I still want to work on this a bit, but I like it…
EDIT:I think this image needs to be BIG!! The web doesn’t do it justice…
This morning I got out to Goldstream to take some photos. I was intrigued by ice patterns. This is one of the images I created…
I am working on a series of portraits of Entrepreneurs over 50. Part of the exercise is impromptu location work. In other words, I am not bringing them into the studio, but shooting them on location. For the portrait below, Michael did not want to shoot at his home, yet he wanted a clean, “friendly” look. I brought my portable, battery powered lights to a small empty apartment my landlady let us use. The only blank wall gave me a couple of metres of working distance, so we had to concentrate on head and shoulder images. Building rapport is the most important skill a photographer must have in order to capture good portraits, but the ability to walk into an environment, size it up, and create a photo friendly environment is a close second for a working pro.
This is the result…
PS. I seem to like black and white for portraits. They have more dignity, or maybe they just have less distractions…
I don’t get it. I see many articles on the joy and advantages of film photography. LONG LIVE FILM, ANALOGUE UBER ALLES…
I embraced Digital Photography quite early, and I would never go back to film. In my very unscientific research (ie, what I have read on-line) there seem to be two ends of a spectrum of photographers.
At one end there are the people who love the process of creating a photograph. These people love to spend time in the darkroom, or in front of the computer, experimenting with new processes and techniques just to see how they work.These people tend to appreciate film. FWIW (For What It’s Worth), because these people are so process oriented, they tend to make good instructors. A Famous example of this type of photographer might be Ansel Adams. He was a genius in the darkroom, and he created a whole methodology for creating fine prints.
I live closer to the other end of the spectrum. For me, the final result is what counts. I only learn a new technique if it helps me get to my goal, or helps me get to my goal more quickly. I don’t care if a photo was taken with film or digital, nor do I care about the techniques the artist used. Maybe that is why I have such a tough time naming my photos. I want the viewer to take in the image without being biased by titles or explanations.
In a related vein, I prefer to control my final image. I want my photography to say what I want it to say. For this reason, among others, I have never been attracted to the “Holga” or Instagram movements. This may seem at odds with my landscape work. Isn’t the goal just to find an existing image and copy that onto film/sensor? Yes and no. I look for a scene that “speaks to me”. I try to figure out the story the image could say. Then I visualize how I will capture, process, and present the image so that this story is told to the best of my ability. Then I compose and take the photo. Of course, most of the time this doesn’t work, and sometimes the message changes as I am working on an image, but I still want the image to stand on its own.
So what is the moral of this story? None, really. I understand my tendencies and biases. In fact I try to see past them and push my limits. I continually try street photography because it is a lot less controlled than I am comfortable with. Maybe one of these days I will have to get a Holga just to push myself even more…
- Disclaimer, Warning, and other small print. This is my opinion. I am not stating that ONE WAY is better than any other, I am simply exploring some thoughts I have had…↵
- Of course it is not quite so cut and dried. I like to know a photographers technique if I like the final result, and I am not sure how I could achieve a similar effect.↵
What do a couple of artists do on a date? We ended up hanging out in a graveyard taking photos…
This image was taken at the Mechosin graveyard. We were both intrigued by the relationship between the branches of the oak trees and the stone of the grave markers. I used a wide angel lens (20mm) to emphasize the shapes. I got close to the grave stone and close to the ground to exaggerate perspective.
To keep the story clear, I changed the image to black and white. The coloured fall leaves (and green bucket in the background) were distracting. The overcast light was soft and even, but I still did a little dodging and burning along with selective sharpening and micro-contrast adjustment.
Overall I am happy with the image, and I hope Rebecca likes it too…
- Actually we started at the Mechosin Art Gallery, and ended up at the graveyard. And for anyone who cares, we did have a great date, but decided not to pursue it further…↵
One thing I like about the west coast is that even the “ugly” stuff is photogenic. This beach detritus makes an interesting tapestry.
Years ago, an artist friend told me that I taught her to look all around. Sometimes you see an image in a different direction than you expect. Looking up, down, and backwards can reveal much more than many people miss. I actually learned this as a kid exploring the wilderness. A path can look completely different when you are coming back. Stop every once in a while and turn around to see what the path will look like on your way home. This was when I first started to understand the direction of light.
Exploring in the wilderness of BC also taught me to pay attention to details. Noticing a mushroom, or an interesting rock formation can be a good marker to find your way back. As I looked harder, I noticed these details were interesting in their own right. I also found out that not everyone notices these details. Photography is a great way to share these discoveries. The hard part is to do them justice visually…
AANV (Always A New Version)
This is the syndrome where you buy something, typically something expensive that you have been saving up for, and the manufacturer comes out with a newer better version at the same or lower price. You wish you would have waited just a little longer…
However, this doesn’t take into account the fact that you have used the camera, car, or whatever for a while before the “replacement” came out…
Case in point, I bought a D600 last January, and now Nikon is coming out with a D610 . If you have been reading the press releases and reviews, the D610 is not really that different from the D600, except a bit cheaper.
Some people are upset. They feel their fairly new D600 is now worth a lot less than if Nikon would not have released the D610, especially at a lower price.
My take is that I have been using my camera for almost 10 months already, and I did not buy it as an investment. I would not have been able to take (and sell) some of the photos I did. I also would not have had the last while to get to know all the quirks of the camera.
And of course, to top it all off, Nikon (or someone) will probably be coming out with an even better version, for even less money…
TL;DR Use the tools you have now rather than covet what may be coming in the future.
Yes I know that Fall on the west coast doesn’t compare to Fall colours in Ontario or Quebec, but it is still pretty…
Photos taken in and around Goldstream Park
I was photographing in Goldstream Park, capturing the fall colours a couple of days ago, when I was overrun by a herd of tourists. A couple of them stood beside me and snapped a shot on their cell phones. I guess they figured that since I had a tripod, a biggish camera with a good size lens, I must know what I am doing, so if they stood in the same spot, they would get the same image.
This is the image they got:
I have been working with Japan Cameras in Victoria to get their portrait studio running. However for some private commercial work, it is easier to build a set at home where I can come back to it over some time.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to clean out my second bedroom to convert it to a permanent studio so I used my bed as a table for the shot…
PS you can buy these mugs from Janise Oleandros
- I originally got the 3′ x 5″ white acrylic for a large light table I used to sort slides (ask your parents what slide film was…). I have long since disposed of the rest of the light table, but kept the acrylic for just this purpose. There are a few scratches on the acrylic that are a pain to retouch out. Maybe one day I will try repolish the surface, or maybe I will just toss it and find something else…↵
For the last 9 years, James Bay (a subdivision of Victoria) has had an art walk. Basically, a number of artists who live in the James Bay area open up their homes and studios so people can see their work. They produce a map and the idea is you walk from one gallery to the next.
My Meetup Art group organized a get together around this walk today. The rain held off enough so we didn’t get too wet. The walk was most definitely worth it. Not only was there some very exceptional art, the gardens and venues were pretty amazing in their own right. One of the meetup group members saw this sunflower and convinced me to shoot it…
There are no “morals” to this story, but maybe a couple of points of advice. Always bring your camera, you never know when you will be inspired. But there is a caveat. Don’t get so involved in your photography that you miss all the beauty. Be inspired, but don’t look at life exclusively through a lens.
And possibly the most important advice for getting better as a photographer (other than shooting, of course) Go out and enjoy art. Go to gallerys, art shows, or art walks like this one. There are some amazing artists out there who may inspire you, challenge you, or even just enable you to see some fantastic images. Even if you are not interested in learning to paint, learning composition, colour, and even subject matter from other mediums can help you in your photography. After the art walk, our meetup group met for a drink, a bite and a discussion. There is nothing like talking to other artists and art appreciators to get your energy up.
The second “moral” is to
- Please feel free to join this group if you are a creator, or if you just enjoy art. We have lots of fun, and get into some deep (and not so deep) conversations. The annual fee is inexpensive (and optional)↵
- or sculpt, or draw, or even take photographs. One of the discussions we had later revolved around what is art. Art can be anything, and can be different for each person. Enjoy life…↵
My daughter and I went down to the breakwater today. Of course I got lots of photos of boats (it was a beautiful day to go sailing), but I am more excited about some of the jelly fish pictures and this abstract image…
I still need to print it large, but I think it may be quite engaging…
What are your thoughts?
I hope to get some of the jelly fish images up soon as well…
- If you must know, it is a photo of some kelp floating just below the surface. The ripples are waves.↵
Shameless appropriation of a quote found on facebook…[gn_quote style="1"]If you climb to the top of Everest, and take a shitty photo – it’s still a shitty photo. Doesn’t matter what you went through to to take the photo, the end result will be judged for what it is[/gn_quote]
The fog was rolling in this morning so I had to grab my camera and go for a walk.
One thing I like about Victoria is that is really small enough that you can easily explore it, yet it is big enough that there are always new places to find.
I did not realize there was a place called Dragon Alley. I am sure I have walked by it many times, but it never registered… It is one of those small Chinatown small alleys that opens up to some funky stores. As I was a bit hungry, I went in to the Union Pacific Coffee shop. Again a funky place with typewriters and old fans mounted on the wall. I had a great apple crumble and an americano, and I met a photographer who is working on a photo project in Southern Alberta.
Like I said, I love this town…
- Or as I said on Facebook, a grey day is a grade “A”↵
I went to Beacon Hill park a couple of days ago. It is always a cool place to go, especially for photos of flowers. One of the downsides to photos of flowers is trying to come up with something original.
This image was actually inspired by a classic black and white image(I think it was made by Minor White if I remember) But it is still pretty cool.
This image was an example of what not to do with landscape images. I did not have my tripod with me and I was using a long-ish lens (200mm) so I had to use a higher ISO to get a fast enough shutter speed. It still looks pretty amazing, even printed at 13 x 20.
- I am a big believer in using a good tripod, however in this case I did not think I would be getting anything serious, and I just wanted to go for a walk more than take photos.↵
There are many articles, youtube videos, and general opinion on prime lenses (one focal length) vs zoom lenses. The most common advice is that primes are sharper, and often generally better. Many people say if you want to zoom, use your feet…
Using your feet to zoom assumes that you are only using a zoom lens to change the magnification of the lens. In other words, it assumes you are changing the focal length to “get closer” to your subject. If this is all you are doing, then moving your feet may be a viable option. This may be a bit difficult in a number of situations, but that is not the main reason I have a problem with this explanation.
Choosing your point of view has less to do with subject magnification than with perspective. This is important, so let me explain. The closer you are to your subject, the larger the apparent distance between foreground and background. This perspective is NOT affected by lens focal length or sensor size, only distance to your subject. As a very general rule, the relative size of foreground and background is quite important for fine art.
When I am shooting with a zoom lens, I first choose the perspective by using my feet to establish my subject distance. Then I zoom so that I only include the frame I want. In other words, I use the zoom more as a crop tool than a magnifier.
Of course there are always exceptions to every rule…
- You can prove this for yourself. set your camera up on a tripod with a few subjects at various distances. Without moving the tripod, take a number of photos with different focal length lenses (or zoom your lens from minimum through maximum) Now crop the wide angle images to the same area as the telephoto images. Other than possible noise or resolution issues, the two images will look the same.
The second half of this experiment would be to move the tripod so the foreground object is the same size with the different lenses/focal lengths. You will see the background “recede” as you move closer to your foreground subject.
You can do this same test with different cameras or whatever. As long as the distance to your foreground subject stays the same.↵
As a companion piece, and proof of my split personality, I would like to say photography is really more like drawing. While a photographer can start with an existing scene, he can also start with a blank studio and add specific subject matter. A photographer can also add light to a scene to emphasize certain areas or attributes.
A photographer can also organize his subjects to they form a better image. Even using post processing techniques to create something that was not really present. In other words, a photographer can start with literally nothing and create an image.
I still think photoandrias describes the process of photography better. Even when creating from a “blank canvas”, photography is somehow more like sculpting clay than drawing. Photography (Photoandria) is an iterative moulding process. You start with an idea and tweak it until it is right. You may move your point of view slightly, or change the way light hits your subject. (or you may throw the clay against the wall and hit the delete key).
Both photography and drawing are two dimensional art forms, however, from a process point of view, photography is much more sculpting with light.
- Someone who knows Greek really needs to help me with conjugation…↵
The word “Photography”, as many people know is from Greek roots basically meaning light writing or light painting However I think the art should be called “Photoandrias“ meaning “light sculpture”
When painting (or drawing, or even writing) an artist starts with a blank canvas (paper) and adds “stuff” until it becomes something. In other words, they start with nothing and add paint strokes or words until the total becomes more than the parts (hopefully).
In sculpture the artist starts out with a large block and removes the parts that are not wanted in the final figure. These unwanted shavings, chips etc are then removed from the initial block, leaving the final artwork (yes I know that is a very gross simplification, for many meanings of gross…).
In photography we start with reality and remove parts that are not needed. we choose a point of view, angle of view (with lens selection) and even depth of view (with aperture and depth of field). What we are left with is an image that has distilled the elements we were attracted to in the first place and presents the essence of the art.
- depending on who you ask. Wikipedia seems to prefer light drawing↵
- I am not fluent in Greek, so if I mistranslated, please let me know. Sometimes Google can let you down…↵
- I am talking about subtractive types of sculpture of course, such as stone sculpture, or wood carving. I realize that using clay, or welding, or whatever can become a process of adding to a blank “canvas” as well, but let me continue…↵
I just received a set of cheap Yongnuo RF-603N Wireless Flash Triggers.
I am actually surprised at the quality. Especially for the price.
I haven’t taken any exciting photos yet, but this weekend I should be able to play with them a bit more…
These triggers are only for manual flash, but that is usually easier than TTL in a lot of situations.
- If you are only using one flash, or want a very simple lighting arrangement, TTL is faster. However, us old school guys prefer to set the flash on manual so we know exactly what the lighting will look like.↵
I went out for a cruise with a friend of mine in his Porsche Roadster and I took my camera and 20mm along…
Simon and his Porche
Photos taken August 2013 while cruising with Simon and his 1959 356 replica. No it is not just a beetle with a body kit...
You can see a full screen slide show here.
You can also purchase desktop images on my stock site here.
Last weekend was supposed to be the peak of the Persieds Meteor shower. My daughter and I went out to see what wee can see, and found out a few things…
First, staying up past 2 AM was tough. I must be getting old…
Second, it is hard to focus in complete dark.
but probably most important, the night sky is quite fascinating. Even though we did not leave the city, and there was a bit of cloud cover (which lead to a fair bit of light pollution) I was quite surprised at how well the camera recorded stars. The image above was exposed a longish time, but notice that the exposure kept the city lights, the forground (which was only lit by a distant streetlamp) and even the stars in the sky…
I will admit that I had to massage the RAW file a little bit, but this is all one exposure, not HDR or double exposure. Amazing…
- For those interested, the exposure was 30 seconds at f3.5 at ISO 100↵
I have been asked to help a friend start and run a portrait studio. First and foremost of course is attracting clients, but we also need to figure out the final product. Do we just provide basic family pictures, or do we spend more time on making them unique? If you mouse over the image above, you can see the original capture I think the black and white looks better, but with the proliferation of “filters” and “effects” from the likes of Instagram, do manipulated images become too cliché? The lines between straight capture (yeah, I know this doesn’t exist), retouched image, and tacky, over-processed garbage are getting harder and harder to define.
Any tool can be used to create “ART” but that same tool can also be overused, and may not actually add to an image. I love the freedom digital has given photography. I think it is easier to experiment with new techniques, but as spiderman’s dad said, “With great power comes great responsibility” Know what you are trying to say, and use your tools appropriately to emphasize that message.
- An interesting and common optical illusion when you mouse over rapidly, some of the black and white colours take on the complementary tone. Gives the retouched version a bit of a strange look for a second or two, until your eyes readjust…↵
This video may be boring for non artist types, but if you want to get better, it raises some great points…
If you want to get better, practice, practice, practice.
Of course you need to0 know what you are practicing toward… I like his concept that just taking photos won’t get you anywhere unless you analyze your art and get feedback from others… This is one reason I want to keep the art group of Victoria going[]If you are interested in this group as well, please sign up. Informal dues are $5 per year (informal in that you don’t have to pay if you really can’t afford it. I don’t want to exclude anyone)
A couple of new images from the weekend.
Shadows were a bugger to deal with, but I like this result. I know at least one of these people is a long time Victoria street performer…
I have also rearranged my site so I can control how you see my images a bit better. You can see more street photography here.