"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.

Stop by from time to time!

 

-always learning,

Jeff

May 2020 Bushwakker Art Wall and the #filltheframecontest 16x20 Photo Giveaway!

Hi; it's me again! Been awhile! I hope everyone is keeping well during this challenging time we are all experiencing right now, world-wide.

This month (May 2020) marks a return to an artwork installation in physical form. For me, there's a definite excitement to seeing your digital camera images created as something tangible and sometimes even larger than the screen used to compose, shoot, and edit. A photo comes to life when put onto a medium for display, whether that be canvas, polished metal, acrylic, or various types of photo paper.

If you know me, you know that I'm "old school" and enjoy the visual and tactile treat (and, for some old photo albums, even the smell!) of having photos printed out and on shelves or walls in my living and working spaces. For the longest time, it always felt a bit odd to me to have my own art photos on my walls; I instead preferred to reserve those spaces for the works of others. But there's nothing saying I can't enjoy my own work as much as that of someone else!

One of the interesting and fun things about "art" is that it is always in the eye of the beholder and what seems "pretty" or "interesting" or "wow!" to someone may not even get a second glance from someone else. And that's great! If we all liked the same things, it would be pretty boring! I mean, everyone in Saskatchewan would be wearing green and white every day... ;)

LINK TO THE FEATURED ARTWORK: CLICK ME

ENOUGH READING, JEFF! SKIP TO THE PHOTO GIVEAWAY: CLICK ME

How many of us have thousands of images on their phone or computer that we never "do anything" with? I'm guilty of it myself and I make a little bit of a business with pretty pictures. Art in all forms is meant to be enjoyed and I, for one, am always in favour of any amount of time my eyeballs can get a break from the electronic screens they spend so much time staring at. And flipping upwards with my finger looking at pretty pictures on Instagram is a way to rapidly see a bunch of photos quickly and then I always stop to hit 'Like' and comment on ones that really grab me. 

But in my office, bedroom, living room, kitchen, and yes even bathroom I have printed photographs that I can pause and look at. Appreciate. Remember where/when it was taken (or at least try to) and who I was with if it is one of my own.  It's those moments where I'm so happy I decided to print something or buy a photograph or other piece of art from someone else. 

 

The Bushwakker Brewing Company in Regina is a fantastic pub food experience (mmmm nachooooos, fish n chips, Rueben, and the Chico IPA and Procrastinator Doppelbock are some of my favourites) and have always been very supportive to local artists by providing a large 7.5ft square wall space which rotates monthly. And you may not realize but it's so popular that I've had to book my slot 18-24 months in advance! This show has been set for nearly two years!

 

With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting so many people and economies, I was going to bow out from putting the artwork up this time with all that's happening but as the saying goes, "the show must go on" (cue the Queen tunes!)! I'm confident that our province is going to safely and cautiously and slowly going to get back into "a new norm" over the next few months. And, besides, even if we are currently not able to go hang out with friends and family at our favourite social spots, we can always have the mental wellness benefit of looking at some artwork, yeah?

Yeah!

I've got 10 printed photo pieces on display (AND FOR SALE!) at Bushwakker and will also be doing as much virtual sharing of the images and their stories as I can over the next month (check my Facebook page Jeff Hamon Scenic Fine Art and Instagram profile JeffHamonPhotography). So if we are able to go in person to check them out at some point before June 5, fantastic! If not, I'm still glad they got to go hang out somewhere other than my basement for awhile!

There are some new images, some old images, and a couple popular favourites. The pieces are mostly on canvas this time because it really suits the rustic feel of the old buildings that are the subjects of this month's display. And with this challenging time we are in right now, I know that a lot of us are "seeing the same four walls" and longing for socialization and the outside world. It occurred to me that both in the present and the past we have looked out our doors and windows to see what's happening in the neighbourhood, to check the weather, to dream, to make sure the kids or dog are still within sight, or to enjoy a sunrise or sunset.

To paraphrase from Aldous Huxley, "discover a world of visionary beauty" by looking out your doors and windows. It's there. All day and every day. Take time, each day, to look for the beauty in the world around us and to appreciate it. 

This month most of the pieces are on sale, you can choose any photo in various sizes/mediums, and I'm also donating $15 from each sale to the Saskatchewan Heart & Stroke Foundation. The charities and non-profits are in need situations at the best of times and we can all use extra support these days. And to give back and say thanks to my photo appreciators I'm giving away a picture from my web collection at the end of the display June 6. I had considered adding one more photo to the printed display but had trouble picking one and I had two old inventory 16x20 frames (one classy black, one rustic brown) kicking around so thought "hey why not ask people what THEY would like to see all framed up?" Like I said... art is in the eye of the beholder! So I decided on the #filltheframecontest to give away a photo from a selected set of images found here (make sure to read the rules/how to enter!). If you're the lucky winner, I'll work with you to select the black or brown frame to best match your image if you want the frame shipped/delivered or can just take the print-only.

 

The featured pieces in "Doors & Windows" May 2 - June 5 will be posted and discussed on my Facebook and Instagram accounts throughout the month so stop by there regularly or have a look at the slideshow here (controls pop up at the bottom):

LINK TO THE FEATURED ARTWORK: CLICK ME
 

Thanks for reading! Give me a comment here or under any of your favourite photos on my website and I hope to see you around the social media pages and in the contest entry! p.s. bonus entry for you if you chat me up here in the Blog :)

 

Jeff


Welcome to Summer 2016 - the life of a landscape photographer Vol. 1

Bird Railway Crossing Sunset - Summer Solstice 2016Bird Railway Crossing Sunset - Summer Solstice 2016

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 [email protected] or right here via the website contact page!


Cheers,


Jeff

 


Composing Instinctively

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.

Off the axle.Off the axle.2012-03-30 Master _JWH0203

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.

 

 


Stopping to smell the roses - or shoot the Lily.

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. 

Water on Lily 01Water on Lily 01aka Lily in the Rain 01

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.

Ladybug Takes ShelterLadybug Takes Shelter

 

 

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!!!


Alzheimer's Society Fundraiser 2014-05

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)

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