Tag Archives: photography

New Year and new focus

The door closed on 2016 and the sun rose on a new year a couple of days ago. We are conditioned to think that as one year ends and another begins we should reflect back on the happenings of the prior year and plan for changes in the new one with an emphasis on improvements and perhaps doing more.

I’m not immune to such thoughts. In the new year I will have a new focus as well – a focus on slowing down to allow myself more time to be creative. Slowing down to make time to think about what I want to create, and how, and in what medium. A new photograph? Something written? Some music played on my recently resurrected violin? Who knows? But, without slowing down and thinking about it, how can anyone truly be creative?

Although we are now in the midst of winter, the solstice has passed and the days are already becoming longer and brighter, although at a glacial pace so far, and it’s noticeable. For those of us that crave light, this is an unimaginable blessing. Although the coldest two months are still ahead of us, sunshine and more light in the morning and late afternoon makes it bearable. Even our dogs have to bundle up at this time of year!

So, with plans to write more, photograph more, make more music, the new year has begun with a focus on creativity. What do you have in mind?

Happy New Year!

 

Posted in BLOG, creativity, photography, writing Also tagged , , , |

Thanks

How often do we say ‘thanks’ and really mean it?

A friend of mine writes books and articles, and gives clinics, about functional conformation in horses and also pedigree analyses. On her website she also publishes a blog with her thoughts about various things in and around the world of horses. We were chatting recently and I told her that some of my images from my sojourn in Brazil were in an exhibit at the Sussex Arts and Culture Centre and she graciously did a post about them.

Photos as Art

Thanks! I appreciate it!

If you’d like to see some of the images, check out these Limited Edition Prints

Posted in appreciation, BLOG, photography Also tagged , |

Why make photographs?

That’s a very ‘heavy’ question. People take snapshots every day with their point and shoot cameras or their cell phones. Those shots are usually intended to document a brief moment in time, some activity or perhaps a quick shot of some friends, family or pets.

But, to truly make photographs, a little more thought is required. It’s not about the gear; it’s about the mindset of the person pushing the shutter button.

I believe that every photograph should tell a story. By consciously deciding to make photographs, I have forced myself to slow down and really think about what story each photograph is supposed to tell.

Last summer I was commissioned to do a portrait session with a man and his dog. The man loved his dog deeply. As he told me about their time together, I began to understand the story I needed to tell. As a young dog she had been a stray, found huddled under the man’s toolshed on his rural farm property. Presumably she had been abandoned on the back country road for some reason. With gentleness and kindness the many eventually lured the dog out from under the shed and to his house where, for over a decade, the two lived in harmony. They shared walks around the property, through the woodlot, checking on the blueberry fields, and staying home together relaxing on the porch or in the house. The reason the man commissioned the photos was that the dog was getting quite old and showing signs that her life was winding down and the man wanted to have images that truly spoke to the dog’s personality and to the deep relationship the two shared.

We spent time roaming the property together capturing the images that I knew would tell the story of their fourteen year relationship..

One morning early this week I got an email from the man telling me that his beloved companion had passed away. His heart was broken. She had gone outside to relieve herself, came in, he gave her a rub and she laid down beside his bed and died – a final act shared.

The collection of photographs made that day are providing comfort to a shattered heart and will, in the future, bring back happier memories of time spent roaming the trails, rubbing heads, and sharing time as only one can with a beloved pet.

RIP Brandy.

Keeping an eye out for her friend from the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Keeping an eye out for her friend from the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Posted in animals, BLOG, death, dog, emotions, photography

How time flies

Fishing boats in St. Martins

Fishing boats in St. Martins

Apparently I’m not the only one that thinks that the entire month of July just flew by at warp speed leaving heads spinning and everyone commenting about how quickly time flies.

I spent some time with friends this morning and this was one of the topics of conversation – along with a certain sense of dread about the impending end of summer. There’s an old saying that the older one gets the faster time flies, and it certainly seems to be true.

In my case, I’m also excited about my participation in the upcoming Brazil on Focus photography expedition in September. It seems like I’ve been preparing for it for eons, gathering the things I’ll need both personally and photographically to take with me; making lists; getting things done.  It’s only a few weeks away now!

In the meantime there is another family wedding to shoot in a few weeks and endless opportunities to add to my collection of “back yard” photographs. Although today there is a wee nip in the air, a harbinger of things to come, for now I plan to enjoy summer as long as possible.

Posted in BLOG, Friends and Family, seasons Also tagged , , |

More photography

The sun had amazing strength today. As time passed you could literally see changes in the buds on the trees. If this weather keeps up they will open soon showing off their colours and bringing cheer to all who see them and offering tantalizing opportunities for more photography.

bud in spring_web _L2H1293 - Version 2

 

bud in spring_web _L2H1294 - Version 2

The grass is even beginning to push its way up through last winter’s leaves.

bud in spring_web _L2H1296

 

bud in spring_web _L2H1303

Posted in appreciation, BLOG, GALLERY, photography, seasons, spring Also tagged , |

Really, it IS spring

Buds on Lilac Tree

Buds on Lilac Tree

I was delighted to discover that spring really HAS arrived. I saw a chubby robin searching for worms on the lawn AND there are tiny springs of green poking through the dry brown remnants of last fall giving hope for the new season. The lilac tree has new buds just waiting to burst forth and the sun has more strength to it now.

If you are taking photos of your garden, try using a very shallow depth of field (e.g. an f-stop in the f/2.8 to f/5.6 range) so the bud stands out and the winter’s detritus is blurred – much like this one.

Posted in BLOG, Photography techniques, seasons, spring Also tagged |

Where has the last month gone?

We’ve had a wild ride weather-wise including everything from almost tropical rains and warm temperatures to sub-zero ones that even brass monkeys would avoid.

And personally, life has followed a similar path. What was supposed to have been a simple gallbladder extraction has morphed into a more complicated medical issue probably requiring a second surgery sometime (hopefully soon), and a good friend who is dealing with her own medical issues is offering support and comfort to me.

After the first surgery, my good friends the Goold’s sent a lovely bouquet to brighten my day. Now that the post-surgical discomfort is more-or-less over, I find myself with time on my hands – and that’s a good thing. I’ve dug out my camera gear and had time to actually play with it – just for fun.

Some people say things are “the cat’s a**”. I like to think it’s more like the Eye of the Tiger, so to speak, that watches every move I make.

The Cat's Eye

The Cat’s Eye

Under her watchful eye I captured a few closeups of some of the flowers.

_L2H0871 - Version 2 _L2H0870 - Version 2 _L2H0866 - Version 2

 

And then I dug out the macro lens to take an even closer look.

_L2H0885 - Version 2

Stamen of a lily

daisy stamen

Stamen of the daisy

How much fun is that?

So, where has the last month gone? I’m not sure about the destination, but the speed with which it has flown by is astounding.

 

Posted in BLOG, caring, cat, friend Also tagged , , |

Make it real – or not (photo heavy)

Our eyes contain miraculous technology. In addition to allowing us to see things, they adjust automatically and correctly for all lighting scenarios. Even the most sophisticated of cameras can only, at best, approximate that experience. And that is why DLSRs have the option to control the ‘white balance’ – that is, it can be adjusted to allow for the colour temperature of the light source.

Colour temperature you say? Whazzat? Depending on the source and lighting conditions, white light isn’t actually white. It has temperature, measured on the Kelvin scale, ranging from very warm (the golden glow of candlelight measures 1000-2000k) to very cool (the bluish tint we recognize from a shady or heavily overcast sky measuring 9000 – 10,000K). Not surprisingly  5000 – 6000k, which is what a clear and sunny day and/or your flash produces, is virtually neutral – neither warm nor cool.

OK, so with that technical gobbledygook out of the way, what does this mean to you and your photographs? Quite a lot actually. You can totally change the mood of an image by changing the white balance setting – for better or worse depending on what you do.

The ubiquitous apple, shot using the auto white balance setting on my DSLR with a white coroplast background and only the ambient light from a window. This and all the rest were shot using a 24-105 F/4IS lens. ISO 200, f/5.6. The shutter speed was 1/40 and the camera was set on a tripod to accommodate the slower shutter speed needed to get an adequate exposure.

Camera settings for this shot were identical to the one before, except the white balance was changed to Daylight. Not a lot of difference.

Changing the white balance to Shade (i.e. similar to filtering the light with a blue filter) has a much more noticeable effect. Now there is a distinct yellow cast to the image making the red apple more orange and the white background and plate beige.

The Cloudy setting has a similar effect to the Shade one, but less so.

And the Fluorescent setting provides a bluish cast rendering the background and plate more grey and toning down the orangey red of the apple.

For a totally blue cast on the white surfaces and less orange on the apple, the Tungsten (light bulb) setting accomplishes that.

Is one setting right and the rest wrong? Not necessarily, it depends on what you are trying to do. If you are seeking an accurate rendering of the scene, in this particular case, either the Auto white balance or Daylight setting would work well. But, if you wanted to warm or cool the appearance of the scene, one of the other setting would do the job for you.

For those who aren’t shooting still life images but want to capture the spirit of the Christmas season, here are some shots of Christmas trees. See if you can guess what white balance was used with each shot. Again, none is the ‘right’ one – it depends on how you want your particular tree to look.

1. 

2. 

3. 

4. 

3. 

 

Check it out: 1) Tungsten, 2) Shade, 3) Fluorescent, 4) Daylight, 5) Cloudy

Were you able to guess? Which do you prefer? You can create the ambience of your choice – from accurate to dramatic – by understanding the various white balance settings on your camera. Have fun and experiment.

Posted in BLOG, photography, Photography techniques, sample photos Also tagged , , |

From the inside looking out

From the inside

Sometimes we all really need to take a step back, inhale a really deep breath, and take a fresh look at our own piece of the world. That’s what I, and some friends, did on Sunday. We all live in the Sussex area and, as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt – or if not contempt, complacency. We take what is all around us for granted looking to foreign and exotic places for beauty when, in fact, we are surrounded by it!

We met up with members of the Focus Camera Club from Moncton early Sunday morning and spent a wonderful day exploring the area in and around Sussex. Our visitors were delighted with the numerous and beautiful old covered bridges, the remaining fall foliage and the amazing light that filtered through the fog helping everyone to capture beautiful images. Thanks to the heavy rain on Saturday, our trek out to the Waterford Waterworks yielded some lovely pictures of rushing water cascading down both water courses to meet up under the bridge. Several hardy souls ventured down the washed out and trecherous path to the waters edge to get even more dramatic shots.

Next time it will be our turn to let them show us the best there is to see near Moncton one day in the not-too-distant future.

Waterford Waterworks

Posted in Autumn, BLOG, Canada, Fall Foliage, lessons, New Brunswick, photography Also tagged , |

Four generations

Last Monday I had the pleasure of photographing four generations of women, albeit some quite small, in one family. The day was perfect for an outdoor photo shoot and the ladies were all in fine form with much laughter going on.

First to fourth generation!

Despite having been laid low with West Nile Fever, I managed (with their considerable help) to get things set up and the photos done. Normally I’m a lot more animated in my sessions, but everyone was very understanding, thank goodness.

Here is one of my favourites from the session – first generation having a discussion with the fourth.

 

It really was a good day!

Posted in BLOG, children, family Also tagged , , |