Thursday, December 06, 2012


Inspiration is a funny thing.  For the last few weeks I really haven't been inspired to do much of anything photographically.  Kind of an artistic slump if you will.  Just no real desire to get out and shoot.

Tonight, though, I went to my monthly photo club meeting and there were some awesome prints that people had brought to share and some excellent images from recent field trips that I had missed.  It made me feel very envious that these people had gotten out shooting when I had not.

Tomorrow is another day and I feel a wave of inspiration to get out and shoot.  I have what I think is a great idea for a light painting project that I'd like to get started on and I also feel motivated to take my camera and hit the streets tomorrow.  Can't wait... I'll let you know if I find anything worth photographing.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Always Be Ready

Educational Zombies
Educational Zombies wouldn't have happened if I didn't have my camera at the ready.  In this case I had my camera in hand, the lens cap off and settings selected for walking as I was strolling down Barrington Street heading for the bus after work.

I didn't know these students were going to be walking down the street as zombies to protest that they are being eaten alive by the high cost of debt and they walked by at a reasonably brisk pace and so I only got off a few shots.

Apparently, having a camera pointed at you makes you smile and even though I took several shots as they walked past one or the other had a smile on their face so I picked the best one out of the bunch.

Even so, I'm happy I got it and I would not have gotten it if my camera was in the bag with the lens cap on or even worse, at home.  It's for moments like this that I take my camera pretty much everywhere I go.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Photographing The Homeless

A Brief Respite

Generally, I don't like to photograph the homeless people in Halifax.  I sometimes feel like I'm invading their private space even though it is the same space as my public space.  Browse through my published photographs and you'll find a few photos of homeless people so why do I contradict myself?

The reason I post my images in the first place is to share my view of the world.  Lately, I've really been more aware of the plight of the homeless in Halifax and when I think about the millions of dollars that float around in the entertainment and sports industries it makes me feel sad. $20,000,000 paid to an actor to make a movie.  $100,000,000 for a fellow who plays baseball or football.  I can't help but think how much that money would help these people.

It's not just the actor or baseball player here.  They have fought to get their share of the obscene amount of money being brought in by the studios and the team owners.  And let's not forget about the business people playing the markets and/or making fortunes from real estate.

I honestly do not know how to fix the disparity here but if I can help more people recognize the disparity exists then I think I've helped in some way which makes the world a better place.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Morning on Prince Street
I really enjoy looking at an actual printed photograph and not just a bunch of pixels flying by on the screen.  I like it so much that I have been printing an 8x10 photograph every week for the past four years and hanging it on my cubical wall to share with the people in the office.

I was heading to work this past Monday morning lamenting the fact that I did not have a photograph to hang on my cube wall.  My inspiration this past week had been at an all time low and my photographic cupboard was bare and so I sat on the bus annoyed at myself for not having a print with me.

Now, this is not the first time I've missed having a print but this is the first time I've missed because I was not inspired to get out and shoot.  I had several mornings, lunch hours, and rides home in which to photograph but absolutely no motivation to actually get out and photograph.

I think inspiration goes up and down in cycles and this particular cycle coincided with my photo of the week dilemma.  As the bus drove down Barrington Street I turned and glanced down Prince Street and the scene above caught my eye.  I hadn't gone looking for it but, nonetheless, there it was and I was hooked.  I rang the bell and jumped off the bus to capture the morning light on Prince Street.  Sometimes a moment is all you need to rejuvenate your inspiration and this was my moment.  Keep your eyes open and your camera handy, you never know when that inspiration will hit you but you'll be kicking yourself if your camera isn't around when it does.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Night Time Challenges

This past Saturday evening found me out shooting for the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk.  If you are a photographer and have never tried it I highly recommend you sign up for it next year.  It's a great time to meet some other photographers and just a great time getting out and photographing.  This year's photowalk in Halifax coincided with Nocturne Halifax so there was a lot to see and photograph.

I found this year very challenging as it was an evening shoot and I really haven't done any night time photography.  While the principles are the same, finding the light is a different process as you generally have very little light with which to work.  Combine that with the poor low light performance of my Canon Rebel XSi and I found it very difficult.  More night time practice required!

I thought I'd give myself some more light so I pulled out my flash but I found the bright white flash really ruins the mood of night time shooting.  The warm orange glow of the fire from Incendia Motus' show was decimated by the flash.  I have some research to do around solving this issue.

Regardless of the challenges it was a wonderful, if a bit chilly, evening and I really enjoyed getting out and photographing the streets of Halifax.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Photographing in the Rain

IMG_3704_editedThis past weekend saw me playing host to a visitor from Paris, France. Thomas Paris found me through Google+ and I offered to give him a tour of the south shore by bringing him along to the Sackville Photography Club's field trip to the Mahone Bay Scarecrow Festival.

The field trip was canceled due to rain and I almost decided to pack it in and cancel my day with Thomas as well since the weather forecast didn't look good with 30 plus millimeters of rain on its way.  I thought though that Thomas had traveled all the way from France and I didn't want him to miss out on a bit of a tour of Nova Scotia because of the weather so we persevered.

On the way down I decided to change our starting location and head down to Lunenburg since Saturday was also the day the Bluenose II was being re-launched after extensive maintenance. I didn't know what time it was happening but I figured it would be a good chance to see it anyway.  Had we not gone I would not have had the chance to catch this couple standing in the rain enjoying the view of the Bluenose II and I think it was worth the trip for this shot alone.  I really like how the woman has her arm around her husband and how they are talking with the fellow on the ship.

Our day started at 10:00am and I dropped Thomas off at 5:00pm. We had an interesting day traveling the lighthouse route back from Lunenburg and endured "sideways rain" for some parts of it. Our stop in Peggy's Cove was cold and windy but the rain had stopped. All in all we had a much better day than if we had just stayed at home. None of my photographs from the day were stunning shots but they could have been.  at the very least there's no way I would have captured anything had I simply stayed at home.  Don't let the weather keep you from getting out and photographing. Sometimes the best moments are captured in the worst weather.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mean Machine

Mean Machine by Iguanasan
Mean Machine, a photo by Iguanasan on Flickr.

One of the forums I frequent is having a challenge this month to photograph like you did when you were photographing with film. Pretend you have a roll of film for 12 exposures and pick your best 10. This shot was one of the 10 shots I took and is straight out of the camera (SOOC). You can see the rest on my Flickr stream or here on the forum:

I really like this one because it looks like the dozer is eating the tamper and I thought that looked kind of cool. Much of my street photography is about finding interesting things that others may not notice and this is right in that ballpark.

The challenge was fun as I really thought about which photos I would take and which ones I would not since I could only use 12 shutter clicks. I also spent a little more time composing the shot.

For me, however, that was not very significant because I generally did that stuff anyway. Maybe it's because I first learned on film.

What I found most interesting was that I bypassed certain scenes I would have previously captured on the assumption they would not be as good as the next shot or the last shot. I'm not sure if this was a good thing or not. Maybe those other shots I passed by would have been winners. The old saying is that you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Flickr Halifax Photo Walk

I  by Iguanasan
I , a photo by Iguanasan on Flickr.

I organized my second Flickr Halifax Photo Walk on Saturday. Combined it with the opportunity to photograph the 25th Annual Halifax Pride Parade.

I really enjoy my photowalks as it gives me an opportunity to meet new people and there were a couple of new people at this one. I hope they'll come back next time.

I added some challenges to this shoot and a couple of people really stepped up and participated. I hope everyone had fun (they chimed in that they did) and will come to the next one.

Time to start planning!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sour Grapes?

Halifax Transit by Iguanasan
Halifax Transit, a photo by Iguanasan on Flickr.
Tonight was the final meeting of the year for the Sackville Photography Club and the meeting where we get the results of the club's annual photography contest. There were some excellent images entered into the contest and I sincerely hope that no one takes offence to my comments.

Last year I came in third place but this year I didn't manage to make a mark. Intellectually, I know that it's a fair and honest contest.  A friendly contest for the club but I can't help but feeling a bit down about the results. It doesn't help that my family doesn't have a clue that I even entered a contest let alone that tonight I got the results and I'm a bit disappointed about them.

I wasn't going to write this post tonight because I'm not looking for pity but I felt that others might feel the same way about any contests they've tried and I wanted to share my feelings in the hopes that it may possibly help them get through their own self-doubt.

I worked hard for each and every photo. Those images mean a lot to me but, apparently, not as much to the judges. I know that doesn't mean my photos are crap, but it's still a very hard to swallow that I didn't manage to even place anywhere in the results.

The photos I entered into the contest were some of what I thought were my best images. The judges thought the other images were better. That makes me think that I'm missing something, that if I could just understand that little piece of what I'm missing I could win every time. I'm reasonably certain that it is ridiculous thinking but it doesn't stop me from thinking it.

In fact, I certainly understand after tonight why people don't enter contests. If you don't enter, you won't be disappointed. I wish I had something useful to say on why you should get back up on that horse and try again but I don't. I will, however, get back up on that horse and try again next year. I won't give up.

I still wonder what I'm missing...what elusive bit of "stuff" is preventing my images from making the right impression? Maybe I'll figure it out next year.

If you are having this issue, don't give up. Keep trying. Intellectually, I know you need to keep trying. I'm not sure why yet but I hope to find out some day and if I do, I will try to share it with you.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Google+ vs Flickr vs Facebook vs 500px vs ...  I've really be struggling with my online communities lately and I am wishing there was a solution.

The main problem is that the community software is being built by corporations who's goal is to make money.  They're goal is to create a captive audience from which they can gather marketing data and to which they can show ads in an effort to generate revenue.  I can't totally blame them, they're trying to pay the bills just like everyone else.

The problem is that I end up spreading myself around and it makes things very complicated when I want to share things with my photography friends.  I find a great video to share and I have to post it on for one group of friends, Flickr for another group of friends, Facebook for another group of friends, Google+ for yet more, and I have to remember to mention it at my next photography club meeting.  Whew!  Way too freakin' painful.

If you have a solution to this dilemma, I'm all ears.  I'd really like to know how to make better use of my time.  Maybe it makes sense for me to post everything here on my blog and then have automatic links sent out to all those services.... hmmm... I'm talking myself into this idea.  Would it annoy my Facebook, Flickr, Google+, 500px, etc. friends to get a link to my blog every time I want to share something?  Would they leave their little walled gardens to take the time to read my blog post?  Maybe I'd just be wasting my time and I already waste too much jumping from site to site to post and re-post.

The perfect example of this is my recent announcement of the combined Flickr Halifax and Google+ anniversary photo walk that I'm hosting on June 30th.  I created a Facebook event for people to rally around but I have Flickr friends and Google+ friends who refuse to sign into Facebook.  I posted it on Flickr too but my Google+ friends won't see it so I had to post it there as well.  And I know I've missed people.  Arrgggghhhh!  It just makes me so sad when I realize one of my friends has missed out on something just because I forgot to post to one of my communities.  :(

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Flickr Halifax Photo Walk

Reading the NewsI created the Flickr Halifax group on Flickr last fall. My intention was to find photographers in and around Halifax who wanted to share their images of Halifax without restriction. The other Halifax related groups that I found on Flickr seemed to be a little too restrictive or not very engaging as a group.  Maybe it was just my bias but I couldn't find a group that seemed to share the same values as I did so I decided to start my own.

The group has grown to 47 members and 658 photos as of today and I'm really happy with those results.  I'm glad so many of my Flickr friends have joined in and helped make a great group.

Last week I organized the Flickr Halifax Photo Walk.  A little chaotic for the first one I've organized but we had a total of 8 people out (including myself) and everyone said they had a great time.  We certainly ended up with wonderful weather and I got to meet some photography friends that I had never met face to face before.  It was an awesome day.  I hope to have many more Flickr Halifax Photo Walks so stay tuned and keep an eye out for the next one if you missed this one.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Winter Blahs

Alright, I'm getting tired of winter already!  I hope the Canadian groundhogs are right and it's an early spring as I am really looking forward to spring already.

It's February 5th and even though I've been out shooting on a couple of different days so far I've only taken about 40-50 frames.  At this rate I won't likely take more than 300 frames this month.  On an average summer month I'll get out and take anywhere from 800 to 1200 frames.

I know, I know.  Why does it matter how many frames I shoot in a given month?  Well, I really love the act of making images.  It gives me joy and the cold grey months of winter steal that joy from me.  Part of the problem is not wanting to go out in the cold.  But most of the problem is a lack of inspiration in the cold, grey months because I have been bundling up and getting out there but I can't seem to find anything I really want to photograph.

With spring, colour returns to the world and until then, I'll just have to struggle through.  It might be easier if we'd get a bit more sun but it mostly rains in Halifax these days.
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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Happy 2012

Happy 2012 by Iguanasan
Happy 2012, a photo by Iguanasan on Flickr.
I was asked to photograph the Herring Cove Polar Bear Dip this year by a friend of mine who organizes the event. He saw the photos I got last year of Rick Mercer and Ron James and all the other people who had jumped and thought I might be able to help out with photographs.

I didn't want to just sit on the other side of the cove and photograph the jumpers again, I wanted to do something different. With the help of my friends at the Sackville Photography Club we set up a "photo booth".

We took a bunch of before the jump shots plus we had 3 people in and around the jumpers and two people on the other side of the cove with long lenses. We covered the event pretty completely. It was a blast. The studio session was so much fun, I'll have to do it again sometime.

You can find the results on Smugmug at  We kept the costs as low as possible and any profit will go back to the Feed Nova Scotia. I hope people will get to enjoy their photos and make some prints. Everyone wins!