#1004 Building a large format camera.

I’ve chatted about large format cameras before and have been shooting on medium and large format film for years for Watershed and other work.

Small Big Format
My current large format camera is a 4″x5″ Graflex Press Camera – it’s cutting edge technology from the 1930’s. It was THE camera for photojournalists back then.

In the scope of large format cameras the Graflex is small.
4×5 is massive compared modern SLR cameras. But, well, it’s not big, really big.
I want big.

Large Format Prints

Watershed Exhibition @ Ottawa International Airport – Large Format Prints

Benefits of BIG
Big is nice because it’ll allow BIG prints. Yes, yes, good, big prints can be made by modern digital cameras. I have a giga-mega pixel camera that I use commercially (and I love it.)

But what I really love is the process of BIG. It’s slow and forces you to be precise. And instead of looking at hundreds of teeny previews on the back of your camera or monitor you get to look at a few large, beautiful transparencies or negatives – the way photography was intended to be seen.


8x10 Camera

Camera Building

Building Big Cameras
I’ve been looking for an 8×10 camera and while there are hundreds/thousands out there, it seems most people refuse to part with them. New is nice but, erm, pricey.

So, after hours of internet snooping and talking to people, I decided to build one.
It’s well on it’s way, thanks to John, friend, neigbour, engineer and grade 7 classmate.

I’ve also been excited about trying two new things that haven’t been done much.
Fun and exciting for Harry.
Stay tuned.

#1003 David Trattles SocDoc and Travel Workshop Student Success!

Photo course

© Robin Michetti
The Travel & SocDoc Photo Class with David Trattles

Thanks to everyone who joined Dave Trattles for his Ottawa session of the SocDoc and Travel Workshop at Ottawa Studio Works.
The course was full, again.

photo course

© Marc Nagainis – Assignment – David Trattles Photo Workshop

We’ve run this workshop many times and it often makes many people re-think photography!

People said:
“Great experience. Photography is so much more than f-stops and shutter speeds and Dave teaches this so very well.” 

“Loved it… the learning curve is high… What a character.”

“Great combo of tips, showing our work and critique…”

Photography Assignment

© Marcel Mathurin – Assignment – David Trattles Photo Workshop

Missed this workshop but want to soak up some of Dave’s wonderfulness? Join him for his “Best Quality South India Bicycle (and Photo and Yoga) Adventure.”

SocDoc & Travel Photo Class

© Robin Michetti -Assignment – David Trattles Photo Workshop

#1002 Exposed! Photo Newsletter – Three BORING Tools to improve your photography.

They’re not sexy.
They’re not cutting edge.
They’re not even hard to find.

But they are indispensable for better photos.

This month we round up three of the most boring ways to improve your photography.

Read about the tools to improve your pictures!

Photography tools...

Boring tools for better photos…


#1001 Building Magic Worlds with Photoshop and Richard Desmarais

Photoshop Seminar

© Richard Desmarais – Building new worlds with photoshop

Good news!
Our Lightroom Seminar with Peter Handley is almost full (at time of writing.)
And we’ve just booked Richard Desmarais to share his skills in Photoshop.

Creating Fantasy Worlds with Photoshop
In November, Richard will be helping people learn to build new worlds using specific elements of Photoshop.

About Richard
Richard has spent 30 years working as a photographer for high profile clients. In that time his photoshop skills developed enormously. He brings some of these skills to you in this seminar!

November 10th, 2013; 1-5pm
$100 + HST

Register! And see more details.

One Thousand Blog Posts

[Trumpets blare]
Today’s a big day.

This is our one-thousandth blog post at HarryNowell.com.



Starting the Blog
I started the blog in February, 2008 on the advice of a web developer who’s now my wife.
My initial response was “Why would I do that?! Sounds like extra work!”

Five years later it’s become a fun part of my work week – sharing, connecting and hearing from our readers.

First Blog Post
Our very first blog post was a bit, erm, uncertain. I had no idea what to write about…
The posts got better (phew) and I’m very happy our readers have stuck with us on the adventure as HarryNowell.com grows and finds new adventures.

Early on in my career David Trattles told me to:
Surround yourself with supportive people.

Thanks for being there.
Without YOU – readers, clients and photo students – none of this would be possible. Your ongoing support and $business helps keep me, blog posts, photo tips, photo newsletter and workshops possible.



Harry Nowell – thank-you!


#999 Oh, exciting…

We have a few developments coming up. They are almost ready to announce but I can’t contain myself.

Coming soon we will be offering:
• a Photoshop Seminar to help you make magical worlds out of ordinary photos. It’ll be lead by a veteran working photography with a passion for digital imaging.

• a framing seminar on how to frame artwork yourself… Coming thanks to Patrick Gordon Framing.

• a Platform Series presentation from a climbing Clark Kent (superhero and humble) – Doug Pratt Johnson as he present his solo climb of the iconic Yosemite climbing area.

Stay tuned…


#998 Web Distractions

Welcome back – this collection of web distractions comes from many people (thanks!)

Good news for film!
First up Peter Handley (link opens to his course) & Dave Andrews both brought my attention to good news in the film department! Ilford is opening a black and white film lab in California based on the success of its lab in the UK. That IS good news.

Overused photo tricks
Steve Gerecke posted this fun – overused photo tricks…

• Prime Photo Tips
And we bring you some of the latest photo tips at PrimePhotoTips.com.
Ahem, somebody that likes our Facebook page of photo tips this month will win a free three month membership in our Online Photo Program.

Photo Tips

Photo Tip #241 Look for ways your background can support your subject:

Tips for sunset photos and drops…
Nancy Belanger found some fun photos and tips on:

Liquid Art

Milky Way photos
Carol Halls (link opens to her business) of Sutton, Qc offered us this fun Facebook page of Deep Space photos!

Photo Tip - add some motion!

Photo Tip #254 Add some motion to your photos!

#997 Watershed Exhibition at Ottawa Airport YOW

In August I was asked to hang a show at one of two exhibition spaces at Ottawa Airport.

It is the largest single showing of Watershed works to date covering much of the printed material along the 13km I have explored starting from the little creek behind our home.

Photo Exhibition

Watershed Art Exhibition – Chelsea, Qc and Gatineau Park

Watershed Exhibition
Departures Lounge (near Gate 14)
Ottawa International Airport YOW
August 2013 to January 6th, 2014.

Photo Art Exhibition

Watershed Art Exhibition at Ottawa Airport YOW

It all started in 2001 as I started exploring the local waterway with my dear old dog, Tigger. We followed the creek upstream to the headwaters and later started following it downstream.

After a number of years of muddy, wet, fun wandering I realized my explorations warranted a photographic documentation. Realizing the works would best be presented BIG I started shooting the scenes predominantly on medium and large format equipment.

My aim is to show the length of the watershed as it exists and reacts with all elements surrounding it, human or otherwise. The human infrastructure especially intrigues me as the small creek has been seen to overpower concrete and steel feats of engineering.

Photo Art Exhibition

Watershed Art Exhibition at Ottawa Airport YOW

Many years later I have explored the ‘little creek’ for many kilometres.

You can see the exhibition at Ottawa Airport in the Departures Lounge near Gate 14. It’s hard to miss as it stretches 60 feet long.

Please visit – send your comments, please.

Photo Art Exhibition

Watershed Art Exhibition at Ottawa Airport YOW

#996 Caffenol Platform Session – Alternative B&W processing

We are offering an evening with Matt Hinther as part of our Ottawa Platform Series. Matt is joining us to guide you through the new-ish alternative process of film and paper development – Caffenol!

Caffenol development

Caffenol – Black and White Processing

What is Caffenol?
The Caffenol process is a much less toxic development process using simple ingredients to develop and print B&W film.

People with home-based darkrooms or those working in shared darkrooms will appreciate working in a less toxic environment.The opportunity to try new tinting and creative options is also exciting!

Join us on October 25th for a fun, evening of exploration with Caffenol!
Only $15…
Details and registration.

#995 Online Photo Program – Bad News / Good News

We’ve offered our monthly challenges for 15 months now. We have bad news and good news!

Photo Challenge

Online Photo Program – Fast Photo Challenge – © Cathy Vanners

The Bad News is that, after 15 months, we’re raising the price. Just a little. The cost used to be $180 for 6 months – that’s $30/month. We’re raising it to $195 for 6 months. That’s only $2.50 extra per month.

The good news is we’re offering a fall promotion that makes the Online Program cheaper… for a limited time!

Yes, we’re offering 6 months of the Online Program for $160. That’s just the price of one dinner at a restaurant each month!

This offer only lasts until Wednesday, September 18th!
$160 + tax for 6 months of photo challenges, video tutorials, tips, photo community and personal critique.
This deal has finished but you can still join at the regular price:
Register NOW!

What do you get from the Online Program?
Think of it as a new photo class every month with:
• a video lesson
• course notes
• weekly email check-in with tips, encouragement and news
• ongoing group support through a private Facebook group for Members only
• and a compreshensive video critique of member’s photos at the end of the month.

Member Comments:
“We’re lucky we have you to guide us”
• “Thanks so much Harry, couldn’t have done it without you and the online course.”
• “I am very much enjoying the challenges and the format of what you’ve created here with the online program. For me, just the right balance of freedom to work at your own pace and structure to keep you honest and get something done.  With good advice along the way. I appreciate it, and am very happy to support it.”
• “It was a tough assignment and needed a lot of elements to come together for it to work. But a great learning experience. I’m loving this and the FB group is terrific.”

Watch a sample video on YouTube. This is from one of our more technical challenges.


See one (there are three) of the critique videos from the lesson above on YouTube.

This offer only lasts until Wednesday, September 18th.
$160 + tax for 6 months of photo challenges, video tutorials, tips, photo community and personal critique.
This deal has finished but you can still join at the regular price:

Register NOW!