Rockglen-based artist Wanda Knoss produces inspiring HDR photography and abstracts

Wanda Knoss is a photographer and painter who lives on a ranch south of Rockglen.

“I grew up in Killdeer. My husband and I have a ranch. We have three children and six grandchildren.”

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Knoss is an expert at capturing South Central Saskatchewan’s landscapes through using a process known as HDR (high-dynamic range) photography. The mostly self-taught photographer also creates abstract photos bursting with introspective colours, shapes and lines.

Knoss described HDR photography as editing inside a wet/dry darkroom, except the mechanics behind processing her photos are digitally-based, instead of using film, trays of chemicals photographic paper and darkroom enlargers.

“There are so many software programs out there, it’s amazing,” Knoss said when discussing the assorted computer programs designed for HDR photography.

Her preference for HDR production is Photomatix. “You can run HDR in Adobe CS6.  I've used it a few times, but didn't like how it worked compared to Photomatix.”

Knoss uses an older model full frame Canon camera and lenses to produce her stunning abstract and HDR images.

“I use a Canon 5d Mk 111. I love it. I also use the multiple exposure dial on the camera to create painterly photos within the camera. My most used lenses are the 70-200 mm f/2.8, a 16-35 mm f/2.8 and a 100 mm f/2.8- dedicated macro lens. I have a 400mm f/5.6 with a 1.4 converter on it for wildlife. Seems to work great,” she exclaimed. “My favourite is a walkabout lens – 25-105 mm.”   

High-dynamic range photography gives Knoss’ realistic works their natural edge.

The human eye is able to see more details, shadows, lights and highlights in comparison to a single shot produced from a camera. HDR is a process where multiple photos are taken at different shutter speeds with a camera fixed to a tripod. The images (usually 3-7 photos) are combined to produce stunning outcomes which are closer to replicating what the eye is capable of seeing.

“I photograph for the highlights and the lowlights,” Knoss said.

Her subjects have varied, yet her art is centred on the outdoors with the imagery of the prairies being Knoss’ speciality. “I love to photograph landscape, people, macro, abstract, flora and fauna and a lot of rusty goodness.”

Rusty goodness is a key term Knoss has used to describe her pursuit in photographing the textures of rusting vehicles and dilapidated buildings on the prairies. “I love rusty goodness. I take lots of pictures of abstract images of old cars.”

Whenever Knoss is fashioning abstract images, she sets the shutter speed dial to low speeds ranging from 7-9 then shifts the camera about with her hands. “While it is exposing, I also will move the camera. I never use a tripod to do this,” she added.

Knoss essentially utilizes her camera as a paint brush through intentional camera movements. “I take a lot of abstracts using slow shutter speeds, where parts of the image will be in focus,” Knoss recounted.

Her finished products are either printed on metal or acrylic before framing. “Metal is so beautiful – the colours are so rich.”   

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