Saturday, March 31, 2012

Story of hope, still looking for prayers.

Today's blog post is a story of hope and a request for more prayers. Over the last four months we have been keeping a secret as one of my sister-in-laws has been in an ICU in a foreign country where she had gone to work. In December she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and she was hospitalized. Since the situation is complicated we wanted to keep a lot of the details quiet as we monitored the situation. For a long time the prognosis looked grim and we were preparing for the worst. Although she is in good hands with some wonderful doctors and nurses taking care of her we did not know where to turn.

That is when we decided to approach some of our faith groups and ask for prayers. Last week we had a variety of different faiths praying for her (Christians, Hindus and Muslims) as she has a connection to all these groups. We contacted some very special priests in India as well as members of our Calgary community. Now whether you believe or not I would like to say that she was not able to get out of bed last weekend, yet when a cat scan was taken a few days ago the tumor had drastically shrunk and a day later her blood pressure returned to normal. They were able to release her yesterday and she was back at work today. She and her doctors feel she is out of the woods and on the way to a full recovery. Still if you can, I would appreciate if you can keep add her to your prayers that the recovery will continue and that she will be able to return home to her family this summer.
The second part of this story has to deal with my Instagram 366 photograph for today (above image). I was asked if I might drop by a photo shoot to give a few suggestions on a calendar shoot. The shoot was taking place in a garage where the owner runs a business where he restores guitars and teaches music. It was a pleasure to meet JR Fleet and chat with him and see a very unique guitar he has designed. While we were talking he mentioned the he is fighting pancreatic cancer and I felt it was a sign to share the above story with him as well. I have sent him the phone number of the one priest in India whom my wife and sister-in-law feel had a big hand in her healing with the hope that he can help JR as well. I would also like to request that if you can assist JR by adding him to your prayers as well and if you can please visit his web-site at to learn more about his organization.

After visiting JR I went to teach at SAIT. When I returned home I was surprised that my son Luke had drawn a cross on his leg as a way to show support for his Aunt. It was so cute I wanted to photograph and share it. Even though he is only 5 he does show a real sensitivity to those around him. It is so wonderful that both of my boy's have good faith values and through this experience have been able to see that people of all faiths can still pray for each other.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Quick entry tonight.

It was a busy day and my late afternoon I was feeling a little under the weather. Still I wanted to post my image of the day. Another one from around the house. We always see these electrical outlets, but so often take them for granted. I just wanted to frame this one so the look of a face came out. Shot with the iPhone and processed with Snapseed.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Digital or hard copy. Which is best?

I have always subscribed to magazines and purchased photo books. The tactile feel that one receives when holding a well printed publication can be second to none. Yet since I have purchased an iPad I have discovered that digital publications can offer so much more then their print counter parts.

One of the best photo publications I have discovered on line is Photographersi ( ). Now in it's second issue it takes advantage of all the iPad has to offer and more. It is well laid out and incorporates various scrolling functions and audio and video components. One of the cool things in Vol. 2 is that if you are connected to the Internet it actually will give you a live feed to a web cam that is part of the story. On top of this it features some incredible photographers and photography. I strongly recommend you check it out and subscribe to this great digital magazine.

Another couple to check out are the British Journal of Photography and Scott Kelby's light it. Both also incorporate many of the functions of the iPad. After viewing these you will see how the publishing industry is changing and how photography can benefit from it. Does this mean the death of the printed magazine and book. On this I am not sure. A couple of issues still arise from having digital libraries. Although printed materials take up a lot of room they are a physical presence that you can enjoy. I have even heard some interior designers recommending large table top photo books as decorative items in ones home. The type and style of the book can add to the room and environment. Still when you have hundreds of books and thousands of magazines it can be a lot of clutter of ones home. While digital does not have this clutter I am still not sure about storage and maintaining of one's library. Do things like the iCloud help in this matter. What about storage devices in our home such as separate hard drives. Will we need to have multiple drives to store our libraries thus adding clutter.

The other thing a digital edition does is it eliminates rarity of such items and thus the value as a collectors piece. With printed books being expensive to produce and the cost of purchasing one drastically higher then digital copies it makes the number of the book available finite. Thus artist proofs, first editions and autographed copies become an important commodity and can increase in value as time passes. Digital offers unlimited copies and of course one can not have an author autograph an iPad or digital reader. In its own way digital may increase the value of the printed piece. I can see that monthly publications may shift to the digital realm much quicker then books, but the publishing industry will thrive in other areas.

So I invite and encourage you to explore what the new digital medium can give to our industry and take advantage of it to help promote or show your photography. Yet do not forget the pleasure of a finely printed book and how it can represent your work. Both have a valuable place in the future of our industry.

Here is my Instagram 366 image for today. I had purchased some Mango's and a Pineapple to make a smoothie but before hand I decided to use it for today's photograph. Again I used Snapseed for the entire post processing work, changing the exposure, adding some saturation, softening the edges, cropping and adding the frame.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

With this post I am up to date.

So with today's post I am now up to date with my Instagram 366 project posts. This was taken at Heritage Park at the entrance of Gasoline Alley. Again I used Snapseed as my editing tool to crop and enhance and then PhotoToaster for the vignette and frame. I enjoy the glow of the signs at the top of the pumps and it adds to the collection of classic gas pumps that I have started.

One of the things I have tried to do with this project is to take every day objects and make them stand out. This came up tonight during my class at SAIT when one of my students mentioned that she is now starting to look for impact in her photographs. This came about from my lecture on how we view photographs and that impact is the most important element. It is what keeps the viewer engaged with the photograph. Although I am not always successful with this I hope that most of my images do have the ability to stop the viewer and keep their interest. I look forward to sharing the rest of this project and am always interested in your thoughts. Please feel free to leave a comment anytime.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A few thoughts about the 366 project.

One of the things I have loved about doing this project is sometimes seeing something I had photographed previously but because it has changed it offers another possibility for a photograph. Thus it was with the lock and chains above. I like the way the it angled and felt it would make a nice image. After processing in Snapseed I used Trey Ratcliff's 100 cameras in 1 app to find a filter that I had seen and knew would enhance the background in a way that I liked.

As I reach 450+ days of continuous shooting I have a few thoughts about taking on and continuing this project. When I started on Dec. 31, 2010 I became aware of how many people attempt this project and how many end it before reaching their goal. Some feel that they have failed if they give up. My thought if you started, made the attempt, but due to circumstance could not finish you still made the attempt. This type of project is more about learning, opening your eyes to everything around you and the possibilities of photographic exploration. There will be days when the creative juices are not there, you are tired, or just running out of time and these can cause you to miss a day. Life happens, don't sweat it, you do what you do and plug on. If you do continue don't expect to always have an award winner. It would be nice if we could always have an image that make people "Oh and Ah", but it is not necessary. As long as we make the effort, improve our eye and have fun that is what the photo a day project is about.

Now to continue catching up with my posts.March 19, 2012. The day before the first day of spring and the tulip's are starting to sprout.March 20, 2012. Out for a walk and found these lovely lines and shadows.March 21, 2012. My Grandfather's old 8mm movie camera.March 22, 2012. A close up of some peacock feathers we have.March 23, 2012. A vase against a stone wall in the IRIS eye glass store in Market Mall.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Continuing to update the Instgram 366 images.

Tonight one of my long time models brought her boyfriend to class. While he watched I decided to grab a quick image of him with the iPhone. It is another image in a continuation of taking a photo a day that is now at 452 days.
March 12, 2012. Shot using the App SlowShutter with the iPhone during my advanced lighting class at SAIT. Here a flashlight was used to light the model.

March 13, 2012. It seems like I have now photographed everything including the kitchen sink.
March 14, 2012. Caged Dove down at Art Central in Calgary.
March 15, 2012. Peace Lilly and Rosary Ring.

March 16, 2012. Our snow globe collection.

March 17, 2012. Juicer and Shadow.

March 18, 2012. Old wheelbarrow in the backyard.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

From iPhone to 8 x 10.

Today was a chance to bring out the oldest camera in my collection, the 8 x 10 Empire State Camera that was built in 1909. It's old and rickety and I am not sure if the holders leak light, but it was fun to play with it once again. This came about as I had been approached by cSPACE Projects in Calgary to bring my meet-up group in to record the old King Edward School before it goes through extensive renovations. We had 33 photographers visit and wander through the building documenting what they found. As the building was constructed in 1912 I felt it was appropriate to bring out a camera of the same vintage. Even though I was shooting with this camera I had to bring out the iPhone for some instant documentation so I could share it here on the blog. Once I have the film developed I hope to have at least one negative which I will produce a palladium print from. When that is complete I will scan it and share it with you here. If you would like to find out more about what is happening with the King Edward School please visit as I am sure you will be amazed at what will be in store for the area. Needless to say it is wonderful to see a great new vision for the arts scene in Calgary.

Here is a quick self portrait taken with the iPhone of me and the Empire State 8 x 10 Camera.

Photographing in the boiler room of the King Edward School.

Now to continue to catch up on my Instagram 366 project images.

March 7, 2012. Taken during my Basic Studio Lighting class at SAIT. One of the students had brought a toy camera as a prop so I took a quick image of the subject with the camera

March 8, 2012. My son Cool was pretty proud of the snowman he made after school.

March 9, 2012. An image from my initial meeting and visit to King Edward school in preparation for today's photo exploration.
March 10, 2012. A martini glass and it's reflection.

March 11, 2012. A still life of a fruit bowl with mango's and a banana.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fun with my SAIT Students

I always have a fun time when we do the location shooting class on the SAIT campus as it actually allows me a chance to shoot as well. We had two wonderful future brides today, Shantel and Laurel who did a fabulous job. It was a windy, cold day outside so we worked at two of my favorite locations on campus, the entrance to the parkade and Heritage Hall, that are indoors. The parkade was a little chilly even though it is sheltered and semi-heated. Still the girls did marvelous and the students were able to get some great shots as well as experiment with different ISO settings on their cameras.

Here are a couple of images showing my students photographing the brides in the parkade.

When we moved over to Heritage Hall I shot two images with the iPhone that I considered for toady's Instagram 366 photo. The one that leads this post is of Shantel and is the one I choose. The one below is of Laurel and was in strong consideration as well.

The following images were shot with the Canon 7D and 24-70 f2.8 lens in the parkade. Although I do like shooting with the iPhone and some of the features it has, I do prefer to work with the DSLR for shooting these type of images.

However here is one with the iPhone (above) and then with the 7D (below).

Now back to catching up some Instagram 366 Images.

March 2, 2012 One of my students had given me a box of Bernard Callebaut chocolates as a thank you and I made it the subject for the day.

March 3, 2012 Walking through Kensington on 10th street in Calgary and discovered a new candy store. Was nice to see vats of saltwater taffy.

March 4, 2012 Back to exploring shadows using kitchenware, in this case a cheese grater.

March 5, 2012 Winter returned with some heavy, wet snow. Loved the look with the leaves and berries.

March 6, 2012 Woke up this morning to find that winter had decided to give us one last blizzard. I thought the blowing snow created an interesting pattern in front of our flower barrel.

Friday, March 23, 2012

More images from my Instagram 366 project.

While waiting for Cool's glasses at Iris I saw this vase on the shelf and liked the way the it looked against the stone wall. It already had a nice warm tone to it but I enhanced it a bit in Snapseed.

February 26, 2012. Rope and chain. I am very impressed how close and how sharp the iPhone can be.

February 27, 2012. Taken at my class at SAIT using the modeling lights on the strobes.

February 28, 2012. Luke has really decided that he likes to do homework. Although in kindergarten he is already working on grade 1 math.

February 29, 2012. Playing with shadows using a spatula.

March 1, 2012. Both boy's have started piano lessons and here is Cool while he is practicing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Finding the little things.

As I move forward with this project I have found it a little challenging as I have basically been at home for most of the last couple of years. There are instances such as the images below and over the past few days where I was away on vacation and thus had much more to see. However since my life revolves around my boys and my teaching my area of coverage is limited. So I find I have to be more observant around the house in order to find something to photograph and to make it look interesting. So seeing the little things, the knick knacks and souvenirs we have collected and using them to create my daily image is common. Today I noticed the peacock feathers that we had bought in India that were part of a small statuette. I liked the color and the texture and thus composed the image in a way that I felt was pleasing. After shooting it I brought it in to Snapseed for cropping and minor processing and Phototoaster for the frame.

February 21, 2012 Flower at Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.

February 22, 2012. Hover Dam as seen from the new bridge.

February 23, 2012. Waiting lounge in LAX.

February 24, 2012. hen we returned home from our vacation we noticed that my father had poured water in to the vase that held our fake tulips.

February 25, 2012. Foot prints in the snow behind SAIT.