Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Lovely Autumn...

The last week and a bit Calgary has been blessed with a magnificent fall. Warm temperatures and clear blue skies and amazing colours in the trees. This part of the world does not get a great variety of fall colours but it is easy to appreciate what we get. And, this is quite a contrast to last year when green leaves were literally freeze dried right on the branches. Yikes!

I wandered around today and gathered up a bunch of leaves for close-up shots. For the set up, I taped the leaves to a large, south facing window, backlighting the leaves to bring out all the incredible detail. My camera was positioned on a tripod as close as my lens would allow, which is about one foot. At this proximity getting the camera square to the subject is essential because even at f/16 the depth of field is razor thin - probably only a few millimetres. And, the leaves need to be as flat as possible for the same reason. It was finicky work but patience paid off and my favourite shot is below.


Keep shooting.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Peace of Mind

I love shooting on the city at night. There is a completely different energy when all the busyness of the work day has subsided. Less people, less busy. It is generally calm and quiet. The business crowd that occupies the core during the day is replaced with peoples perhaps less visible during the hustle and bustle of the workday.

I really enjoy wandering around the downtown core with camera and tripod in hand discovering things that catch my eye. Last night I spent a while exploring before setting up in front of an alley. This particular alley had kind of an endless quality about it. It seemed to go on forever. The different light sources and colours, people off in the distance, they all added much mystery and interest.

As I was lining up and focusing the shot I noticed a solitary figure enter in to the frame. As the individual drew closer I could see he was carrying a bag of cans and bottles and was likely homeless. He stopped to chat. He said, "I love this alley. I walk it many times a day. I call it peace of mind." He went on to suggest that is what I should entitle the picture - peace of mind. I said, "I would" and he carried on his way.

A few things struck me from our brief conversation. I am amazed at the power of the camera to evoke a conversation. I have had countless conversations with people curious as to what I was photographing. Some wanted to see the image I was composing and some have even been photographers from years gone by and we struck up a lengthy chat. The other thought that popped in to my head was that I have never had an unpleasant experience (knock on wood) during my time roaming the streets at night. People have always shown a curiosity and an interest in conversation rather than altercation. It is a nice reminder that people are people and fundamentally we are all the same.

Below is my image of the alley. Peace of mind.


Keep shooting.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

These Guys are Pros

I was fortunate, once again, to do another teacher shoot at the Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre today and man these guys are pros. Perhaps not pros at modelling in the true sense of the word but pros in that they can bust out the most amazing poses and yet look completely relaxed and at peace. It really shows the true power of a dedicated yoga practice.

A detailed post of the shoot is coming but until that is done I just wanted to share one image.



Keep shooting.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Of Self Portraits and Patience

The other night I decided to update a my profile picture for a number of online sites. This, obviously, required a self-portrait. Now, I suppose I could have asked one of my photog buddies to take the picture but that would require planning ahead. This was a spontaneous decision. And, I would rather do it myself anyhow.

This is what I came up with.


That shot took about two and a half hours. Phew! Self portraits certainly test the patience and can be quite time consuming. If you want to know more how I developed the shot, read on.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life 2.0

Below is a shot of my cubicle as I left work today for the last time, ending a 20 year career in IT.


I caught the photography bug just over a couple years ago and it has been a driving passion in my life since. It is a fastastic time to be a photographer because there is so much innovation and inspiration all around us. And through the Internet so many have selflessly shared their passion for their craft and in turn inspired countless others to explore and share. Names such as Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, David Hobby, Jeremy Cowart, Chase Jarvis, Scott Bourne and so many others.

I end one chapter and begin a new chapter of exploration and creativity. Through my camera, I get to live life like a child once more, discovering the beauty and wonder in the ordinary and capturing a fleeting moment forever. I am fortunate and I am so very excited.

Keep shooting.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Give Up The Fight

My friend Amy Thiessen had her CD release event tonight to promote her "Give up the Fight" album and I was fortunate enough to be there. Amy had also asked me to display my work as part of the "artist collective" accompanying her night. It was a privilege to be invited so naturally I accepted.


To hear Amy sing live is an absolute treat! Her voice stirs up emotions of all sorts, from goosebumps to tears. Her passion pours through in every song and I am was so thrilled to be a part of her amazing night.

Of course I had my camera in tow and grabbed a bunch of frames of her performance. Everything was done with available light, which meant shooting wide open with high ISO. My 5D Mark II did an admirable job. I rarely do this type of photography so it was a good chance to get some extra practice.


Next to Amy, the guy playing the upright bass had to be my favourite. The raw cool factor of that instrument combined with the fact that he was dressed like Pee Wee Herman (only "biggie" size) made the perfect combination.

Anyhow, it was an absolute privilege to share the night with such a talent and, as always, it was nice to make a few pictures.

Keep shooting.