Frost, Fog & Snow

This past week saw the return of winter with several days of frost, fog & snow. Really cannot complain about this winter as so far it has been a lot better then the past two winters. A number of days of crazy wind but really not a lot of cold. So the other day when I heard about a fog warning being issued north of me I was wondering what would happen closer to home. Around 8pm I had my answer as the fog started to move in. As it did the frost started to take hold of anything it could attach itself to.


Like many other things in life I only believe it when I see it with my two eyes. So when I woke up around 4am and looked outside I was hopeful that by sunrise there may still be some frost hanging around. Went to take the dog for her walk at 7am and the fog was still hanging around making it seem like it was the middle of the night. Took a camera just in case but it was too dark to shoot anything. The good news was the fog was still here. There was also frost on the grass and no wind to knock the frost off.

Went back home to drop the dog off and head into work. As I was driving to Lethbridge I went through patches of fog. Some was so thick it was hard to see the side of the road. In other areas the fog had moved on but there was not a lot of frost. As I passed the research station east of Lethbridge everything came together. In fact I had passed the turnoff to the station when I realized that it was a perfect layer of frost on the trees and fog in the air. Took the next turn and I headed back to check out some possible shooting locations.

High level bridge Lethbridge and frost
My favorite high level bridge and frost pictures

The Bridge??

I love shooting frost pictures! The problem is that I usually find myself drawn to the high level bridge and I have overshot that. So looking for a new location and photo subject was high on my list for this frost. The trees and the right amount of fog at the research station was perfect for what I had in mind.

After taking a few sample shots I knew that the light was perfect for the look that I wanted. Many times with fog it is either too thick that it overpowers the real subject or it is to thin and does not show.


I spent the next several minutes shooting the scene that I had in my mind. The road proved to be perfect and the fog kept working with me so I was having a great time.

Frost and winding road
Frost and winding road
As much as I liked the road and frost in the first pictures I LOVE the trees in the distance in this picture.
As much as I liked the road and frost in the first pictures I LOVE the trees in the distance in this picture.
Of the three pictures this is my favorite!
Of the three pictures this is my favorite!

Once I was done at the Research Station I wanted another road picture. I decided that Parkside Drive would be my next stop. I was happy that I chose this as it gave a completely different look than the research station. With the long straight road leading of into the distance.

Parkside Drive, Lethbridge
Parkside Drive, Lethbridge

When I finished shooting and went back to the studio to edit the images I fell in love with the vertical image. I have a number of frames but one, called a stand out, looked perfect for this print. I printed the image as a 24×36, laminated then mounted it and once in the frame it truly looked finished! While most people had suffered through the fog on their way to work the fog gave me a number of great memories.

The finished framed frost picture!
The finished framed frost picture!

Point and shoot photography course

Do you have a point and shoot camera and would like to know how to get better pictures? Are you interested in some quick tips to improve your photography? If so this course is for you!!!!

Point and shoot camera - all ages of cameras welcome

Taught by professional photographer Mike Paterson. With over 34 years photography experience and with training from Langara College, Kodak, Fuji, Nikon, Canon & Adobe.

I will go through your cameras menus and functions with you, correcting any that can be improved upon. Give you suggestions to get better images as well as ideas to improve your photography. I will also cover how to save your images from your camera card to your computer, USB or disk. If you like I can also transfer your files to a DVD during the course cleaning off your camera card to allow you to take more pictures. ($5 DVD charge)

Basic course 1 hour for $50

More advanced course up to 2 hours for $80

Suitable for all levels of photographers with a point and shoot or a hybrid camera.

Training at Paterson Photography’s studio

Macro Photography Course

Macro Photography – now a one on one class

Crocus #1 2017 Macro photography in the sun!
Crocus #1 2017

Do you want to learn how to improve your macro images? Would you like to spend a few hours learning more about your camera and how to do macro photography? This workshop is for you!!

This course will get you on the right paths shooting macro images. From pictures inside during the cold winter months to shooting the flowers and bugs of summer macro will open an entire new world for your photography.

The workshop starts with some teaching on cameras, equipment and technique. Then you will spend time shooting several macro subjects. After shooting I will then critique the work on the big screen advising how to improve your shooting and how to correct the images for the Internet and print..

Do all this in the warmth and privacy of the studio!

Cost $80 plus GST for 2 hours

More courses here

The Astro photography rule

Astro photography

For those that like to do astro photography and are trying not to have star trails there is a rule that you should know for this and your northern light photography.

By using this rule you will eliminate having stars move in your images making them look out of focus.

The rule is as follows, you take the millimeters of the lens that you are shooting and divide it into either 500 or 600. The resulting number will give you the maximum number of seconds that you can expose the shot for before you will see star trails.

So why either 500 or 600? Well for years I have used 600 and I was happy. Lately I have been doing some more tests and have found under extreme magnification that I am getting some movement. There could be a few reasons for this but I am leaning to the 500 at this point to see if this will be even sharper or if there is a real difference. The following calculations are done using 600 but if you want to use 500 just use that number instead of the 600. I will keep testing and let you know if there is a difference.

Now this is assuming that you are using a steady tripod and that you have your ISO set correctly. But the good thing is that it will give you a starting point to know where the line is between getting tack sharp stars and star movement.

One note: you need to work with the 35mm equivalent lens size.

So how does it work?

Astro Photography
25 seconds using a 24mm lens on a full frame camera

Full Frame Sensors

On full frame cameras (cameras with full frame sensors) you would do the following:

Lens – 50mm

600/50 = 12 So you could shoot at a shutter speed up to 12 seconds before you will see star movement.

Or for a 24mm lens

600/24 = 25 So you can expose for 25 seconds

Astro Photography
885.7 seconds using a 24 mm lens

APS Sized Sensors

On a camera that has an APS size sensor with a 1.6 conversion ratio you would do the following

Lens – 50mm

50 x 1.6 = 80

600/80 = 7.5 So you could shoot up to 8.6 seconds before you would see star trails

Or for a 24 mm

24 x 1.6 = 38.4

600/38.4 = 15 So you could expose for 15 seconds before you would see star trails

If you want to learn more you can take one of my courses


History is not as boring as school makes it out to be!

Many times over the years when I have been either taking pictures, editing or printing I think about how what I do today would look to those that have gone before us in the photography and printing business. What would a photographer from the 1900’s up to the 1970’s think of the cameras that we had to shoot during the last years of film photography. Or what would photographers up to the late 1980’s think about digital. Or my big one what would people think about the digital editing and printing that we can do now. I tell people that if I could go back in time 50 years or more with my computer and my printer I could own the printing industry both for photographs and for printing of signs, posters, etc. With the equipment I have today I would be able to do retouching to photographs or print jobs that would be unheard of in years gone by. Or jobs that took days to do I could do in minutes.

Searching for my history

After my father passed away I was going through a pile of old papers he had and found some information on my grand father. My grand father on my father’s side passed away when my dad was just a young boy. I knew very little about him but I did have the blessing to come across some military records for him. As I was reading them I found out something that was SHOCKING!!! My grandfather was a printer early on in life. I actually found some other documents later on that lead me to believe that even after he came back from the war that he was a printer.

From my families history a military record
My grandfather’s military information

I wonder what it would be like to work along side of him printing a book in the way he did or print a poster advertising an event. Then being able to show him what I can do now. Need a poster for advertising – it would take a printer back in the 1900’s the better part of a day to layout and print. Today I can do it in a few minutes and I can make changes in seconds. Or showing someone like Ansel Adams how I could retouch, adjust and print photos in minutes that would take his darkroom tech days!

Today will be tomorrow’s history

I guess the saying is true that history does repeat itself. I also wonder if my grandson or a great grandchild will ever go into the photography or printing trade? I wonder if they will have technology that I could only dream of today or more so I could not even think of today. It is cool to think about!