Advanced Advanced Lessons Art Landscape Photography Photography

Keep It Simple

Sometimes when taking a photo it is tempting to include a lot of “stuff” to give you more to look at. Often it is better to get rid of all the extraneous and simplify the composition.

This photo was inspired by several of the works of Joel Meyerowitz. I remember seeing these back in College and I have always been sucked in by the simplicity. The images are very meditative.

To get this image, I waited until the boat was framed between the two rock islands. I increased the overall saturation and brightness and lightened the boat. I also removed a second boat on the horizon that was distracting. I also did some other local adjustments to the sky and water. This image is not “straight out of camera”, however it is how I saw the scene at the time.

Art Botanical Beach Landscape Photography Parks Photography travel

Botany Bay

I could not sleep this morning, so I decided to drive to Port Renfrew on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This is a 110 Km drive each way on a very windy road (very fun to drive if you know how to drive corners{{1}}). My destination was Botanical Beach Provincial Park, a nice short (a couple of kilometres) hike to some amazing beaches. Along one stretch of road I came across this image, looking across to the USA.

Freighter on Juan de Fuca Straight

the farther north I went, the more fog and rain I found, Once I got to to botanical Beach, the light and fog were almost perfect and I was able to get this image..

Fog at Botanical Beach Provincial Park

As the morning progressed more and more people started showing up. I was surprised at how many families came to the beach. At one time I was looking at a rock covered with people and thought it looked like a bunch of people had been photoshopped into the scene. I did get this image with just one person though…

Lone explorer at Botanical Beach

Once I got home I slept the afternoon away to catch up on the 4 hours sleep I got last night…

[[1]]Yes, when I was a kid I wanted to be a race car driver. I learned to drive on windy mountain roads…[[1]]

Art Photography POTM

POTM – May, 2018

I had a tough time choosing my photo of the month this time. I went on a vacation in Tofino and took a lot of photos. This was taken at Bog Trail, and I think represents the trail quite well. It has a bit of a “spooky” feel.

The composition was very straightforward. I pictured the dead tree as a kind of skeletal spine, so it had to be dead centre. I chose my angle of view to minimize background distractions and yet unbalance the bush behind the tree.This gave a bit more tension to the image. I processed the image to a high contrast B&W to further emphasize the starkness of the scene.


Last week in Tofino, I did not realize I was witnessing a somewhat rare occurrence. I saw what seemed like millions of jellyfish washed up on the beach. It turns out these were somewhat rare velella  velellas These are open ocean relations of Portuguese Man of War and other jellyfish.

i just thought they were kind on cool looking….

Landscape Photography travel

End of My Week Long Vacation

I have been on vacation from my day job for the last week, but it has been a full week.My parents came over for a few days, so I showed them around the southern island. Once they left, I drove up to Tofino for a couple of days, I came back and sold a couple of prints, shot a family portrait, and hung an Art show. I feel like the guy in the photo below. I had a great time, but I’m tired…


Art journal personal Photography

New Camera Adventures 1

So I picked up a Nikon D500 from a friend last week. For a number of technical issues{{1}} I was concerned the image quality would not be up to my old D610. I was wrong.

This image would not have been possible with my old camera as the highlights would have had some colour banding. (and this is not a B&W image…)

viewed large, this image almost looks like a video feed from an old TV. I like the contrast and the dark shapes. I have not printed it yet, but I think it will hold up well…

[[1]]The D610 has a larger sensor, and, all things equal, a larger sensor will give better image quality. Not all things are equal though, the D500 is several years newer and sensor technology has advanced in a number of directions.[[1]]

Art Basic Lessons Landscape Photography lessons Photography

My Christmas card

I went for a short walk with my dad the other day at the Malcolm Knapp research forest. As we were entering the park, I saw this scene and thought I could make it into a Christmas card. I had to move around a little bit to get it to line up the way I wanted it.

Once I posted it to Facebook, I received quite a good response and people were amazed that I saw the image. I am not sure if “seeing” an image can be taught, it comes with experience, or it is an innate talent. I think it is a combination of all three.

One of the advantages of digital is that extra exposures do not cost anything. You can take lots of shots without worry (unless you fill your card…). However the other side is that you do not have much invested in each exposure, you can develop a “spray and pray” mentality where you try to take lots of images and hope one works out. SLOW DOWN. think about each and every shot. why are you taking this image? If you are not sure of a scene that meets your eye, try walking around and observe how the background changes in relation to your subject. move closer and further away to judge perspective. Once you have your position, choose a focal length that crops the scene how you want it. Look in the corners for distractions. Try to figure out how you will post-process the image. Take notes if you like.

A lot of this gets easier and faster with practice, and you can take a few variations to compare back at home.

My point is to conscously make photos rather than just snap an image, Your viewers will appreciate it and you will grow as an artist…

Art Basic Lessons Photography Urban Photography

Bored in a Parking Lot

I was with a friend who wanted to run into Golf World for a few minutes. I am not a golfer so I said I would wait by the car. I pulled out my camera and looked around for something interesting…

There were some electrical towers running over the parking lot and it was an overcast sky, so I started with this…

I like the simple lines and graphic design of the image. On a side note, even though it is very monotone, it doesn’t work as well as a black and white. Some of the subtleties are lost.

Then I thought of incorporating some of the foreground trees that were just waiting to bud, creating a contrast between natural and man-made “trees”.¬†

I ended up with this…

I really like this image on a number of levels. And it was taken while getting bored (not) in a mall parking lot. 

My point is that you can take creative images anywhere. It is just a matter of seeing, experimenting, and being open to what is available…

Art Landscape Photography Photography

Old Photos

I was having a bit of a creative block. I could not get motivated to take photos, so I had a look at photos I have taken in previous years in February.

I did get some ideas, but I also came across this image I never published. The image did need some post processing, it is made up of a number of focus stacked images. I also gave it the usual sharpening, dodging and burning, and general clean-up.

So what makes this work? Of course the colours… Due to the way red and green light are focused by our eyes (or any lens) red seems closer than green. This gives the image depth. In this image, the red mushroom is also the brightest area, so your eye is drawn to it.

Compositionally, it is a simple triangle between a leaf, a dark area and the mushroom.

I think originally I did not like this image because I thought the piece of grass was a distraction. Now I think the piece of grass gives the image a bit of a dynamic.

If I would not have been in a slump, I would not have re-found this image and who knows if it would ever have been published…

Art Landscape Photography Photography Saxes Point

Stormy Weather

Sometimes the hardest thing about environmental photography{{1}} is getting motivated. When it is cold, windy and raining,the last thing you want to do is go out and take photos.

The flip side is that crazy weather can provide some great light.

This sun came out between clouds to give some sparkle, but it was still very windy and wet.

[[1]]I am using environmental to mean non-studio photography. It includes things like landscape and street photography…[[1]]