Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 365, 365 Day Project

Leaping for joy! Leaping into a New Year! Whatever you want to read in to this Auto-portrait I can say I am thrilled to have completed this project. It was quite a year and I had many challenges as anyone who attempts this series knows. Sometimes you are not creative, tired or just plain frustrated. Other times you see something on the super of the moment, that fleeting light that you just have to capture. Then there are the times you plan and work to execute the image as you envisioned.

There is the joy of discovery in doing a photo a day. A chance to get back to the sheer pleasure of taking pictures. You also have carte blanche to experiment with new tools, techniques and ideas. For me it was discovering first what the iPod touch and then the iPad and iPhone could do. When those could not accomplish what I wanted, I knew exactly what my Canon 7D and 24-70 f2.8 or 70-200 f2.8 where capable of in order for me to get the right perspective. I also discovered the apps available for the portable devices as well as plug ins for photoshop. This greatly expanded my capability to achieve the artistic vision I was searching for.

In showing this project I have had many comments and some of the images have been selected as images of the day and a variety of websites around the world. This is very humbling as I know I am no more special then many of you who are following me. It has been such a blessing to have comments from people I respect like Jonathan Marks, Tony Blei, Joe Paulicivic, Ricco Scheepers, Christopher Raun Leth and my many students who have helped encourage me along the way.

Although my next project is entitled "Project 12" which will consist of a new assignment every month with a final product of some type being produced. This could be an e-pub, a book or other type of presentation that will help me continue to grow as an artist and as a person. I still plan to shoot and post images on a regular basis, but not being confined to the 365 day ideal will allow me to post more when i have them, but also to take a break as needed. I do plan to put together a selection of images from the past year which I intend to make available both as an e-book and a printed version through Blurb.

In closing I have tried through out the project to talk about that days image and the process behind it. I had decided a few days ago that this was the image I wanted to do. To show myself for those who don't know me. I set up the one Balcar Mini z monobloc with a small Chimera softbox in my basement studio space. Since I wanted to have my main tool's in completing this challenge in the image I proceeded to bring out my trusty Canon 40D and attached the 10-22 f3.5-4.5 lens to it. Setting it up on a tripod I attempted a few with the timer but decided I needed to call on my assistant Cool to come and give me a hand. I attached the cable release and told him to press the button whenever I clicked my heels together. The Shutter speed was set for 1/125 @ f8 and 200 ISO and the focal length was 20mm. After shooting the image I downloaded the file and picked the one I liked best, cropped it, did some minor adjustments, resized and then uploaded to my iPhone. There I used my favorite app "Snapseed" to add a little more drama to the shot using the Drama Dark 2 filter. I then used PhotoToaster to added the edging that I wanted.

So thank you my friends for your support and please feel free to comment here or by e-mail. Wishing you and your families all the best for 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 364, 365 Day Project

Sometimes with this project you capture a fleeting moment, one where you barely have time to grab the camera a snap a shot. Today was one of those as I was working in my office and noticed a stream of light leaking through the blinds and illuminating the handle on my 100 year old antique barber chair. Grabbing the iPhone I had to careful position it so I would not cast a shadow and ruin the wonderful reflections on the wall. I got in close to get the composition I wanted and snapped a frame. Less then a minute later the sun had moved and the drama was gone. I then brought the photo in to Snapseed and used the Drama 2 filter and the frame to get the final result.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 363, 365 Day Project

As time runs down on this years project I seem to have photographed every nook, cranny, corner and object in the house. Still maneging to find something to use as a subject, this time the holder in the shower with the various sundries we leave there. Shooting with the iPhone I brought the file into Snapseed where I used the Vintage 3 filter to alter the tone and add a texture. Then I used Real Camera+ to finish up with a frame I felt would work with the photograph.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 362, 365 Day Project

The game of "Perfection". One tries to get all the pieces in place before the time runs out and pops them up. Sitting around this afternoon playing with Luke I thought I would try to capture the pieces as they popped up. Having had experience with the iPhone and movement I was sure I could get some frozen and others with movement. I tried a number of times with varying degrees of success until the above image happened. Happy I then processed it in Snapseed doing some color correction for the tungsten light source and taking out some of the saturation. I then finished it up with a frame.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 361, 365 Day Project

Just a few days left in 2011 and then it is on to new projects and adventures. Every year when we hit these last few days I start planning out the year ahead. Tonight we decided as a family that we would be taking a family vacation in February and head down to Disneyland for the boys and then stop in Las Vegas on the way back for the WPPI convention. I pulled out a map to show the route and Cool and Luke had fun as I drove the toy car down to Anaheim and back. I pulled out the iPhone and shot a close-up shot of the Hot Wheel's car which was then processed both in Snapseed and Real Camera+.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 360, 365 Day Project

I was watering our plants in the basement which allowed me to notice that one of the Christmas Cactus's is in full bloom. I went to my office and picked up the Canon 7D and the 24-70 f2.8 lens and placed them on a tripod with a cable release. There was some beautiful natural back lighting happening and I wanted to isolate a single flower. The background, however, was distracting so I retrieved a piece of black matt board from the production room and slid it carefully behind the flower so as to not block any of the light. I then exposed it for 0.5 of a sec at f10 with the lens at 70mm (see original image immediately below).

When I started this project a year ago I would have been satisfied with the straight shot. However as I started to experiment I found there were certain things that I like and can enhance the image. This is one of the beautiful things about photography, it can be very subjective. I liked all three of the images posted here yet the top one that was brought back on to the iPhone and processed with Snapseed just had a little more pop in my opinion. This effect was done using the grunge tool where I moved the centre point and feathered it out then adjusted the saturation slightly.

The last image here was another version done with Snapseed and using the Drama 2 filter which gave a different look altogether. It is fun to see what one can create as it gives you more options when preparing images depending on who your audience might be.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 359, 365 Day Project

Today's image is of the Christmas present I bought myself. It is Tim Mantoani's "Behind Photographs - Archiving Photographic Legends". I supported Tim's project by investing in it prior to publication at I was intrigued by the book as it had a number of photographer's whom I have had a good fortune to meet inside of it. So I but down my support of the book on faith from what was presented on Kickstarter.

I was not disappointed. The book arrived on the 23rd but as I am teaching my boys the value of patience, I wrapped it and did not look at it until today. The end product is beautifully done and is one of the finest book of photographs of photographers, all created on the giant 20x24 Polaroid camera. The book itself is 11x14 and has been printed to make the photographs stand out. Besides the stories about the photographers and many of their iconic images, there is valuable research in to the history, art and culture of the medium. As I am about to launch a new course at SAIT on this particular subject in May, the information in the book will be an invaluable resource.

I created the above image with a few things in mind. First was to show the book and a selection of the participants for the project. I choose these three individuals, Michael Grecco, Douglas Krikland and Ron Galella as I have been very fortunate to spend some time with each of them. Though I already knew the stories of the images they had chosen to show, I enjoyed seeing them here in the book.

I also wanted to try an new app called Frametastic which allows you to add a variety of images in to a selection of different panels. Knowing that I would have trouble on the small screen of the iPhone, I shot the images of the cover and pages inside using the iPad. This allowed me to size the photo's to fit the frames and then save the final result as one image as seen above.

So if you are a lover of fine photography books or wanted to learn more about some very fine photographers and their stories I highly recommend this book. You can learn more at Tim's website

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 358, 365 Day Project

It's Christmas Eve. Busy day getting everything ready, church with the family which included a Christmas Pageant. The some time with everyone afterwards before coming home. A quick iPhone capture of our singing snowman with his dog and penguin on a sled for today's image. Processed with Snapseed and edging added with Real Camera+.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 357, 365 Day Project

I am always looking for unique and interesting light fixtures and found this one at Nick's Steak House and Pizza in Calgary. I was out with all my family celebrating my Mom's birthday and I was talking with my niece Natasha about my project and some of the apps I was using. So I shot this image and then used Snapseed to do the post processing showing her the result.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 356, 365 Day Project

What a wonderful winter we have had so far. We have only had a few bitterly cold days since the start of November and a few heavy snow falls, but otherwise it has been very pleasant. Today was the last day of Kindergarten for Luke and he and a group of his classmates went sledding on the small hill after they were done. I wanted to grab a few images so I pulled out the iPhone and went down hill and waited for Luke to make his runs. This was the second shot I took and was the most successful. I think he was making a game of it to see if he could run in to me on his way down. Any way he had lot's of fun. Once we got home I brought the image into Snapseed where I cropped it and then added the Drama 2 Filter to give it some pop. I then used PhotoForge2 to add the edging with their frame tool.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 355, 365 Day Project

It was one of those rare night's when Lysa and I actually get to go out together without the boy's. Tonight we attended the SAIT ICT Christmas Party down at the Blind Monk Pub here in Calgary. We arrived early and as I was sitting there I decided to capture an image of the room. Using the iPhone I snapped an image and then used Snapseed once again to add dome Drama Dark 2 and then with PhotoToatster added a frame.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 354, 365 Day Project

Today Cool had a mini Dance recital with his dance studio. Although it was one number I was proud of him as he did very well considering he has only been dancing a year. He had this big smile on his face the whole time and was able to keep up with the other dancers. I shot this with one hand on the iPhone as my other hand was busy with the video camera. I loved the movement in the arms and that the face is still sharp. I processed the image in Snapseed first cropping in a fair amount. Then I added a bit of Drama 2 that just helped make the Photo pop and finished it with a frame.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 353, 365 Day Project

Another Christmas Ornament for today's subject. I have done a few and think I might have a good series to create some Christmas cards for next year. Today I used the Canon 7D as I wanted a little more control with the perspective and depth of field on this little statuette. Shot with the 24-70 f2.8 @ f3.5 and 52mm, 1/30 sec at 1600 ISO. After uploading to my computer I downloaded it once again to the iPhone where I brought it in to Snapseed for the first bit of post processing using the Vintage filter. Then I brought it over to PhotoToaster where I added the antiqued filter and the medium black vignette and then the black brush frame to soften the sides as well.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 352, 365 Day Project

Christmas Bells became the subject for today's photo. I placed them against the glass blocks beside the front door as I like the texture they gave to the background. After snapping a few shots I brought the image in to Snapseed where I used the Drama 2 filter which really brought out the metallic feel of the bells. This time I used PhotoToaster to choose the frame that I wanted.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 351, 365 Day Project

We attended Cool's annual Christmas concert down at the Knox United Church today. While we waited for the performance of the Cantare Children's Choir I wandered through the venerable old church. The architecture is beautiful and I was looking up at the ceiling when the above scene hit me. Tilting the iPhone I captured a unique angle and then processed the image using Snapseed and the Drama Dark 2 filter. I then used PhotoForge 2 to add the frame.

Below is a new app that I am testing, the "Pocket Light Meter" It is very cool as it records the scene, technical data and the location in longitude and latitude. Although I need to do more testing it looks like a fun app.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 350, 365 Day Project

Our little Nativity scene as captured with the iPad and processed in Snapseed.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 349, 365 Day Project

While waiting for Luke at the Vecova Swimming Pool I noticed the windows had a nice layer of condensation on them. I thought I might be able to use it as an element in relation to the scene outside. The iPhone works really well for getting close to a surface and with the setting sun coming through the tree out side made for a lovely shot. I brought the image into Snapseed where I cropped the photo and then made a few minor adjustments to the contrast and saturation before finishing it up with a frame.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 348, 365 Day Project

We have paper Christmas Stars in our front window. One has a light bulb inside and I liked the way it illuminated the adjoining star. Tonight I choose to use the Canon 7D and 24-70 f2.8 lens as I needed the compression factor that the lens gives in order to get the composition that I was looking for. This was shot at f5.6 and 70mm at 1/125 sec and 3200 ISO. After downloading it to the computer I cropped it a bit and re-sized it to download to the iPhone. Using Snapseed I added a bit of texture and vignetting with the grunge filter and added the frame before uploading back to the computer and then posting here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 347, 365 Day Project

I was testing out a few new apps today to see what they are capable of. The first is one called "16 Mega Pixels" which is suppose to give you a larger file from your the camera in your phone. As the iPhone 4 is only 5 MP it does offer a nice possibility to make your files larger. The app seemed to work well here yielding a 43MB (4480 x 3360) file compared with the standard 14 MB ((2592 x 1936) file. There does appear to be some sharpness loss but since I had limited subject matter today more testing is required.

I then tested the Luminance app to see what it's filter set had to offer. There are 19 presets and a few are interesting to use and I choose the Dystopia on this image as it gave the look I wanted. I finished off using Real Camera+ to select the frame as again I wanted to see what was offered in different apps for alternative choices in borders. This particular one worked well with today's image.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 346, 365 Day Project

One of our small Christmas Decorations, a little town scene with skaters. I came in close with the iPhone and snapped a few frames. I first brought the image in to Snapseed to make some minor adjustments and then in to PhotoToaster to add a texture that fit the scene.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 345, 365 Day Project

Today I was out for most of the day and had a chance to shoot a number of images to work with. I present three of my favorites as it was a little hard deciding on showing just one. The above is my favorite. After shooting the images with the iPhone I brought the above one in to PhotoToaster for a little tweaking before settling on this result. The bottom two where post processed in Snapseed and i feel I achieved the desired results.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 344, 365 Day Project

The boy's have been extra good this week and I thought I would treat them to one of their favorite meals, Little Caesars Hot and Ready Pizza and Crazy Bread. The place was really busy so to kill some time I discreetly tried to shoot a few images. I liked this one and while waiting brought it in to Snapseed and did a little post processing to finish the shot off.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 343, 365 Day Project

We had a Chinook blow through Calgary today (a warm west wind that comes in off the mountains for those of you not familiar with the term). This cleared up a spot on my front lawn allowing me to put up our inflatable penguin and the deer decorations. I like the late afternoon sun so I shot an image with the iPhone. Using Instagram today for quick processing I used the choose the Kelvin filter to finish it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 342, 365 Day Project

These plastic flowers adorn our washroom up stairs, sitting silently in the corner. Tonight they became my subject. Shot with the iPhone I decided to use the PhotoToaster for post production to learn what this app can do. I used four different settings, first was adding a texture with canvas, then using the spotlight filter, adding a vignette and finishing it off with a ragged frame. I am happy with the result, but still need to work with the app a bit more to gain familiarity with what it can achieve.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 341, 365 Day Project

Tonight was the last shooting night for my classes at SAIT for this year. I was demonstrating the use of colour gels on the background and one of my students sat for a quick couple of images at the start of the class. The original image was shot with the Canon 7D, 24-70 f2.8 @ f8 and 57mm, 1/125 sec at 100 ISO. Once I returned home I downloaded the image and cropped it then uploaded to my iPhone as I knew I wanted to use Snapseed once again. I used the vintage filter, style 1 to soften the skin a bit. Then I used Real Camera+ to add the frame. After saving the image I uploaded the image to my computer and re-sized it for the Internet before posting it here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 340, 365 Day Project

So with all the Christmas decorations up it was only a matter of time before one found it's way in to the collection of images. I was at the Varsity Community Association waiting for Cool and his Jazz dance class to finish up. They have all their decorations around the facility and one that caught my eye was a wreath on one of the doors. The first shot I took was fairly boring, but I did not give up on it. I moved the iPhone around it looking at various angles and crops before settling on the above photo of the poinsettia flower in the wreath. Then in Snapseed I did a centre focus and adjust some grunge before adding the frame for the final result.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 339, 365 Day Project

Another night at SAIT teaching my students in the Advanced Lighting Class. While moving between the two rooms in which we set up studios for the students to work in I saw the cleaning ladies supply cart in the hall. Immediately I knew that the spray bottles could make an interesting subject for today's image. Quickly I shot a couple of frames and went back in to watch what my students were doing. A couple of them have been following my 365 Day Project so I thought I would share with them how I go about finishing the photo. Using Snapseed I quickly add a bit of softening and texture with the grunge filter and added the frame. This is one thing I like about teaching at SAIT, besides sharing the info in the lighting class I can also share other photographic ideas with the hopes it will inspire them as well.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 338, 365 Day Project

After shoveling the snow for the second time today I noticed the berries on the Neighbours tree with little hats of snow on them. Using the iPhone in the Instgram app I shot a few frames. I like this one the best for the richness and the contrast of the colours. I used the Lomo-fi filter which added in a slight more saturation and a border, but otherwise it is a pretty straight shot.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 337, 365 Day Project

Today is a day for family, rest and recovery. We went out early this morning and took Cool and Luke to see Santa at Northland Village Mall. This year it was by booking and there was no photographer, it was take your own. So I shot using the Canon 7D, 24-70 f2.8 @ f4, 1/125 sec, 800 ISO with the Canon 580EX II flash and Gary Fong collapsible light sphere. After the boys made some crafts and had a snack we headed home where I downloaded the files and then choose the one I wanted to use, cropped it in Photoshop and the uploaded back to my iPhone. From there I used PhotoForge2 to add a frame and then copied it back to my computer and posted it here. Now it is off to trim the tree, decorate the house and have a peaceful day with the family.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 336, 365 Day Project

The last four days seem to have been a busy one leading up to today's Arts & Crafts fair at my boy's school. Between picking up prints, matting, teaching, delivering flyer's about the show and all, I have barely had 5 hours sleep each night. So today's image is a simple one, a record shot of my table with prints for sale. All but three were taken for this 365 Day Project and a large number were done with the iPhone. I was very pleased by the resulting prints and had many compliments on my work during the day. However, as is usually the case with photographs, sales were small but it has always been this way. Back in my Art College days when we had the Christmas show and sale the glass blowing, ceramics, print making departments always made big money. Photography was lucky if we broke $500 people would like the work but happily go on and but from the other departments. So it did not surprise me much that this happened today and Franky it doesn't bother me. Today was more about participating and helping the school and I had a booth just for the fun of it. Cool assisted me all day and had a great time. So now I can go to sleep happy and content because I am happy with the way my images looked.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 335, 365 Day Project

In to the home stretch now, last month of the year. Today Luke had swimming lessons and usually the pool is busy and there is always movement in the water. For some reason when we arrived the pool was empty and the water was calm and still. I saw the reflection of the slide and the wall in the pool and immediately jumped to my feet to get the shot before the kids entered the pool for their lessons. I find with the iPhone I really like to angle the camera to make the image more dynamic and I was pleased how the reflections of the clock and other pool accessories came out. While waiting for Luke's lesson to end I brought the file in to Snapseed looking for the appropriate amount of filter effect to give what I was looking for. I felt this grunge effect toned down a fair amount worked best.