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Don Komarechka
Works at Georgian College
Attended Georgian College
Lived in barrie, ontario
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Don Komarechka

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One Week to my day-long seminar in Sarnia! Get your ticket here, only $50:

Saturday, November 7th, 2015, 9 A.M. - 5 P.M.
The Sarnia Library Theatre (124 Christina St. S.)
Sarnia, Ontario

During this awesome day, I will be covering many topics you will all want to see:
- The fundamental differences between human vision and a camera sensor

- How we “read” a photograph and using this to make better compositions

- The secrets to fast and powerful post-processing in Lightroom and Photoshop

- How to organize a million images – the lazy way (great results, little effort)

- Making money from your photography, including all the crazy things a photographer such as myself does to pay the bills

- Demonstrations for some advanced techniques such as focus stacking for macro photography

- Photographing invisible light (infrared, ultraviolet) and a deeper understand about what light actually is

To be honest, I’m not sure how I’ll be able to cram it all into a single day… but it’ll be well worth seeing me try!

Sarnia borders the United States, north of Detroit. I hope this means I’ll see a number of folks from south of the border! With the current exchange rate, $50 Canadian is about $38 US. :)
Don Komarechka will be presenting a one day photographic workshop titled “Vision Beyond Seeing” in Sarnia on Saturday November 7th, 2015. “Vision Beyond Seeing” is a seminar that aims to...
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Winter is on its way! I witnessed the first snowfall of the season yesterday. It celebrate, here’s a fun snowflake image! View large!
This image depicts a few important aspects of snowflake photography. Firstly, angles are incredibly important to show the true potential of each crystal. The snowflake in the bottom left reveals layers of green and magenta colours with a few hints of blue. Not something you would expect to see, but the principals of thin film interference are at work to create these colours. If the angle is off by even a few degrees, these colours would not be visible. There is a direct link to the angle of the light source and the angle of the camera – the majority of the light from the flash needs to “glare” off the crystal’s surface.
The snowflake on the upper right is a perfect example of the wrong angle. That snowflake would likely have the same potential for vibrant colours, but it’s pointed in the wrong direction for the light source (a ring flash) to reflect properly back to the lens. Not all snowflakes have these crazy colours, but for those that do… it’s always worth bringing them out.
The second aspect of snowflake photography is depth of field. This is a single frame from the camera, and these crystals measure just over 1mm in size. Given that I only have around 1/6th of each crystal in sharp focus, I would need a good number of separate frames to make the entire image sharp. Combining those frames via a technique called focus stacking is the norm for my snowflake work. In this case however, a tiny whisper of wind disrupted the capturing of these frames…. I had only this image to work with.
Even as a single frame I enjoy this image, and it’s an excellent prelude to another winter season. I’ll have a spectacular announcement coming up soon, too!
For those curious about how these snowflakes form and why they can be so colourful, I’ve got a book you’ll want. The book also extensively covers the shooting and editing techniques required to make breathtaking images of snowflakes – use the coupon code SNOW5 for $5 off:
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That it is, +Etienne Calame, and the best snowflakes don't fall in the coldest weather... so no complaints here!
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There is are still three spots left in the Learning to See course, starting on Tuesday October 6th! Details here:

Running from 6:30PM – 9:30PM in Tuesday evenings for three weeks (in Barrie, Ontario), this crash course in photography covers all the fundamentals of exposure and camera settings, but also takes an essential look at composition. What makes a great photograph? To answer that question you need to dive into human perception and understand how we actually see the world. Most people live their entire lives without this understanding, and the more you understand, the better a photographer you’ll become.

This image is roughly 14.3 minutes long. Bubbles on the surface of water near a small waterfall were swirling around, very slowly. The pattern was difficult to identify with my own eyes, but I knew that a very long exposure would reveal a hidden flow in the surface of the water.

In dim light under a canopy of trees, it would still be difficult to get an exposure this long. With the aid of a Neutral Density filter, this image became possible. A 6-stop ND filter was used, cutting the amount of available light in half six times. This results in only 1.5% of the normal light from the scene hitting the camera sensor, in turn allowing for a much longer exposure of the image. I still required an ISO of 100 and an aperture of F/22, limiting the amount of light and the sensitivity of the sensor.

An interesting observation: It appears that the submerged log is have a great effect on the flow of water. Just past the surfaced log on the far side, you can clearly see the point where the swirl stops and a linear flow begins. It’s quite likely that this eddy is created by the log blocking the flow of water, creating the initial pattern that I found interesting. Had the log not been there, the circular patterns would not exist in the same way.
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I like it
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Get Ready for Winter!
Yep, the dreaded s-word is going to be here soon. I’m not a fan of winter; I hate dealing with the white stuff, the cold, the horrible driving conditions and the lack of photographic subjects… except for one: the snowflake. Thankfully they can be photographed two feet from my back door, and with quintillions of variations (an understatement), there is constant fascination within the sky-borne crystals that winter brings us. View large!
If you haven’t picked up a copy of my book Sky Crystals, and are looking for something new to shoot this winter, you’ll want a copy: - use the promo code SNOW5 for $5 off! The 304-page book contains the most comprehensive photographic tutorial you can imagine, from equipment, camera settings, shooting techniques and the entire editing workflow. If you just love winter, you’ll enjoy the third of the book dedicated to the science of snowflakes and how they form.
Not all snowflakes are symmetrical. This one appears to be, but each branch has unique details that you wouldn’t be able to see with the naked eye. The closer you look, the more unique each snowflake becomes. The illusion of symmetry is beautiful, and in my photography I often seek out the most symmetrical crystals because of their balance and visual appeal. The vast majority of snowflakes are broken, ugly crystals… but in the right conditions, you’ll find pristine sculptures falling from the sky.
I’ve been known to set my alarm for a good snowfall. If I can predict great snow at 4AM, I’m out looking for it. Temperatures around -10C to -15C tend to be favourable, with low wind, high humidity and low-lying clouds. Even with all these conditions met, it’s still a guessing game. Out of all the snowfalls we receive here in Barrie Ontario through a winter, maybe 6-7 of them produce exceptional crystals. Some years are better than others, and the best occurrences are often unpredictable.
I have hundreds of snowflakes from previous years just waiting to be edited, but each image is a combination of roughly 40 separate images required to get the entire crystal in focus. This takes time, to the tune of 4-5 hours per image, so there are many images that I might never get to… especially with new shooting opportunities only a few months away!
I’ve been asked many times if I would hold a workshop on snowflake photography. I’ve been reluctant because I can’t plan for snowflakes, let alone the beautiful kind of snowflake that produces crystals like this. That said, I have a water droplet refraction workshop coming up in Grande Prairie Alberta on November 21st, and we’ll switch gears to photograph snowflakes if we’re lucky enough to get snowflakes worth photographing. If you’re curious about the details, you can check it out here:
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+Charles Schmitt the most exotic snowflakes form right around the freezing point, so you might be in luck for some interesting encounters at the edges of the season.... the first one starting soon! :)
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Join me at Kempenfest this weekend!
Saturday August 1st through Monday August 3rd I will be exhibiting and selling my art at Kempenfest on the Barrie waterfront. If you’re anywhere near Barrie, it would be great to for you to stop by and visit! Not only will I have copies of my book Sky Crystals and tons of artwork for sale, you’ll be able to take a look at my largest prints produced to date – specifically for this show.
I’m at Booth 118 – Right next to the washroom building on Centennial Beach. Easy to find, but here’s a map (map #1):
I’ll be there from 10AM to 6PM on all three days. Don’t let the threat of rain keep you away! I’m thoroughly looking forward to the show, the conversations and of course the sales that support my livelihood. If you’re looking for a small accent piece or artwork to define the main living space if your home, I’m sure I’ve got something worth talking about. :)
It’s going to be a great weekend. I hope to see you there, if even just for a great conversation!
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For those of you that don't know, I write a column in every issue of Outdoor Photography Canada . For the current issue, my full column is also posted online - check it out here:

These three things to add to your camera bag are mostly useful in macro photography, so if you've got any interest in the subject, check it out!

(and thanks to my editor, +Roy Ramsay for publishing the full article online for everyone to see!)
Story and Photography by Don Komarechka Dipping your feet into the world of photography can be a wonderful, creative experience, but it comes with challenges. Because photographic topics and genres can be so varied, you might want to spend some time exploring various facets of the art form; this can get expensive. Photographic equipment usually …
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sort and shortly work
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Give the latest episode of +This Week in Photo (TWiP) a listen! I'm on the panel with +Frederick Van Johnson and +Dan Ablan and we chat about new camera announcements, lenses, the Sandisk acquisition (they were bought by Western Digital), and a ton of rabbit holes along the way. As always it was a fun conversation!
Fresh off of the heels of the yearly photography mecca — Photo Plus Expo, we discuss a few of the announcements that various companies made at the show.
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OK! I love coastal areas. When I see these pictures it takes me to the another world!!! Thanks! 
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Don Komarechka

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Join me at my best presentation this year in Sarnia Ontario! November 7th 2015 9AM – 5PM

I’m honoured to be presenting an extended and engaging presentation in Sarnia Ontario, - a full-day photographic seminar that includes all my secrets and techniques, and so very much more.

The day will be filled with examples and tactics to see the world differently. Understanding how a camera can capture the world around us is the most important part of making good images. Further understanding light and perception are the keys to make great images. These concepts are at the heart of most of my photographic work, and you’ll be diving into this creative process.

It will change the way you see the world around you.

I’ll also cover the extensive editing workflow that I take my images through. Good post-processing is a tricky thing, and attention to detail is extremely important. You’ll see all of the tools I use to create perfect images, and the thought process I go through in Lightroom and Photoshop. It’s amazing how the right changes can transform a mediocre image into an award-winning one. It all has to do with human perception and learning how to “read” a photograph.

As a professional photographer in a very quickly evolving industry, the conversation will undoubtedly cover how to market your work, how to make a few dollars from your passion, and how to dive in and make valuable income from photography.

The price is incredibly reasonable: $50 CAD per person to attend – and being so close to Michigan, I hope that some folks from the US can come across the border for the day! With the current exchange rate, that’s less than $40 US!
Don Komarechka will be presenting a one day photographic workshop titled “Vision Beyond Seeing” in Sarnia on Saturday November 7th, 2015.  “Vision Beyond Seeing” is a seminar that aims to...
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Thanks and much appreciated +sharmin likha!
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Photography is a form of art for us all – the trick is learning to see. I’m running a course on exactly that topic: Learning to See. It’s a beginner’s course to all things photography; we cover the basics of exposure and camera settings, but there is a strong focus on how to see the world differently. To see an image the way your camera can capture it is to be a better photographer.
It’s important to know what the overall landscape was. This is a very narrow view of a small section of a much larger waterfall. Often the best pictures are not the “big picture”, but rather an isolated portion that lets your eyes enjoy the scene without distractions. For those curious, here’s a “behind the scenes” image of this photograph:
Shot at very near 400mm, this narrow view of some strategically placed leaves allow for the reflections of the nearly forest to add additional colour to the image. The water appears smooth due to a 30-second exposure, keeping the focus of the image on simplified lines and colour.
This image took me about 30-40 minutes to set up. Getting the right leaves, the right angle, and the right exposure were all time-consuming. The leaves wouldn’t stay put for long enough, often disappearing in the flow of water before I could take the image. Seconds after this image was taken, the leaf on the upper left disappeared.
Understanding how a camera produces an image will turn you into an artist. This course runs on Tuesday nights from October 6th to the 20th in Barrie. Three hours a night for only $200 including tax, and it’ll change the way you see the world. :)
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+Don Komarechka You are welcome!
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I’m holding a workshop to create exactly this kind of image on September 18th! Here’s the link:

This image is a dandelion seed covered in water droplets, touching the surface of water. The technique can be time consuming to set up, but the general idea is to use a water droplet as a lens, refracting an image of the flower in behind. View large!

For three hours we drill into this tiny area of macro photography and everyone will walk away with a “magic” image. I’ve had people with a brand new camera and no idea what to do in this workshop – they left with incredible photographs. For $125, there is no better value in learning something new in photography, especially something that will open your creativity to countless new possibilities.

More about this image:
The dandelion is held in place by a “third hand tool”, and one of these is provided to you during the workshop and is yours to take home. The tool is submerged underwater, and the water level is slowly raised until the dandelion touches it. It’s then sprayed with water from a mist bottle, and a flower is placed in behind. The flower refracts through each of the droplets, resulting in the image you see!

If only it were that simple, however. The depth of field is so shallow that I need to combine multiple images together with a technique called “focus stacking”. This is the only way to get the entire image sharp, and it offers up a new set of challenges. One step at a time, however! If anyone is curious to see an image as it comes off the camera without any processing, take a look here:

By far the hardest part of creating images like this is actually creating the “subject”. Aligning all the pieces together to create this water droplet sculpture can take time and plenty of experimentation – but you’ll learn everything you need to know to start constructing your own!
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+Don Komarechka I'm pleased to share your photo on #passionphotocolor  tks
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Register for an upcoming macro photography workshop!
Want to know how easy it is to create an image like this? Sign up for the Macro Water Droplet Refraction workshop on July 26th or August 15th here ($125): - a three hour workshop that is guaranteed to show you new ways to express your photographic creativity. Here’s a testimonial from +Pat Lannon who traveled from Buffalo to attend the same workshop last month:

“Thanks so much for holding this workshop at your studio. It was a great learning experience, and photographing in your Flower garden was a nice extra.

Your approach to teaching the subject of macro refraction photography is astounding. You gave a great intro to macro and then gave the group plenty of time to work with the practical application of water droplet refraction. The critique helped everyone in the session to be better at the task of photographing refracted objects.”

If you want to immerse yourself in a full day of macro photography, we’ve got a workshop on July 20th or August 16th which would provide further knowledge and inspiration ($245): - an eight-hour workshop with plenty of challenges to overcome, and you’ll leave the workshop with countless creative ideas.
This all-day session includes both presentation, shooting, and critiquing time blocks. Technical help is given for all areas (exposure, lighting, focus, etc.) and creative techniques are presented in a way that will open your mind to the possibilities found in the “universe at our feet”.

I’ll sweeten the deal: Anyone who attends these workshops can get a copy of my 304-page hardcover book Sky Crystals: Unraveling the Mysteries of Snowflakes for 50% off. The book has roughly 100 pages of photographic techniques that can apply to a vast number of macro subjects; it’s great supplementary material to the workshops!
Register through the website and reserve your spot, I promise you’ll leave inspired and empowered.
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Great shot, beautiful  :) +Don Komarechka 
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Happy Canada Day Everyone!
You may have seen this image before – it’s one of my favourite images, and it’s the photography that defined the beginning of my career as a professional photographer. It’s also my most stolen image of all time, and you’ll probably see it floating around the internet quite a bit on the most patriotic of Canadian holidays. I’m thrilled that so many people think that this photograph is a defining symbol of Canada.

I created the image over the span of four months – preserving bright red leaves in the fall, and waiting for the perfect winter day – sunshine after a fresh snowfall with no wind. The results were better than I had imagined, and the creation of this image gave me the encouragement to walk down a path that would see my photography grow into a full-time job.

I’m proud of the images that I create, and I depend on them for my livelihood. It saddens me greatly when I see people offering this image on coffee mugs and mousepads, using it in commercial and corporate contexts all without my permission or any compensation. This is actually the only image that I will not normally license – I don’t want it entangled in private or commercial interests that might exclude some Canadians. I have a legal team that helps me recover some of my income from these commercial cases, and I don’t pursue the thousands of people who simply share this image personally. I wouldn’t want to.

If you like this image, please share this post. I want everyone to see this image, and also to know that its creator is a passionate independent artist. It may sound selfish to say that I want my name attached to my work, but I know it isn’t too much to ask. If you see this image shared separately on the internet or in any social media, I’d greatly appreciate you letting the person know who the image belongs to.

In a way, I want this image to belong to us all. I want it to stand as a symbol that all Canadians can say defines Canada. However, I hate having this artwork stolen and misappropriated. Much of this is done with ignorance of copyright, and I understand that most personal posts are done with without people being aware that they have done anything wrong. Maybe this is what bothers me the most. If you’d like to use this image for any reason, feel free to contact me – I even offer it as a fine art canvas print.

I’m proud to be Canadian. I love the natural beauty this country has to offer, I love the society in which I live, and with many faults I’m still satisfied of what our government accomplishes. Today is a day to reflect on all the great things that Canada has contributed to the world. I hope Canada continues to make the world a better place.

Technical photo details:
- The leaves were preserved by ironing them in wax paper. I remembered doing this when I was very young, and the technique was perfect for keeping the leaves flat and vibrant until I needed them.

- The wax on the leaves created a lot of reflection, so a circular polarizer was used to cut that down and reveal the saturated colour of the leaves.

- A day with no wind was required, as the dried leaves are so light and fragile that even the tiniest whisper of wind would blow them away and destroy them.

- One of the tips of the leaves was broken, and the stem of the centered leaf was too long. These were the only major edits done to the image, aside from cropping.

- The image is cropped to be 2:1, the same ratio as the Canadian flag. The US flag and most other flags in the world are 3:2, and the flag of Canada is often misprinted in a 3:2 ratio.

- I intentionally left some defects on the center leaf. I didn’t want the image to look too perfect; as patriotic as I am, I know that Canada isn’t a perfect country (there is no such thing!).
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好美的楓葉 ..謝謝的分享.  好喜歡.  用來做電腦桌面圖了.
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Turn knobs, press buttons, and take pictures.
  • Georgian College
    Part-time Faculty, 2010 - present
  • Don Komarechka Photography
    Owner / Photographer, 2008 - present
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
barrie, ontario - sudbury, ontario
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(705) 796-6799
(705) 796-6799
Nature & Landscape Photographer, Teacher, gadget geek. :)
  • Georgian College
    Advertising, 2007 - 2009
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Eye in the Sky Photography is the best choice for professional aerial work. Not only have I seen the work first-hand, but as a professional photographer myself I can give my complete recommendation to their services. Herman Koeslag and the team have not only accomplished the near-impossible on a number of occasions, but they will happily entertain even the most modest of requests for aerial photography. On the many occasions that our paths have crossed, I have been met with professionalism and enthusiasm beyond my expectations. This is a glowing five-star review, which I do not give lightly. I understand "attention to detail" better than most professionals in any visual industry, and Eye in the Sky Photography hits a home run every time. Give them a call.
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