Category: Best Practices – Photography

Loosening Memory

Foothill's Wheat - Rimbey, Alberta 1

Foothill’s Wheat – Rimbey, Alberta 1

Foothill's Wheat - Rimbey, Alberta 2

Foothill’s Wheat – Rimbey, Alberta 2

Foothill's Wheat - Rimbey, Alberta 3

Foothill’s Wheat – Rimbey, Alberta 3

Foothill's Wheat - Rimbey, Alberta 4

Foothill’s Wheat – Rimbey, Alberta 4

Manning - Canola

Manning – Canola

Nampa - Grain Truck 1

Nampa – Grain Truck 1

Nampa - Grain Truck 2

Nampa – Grain Truck 2

Spruce Grove - Canola

Spruce Grove – Canola

A few days drive from home, I stop my truck … my eyes have found something. I walk this scene, allowing my eyes to question ‘What is it that is here?’ I set camera upon tripod. I look and frame what I see – ‘click.’ Light’s point of origin directs golden light to and around the landscape it is falling upon – ‘click.’ Light’s absence, its shade and shadow and depth – at sunset, shadows are growing long – ‘click.’ My eyes are finding passage of time – ‘click.’ I’ve recognized something in the landscape and quality of light. I am recalling something – ‘click.’ I manage the machine, my camera, working aperture, shutter speed and ISO – ‘click.’ I am exposure bracketing to seven shots at one-step intervals – ‘click, click, click, click, click, click and click.’ HDR shots are possible – ‘click.’ My intent is not only to capture and hold this moment in memory – ‘click.’ It is to recast reality with the image produced – ‘click.’ Wheat fields that blanket rolling foothills are drawing my imagination to this scene – ‘click.’ Appreciation for what I see builds – ‘click.’ A long-ago memory loosens, … ‘click’ … connecting me to what I now see for the first time as an adult – ‘click.’ A sense of something familiar grows – ‘click.’ My mind resides and works equally in another place – ‘click.’ It anticipates the other side of download, edit and image production, ‘Can I bring the edited image produced close to what I now see?’ ‘Click.’ Weeks pass. I make time to edit images. I remove the SD card from my camera and download it onto an external hard drive. A Lightroom edit begins. In the edit, the surprise of the extraordinary occurs; what my eyes and camera captured weeks ago is now re-seen and more fully seen in the image that has been created. Good.

Images – Foothills Wheat Crop, Manning Canola, Nampa Grain Truck and Spruce Grove Canola.

Quote to Consider/Inspire: “Look for LEICA patterns; Look for lines, edges, intersections, contrast and angles in the shapes, light and shadows of the global and local elements of a photo to create a harmonious composition,” John Kosmopoulos.

Listening to: Molly Tuttle & John Mailander’s ‘Another Side, Tell Me,’ ‘Morning Morgantown,’ ‘Moonshiner,’ ‘I’m Over You’ and ‘Red Prairie Dawn;’ Spencer Elliot’s ‘Torque.’

Between Terms – Hybrid Trail

MIrrored Building - Edmonton, Alberta 1

MIrrored Building – Edmonton, Alberta 1

alberta-legislature-edmonton-alberta-2

alberta-legislature-edmonton-alberta-2

alberta-legislature-edmonton-alberta-3

alberta-legislature-edmonton-alberta-3

alberta-legislature-edmonton-alberta-4

alberta-legislature-edmonton-alberta-4

architectural-festival-installation-edmonton-alberta

architectural-festival-installation-edmonton-alberta

cn-tower-edmonton-alberta

cn-tower-edmonton-alberta

edmonton-skyline-from-north-east

edmonton-skyline-from-north-east

edmonton-skyline-from-under-saskatchewan-drive

edmonton-skyline-from-under-saskatchewan-drive

edmonton-skyline-from-west

edmonton-skyline-from-west

gibson-building-edmonton-alberta

gibson-building-edmonton-alberta

grant-mcewan-university-entrance

grant-mcewan-university-entrance

hotel-cutaway-edmonton-alberta

hotel-cutaway-edmonton-alberta

mirrored-building-edmonton-alberta-1

mirrored-building-edmonton-alberta-1

mirrored-building-edmonton-alberta-2

mirrored-building-edmonton-alberta-2

mirrored-building-edmonton-alberta-3

mirrored-building-edmonton-alberta-3

walterdale-home-edmonton-alberta

walterdale-home-edmonton-alberta

We were in Edmonton and only days into our summer break when I seized the opportunity to cycle along Edmonton’s River Valley Bike trails. These trails were ones I road between terms at University thirty years ago. Then, I road a Kuwahara, chromoly steel-framed mountain bike. I bought it after my 1986 convocation and completion of my first degree. Now I road a new, Giant Hybrid Roam I. It replaced my weathered, well-ridden, fifteen-year-old, yellow Specialized HR (HardRock) Comp mountain bike. I donated it to Goodwill and bought the Giant Roam I.

The trail I remember had been a quick-paced, two-hour ride. The route covered upwards of forty kilometres. Now, I encountered the River Valley’s up and down on each side of the North Saskatchewan River. It passed by the Riverside Golf Course, through Rundle Park, out to the Strathcona Science Centre, then back along Ada Boulevard to Concordia College. From there, it moved past the Dawson Bridge, under the City Centre, past the Alberta Legislature, across the High Level Bridge, alongside the Pitch-and Putt behind the Kinsmen Field House, under Saskatchewan Drive toward the James MacDonald Bridge, then the Low Level Bridge and finally up a rigorous climb from under the St. Joseph Seminary out of the River Valley and then through Forest Heights Park to McNally High School where my truck waited.

Where I had completed this trek in two hours, thirty years ago, this well-worn path was taking me upwards of three and a half hours to complete. Sections of the once familiar route now suffered neglect – cracks and frost-heaves made the trail uneven. Hard-core, cycle-til-you-drop Edmonton cyclists had taken to spray painting cracks with bright paint to remind and to warn other cyclists of bumps along the trail. Other parts of the cycling trail were being restored. In one case a cycling bridge beneath the Shaw Centre was being dismantled and replaced. A detour was needed around this construction site – a ten minute, hard climb out of the valley with travel along the edge of the city centre core. Cycling time extended. Detours added delay.

Stopping to gather photographs slowed my cycling circuit. I was searching-out images associating to memories of early morning cycling in the Edmonton River Valley. Other images took-in and experimented with Edmonton architecture. Composition in some photographs now seems hasty. Cycling’s faster pace has seemed, at this later editing date, to have limited my awareness of all (or other) composition choices. Images that I photograph while walking hold different consideration. Walking into the scene gathers perception for what an image can become. Good consideration for how to frame a shot can occur. Three days of early summer cycling gathered these images.

Listening to – Keith Jarrett’s concert album, ‘The Köln Concert’ from 24 January 1975 – enjoying this as a former piano player.

Quote to Consider / Inspire: “Adequate photographers use their sight, good photographers use their senses, and great photographers use their souls.” – A. J. Compton

Watt Mountain Weather

Watt Mountain Weather - High Level, Ab Canada 1

Watt Mountain Weather – High Level, Ab Canada 1

Watt Mountain Weather - High Level, Ab Canada 2

Watt Mountain Weather – High Level, Ab Canada 2

Watt Mountain Weather - High Level, Ab Canada 3

Watt Mountain Weather – High Level, Ab Canada 3

After a late winter snow, my truck brought me up the 12 kilometre climb to the top of Watt Mountain and its weather.

Listening to – Agnes Obel’s ‘Fivefold,’ Junip’s ‘Don’t Let It Pass,’ Coldplay’s ‘Another’s Arms’ and U2’s ‘Song for Someone.’

Quote to Consider – “Photography is for me, a spontaneous impulse that comes from an ever-attentive eye, which captures the moment and its eternity.” – Henri Cartier Bresson

Stabilizing Forgiveness

Christmas Lights - Town Hall, High Level 1

Christmas Lights – Town Hall, High Level 1

Christmas Lights - Town Hall, High Level 2

Christmas Lights – Town Hall, High Level 2

High Level Public School - Gym Entrance

High Level Public School – Gym Entrance

High Level Public School Walkway

High Level Public School Walkway

Lattice Work of Trees - High Level, Alberta

Lattice Work of Trees – High Level, Alberta

REW Memorial Pool - High Level, Alberta

REW Memorial Pool – High Level, Alberta

Senior's Centre - High Level, Alberta - 1

Senior’s Centre – High Level, Alberta – 1

Senior's Centre - High Level, Alberta - 2

Senior’s Centre – High Level, Alberta – 2

I have been intrigued to find success in creating night time images from handheld shots using wide open aperture and ISO 6400; stabilization must have been accounted for and become the forgiveness factor in this camera. Good!

Listening to – liking Martyn Joseph’s new album, ‘Sanctuary;’ enjoying the tribute to Robert F. Kennedy in ‘Bobby’ and the instrumental work in ‘Sanctuary’ that reminds of songs from Martyn’s album ‘Thunder and Rainbows.’

Quote to Consider – “You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.” – William Albert Allard

That Which Was Is

Dinosaur - Drumheller, Ab - Canada 1

Dinosaur – Drumheller, Ab – Canada 1

Dinosaur - Drumheller, Ab - Canada 2

Dinosaur – Drumheller, Ab – Canada 2

Dinosaur - Drumheller, Ab - Canada 3

Dinosaur – Drumheller, Ab – Canada 3

Dinosaur - Drumheller, Ab - Canada 4

Dinosaur – Drumheller, Ab – Canada 4

Dinosaur - Drumheller, Ab - Canada 5

Dinosaur – Drumheller, Ab – Canada 5

Dinosaur - Drumheller, Ab - Canada 6

Dinosaur – Drumheller, Ab – Canada 6

Dinosaur - Drumheller, Ab - Canada 7

Dinosaur – Drumheller, Ab – Canada 7

I had a go at photographing remnants of long ago creatures, fossilized and in many cases fully intact, displayed to be discovered again by the would-be archeologist at The Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology. The challenge then became that of presenting images that focused solely on the creature; that was accomplished with editing.

Quote to Consider/Inspire – “I began to realize that the camera sees the world differently than the human eye and that sometimes those differences can make a photograph more powerful than what you actually observed.” – Galen Rowell

Listening to – Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,’ Over the Rhine’s ‘White Horse’ and ‘New Redemption Song,’ The Steep Mountain Rangers’ ‘Atheists Don’t Have No Songs,’ Martyn Joseph’s recently released ‘Bobby,’ ‘The Luxury of Despair,’ ‘Are You Ready’ and ‘Sanctuary,’ Deacon Blue’s ‘Bethlehem Begins,’ The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York,’ Dustin Kensrue’s ‘This is War’ and Bruce Cockburn’s ‘Cry of a Tiny Babe.’

Merry Christmas, all – Take good care of your good selves.

Sulfur Mountain – Sunset

Banff from Sulfur Mountain - Banff, Alberta - Canada

Banff from Sulfur Mountain – Banff, Alberta – Canada

Gondola Sunset - Banff, Alberta - Canada i

Gondola Sunset – Banff, Alberta – Canada i

Gondola Sunset - Banff, Alberta - Canada ii

Gondola Sunset – Banff, Alberta – Canada ii

Sulfur Mountain looking West - Banff, Alberta - Canada

Sulfur Mountain looking West – Banff, Alberta – Canada

Sulfur Mountain Walkway - Banff, Alberta - Canada

Sulfur Mountain Walkway – Banff, Alberta – Canada

August, up behind Banff, on Sulfur Mountain, a Gondola ride ferries me, skyward, high above to a prominent mountain peak, a culling point for a cross-section of travelers and wanderlust. The sun, glimpsed behind clouds … sets – a time for a photo, a time to share with fellow mountain-top travelers what my camera captures; encouragement comes in broken, best effort English … “ten more minutes” and “beautiful [sunset].”

Quote to Consider – “To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before taking a walk.” – Edward Weston

Listening to – Of Monsters and Men’s ‘King and Lionheart,’ ‘Dirty Paws’ and ‘Slow and Steady.’

HDR – Bracketed Swath

53 Ford - Drumheller, Alberta - Canada i

53 Ford – Drumheller, Alberta – Canada i

53 Ford - Drumheller, Alberta - Canada ii

53 Ford – Drumheller, Alberta – Canada ii

53 Ford - Drumheller, Alberta - Canada iii

53 Ford – Drumheller, Alberta – Canada iii

53 Ford - Drumheller, Alberta - Canada iv

53 Ford – Drumheller, Alberta – Canada iv

Banff Springs Hotel - Banff, Alberta - Canada

Banff Springs Hotel – Banff, Alberta – Canada

Fairview Homestead HDR i-Edit-Edit-Edit

Fairview Homestead HDR i-Edit-Edit-Edit

Fairview Homestead HDR ii-Edit-Edit-Edit-2

Fairview Homestead HDR ii-Edit-Edit-Edit-2

Grain Bins - Stettler, Alberta

Grain Bins – Stettler, Alberta

Johnson Canyon - Banff, Alberta - Canada i

Johnson Canyon – Banff, Alberta – Canada i

Johnson Canyon - Banff, Alberta - Canada ii

Johnson Canyon – Banff, Alberta – Canada ii

Kananaskis Mountains - Canada

Kananaskis Mountains – Canada

Sunshine Ski Resort Road - Banff, Alberta - Canada

Sunshine Ski Resort Road – Banff, Alberta – Canada

One of this summer’s revelations was finding that my Canon DSLR was able to move from three images in automatic exposure bracketing to seven, a potent option of possibility for use in High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography. In August, I trialed this broad swath of bracketed exposures in Southern Alberta in creating HDR images. Beyond such experimentation with camera and tripod, where I have been using Adobe CS6, Photomatix and Google’s HDR Efex for High Dynamic Range image processing, I found a free HDR program within the accompanying DVD/CD to my June 2015 issue of PhotoPlus Magazine (the Canon Magazine) – HDR Projects 2 – and was surprised to find how much more was now in my photo-editor’s control in producing an HDR image; I have since upgraded the software to HDR Projects 3 Professional. Summer’s downtime also presented opportunities to gather HDR skills. I took-in a webinar offered by RC Concepcion, ‘HDR Exposed,’ through the KelbyOne website. The webinar dealt with static and moving HDR images and dealt with all considerations in the process of creating the final HDR image (e.g. overcoming camera distortion, creating photo-stitched panoramas in portrait or landscape formats etc.). One of my new goals is to create an HDR image of a building interior – new, old, dilapidated and to utilize natural light to capture colour, textures and depth. We’ll see what happens.

Possibly an HDR Quote to Consider – “In Photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.” – August Sander

Listening to – Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Eyes on the Prize,’ Bruce Hornsby and The Range’s ‘The Valley Road,’ Don Henley’s ‘Sunset Grill,’ The Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie,’ Coldplay’s ‘Magic’ and Of Monsters and Men’s ‘Slow and Steady.’

Rainbow Re-edit

Wind Turbines and Rainbow - Oahu 1

Wind Turbines and Rainbow – Oahu 1

Plantation Fire - Haleiwa, Oahu

Plantation Fire – Haleiwa, Oahu

Wind Turbines and Rainbow - Oahu 5

Wind Turbines and Rainbow – Oahu 5

Wind Turbines and Rainbow - Oahu 4

Wind Turbines and Rainbow – Oahu 4

Wind Turbines and Rainbow - Oahu 3

Wind Turbines and Rainbow – Oahu 3

Two summers ago, my wife, daughter and I enjoyed two weeks on Oahu. We rented a car, a Ford Fusion, for the time and used it to take us on day trips exploring Oahu. In the second week we returned for perhaps the fourth time to Haleiwa, part of Oahu’s North Shore. Exploring, shopping and photo gathering were elements of that day. We’d each finished an ice cream cone and were buying t-shirts for my son when sirens of fire engines moved through town – one, then, five minutes later another.

To the north, a plantation, perhaps a mile away was burning and dark black smoke was billowing in the air.

When traffic had returned to its steady flow we got into the car with the intention of returning to Honolulu for the evening. Traffic had slowed, returning to an ambling pace. As we headed away from Haleiwa the idea to see the site of the fire attracted my curiosity. I took a right from the main road and followed a one-lane backroad toward the fire. I thought better of it; the backroad to the plantation was narrow and blocking traffic would be a problem.

I stopped our vehicle, got out and looked back over my right shoulder to see these wind turbines with a rainbow coming down in the midst of them – an opportunity for a photograph had presented itself. I attached my 70-200mm lens to my Canon 60D, zoomed in and captured these images. I posted the image on this blog maybe eighteen months ago, an image edited on my laptop while waiting for clothes to dry in the laundry room of the Marriott Hotel in Honolulu. The original posted is the third image above. Yesterday, I explored this sequence of images and found a few others to share. My thanks to Mark Kurtz for drawing my attention back to these images.

Listening to – Parov Stelar’s ‘Room Service,’ Nitin Sawhney’s ‘Firmament,’ the Gotan Project’s ‘Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)’ and Quantic & Tempo’s ‘Sabor.’

Quote to Consider – “In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.” – August Sander

Reflecting, Road Thought Work

Homestead - La Glace, Alberta, Canada

Homestead – La Glace, Alberta, Canada

Homestead - La Glace, Alberta, Canada

Homestead – La Glace, Alberta, Canada

Stop Ahead Turnoff - NW Alberta

Stop Ahead Turnoff – NW Alberta

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 1

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 1

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 2

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 2

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 3

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 3

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 4

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 4

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 5

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 5

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 5

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 5

“We never see another person’s experience; all we see is their behaviour (R.D. Lang).”

I have had some alone time travelling in the past few weeks and been able to engage in uninterrupted thought work – some intersecting of ideas has occurred. I’ve listened to a 2007 John O’Donohue lecture on the creative force of the imagination and key ideas as starting points about our inner lives – in his words, “I always think that behind every face there is a secret life and that humanoids are the strangest creatures that you’d ever meet because so much is contained within the human body. A human face is one of the most unusual things in the world. On such a small canvas such a variety of presence can appear. And, behind every face there is a secret, hidden inner life … if friendship means anything it means in the presence of the other you begin to see who you are in how they reflect you back to you.”

Within this same time frame I took in a photography workshop offered by Joe McNally – ‘The Moment It Clicks.’ As I listened and watched Joe work to produce different portraits there was recognition that the photographer does what John O’Donohue proposes; ultimately, the photographer reflects the subject back to him- or herself. I have wondered, though, if portrait photography is really a dance of interrogation; I have wondered if shared vulnerabilities result in trust and a richer portrait. And, is it the photographer’s leading interrogation about the subject’s narrative that produces the best photograph? Or, is it something more mutual that does so? I am wondering if the good portrait photographer leads the subject in the relationship that produces the portrait? It is possible that subject and photographer would share a context of silence in portrait making.

John O’Donohue’s words highlight some of this – “No two humans inhabit the same world, internally. We all inhabit the same world physically. But, internally, each world is completely different.” On the side of the photographer and on the side of the subject, what follows is starting point. “… No one else sees the world the way you do. No one else sees it from the perspective that you do. In no one else is the same narrative building as there is within you. And even though similar things have happened to you as with other people the context that they find in your heart and mind and narrative is different from everyone else. Your inner world is completely hidden from other humans.” So, within portrait photography interrogation has the opportunity to work on both sides co-creating a reality – that of photographer and that of subject. Relationship and moment are captured and recorded as the shutter button is pressed.

As the week rounded out, I found myself among this theme, again, being explored and brought to life in Ben Stiller’s film of James Thurber’s story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Images from the Road – a derelict church in Woking, a La Glace homestead, the road at night and sunsets.

Quote to Consider – “If you’re having difficulty finding a natural or intuitive expression in a portrait session or having trouble identifying with the person you’re photographing, look into their eyes carefully and see if you can find your own reflection there. Discover yourself looking at you. Then, ask your subject to look into your camera lens and find their own reflection, and be prepared to make the portrait.” – Shelby Lee Adams, ‘Find Your Reflection’ … seems follow-up from the aphorism, “The more I know me, the more I know thee.” – Buber-esque and good, good schtuff!

Listening to – Jose Gonzalez’ ‘Stay Alive’ and Thomas Merton’s ‘The Seven Storey Mountain.’

Winter Light Work

Walterdale House White 2 HDR-Edit-Edit-Edit-3

Walterdale House White 2 HDR-Edit-Edit-Edit-3

An early-hours image from February in Edmonton, one of three surviving homestead structures in Edmonton’s Walterdale community from 1900 or so. The light work in the trees, upon the snow and that reflected to the white walls of the house attracts my attention. The homestead glows in a way you might anticipate when encountering a home within a ghost story, the narrative placing a character too many hours into night and the happenings that occur.

Quote to Consider – “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” – Alfred Stieglitz

Listening to – Casting Crowns’ ‘City on a Hill.’

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