#527 Thanks!

It’s that time to say THANK-YOU to people who make this blog possible. Claude and the gang at Artopix.ca support this website to help keep the content flowing.

I have worked with Claude for 15 years for proofing, developing and printing. Some of my finest work has been processed at his lab. Please make a visit to the lab – 91 Laval St – Hull to see what they do, photographically.



In other news there are two events coming up this weekend:

Developing an Art Show from Idea to Creation to Show and Sales
Sunday, October 3rd, 1pm.
$20 suggested donation
Location: Creative Wheel Centre, 327 hwy #307, Val des Monts,  on Sunday, October 3rd, at 1 pm. Contact Dominique at creativewheel@rogers.com for details.

CAPIC presents Heather Morton and “Rules and Expectations from the Art Buying World”
Sunday, October 3rd, 6.30 – 9.30pm.
Location: ADOBE Building

#526 Overcoming Flash Phobia

I often get asked for help with flash. It’s a scary piece of equipment. It is!

Recently, I spent some time with a regular photo workshop student who wanted some help taming her flash. We spent a couple of hours learning and shooting. We started with some traditional portraits:

  • overpowering available light with the flash to isolate the subject from the background
  • balancing available light with flash

See Sandra’s success on her blog!

… And then we started whooping it up. I (yep, that’s me in the photo below) started dancing my own special dance – to mimic dancing at a wedding – for Sandra to capture with the help of her flash and the available light.  The photos below were shot in the same location as the photo on her blog.

Flash Photography

Flash Photography

We learn some of these flash and available light techniques on Night Light. If you ask nicely I’ll even try to dance for your cameras… or not.

By the end of the night Sandra was smiling brightly. Yay Sandra!

More Flash Photo Fun

More Flash Photo Fun

#525 Really big cameras

I do some work using a traditional 4×5 camera that holds film the size of a small post card.


The process forces you to slow down and be exacting with your photo work. Each exposure takes patience, thought and time. The results can be stunning. AND the results can be printed to enormous sizes with exquisite detail.

I recently found a producer of Large Format Cameras that produces custom, very large cameras including panoramic large format cameras. Very nice!

large format camera

4x5 large format press camera

#523 Photo Workshop review

We finished Natural Light Portraits recently and are finishing Creative Fundamentals soon.

Photo Course Student

Photo Course Student

I am always happy to see the progression students make when I hear the light bulbs pop. We had students get over their fear of flash – a common ailment – and other photo obstacles common to new photographers.

Photo Course Success!

Photo Course Success!

On Thursday David Trattles starts his ever popular Social Documnetary / Photojournalism workshop – he has consistently had students bending rules and smiling. The workshop is full and students are anticipating side splitting fun.

#522 Tip of the Hat

I had some quiet time on Sunday and soaked up some recent news over a leisurely breakfast. I was very happy to see photographer Tony Fouhse‘s face on the front page of a section of paper.

Tony has won the bi-annual City of Ottawa’s Karsh Award – given to “an established professional artist for outstanding artistic work in a photo-based medium.” That’s a pretty big deal!

I have met him a couple of times, briefly. He’s been around and accomplished a lot. I’d suggest you go see his show and read his blog, ‘drool‘. It’s pretty fun.

He is talking  at the Karsh Masson Gallery Sunday, October 3 at 2 p.m.

Nice work, Tony.

#521 Short notice

I was going to show more portraits but found two upcoming events that are coming up FAST:

1. Louis Helbig‘s work Beautiful Destruction is showing at the Ottawa City Hall Gallery. It delivers breathtaking aerial shots of the devastation happening in Alberta’s Tar Sands. Show ends September 26th!

2. David Trattles, social documentary photographer, is coming to Ottawa next week to lead his soc doc / photojournalism workshop (it’s now full) and is also featured in a Culture Days talk organized by the Ontario Art Gallery next Friday 24 September at 12:30 pm at Arts Court. If you cannot make his workshop be sure to see his show.

#520 Portraits

This summer I shot some fun executive portraits around Ottawa for different groups. Many were shot on location to highlight important elements for each client.

Below is a portrait for an aeronautical engineer who needed a fresh look for web and other marketing possibilities for his consulting business. Where else to shoot this but at Ottawa’s airport!

Ottawa Executive Portrait

Ottawa Executive Portrait

#519 To the Rescue

At the end of the summer, I was working for a client for a simple executive portrait. I pulled out a lens and, yikes, it was not behaving properly! It did not share info with the camera (aperture) and autofocus would not work.

I did a quick troubleshoot but quickly went to another lens – I have some overlap in my camera bag. Otherwise the shoot went well – the client was happy with the results.

I took the lens to Canadian Camera where they know I rely on my equipment for work. They had the lens repaired swiftly – phew! They have helped me twice in the last couple of years.

It’s always stressful when something like that happens on the job – not only are you paying attention to your work but you have to problem solve… quickly!!

And it’s always good to have a backup camera, lens and plan! I usually travel with two bodies and a selection of lenses appropriate for the job – I shoot mostly with prime / fixed focal / non-zoom lenses and have an 80-200 f2.8 for events.

Event Photography - Ottawa

Event Photography - Ottawa

#518 Exposed! Photo Newsletter

Yesterday we sent an Exposed! Photo Newsletter to subscribers.

How to get a correct exposure

On a summer workshop a new student was watching a dog and human perform tricks for onlookers on the lively strip of Laval St in Hull. A perfect setup for some street portraiture!

It was a complicated photo scenario though. The performing duo were fully lit in mid-afternoon sun while the background was fully in shade.

The student got some great compositions but his exposures varied widely even though the light was not changing. What was going on? I discovered the photographer was relying on aperture priority (semi-automatic) exposure mode – with no adjustments – and hoping for the best.

In a diversely lit scene shot with a semi-automatic exposure mode exposures can suffer if there is no photographer intervention. This month’s edition of ‘Exposed!’ aims to help you get consistently better photos as we investigate the world of exposure modes!

Read the whole article!

Easy exposure!

Easy exposure!

Tough exposure!

Tough exposure!