#811 New Camera – Old Skills

I often get asked “What camera do you use?”

My usual answer is “It doesn’t matter.”

And it does matter to some degree, of course. But some people get more hung up on tech and ignore the skills needed to make it perform.

Point and shoot cameras

Point and shoot cameras

I’ve waited for the right time to upgrade equipment. I have many good cameras but had specific requests for any new camera:

• large file size capability

Large file size means little unless you want to print BIG – it’s not often I need to print big for commercial or editorial clients but I want the possibility for artwork like Watershed. Watershed is shot mostly on medium and large format film because of the large amount of data from 6×7 and 4×5 film.

• High iso capability

Gives way more versatility for event coverage. This feature has been around for a while but not necessarily in tandem with my other wants/needs.

• Video capability

A new tool that boosts what I can offer. We’ve started offering video based newsletters. This summer we also started offering video critique and lessons via our Online Photo Program.

… There are many other features on cameras that are pitched to help entice buyers. Often the features are over-rated. 11 frames per second? Hmm. I’ve almost always shot single shot – it takes practice to time the click. Many features I turn off.

The one feature no camera has so far built in are the skills needed to use the camera effectively. For the last ten years manufacturers have promised “easy, easier, easiest.”

It takes time and patience… A few years ago I was contacted by someone who wanted to start a photo business – quickly: “I want you to teach me everything in two weeks.”

I taught her the fundamentals class and she quickly learned, like any trade, it takes years to get a modest base of skills.

Ok, so what camera did I buy?

It doesn’t really matter. It’s good and will help my work. But my old skills are what keep me going, photographically.

Large format photography

Graflex - cutting edge technology in 1930s

#810 Group Art Show at the Cube Gallery – Ottawa

Photography Art Exhibition

Photography Art Exhibition at the Cube.

We’re back at the Cube Gallery in July participating in Nuit Noire II.

A very fun show highlighting night inspired works.

I’ll be showing a large photo shot on medium format film (lovely stuff) of a fire lit teepee at dusk. Similar to the shot above.

The show runs July 3rd to July 29th with a Vernissage Thursday, July 5th from 5pm. We’d love to see you there!

#809 Photo Newsletter – reader’s local photo.

Last week we sent out our monthly newsletter about  photo adventures close to home. You DON’T need to go to exotic places to get amazing results:
Photo Adventures Close to Home
We asked people to send in photos close to their home and we’re happy to feature Christel’s macro photo submission, below.

Why Christel’s photo? It’s simple, clean and strong. AND it was shot close to home!

Congratulations Christel!

newsletter reader's photo

reader's photo challenge - © Christel P

#808 Photo Newsletter – Photo Adventures Close to Home

In this month’s photo newsletter we explore photo adventures close to home. You DON’T need to go to exotic places to get amazing results!

Read the article. Submit your best photo from the homework challenge – we’ll be posting a reader’s photo on the blog.

“Top Summer Photo Adventures”

Local photo adventures
Night photo shot from our driveway!


#807 Assignment Spotlight – Private Stock Photography Collection

stock photography assignment - Ottawa

stock photography assignment - Ottawa

Last month I went back to Westboro Academy to continue my work developing their bank of imagery that they draw on for promo and other uses.

They’re great to work for – we’ve been working together for a few years now and they recognize the value of producing new stock every year to keep their campaigns fresh, lively and current.

stock photography assignment - Ottawa

stock photography assignment - Ottawa

Attached are a few photos from this years work.

Thanks for the fun!

stock photography assignment - Ottawa

stock photography assignment - Ottawa

#806 Blog Review – Music Photography Show

We’ve been tweeting, posting and yelling about the Music Photo Exhibition at the photo studio this past weekend.

People kept coming to see the work from 8 fine photographers (see the show posting for bios and photos.) Our event ran at the same time as Italian Week festivities right out the studio door.

So, it was so busy and fun that I, erm, didn’t get around to taking any photos – oops. Thanks to one of the guests for the photo below.

The event brought a lot of attention – so much so that it looks like this will have to be an annual event – stay tuned for a call for artwork and details next winter/spring.

We plan to have some open doors in the next month or so to welcome people into the show.

Thanks to everybody for contributions!

music photo exhibit

guest photo - music photo exhibit

#805 Spring photography in review

The last months have been very fun and full at HarryNowell.com. A bit of a review:

Photography Classes and Safaris 

We had a full schedule this spring with standard courses like Creative Fundamentals + sheep shearing safari and some new sessions with new photo instructors like:

Louise Tanguay and Macro Photography (full and just started!)

Blair Gable and On-Location Lighting – the first workshop filled so quickly we had to offer a second session coming up in July

Our ProProgram students continue to grow and make me smile with their accomplishments!

Urban Compositions Photo Safari

Urban Compositions Photo Safari

Assignment Work

Recently, we’ve had some fun work  including stocks shoots with the government and private schools (photos coming soon), press and event coverage.

Event photography Ottawa

Event photography Ottawa


• We hosted Elmwood School’s Art Class exhibition at the photo studio

Watershed was involved in a show at the Cube Gallery and the New Art Festival and some is now hanging at the studio

• We’re just hanging the Music Photo show at Ottawa Studio Works for Saturday’s one night exhibit – six photographers (maybe seven) showing their favourite top acts

Watershed Art Exhibit

Watershed Art Exhibit


We launched our online photo membership program this month offering tips, challenges, and critique to some lucky people. Anyone can access learning from their internet connected computer.

It’s been a very fun spring. We’re smiling for the summer fun coming our way!


#804 Guest Blog Post from a Photography Class Graduate

A couple of years ago I was lucky to meet Kevin Foisy. His passion for photography had been ignited and he came to us to add fuel to his photo passion.

Kevin took many photography classes based out of our Ottawa studio and eventually graduated from our ProProgram. He progressed well and now works with film photography, high end printing and explores different aspects of photography. He’s come a long way!

Below is Kevin’s photo and description of contemplative photography or Miksang.

Kevin Foisy - photography class graduate

Kevin Foisy - photography class graduate

When I first started my journey into photography, I often struggled with finding interesting subject matter to photograph.  I would look at other people’s work and become inspired, but in my world the opportunities just weren’t there; at least that’s what it seemed.  

The reality is quite different.  There are countless beautiful and interesting photo opportunities all around us; hundreds pass us by each day.  The issue isn’t a lack of opportunities, the issue is that we don’t see them.  With time and practice, we start to see more and more of them, appearing to us out of thin air.  

Our eye becomes tuned to colour, light, texture and form and through this, a magical world presents itself, ripe for capture.  Things that we walk right past each day, begin to stand out.  Whether we’re waiting in a restaurant, walking through a shopping mall, or home preparing a meal, it’s all around us.  

This is the practice of contemplative photography; the art of seeing.  We allow the image to present itself rather than hunting for it. It takes time and practice, but the experience is rewarding.  I carry my camera with me almost everywhere I go so that when something appears, I’m ready to capture it.

This image was captured last night in an Asian restaurant.  A simple picture of nothing, yet an intriguing image.

#803 Photo Blog Reminder! Upcoming Music Exhibition – Saturday, June 16th

Jean Labelle - Music photo exhibition

Jean Labelle - Music photo exhibition - Blackie

Visit us this Saturday as we have some of Ottawa’s finest working photographers presenting their best music photography.

Read photo bios and see more photos.

Join us!:

Saturday, June 16th; 7pm onwards

OttawaStudioWorks.com; 160 Preston St., Ottawa

Music Show Biran Goldschmeid

Ottawa Music Photography Show ©Brian Goldschmeid - Arkells

#802 Ottawa Rowing Club Photo Feature in Ottawa Magazine

Ottawa Magazine Rowing feature

Ottawa Magazine Rowing feature

Last summer I spent a lot of time at the Ottawa Rowing Club shooting for Ottawa Magazine.

I was a member at the club in 1986 and also rowed at University. My dad rowed for England in the 60s – so the article allowed me to rediscover rowing.

I was joined by Ottawa author Jamieson Findlay to investigate different aspects and people who use the club. Jamie and I also worked on an outdoor hockey article “Discovering Pure Joy on Five Outdoor Rinks.

Last weekend the issue hit the news stands and I smiled as I saw the finished product of our creative work. I’ll be doing a slide show at the club later in June.

Pick up the issue to see the photos, read the article and discover rowing:

Ottawa Magazine

Look for Ottawa Magazine - cover by Photolux/C Lalonde