The light before the night in Vancouver

Vancouver under sunset xs (1 of 1)

The City of Vancouver’s downtown skyline. The light before the night. A super high resolution panorama photo.

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Double rainbow over the Nevada desert

double rainbow, valley of fire, desert, Nevada

A double rainbow over the Nevada desert

While on a photography trip in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, I looked up and saw this most incredible rainbow. The timing couldn’t have been better because I had my camera nearby and within two minutes it was gone. It was a special moment in time that I will probably never again experience. The rainbow means so many things to so many different people, but to me the rainbow is a promise from God. A promise of hope for the future.

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Vancouver panorama of Science World

Vancouver panorama relfections

Vancouver Science Centre reflections

I have to say… I love this picture. Click on it to see it larger.  This is the harbour of Vancouver, known as False Creek, with the downtown skyline in the background.  The round ball is the Vancouver Science Centre, and the boats in the foreground are called dragon boats and are used for racing.

This is an eight shot panorama, which means this image is very, very large and can be printed the size of a billboard with stunning resolution.

What do you think?  I hope I am not the only one who likes this photo.

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Vancouver beach sunset in White Rock

White Rock, Vancouver, Pier, sunset, beach, sand ripples, Tim Shields

The White Rock Pier at sunset.

The White Rock Beach Pier is a flagship landmark of the City Of White Rock. Located 35 minutes from Vancouver, White Rock beaches run a close second in popularity to Vancouver beaches. The White Rock pier is a popular walking destination in both summer and winter for locals and tourists. The White Rock beach pier is also the site of gorgeous winter sunsets.

This photo was taken with a single image with a Nikon D800 in raw format. The foreground was totally blacked out when viewed on the camera. The only way to process this photo is to make sure you watch your camera’s histogram carefully to ensure you don’t have any blown out highlights. Then process the photo and open up the shadows to reveal the foreground.

Tim Shields photography

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Starburst sunrise under the White Rock Pier

White Rock Pier, sunrise, sunset, Tim Shields, White Rock beach, starburst

Starburst under the White Rock Pier

You may not notice it, but during the winter the sun sets much more south than it does in the summer. For this reason, the only time you can capture a sunrise under the White Rock Pier is during a four week period centering around Christmas. The shortest day of the year, plus or minus two weeks, is the only time the sun rises far enough to the south to enable a photographer to stand on the beach at high tide while watching the sun rise under the pier. Any earlier or later then December 21st and the sun will be obscured behind land.

I took this shot as a series of five bracketed photos. Since I was shooting directly into the sun there is no way to capture the correct amount of light in the bright sky while still allowing the camera to pick up the light coming off the dark beach. Either the sky will be blown out or the beach and pier will be totally black. This is why I put the camera on a tripod and fired off five photos. One photo was set for whatever the camera thought was the best setting for this bright scene. Two other frames were under exposed and the final two were over exposed. I combined all five in Photomatix Pro software and further tweaked the final image in Photoshop.

I hope you like it!

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Fiery sunset over sand ripples in the City of White Rock

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A firey sunset is reflected off the water on White Rock Beach

A firey sunset is reflected off standing water on White Rock Beach at low tide. This photo was taken on a tripod with five shots, and processed into one HDR image with Photomatix Pro software.

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The White Rock Pier at Sunrise

City of White Rock, White Rock Pier, pier, wharf, ocean, sunrise, HDR

The White Rock Pier at sunrise

I love winter sunsets and sunrises in the City of White Rock. During the winter, the sun rises and sets much farther south which allows me to shoot the rising or setting sun with a great sunburst surrounding the pier. This one was taken on a frosty morning in January.

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Downtown Vancouver Skyline

downtown, Vancouver, skyline, city lights, hdr

Downtown Vancouver skyline at dusk.

Click this photo to see the larger size….

For quite some time I have been looking for the perfect location to take an unobstructed photo of the City of Vancouver at dusk. After alot of looking and talking, I found a very good location and got this shot. This photo is an HDR and was shot with five frames. I took the photo with a wide angle lens and I am not overly happy with it because the outside edges are not sharp. Next time I will take a pano and stitch it together.

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Image from used for billboard at the Canada-US Border

billboard, white rock, pier, HDR, Tim Shields

HDR photo of the White Rock Pier used for a 44' wide billboard

This photo has a funny history with a great outcome…

In the winter of 2011 I was sitting around thinking about what photos in the City of White Rock had not yet been taken. I wanted a great photo of the White Rock Pier at sunset, but I also wanted the lights of the city in the background. In addition, I wanted the city lights to reflect off the water back towards the camera. The problem with this setup is that the camera would have to be in the water.

I thought about taking the photo from a boat, but boats move and this would have to be a long exposure photograph which meant the finished producted would be blurry. So a boat was out. Then it occurred to me that when the beach is covered with water the water is not very deep. With that in mind I put on a pair of chest waders used for river fishing and walked out into the water with my camera and tripod in hand. Risky business. I found the perfect location where the water was just about waist deep and I pressed the legs of the tripod into the sand. I turned towards the city and took a look…I knew this photo was going to be a winner. The problem was that it was January and the air and water temperature made me feel like I was in Iceland.

I took a series of photos from multiple locations and after 45 minutes in the water I was shaking so much I could hardly manipulate the camera. Good photos come at a cost. Later that night after I thawed out I processed this image which was taken with three frames into an HDR image. I posted the photo to flickr and forgot all about it.

One year later I was contacted by Betina Albornoz from Tourism White Rock. She asked if I would be willing to allow the use of the photo for a billboard located at the Canada-US Peace Arch Border crossing. Of course I agreed and I donated the use of the photo. The billboard is 44 feet wide and the photo looks great despite the fact it was taken with a Nikon D90 with only a 12 Mpx sensor. The photo is intentionally processed with a bit of extra blue which works well on the finished billboard.

White Rock, billboard, HDR photo

Actual billboard for

The billboard was the subject some debate at the White Rock City Coucil meeting as outlined in this media story HERE

When the billboard was erected we had a photo op with the Wayne Baldwin, the Mayor of White Rock, Betina Albornoz from Tourism White Rock and other stakeholders: Link to story

And this story.

Matt Law, Surrey Now, billboard

Mayor of White Rock and stakeholders pose in front of the billboard. Photo by Matt Law, Surrey Now.

Suffice to say you just never know where your photos might end up.

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HDR photo with the Nikon D800 – Abandoned house on the water

hdr, high dynamic range, photomatix discount code,, abandoned house, ocean

abandoned house on the ocean

I just received my brand new Nikon D800 camera after being on a waiting list for five weeks. The day after I picked up the camera I went fishing at Galiano Island which is located about 18 Km outside of Vancouver. As we were motoring along beside the island I saw this abandoned house on the shore. The house was built on pilings and has obviously been abandoned for many years. Who built this house? Who lived here? Why did they leave? There is something about abandoned buildings that screams out, “HDR me!” I don’t know if it is the peeling paint or the sagging roofline, but HDR photography brings out the lonely in abandonment, and I just had to take my first series of HDR photos with my pristine new D800. The problem was the fact that I did not have a tripod and I was in a moving boat. No matter. I set up the camera to take five bracketed photos at 1EV increments. I adjusted up the ISO so the brightest frame out of the five would not be taken with a shutter speed slower than about 1/40th of a second in order to avoid any hand shake. Then I fired off the five frames on rapid fire.

Once at home I combined the five images into one using Photomatix Pro software. I have found that Photomatix is the easiest HDR software to use. You can get a free trial copy from If you decide to buy it, you can save 15% by using my Photomatic discount code of “coolhdr”.

So far I am very happy with the High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities of the D800. It can shoot up to nine bracketed photos which is more than enough for HDR photography. Even better, the final image size is massive. If I wanted to I could print this photo on a huge wall mural with walk up resolution. What a difference from the Nikon D90 I have been using up until now.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think…

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