Lumens Borealis – About Me
Photographs – Among Family
Interacting with photographs first occurred, for me, among family. My mother had a large photo album with large black pages into which black and white prints were kept. In it I saw my Mom as a child, my uncles and two much younger grandparents. In it I saw the house she grew up in. Some pictures later became historical reference points for significant family happenings disclosed long after the photographs were taken.
In the home I grew up in photographs recorded glimpses of us in our lives, those of Mom, Dad, me and my two brothers. Often a Saturday evening would be spent sitting together in our living room watching a slideshow, to see ourselves, again, in what we had been doing. Dad and Mom would narrate about each photograph; discussion would arise; questions would be asked. And, there was the matter of gaining perspective on/about myself/ourselves. In each photograph, care was taken to expose us at our best.
These were slide shows capturing our family in action. Christmas could be interrupted for a photograph. Vacations always allowed for photographs. Pictures were taken on our way to Church and even at Church camp. Slide shows allowed Mom and Dad to show us where they had been in their travels. And, there were the immensely interesting pictures of Mom and Dad before having a family – their travels in Europe, their University days. Such photographs became strong points for articulating their intent for us and the future lives they’d have us lead. Dad even photographed a cousin’s wedding in Calgary in the early 70’s.
Photographs also held value in piecing together our family’s story. Around the kitchen table, when we’d hear stories about family or friends, especially those we didn’t yet know, photographs became reference points providing identity, encapsulation of their achievements or hints at what was or would be their downfall. Family you recognized would be surrounded by others you’d never meet, nor could and the photograph allowed questions to surface and connect others to those we knew.
Cameras and Photography
At age 10, Mom gave me her Kodak Brownie Hawkeye to explore photography with. It took some mastery in terms of loading film and it output square photos, 2” x 2” film to a print of similar size. My next camera was a gift for my 13th birthday, a Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera; it used Kodak 110 cartridge film and was much easier to work with. The camera came with me to Britain in 1976 and I still have photographs of the Lake District, Newcastle, York and London. Ten years later I purchased my first SLR, a Canon T70; with my brother’s leading I bought the camera for an exceptional price at London Drugs in Edmonton Centre and later a Canon zoom lens from a company called Saveco (also in Edmonton). As my father and brother moved on to better Canon cameras, their old lenses were passed my way. I used this camera through the remainder of the 80s and 90s.
With the birth of our second child and the technology surrounding point and shoot compact cameras improving, my next camera was a Canon Powershot S110 Digital ELPH. The camera allowed me to photograph family easily and forward images to family around the globe over the Internet. In these years, as a home education coordinator I brought my camera with me in my daily drives throughout Northwestern Alberta. When opportunities to photograph something were there I seized them readily.
In 2006, I bought a Canon EOS 30D, my first DSLR and worked to build my camera kit with tools for better photography – lenses, tripod and shutter release. I have used the camera to photograph school events, gathering images for our school year book through these past five years. The 30D is a good camera, but in comparison with newer DSLRs the processing speed is quite slow in situations demanding many photos. I updated my equipment this year to include a Canon Powershot SD 1200 (always in my pocket) and a Canon EOS 60D.
In My Camera Bag – Currently
- Canon EOS 60D
- Canon EOS 30D
- Canon EF 50 mm F1.4 lens
- Canon EF-S 15-85 mm F3.5-5.6 IS lens
- Canon EF 75-300 mm F4.0-5.6 lens
- Sigma 10-20 mm F3.5 EX DC HSM lens (Canon)
- Canon 580EX II Speedlite
- Hoya UV, ND Grad and Polarizing Filters
In terms of post-processing software I will use Microsoft Office Picture Manager or Google’s Picasa 3 when I have little time to produce an image. With the recipes for Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 being provided within the PhotoPlus (Canon Edition) magazine and its tutorial DVDs (provided monthly), I’ve been working through creative effects and tone mapping of images. And, recently following my participation in Dawson Creek’s Kelby Photo Walk I’ve been able to use Adobe Lightroom 3.5 and different presets for producing images.
Beyond post-processing, my images make their way into different presentation formats. I will use Animoto Slideshows as a means to share images around the world; I’ve also used it to produce slideshow DVDs capturing our high school graduation and to celebrate highpoints of the school year with staff. My images will make their way into the school year book and into slideshow presentations showcasing our school. I’ve also, just completed a first coffee table book to commemorate a traffic safety presentation offered to students. I have purchased a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 II printer and have begun to print off the photographs I like.
The issue of what to do with photographs is an issue I hope to explore. Out of all the photos I’ve taken and that my brothers, father and mother have taken and now the photos that my wife, son and daughter are adding none but two have made their way onto walls in our house – two photographs of Peggy’s Cove – taken on a trip through the Maritimes in 1989. The issue may have to do with sorting through the distinctions between ‘snapshot’ and ‘photograph’. Beyond this, it may really be a matter of working tangibly with photographs beyond the point of capture to see what you have and what you can create from the starting image.
Photography Workshops Taken
- Introduction to SLR Photography, Keyano College, Fort McMurray, Alberta
- Photo Playshops – ‘My Digital Camera is My New Best Friend,’ ‘Taking Great Photos Without Knowing Everything,’ and ‘Shooting Like a Pro,’ The Ditch Divas at the McNaught Homestead, Beaverlodge, Alberta
- Night Photography Tutorial & Photoshoot – Her View Photography, Darlene Hildebrand Edmonton, Alberta
- Canon EOS 60D Camera Orientation – The Camera Store, Brent Taylor, Calgary, Alberta
- Introduction to Photography, CTS Workshop – Bill Brandley, Vulcan, Alberta
- PhotoPlus (Canon Edition) DVD Tutorials