

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Last night at around 10:15 pm I looked outside to see the Aurora in the night sky. Considering that Steve Schwarz and I have struck out on our last two Aurora photography outings I thought he needed a call. Within thirty minutes I was picking Steve up and we were off to capture the Northern Lights. Once out the lights didn’t look as spectacular as we had hoped but, there was no turning back, we would capture something. We went to a location where neither of us had ever been for an Aurora shoot and scouted it out in the dark. We took a few photos from several different areas and seemed to be enjoying our time out under the stars. After a while Steve had an idea, he thought it might be cool, to wear his headlamp and run up and down a hill (we were standing at the bottom) while I tried to capture an image. We did it a few times each with Steve running and me photographing. Soon we were heading home for the night, it was another fun photo shoot. Here are some of the images I created, including one of Steve’s headlamp. Enjoy, thanks for being around and as always Happy Shooting.


Image 1 - October 14, 2013



Image 2 - October 14, 2013



Image 3 - October 14, 2013



Image 4 - October 14, 2013



Image 5 - October 14, 2013



Image 6 - October 14, 2013



Image 7 - October 14, 2013

Written by leesacrey

October 14, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Lights in the North – Not Northern Lights

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Last Night, I decided that if any one of my Yellowknife Photography friends wanted to head out to find Aurora I would go, I just needed there to be some interest. Interest in doing an Aurora shoot is always high here in YK but, last night it was cloudy. I was checking the sky from my back deck and not once did I even see any stars. I got a message from Steve Schwarz (if you read my blog regularly you might remember Steve from our overnight Aurora shoots with the 30 ft travel trailer) asking if I was thinking of heading out. We debated about going and finally decided we would. For me it was a choice between sitting on the couch on the computer or heading outside to find Aurora. The least that would happen if I decided to go would be a few hours of conversation with a friend. I was getting ready to go within a couple of minutes. I picked up Steve and then picked up Tim Horton’s and we were off. We headed out the Ingraham Trail to see if we could find some clear skies with bands of colour. We continued to drive and drive farther from the city with no change in the weather. On our way north we passed a road  construction area where someone was actually work, it was around midnight. We mentioned how we both liked the scene and how it might be a cool photo-op but, we continued north. After a few more minutes we decided it was time to turn back, we were giving up on finding any Aurora. Heading back towards the city we reached the construction zone. We stopped and looked around and decided to capture some images. My camera has a handheld twilight mode which I decided to try rather than get set up on my tripod. What I believe happens when shooting with this feature is like shooting HDR. The camera captures several images and blends them to produce one final image. It does this in camera so I don’t have any blending to do in post-production. The one issue I have with this feature is it only works with jpeg files and not with RAW files. I captured what I wanted and Steve and I continued home. We were out for about two and a half hours. Poor Steve had to listen to my chatter for that whole time, I think I took a couple breaks from my talking to allow Steve three or four words. I hope I was at least entertaining, lol. Back home at around 2:00 am, I quickly checked the images I made before heading to bed. It was a great night, Steve thanks for the company. Here are the lights I captured in the north. Enjoy, thanks for viewing and as always Happy Shooting.


Image 1 - October 13, 2013



Image 2 - October 13, 2013



Image 3 - October 13, 2013






Written by leesacrey

October 13, 2013 at 11:44 AM