Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Winter in Winnipeg 2015

I've always loved how winter brings these beautiful scenes. As a photographer it's very different for me to shoot in the winter, the simple fact that it's -30°C is challenging enough! My fingers get numb in very short time, so the process is a bit more drawn out. 
I love my city, I never run out of interesting things to shoot. Sometimes I have look a little harder, but it's usually well worth it in the end. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My lovely city.

I was out recently shooting film in Downtown Winnipeg. Here are some shots from that day.
All shot using Ilford FP4 Plus 125, developed and processed in my darkroom.
I used one of my favourite cameras, a 1960's Olympus SP 35 rangefinder.

Flash Photographic Festival

I have to say, I'm TRILLED to be involved with the very first Flash Photographic Festival ( in Winnipeg!  

Unfortunately, my involvement this year is only organizational assistance to Leif Norman, the Executive Producer of the festival. It seems that the organizing of a festival this size is a huge undertaking for Leif, so I'm happy to assist. 
I'm hopeful that next year I'll be able to actually have a show myself? So I'm looking forward to that!
The festival opens on October 1, 2014 with a huge gala event at the WAG, and continues until October 31, 2014
Hope to see you all at various events around the city!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Instagram Photowalk for Tourism Winnipeg

Yesterday I was part of a Instagram photo walk at the Red River Ex, put on by Tourism Winnipeg.
I love the platform of Instagram, its mobile Photography at its finest! Basically, I use my iPhone and a series of mobile apps to produce the images, then post them to Instagram right from my iPhone! 
I do have to say, I was a bit surprised that EVERY (11) other photographer there brought an external (non-mobile phone) camera! Im not too sure why this surprises me, but it does? 
It is challanging to use a device like a iPhone with its tiny sensor, and not that great a lens, but for me, thats why i love it!
I had the best time hanging out with colleagues and connecting! We don't do it nearly enough. Great fun!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Then and Now

I was recently asked by a student (from last year) why I love film so much? She then told me that she wanted to stick with film as well? That surprised me. I would've thought in a technology saturated life that a grade 7 student would be all over the technology, I was wrong. She was far more interested in the experience of analog photography. 
What got me thinking was that such a young mind was so open to an old thought? Maybe thats why i still love it? Maybe it keeps me thinking/feeling young? 

In my humble opinion, many of the changes in cameras and technology have made photography more enjoyable and, in some cases, less onerous. 
That being said, a film photographer can fairly easily transition into digital with a small learning curve, but a digital photographer will have a very difficult transition into film. They're more different, than they are similar. it's a different way of thinking coupled with a different set of behaviours. 

Here's the short version of my personal "Then and Now.”

Then: Wet darkroom
Now: Digital
Huge learning curve to learn darkroom these days.

Then: Film and film cameras
Now: Memory cards, in combination with digital camera technology
Where to begin? 
True confessions? I'm probably a little bit more lax now that I have the luxury of so many images on a single memory card. The tension of needing to make it work with many fewer film frames did wonders for keeping me sharp. Conversely, I take more chances with unusual angles/ideas now that I can take so many more images per memory card.

Then: Manual focus
Now: Auto focus
I love auto focus...but still continue to practice manual focus on a daily basis, old habits?

Then: Slower camera motors
Now: Faster camera motors
Just the sound of a clunky motor in a film camera still drives me with inspiration. 

Then: Very few camera controls to set
Now: Zillions of camera controls to contemplate setting
Years ago we had few controls on the SLR's, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, maybe an on/off switch for the camera and/or the film winder.

Then: Having the sunny day f/16 rule committed to memory and/or using a hand-held exposure meter.
Now: Chimping: The practice of reviewing an image on the rear display of the camera to confirm exposure.
I can't believe we used to have that period of suspense between taking the shot and developing the film before we knew we had a frame with good enough exposure and sharp focus, let alone an interesting moment.

Then: Enlargers, easels, filters and printing paper
Now: Computers and Photoshop
Even though I'm still actively shooting film and working/teaching darkroom basics, I wouldn't be able to make a sustainable living without digital. Fact. 

Then: Video? What could video possibly have to do with my job?
Now: Learn it, or be left behind.
Video is an area that NEVER used to cross over into photography, now it seems to be the norm. I still don't do any professional video work, but mostly because I don't like it, Im a photographer, and being behind each frame, one frame at a time, is where I'm most comfortable. 

To this day, my most comfortable place to be is with a roll or sheet of film, an analog camera, maybe a light meter, and in the darkroom making it happen. 

Never forget the basics.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My journey...

I had Lapband surgery to help me lose weight 4 yrs ago, I recently received an email from another bander on how she is really struggling right now with the entire process. I can completely relate. 

Here is my email back to her...
"The battle continues. 
I hear you loud and clear. 
I was thinking, as a professional photographer I have made a conscious choice NOT to shoot fashion. The reason is that the imagery that saturates the world is of thin younger people, or very healthy active older people. 
So here we are faced with feeling fat, and old. 
So much so that we resort to cutting into our own bodies and modifying what G-d gave us. And it seems realistic an appropriate? 

However, we don't have options to change our G-d given personalities? How far will this go? Will a procedure come available that will involve changing our personalities? Manipulating our brains either physically or chemically? At one time depression was treated by cutting out pieces of the brain AND electrical shock to the brain...electricity to the brain is still used today in extreme cases and is helpful. 

My point is, the battle is long and hard, we are saturated with "propaganda" that leads us to believe that we SHOULD be different? The world has seen this before, and it wasn't pretty. 

So, how do we get to place where we feel ok about ourselves? To feel that we are ok in what ever form we are in? 
I find myself seeing imagery everywhere I go that reminds me of how fat I am and how I had to resort to surgery to help me. I feel like people might think "it's not gonna work don't waist your time or money" and then u experience various levels of success. It doesn't really create an environment of openness, in fact, it causes the closet feeling. 

In hindsight, I probably could've done my weight loss journey without the band and experienced the exact same result, however, I wouldn't have felt that without having the experience of the band. Expensive lesson. 

I don't have any regrets, I've learned so much about myself and how strong (and weak) I am, how capable I am of change (or lack there of), and how much I really struggle with my own identity. 

The band in a weird way is similar to food, it's sometimes a temporary feel good like healthy foods, but it often returns to the chocolate cake! Bottom line is, we make the choice to grab the chocolate cake. 
I hear your struggle, I'm in the same boat. 

Honestly I could load you up with all the fluff that I'm here for you, the reality is, I feel like I'm drowning as well and I don't see any clear path to the shore. I feel like i have to learn to swim. But I suspect even then I'll never make the shore, I'll just enjoy the circles. I digress."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

50 Helpful Tips for iPhoneography

General iPhoneography tips

1. Getting a better camera won’t make you a better photographer.

2. Any iPhone is good enough for creating great photography. I’ve seen great photos taken with iPhone 3G. You really have no excuse.

3. Consistent practice is the best way to improve your iPhoneography. Keep practicing even when you’re out of ideas, and you’ll eventually create something amazing.

4. Treat your iPhone camera as if it was an expensive DSLR. If you only use your iPhone to create quick snapshots, you’ll never get anything else out of it.

Taking great photos

5. First learn how to take great photos. Only then it makes sense to master editing.

6. Become an observer of light. On a very fundamental level, photography is all about light, so the better you understand light, the better photographer you will become.

7. Learn to predict how the scene is going to change in the immediate future. Will that person briefly appear in the reflection after a few seconds? Be prepared when that moment comes.

8. The very best photos convey a strong emotion or tell a great story.

9. Mystery is the best way to tell a story in your photos. The best stories are already in the mind of the viewer. If you create mystery, the viewer can fill in the blanks and create a story that’s uniquely theirs.

10. Always take a few seconds and pause before taking a shot. Is this really the best angle and the best composition, or should you try something else instead?

11. The easiest way to improve your photography is to work on the angle and composition.

12. Learn the fundamentals of composition, get comfortable using them, and then learn how to break them. You must know the rules before you can break them.

13. Turn on the gridlines until you start thinking about any scene in terms of the grid.

14. Practice composition with simple photos that have a lot of empty space. Large open areas are perfect places to start with iPhone photography.

15. Always ask yourself what the main subject of your photo is, or what is the first thing that the viewer will notice. If there is no subject, is it really worth taking that shot?

16. Your composition should emphasize the main subject or subjects. And no, your subject should not be in the center of the frame.

17. Placing your subject even slightly off the center will greatly enhance your photos.

18. Think about photos in terms of balance. If you put your main subject in one corner of the image, you also want to have something of interest in the opposite corner to keep the composition balanced.

19. Turn on HDR for landscape photography and when sky takes up a large part of your photo.

20. Don’t use HDR for photos of movement and when you need to take many photos quickly.

21. Shoot against strong backlight (e.g. sunset sky) to create silhouettes.

22. Learn to quickly adjust focus and exposure – and how to lock it by holding down your finger.

23. Never use digital zoom. Zoom with your feet or crop your photos afterwards.

24. Use volume buttons for a camera-like shooting experience.

25. Use the volume buttons on your headphones for remote shutter release – or to stay discreet when taking photos in public.

26. You should be able to take the iPhone out of your pocket, turn it on, and open camera from the lock screen in two seconds or less. You don’t want to miss that perfect shot.

27. There are some great iPhoneography accessories on the market, but you don’t really need them to take great photos. Buying cool gear won’t make you a better photographer.

Editing and apps

28. No editing can turn a bad photo into a good one.

29. The easiest way to ruin a good photo is to mindlessly apply strong vintage filters.

30. If you are going to use filters, make sure you adjust their strength. The default filter strength will almost always be too strong and result in terribly overedited photos.

31. Your editing should enhance what is already great about the photo, and perhaps add a certain feel that complements the message of that photo. Everything else is unnecessary.

32. Learn the essential adjustments such as brightness, contrast and saturation first. Only then you should look into more advanced effects and filters.

33. Don’t download 50 photo apps. Only get a few and make sure you know how to use them.

34. SnapseedVSCO CamCamera+ andMextures are great apps to start with.

35. Don’t add text on your photos. Text is distracting and never looks good.

Photo management

36. Always have a backup of your entire photo library. And another one.

37. Despite technological advancements, external HDD is still the most practical way to back up a large photo library. Just don’t keep it in the same bag as your laptop.

38. iCloud is great for automatically transferring your iPhone photos to iPhoto.

39. Keep your edited photos in a separate photo album for easy access.

40. Don’t take multiple identical photos. Avoid the pain of deleting them later. Instead you should change the angle or composition and then shoot again.

Sharing and social networks 

41. Share your work on social networks to stay motivated and get feedback.

42. Follow other photographers whose work you admire to stay inspired and get new ideas.

43. It’s OK to copy someone else’s style for the sake of learning. You’ll eventually discover your own unique style, so you don’t have to worry about copying someone else initially.

44. Don’t try to be active on 10 different photo sharing sites. It will drive you crazy. Just pick your favorite and do a good job there. I only post my photos on Instagram.

45. Don’t use Instagram filters if you want to stand out on Instagram.

46. Always respond to people who took the time to comment on your photos. Simply saying “thanks” can make a huge difference.

47. Don’t tag your photos using every single hashtag you know. You don’t want to look like a spammer, do you?

48. Don’t watermark your photos. Watermarks are ugly, and nobody is going to steal your photos anyway.

49. Only share your best photos so that your feed looks great. Quality always beats quantity.

50. Digital photos are transient. Print your best work to make it timeless.

Thanks to  For a great contribution!