"Greetings and Salutations" as a favourite movie character once said.
And "Here's my blog. Welcome to it." said another.
I'll be posting random thoughts, some photographs, and possibly even some information and discussion about some styles and techniques and locations.
Stop by from time to time when you have time to kill ;)
The first day of summer, 2016. So time to get back to a blog post here.
Landscape photography. It's often a solo outing and, to some, debatably 'boring.' A great friend and mentor, Ben, once told me: "You gotta take me out with you sometime to show me some tricks. I don't know how you have the patience to do that shit. I really don't." Sadly, I never made the time TO take him out to stare at a tree or old house or sky and every time I'm out hunched over my tripod dealing with the evil southern Saskatchewan winds or the evil Saskatchewan mosquitos I'll think about him laughing at me for saying "yeah it has its moments but it's not all it's cracked up to be!"
Last night, June 20 2016, I could tell the clouds were potentially going to give me some kind of show (keyword: potential... I've been skunked --thankfully not literally...yet? -- numerous times going for a drive and having sundown just vanish or fizzle). I got a late start out of my house and by the time I got through Regina traffic I didn't have many options for where to get to before the sun went down so headed for a familiar spot. The added bonus tonight was that it was also a full moon and according to first nations lore / Farmer's Almanacs the first full moon of June signals time to pick strawberries (and other fruit). Well look what I picked yesterday...
I got to the railway crossing and the sky was fairly busy but nothing spectacular. As I was setting up the tripod on the tracks, a red-winged blackbird kept landing on the crossing sign and watching me and then flying away when I'd get closer. Sometimes that's your only company - a watchful bird. That's okay because I enjoy the solitude and being outdoors away from...well, my computer - this infernal device from which I type this entry. I could see the full moon rising out east and so walked to the other side of the road just to snap a few shots with my 18-200mm just to say I did. When I came back to set up on the tracks again, the blackbird was back on the crossing sign. So I thanked him for being a willing model (model release signed. check.) and snapped his portrait.
Last night I also had some other company...frequent companions in the form of the gol'darned MOSQUITOS. I'm a magnet for them. Last time I was out, I was shooting with my colleague, Ryan, who rarely has a mosquito suck his life blood. Me, not so lucky. I left the "bug suit" (real sexy) at home but at least had some bug spray and long pants and a jacket. They swarmed me like they usually do and I'm often doing stuff "behind the scenes" that you never get to see...
Like waving a towel or jacket or something to fan the mosquitos away from my camera lens / head or just sometimes walking or running away for a moment. There was literally a CLOUD of the little buggers last night and they wouldn't move. So here's the other part of the behind-the-scenes goings-on that one may perhaps not realize about the "boring" nature of landscape photography: the time involved on the back side of any photographic image whether it be developing, cataloguing / keywording, and/or processing and file exports and uploads.
There's always some form of post-production involved in the processing of photographs and I'll happily debate any purists or the photoshop bemoaners. What some of them may not realize is that a DLSR is designed to capture a flat 'RAW' image and that JPEG inserts contrast, saturation, sharpness etc. (such as what your cell phone camera does) and so "the pros" or advanced amateurs always have to / choose to make similar adjustments.
I digress. In the past, someone commented "oh you Photoshopped thaaaaaat... c'mon..." and it was a shot of a sunset and I replied "absolutely - I had to reduce some of the reds because it was clipping - the sky was so red I had to tone it down. And I always put my watermark on with Photoshop." Last night's task was doing some colour correction (white balance, contrast, saturation, highlights, shadows - all par for the course) and.........
That's right. Each of these dots (and some were created while zoomed in and do not show up here) IS A MOSQUITO. 82 of them. Just another boring task your friendly neighbourhood landscape photographer has to deal with when out capturing those beautiful / serene photos of nature ;)
I never WANT to see this season end, but I always offer the same 'pro' point about that opposing season... as cold as it may be, there's no damned mosquitos or ticks.
Enjoy your summer! Thanks for reading! And, yes, most of my images are available for sale in various forms. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or right here via the website contact page!
My first blog post for 2015; I almost missed all of January but I'll try to be a little more diligent about my posts.
There are all sorts of technical points to "proper" photography and then sometimes you just have to shoot from the hip. Making mistakes is how we learn and improve. Today I'm going to give away one of my big composition "secrets" that will hopefully help you with your own shots.
When you line up a shot, what's the first thing you do? Do you 'focus on' your exposure, your framing/composition, or your focus? Like so many people, I usually have my camera set on Auto-Focus and half-press the shutter button when I'm framing a shot and then... zip!!! the lens snaps into focus.
There are many compositional elements of design/style like line, shape, form (light/dark), texture, pattern, colour, etc. I've learned a lot from my mistakes and I keep an album of some 'screwups' and 'outtakes' and what I stumbled across one day was that I found myself composing a shot sometimes with the camera set to manual focus and the image in the viewfinder was badly out of focus. SO PLAY WITH THE FOCUS SO IT IS BLURRY AND YOUR EYE WILL NOTICE THINGS YOU MAY NOT NOTICE SO EASILY WHEN IT'S IN FOCUS.
I've had great fun with this technique and do it quite often now to help me decide how to compose my shots. I just did this the other night when I was shooting pints of beer for a product shoot. It works especially well (for me) when there are areas of light and dark in the frame, because the eye is drawn naturally to the brightest part of an image. So if that's not where you INTEND the viewer to look, maybe you want to think about re-situating yourself/the camera or adjusting your lens to frame it differently. Alternatively, try squinting the next time you're looking through the viewfinder and see if any elements of design like light/dark or line/shape pop up and help you frame your shot any differently.
On a week that is receiving much rain, people are pretty glum around here. While it's very true that "we can't control the weather," we can control what we do about it. Sure, I hate being cold and wet as much as the next prairie person. But today after a wet trip to and from work, I needed some camera therapy. I just had to stop and smell the smell of the post-rain surroundings for a bit. Today I didn't even have to leave my yard to find something visually intriguing. There's a song that says "Beauty's where you find it" and sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses - or shoot the Lily.
I love seeing raindrops hold their shape when suspended naturally. They way they are all unique and catch and hold the light appeals to my photographic eye. And I hope you find this one appealing as well - happy to show you what I see!
And then I noticed that a ladybug was trying to catch some shelter from the rain today as well.
All photos available as printed product or electronic device wallpaper - contact me if you are looking for one! This one would be FANTASTIC as a metallic print!!!
I'm a believer that what goes around comes around and good karma goes a long way. Part of my business is definitely to give back - doing something GOOD with my artwork. So I plan to do more 'group-sourcing' efforts for my charity donations. I do a number of things like donating prints for silent auctions for fundraising every year and, as you can imagine, field a number of requests. I'd love to help each organization out that asks but it's just not possible. So I thought "how can I still help support charities and events raising money?" I want to enlist the help of all my clients and the people that follow my website/Facebook pages.
Through your kind donations, funding can be provided for the creation of the artwork materials for silent auction donations which then raise money for that group/event.
This particular event is a gala for Alzheimer's Saskatchewan and they wish to have one of my photos "Always by her Side" as a large-format print.
Cost of the materials for the print I wish to submit is $120. Any donations are graciously accepted and any donation of $40 will receive a signed 8x10/8x12 art photo of your choice. So that's just 3 people at $40 and 12 at $10. Hold back on your Starbucks for a week! :)
Thank you for helping support charities and fundraising. You never know when you, yourself, may be in need. So it's good to give.
(Please note: I can accept cash, cheque, email money transfer, or the PayPal link below)
Lately I've been having problems getting a solid sleep at night, and waking up wayyyy too early. However, sometimes it can send me off into a field or down a grid road or to a lake at those wee hours of the day. Then I take my frustrations out on my camera and tripod...I mean let the peaceful dawn calm my jitters!
I was out early a couple mornings this week and here is what I was able to watch, and also capture for you the lucky viewer who likely slept in! :)
The above image is a 4:1 panorama so if you're thinking about a print - GO LARGE because the height will be quite small in comparison. That was just a fantastic start to a day, the colours just kept on coming and then WHOOSH - gone and sun was up and on with the day.
Sometimes you have little photographic accidents that result in something neat. This was such a case as I was running a long exposure on a timer and moved the tripod as the camera clicked.
This morning I was up way too early and drove around looking for a spot. Then I remembered a trip back from up Prince Albert way and wondered if the sun would come up anywhere in the vicinity of a tree and a couple grain bins that I passed. Sure enough... it was worth the trip this morning.
And finally, after a train had passed and I crossed the tracks to turn around on the grid road and head back, I had to pull over to get one last shot once the sun was up and illuminating the grain field nicely.
But here is what I wanted to show you today - the sunrise so you could see for yourself... Enjoy!