#337 Mini holiday snapshot

I went away for a few days in a canoe. My brother-in-law and I paddled part of the Rideau Canal Waterway, a World Heritage site that links Ottawa to Kingston.

It was pretty fantastic and very different than most of the canoe trips I have done.  We prepared to be self sufficient – packing a tent, sleeping bag, food, stove, TP, lanterns.

We guessed that there would be services en route and, ahem, we ate well at restaurants, camped on manicured lawns at locks and used services unknown to most wilderness paddlers.

It was a nice combination of semi-wild paddling and urban luxuries.

What does this have to do with photography, Harry?

I am glad you asked. I packed some fine camera equipment for the trip – a little, digital point and shoot camera. This was play and not work. Each holiday snap took seconds to capture – ie it was not work!

The point of this post is that little cameras can do wonders if you know photo fundamentals. I used it in auto mode. Pointed. Composed. Click.

What camera? I won’t tell you. It doesn’t really matter, anyway. How you use your camera matters much more than what camera you have.

Take lots of photos. Learn. Have fun!

Rideau Canal Waterway photo

Sunset in Newboro on the Rideau Canal.

#336 Perplexing stock photography

I just got a sales summary from one of my agencies.

I sometimes scratch my head. Why? Well, some mediocre photos seem to do very well while some far better photos, erm… don’t.

This photo has sold quite well over many years. I shot this many, many years ago. It’s far from my best work.

Why does it continue to sell? It is a generic dock scene with quirk – fancy painted chairs. There’s plenty of room for text. It has lots of possible applications – this month on packaging of a CD.

On the other hand the photo below – much more fun according to me – has sold MUCH less.

Why? Less generic. Fewer applications. Who knows?


Stock Photography


#335 Slow and Steady

I mentioned before we are working on a project with a Graflex Press camera.

Today, we booked time to work with a mountain biker to create some large photos with the large camera and bike. It was particularly challenging as I needed to build a solid rig to hold the camera solidly to the bike. Vibration will create the wrong kind of blur.

While we have shot this kind of work with 35mm cameras:

Mountain Bike Photo

… we are still working on more robust rigging to keep the big camera and bike working as a single unit. See more on motion photography:

Mastering advanced motion techniques

Photo rig Photo rig

#334 Exposed! Photo Newsletter – Quality vs Quantity

September’s Exposed! Newsletter was delivered today.

Ansel Adams, renowned large format landscape photographer, declared “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.”

Twelve good photos? In one year? That’s not many!

Adams is referring to the slow, methodical style of work that results in his exquisite quality photos. His fine art photos often took weeks or months to develop and execute. Other styles of photography, such as photojournalism, rely on a high quantity of fine photos to portray an event.

Ottawa Wedding Photography

High Quantity – Fine Event or Wedding Photos

In this edition of Exposed! we look at these two different styles: aiming for one significant quality photo or shooting a quantity of fine event photos…

Sign up for Exposed! – above right.

Read the whole article. 

Stock and Fine Art Photography

High Quality of a Stock or Fine Art Photo

#333 Everything Old Becomes New Again

Fashion, trends, and technology have a way of looking to history for current inspiration.

“Film Pronounced Dead”

In the early part of the digital revolution people announced film was dead. People rode the digital wave high on pixels instead of film chemistry. It seems there has been a bit of a film revolution in Japan – see the Photo District News article below.

In reality, film never died, it just became less mainstream. People have continued to shoot film and will always continue – there are many positives to film and many positives to digital, of course.

I have always thought film photography will follow the trends of Black & White photography. After colour photo technology emerged B&W retained a strong following. And of course film has a strong following at sites like the Analog Photography Users Group.

Film’s Resurgence

The PDN article tells the story of John Sypal, an American photographer living in Japan, who started Tokyo Camera Style after he noted “There are legions of dedicated film photography enthusiasts in Tokyo.

There are many signs that film will continue to exist, even prosper!

Read the PDN article

Visit Tokyo Camera Style

Visit APUG

#332 Different Perspectives – Student Successes

We met last night for the last session of ‘school’ for the students on the Sport Photo Workshop. The evening was spent reviewing and critiquing student’s work from the Peanut Polo Cup that supported Canine Rescue.

Photo Review

One of the best things about a workshop is the ability to see how other photographers interpreted, shot, and edited the work. It always amazes me how a class of students presented with exactly the same material and opportunities will end up with such different work.


Different people are attracted to different subjects. They have different interests. Their styles and techniques produce different effects. This all produces a wildly interesting and diverse body of work presented to the group.

Something New for Everyone!

Years ago I had an intermediate student take Creative Fundamentals and he did well picking up the technical details. But at the critique session his jaw dropped. While his photos were good he couldn’t believe what his co students had produced. He had cruised the course a bit but woke abruptly when he realized the creative opportunities he had missed.

He left the workshop with a whole new look on photography. His fundamental photo skills were good and the course helped him soar creatively.

So, here are some photos from a few of the Peanut Polo Cup students:

Sport Photo Workshop

Sport Photo Workshop Ottawa

Sport Photo Workshop Ottawa

Sport Photo Workshop Ottawa

Sport Photo Workshop Ottawa

Sport Photo Workshop Ottawa

Sport Photo Workshop Ottawa

#330 More Galloping Polo

This is the second post of photos from our Sport Photography Workshop at the Peanut Polo Cup.

At any sports event only half the action is on the field. While we visited Peanut Polo Cup to capture galloping horses pursuing goals it’s always important to keep your eyes on the spectators, paddocks, dogs and antics going on off the field – see below.

Shooting an event can be exhausting! There is always something going on with little time for breaks or editting in the field. In fact, if you spend time reviewing your photos at the event you are missing the fun.

Your eyes should be seeking the action going on around you. An occasional exposure verification is ok.

Our critique session with Polo Photo students is tomorrow night.

Polo sports photo workshop

Polo sports photo workshop

Polo sports photo workshop

Polo sports photo workshop

Polo sports photo workshop

Polo sports photo workshop

One of our newest ProProgram students, above – nikofotographia.com