Friday, February 28, 2014

Wrapping up a short month.

The year is well under way and I am plugging along with a photo a day.  February is always a challenging month here in Calgary.  It is cold outside and it tends to be a long wait for spring.  Thus it can be difficult to always come up with new ideas and concepts.  Yet here are my images from the last week or so.
February 20.  I have been recovering from Bronchitis that I contracted back before Christmas.  Even though the worst part there is still irritation in the bronchial tubes.  The Fisherman's Friend lozenges have been my relief.
February 21.  The boys had some candy heart suckers left over from Valentines day and I arranged three of them in a pattern on the softbox for this shot using the 7D.
February 22.  Using the same technique I took an orange slice and laid it on top of the softbox.  Fortunately the Chimera softboxes use a plastic material and not fabric so that the juice from the orange did damage the surface.  I used a macro tube on my 24-70 to get in tight for this macro shot.
Earlier that evening I had been down at St, Stephen's Anglican church and today the sun was coming through the stain glass windows and illuminating them brilliantly.  I was intrigued by the fine detail and shot four close ups using the iPhone and combined them in to on finished piece using Frametastic.
February 23.  Sunday Self-portrait week eight.  I had this idea of a double exposure after playing around with the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone.  I picked up a crown from Burger King and then using a mirror I shot two images using the double-expose feature on the Hipstamatic.  It took a number of tries to get it just right but it gave me the look I was going for.
February 24.  Using a small empty bottle of Crown Royal which I saved because I liked the bag and the shape of the bottle for today's subject.  Light from the softbox below and a mirror reflecting light back into the bottle and bag.
February 25.  Some of my memorabilia from my time in the Army Cadets in 1977/78. I found these cap badges when I was organizing some of my drawers.  Brought back some interesting memories.
February 26.  See the previous post that was done from the iPad for this day's photo.

February 27.  A single pink Rose stood out as I was walking through Safeway and I managed a quick capture with the iPhone.
February 28.  This Orchid is embalmed in acrylic and as I was looking for something to shoot as today's subject stood out to me.  Perfectly preserved and with an interesting background it reminds me that spring is on it's way.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Posting from the iPad.

I am experimenting tonight with posting to my blog from the iPad instead of from the computer. I am trying this as I will be leaving for Las Vegas on Sunday to attend WPPI. I want to try and blog from the conference and as I am planning on traveling light this will be a chance to see how blogger works on a tablet.

I am posting today's photo of the day and will update the missing days tomorrow from my work station.  Today's image of a tray of slides I am going to scan from our family trip to Disneyland in 1976. Shot with the iPhone and processed with snapseed.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A fun time editing.

One of the most difficult things to do is to edit your own work.  It is difficult sometimes to cull our photos down to a few select images and it is harder on those who don't shoot indiscriminately.   I tend to think about myself in this manner as I don't just blast off random shots hoping to get a few good ones out of the bunch.  I generally take my time, think about what I am looking for, compose the photo and shoot just enough frames to get what I intended.
That is why it was a challenge to go through my files for the last year and a half or so to pick out what I wanted to add to my website.  I wanted a good variety with very little repetition and good representation of what I am capable of.  Now this update is to my catch all web-site, my brag site if you like.  This is the one I want to share with those interested in photography.  Thus there will be a larger number of galleries here.  My goal here is to showcase my work in general.  I will develop separate sites for specific clients later this spring.
Going through all these photo's allowed me to see my continued growth as a photographer.  The images would have appeared in my blog so if you have been following you will have seen them all. It was tough to look at and decide that some images did not warrant being on permanent display on my site.  Yet this is what one must do and you need a critical eye and strong conviction to say that some work was not as strong as you would have liked.
Yet it is through this process that helps one grow as a photographer.  When we first post and share an image everyday it is easy to think it is a wonderful photograph.  When we get good response on our photo's it is an affirmation on our abilities.  Thus when we revisit our files months later with a fresh and different set of eyes, we can be more objective and thus a little more critical.  This allows us to grow and improve and hopefully to create a stronger body of work as we move forward.
February 12  Another late evening shoot as the day went by very fast.  I spotted this Tonka Helicopter on the shelf and I placed it on some white foam packaging.  Using the 7D on a tripod I tried a variety of shutter speeds as I wanted to have some motion as I spun the rotter. Eventually I settled on 1/60 as it gave just the right amount of blur.
February 13  I had a little bit of time to go and shot while Cool was at his vocal coaching.  I thought I might try and get a shot of the downtown from a vantage point I had not been to before, but the lighting conditions were uninspiring.  As I walked back to the car I saw this downed sign and thought I could make it work as my photo for the day.
February 14  Valentines Day.  What a better subject then the box of chocolates I gave to my wife.  Shot with the iPhone and processed with snapseed.
February 15.  Luke and I visited the Petland store while we waited for Cool and his guitar lesson.  While Luke snapped away with his iPad I took these photo's with my iPhone.

Later that evening as I sat on the couch I noticed one of the cushions had become scrunched in an interesting way.  A quick iPhone capture with little post processing here gave a nice abstract feel.
February 16  My seventh in my Self Portrait Sunday series.  This image looking through a cracked window was to symbolize the contemplative mood I have been in as I plan to repair the cracks in my business.
February 17.  Visiting my brothers for a birthday party and spotted a couple of interesting pieces of art that I thought I could work with.  I carefully lined up this sculpture looking at the lines in the ceiling and walls and moving around until they intersected at the right spot.
This shot is actually of a lamp and painting however I like the way it becomes an abstract landscape with the choice of drop and post processing I used in snapseed.
February 18  Using a mirror and a blue backdrop I tented this miniature 747 that I had sitting on the shelf.  Shot with the 7D and the 24-70 at f5 to get some shallow depth of field.
February 19.  A morning walk in Edworthy Park by the railroad tracks netted these two photo's  .  The first I was looking up at the crossing lights and watching the clouds as they blew by, waiting for the right pattern to emerge.
I then trained the camera on the tracks (pup intended) and moved around to get the sun reflecting of the rails but positioning them with this composition in my viewfinder.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Playing with dolls.

Sometimes one has to use what one has available in order to be creative.  We have a number of knickknacks, figurines and toys that have been part of this project over the three years.  There are times when it is the subject that is the inspiration and other's where the light is. Here are two examples from the past two images for my photo a day challenge.
February 10.  I have been watching a fair amount of the Olympic coverage from Sochi, Russia.  I remembered we had a tiny set of the Nesting Dolls and thought they would make a good subject in honour of the games.  I wanted to create a slightly different look so I lined them up on my desk using the reflection of my computer monitor and the grain of the wood to create an interesting background.  I decided that today I wanted to use the Hipstamatic app on the iPhone and the BlackKeys Ultrachrome to give a brown tone to the image. I moved the camera around till I got the right angle and created this photo.
February 11.  I was walking out of my office and noticed the afternoon sun creating some lovely light patterns on the basement floor.  The surface area was small and I knew I would need a tiny subject to fit the light.  I grabbed a Nani figurine from the Lilo & Stitch movie (don't you love having kids, so many little collectibles become part of the toy box) as I found it interesting and would work with the area I had to shoot.  The sun was moving so I had to try several different positions to get the figure and the shadow just where I wanted.  I used my 70-200 @ 200mm on the Canon 7D so that I didn't come between the light and the subject.  Shooting at 100ISO, 1/125 sec at f 6.3 I moved my position around until the toy and it's shadow fell perfectly with in the light and shadows. I finished the image up using OnOne's Perfect Photo Suite 6.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


This is one word that can garner a lot of feelings.  This past week one of my photographer friends was lamenting about where the supporters were for his exhibition.  It got me thinking back to when I had my studio and gallery and I wondered the same thing when I had shows.  I could relate as so often the turn out for photography shows at our gallery were always less well attended then for the painters or sculptors. So I started wondering, what are our expectations of others.
We all have a need for recognition and attention and when we get praise for our work it feels good.  Often we expect this to translate into support when we put all the effort and money into having an exhibition.  We not only want people to come to view our work, but hope to sell pieces to cover the cost associated with such an endeavour. It can feel like a slap in the face when this does not happen.
But is this a realistic expectation?  With all the images created these days it is hard to know what someone will purchase and to find the true collectors. It has always been the case with art and is even more difficult with photography. Perhaps we have to analyze why we show our work first.
This can be difficult as we have our expectations on ourselves.  We want to have success, to earn a living and then some.  Showing that we have a vision or talent can be a driving factor in producing our work and the use of the internet and social media allow one to do so.  This is where I feel we have to look at why we do it.
For me I have reached a point where I just want to enjoy and create and hope that others enjoy.  It would be nice to earn some income and sell my photographs in one form or another, but I choose not to expect anything at this time.  I do my photography for myself and when I start doing it as a business again I plan to find a model that I feel comfortable with.  Till then I will share and enjoy with no expectations.
Here are my photo's of the day from the last 10 days.
January 31.  I found this old process lens as I was organizing some of my camera equipment.  I held it up and was able to focus the ceiling light on the wall.  I might try to build a Camera Obscura with it this summer.

February 1.  I shot this photo during one of the classes I teach at SAIT. Andrew had an interesting look with his hat and even as I took the shot I know it would work best as a black and white.
When I returned home my boy's wanted me to take them to the field to play in the snow.  Here they are making a snow chair.
February 2.  The fifth photo in my Sunday Self-portrait series.  I took one of our drinking glasses and held it over my lens.  I adjusted the focus to be on the bottom of the glass and then sat in front of it at about an arms length.  By looking at the base of the glass I was able to figure out the position for my face.
Earlier that day I noticed the shadows of the house plants being cast on the drapes I liked the look and took this photo.
February 3.  On a cold evening I took a quick walk looking for something to photograph and was attracted once again to the neon lights of the Galaxie Diner.
I returned to St. Stephens Anglican church to wait for Cool to wrap up his choir practice.  There was a large bouquet of flowers and I was attracted to the lilies. I pulled one out and just using the available light raised my ISO to 3200 so I could get a fast enough shutter speed to hand hold and then a fairly wide aperture to work with the depth of field.
February 4.  It was one of those long days where it was late and I needed a shot to keep the string intact.  I looked up on one of the shelves and saw these two bowling figurines.  Shot with the 7D and A high ISO and shallow depth of field gave the look I wanted.
February 5.  We had fun with the basic lighting class at SAIT this evening.  Here I had Dani do some leaps and I got down low to help give the illusion of a high jump.
I finished with a nice, dramatic head shot of this lovely lady.
We also had Kendyl come in on  the other side and she had a real classical look.  I created this simple portrait which I like a lot.
February 6.  I had my seniors bring their pets in so we can use them to work with as subjects.  I wanted to work with available light, in this case some large windows with the blinds down.  I did this as I knew my seniors would not have access to other lights so I wanted them to learn how to work with natural light sources.
February 7.  In celebration of the first day of the Sochi Winter Olympics I took one of the mini team Canada Jerseys and held it up in front of the light in my office.  Using the iPhone and then just turning the jersey till I got the shadowing just right on the jersey.
February 8.  I attended the opening of one of my friends of his photography show at Framed on Fifth.  I saw the reflection of two of the people who were attending the event in the front window and included the light switch in the composition to establish a sharp focal point that sets the scene.
February 9.  Week 6 in my Sunday self-portrait series.  I have been wanting to play with the GoPro Hero 3 I received recently.  Knowing it had a very wide angle of view I wanted to create this shot of myself in my office. I was very impressed with the quality of the photo even in low light conditions.