#783 – Close, Closer, Closest – Reader Photos on the Blog!

Recently we posted our Exposed! Photo Newsletter – “Close, Closer, Closest” with simple tips to improve your photos. We invited you to send in your close photos – thanks to everyone who did!

The top photo came from Nancy who cornered her cat with her iphone. She came out on top because she got really, really close!:

Closer Newsletter

Closer Newsletter - blog winner - ©Nancy B

And we’d like to give a shout-out to Willa who got close to her furry friend:

Closer Newsletter

Closer Newsletter - Blog Runner-up - ©Willa M

Nice work, everyone – keep getting closer!

What do you want to hear about in the next few photo newsletters?

#782 Bike Race Photo Safari

Last summer’s Bike Race Photo Safari pulled many photographers out to test the limites of their skills.

It’s fast. It’s fun!

But what makes this safari so amazing for photographers is the constant action – cyclists pass the photographers at high speed… every minute. “Oops, I missed the shot… Oh, here they come, again!”

It’s so popular we feel obligated to bring the Bike Race Photo Safari back this year!

Bike race photo safari

Bike race photo safari

The scoop:

We meet as a group and cover the ideas of shooting fast paced action as athletes warm up. We select 3-4 locations over the event while handing out challenges to push your limits. Cyclists race around a closed loop ensuring photographers get to shoot action every minute or so.

The event flies by.

Photos shine.

Smiles glow.

It was the perfect race for a safari and I picked up some good tips …  You have an excellent teaching style.

Harry, you are constantly coming up with innovative workshops.  This Safari was brilliant!  It gives us seasoned photographers opportunities to shoot something different and brush up on our skills.

Thanks so much for being Harry. You are always so consistent with making sure everyone understands the concept and getting it in our cameras.

Bike Race Photo Safari

Date: June 26th, 2012; 6-8:30pm (approx.) Rain date: July 10th; 6-8:30 pm (approx.)

Cost: $65 + HST

Location: 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa.

Details and registration.

Bike Race Photo Safari - Ottawa

Bike Race Photo Safari - Ottawa

#781 Exposure Modes – Manual vs Priority vs Auto

Last week I asked on Facebook:

“When shooting do you shoot in auto, aperture or manual exposure mode?”

And the answers flowed! Everything from:

• “Manual all the way…”

• “Aperture for quick shooting. Manual for detailed stuff.”

“Only manual.”

“Aperture, usually open full.”

Even mid tones!

Even mid tones - fine for aperture priority

Manual Mode

Manual mode means the photographer has to determine all the settings that affect exposure – iso, shutter speed and aperture. Manual mode gives full control and creates better photos more often – especially in tricky lighting. But it takes time and practice to learn.

Aperture Mode

Aperture mode means the photographer has to choose iso and aperture. The camera chooses shutter speed. Aperture offers the ease of letting the camera do the work. In subjects that offer mid tones throughout the scene aperture priority will work well. In tricky lighting aperture priority can give poor exposures.


Your camera compares everything to mid tone grey. It also tries to make all photos mid tone grey on average – EVEN if the scene is a white wedding dress or white snow.

Who has seen photos of grey snow? That’s the result of the camera misreading the scene.

“Manual is too hard!”

Manual mode is harder to learn. Yep. Once learned it will help you produce better photos. Guaranteed.

Of all the facebook comments, working photographers were choosing manual mode more often. There’s a reason for that!

Tricky lighting - silhouetted and backlit Harry

Tricky lighting - silhouetted and backlit Harry

More Info

Want more info? Read this Exposed! Newsletter. Or this one.

Want some help? Consider our Creative Fundamentals Course. This weekend’s session is full – next group session is in the fall. Custom course is available anytime.

#780 Dancing Horses Photo Safari Review

A week ago a group of photographers joined us to explore the equine world of dressage with their cameras at a private farm – Northern Equestrian Centre. Our host, Alison, was very good to us, lining up horses and riders as well as near perfect weather for the shooting session (Thanks Alison and riders!)

Dancing Horses - Ottawa photo class

Dancing Horses - Ottawa photo class - Anne Gale

Weather was warm and the nice diffused light helped photographers. We started with a warm-up exercise of horse portraits with more challenges as the afternoon progressed. Photographers were encouraged to push their own levels a little – everyone got something they liked.

Dancing Horses - Ottawa Photo Safari

Dancing Horses - Ottawa Photo Safari - © June Cairns

And the students enjoyed themselves:

Overall the safari was great.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as this is the first safari or formal photography workshop I have done.  I really liked the structure and definately the subject matter.

…really enjoyed it.  photographing something that big had some challenges but it was fun. i loved doing the portraits.

Dancing Horses - Ottawa Photo Course

Dancing Horses - Ottawa Photo Course - © Mary Raphael

Thank you for organizing this workshop, I really enjoyed it.

You were great as well, I know some of the people there are regulars of yours but you made me feel welcome.

Dancing Horses - Ottawa Photo Course

Dancing Horses - Ottawa Photo Course - © Barb McKenzie

Stay tuned for more safari fun. In May we have the Sheep Shearing Photo Safari – with dogs, sheep and some challenging flower fun.

In July we have the Urban Composition Safari designed to push your compositional limits.

We are also working on another active summer safari to stretch your photo limits. See our current list of photo courses.

Dancing Horses - Ottawa Photo Class

Dancing Horses - Ottawa Photo Class - © Ronnie Alexander

Dancing Horses - Ottawa Photo Classes

Dancing Horses - Ottawa Photo Classes - © G LaMadeleine



#779 – Close, Closer, Closest – Easy Tip for Better Photos

This month’s Exposed! newsletter hit the airwaves on Thursday:

“My advice to our photo workshop students is often “Get Closer.” It’s one of the easiest tips to make your photos better.

In this edition of Exposed! we look at getting close, closer and closest…”

Keep reading…

Send us your CLOSE pictures. We’d like to post your photos on the blog – the closer the better.

Better photo tips

Better photo tips - close but get CLOSER!

#778 Music & Photography Art Show at the studio

Last year at the photo studio we had an exhibition of music photography shot over the last 10 years of Ottawa music festivals.

It went so well that we are doing it again… but a little differently.

THIS year we are turning into a one night show to celebrate and welcome music festival season in Ottawa. And some of the city’s finest working music photographers will be sharing their work – stay tuned – we’ll be announcing the line-up soon.

The Date:

Saturday, June 16th, 2012; 7pm onwards.

The Location:

Ottawa Studio Works; 160 Preston St, Ottawa

Mark your calendars.

Music Photography

Music Photography Exhibition - Blind Boys of Alabama

#777 Elmwood Art Students Exhibit at Ottawa Studio Works

It’s true!

Elmwood School‘s art students present new works at our photo studio in May. We’re very excited to see the talented young artists exhibit their work. Please join us and help cheer the young artists. Details below.

Elmwood School Art Exhibit

Elmwood School Art Exhibit @ Ottawa Studio Works

The show:

Grade 9, 11 & 12 art students from Elmwood School showcase their finest pieces for the public to critique.

The Art program at Elmwood encourages students to explore beyond their boundaries. They are challenged with projects in painting, drawing, sculpture, mixed media and digital art. They learn both traditional and contemporary practices in art to build tools they need to make ideas based work.

In depth creative problem solving with a focus on contemporary art issues is the basis for the projects.

Elmwood School Art Exhibit

Elmwood School Art Exhibit @ Ottawa Studio Works

The School:

Elmwood School is the pre-eminent all-girls’ school in Canada’s capital. An independent day school for outstanding girls from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12, Elmwood has been a fixture in Ottawa since 1915.

Inspiring each girl to reach her full potential is our mission. Elmwood develops inquiring lifelong learners; creates compassionate, engaged global citizens and builds confident, caring leaders. We know that the best way to develop strong, resilient girls is to allow them to explore, create, experiment, grow, achieve, and express themselves in a safe, positive and encouraging environment.


Vernissage: May 18th 7-9pm;

May 16th-June 1st, 2012.

Wednesday to Friday: noon-5pm

Saturday and Sunday: 1-5pm

Monday and Tuesday: Closed


Ottawa Studio Works

160 Preston St., Ottawa (between Gladstone and Somerset.)



Join us to celebrate the work of talented new artists!

Elmwood School Art Exhibit

Elmwood School Art Exhibit @ Ottawa Studio Works

#776 Art and Photo Exhibitions coming up.

We’re excited about our spring, summer schedule of art. We will be involved in a host of photo and other exhibitions from water to music to developing artists. Details below!

Remember I’ve talked about Watershed?

Watershed art photo exhibition

Watershed art photo exhibition

It’ll be appearing in a show late May at the Cube Gallery – stay tuned for details.

Watershed will also appear at the New Art Festival in the Glebe June 2nd and 3rd.

And the studio will be boasting the talents of Elmwood School‘s fine artists in a three week show at our photo studio – Ottawa Studio Works in Little Italy.

We are also hosting a Celebratory Photo Exhibition welcoming Ottawa’s Music Festival Season on Saturday, June 16th at Ottawa Studio Works. Some talented photographers will be hanging their finest music photography at our photo studio/gallery in Little Italy. The show builds on last year’s Music Exhibition but with more photographers exhibiting work.

Music festival photography

Music photo exhibit

Stay tuned for details on the photo blog. We’re excited! Hope to see you at these events.

#775 Photo Blog Question – Who would you choose?

When I started working as a photographer I did it all wrong:

1. I didn’t get any training

2. I didn’t know anyone or have any network of working photographers to learn the ways of working photography.

Needless to say, it took many years to get any traction. I made it this far out of sheer stubborn-ness and a need to make it work (oh, and some good business decisions, etc.) At times it felt like I was carrying 100 lbs of gear up a long and steady hill with potholes happy to get in my way.

It would’ve been much easier if I had sought out help!

The Question!

If you could spend an hour or a day soaking up photo knowledge with any living, current photographer who would you choose? Why?

Ottawa Photography course

Ottawa Photography course

#774 Winter Landscapes Photo Course Review and Other Class News

Some photography workshop news:

•  Creative Fundamentals‘ spring workshop is now full. We are still accepting a few spots for the waiting list – Please contact us by email to get on the wait list! We also offer Creative Fundamentals as a Custom Course.

The next group session of Creative Fundamentals is in the fall (dates coming soon!)

• Macro Photography’s June workshop is now full. We are still accepting a few spots for the waiting list – Please contact us by email to get on the wait list! We can also offer related courses as a Custom Course.

We will be offering similar courses in landscape photography is in the fall – stay tuned.

• There IS space available in the Dancing Horses Photo Safari and the Corel Painter Seminar this weekend. Register by email or directly from the workshop page.

Below are a few photos from the Winter Landscapes Photo Course in late February. Many thanks to the adventurous souls who braved winter’s weather. There were many smiles and new skills learned!

Winter Landscapes Photo Workshop

Winter Landscapes Photo Workshop - © June Cairns

Winter Landscapes Photo Class - © Morina Reece

Winter Landscapes Photo Class - © Morina Reece

Winter Landscapes Photo Course - © Morina Reece

Winter Landscapes Photo Course - © Morina Reece