Category Archives: Photography

The Start

Dear Reader
Today is the last of 6 days in “All Over the Map”.

Two weekends ago, we’d gone to Banff to visit friends. Sunday, I discovered was running race day, and I continued with the exercise, click without looking through the viewfinder (or use live view). 98% of the images have been returned to the ether. From the 30 survivors I have tried to select a series that captures some of the diversity of moods and characters that are part of any (I used to run a lot) start.

Is the story legible? Do you have an emotional reaction, and if so why or why not?

Here is the complete set “All Over the Map”.

Cheers, Sean

Back to Black

Dear Reader,
That would be basic black (and white) – we miss you Arthur. Today is the fifth day of “All Over The Map”.

The proposed exercise was to to go out for 7 days in a row and take photos without looking in the viewfinder. Out of 8 days, I made 5.  From the first 4 days there were over 1000 images and I haven’t seen so many truly awful images since I worked in a 1 hour photo lab decades ago. 

The first other choice I made was to use my kit lens (18 – 140) which I haven’t used in well over a year. I also envisaged this experiment as one to be done in black and white.  As soon as I brought these image into Lightroom I set them all to black and white, and I have not seen these images in colour. 

It was relatively easy to rid get of about 95% of the images.  Of the remaining 50 images it took a little more effort to get to 25 and then things got interesting.  I had choices.  One road made me sad. The road I chose to get to 10 images, was to strike a balance between the odd and muted / hidden violence.  There was no cropping or straightening, but I did run these images through Silver Efex Pro.  What do you think? Do you have an emotional response?

PS Though we call our neighbourhood the hood, it really is a nice and safe place to live.

Here is the set “All Over the Map” so far

Cheers, Sean

Not Like The Others

Dear Reader,
This is the fourth day of “All Over the Map” and the last of 3 days from a hidden gem south of the Hat. Though these images are not ugly ducklings, they are not like the others and not like each other either. Though I am not particularly happy with the last one, it is here is a sign post to a possible idea,

Stay tuned for something completely different.

Here is the set “All Over the Map” so far

Cheers, Sean

A Little Closer

Dear Reader,
This is the third day of “All Over the Map” and the second of 3 days from a hidden gem south of the Hat. As we drove towards our destination the light looked hopeful and then doubtful. Under bright blue and dramatic grey lights, we spent about 3 hours wandering a land where the gods had been playing with melon ballers. I like the idea of the gods preparing crunchy appetizers. But, I know I have at least one reader who is a geologist ,and may therefore also like a more scientific explanation. Here is some of what was on the sign by the parking area.

” … The main feature is a large area of exposed bearpaw shale out of which appear dozens of sandstone concretions. There spheroids range in size from 1.5 to 2.5 meters in diameter and are exposed to varying degrees from the soft bedrock.  These concretions were formed in the very sediments upon which they sit.  The process by which concretions are formed leaves them harder and more resistant to erosional forces than the surrounding material. When the parent material erodes the spheres are left exposed and then they in turn start to erode.”

Here is the set “All Over the Map” so far

Cheers, Sean

A Hidden Gem

Dear Reader,
This is the second day of “All Over the Map” and the first of 3 days from a hidden gem south of the Hat (Medicine Hat). If you promise not to tell tour companies the location, I would be happy to share it with you. Like any hidden gem, this location was revealed to me by a friend who took me there a couple of Friday’s ago. Thank you kindly Keith – it was a grand and long day out. Not only was the destination a treat, it was also a treat to see the prairies in their first coat of green.

Today’s quartet is all about establishing a sense of place. The first image is a pano, and could be printed approximately 35 x 17 inches at 300 dpi. The second image is also a pano (approx 30 x 20).

Here is the set of “All Over the Map”

Cheers, Sean

All Over The Photographic Map

Dear Reader,

Well, since the last set of posts I have been all over the photographic map. Some of this has been driven by my online course with David duChemin, and some has been driven by dumb luck and curiosity. In the coming days, beginning with today there will be flowers, a visit to a hidden gem, back alleys, and a series I’m calling the Start.

First to the flowers. The assignment was to put together a body of work (ie a series). Now you know I love the whole idea of a series. It would have been a cheat to use an already existing series. I went into the garden. Last year or maybe it was the year before that, I bought a macro focusing rail as I had a grand idea, which was quickly forgotten. The rails sat until a recent after rain morning or two, when I tried my hand yet again (flowers and I have a long and difficult photographic history). These are all flawed, but they are not nearly as flawed as the ones that will remain unseen as “opportunities to improve.” So, what did I learn about flowers?

  • Flowers remain difficult subject matter and require a surprising amount of concentration
  • The part I enjoy the most about a flower is the edge of a petal.
  • Hard light makes flowers look plastic
  • Soft light gives life to the texture
  • Sharpness is not always necessary
  • The right light is fleeting
  • Flowers can teach me to be more aware of every visual element in an image

As always comments are welcome.

Cheers, Sean

More Crazy Talk

Dear Reader,

Day 4 of 4
Less than a month ago I mentioned a digital view camera that could be mine for less than $US 50K. Last week Fuji announced a new medium format (102 mp) camera that could be mine with a set of lenses for less than $C 20K. Now, if the trend continues, within 3 weeks I will be lusting after a camera for less than $8K, and 3 weeks after that, the lust cost will be around $3K. At which point, I will arrive at the startling insight that the camera I have (Nikon D7100) at the moment is just fine for me at this time. My challenges are not with the tool but with the tool user.

After my 30 day free trial of the Nix Suite of Lightroom add-ons came to an end, I spent around $C 90 (a far cry from any number of thousands) to buy a license, in part so I could continue to use Silver Efex Pro. That leads me to this fourth and final set from the Gleichen ramble. The first set can be found here, the second set can be found here, and third can be found here.

So, what do you think? Did you like seeing this ramble unfold over 4 days? Did you spend more time with the images because there were fewer of them? Did you like the grouping?

Cheers, Sean

Well This Could be Fun

Dear Reader,

Day 3 of 4
The cart track with the signs that read “Impassible When Wet”, and “This Road is not Maintained in Winter”, gave way to a gravel road. A new set of crows complained loudly that I had stopped, and were obviously fearful that I was about to raid their nests. Instead of hunting for crow eggs, I explored a plot of land covered in photographic gems. It would be interesting to revisit in a different light. The first photo is actually from a slightly earlier spot but it belongs here.

This is the third set of the Gleichen ramble. The first one can be found here, and the second one can be found here.

Cheers, Sean

Oh They Were Pissed

Dear Reader,

Day 2 of 4
The crows really didn’t want me there. They did their job very well, very loudly, and I didn’t listen. They also made very compelling subjects. Some may find these images technically flawed, and you would not be wrong. On the other hand, they do to my mind capture some semblance of birdness and crowness.

This is the second set of the Gleichen ramble. The first one can be found here.

Cheers, Sean

Guess Where

Day 1 of 4
Mmm, where was I Sunday morning after waking up at 3:47? After the water tower, I found a new road. Actually calling it a road is giving it more credit than it’s due, but it did have a signpost and therefore it was fair game for the truck. The dirt track took me to all sorts of prairie wonders. As the images of the morning don’t all fit together, I am going to spread them out over the next 4 days or so. If the technology does what it is supposed to, I can write them all today and queue them for timed release.

There was still some smoke in sky and as a result the light was unusual. The colours were close to true but a little off, and a little filtered.

Cheers, Sean