Thursday, December 29, 2011

First Snow

Winter has arrived, just in time for the holidays.  Shot early in the morning after a fresh snowfall, this scene captures the calm, peaceful feeling of a fresh snowfall.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shine wherever you are!

"I wish I made more money", "I want a better job", "I'll be happier if..." "I don't like the way that person treats me", "My boss is a ...", "it feels like the world is against me", "I'm always broke"'s easy to get discouraged and become down with all of life's challenges.  I read a book recently that made a very important point. "Blossom wherever you're planted." Stop trying to change the world around you and accept where you are. If you're in a field of weeds, stop trying to pull them all out, rather learn to blossom among the weeds.

On a cold winter night, this man stands alone with his guitar, barely noticed by people passing by. He stops frequently to warm his bare hands in the freezing temperatures. His guitar case is open for donations but it's nearly empty. For most of us, the reality of this scene is a bit grim and many of us would pack up and leave. But this man isn't bitter. As I approach him, I see that he isn't frowning ... he's smiling. In his world, he is on stage with the spotlights blazing and he is belting out the tunes, echoing through the tunnel for everyone to hear. He is shining bright, blossoming in a field of weeds, an example for all of us to find our happiness right where we are.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Downtown Christmas

Each year, the National Capital Commission treats Ottawa's residents and visitors to a spectacular Christmas light show.  Over 300,000 twinkling lights cast a glow of blues, yellows and reds.  This photo was taken in downtown Ottawa, only a block from the parliament buildings and captures the soft glow of twinkling blue and green lights that canopy the city trees.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fiery Birch Trees

In a cold, barren field, crisp white birch trees stand out from an abstract background that appears almost as though it is on fire.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Going Squirrely!

I shot this image yesterday as I watched a band of playful squirrels stopping by for a snack.  Not long ago, this feeder was "bird central", but now it's left for only the hardiest of birds and these squirrels that fill their cheeks.  This female is one that frequently stops by for a visit and yesterday I was lucky enough to catch her with my lens.  I didn't stop there though.  I loved the pose and the charming character of this squirrel and I wanted to present her as a painting.  And so, several hours of careful brushing led to this final image.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

CN Steam Engine 1112

Built for Canadian National Railways in 1912 by Montreal Locomotive Works, this old steam engine was in service for approximately 50 years before it was donated to the Canadian National Railway Museum.  In its last years of service it ran the tracks of Quebec and Labrador.  It now sits proud, lit each night at the Smiths Falls Railway Museum.  In this shot, I wanted to show her as she might have looked back then.  

Steam hisses and brakes squeal, the bell dings, and a horn blows muting all other sounds as she comes to a stop at the station on this cold night.  Here, she sits patiently, waiting to continue down the tracks to the next stop as her coal fired boiler idles and her bright light cut a path through the darkness ahead.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Waiting for Snow

November winds have cleared the leaves from all but a few of the trees leaving hearty evergreens to dominate the forests.  The summer buzz on the river has gone, island cottages are sealed up, and the waters returns to a quiet mirror like state that reflect a stormy winter sky.  Despite frigid temperatures, a brave, weatherproofed band of ducks swims about undisturbed.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Burning Bush

The fall colours are warm and vibrant but none that I have seen match the Incredible vibrant reds of the burning bush.  While most leaves have settle to the ground, this bush stands out as though it is on fire.  Today, it was further saturated by rain droplets that settled on these fiery leaves.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November Frost

After a late evening of printing and preparing works for the show later this month, I rose before the sun and headed out to capture the world as the sun rises.  A very cold night resulted in fabulous frost formations.  I travelled to a location that I had in mind and setup my tripod and gear before the sun crested the horizon.  As it rose, the sun cast beautiful yellows and oranges that served as a colourful backdrop and soft accent lighting for these images.  An hour later, my toes were frozen and fingers numb, but I had captured an exciting sequence of shots.

Bulky ice crystals form on this tiny leaf.  Each crystal is so tiny that collectively they are seen simply as frost.  A very close inspection turns a layer of snowy white frost into these incredible structures.  It is a wonder of nature that these delicate crystals form all on their own and then simply evaporate into thin air with the rising sun.  A daily magic trick for our enjoyment!

Long crystals of ice cling to these tiny twigs.  To the passerby, this is a mere coating of frost.  To the close observer, these micro crystals form shapes that resemble a spruce tree. 

A blade of field grass is wrapped in frost and waits patiently for the rising sun to thaw it.

A tiny curling leaf tells the story of transition from autumn to winter; autumn colours glow beneath a layer of icy crystals.

The top of a cattail head, loaded heavy with frost crystals

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A little street photography

An afternoon break from work, a coffee at a sidewalk cafe with a buddy, and some wonderful warm temperatures made for a great opportunity to shoot a bit of street photography.  This little boy was on his way out of the cafe with his mom.  Seen in this photo, he is lost in the magical world of childhood.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Memories of Summer

As the chilling November skies approach we are treated to the occasional reminder of summer.  Today, sprinkles of warm sunlight play hide and seek behind puffy clouds creating searchlights that pan across the landscape.  Standing in the cool breeze, I am captured by a beam of bright sun.  Soothing warmth on my face takes me back to summer for just a few moments.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A walk through the forest

The sun peaks through a canopy of yellow and lingering green.  A gentle breeze rustles the leaves and fills the air with a soft shimmering sound.  The scents of autumn leaves and pine needs fill the air.  In this abstract image, I have attempted to capture the feeling of standing in the forest as the sunlight penetrates the canopy and lights a pathway through the trees.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Horsin' around today

While returning from a shoot in the forest, I was driving along the back highways and glanced to the left to see these beautiful creatures, basking in the setting sun.  I could resist! I pulled over to the shoulder, grabbed my camera and began shooting.  Though the sun rises and sets every day and in theory, creates these wonderful lighting conditions over and over, It's only once in a while where it all lines up and you really get to see a great subject in such nice light. Check back on my blog in the coming days for some more great shots of these animals.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Autumn sun

A sunny afternoon brings a reminder of summer's warmth and shines brightly through the saturated yellow leaves of these large maples; a brief treat before the cold November winds arrive in a handful of weeks.  For something a little different today, I produced this image entirely in-camera, with no post-processing beyond simple tone adjustments.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sprucing up your imagination

This image was created from a simple shot of spruce tree limb tips.  The shot was decent, clean, but very ordinary.  Studying it longer, I saw potential for something fun in a mirror montage.  A bit of time in post-processing and the image below developed.  I love it because each person sees their own picture.  Look at it long enough and you can see different pictures.  For me, I see the head of a snake, it's jaws wide open, fangs protruding as though it is preparing to strike.  What do you see?

Autumn colours

In the brisk autumn air, the midday sun passes through the yellowing leaves causing them to glow brightly.  Standing before them, camera in hand, I listen to the rustling sounds and watch the twinkling of light passing between the leaves.  I imagine the camera perspective; shutting down my senses and seeing with only my eyes.  What I "see" does not do justice to the experience; it lacks movement and sound; there is no feeling from the sun flickering as it passes through the leaves.  I decide that I will capture this in a different way.  I raise my camera, meter the light, set exposure and then heavily defocus the image to capture the essence rather than the literal image.  The result is a soft glowing abstract image that conveys the feeling of the experience and the warmth of autumn colours.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Show Announcement - November 25, 7-10pm

I am excited to announce that on Friday, November 25th, I will be exhibiting many of my recent images at Ottawa Studio Works gallery, 160 Preston, from 7-10pm. It's a great opportunity for me to share my work with friends. So mark your calendars and plan to stop by, have a glass of wine, a light snack and take in some art work. 

Select images will be professionally printed on fine art papers, matted and framed. If you have a favourite, there will also be limited edition prints available for sale.

There is no cost to attend. It will be a fun evening ... I hope to see you all there!

Read more about it on Harry Nowell's blog.

Also, as a side note .. remember to check in on
my blog for recent work that you may have missed in your email. There have been recent updates to the site and blog posting.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The alley

A stranger walks through this gloomy back city alleyway, caught in the headlights of an on-coming car.  From behind, another car enters the alley.  The scene reminds me of a movie set.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


As the days become shorter and greens turns to red, yellow and brown, these road-side cattails are caught in transition between summer and fall.  I thought it best to capture these in an abstract format, blending these colours together in beautiful flowing streaks.   The cattail heads can still be seen as dark streaks at the top of the image.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mist by Moonlight

He stands by the water's edge, alone in near total darkness.  Soft moonlight bears witness to the warm water giving off its mist to the brisk night air.  In perfect stillness, the water reflects the treed shoreline and clouded sky, softened by the rising mist.  Taken with patience, tripod, and a very long shutter speed this image captures a moment of solitude.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: Steve Carty Advanced Lighting Workshop

It was a casual web search that turned up Steve Carty’s website. I was looking around to see what options were out there for a photography workshop that was within a comfortable driving distance. Steve’s website was polished and professional; from his online portfolio, I could see that he had things to teach me. I was also quite impressed with the many celebrities that he had photographed; an indication that he’s well positioned in the photography business. As he states, “I’m a magazine photographer.” Steve has shot for some big names.

Several of Steve’s workshops appealed to me, but the high-drama shots in the “Advanced Lighting” workshop really caught my eye; this is a style of shooting that I really love. A quick PayPal transaction and I was registered for the one day workshop.

A few days before the workshop, Steve emailed me to let me know that his fourth floor Toronto studio would be occupied by just the two of us. Summer vacations and a busy labour day weekend resulted in a single registrant for the workshop … me. I would have expected him to cancel, but I was pleased to find that he was still willing to go ahead. So, instead of sharing his time with many other photographers, I had it all to myself. One on one shooting and discussion … my lucky day; it doesn’t get any better.

I arrived at 10am and we went the entire day, until almost 6pm. We started with a review of my work, experience and expectations. Steve spent a bit of time showing me work from other photographers, talking about the industry and how to get work out there, then we moved into shooting.

We left the studio and went out into the Toronto streets and alleyways to work with the natural light. He showed me ways to shoot in the bright mid-day sun, taking what most would shy away from, and using it like studio lighting. A variety of techniques that really turned out great images.

Later we moved into the studio and continued shooting. He walked me through all sorts of lighting setups and instead of just teaching me to replicate what he was doing, he gave me great pointers to help me see things for myself.

One light, two lights, three lights, umbrellas, multiple angles, reflectors, backgrounds, grids, gobo’s, flags, light metering, and more, all covered in a day with some amazing results.

All in all, it was a great day of learning and while Steve moved quickly, he was very thorough in covering topics, answering questions, and ensuring that I understood. Steve’s style is, in my opinion, best suited for an experience photographer that is looking to get that “real world shooter” edge.

I left with a feeling of what it is to shoot for a magazine and the skills to be able to pull it off. Steve went the extra mile to ensure that I got what I needed and I have to say, he did a great job. His high energy and direct-to-the-point style made for a great workshop. I would highly recommend his training to anyone thinking of shooting this style of photography.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I shot this image a week ago or so and I love it.  It conveys a sense of tranquility experienced in a canoe.  I have a Theory of why this image appeals to me so much but I'll let you form your own opinion!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Leader of the pack

Some were born to lead, others to follow.  In this early morning image, I capture the lead Cormorant, making the way for the others that follow,

Beneath the surface

As the morning sun waits just below the horizon, gentle waves catch the light of a new day.  In this soft glow, what is hidden beneath the surface is partially revealed.  We get a glimpse of something deeper, while preserving a sense of mystery.

There are parallels between this image and people.  Often, we see only the surface; the outer person while the inner remains hidden.  Occasionally, in a soft moment, we get a fleeting glimpse of something beneath the surface and it changes our perspective.  Only after considerable time do we come to know the true complexities of a person, and more often than not, we find they are more similar to us than different.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hang on!

During an exhausting weekend with my kids at Canada's Wonderland, I was reminded that I am no longer a teenager!  Begging and pleading me to join them on the biggest, fastest roller coasters, I was brought back to my younger years at the roller coaster capital of Canada -- and in contrast, what it feels like as a "not so teenage" adult!  The anticipation from being ratcheted up an enormous incline, pried over the top, and then dropped to my death, had me hanging on with white knuckles and mumbling, "good God! What am I doing!"  All in all it was great fun and this shot captures the childhood excitement of rocketing down the rails.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Taking shade

These hot, humid days lead so many to seek relief in lakes, rivers, pools and air conditioned homes. In this park, a slight summer breeze cuts through the mid-day heat.  On the edge of a river, I sit in the shade of this willow tree's broad canopy.  Here, I find relief from the baking summer sun and soak up the sounds of the rustling leaves as they shimmer in the wind.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: André Gallant Photography Workshop

Some people say that photography is not an art; clearly these people have not been exposed to the work of André Gallant. In late 2010, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a seminar where André was speaking. As I sat through the presentation, I was immediately taken by his work. Before the evening was out, I bought a few of his books and in the months following, I tried my hand at producing works of photographic art using his techniques.
André’s work is sometimes literal, often slightly abstract, sometimes very abstract, but in all cases, beautiful works of art.
In early 2011, I discovered that André had a workshop that was offered in Lunenburg, NS. Without knowing a great deal about the workshop, I just knew that it was for me! I attempted to book but found that it was sold out. Apparently, these workshops are highly sought after and sell out the day they are offered. In this case though, it was meant to be … a cancellation came through and I was offered a spot.

Arriving May 22, 2011 at the historic Lunenburg, Bluenose Lodge, I knew this was not going to be like any workshop I had experienced. Eight people, all skilled and passionate about photography, came together from different walks of life and from far away places to take over the B&B for an entire seven day photography bootcamp. There were no other guests; the house was our dorm. Equipment was spread out on tables and we were free to lounge about in the common areas with our laptops as we processed images.

Our days consisted of non-stop shooting and critiquing. We shot in the morning, we processed in the early afternoon, we shot again in the late afternoon, we processed in the evening. Fantastic five star meals were injected into each day. The food was excellent, however a few of the heartier appetites craved for more.

André’s instruction was humble and positive. Critique’s were gentle but unsparing. We learned many of his techniques through demonstration, field application, and follow on review. Unlike other workshops, during this one, there was little tech-talk about f-stops, shutter speeds, etc. It was expected that everyone was competent with their equipment. Instruction was focused on artistic techniques: seeing, capturing, manipulation. The group was taught to produce images that are rich in feeling and expression.

It was incredibly inspiring, and at the same time humbling to see the work of others as we each presented to the group; this was a very talented group of people. Our final assignment was to express a theme through photography. Mine was “The power of colour”, others were “Amazing Grace”, “Home”, “Solitude”, etc. The review of the assignments was nothing short of an emotional experience. An incredible work of art produced by each of the students. I grew a lot as a photographer during that week; I can see a clear difference in my work.

It may have been the laughter over the incredibly wet and foggy weather, the soaked shoes, rubber boots, cold, or sipping wine in the evening, but we all came away as friends and vowed to keep in touch through a new discussion group, “The Soggy 9”.
André’s workshop is a great experience for anyone that seeks to pursue the “art” of photography; a 10 out of 10.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Flooded Forest

I have driven by this forest many times and gazed in with an eye to capture it with my lens.  Tonight, with the sun nearly set, an orchestra of frogs created the ambience while I stood until dark with my tripod and camera on the side of the road.  Thawing winter snow and spring rains brought an abundance of water creating a haunting scene.

I captured these images using slow exposures of up to 30 seconds and a very small aperture for great depth of field.






Flooded Forest

I have driven by this forest many times and gazed in with an eye to capture it with my lens.  Tonight, with the sun nearly set, an orchestra of frogs created the ambience while I stood until dark with my tripod and camera on the side of the road.  Thawing winter snow and spring rains brought an abundance of water creating a haunting scene.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Roadtrip - Montreal Biodome

During the March break, we took a trip to Montreal to visit the Biodome and explore the worlds within it. It was a fun trip that included a stop for bagels, steamers (steamed hotdogs for those readers that aren’t familiar with Montreal cuisine :) and genuine Montreal poutine.

Biodome features multiple natural climates within a giant dome. Our favourite was the Brazilian Rainforest where we experienced a lush, hot, humid jungle filled with life including monkeys, tropical birds, alligators, bats and many other critters. The animals were mostly free to roam wherever they wanted and we basically walked through their world. Thankfully, the alligators did not also have free roam!

A fun trip captured in a few of these photographs.

Also, as a side-note -- it would appear that I must have had a bit of a foot fetish going on during this trip! Though I was not aware of it during the shoot, I seemed to have developed a theme of capturing “feet”.



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