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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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Circles of the Sun
Flare is an interesting photographic ingredient, and it’s especially prevalent in infrared photography. Whenever the sun is in the frame in an infrared photograph, you can be guaranteed some kind of flare! Sometimes you’d like to avoid it, other times it can be embraced, and in an image like this is almost becomes the subject itself.

Why do we have to deal with flare in infrared? Lenses have special coatings that prevent flare and other optical problems, and most of these are based on the principles of “thin film interference”. The same physics that puts rainbows in soap bubbles and creates colour in many of my snowflake images is used to cancel out flare, but there’s a problem. Thin film interference is inherently linked to certain wavelengths of light, thereby the lens coatings are only effective at certain wavelengths. Move to the infrared spectrum, and those coatings are either ineffective or counterproductive.

Infrared coatings do exist, but no standard photographic lens uses them. This means that flare in IR images is a visual ingredient that photographers need to contend with. You may choose to avoid it, though you might have fun embracing it from time to time. I’ve found that it can make for a very interesting element when used correctly.

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Elvira Kühl's profile photoElizabeth Hahn's profile photoCarl Crumley's profile photoDon Komarechka's profile photo
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Thanks for saying so +Elvira Kühl!

Glad you like the results here +Elizabeth Hahn! Flare can be fun. :)

+Carl Crumley we might make it a breakout challenge soon in our Arcanum cohort. Stay tuned!
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Pathway to the Galaxy
This pathway is a favourite – recently featured in a stereoscopic landscape during the day, here it is at night – showcasing the Milky Way overhead as if it’s another step on the path. Photographed in the Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve, a place I visit frequently for the dark skies.

Want more musings on photography, science and the magic that happens when to two collide? You absolutely need to attend my “Vision Beyond Seeing” seminar coming up on September 10th in Windsor Ontario. A full day of inspiration and photographic knowledge that will change the way you see the world and how you use your camera…. For only CAD$40! Register here: http://windsorcameraclub.com/

This was shot with the Canon 11-24mm as a vertical panorama to get as much of the night sky as possible. The 11-24 is a very capable lens, but it requires ISO 6400 to properly reveal the stars, and quality can sometimes suffer because of it. On my 1DX mark II and pushing the limits of noise reduction, it’s not outside the realm of possibility!

This image was taken on what was supposed to be the “peak” of the Perseid Meteor Shower this year, which proved to be a bit of a bust. Not a single meteor in this frame or any others taken on this evening. I’ll consider the Perseids a photographic aide nonetheless – the supposed meteor shower got me out shooting, and this image is the result. :)

The foreground image was light-painted to get some extra detail. While the dynamic range of the 1DX mark II is fantastic by any measure, it still wouldn’t be enough to reveal the pathway and surrounding marshland. This shot was added to the panorama composite and exposures were adjusted to achieve a balance across the frame.

Photographing the night sky is definitely a facet of “the unseen world”, which I have made my personal photographic mantra of sorts. The world we cannot see with our own eyes is a world that photography can reveal to us, and there the adventure begins…. and the adventure continues!

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Yourna Rose's profile photoScott Simmie's profile photoDon Komarechka's profile photo
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Thanks +Scott Simmie! There is talks to bring this or a similar workshop to Toronto in a future year!
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Vision Beyond Seeing Seminar – Windsor 2016! September 10th!

http://windsorcameraclub.com/

Walk with me through my photographic journey into the unseen world. Understand how a camera fundamentally sees the world differently than our own eyes, and step through the door of creativity. My imagery is known for pushing limits – if you want to learn all my secrets and discover the ways you can apply them to your own creative ideas, this day-long seminar is DEFINITELY for you.

For only $40, you’re in. From 10:30AM – 4:30PM we journey down the rabbit hole to explore many unknown facets of photography to discover unique and almost magical techniques. Infrared, astrophotography, macro photography, and so much more, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We need to understand WHY we appreciate images that showcase the world in a way that we could never perceive. That’s our most powerful weapon in the fight against dull and boring photos. By the end of the seminar, you’ll be well equipped to tackle any creative block.

The depths of human perception tangled with the latest photographic technology is a recipe for creativity. I did this seminar last year in Sarnia Ontario which was a resounding success, and this time I’m pushing the limits further. 3D photography, ultraviolet and fluorescence, videography and documentary filmmaking are added to an already exciting line-up of topics.

If you enjoy nature photography in any form, you’ll absolutely want to attend this seminar. The Sunday workshop session sold out almost immediately, but don’t worry – there is plenty of room to be inspired for the Saturday session. There will be time to chat and discuss your photographic ideas with me and help you push forward with creative solutions to your current challenges. This seminar will be as interactive as I can make it!

If you can make it Windsor, Ontario on September 10th, I’d absolutely love to see you there!
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Robert Caroline's profile photoSandia Delli Gatti's profile photoMariah Takahashi's profile photoDon Komarechka's profile photo
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For those folks that can get to Princeton, NJ, I'd love it if you could check out a full-day macro photography workshop I'm running on October 8th!

http://princetondigitalphotoworkshop.com/don-komarechka/international-pro-series-macro-photography-workshop-with-dobn-komarechka

We'll cover insect and garden photography, water droplet refractions, and much more. The day will be used to see the world differently and learn how our cameras can be tuned to allow this to happen with the greatest amount of flexibility and creativity. I promise it'll be a fantastic day!

The workshop runs from 10AM through to 5PM with an excellent full-day price of $269. You'll even get some macro tools to take home with you at the end of the workshop!
Saturday, October 8, 2016, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm 20 Library Place, Princeton NJEnter the enchanting world of Macro Photography. Acclaimed Canadian Photographer, Author* and Podcaster** Don Komarechka introduces you to the delights and challenges of capturing beautiful images that are not easily visible to the naked eye in a full day hands-on workshop. "(Macro Photography) can be abstract...tell stories...and spark your imagination."During...
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+Martin Bailey and I had a great chat on some of my "mad scientist" photography experiments, and I'm certain you'll enjoy the talk! Everyone should give it a listen. :)
 
This week I share an awesome conversation with my friend +Don Komarechka about his recent full-spectrum, infrared and ultraviolet photography, as well as his stereoscopic 3D macro photography. You've gotta check this out -> http://mbp.ac/533
This week I share an awesome conversation with my friend Don Komarechka about his recent full-spectrum, infrared and ultraviolet photography, as well as his stereoscopic 3D macro photography.
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Don Komarechka's profile photoMarie, LMB's profile photo
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+Don Komarechka I'm hoping I get some or lots of your snow this coming winter that can't come soon enough. lol
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As an x-rite "coloratti" member, and a HUGE fan of their products, consider this: their amazing monitor calibration hardware is on sale today only through B&H for $100 off: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/798930-REG/X_Rite_EODIS3_i1Display_Pro.html/BI/8924/KBID/10335/kw/XREODIS3/DFF/d10-v2-t1-xXREODIS3

I use this to calibrate my monitors as well as my projector for presentations. I can't imagine a better product, and accurate colour/brightness of your photographers is incredibly important. If you've been thinking of calibrating your monitors to get a true experience of how others will see your work in print or on any screen, this is it. $100 off is a crazy 40% off sale for this sort of equipment. It just doesn't happen, so grab this now!

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You're welcome +Carl Crumley!
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It is with honour and excitement that I am able to publicly share this coin with you all from the Royal Canadian Mint. I worked closely with the mint in designing this pure silver $20 2017 coin which is based on one of my snowflakes, and it has been a thrilling experience!

The result is a work of art with a mintage of 6,000. This coin utilizes a very special enamel that is a first for the Royal Canadian Mint - it shimmers and sparkles as you look at it from different angles, just like a snowflake.

You can order this now directly from the mint, and I assume it should soon be available in coin stores and post offices across the country: http://www.mint.ca/store/coins/1-oz.-pure-silver-coloured-coin---snowflake---mintage-6000-2017-prod2770465

Not many photographers have their work used to inspire such designs, and I have great respect for the engravers and craftsmen that worked to turn my snowflake design into a beautiful coin. This is a relatively low mintage compared to other similar coins in the past, so be sure you get one as soon as possible!

From the Royal Canadian Mint website:
The design of your coin is a stunning close-up view of a six-sided dendrite ice crystal as captured by Canadian photographer Don Komarechka, and painstakingly reproduced by Royal Canadian Mint master engravers. Extremely fine detailing enhanced with glittering blue enamel on a proof finish gives the snowflake a deeply layered look. One can easily imagine a hexagon-shaped ice crystal falling through the clouds, growing ever larger and more complex as it encounters changes in temperature and humidity that affect the shape and size of its "arms."

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Kära Cathryn's profile photoGeorge Marquardt's profile photoDon Komarechka's profile photo
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Thanks +George Marquardt, I'm so thrilled for the opportunity to work on this project and over the moon for how it turned out!
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Windswept Pine
This is probably the most photographed tree in Ontario. Known as the “Killbear Pine”, it sits on the shore of Georgian Bay in Killbear Provincial Park. It’s a fantastic little tree that has been the subject of photographs and paintings for decades.

If you want to know the secrets to images like this, there are still spots available in my “Vision Beyond Seeing” seminar in Windsor Ontario on September 10th for only $40: http://windsorcameraclub.com/

I decided to shoot this tree in infrared, with a dramatic sky behind and the sun casting flare into the frame. This is taken with a fisheye lens, with the horizon distortion corrected in post using Photoshop’s “Warp” tool rather than the lens correction tool that stretches pixels too much for my taste. This provides an expansive sky that includes the sun which was quite distant from the tree in reality.

Flare is common in infrared photography, because the lens coatings used to reduce flare are ineffective outside of the visible spectrum. These coatings are based on the principles of “thin film interference” and are engineered to interact only with specific wavelengths of light. While there are IR anti-reflective coatings, normal lenses don’t utilize them, and flare becomes an element at play.

That doesn’t mean flare is a bad thing. I think it adds balance to the frame overall and helps the sun “point” to the tree. Flare can be used creatively and shouldn’t be avoided without exploring the possibilities of what it can add to the image!

It’s on my list to revisit this tree at night and do a star trail photograph there – maybe even in infrared as well!

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Marie, LMB's profile photoJoseph Leduc's profile photoDon Komarechka's profile photo
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Thanks +Joseph Leduc! I'm glad I could make the extreme wide-angle work here, it helped bring so much extra to the sky.
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Path of Fantasy
I decided to push further with my 3D experimentation and try it with a landscape scene. While this image does lack the same “pop” of some of my macro images, it was a great learning experience and one that I aim to repeat! An Infrared 3D landscape – how was it done?

There are two primary ways to shoot landscapes in 3D – using an identical pair of cameras and lenses on a board where they can be spaced apart, or using a 3D lens that has two lenses inside the same lens barrel. I did neither of those, instead experimenting with a product called the Kula Deeper: http://www.kula3d.com/

This fun little camera attachment turns any lens into a 3D lens using a series of first-surface mirrors. It can be tricky to use and you’ll be cutting the resolution of the image in half (at least), but attached to my 24-105 lens I can shoot landscapes in 3D. How fun! It’s a little pricey, but I’ve paid more for lens filters that let me explore new areas of photography – and I plan on keeping this little attachment handy to take 3D images when I’m out on shoots – its fun to explore!

These images are set up as a cross-view image pair so you can cross your eyes to see the 3D result. If you’ve got a 3D/VR viewer that uses side-by-side images, here’s the image pair reversed: http://donkom.ca/vr/_MG_0393-sbs.jpg

For those crossing your eyes and haven’t done this before, you need to cross your eyes just enough so that you see three images (the center one will be an overlap of the left/right). This center image will be seen in 3D!

3D photography has existed since the beginning of photography itself, and this technique even pre-dates photography. People would draw in stereoscopic pairs with the right offset of objects to see depth. Now with VR headsets, 3D TVs and even Google Cardboard there is no better time to enjoy the depth this kind of imagery offers. :)

Infrared photography will absolutely be one of the topics discussed in my upcoming “Vision Beyond Seeing” seminar in Windsor, Ontario on September 10th. For $40 you’ll get in on the 10:30AM – 4:30PM adventure through photographic science and human perception with the goal to be more creative and make better images. Regardless of your skill level, it will be an eye-opening experience. Register here: http://windsorcameraclub.com/

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Beautiful 
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Twirling Cosmos

This was one of the images I was taking during a recent shoot on Georgian Bay Islands National Park, being captured by the camera on the left in yesterday’s behind-the-scenes selfie.

It’s funny, I carefully set up this shot and spent a while in post to get it into this shape, but I like the behind-the-scenes image more! The selfie has a narrative, which can be an unbelievably strong component in a successful image. A deep understanding what makes a great image is one of the core points of discussion in my upcoming “Vision Beyond Seeing” talk on September 10th in Windsor, Ontario. For only $40, you get a full day of photo knowledge and inspiration! Register here:

http://windsorcameraclub.com/

The reason why I enjoy the night sky is because the camera can capture it in ways that I can only imagine. Photography then becomes a tool to see the world differently, and the process of creating the images is as enjoyable as the end result. As a person constantly seeking the next creative idea, I’m always pushing beyond what I can see with my own eyes. Star trails and astrophotography fit firmly into the realm of “the unseen world”!

This image was a fun “test” of sorts. I was test-driving the Canon 5DS R and the Canon 11-24mm F/4L. Being impressed with the field of view of the 11-24, I found it somewhat difficult to use in architecture because the stretched proportions of objects at the edges of the frame didn’t look completely “real” to me, all for the goal of completely straight lines. It seems to handle the night sky well enough, but the F/4 aperture becomes problematic. Pushing the ISO to 6400, the 5DS R starts to let me down. I used a variety of techniques to clean up the image, including shooting a “dark frame” (lens cap on) after the sequence to help cancel out some of the noise in addition to traditional noise reduction techniques, but I’m still not terribly satisfied. The image is great when I scale it down, but at 50MP it falters a little. This is a rolling target, however – the successor of this camera will likely perform better with the same optics, but with many ultra-wide-angle options available at F/2.8, I’m left with the feeling that I won’t necessarily be buying either of these pieces of gear. They sure were fun to play with, though. :)

For more insights into my understanding of camera gear, light, physics, psychology, human perception and of course creativity, you should really attend the September 10th seminar Vision Beyond Seeing. I promise you it’ll be worth your time.


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Paul M's profile photovijay vijji's profile photoDon Komarechka's profile photo
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+vijay vijji there is no eagle, and there is no fox.
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Terapixel Macro

I just have to share this - my friends at GIGAmacro have finally finished their terapixel macro image. I love macro photography, and I'm impressed by this: not only is it a terapixel image, it's insane that it's entirely focus stacked. Good job, guys!

http://terabite.gigamacro.com/

You might ask yourself why someone would want to do this. Stop that. Stop thinking that right now.
The world's first terapixel macro image is a big claim. This is going to be BIG! Actually, about eighty-three feet big - or long anyway! Just how big is that though? Well a terapixel is 1,000,000,000,000 pixels, or 1012, or a million megapixels, or a thousand gigapixels. And no one has ever made a terapixel macro image before, so this will be a genuine world's first.
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Don Komarechka's profile photoEve “Bubbles” Aebi's profile photo
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They sure do and I'm not even jealous. Lol
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Glow of the Cicada
Immediately, you might think that this cicada looks a little more magical than most. You’d be right – here is the same creature photographed with “regular” light: http://donkom.ca/extra/cicada.jpg - so, what’s different? The same camera is used, but the image is made with intense ultraviolet-only flashes. The image that you’re seeing is the result of fluorescence!

A few previous experiments have given me the hint that certain insects will fluoresce. In fact, nearly all compound eyes that I’ve put in front of my UV setup have shown a “glow”, but the wings of this cicada (Magicicada septendecim was due this year) just take the cake. Appearing to inspire science fiction architecture, the patterns are otherworldly and they have a depth completely missing from the “normal light” version of this insect.

Some insects glow very brightly under UV light – scorpions and some millipedes come to mind. This has to serve some biological purpose that’s introduced through evolution. Imagine an insect that doesn’t reflect UV light, but rather transforms that light into the visible spectrum. Many insects can see UV, which would make a UV fluorescing bug darker in the UV spectrum. I tested this with invisible ink (glows under UV light) and photographed it with a camera that detects only UV light. The ink appears darker than the paper, because the reflected wavelength of light has been pushed into the visible spectrum. Science!

So, what’s the purpose of these glowing wings? I have no idea. One theory might be to attract a mate but having UV-dark wings, depending on how fine-tuned cicada’s are to the UV spectrum. I would be less inclined to think of it as some kind of a defense strategy, since they already have a pretty solid one: hibernating for 17 years before living as an adult for four weeks. I remember the first time I saw a cicada, and I was amazed when I learned it was older than I was.

This little guy (or gal?) was found on a bedsheet we had hung outside to dry. I took it inside, and it was barely moving – probably at the end of its life, though I don’t have a frame of reference for how these creatures usually behave. Maybe they are as docile and positionable as a Walking Stick or a Praying Mantis! It was cooperative for the photos for the most part, and was let go after the photo shoots in UV and visible light. It was placed on a camera filter with a reflective coating, a MidOpt 900nm infrared filter. I thought the mirror would reflect UV well since the filter was designed only to pass longer IR wavelengths, and I was right.

I’m using two flashes modified for full-spectrum photography (Vivitar 285HVs, really cheap on eBay). I disassembled the flashes to remove the UV-blocking plastic from in front of the Xenon flash tubes, and then used gaffer’s tape to affix Hoya U-340 and MidOpt BP365 filters in front of them. The combination of these two filters block all visible light, but let UV light pass through. These two flashes were set to maximum output at point-blank range, and the camera still needed to be set to ISO 4000 for this exposure. Thankfully the cicada was standing perfectly still, allowing for a focus stack of six images.

I have a feeling I’m going to try this again with more bugs.
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Don Komarechka's profile photoLori Cannon's profile photo
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+Don Komarechka ok Canon it is. :)
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Turn knobs, press buttons, and take pictures.
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  • Georgian College
    Part-time Faculty, 2010 - present
  • Don Komarechka Photography
    Owner / Photographer, 2008 - present
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barrie, ontario - sudbury, ontario
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Nature & Landscape Photographer, Teacher, gadget geek. :)
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  • Georgian College
    Advertising, 2007 - 2009
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