Vin Singh Photography: Blog en-us (C) Kulvinder Singh 2008-2021 [email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:11:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:11:00 GMT Vin Singh Photography: Blog 84 120 Iceland Workshop September 2017 Iceland Workshop – Sept 2017

Iceland is the Mecca for landscape photographers offering some of the world’s most extraordinary landscapes most of which are easily accessible. With some easy hiking, other extraordinary opportunities also present themselves and offer some unique photographic opportunities typically not captured.

This workshop will focus on the southern parts of Iceland. The main focus of the tour will be glaciers and glacial lagoons, icebergs on a black beach, waterfalls, highlands, coastal features, and the Northern Lights (Aurora borealis) if the conditions are conducive. The itinerary will be kept as flexible as possible to ensure that we’ll have clear skies to be able to photograph the Northern Lights.

The workshops are about improving your photography as well as experiencing unique and exciting locations. We will be out photographing with you every day, helping you to realize the images you’re after and encourage you to explore and see the landscape in new ways. We are as passionate about photography as you are and participating in an intense photographic journey with a group of like-minded individuals is an essential way to grow as a photographer. We will be always be at hand to assist with specific techniques, such as Aurora photography at night, composition, and the artistic effects of long-time exposure settings for waterfall and water movement shooting.


Accommodation and food

If you are traveling with a partner or a friend and want to share accommodation the cost will be less (per person) than a single room. Please let us know your preferred accommodation requirements (single/double occupancy) in advance so that we can make appropriate arrangements. All meals and drinks are included with the exception of Alcoholic beverages. If you have special dietary requirements please advise us in advance so that we can accommodate.

The itinerary

As always in Iceland, the weather will be unpredictable and variable and we may have sunshine, snow, rain, wind and probably a bit of everything else. But the unpredictability and variations of the weather is just what makes for fantastic photographic opportunities. However, the unpredictable weather can limit what we can do and where we can go. Therefore there will flexibility within the itinerary so that we can change plans according to the weather.

Day 1: In Vik area with opportunities to photograph two iconic waterfalls and black beach.

Day 2-3: Jokulsarlon: great area for photographing Icebergs, glaciers, black beach, mountains and waterfalls. Also a beautiful setting for Aurora photography.

Days 4-5: Golden Circle area. Opportunities for more waterfalls, landmannalaugar (weather permitting), canyons and geysers.

Days 6-7: Snaefellsnes area (west coast). Rugged coastline with iconic pyramid mountain and waterfalls.

Aurora photography throughout trip when conditions permit.



In order to provide the best possible education, training, and comfort, we recommend that you bring the following equipment:

  • Wide angle and telephoto lens; something in the range of 14mm up to 200mm (35mm full frame equivalent)

  • ND filters (3 stop, 8 stop)

  • Remote Trigger

  • Tripod

  • Waterproof overshoes

  • Variety of clothing for accommodating wind, rain, snow and thermal clothing for temperatures typically ranging from 0C to 10C

Trip details

Date: Sept 13–19, 2017
Duration: 7 days/6 nights
Cost: $4,400 CDN for shared accommodation / $4,900 CDN for single (required for a solo traveler)

Includes: Transportation in Iceland, accommodation, all food and non-alcoholic beverages, guidance, daily reviews, after trip review of selected images, and one 24” print.
Excludes: Flights, insurance and taxes.
Maximum Group size: 8
Leaders: Vin Singh, Alexander Rocco, Harjit Singh

Discount of 10% for anyone that attended previous workshops.



With over 60 years of photographic and artistic experience between the trio, you will be in good hands during the workshop.


Vin Singh:

Vin's work has been showcased in Photolife, B+W and Silvershotz magazines, CBC Nature of Things and Nikon calendars and other promotional media. Vin has numerous awards both in Canada as well as internationally including "World Class Photographer” of the 118th Toronto International Salon of Photography. He has exhibited in many shows in Toronto as well as Los Angeles.

Harjit Singh:

Harjit has received numerous awards both in Canada and internationally. He has exhibited his artwork in many art shows in the greater Toronto area and been a featured artist in local art galleries.

Alexander Rocco:

Alexander Eros Rocco is an award-winning photographer and visual artist, born in Santiago Chile and based in Toronto, Canada. Rocco has exhibited in galleries in Canada, the USA, and his images have appeared in various magazines such as Black & White, Photolife, and Fashion Unlimited. He has collected various awards such as PX3 Prix de La Photographie Paris – Press Fashion Silver Medal, IPA Awards – Lucie Foundation – 1st Place Advertising Beauty, 9th Annual Black & White Spider Awards – Nature & Fashion Nominee, and Silvershotz – Volume 9 Experience 6 – Cover Photo.

Please see Iceland Gallery for example photographs





[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Aurora Black Beach Exposures Iceland Jokulsarlon Long Northern Lights Phorographic Photography Waterfalls Workshop Mon, 09 Jan 2017 03:26:00 GMT
Artist Project So far there has been great interest in my new work involving time and motion in Spain.  Thank you to all that have visited me so far!  Today is the fair's last day, so if you haven't come by yet please do so.  Here is a link to the show:  

[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Sun, 21 Feb 2016 15:20:30 GMT
Artist Project Thanks to all that visited my booth at the Artist Project (Feb 19-22, Toronto).  Great show with many talented artists and an honour to be there.  While my most popular pieces continue to be images from Olympic National Park and Iceland, I was encouraged to see that many patrons loved the images from Italy.  This is especially true as this year I am planning to photograph a few more destinations in Europe, both Architectural and Landscape.

[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Artist Exhibition Photography Project Toronto Fri, 06 Mar 2015 03:35:20 GMT
Iceland September 18-24 2014 Iceland workshop details are now up at  A novice photographer?  Not a problem, we can help you take some amazing shots in Iceland.  Not to mention the thought of seeing with your own eyes: glaciers, icebergs, amazing waterfalls, geysers and mountains!


[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Alexander Amazing Landscapes Harjit Icevergs Rocco Singh Vin Waterfalls iceland photography workshop Tue, 25 Mar 2014 13:04:36 GMT
Workshops Sorry for the delay on the workshop schedule.  

1) The Iceland workshop will take place Sept 18-24 2014. (Limit 10 persons)

2) A 4 day Workshop at Olympic national Park in early May 2014 (Limit 4 persons)

3) A 4 day Workshop in Banff/Jasper Provincial Park in August 2014 (Limit 6 persons)


We are still finalizing details and hope to have full details shortly.  Please see for further details.



[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Banff Iceland Jasper Olympic National Park Photography Phototour Workshop Wed, 12 Mar 2014 19:47:06 GMT
Artist Project Thank you all who dropped by my booth at the Artist Project.  I had many inquiries on what location most of the work was taken (Iceland).  Which of course led to the inevitable question of how to get there and where to photograph.  I did my best to answer most questions but please do not hesitate to ask any more questions.  As for our workshops, we will be posting the 2014/2015 workshop/photo tour schedule on our Visceral Images site, hopefully by end of next week (9th March 2014).  Likely destinations are Iceland, Olympic National Park, Death Valley or Banff/Jasper National Parks.

Sejlandafoss #1301Sejlandafoss #1301Year 2013
23" X 32" Edition of 10

[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Banff Death Iceland Jasper National Olympic Park Valley photography Thu, 27 Feb 2014 19:16:02 GMT
The Artist Project Art Show I will be presenting 12 framed pieces at The Artist Project, a Juried exhibit, from Feb 20-23.  Some amazing work from me and 250 other Artists will not disappoint The event will be held at the better living centre, CNE, Toronto.  I will have works from Iceland and Olympic National Park.  Hope to see you there at booth 913!


[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Artist Project Black Beach Iceland Jokulsarlon Olympic National Park Rialto Vik Sat, 08 Feb 2014 04:52:31 GMT
Art Exhibit Hello fellow art lovers!  12 of my colleagues and myself are having a photographic art show in Toronto.  The venue is at the Columbus Centre, Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery.  We will have approx. 100 stunning images ranging from 16"x20" to over 6' panoramic in various styles and finishes.  Event will run from 9th May 2013 to 3rd June 2013.  All 13 artists will be there on May 22.  Hope to see you there!


[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Convergence 13 Exhibition Photography Sat, 27 Apr 2013 02:33:52 GMT
Thanks to your local photography club  



I'm a member of two photography clubs (Toronto Digital Photography Club and the Toronto Focal Forum).  I joined several years ago to better my photographic skills but most importantly to get out and shoot.  Photography, like any other hobby or career, has to be consistently practiced and explored or else as the saying goes "use it or lose it".  


Photography clubs offer a great avenue to shoot in places (or subjects) that one normally does to go to.  If you have been reading/viewing my previous posts, you will pretty much know that I like landscape and human photography but haven't really talked about interior architectural stuff.  The posted photograph was a direct result of our photography club having an outing to Toronto's Elgin Theatre.  I would never have ventured into this place as it was never on my radar of places to shoot.  Glad I did it's a beautiful theatre with lots of detail to photograph.

Now where else could you have weely meetings, outings to great places, interesting and established photographers sharing their knowledge for as little as $60/year?  Not many, but your local photography club is one!


-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Sun, 27 Jan 2013 19:33:00 GMT
Been there done that, but let's do it again  



I've written abaout this before but let's have another replay.  This scene is instantly recognizable as it has been photographed by millions each and every year.  In case you don't recognize the place, it is Yosemite Valley from tunnel view point.  This place was the playground of Ansel Adams and anyone else who loves the natural mountainscapes.  I know this is not a unique capture but when you are there looking down at this beautiful scene (just after snowfall) why wouldn't you want to photograph it?  "I was there to see this!!!" . Pictures really do not do it justice.  The scene before you is thousands of metres (or feet for the Americans) in height and width, snowcapped trees, clouds and waterfalls all in one place...truly have to be there.  Which brings me to the point: Enjoy the scene before you.  Think about what you are feeling, then try to capture the feeling by photographing it.  If you do it in reverse order, you may not appreciate the scene, mess up the shot (as you aren't thinking about what and why you are photographing it) and really not remember why you are out there (to enjoy nature) when you don't see to right results through the 3" screen.




Single shot D800E. f 8 @1/25s, 24-70mm Nikkor at 24mm.


-Vin Singh


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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Tue, 15 Jan 2013 20:50:00 GMT
Yoho Valley, Early Morning  



This photograph is not what it seems to be.  On first look it looks like a shot of a foggy scene.  However, if ones looks closer, there are parts of the trees that are lit up by the sunlight and other parts that are obscured by 'fog'.


The scene is actually back lit by the sun with mist coming off of a nearby waterfall.  It was almost a 'rain' event as we were getting soaked with the water falling all around us.  In addition, since I was shooting into the sun, controlling flare was a pain as there was water droplets falling on the lens.  Above us was blue sky.  This beautiful scene lasted about 3 minutes.  Luckily (with some good judgment) I was able to get what I wanted.

Hand Held, 1/320 sec; f5.6, using Nikkor 24-70 @ 70mm, Nikon D800E (who said you can't shoot handheld with a D800?  This looks great on 24X36 print)


Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Sun, 09 Dec 2012 17:46:00 GMT
Fire-Wave, Valley of Fire  





Many photos of the fire-wave from the valley of fire, just outside (60km)  of Las Vegas.  Most of them are in colour with the occasional interpretation in monochrome.  I chose to represent in black and white for a few reasons.  1)  Just to be different.  2)  I felt that on this particular day, the sky/colour combination just didn't work. 3)  Wanted the picture to have some "punch" in the wave bands without the image looking way over-done.  My only gripe is that I wish somehow I could have gotten the tip of the wave a little higher over the background cliffs.

This was a two shot pano taken with D3X, 24mm PC-E.


-Vin Singh


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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Mon, 03 Dec 2012 20:13:00 GMT
The Grand, Venice, Italy  



With such a beautiful view, it's hard to totally mess up this shot.  It may not be entirely unique, but is a must anyways.  In this image, I have attempted to give an 'old world' look to it by using a monochrome warm tone finish.  However, the power boats contradict this...but what can be done of it as they are more prevalent than the human powered ones:)  One interesting thing shooting in Italy with such old buildings - many of them do not have straight walls.  So when attempting to get straight architectural lines keep this in mind...sometimes nothing lines up as it should.


-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Sun, 04 Nov 2012 07:22:00 GMT



There was so much going on in the scene around this simple 'S' roadway:  It was early morning, sun rising with orange glow around the hills.  In the foreground and in the distance, there were hot sulphur plumes everywhere.  It would make an excellent image as well, however I decided to focus on the much simpler 'S' on the road.  This road could be anywhere in the world (although maybe not with red hills like these) but the location is not what makes it interesting.  It's the shape and imagining driving on the road that makes it interesting.  Of course, you can't shoot it in the middle of the day and the beautiful colours get all washed out :)


Vin Singh




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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Mon, 08 Oct 2012 16:43:00 GMT
Traffic flow, Gardiner Expressway, Toronto  



Some more uses for a ND filter.  Sure, I could have waited a little longer when the sky darkened and not have to use one, but then I would have any ugly black sky instead of this ugly orange one!  I could also have used a much smaller f-stop (like f22) but then I would be losing resolution.


-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Sat, 29 Sep 2012 21:32:00 GMT
Another Iceland Pic: Skogafoss  



Beautiful waterfall Skogafoss.  You can walk right up to the falls or hike up a path beside the falls and view from half way up or at the top.  Several waterfalls in the area.  This is one of the main tourist falls in the area, however in May when this was taken, only a handful of people about.


-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Tue, 04 Sep 2012 19:39:00 GMT
The Grotto, Bruce Peninsula  



A little tired today...thought I would just share a pic from our last workshop :)



-Vin Singh


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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Tue, 04 Sep 2012 19:29:00 GMT
Dettifoss, Iceland  




Did you ever notice that colours that you see when you are taking pictures change in your mind when you think about the place say two or three months later?  Add to the mix that your camera will alter those colours depending on your settings.  Of course for shooter like myself who shoot RAW and settings in camera to be neutral with minimal contrast, cannot rely of the images for colour accuracy.  Yes, you can take a colour checker shot as a reference but that takes the fun out of it.

I don't think that all of the above is necessary a bad thing.  It gives me a little bit of creative freedom.  I can (and my mind usually does) alter the scene to my liking and give my photographs MY perception or rather MY artistic interpretation of the scene.  There is a place for accuracy in photographs but not always so.

-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Tue, 28 Aug 2012 21:55:00 GMT
Aldeyjarfoss, Iceland  



This is a beautiful waterfall located about a half an hour south of Godafoss (Northern Iceland).  This was a sunrise shot (composite).  I was able to get the sunburst look by stopping down the lens to f13.  Perhaps, could have been better at f16 but was running to just catch this before it was gone.  Only got a shot in before the sun was too high.


This is another one of those "didn't get there early enough to think and plan the shot" deals.  We got a little misdirected looking or these falls after shooting Godafoss earlier in the morning.  Due to the fact that I was shooting directly into the sun (and my Nikkor 14-24 lens probably not clean enough), I have plenty of flare in this image.  I could spend some time removing it, but I don't mind it as it is.

-Vin singh






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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Thu, 16 Aug 2012 22:10:00 GMT
Black Beach, Jökulsárlón, Iceland  



It's been a hectic month with no chance of photography or photography posts.  Thought I leave an image for my followers :)  This was taken on our last trip to Iceland in May.  Around 3 am Iceland time.  Cheers, and thanks for you patience :)



Vin Singh




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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Tue, 07 Aug 2012 20:10:00 GMT
Wiarton, Ontario (Bruce Peninsula Workshop)  



Last week we started our drive to Bruce National Park at 2:30am.  Although we have been there numerous times, we wanted to ensure ourselves of where the light would be in the morning for our workshop (plug:  We have two spaces available for Monday July 9). 


Of course we knew that we would not make it for sunrise - that would have required us to leave an hour earlier - we were hoping for a lucky shot somewhere along the way.  We got it, barely: as we approached Wiarton the sky took on magnificent shades of red and orange.  We knew there was a marina in the area drove to it.  No time for pondering or any other thoughtful process.  Just get the camera out, set the ISO, fstop, focus and shoot (and pray the focus was good enough, shutter speed was high enough for a decently sharp exposure).  Thirty seconds later, the light was gone...the clouds covered the sun..and that was that.


Camera: D800E; lens: Nikkor 24 PCE; ISO 400;  Hand held 1/30s @ f5.6.  Yes, it's too low, especially on D800 but it worked out good enough for a 19" print :)

-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Wed, 04 Jul 2012 20:29:00 GMT
Iceland - Weather Unknown  



All good things come to those who wait...and wait...and wait.  That's what it felt like for the first 4 days in Iceland.  We landed Monday morning to great skies with some nice clouds.  By the time we reached Vik, we had 80-100km/h winds and pouring rain.  The next day was to be better, but the same results.  Each day, the weather forecast would be calling for partly cloudy or cloudy skies with maybe a hint of rain but we got drenched.


So what did we do?  Like troopers, even though it was constantly raining, we we out there shooting.  The wind made it really tough.  Every day back at the hotel, we would spend a half an hour drying our equipment.  All in all, we got some interesting shots (will post later).  Thanks to some decent weather sealing in our equipment, I did not worry much about equipment failure...I did not even use any rain gear for it.  Just kept a few cloths in the bag and wiped occasionally (the lens after each shot as it was constantly wet).

What equipment?  There were three of us shooting.  We had an array of Nikon equipment: D3X, D800, D700, D300 and a couple of D3000 IR converted bodies.  For lenses we had: 14-24 2.8, 17-35 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 24 PC-E and 45 PC-E all Nikkor Lenses.  All in all, zero equipment failure but my brothers Roots Sport Watch called it quits in the rain!

On the 5th day, we saw our first rain free sunrise.  This picture was shot at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.  This was taken around 3:00am.  Nikon 24-70 on D3X body.  A fantastic place with hundreds of house sized glaciers.  You can shoot for hours and find all kinds of shapes and colours to work with.

It's been a challenging few weeks so bear with me while I work on a few images to write about.


-Vin Singh


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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Sun, 17 Jun 2012 21:08:00 GMT
More Badlands  



I just came back from a trip to Iceland.  While I would have liked to have shown a few pics from there, I don't think that's going to happen as soon as I would have liked.  To start with, one of my cards went kaput in the middle of a download to the PC.  I was lucky that I had backed up that specific card.  However, this could also have happened when I was initially making the backup and I could have potentially have lost many hundreds of pics (yes I know there are recovery software tools out there...tried a few but only managed to get 15% of the pics).  The better way is to use the second slot (if you have one) on your camera as a duplicate storage.  Learned my lesson...will do next time.


Now the pic in hand.  This was taken in the same location as my previous post.  However, for this pic, I wanted to show some stars.  I was in luck as shooting in the opposite direction gave me some clouds and some clearing which is a little more dramatic. Processed in a similar manner as the previous photo, I wanted the red and magenta colours to come out for a more dramatic presentation.

Due to the fact that I used an ultra-wide lens, I was able to get away with a 80sec exposure without showing star trails.

For my next post, I will discuss what worked and what didn't work during the Iceland trip as we had many challenges (weather being the main barrier).  Check back in a weeks time (or follow my space).

Notes on pic:

Nikon D3X using 14-24f2.8 lens, 80second exposure ISO 400.


-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) backup badlands error exposure flash long night ontario photography storage Thu, 31 May 2012 20:32:00 GMT
The Badlands, Cheltenham Ontario  



It may look like a sunset or sunrise photograph, but it is not.  This was actually taken around midnight with the moon glowing behind some clouds.  Combined with the light pollution from the city of Brampton and a nice long exposure, some interesting things happen.  Yes, the choice of white balance when I was processing the image (from RAW) also helps :)


-Vin Singh


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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) badlands exposure long night ontario photography Sun, 13 May 2012 20:06:00 GMT
Bruce Peninsula Photography Workshop  

International award winning photographers Alexander Rocco, Harjit Singh and myself (Vin Singh) are providing a landscape photography workshop in beautiful Bruce Peninsula.  This area of Ontario is only a three hour drive from Toronto and has some beautiful waterfalls, coastlines and rock formations to photograph. We have been working hard in developing a truly unique workshop experience with a 4 to 1 student to teacher ratio.  We will be providing continuous hands on training (as required) throughout the morning and evening shoots.  In addition, there will be an evaluative discussion period for photographs taken on the first two shooting locations.

Bruce 1dsc2741aw

Some of the topics covered:

-Seeing the light
-Short and long exposure techniques
-Tilt and shift lens shooting
-Effects of ISO; Aperture and Shutter speed on images
-Wide angle photography

For more information or to register go to:  http//









*Exact times may change



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) and angle landscape lens night photography shift tilt ultra-wide wide workshop Sun, 13 May 2012 19:58:00 GMT
Looking for a way out  



Layers are a great way to enhance photographs for a grungy look.  I felt that this ossuary photograph required a little more sinister look.  Three textures later in addition to some dodging and burning, I achieved what I was after.  The pose of the person standing is another matter - not exactly what I had in mind but it works good enough.


The challenge in this scene was to try to retain some detail in the window and have the rest of the image still acceptably bright and detailed.  I could have done that with multiple exposures (HDR) but these days, some of the DSLR cameras have pretty amazing dynamic range.  This makes it easier to lift the shadows and preserve detail.

-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Thu, 03 May 2012 22:31:00 GMT
Somewhere near San Francisco, CA  



Many of my blog reader will know that I love to work with long exposures. Something about capturing images that have changed in the duration that the exposure took place in fascinates me.  We see the individual parts of the scene changing over time but the camera records all of it as a single frame - something that is tough to visualize.


The only way to get the result you are happy with is to experiment with the duration.  What may work on one subject matter on a given day may not work on another day or subject. My suggestions are to start with a 1s exposure, then keep doubling it until you are happy with the result.

However, as you will note from previous blogs, you will need to use Neutral Density (ND) filters.  They are usually available in 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 stop ranges (with other ones in the mix depending on manufacturer).  Remember, each stop of ND filter allows you to double the exposure time (for a given ISO and f-stop).  For example, if your camera meters 1/2 of a second, then a 3-stop filter will allow you to expose for 4 seconds.  You can stack ND filters: 2  3-stop filters is the same as a 6-stop filter.

This image was exposed for 20 seconds using a 12 stop filter.


-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Wed, 25 Apr 2012 20:27:00 GMT
Heading: Unknown  



Ever plan a photographic outing (within a few hours drive) and the photographs do nothing for you.  You are familiar with the area because you were smart and did all the research online, making sure you knew what kinds of photographs were to be taken. Somehow that excitement about seeing something for the first time doesn't feel great - maybe because you already seen it online.


Well sometimes, it's good just to pick a direction and drive.  Then take a couple of secondary roads and see what happens.  This sort of strategy usually doesn't work.  But every now and then, you see great photographic opportunities that are nowhere to be seen on the net.  I'm sure that many people have taken them, but just not posted where they are easily found. 

This photograph is just one of many taken last weekend.  We had a rough idea where we wanted to end up (which we did not end up in).  Took a few side-roads near honey harbour in Ontario (an hours drive north of Toronto) and spent several hours photographing.  A worthwhile adventure to the unknown.

-Vin Singh


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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Mon, 23 Apr 2012 21:14:00 GMT
Antelope Canyon, Page  


Vin_singh_dsc1330vin_singh_DSC1330.jpg.scaled500 Vin_singh_dsc1218dvin_singh_DSC1218d.jpg.scaled500

Picking up from my last post, sometimes a re-shoot needs to be done.  Let's face facts and admit it didn't work out.  That could be technically, artistically or circumstances beyond your control.  With me, on this shoot that I did a few years back, it was a technical and artistic mess-up.  I rushed my photographs.  The result:


1)  Not enough depth of field in many of my images

2) Not artistically strong enough.

Sure, there are always a few winners but not of what I was hoping for.  But that's OK, lessons learned and the positive thing - a need to go back :)

-Vin Singh


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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Thu, 12 Apr 2012 20:31:00 GMT
Webster's Falls, Dundas Ontario  


Vin_singh_d3x7104vin_singh_D3X7104.jpg.scaled500 Vin_singh_dsc3332pfvin_singh_DSC3332pf.jpg.scaled500

Most of us will likely travel to overseas destinations (same location) only once for photography.  If we do go a second time to the same area, we will generally shoot something else unless we really mucked up the first time.


What we fail to get is that the light for any area is changing (angle of the sun) throughout the year.  Combine that with the fact that we have to account for weather variations on top of that, it's hard to imagine that the first time will be the 'one'. 

I have on example here two photographs of the same place.  The colour one was just taken yesterday and the BW photograph was taken a few years ago in the month of October.  Usually speaking the water flow is usually more in the spring and less in the fall, however due to freaky weather, this is reversed in the examples.  One more reason to re-visit the same spot.

If we only had unlimited financial resources and time to visit those exotic places several times, life would be grand.

-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Sat, 07 Apr 2012 18:41:00 GMT
Pyramid Lake, Jasper  



Another favourite place to take photographs just 5 min drive from downtown Jasper.  Didn't get any clouds on this visit but the sun lighting up the peaks of pyramid mountain was fine enough for me.  We had just a hint of fog hovering over the lake...a bit more would have been nice.


The rock in the foreground was just a few feet away.  I used the 24 TSE lens to get foreground and background in sharp focus.


-Vin Singh




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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Mon, 02 Apr 2012 21:31:00 GMT
Showing Scale  



I used to hate having any human subjects in my landscape shots.  I still don't like to.  However, sometimes you need to include people (or animals) to add scale (and interest).


This photograph shows two hikers making their way up on the two biggest mesquite dunes in Death Valley.  These dunes, while fairly large are quite a bit smaller than the Eureka dunes (also in the park but a little more remote) and the dunes found in Colorado.  That being said, take a look at how small the two figures are...just dots on this example and barely detectable ( and hence the bright red markings I had to put to point them out).  On a 13"X19" print they are easily seen and add interest and scale.

Photograph details:

Camera: Nikon D200

Lens:  Nikkor 70-200 @ 80mm

Shutter 1/300s @ f6.3


-Vin Singh


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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Mon, 26 Mar 2012 20:03:00 GMT
Infrared or Colour Capture?  



If you've ever been to Banff National Park, no doubt this is one of the places you ended up seeing.  It is one of the most photographed vistas in the rockies (lake moraine and the valley of the ten peaks).  The old Canadian twenty dollar bill used to have this on one side.


Nothing new here to see but it doesn't matter much, I still go to this place every time I've been in the area because it is simply beautiful to see and hike around in.  Hopefully one of my visits will give me some dramatic sky with some fog or snow so that I can get a more unique capture.

So what to do if the sky is just not cooperating and you want a little more mood?  Pull out your infra-red converted camera (or an infrared filter for your camera) and voila...a completely different look.



With infrared photography, the greens take on a white, snow covered like look and the sky gets nice and dark.  Sometimes the image is so drastically different that it doesn't even look like the same place.  Not quite the effect here, but completely different mood.  Take your pic, I like both for different reasons.


If you have an old DSLR kicking about, it may be worthwhile getting it converted.  The cost is around $400.  Alternatively, you can get an Infra-Red filter but the cost savings is not huge as they are over $200 for a 77mm size.  In addition, you will not be able to hand hold one using a filter as it usually required long exposures.  This is due to the fact that many modern DSLR cameras have a filter in front of the sensor to minimize infrared light.

-Vin Singh


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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Banff DSLR conversion Infrared Jasper National Park Tue, 20 Mar 2012 05:11:19 GMT
Anticipate the Moment  



This model was getting her make-up put on before she hit the runway.  For the five minutes before this shot, she was looking down, allowing the make-up artist to get her eyes, cheeks etc.  I wanted her to be involved in my photograph.  So I waited...and waited...and waited.  For a split second, she looked up, right into my camera lens.  Because I was anticipating the moment (because this the scenario I had pre-visualized), I was able to press the shutter release and get the moment I wanted.  A half a second later, the make-up artist moved over and she looked away.  I only got to fire a single shot.  But that was all I needed.


What was I doing before this moment.  Making sure that my focus was locked on, exposure was at the optimal setting and most of all anticipating....



1/640s; F2.8; Nikkor 70-200 2.8 @ 200mm; ISO 500

-Vin Singh


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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) anticipate fashion l'oreal fashion show toronto Thu, 08 Mar 2012 17:58:00 GMT
Into The Storm  



Unusual weather conditions can help create dramatic scenes.  In this image the lightning, moody clouds and the warm glow in the distance help keep the viewer's interest.  The leading lines from the tracks into the storm also help.


We spent a few hours chasing this storm through various communities, hoping for a decent shot.  We got lucky finding the lighting and the tracks just about an hour before the sun set and the storm diminished.  The day paid off as this image ended up in the 2011 Calendar of CBC's the Nature of Things with David Suzuki :)

Now the more interesting details...How did I take this?

Lightning can be pretty tricky to shoot by trying to time it.  Most are just too quick for the finger to trigger quickly enough (some strikes spread slowly over the whole sky and are doable). So the trick is the use long exposure (for evidence, check the clouds for movement).  In this particular case I used 30 seconds at ISO 200 (base for D300) and f-6.

Since this shot was taken before the sun set - although cloudy - there was still plenty of light.  The above settings on their own would have over exposed the entire scene.  To compensate for this, I used a 12 stop Neutral Density (ND) filter (about $130 for a 77mm size).  A neutral density filter is just a darkened filter that does not alter anything except the amount of light passing through it.  This particular filter is so dark that you cannot view much through it.  This leads to some issues.  If you simply put this on your lens with autofocus and metering to anything other than manual, you will not succeed.  IT's simply too dark for the autofocus or metering to work effectively.  Here's what I do:

1) Manual or autofocus on the subject without the filter.  

2) Turn off autofocus

3) Manually meter the scene (First decide on f-stop the adjust shutter speed until you get the exposure right)

4) Take a shot and make sure you get the result you want (not over-exposed or under-exposed)

5) Put the filter on

6) Adjust the shutter speed to compensate for the ND filter (example: metering before filter indicated 1/200sec -> final shutter speed should be 1/25sec.  If you are confused about this please see previous blog: f-stop-iso-and-shutter-speed)

7) Take the shot!

Don't forget to use a tripod and remote trigger (wireless or cable).  If you don't have a trigger, use timer.  Although I used the 12-stop filter, this could have been accomplished with a 3 or 6 stop filter and bumping up the f-stop (some softness may occur if you go too high).  In the end, if you have to choose only 1 ND filter a 3 or 6 stop is more versatile in your bag than a 12-stop.

Remember not to step on tracks if near lightning, even though as in this case, the lightning is a mile or so away.

-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) David Suzuki Long exposure Nature of Things lightning storm Thu, 01 Mar 2012 20:33:00 GMT
The Watchman, Zion National Park  



This is one of the most photographed views in the United States (doesn't crack the top 5 though).  It's only three hours from Las Vegas.  Typically photographed as a sunset shot, it is so popular that there are places marked for "photographers" on the bridge that I took this from.  So taking this photograph on a typical day will not get you a very unique image (unless there is some unusual weather conditions).  However, if you are there why not take it?  It's still a eautiful scene!


I took this at about mid morning in April.  Twenty minutes earlier it was completely overcast, windy and cold.  Hence, my collegues and myself were the only ones shooting.  I guess we got a little lucky - no fighting for spots.  Not the ideal light but the scene was utterly dull before the sun appeared.

One of the best things to photograph in Zion called the "Subway" was too deep in cold water for us to venture into during our brief stay, but if you are in the Vegas area, this park as well as the Valley of Fire, Bryce Canyon, Paria,  and of course the Grand Canyon are all worth the drive.

-Vin Singh




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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Las Vegas Most Photographed Nation Park Zion Tue, 21 Feb 2012 20:38:00 GMT
Timing Is Everything  



As we say in photography over and over:  It's all about the light.  A few posts back I was talking about when to photograph landscapes.  In a nutshell, I mentioned that it is generally best just after sunrise and just before sunset (with of course many exceptions).  I was rummaging through some photographs from a family trip last year and had a sequence of photographs that emphasized  just how short that "magic light" period really is. 


The two photographs attached are taken only 30 minutes apart.  They are of the same mountains in the Sedona area, just a different crop and angle as I was making my way up "Bell Rock".  The one taken first, the sky barely retains any detail, shadows are strong (too dark) compared to the red rock.  Speaking of the "Red Rocks", they do not really look to red, rather a pale orange thing.  Not a very effective image.

The second one taken a mere 30 minutes later, has deep colours, the sky (although lacking in some drama due to only a few low lying clouds) has detail.  The foreground, although in complete shadow, doesn't appear as deep and contrasts favourable against the red rocks.

So the next time you see before you a great scenery and it still an hour or two before sunset, do yourself a favour and make sure you see it (and photograph it) as the sun sets.  It will most likely go from great to amazing.

Some notes, both images taken with Panasonic GF1, hand held using a 17mm f1.7 kit lens.  This combination cost me around $700.  The images are good enough for 13"x19" print. The newer model is even better.  I use this combo when on family trips - it's much more practical that using my DSLRs and the big lenses that go with them.  So what I'm essentially saying is that you don't need to spend $$$ - even point and shoots should be able to get images like this without much fuss as long as you wait for the right light.


-Vin Singh






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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Bell Rock GF1 Panasonic Sedona Fri, 17 Feb 2012 19:01:00 GMT
Near, Middle and Far  



The challenge in wide angle shooting as opposed to telephoto shooting is that there is usually a large depth of field involved.  With telephoto shooting, there is usually a strong subject matter and limited depth of field (out of focus background behind and/or in front).  This is especially true of bird photography where the intent is to have the bird in focus and the background smooth and out of focus, eliminating any distracting elements such as branches.


However, with landscape (normal to wide), the object is usually to have relatively sharp focus from front to back (it's ok to have distant subjects a little out of focus indicating large distances). The wider the angle, the more foreground there usually is to deal with.  If anyone has ever tried very wide lenses, it's not so easy taking interesting images.  That is usually because there is nothing of interest in the foreground and middle ground.  This makes only the background is of interest and the image fails as a whole (unless there is some extraordinary lighting etc).

The image attached, I believe has something of interest in the foreground all the way to the far distance.  This was a relatively easy example but sometimes it's not so easy.  How do you work on this?  There are many ways, but one is to get lower to the ground and put subjects like flowers, rocks into the bottom of the frame.  In order to have foreground and background in focus you will need our lens set to f8 or higher (see previous blog on how to use hyper-focal settings to maximize depth of field). If shooting at a distant mountain, hopefully a lake will allow you to use reflections as the middle ground.  Otherwise, trees, shrubs etc can be easily used for middle ground subjects.

How did I get the foggy look on the shore?  See my previous blog: on long exposures.

-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Composition Depth of Field Wide Angle Fri, 10 Feb 2012 19:25:00 GMT
Panoramics, Megapixels and Large Prints  



Until recently, affordable digital SLR ($500-$2000) cameras where "limited" to less than 10Megapixels.  I use the word limited with quotes for a few reasons.  First of all, if you love to watch your photographs with friends or family on your 50" high definition television (HDTV) - and most people think they look fabulous - you are actually only watching a 2 Megapixel image.  Nobody looks at a 50" TV from 6 inches away, we usually will watch it from 5-15 feet away.  In this case no camera on the market today from $50 upwards is pixel limited.


If your are printing the standard 4"x6" or 8"x10" photographs the same case applies, no camera on the market is holding you back.  Even cell phone cameras can print those sizes with great results.

Large prints on another hand are a different matter.  My best selling photographs are usually printed large (3 - 10 feet on the long side).  This image, I believe looks good printed about 3-6 feet wide.  The problem then is that people, for all sorts of reasons, will want to go up close (6 -12 inches away) and look at the detail.  With 6MP or 12MP it's just not going to get there.

What to do? Well you can just rent or buy a $40,000 Medium format 40 or 80 MegaPixel camera, but I think that for most of us the money would be better spent somewhere else.  An easier option is to "stitch" multiple photographs together.  Lets get the needle out!  The idea is to take multiple photographs of the scene and then use software like photoshop (many others) to combine them into a single photograph (These days it is real simple, just click the images you want to stitch and let the software do it's thing).  The attached photograph was a 4 shot stitch.  I can print this image about 6 feet wide and it will still look great at 1 foot away (not that it's the best way to view a pano! ).

Some simple tricks for creating panoramic photographs (some of these can be overcome by good software):

1) Use a tripod - even though in good light you may not need one, you'll less likely to make a mistake

2) If you have the flexibility with your camera, use aperture priority, select the aperture you want to shoot at.  Then scan across the entire scene, note the highest shutter speed. Put the camera into Manual mode and set for the aperture and shutter speed noted.

3) Set the White Balance (best guess).  This can be changed later if shooting RAW.

4) Overlap your images by about 30% - it gives the software an easier time and prevents you from accidentally missing an area.

5) Maximize your flexibility by shooting in portrait orientation.

6) Happy shooting :)

You've now got 12, 24, 36, 48, 124....Megapixel camera "limited" not!

For you that are novices, I may have mentioned a few things in here that you may not have understood.  I will do my best to respond to any questions, so don't hesitate to ask!


-Vin Singh



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Large Prints Panoramic Shooting Panoramic Technique Fri, 03 Feb 2012 17:49:00 GMT
Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley  



Landscape photographers have to wake up a few hours before dawn and make their way to the desired location before the light - usually in total darkness (unless you are somewhere near the poles in summer :~) ).  Last time a group of us photographers were out in death valley, we hit these dunes in pure darkness.  We had no sense of direction as there was no moon out and could not see any features, mostly because in the rush of things, the GPS was forgotten.  So to get to the point (pun intended), scope out the location the day before and when you get to the area or exact location that you would like to photograph, mark it on your GPS.  On the way back, ensure your tracks are recorded.  The following morning should then be a simple task for your GPS unit to track back.  Just remember the flashlight.


-Vin Singh




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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Desert Dunes Early Morning Light GPS for photography Landscape Fri, 27 Jan 2012 18:09:00 GMT



Applying textures to your photographs can create a different look and feel.  This can be very subtle to a complete change in the look and feel of an image.  Layering works particularly well with portraiture when the maker wishes to convey an old or sandy (grainy) kind of feel.  In this example, I applied a photograph of sandstone ontop of a photograph of an Italian town (Monorola).  In addition I punched up the colours.


It obviously isn't anything remotely to what I saw with the naked eye.  However, since it was raining, evening shot (quite dark) and generally drab, why wouldn't I want to alter it?  Who would really want to see the original capture?  Not me :)

Experiment with textures.  Shoot some photographs of sand, various stones (granite and marble work particularly well), old wood etc.  Then copy it as a new layer into photoshop (or our editor of choice), reduce the opacity and see what happens.  If you are lazy, just download textures from the various free sites and give it a go.

-Vin Singh


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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Fri, 20 Jan 2012 15:52:00 GMT
Saturation, Contrast and other settings settings in the Camera  



When I shoot photographs with by Digital Camera, unlike with film, I have a variety of setting that I can take advantage of in order to get the right colour, saturation, contrast in the jpeg image (I always Shoot RAW + jpeg).  However, I always shoot using the lowest possible contrast, saturation, sharpening etc.  Why is that and what does that have to do with the images shown here?


The colour photograph is what the above settings got me in this particular instance.  It is not what the scene looked like.  It's rather bland looking - no colour saturation or contrast to speak of.  But that's all good with me.  If I had the contrast and saturation cranked up, I have a more difficult time assessing how the shadows and highlights are more closely recorded in the raw capture.  Don't get me wrong, the jpeg will never have the range the raw image has but at least it's closer than looking at a super contrast, punchy image.  In addition, it's better to have a low contrast starting point - more for your imagingation to play with. 

In this particular image, I decided that the colours were not the important part.  Rather the millions of tiles on the rooftops and the diagonal of the street dividig the image in 2 are far more interesting.  So the natural thing to do is to convert it into monochrome and then enhance the image by increasing contrast and sharpening in selected areas.

It's what I had in mind when taking the image but I was not sure exactly how I wanted to process it.  I knew that I liked the details in the scence and tried to maximize detail by using a tripod, mirror lockup and framing it correctly so that I will not have to crop.

My preferences:

Saturation: Neutral or one step below

Constrast: Neutral

Sharpening: Minimal

Colour Space: The highest your camera will allow (Adobe RGB or higher)

White balance: Choose the correct WB setting for each scence or if you camera does a decent job on auto, use it.

Please keep in mind that when shooting RAW, all of the above setting can be changed when using a RAW converted.  Some converters will use your jpeg settings as the starting point.






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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Wed, 11 Jan 2012 18:03:00 GMT
Urban photography  




Urban photography is always more of a challenge for me than landscape.  It's probably due to the fact that urban places are far more accessible than remote landscapes.  With so many images on the web, especially popular destinations like Venice (Venezia), it's hard to walk through a street and say to yourself "this will be unique" because it most likely won't be.  Sure, we can wait for the right set of clouds and lighting just like in landscape but I always feel that in most landscape shooting there are no "streets" to restrict the vantage point.

I'm pretty sure that there are many images of this particular canal but the perspective that I’ve used in addition to the processing and the laundry that was out at this particular day may have landed me a more unique look.  I guess that in the end will be what differentiates images of the same street corner or urban scene from one another and is no different than landscape photography. 

So do visit the same street more than once, on different times of the day and year to get changes in the light, angle of light, pollution, laundry, people walking etc.  Kind of hard to do on destination that involve expensive flights!  Maybe we should be photographing or own cities a bit more :)



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Tue, 13 Dec 2011 19:29:00 GMT
f-stop, ISO and shutter speed  



In the film days most of us chose our favourite film to use (i'm speeking mostly for landscape shooting), packed a bunch of them into the camera bag along with our second choice of film (just in case).  With the film already in the camera, there where only two adjustments to be made f-stop and shutter speed.  With digital we also have ISO sensitivity.


All 3 work together to expose your image correctly.  However, your choice in either one may effect the final look especially when there is movement in the subject.

A 'stop' denotes a doubling (or halving) of light.  So f1.8 to f2.8 is known as one fstop which means that you have 1/2 the light going through and hitting your sensor.  from f2.8 to f4.0 is another stop, so another 1/2 less light.  From f4.0 to f5.6 is 1/2 less again.  We have gone down 3 stops which means 1/8 of the light from f1.8 to f5.6. 

Shutter speed works the same way.  Each doubling (or halving) of the speed is known as a stop: 100 to 200 is one stop 200 to 400; 400 to 800 etc. 

ISO, ditto shutter speed.

From the above you can see that f-stop is harder for most people to get down.  You basically just have to memorise them (or look at your older lens collection).  f-stop increments are:  1.8; 2.8; 4.0; 5.6; 8; 11; 16; 22 

Let say you put your camera in Aperature mode and point it to your fast moving subject and get a reading of f4.0 at 1/200s and you have your ISO setting at 400.  If there is motion blur, you will need to increase the shutter speed.  Say that you need 1/800s to achieve a good sharp image.  Now, the problem is that from 1/200 to 1/800 is 2 stops less light (1/200 to 1/400 to 1/800).  You will need to compensate the fstop by allowing the aperature to open 2 stops (4.0 to f 2.8 to f1.8).  What happens if there is no f1.8 but only an f2.8 on your lens?  You will need to set the f-stop to f2.8 (which buys us 1 stop) but also have to change the ISO to 800 to buy us the second stop (with a very slight degration of image quality).

In the days of film we might have needed to change the film (there were other work-arounds), but with digital cameras today we can save ourselves with the ISO quite easily to ISO 800, and on some cameras all the way up to 12800 and still get amazing results (and if really needed another 2 stops more!).  Please understand that ISO settings do affect image quality, if all possible, it should be kept to the base (default) ISO which is ususally 100 or 200.  However, in this example there was no other choice. 

As a tiny aside, the lower the f-stop selected the less depth of field you will have.  That is why in landscape photography, we have to readily use tripod.  Landscapers want to maintain maximum depth of field.  So what does that mean?  Essentially, high f-stop, low ISO (for better quality) and to compensate for the little light coming through, they have to use longer exposures.  Which translates to tripod or else everything shakes and the image blurs.

In the next article I will discuss how you can use all of this wonderful knowledge when shooting near pitch black conditions so that you don't waste a lot of time with trial and error.



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[email protected] (Vin Singh Photography) Thu, 01 Dec 2011 18:59:00 GMT