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Darryl Van Gaal
Works at Automotive manufacturing.
Attended Pauline Johnson Collegiate & Vocational School
Lived in Waterford, Ontario


Darryl Van Gaal

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I'm featured in the latest issue of Photo News. woo hoo!!

Click on the link below to see the images I shot for the article about my Night Photography.
Truly dark skies are found in fewer and fewer locations on Earth. That is one of the reasons that I have become a Landscape Astrophotographer. Photographing
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Awesome! Congrats! 
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Summer fun
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I think you have to make them "cool" and interesting to get kids to want to wear them...
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Mentorships Rawk!!!

For that matter it Rawks even more because it's Tamara's Mentorship!!!!
Summer Mentorship  

Right now, I am announcing my own photography mentorship program - "Building An Image with +Tamara Pruessner".   This is the second time I have ran this mentorship and while the first had bumps due to a family loss, I am super excited about trying this again. 

Sharing this post is highly encouraged, but please disable comments so people will go to the original post.

This will be a 6-week program, working on design elements of a photograph that will make you "FEEL", which to me, is the single most important job a photograph can do.  Make emotion. 

If you would like to participate in a highly interactive, community-based learning project, then please read on and APPLY! 

+Tamara Pruessner will be taking on a handful of people for a special mentorship program called "Building An Image".  This mentorship is designed to help you learn, search for, and apply design elements of a photograph to bring forth the emotions that make images memorable.  It will focus on rules and when to break them as well as elements such as color and when not to use it, patterns, lines, shapes, etc. 

This course is NOT how to use your camera, but IS how to see and build and image with the camera and skills you already have.  I will be happy to give some guidance on technical aspects as it relates to the weekly lessons, but I will not be focusing on f-stops and apertures. 
Up to 5 photographers will be selected for a 6-week on-line apprenticeship program which will include lessons, assignments,  Google hangouts are possible, and informal discussions are encouraged. Mainly, the goal is for everyone to have fun, collaborate, and learn from each other.

Selections will be announced on Friday, July 10th for the mentorship which will begin within days of the announcement of selected mentorees.

Selection criteria will include:

• You should be interactive here at G+, as you will be expected to participate in this program giving feedback and comments to others.
• You have little previous art studies, as this program is designed for those who have not had the opportunity to add this skill set to their knowledge base.
• You should be taking and posting photographs regularly.  (The class itself will be private to the group  except for the option of a public display album of your best work at the end.) You may publicly post your own achievements and I encourage it!!

To be considered for selection, please comment to this main post only: (not to any reshares)

and answer the following questions in your comment: 
1) Photography skill level
2) Photo editing software used most
3) Favorite subjects to photograph
4) Aspirations within photography
5) Current job or profession (or favorite hobby outside of photography)
6) Previous art studies

1) Intermediate hobby photographer
2) Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop CS3
3) Trees, landscapes, waterfalls
4) To sell prints of my work
5) Full-time grocery store clerk, and I collect bottle caps.
6) I have no previous art studies

The mentorship program  is a lot of fun and has great interaction, it also requires a commitment to complete the weekly assignments.  If you feel you won't have time to dedicate to going out and taking lots of pictures, then please consider allowing others the chance to participate.

+Kyle Wilson - your earburn as requested.
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Has this EVER happened to you?
Thanks Camera Lens Fog for this image

Astrophotography, Landscape Astrophotography, and just plain old Night Shooting are difficult enough.
Using the right lens, setting the ISO correctly and getting the exposure time correct are all issues that plague photographers shooting at night (and other times of day).
Never mind the fact that fact that "playing" in the dark has several dangers, from wild animals, to wilder people, and even police that thing you're up to no good.

Mother Nature figured she'd have a go at you also.
If you have ever gone out shooting night scenes, wide-field astrophotography, or landscape astrophotography, you've probably experienced the dreaded lens fog.

What causes lens fog?  

The easy explanation
To explain this issue in simple terms, your camera's lens will fog most times when the lens is colder than the air surrounding the lens.

The more in depth explanation
When the air near the lens is cooled by the lens, the relative humidity of the surrounding air will quickly increase. As air cools it looses it's ability to carry water vapour. Once the relative humidity reaches near 100% and greater water will begin to collect on the lens.    Even if the air is fairly dry, if the temperature difference is great enough you will get lens fog.....

How to stop it
Preventing lens fog isn't really that difficult. Simply don't allow your lens to get colder than the outside air!.......

How the heck do you do that????

There are several ways that you can achieve this;

      You can purchase a lens warmer

      You can use a DIY lens warmer

      You can use a hair dryer every once in a while on your lens (if a plug is around)

      Use hand warmers

Hand warmers are my current choice.  This solution is quite simple.  My weapon of choice are "Hotties" they are available in a few different sizes.
I have used the large ones, and am currently in possession of some smaller ones that I'm going to experiment with.

How to use them
Using hand warmers is quite simple and the only extra equipment needed is an elastic band. As you can see in the photograph, all you have to do is place the hand warmer over the barrel of the lens and affix it with an elastic band.
If you follow this tip, it should help defend you against the evil conspiracy Mother Nature has planned for you and your night shots.
Hopefully this post gives you the knowledge to overcome one more of the many obstacles that you will face as a creature of the night.

Oh, if I ever figure out how to avoid the police bombarding you with a thousand questions as to why you're out "Creeping" (the wording they used with me) around with your camera I'll be sure to blog about it.
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A call to all my birding friends

a quick shot from my back porch,  I'm thinking that this was a N.A. Kestrel?

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yes, the forefront bird is a hawk, I'd have to look up his under belly coloring to know which one
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I really really really need help with Namecheap pointing to my smugmug account....

anyone, Bueller, anyone......

**EDIT**  Figured out!!!!
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+Darryl Van Gaal Now that's the tip, thanks pal! All photographers, unite!
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Have him in circles
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I've always had a soft spot for Academic Institutions  

The Dean of Math and Science at Bridgewater State University contacted me a while back asking if I would sell them an image.  I was more than honored to grant the request.  
I was also contacted by the Art Director at the University asking if I'd be willing to loan them some images for display by there new Observatory and also give a short lecture on photographing the Milky Way.  Of course for anyone who knows me, I will rarely turn down a chance to speak to a captive audience.
While there I was approached by Karen Callan an Assistant Director at the Publications office.  She asked once again if they could do a short blurb about the display and run one of the images.  Today I received 2 copies of the magazine in the mail.  
I always find it a bit surreal to see my work in a publication......
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Looks great, congrats!  Linda and I were able to get the Milky Way over a nearby lighthouse last night -- I'll tag you when I post mine.
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Double Rainbow
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The Virgo Cluster

The Virgo Cluster is the closest cluster of galaxies to our own (about 70 million lighrt years to the center).
It not only contains over 2000 galaxies, it also has a noticeable gravitational pull on us!!!
See more of my deep space and landscape astrophotography images at

This image is around 1 hour of total exposure shot using a +Nikon USA  D7000 and an
+Orion Telescopes & Binoculars  ED80T CF telescope
The Virgo Cluster has a diameter of approximately 15 million light years which is only is only a bit larger than our local group, however it contains 50 times the galaxies.
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Ever wonder how this happens?
It's explained in the description of the photo at my new site

or below on the photo
Thanks to ice crystals high in the Earth's atmosphere, we occasionally get to see this phenomenon called moon rings. Sunlight that is reflected off of the surface of the moon focus the light into a ring, resulting in this striking scene.
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Shared publicly  - has officially launched today!!!

Let me know what you think of the design....
Lots of work to do still, but I think it's a pretty good start!
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Looks great!
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Glow Sticks and Lesson Learned
While taking this image a while ago I found myself originally annoyed by the group seen in the lower left of the image.  The were a small group of 20 somethings tossing around some glow sticks.

I decided to snap off a few images anyway even though I realized that this groups antics would be difficult to remove in Post.

About 30 to 45 mins after this shot the group had moved on....  apparently they were moving on right past the location where I was shooting.  It was in the minutes to come that I came to realize that my original irritation was misplaced.

The leader of the group was an extremely friendly young man who insisted upon calling me Sir as he offered me one of the glow sticks from the group.  I politely refused the offer, only to have this group of very friendly and polite people insist that in order to enjoy the rest of my night, I would have to accept the offer.

After taking a ring of glow sticks the group asked me several questions about what I was doing with a camera in the dark.  I explained to the group that this area was a "Dark Sky" location and that if they looked in the right direction (which I instructed them on) that they would be able to see the Milky Way.   They were extremely grateful for my information and I had learned an important lesson about sharing the environment with everyone, even if they don't share the same passion as myself.

I don't know the name of the young gentleman from Toronto, Ontario. But I'd like to publicly thank him for teaching an old dog a new trick.

Reflecting upon this encounter I see how my original irritation was misguided!!!

Lesson learned!!!
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Coatings (Paint) defect analyst.
SPC, Coatings Defect Troubleshooting and Resolution
  • Automotive manufacturing.
    Defect Analyst (QSA), 1989 - present
    Automotive coatings C.S.I. - If something is there that shouldn't be, I'm your guy!
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Waterford, Ontario - Brantford, Ontario - Georgetown, Ontario - Sarnia, Ontario
Is it dark out yet?
Darryl is a photographer that has a special ardency for the night sky.
He specializes in both landscape and deep space astrophotography, his work has appeared as the NASA APOD as well as being seen in science and astronomy publications.

His involvement on Google Plus and his “Tips and Tricks” section on his blog are a testament to his willingness to share what he has learned during his growth as a landscape astrophotographer with other photographers who are willing to learn.

Why do I spend hours alone, capturing images of the night sky? 

In short, because I can, and because I care!!

Back in 1600’s when Galileo Galilei was looking through his homemade telescopes and publishing books about his findings, the night skies were so dark that the Milky Way Galaxy, Jupiter and Venus were bright enough to cast shadows on the ground.

Today most people in North America have never seen the Milky Way, it’s not that the stars are any less bright today, it’s that the glow from artificial light, and polluted skies are affecting our ability to see the stars.

In 2003 when the Northeast blackout occurred, 911 operators in North American cities received calls about a  “Strange Silvery Cloud” in the night sky.  For many, that was the first, and the last time they’ll ever see the milky way with their own eyes.

Unless we, as the caretakers of the earth, start using dark sky friendly lighting and take measures to reduce both the light and air pollution we release into the skies above, we may be one of the last generations able to see the Milky Way.

If my work inspires at least one person to become an advocate for the night sky, it will have been worth every second of time I’ve spent alone in the dark, or in the cold, with my lens pointed skyward.

Darryl W. Van Gaal

Bragging rights
No need for me to brag.
  • Pauline Johnson Collegiate & Vocational School
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