Friday, December 21, 2012

Untouched Snow

Today's heavy snowfall brings a fresh coating of white that blankets the land.  It's not often that we get to see a pristine landscape without footprints, snowbanks, or any other form of man-made distraction.  In this image, I attempt to capture the simple beauty of a bleak, untouched landscape of fresh snow.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Gritty Look of Film

I thought I would share an image...right out of the darkroom!  While many think of film as a thing of the past, there are a growing number of photographers that are turning back to film for that "special look."  It takes discipline and devotion, but the rewards are a look that is subtly different from digital.  A roll of 16 images doesn't go very far, but then you don't carelessly snap them off like you do with digital.  

When you only get 16 shots and you're paying roughly a buck per click, you tend to slow down and think a bit.  Instead of shooting madly at all different angles and settings and hoping for a good one, you LOOK with your eyes.  You do the composition and technical in your head, you visualize it.  You take the time to meter the light and get it right.  Then when everything is right, you shoot it ONCE or maybe TWICE.  Instead of hoping for a a lucky shot, you MAKE your shot.  That required discipline is something that I love about film. In a roll of 16, I typically get about 8 shots that I'm pretty happy with.  In contrast, with 16 digital shots, I might be happy with two or three.  It's just a different mindset when you're shooting and it yields a higher number of keepers.  

This image was taken from a roll of film that I processed in my makeshift darkroom (aka bathroom), but the images were shot last spring.  Between film processing, cleanup, and scanning, I burned about 2 1/2 hours for 16 images.  It seems crazy when compared with the speed and ease of digital, but the rewards are great.  This image was shot on Ilford HP5, 400iso, with a medium format Pentax 645 camera and an 85mm f2.8 Pentax prime lens.  This film is known for it's grain and gritty feel, and those that still shoot it, do so because of its character.  Personally, I think it's a nice departure from the clinical smoothness of digital.  Shooting film is a bit tedious, but you're rewarded with a unique character that comes through in your images.

My camera is reloaded with a roll of Ilford Delta 100 and I'm off to shoot again!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ascent into Light

This image stirs in me, primitive feelings of good and evil; light and darkness.  The crow seems to be headed into the light, escaping a forest of darkness and mist.  The deep blue hues combined with the darker exposure reinforce the moody nature of this image.

I hope that you enjoy receiving these images!  I create these for the joy of it, not as a business in any way.  That said, I would be proud to know that one of images became a favourite of yours and was hung on one of your walls to enjoy every day. The small amount of money that I make from print sales goes back into equipments, training and supplies to keep this hobby alive.  if you're stuck for a Christmas gift, perhaps consider some original artwork?  This image is available signed, framed and ready to wrap, starting at only $295!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Getting out of a photography rut

Hi folks,
For those of you that enjoy using your camera, I thought I would share some advice.  Whether you enjoy taking pictures or making works of art, you'll hit the occasional rut where you don't feel motivated to shoot.  For me, this happens after a great trip where I've been spoiled with photo worthy scenery in every direction.  I capture as much of it as I can and then when I get back to home base, I look around and think, "ugh, what now?".  It seems to me that when we travel, everything is fresh and new, so we truly SEE.  When we return home, our senses shut down again ... it's all too familiar.  This leads to the camera sitting for too long and can even lead to a gradual departure from photography.

One suggestion is to pick up the camera and look for light in tiny places.  Really open your eyes and look for light reflecting on something or illuminating something in a peculiar way and then try to capture it with your camera.  For me, it was wine glasses in front of a mirror.  The light was bouncing back and forth and when I really looked close, I could see the dazzling colours waiting to be photographed.  If you're in a rut, try this might find yourself shooting something you're proud of!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chickadees during an autumn walk

With camera slung over my shoulder, this past weekend I set out into the woods to enjoy the autumn colours.  Along the path, a cluster of small, playful Chickadees was fluttering about, diving in and out of a dense bush.  Navigating the thick brush like a fighter pilot, these curious little birds were landing for a brief few seconds and then darting out to only a few feet from me.   Raising my camera, setting exposure and patiently waiting for the right moment, I was able to capture one of them during its brief pause.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Alaska Part 2 - Surreal Skies

During my week in Alaska, I was amazed with the incredible surreal looking skies; I spent many hours just staring in amazement.  In this "Part Two" set, I present a few of these skies as they were seen and captured on my trip.  These might look "Photoshopped" ... but they are not!  These are as they appeared with only minor exposure and tonal adjustments to more faithfully present the grandeur and magic of these skies.  This is Alaska!

As always, if there's something you love here, it's an email away from being on your wall.

Alaska Part 1

Hello everyone!
In my recent travels to Alaska, my lens was treated to an abundance of wonderful subject matter.  I'm going to be sharing some of my favourites over the coming days.
As always, if you take a shining to one of these and would like it on your wall, just reply to me and I can make that happen.

This first image was taken in Icy Point Strait, a small passage south of Juneau, Alaska where a fishing boat departs in the early morning.  

The second shot is a coastal view of Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park taken during rough seas and winds of over 90kts!  Yes, hurricane winds!  It wasn't easy trying to stabilize a camera in those winds!  
Though it's difficult to get perspective, these waves are actually huge.  The shot was taken from about 100 feet above the water, so the waves look small, but trust me .. they weren't!  

Hope you enjoy!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Intense Portraits

This past weekend, I did a natural light portrait shoot with a very unique subject; a 70 year old man with a unique character and the most intense eyes I have ever seen.  Hope you enjoy a few from the shoot!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Abandoned Factory

I was very privileged yesterday to have the opportunity to shoot at the site of the old Hershey factory in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Now an abandoned site, it made for an amazing photo-shoot location. Low light levels, remnant machinery, pipes, valves, and massive empty rooms create an eery environment. My focus was on capturing the bits and pieces that are scattered throughout that tell of a human presence. I put these photographs into a slideshow with soundtrack and I'm sharing that with you here:

Image quality is reduced because of video compression but still adequately tells the tale.


Friday, August 17, 2012

One final image from Percé, QC

This was shot from up high on the cliff and captures the overall feeling of this place.

A collection of three

These three photos were all taken within a 1/4 mile of each of other in the beautiful village of Percé, QC.  Seen here is the famous rock that was formed from the dividing of the continents.  The village shot was taken from the shore, standing on the beach.  The cross shot was taken from up high on the cliff-top.  

These images and many others are available in print.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

île Bonaventure

Hot sunny skies quickly turn to darkness as heavy black clouds thunder over the mountains and over the sea.  Rain begins to fall and the remaining light creates bands of a faint rainbow.  The largest bird sanctuary in the world, île Bonaventure, QC is waiting to be quenched; relief from the dry heat that has baked this area for weeks.

This and many other prints are available for order in various sizes.  Please contact me if there is something you would like.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Percé, QC

The east coast of Quebec is truly a photographer's playground.  Dramatic skies, ocean beaches and amazing cliffs are just begging to be photographed.  In this shot, I capture the famous rock of Percé Quebec.  It is said that these rock formations were created from the splitting of the continents, many millions of years ago.

Monday, August 6, 2012

La Haute Phare

On the very eastern tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, this solitary lighthouse stands higher than all others.  Still active, this beacon guides sailors home, saving them from the rocky coastline that meets the frigid night waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  In a place known as Cap-des-Rosiers, QC, the setting sun casts its warm glow, a rainbow appears in the coastal mist, and this lighthouse begins its night shift.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Horse & Rider

This past winter, I had the pleasure of riding a horse for my very first time and the experience caught me somewhat off-guard.  Having a love for motor sports, over the years I've ridden many motorcycles, ATV's, etc and each has its own unique character.  To my surprise, sitting atop a living creature with its own mind was unlike anything I had experienced in the past; quite profound.

In these images, I capture the horse and rider, performing in the heat of the morning sun.  While I think I'll stick to motorcycles, there is something magical about two living beings performing as one.  These were shot with a Nikon D300 and the 70-200mm f2.8 lens.  I wanted to capture the feeling of racing on a horse back. so a high-speed shot wouldn't work.  Instead, the shot was captured while panning the camera and shooting at 1/30 of a second, resulting in a motion blurred background while the rider remains sharp.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Canada Day

It's been many years since I've wandered down to Parliament hill for Canada day celebrations.  As I took in the sights and sounds with my family, it seemed even busier than I remembered it last.  With camera in hand, I shot "street style", with high ISO, all manual and zone focused.  As I got into lower light, I was forced to use a much wider aperture, shooting at f1.2 and ISO 2500.  At that point, depth of field is very shallow and so I was forced to focus through the viewfinder for every shot.

This year, instead of photographing the fireworks, I decided to capture the feeling of standing in the crowd, watching the fireworks.  A completely different approach that I hope you enjoy!

These images were all shot using my Leica M9 and a Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 lens.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Shot today in Brockville, while remembering my father.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A new format

Hi folks,
Many of you have been following my work for quite some time through this email list.  I thank each of you for your kind words and encouragement over the past few years.
Last November, I had my first show at Ottawa StudioWorks! and several of you purchased my prints in order to enjoy them in your homes.

As I go forward, I am changing my format slightly to help you appreciate what these prints look like in their final state, framed, matted and hung on your wall.  The print is really made to be showcased within a frame and to show it without is not doing it justice.  So I hope you enjoy this new format.  I am including some images that I have framed as examples of the new format.

As you view the images that I send out, please know that these are for sale as fine art prints.  My pursuits don't end with the taking and publishing of these images; I also do fine art, archival quality printing.  If you see something that you would love to have hanging in your home or office, or something you think a friend would love as a gift, please contact me by email and I'll make sure that you receive a lovely print, matted and ready for framing.  For those that prefer convenience, I can also supply a complete finished product, framed and ready for hanging.

Thanks again for sharing in my photographic journey :)


Monday, June 11, 2012

Old Bones

In the rain, I crouch down in the wet grass of the river bank to capture this image of "old bones" protruding from the water.  And as I look closer, I can see that on these relics of the past, tiny bits of new life take hold.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

There's nothing to take a picture of...

When I first started my journey into photography, I often struggled with finding interesting subject matter to photograph.  I would look at other people's work and become inspired, but in my world the opportunities just weren't there; at least that's what it seemed.  The reality is quite different.  There are countless beautiful and interesting photo opportunities all around us; hundreds pass us by each day.  The issue isn't a lack of opportunities, the issue is that we don't see them.  With time and practice, we start to see more and more of them, appearing to us out of thin air.  Our eye becomes tuned to colour, light, texture and form and through this, a magical world presents itself, ripe for capture.  Things that we walk right past each day, begin to stand out.  Whether we're waiting in a restaurant, walking through a shopping mall, or home preparing a meal, it's all around us.  This is the practice of contemplative photography; the art of seeing.  We allow the image to present itself rather than hunting for it. It takes time and practice, but the experience is rewarding.  I carry my camera with me almost everywhere I go so that when something appears, I'm ready to capture it.

This image was captured last night in an Asian restaurant.  A simple picture of nothing, yet an intriguing image.

You can find more contemplative photography in my website gallery:

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Get outta my pool!

In bright hot afternoon sun, this comical scene unfolds where a lama is cooling himself in a kiddie pool ... and I can't help but think that this sheep is saying, "get outta my pool!"

Little Sheep

In a small herd of sheep that are gathered together, these little ones brush up against one another.  As I knelt in the grass to photograph them, I had a strange sense of a tenderness between these sheep and I think this image captures it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

River Sunset

In the company of good friends, I was treated today to a beautiful sunset on the St. Lawrence River.  With the sun just below the horizon, I stopped the boat long enough to grab a few shots.
This image is actually a panoramic shot composed of three separate captures.  A lovely May sky captured forever in this image.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spring ferns

This warm weather has the ferns up and open and in this image, I attempt to capture the lush green and delicate shapes with a 60 year old lens.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Another shot from the dandelion fields

This is another favourite shot from the scene of glowing dandelions.

Dandelions at Sunset

I was driving home this evening when I was struck by a magical field of glowing dandelions.  I pulled to the side, grabbed my camera and quickly walked into the field.  With only minutes before the lighting would change, I struggled with how to capture this scene.  A field full of fluffy dandelion heads glowing in a soft yellow sunlight; it was breathtaking... but often what we see with the eye (and more importantly "feel") can be nearly impossible to translate into a photograph. With time ticking and an idea in mind, I dropped straight down to my belly, laying flat on the ground so that I could see the setting sun shining straight through the field of glowing dandelion heads.  I chose a very shallow depth of field in order to abstract the background into a brilliant glow with magical highlights. Then with exposure set and a manual focus, I released the shutter to capture the following scene.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Golden highlights

A little girl sits for a moment with beautiful golden highlights in the background.  Though this image was shot today, for some reason it takes my mind to a scene by a lit Christmas tree.
Below, you'll find a bit of background on the lens used for this shot.

The Helios 40, 85mm f1.5 is a vintage 1950's Russian made lens, with the first one produced in 1954.  Unlike many of the Soviet lenses, this one is solidly built, very heavy and has huge clear optics.  Known as a bokeh monster, this lens has a rendering like none that I have ever seen.  At f1.5, and at 3-4ft from the subject, only about 2 inches remains in focus with the out of focus areas blurring into buttery bokeh.  The lens renders slightly soft, but creates gorgeous portraits and is known for its signature "swirly" bokeh that will appear in images with just the right specular highlights.

I was lucky enough to find a good deal on this lens with mint condition optics and then adapted it from its M42 Contax mount to fit a Nikon F mount.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

BC Rainforest

The lush canopy of a BC temperate rainforest provides the perfect lighting to capture the incredible rich growth that is beneath it.  Presented here are a few images that I shot in a Vancouver Island forest this past week.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Haunted House

Driving down a back highway on a cold rainy day with windshield wipers going and heat on high, I come across this incredibly dilapidated, abandoned house that looks like something from a Hollywood horror flick.  

With camera in hand and nobody around to deter me, I decide to venture in.  I step through the open doorway and my eyes adjust to the dim interior.  The smell of porcupine feces is overwhelming.  I choose each step carefully, mindful that the next one might cause me to plunge through the rotting floor;  large holes reveal a deep, dark cellar that I'd prefer not to visit.   

I glance up the stairway to the second floor where a dim light glows and reminds me of a scene from the Exorcist.

Moving to what was once a kitchen, I tilt my head to clear the cobwebs that stretch across the doorways.  In every direction, the walls, ceilings and floor are missing large chunks and look as though they are about to collapse.  A damp, cold wind blows through open windows that once held panes of glass.  Now, thick vines, like tentacles of a beast, wrap the house and reach in through openings as though they are searching for the inhabitants.  

And yet in all this, I see remnants of a family that loved their home; rotting remains of expensive wallpaper and delicate wood mouldings that once decorated a family's home.  

With a collections of photos in hand, I decide not to push my luck further and instead depart.  As I drive away, I picture a family living in this home, Christmas dinners and family get togethers, and I wonder how a home could have become this.