Lee Sacrey Photography – Lee's Chatter

Mainly Photography but a little of everything at times

Posts Tagged ‘Other Photographers

Caribou found!

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After several weekend trips up the Winter Ice Road, John McKay and I finally found some wildlife. Our first sighting was on portage 23. As we headed south, after three to four hours of driving north toward the diamond mines, we spot a small group of Caribou, about two dozen. We are both out of the truck quickly with our cameras and within seconds we are shooting. It most have been three or four years since I have seen any Caribou and seeing these gives me quite a rush.

Image 1 - March 19, 2014

I took the lead walking through thigh deep snow to get closer, breaking a little bit of a trail, although not making that much difference for John who is following close behind. John doesn’t need to get as close as I do because he is shooting with that big Nikon 500mm f4 and using a 1.4x converter. It one point I notice two bucks locking horns. From my vantage point it was hard to get a great shot of them but, I made sure John was aware and he could move slightly off my path and capture them easily (I will have to get John to post some of his images here at a future date).

Image 2 - March 19, 2014

Soon we are joined by some members of the Winter Road maintenance crew and they quickly tells us that they haven’t seen Caribou this far south in a few years. I think this is a great sign for our Caribou population. The Caribou are pretty cooperative and don’t seem to be bothered to much by our presence. We keep shooting for quite a while and seem to have forgotten about the temperature. Our hot Tim Horton’s coffee is long gone by now, lol.

@ Carlton University

@ Carlton University

For you readers not from the NWT the map above, which I got from a Carlton University site, above may help a bit. The 0 km mark on this map is at the end of the Ingraham Trail and where travel on the ice begins. John and I would be at around the 125 km mark for this shoot. After a while we start to feel the cold and head back to the truck which is still running a few hundred feet away.

Image 3 - March 19, 2014

It was great day and the small herd of Caribou made the travel over several weekends worth our time and effort. We already knew we would be back on the ice again the next weekend. Thanks John for coming along it is always great to have company. As for the rest of you who are joining us through this blog post, thank you for being here now. I hope you are enjoying your viewing time, stay tuned for another Caribou post and as always Happy Shooting.

Written by leesacrey

March 19, 2014 at 12:33 AM

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

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

The Aurora Takeover – Adam Hill

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Being here in the north has some nice advantages. I have written here before about the abundance of Aurora we see but, there is another advantage which is Aurora related. That advantage is  that for those who live and photograph here, we get to meet and mingle with other Aurora Photographers. I am lucky to know several of them. One Photographer that I really enjoy shooting with and seeing what he can create is Adam Hill. Adam resides in Hay River, NWT and he is doing some amazing things with his camera and the Northern Lights. I asked Adam to do a post here on my Blog. Adam agreed to share what he does with some insight into how he does it, enjoy. Here it is, take it away, Adam!

The Northern Lights should be considered as one of the great natural wonders of the world. Imagine laying down on a cool fall evening or standing on a frozen lake dressed in your warmest winter clothes while the sky lights up with bands, waves and ribbons of colour. It’s a breathtaking experience.  Ah, the aurora. I never get tired of seeing these light up the sky. I usually get tired from doing it though.  Throughout the aurora ‘season’ I’m constantly checking the weather and aurora forecasts. These forecasts will help you get ready for nights of heightened activity but the best way to help your chances of viewing them is as simple as checking out your window or going out into your yard. When you see them, grab your photo gear and head out somewhere dark!

   First we should talk about photo gear and what you need and what you don’t.   When I photograph the aurora I only bring what I’ll need to use that night: one camera body, usually one lens (a good, large aperture wide-angle), a headlamp, warm clothes (even in the fall and especially in the winter), an extra battery, a cable release and of course, your tripod. Leave all your other gear at home. Become a minimalist when you photograph the aurora and get in the habit of packing your gear in the same place every time, it will help you when you’re searching your camera bag for your stuff.  I usually leave the big back packs at home and pack a simple shoulder bag. 

    When I head out I have a location in mind where I want to photograph. If it’s the fall aurora, I want somewhere with water, still or running. The water can reflect the aurora and this will help build the foreground of your photo while your aurora is in the background, making it a much stronger photograph.

Adam Hill Image 1 - October 11, 2013

If it’s the winter I like somewhere dark, with snow laden trees or some other element to use in my foreground. The light from the aurora will illuminate the snow in your foreground to make it useful. 

Adam Hill Image 2 - October 11, 2013

    So now I’m out,  and I’m patiently waiting and finally the aurora are beginning to swirl and twirl above me. Here comes the tricky part: anticipating what to do with the aurora. There is no easy formula as some may say. The aurora can happen fast and they’re impossible to predict. Have your camera set on your sturdiest tripod.  Your camera’s ISO set to a higher setting, I prefer around 800-1200 sometimes I’ll push it to  2000 if I need to. Newer camera models can go upwards of 3200 without real noise distortion. If your camera has any noise cancellations features, use them.  Auto focus won’t work in darkness, so turn your camera to manual focus and if you use a professional grade lens turn your focus just a little left of the ‘L’ marked near infinity. The best method to find your ‘sweet spot’ is to find your infinity focus in the day time when you can accurately check your focus. Use a small sharpie or piece of tape to mark off where your focus dial should be. To increase your sharpness you should also use your mirror lock and use your cable release to minimize and handling of your camera. If you don’t have a cable release use your camera’s timer setting at 2 seconds so you don’t have your hands on the camera when it begins to expose. 

Adam Hill Image 3 - October 11, 2013

Turn off your automatic settings and go into Manual mode. This will allow you to control your aperture and shutter.  I generally leave my aperture as wide as possible.  If the aurora are moving fast and bright try to set your shutter speed to 5 seconds to 10 seconds. If you use longer shutter times you can easily over expose the aurora and turn them into a messy blur. If the aurora are slow and dim you can use this to your advantage by having to expose longer. I find these aurorae to be easier to work with, you won’t get the crisp movements with brighter aurora but you can use the longer exposure time to help expose your foregrounds. Set your aperture to it’s lowest number (usually F/2.8 or F/3.5 for most common lenses). This setting will allow the most of light to come into your camera’s sensor, allowing you to use a faster shutter speed. 

Trying to balance the highlights from the aurora and the shadows of the foregrounds is one of the great challenges. One tip I find very useful is dim your LCD screen. Do not trust your LCD when you’re photographing at night. The LCD will make your image appear brighter than it is. Always check your histogram and make sure your highlights aren’t blown out and your shadows are exposed.  

When your composing your photo try to set up before the aurora are swirling above you. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and get ‘beauty blinded’ by the moment. Make sure to move around, take a great photograph in each location then move to a new vantage for your next photograph. Don’t stay in the same place with the same view all night long. You won’t enjoy coming back in after a long night of photographing with only one view of a landscape. Try and use the landscape around to help you frame your photographs. Incorporate landscape features to help build a strong landscape instead of just photographing the sky. You’ll thank yourself later. 

Adam Hill Image 4 - October 11, 2013

Editing your photographs is another story and you need to be able to properly edit your photos properly to make them look right. The aurora are surprisingly bright in comparison to the rest of the photograph. If you’re in the Hay River area and are interested in learning more about the aurora and how to photograph/edit them check at the Hay River library, you may find a free Aurora Workshop from yours truly!


For anyone reading this and wanting to see more of Adam’s work click this link www.adamhillstudios.ca or go to https://www.facebook.com/adamhillstudios1

Thanks Adam for doing this guest post, it is a great piece, thanks to everyone for checking in to the blog, enjoy and as always Happy Shooting.

Vacation 2013 – Part 14 – Jenna’s View

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It was a hot, humid day today, around 34 degrees celsius without the humidex. I was up early, had the truck serviced and got a few work phone calls in. Then it was another round of shopping. Dale and Kyla went to a few stores and Megan, Jenna and I went and looked at new RVs. Jenna believes we were inside the one she wants (watching her try to convince her mom will be fun, lol). It was nice looking at what we can buy when all the kids are gone, but Dale doesn’t want to discuss that either. Later it was back to the apartment to unload and sort today’s purchases. Kyla and Stephanie’s apartment is looking pretty nice. Today was another day without any images created by your truly but, by now there is a small surplus of photos to display. Jenna has been quietly snapping some images with her old iPhone 3GS. A few times she has let me know she is shooting and other time she just snaps away. Yesterday Jenna and I sat down and went through what she has done and we loaded them into Aperture 3. I did some editing with Jenna’s input and once she was happy with the few we had chosen, we left the remainder for future editing. Tonight as I write this post, Jenna is sitting next to me. I told her we would post some of her work today and at 11, she gets pretty excited when we do these things together. I will admit that I do as well. It is nice when the girls show an interest in photography. So here are eight of Jenna’s images from our trip so far. They are from several days of travel starting in the NWT all the way to northern Montana. Jenna and I hope you enjoy them, we thank you for popping by the blog and as always, Happy Shooting.


From Waterton Lakes National Park

From Waterton Lakes National Park


Traveling Highway 3, NWT

Traveling Highway 3, NWT


Proof there is Montana Moose, Piegan Border Crossing, Montana

Proof there is Montana Moose, Piegan Border Crossing, Montana


A top Logan's Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana

A top Logan’s Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana


Driving under the High Level Bridge, Lethbridge, Alberta

Driving under the High Level Bridge, Lethbridge, Alberta


Rocky Mountain, Canadian side

Rocky Mountain, Canadian side


Coming out of Waterton, Alberta

Coming out of Waterton, Alberta


Rocky Mountain, United States side

Rocky Mountain and the Moon, United States side








Vacation 2013 – Part 7 – the moving is almost over!

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Another moving day, we made one final trip from the RV to the apartment. Once the final items were delivered we went out to buy some more things, lol. Kyla picked up a new TV, and desk and a few odd and ends. Kyla and I then spent most of the day building and sorting and trying things out. Megan, Jenna and Dale hung out at the RV park while Kyla and I shopped for the items see needed and while we did our work in the apartment they went on a shopping spree of their own. After everyone had dinner we all went back to Kyla’s place to have a look. From there, more shopping (and two trips to Starbucks, lol). Unlike yesterday, today I carried my camera. Kyla and I did some site seeing but, we didn’t take any photographs. I took a few on my iPhone while we were at Kyla’s new place but, nothing with my DSLR. After today my schedule gets a little better so hopefully more images will be made. Because today was all about getting Kyla situated in Lethbridge, I thought it fitting to post more of Kyla’s images. Three new macro images Kyla made with the old Minolta 100mm macro lens. The first is of a rope fence. Dale, Kyla and I all took shots of the same rope but only Kyla captured it this way. The second is another bee/wasp shot, this time Kyla focus on a wasp rather than the bee on the flower. The third and final shot is of the flowers themselves. I really like all three, great job Kyla. So that is it for today, tomorrow I am sure will bring even more. I guess I should start planning the Waterton Park trip. Please enjoy Kyla’s images, thanks for coming by and as always Happy Shooting.

Image 1 - August 9, 2013

Image 2 - August 9, 2013

Image 3 - August 9, 2013

Written by leesacrey

August 10, 2013 at 12:05 AM

Vacation 2013 – Part 4 – Different strokes!

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Day 4 of our trip was a good one. Knowing Dale’s love off all things gardening (flowers more than anything), we decided a trip to the Devon Botanic Garden was in order. We have driven by it many times and have never stopped there until today. Megan told us that she wanted nothing to do with the butterfly area and would rather hang at the RV park. Jenna thought hanging with Megan sounded like a good idea and if there was going to be a possibility of bees even Megan wouldn’t be that bad (I added that last part, lol). So with Megan and Jenna staying put, that made it easy to decide where Bella the Dog would go. Dale, Kyla and I were off to see the garden. We arrived and started exploring. It would be interesting to see whet the others thought and if everyone would even capture any images. Kyla was using her DSLR with my old Minolta 100mm macro lens, Dale was just carrying her iPhone 4 and I had my DSLR with a 17 – 50mm f2.8 (no filters or anything, just the camera and lens). We walked around and took in the sights, sounds and smells for about 2 hours. We had, between us, several hundred images. Each of us photographed different with our different tools (as it says above, different strokes). We left the garden and headed back, picked up a few items at the store and then just relaxed before dinner. I loaded on our images and did post processing of only a few. We (Kyla, Dale and I) discussed the images and picked some to post here. As yesterday’s post had drawings from Megan and Jenna, today would have photographs from Dale and Kyla (as the writer I get to be in both posts, lol). Here is what we saw today at the Devon Botanic Garden. Enjoy the photos, thanks for visiting and as always Happy Shooting.


Kyla's Bee

Kyla’s Bee


Dale's Daisies

Dale’s Daisies


Lee's Landscape

Lee’s Landscape



Vacation 2013 – The road to an empty nest begins!

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Before I begin, let me first say I am sorry for the length of time between posts. I have been taking a break from this blog to just do some shooting and over the past several months I have accumulated quite a few images and new blog posts will so follow. For now I will start by posting the first image of our annual family vacation. A vacation that will also see Kyla (our oldest daughter) start her adult life. Kyla is off to attend University and we are using this trip to bring her there and help her get settled in her first apartment. Today we left Yellowknife on route to Lethbridge. Our first stop is at Louise Falls Territorial Park. When we arrived we got settled and made dinner and after dinner a friend of mine, Adam Hill, came for a visit. Adam and I took a quick drive to Alexandra Falls and did a short photo shoot there. If you ever wonder how close photographers will get to their subject, let this shot of Adam inches from the 120 foot drop show you. We only shot for about 30 minutes but, had a great time. Adam is now on his way to Lady Evelyn Falls and I am here with the family and writing this post. Enjoy the photo, stay tuned for more from our trip and future post on my past images. Thanks for stopping by and as always Happy Shooting.

Image 1 August 3, 2013