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Fall 2014 Canadian Rockies Photo Tour Results — John Gobey

January 5, 2015

Today I’m sharing a few more favourite images from the recent Fall Photography Tour based at Aurum Lodge in David Thompson Country, this time provided by John Gobey. John joined us from Chicago. Coincidentally, though they didn’t know each other before, John shares his home base as a connection with our other US participant Kerry Leibowitz (who splits his time between the Chicago and Indianapolis areas). A second coincidence is that John was up in Alberta to do some training for a company where my wife currently works.

I’ve observed before that the Canadian Rockies is a place where it seems you can meet almost anyone. Like certain other special places on this earth, it has a powerful attraction for many people. In any random group standing around the Rockies somewhere, you can often find surprising connections.

John is a fellow Pentax shooter, and was as deeply into our photography opportunities as anyone in the group. I always enjoy working with people who aren’t motivated only by checking off their lists of “trophy shots”, but are willing to explore locations and look for compositions. Even in areas where it’s not initially clear what there may be to photograph! On our tours we do try to provide good variety in locations and subject matter, but we don’t march in lock-step to some artificial timetable. We work the locations according to the light, conditions and group interests… if there’s something to shoot, we shoot. We move when we’re good and ready to explore something different.

Thanks for joining us John, and stay warm down there in Chicago… 🙂


I’m a retired Chemical Engineer, still working occasionally teaching technology courses to new graduates. I have always had an interest in photography. In the last three years, I’ve devoted more time to developing my craft and joined a couple of local camera clubs here in the Chicago area. The 2014 Fall Tour with Royce, Dan and Alan was my very first experience of an intensive photo course and I must say, I enjoyed every minute. My goal for the tour was to be a sponge and absorb everything I could from everyone in the party and I’m happy to say, mission accomplished!

I’m still trying to find my photographic niche. Having travelled extensively with my job, I find I’m compelled to rush from scene to scene trying to capture everything in too little time. I feel the resulting record shots lack artistry and so far, have failed to create an identity for my work. The tour experience allowed me time to use the tripod and consequently, to slow down and watch the light develop the scene.

For each of the images submitted, I used a Pentax K-30 and the kit 18-135mm lens. All images were post-processed in HDR using Photomatix PRO 5 and finished in ACDSee PRO 8.

My gratitude to Royce for his valuable mentoring, to Ellen, Kim and Kerry for their warm companionship, to Alan and Madeleine for their wonderful hospitality (and portable air pump!) and not least to Dan for watching my back at all times and providing muscle when mine proved inadequate…

~ John Gobey

Aspen in Sun before the Storm. Copyright © John Gobey.

Aspen in Sun before the Storm. Copyright © John Gobey.

Made at Cline River Bridge on the first full day. A circular polarizer brought out the clouds and I processed with gradients to further darken the sky and, separately, the foreground, to make the stand of Aspen pop.

Cline River below the Bridge. Copyright © John Gobey.

Cline River below the Bridge. Copyright © John Gobey.

I wandered away from the group and found this perspective from under the bridge abutments. HDR processing revealed some great depth and richness to the colors in the river, rocks and trees.

Elliott Peak Alpen Glow. Copyright © John Gobey.

Elliott Peak Alpen Glow. Copyright © John Gobey.

Again, I find the delight of HDR is revealing details and a richness of colors not evident in a single image. It captures some of the excitement of shooting film as you never know quite what you might get as it develops. Here the saturation is a little intense as it shows the image better in the CACCA competition light boxes.

Elliott Peak through Aspen. Copyright © John Gobey.

Elliott Peak through Aspen. Copyright © John Gobey.

Made at the Cline River boat launch.  Royce cautioned to always look behind us, a lesson well learned. Even in the harsh midday light, HDR evened out the tones between highlights and shadows, making for an image with pleasing interplay of colors and textures.

Evening Light on Ex Coelis Peaks from Preacher’s Point. Copyright © John Gobey.

Evening Light on Ex Coelis Peaks from Preacher’s Point. Copyright © John Gobey.

A more subtle use of HDR to bring out the rose tint of the evening light. I customarily set white balance manually to daylight to prevent the camera washing out the subtle color shift, especially in the golden hours, and then tweak WB in post to achieve the look I want.

Sunrise at White Goat Lake. Copyright © John Gobey.

Sunrise at White Goat Lake. Copyright © John Gobey.

The final morning and by then, I was feeling very comfortable with my newly learned routine and was content to let the light develop and the clouds to align with the peaks.  A perfect memory of a wonderful tour.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ron Birt permalink
    January 6, 2015 05:01


    John’s images and comments are a real tribute to your Photo Tours.

    I’m planning on participating in 2016….



  2. April 3, 2015 13:43

    When you say you were content to let the light develope into the scene are you saying that you continued producing multiple exposure to create a more dramatic image that when combined would display a sort of “letting the landscape paint itself” technique? Please look up photographer phil koch from milwauke and tell me what you think of his portrayal of the scenes he captures. He says he lets the landscape paint it self and the results are one of a kind. I would love to hear from you about what kind of software and techniques he may use. Thanks a million.

  3. April 3, 2015 13:44

    I almost forgot to mention. Astounding development and artistic rendering. Your images got me excited to get out there again every morning.

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