Saturday, December 28, 2013


I learned a valuable lesson in patience a couple of weeks ago.

The Sackville Photography Club had planned a field trip for Saturday, December 21.  It was a "Sunrise on the Arm" field trip because for about one week near the winter solstice the sun rises up pretty much in line with the Northwest Arm hear in Halifax.

I was interested in attending, however, it was only a few days until Christmas and I was not very prepared for the holidays so I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get out for very long.  I checked the forecast on Wednesday prior to the field trip and noticed that Thursday morning was supposed to be sunny but Friday and Saturday called for rain.  So, I hatched a plan.  I would pack my gear and stop at the Arm on the way to work that morning.

I got up early but still managed to get out the door a bit late.  I arrived at the Armdale Roundabout at about 7:35am.  I had very little time to prepare with sunrise expected at 7:45am.  I broke out my tripod and my camera and set everything up to get ready for the sunrise.  At 7:45am I managed to get the above shot.  Sunrise had come and gone and it was a big let down.

Knowing I had to hoof it to work I grumpily packed up all my gear.  Stowed the camera and the tripod and then put my backpack on.  When I stood up and turned around I noticed that the sky was changing.  Sure sunrise had come and gone but as the sun broke through the cloud layer a fire red sun was poking through.  I quickly pulled out my gear and set it up again.  And that's how I managed to get the following two shots.  This time I was time, I'll have patience.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Photographer, Heal Thyself

For those who went out during Nocturne this past Saturday to enjoy the art shows I'm sure you ran into lots of issues trying to photograph at night. I know in the heat of the moment I totally forgot how to properly photograph Incendia Motus. You can see on of my images below.  In my brain, I kept thinking this is night time.  So, ISO 1600, f1.8, and 1/125sec seemed reasonable and the small screen on the back showed a decent image.  However, I didn't check or rely on my histogram.  Oh, woe is me.

Incendia Motus at Nocturne

Had I checked, I would have realized that the flame was completely blown out.  Maybe then I would have tried ISO 800, ISO 400 and then maybe move to 1/250 or 1/500 and then maybe f4, f5.6.  Had I done that I might have ended up with a decent shot.

A blast of flame puts out a lot of light.  So, my friends, when you go next year you'll see me sitting down in front of Incendia Motus again but this time I will not forget.  This time I will make sure I take my time.  I may end up there for 3 straight hours but I'm not leaving until I get the shot I want.  My karate moto will spill over into my photography and with peace, perseverance, and hard work, I will reach my goal.

Cheers for now, see you next year in front of the Incendia Motus stage.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Halifax Zombie Walk 2013

 The Halifax Zombie Walk took place today and while I had a very busy weekend scheduled I managed to squeeze it in.  It's going to take a little while to go through all the images and find the best ones but I thought I'd share one or two for now.

Thanks to the horde for going all zombie on us and giving us something fun to photograph today.

Posted by Picasa

Soooooooooo Cold

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

As Fall Approaches

Autumn Approaches

As autumn approaches and summer ends I am looking back and reviewing what I did photographically this summer and the answer is "not much".  But I'm OK with that.  I thought I'd be bothered by it but I'm not because I believe that in anything we do, we have ups and downs and this summer was one of my downs.

It was down because I feel like my attention was focused elsewhere.  On what, I do not know but elsewhere it was and that's as good an explanation as you are going to get since that's the only one I have.

I do feel quite charged up for autumn though I don't know why.  I just have this feeling it's going to be a banner year and it all starts now.

I already brought one creation to life.  I saw a video on Hadouken photography a while back where you try and create a scene that looks like it came out of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat.  I suggested it as the August Level 2 Photo Challenge at and managed to create not one but two entries for the month.  The key for me was that these were images I made, not images I found.

I will continue to enjoy stumbling across interesting things in the world like the golden leaf above, however, I want to spend more time making images instead of just finding them.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Little Sadness in the Euloth Home Tonight

Today we said goodbye to Sox, a part of our family.  She left us much too early but unfortunately life can be like that and there is not much we can do.  We can keep her in our hearts and remember her with love.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Power of Spontaneity


I got this shot back on April 29th while out for a lunch time photowalk with a friend.  He and I were walking along the Halifax waterfront enjoying the nice weather and looking for interesting moments in time to capture.  We turned a corner and there was this woman sitting on the bench with her two dogs.  We stopped to ask her if she minded if we took her photograph and this is the shot that I got from that.

You haven't seen it posted before now because it paled in comparison to the photograph I saw when I first turned the corner.  When I first turned the corner the woman was sitting in the middle of the bench.  The dogs were sitting, one on each side of her feet, in almost the exact pose that you'll see sculptures of lions in as they guard the entrance to a building or some such.  Paws out in front, head up, scanning the crowd, protecting their owner.

By getting closer and stopping to ask permission, we disturbed the scene.  I wish I could have shared with you the image I saw that day before we disturbed the scene, unfortunately it's gone forever.

Tell me what you think?  Ask permission or beg forgiveness?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Learning the Ropes

I's the b'y that fixes the boat

The Sackville Photography Club had a great idea this year to have some of the members who felt they had a little more experience lead mentoring sessions.  These sessions were organized by topic and since I spend a lot of time doing what I call "street photography" I volunteered to be a mentor in that category.

In the last session yesterday I had a full range of photographers from people just learning how to shoot in manual mode to photographers who have a quite a bit of experience with their camera but don't get out in the street to shoot and wanted to try it out.  I learned a lot from the experience.

From the photographers who haven't had a lot of experience shooting I was reminded that photography is really hard.  Anyone who believes they can grab a camera and just start shooting and get great results is in for a bit of a surprise.  Like any other skill such as learning how to fix a tall ship, something with which I have no experience, or studying a martial art, something with which I have lots of experience, photography takes a long time and a lot of practice to learn.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I did the best job for the beginner level in the group.  I tried to impart my knowledge but I fear I caused confusion as there is just so much to learn and I really hadn't planned a step by step guide to some of the basics.  I answered all the questions I could but it was not as well organized as I would have liked.  I think I need to take another tact with this part of the process.  My next mentoring group will be different.

The more advanced shooters in the group blew me away.  They hadn't spent much time photographing in the street and they were not shy about simply walking up to someone and taking their photograph or asking them if they could take their photograph.  Many people didn't care and the people in my group got some wonderful photographs in this way.  I'm still working through my shyness with street photography and continue to skulk in the shadows a bit.  I hope I can learn from their lead and drop that wall between me and the subject.

Learning anything new is going to take time and practice.  Don't be discouraged if you suck at first.  We all suck at first.  It's normal.  We also all learn at different speeds.  That is normal too.  As long as you strive to improve each and every time you go out, you will get better.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.  My best photograph is always the one I haven't taken yet.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Controlling What's in the Frame

Getting better at photography takes time.  Learning the basic technical aspects can be relatively easy depending upon your affinity to mechanical devices.  For example, a fast shutter speed stops motion while a slow shutter speed can get you an image with motion blur in it.  Getting great at photography takes a bit longer.

Taking complete control of the frame is one of the main issues that I see plaguing many photographers and is something I've been working on for a while now.  What I'm talking about is taking the time to ensure that everything that is in the final image is there because the photographer decided that it should be there.  It's kind of based on the old adage that "less is more".

I'm far from perfect on this myself and I find it especially difficult when you are shooting on the street as you are photographing impromptu moments in time and you have virtually no control over the environment.  In the image below, for example, I grabbed this quick moment in time as the fellow in the bus was bathed in the light of the setting sun when the doors opened at the bus stop.  A moment later it was gone.  I didn't crop the image but I should have.  The bicycle rack is totally distracting and shouldn't be in this shot.

Riding the Morning News

There are times when I do get it right and I really appreciate those times and those times are getting more frequent.  For instance, in the following image you'll see the grey stone path within the Halifax Public Gardens showing up in the image.  It's not all grass in behind the crocus.  I could have moved to remove this but I decided against it.  I liked having the grey triangle kind of pointing towards the flower.  I also took the time to  remove a couple of blades of grass because I didn't want them in the frame.

Purple Crocus

Of course, I had more time to set up the shot of the crocus flowers than I did of the fellow on the bus.  I took that time to analyze what was in the frame and adjusted it to present the image the way I wanted it to be presented.

So, remember friends, take your time to figure out what you can see within the frame before you press the shutter release to ensure that the only things that's in the final image are the things you want to be there.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Are Project 365's a Help or a Hinderance?

Marine Services Office

I was going through this week's images with an eye to picking out my "Photo of the Week" and what I realized that they were all pretty much crap.  Since I am not looking for an amazing, phenomenal image of the week I was able to pull something out of the pile (see above), however, in general I was disappointed with everything I've produced this week.

I'm not sure if I'm just not trying hard enough or if this project 365 that I'm trying to do is bringing down the overall results.  What I'm thinking is that I spend so much time just trying to get something, anything to fill in a shot for a particular day that it sucks the creativity out of me.  If I spent more time thinking about what I wanted to shoot rather than forcing myself to make sure I get a shot every day I think the quality of what I do end up with would be better.  Or maybe I need to force myself to be more creative with each and every shot to raise the bar of EVERY shot I ever take.

All I know right now is that I am not super happy with the previous week's photos.  It might also have to do with the fact that it's the tail end of winter; the most depressing time of the year for me.  I'm anxious for spring and I'm tired of the grey and rainy days.  I'm not going to give up on the Project 365 yet, however, I'm leaning heavily toward it tonight.