#1116 Free Online Photo Program

A while ago I started our Online Photo Program. Every month we offered a new challenge with support and critique. Members loved it…
We’re looking for more members for the new, free format!

Online photo challenge

© Sara Hendrix

With some changes in direction over the last couple of years, (read past blog posts ) I’ve turned the program into a small, community managed, friendly, free, monthly photo challenge based on a private group on Facebook’s platform.

Online photo program

Online Photo Program
Portrait and Photojournalism Challenges – “Cooling off on a hot day behind the arena…”

Senior members of the group take turns developing the monthly challenge and posting links and information pertaining to the month’s photo adventure. Members offer real critique and questions that guide the discussions. I offer support, critique and tips to the group.

The group wants more members! We’re looking to attract supportive photo people of all levels willing to participate, contribute and support the community as we all try to interpret the month’s challenges. It’s not a competition. And members are looking for genuine feedback rather than praise.

Online photo challenge

Night Time Shooting
© Christine Payant

What members have said:
• ” I really enjoy the positive and constructive feedback. I know when posting that those who participate are likely just like me, wanting to learn and grow. The group has typically been diverse, with people of varying levels of experience which has been great to push me to try different things. I realize that I have some ¨Harryisms¨ that come to mind: ¨get closer¨, ¨what are you exposing for?¨, ¨triangles¨, etc.

Motion in Landscapes © Al Garner

Motion in Landscapes
© Al Garner

• “The program challenges me to get out there and photograph improving my skills as a photographer. It provides some focus. Without it, I would probably not photograph as much and I would not learn and grow as a photographer. It has helped me tremendously and gets me out there shooting and enjoying life!

Landscapes and Sunsets © Maisie Ismail

Landscapes and Sunsets © Maisie Ismail

• “… having the close group to help out and provide critique in a “safe” environment really makes a difference. It helps get over the shyness of… ‘maybe this is not good enough to post.’ What a great group to belong to and get great feedback! Thanks Harry and everyone!

To join the group you need to request to join the group and befriend me on Facebook so I can add you to the Facebook group.

Hope to see you on the other side!

#1114 Summer Photo Adventures

Summer started well for groups of photo students who recently enjoyed Custom Photo Courses. We’ve been taking people out to extend their photo limits using their existing equipment.

We’re also preparing a Laurentians Photo Adventure for early summer 2016, below, for people wishing to challenge and explore their skills behind the camera.

Custom Photo Courses
Join us for individual attention or as a small group for our custom courses. We’ve been offering custom courses for many years. Read a recent review.

Photography Lessons

Custom Photo Course
Chelsea, Gatineau Park

Locations include central Ottawa, Gatineau Park. We use other locations, too.

Our most common course is a four hour, individual session for $350.
A two person, four hour session is $550 (or $275 each).

Material covered depends on your needs.
We’ve covered:
• beginner basics
• portraits
• advanced creativity

Contact us to book your summer photo adventure.

Photo course Gatineau

© Christine P.
Heritage cemetery.

2016 Laurentians Photo Adventure
Join us on a relaxing but immersive photography learning session next summer.

We combine a tranquil and comfortable base in the Laurentians bordered by a bike / walking path and the Rouge River.

Early July, 2106

night photography course

Night time Teepee Photography Laurentians Photo Adventure

We’ll be choosing from locations to best suit the weather and the group. Shooting locations and subjects could include:
• Tremblant Village
• Horses
• Gardens
• Rivers and Waterfalls
• Night time Teepee shooting
• Parc national du Mont Tremblant

Throughout the day you can expect:
• early morning shoots
• evening photography
• critique sessions
• time for relaxing & meals

Tremblant Photography Safari

Laurentians Photo Adventure

More important than the locations will be the support and creative stimulation you’ll receive on the adventure.

We are teaming up with a quiet Bed & Breakfast close to the action of Tremblant but a universe away. Our hosts provide a limited number of gorgeous B& B accommodations and attractive camping. You may choose your own accommodation when registering for the Laurentian Photo Adventure.

My family has stayed with them many times and explored the area for years.

Laurentians photo safari

Our hosts’ patio for post shooting relaxation and editing!

Breakfast is available at our base B&B. We will take care advantage of local restaurants and available eateries for lunches, snacks and dinners. Mid-day meals may include packed picnic lunches.

We will be traveling short distances – up to 30km to different photo sites. Most people will travel by personal vehicle or share driving with other participants. No transportation is included in the cost of the Laurentians Photo Adventure

garden photography

Our hosts’ gardens in the Laurentians

Costs include:
• photography instruction fee – early bird rate of $500 for 2 days on the adventure.
• accommodation for two nights. 2015 rates range  from camping @ $14/person/night or lovely B&B rooms from $99/night (single occ. Lover’s Loft) to $154/night (double occ. Garden Retreat); Other rates exist for different rooms.
• meals
• transportation
•extras that you wish to undertake

Photo Adventure spots and accommodation are limited as this is our hosts busiest time of year. Please contact us for more information and booking your adventure.

#1112 Summer Photography Adventures – Custom Course Success

Recently, a past photo student called looking for help:
I understand technical photo elements but am struggling with compositions and creating photos that show what I feel when I see the scene.

A photo before her custom course:

Custom Photo Course

Photo before the Custom Photo Course – technically fine but lacking intimacy.

She booked a Custom Course and we met along the path of the Watershed project.

Within a morning session of pointed direction and gentle coaching, her photos improved quickly. They went from broad generic landscapes to alluring photos that pulled the viewer in:

Custom Photo Course

Photo taken during the Custom Photo Course.
Technically good but with more impact than before.

Her comments after the session:

What a fun morning I had in the Gats working my photographic edges with Harry.  He so brilliantly and sensitively identified my next edge to work so I could move closer to where I’m longing to be with my photos.

Bit by bit I began to discern the difference between when I’m hanging out ‘back there’ and when I ‘step in’.  I also began to see a difference in my photos, after just one session.  I learned so much in one morning.  Thank you Harry, and also for what I’ll use as mantras when I’m out there on my own practicing –  “step in”, “embrace it”.  “touch it”.”

One-on-One learning

Custom Course – Learning to see and build feeling into a photo.

Coming soon I’ll be announcing summer photo options including more custom courses (when, where and how you wish to learn), safaris and an opportunity to go on a Laurentian photo getaway.

Stay tuned.

#1107 Photo Workshops and Private Courses

Spring is coming!
Flowers are preparing to burst into colour.
Bears are starting to stretch, ready to come out of hibernation. Sleepy photographers are starting to stir, too!

Photo Class

Push your photography limits this spring!

We’re offering two options this spring for photographers to improve their skills:

• Our classic Creative Fundamentals photo workshop
Learn in a traditional format taking advantage of live theory, practical and critique. All camera styles welcome.

• Private classes for individuals and small groups
Learn what you want, when you want.

photo course Ottawa Gatineau

Improve your Smart Phone photography!

Background – Harry Nowell
Harry Nowell has  worked for 20 years providing imagery for clients like Carleton University, Canadian Senate, Royal Ottawa Hospital, Canadian Geographic and others. His imagery has been licensed all over the world.Harry Nowell has taught photography for 15 years. His students are his best advocates!

In the age of YouTube there is a lot of free advice and “how-to” related to photography. There is also a decline in the quality of photography. From the Financial Post:
“When it comes to image quality, the real problem is that consumers no longer care.”
And there is frustration!

Photo Workshops

Improve your photography!

If you are frustrated or have a passion for quality in your pictures, we can help!

Creative Fundamentals
May 7 (evening classroom)
May 9 (practical shooting)
May 14 (evening classroom critique)
Central Ottawa/Gatineau

Private Classes
Offered as schedules permit.
$Cost depends on session:
• One person / half day = $375.
• Two people / half day = $275 each.
Prices may change without notice.

Contact us!

#1101 Facebook Photo Challenge

We ran our Online Photo Program for a couple of years and have started running it on a private Facebook Group since August.

We set a challenge every month and offer pointers, links and informal critique. All participants can offer feedback, questions and support, as well.

While I am taking sabbatical from the business (first time in 20 years!) this challenge is free.

Interested in joining?
You need to send me a friend request and then send me a Facebook message asking to join the monthly challenge.

Facebook photo challenge

Online Photography Challenge – we’ve come a long way from film (but I still love film!)

#1084 Student Success…

I’ve been teaching photography for 14 years.
It’s always rewarding to see people develop and grow photographically and otherwise over the years.

Recently Jeffrey Furry offered a selection of work he shot over a year in one of our programs – we offered a new challenge every month with support and critique.

For the whole year Jeffrey worked hard to include an Inukshuk for every challenge. See his photos and comments below!

Jeffrey says:
I’ve been a member of the Harry Nowell on-line program since its inception.  Without intending to, I used an Inukshuk for 12 consecutive challenges.  With the exception of two, all were a 20cm tall high Inuksuk I received as a free gift from a landscaping company that made a handy prop for the various challenges.  The 12 photos below give a good overview of the variety of challenges we are given in the on-line program.

© Jeffrey Furry       ​Challenge – Backlighting – “overexpose the background to help bring attention to the foreground.”

Exposed for the Inushuk which was in full shade.  This was the first shot using the Inukshuk.  Saw the perfect light for the monthly challenge in my backyard so grabbed the first subject that was handy…



© Jeffrey Furry       Challenge - Backlighting - "overexpose the background to help bring attention to the foreground."

© Jeffrey Furry Challenge – Backlighting – “overexpose the background to help bring attention to the foreground.”

Similar conditions as the backlit photo but exposed for the Inushuk which was in full shade.



© Jeffrey Furry     Challenge - Festive

© Jeffrey Furry Challenge – Festive

A bit of a stretch to include the Inushuk for a festive theme!  Shot at F22 to maximize the star burst effect.



© Jeffrey Furry       White Challenge

© Jeffrey Furry White Challenge

Our challenge was to photograph something white (and get a correct exposure!) I decided to photograph the shadow of the Inukshuk against the snow!



© Jeffrey Furry      Challenge - Simple Studio Lighting - "creating lighting scenarios using lights you already have at home."

© Jeffrey Furry Challenge – Simple Studio Lighting – “creating lighting scenarios using lights you already have at home.”

Used two Ikea LED reading lights, one behind and below, the other immediately behind the Inukshuk “head”  Blue light on front is from my smartphone.



Ottawa Gatineau better pictures

© Jeffrey Furry Challenge – Candid Portraits – “capture an intimate, engaging portrait – and part of that involves NOT using your viewfinder. Period.”

Shot from the hip, no viewfinder.



Photo courses

© Jeffrey Furry Challenge – Slow Photos – “shooting landscapes – but with one twist – you must use a slow shutter speed.”

Brought the Inukshuk to a small stream behind my house.  Awkward location for my tripod, so forced to shoot at 1/sec braced as best as possible.


Gatineau Photography

© Jeffrey Furry Challenge – Fast Photos – “show the idea of motion through fast shutter speeds like 1/1000 of a second.”

Dragged the Inukshuk to a rushing section of the Gatineau River. Would have preferred a slightly faster shutter speed to freeze the water even more.


Ottawa photo workshops

© Jeffrey Furry Challenge – Photojournalistic storytelling – “telling a story within the context of a single photo”

Used a different Inukshuk this month, my neighbour’s cat on a large Inukshuk on their front lawn.



Gatineau pictures - classes

© Jeffrey Furry Challenge – Social Documentary Storytelling
– “tell a story with many pictures about one subject.”

For this month, I spent the morning shooting the staff at a local bike shop.  Just to keep with the Inukshuk theme, I grabbed this quick shot of the Inukshuk in front of the store.


Gatineau photo ideas

© Jeffrey Furry Challenge – New Perspectives – “Find something finite then shoot it at least 50 different ways without moving it”

Spent an evening shooting the Inukshuk from various angles with different focal lengths.  Took about 70 different shots, this was my favourite, the second shot of the evening.


Ottawa art class

© Jeffrey Furry Challenge – “Same Scene Variations: explore the effect of different qualities and levels of light on one subject.”

Shot a few dozens identical shots during different times of day.  This shot was early evening  with the sun setting behind the Inukshuk.  All shot from my deck with the Inushuk placed on a small step ladder to try and get a cleaner background.”

Nice work Jeffrey!
Thanks for sharing a year of your photo learning with HarryNowell.com!

#1072 Oops, I dropped a camera in the lake.

I dropped a camera in the lake – submerged…

I trekked into Fortune Lake to continue my “Watershed Project” with two cameras:
a ‘small’ 4×5 Graflex large format camera
big hand-made 8×10 wood camera

With supporting gear, I hauled 50 pounds of equipment to a remote part of the lake. 

large format home made camera

8×10 hand-made sliding box camera

I set up and shot a scene with the 8×10 camera after which I set the Graflex on a tripod and went for the film holders. With my back turned (just a minute) I heard sploosh! One tripod leg had slowly shrunk causing the camera to pitch into the water.

classic camera

Graflex 4×5 camera

Clean-up and Recovery
I fished the camera out of the water and immediately took the lens off and dismantled it – the nice thing about large format lenses is you can unscrew most elements of the lens without tools.

I cleaned & cleaned & dried & dried with a soft cotton, absorbing cloth for 10 or 15 minutes and then went to save the camera by draining water and drying it as best as possible.

Once home, I took out the affected gear, warmed the oven to 200F, turned the oven off and put the camera and lens parts inside for a couple of hours.

Large format lens

Nikkor 75 mm lens with 4×5 coverage – easy to disassemble!

I am happy to report that all critical elements are functioning – I did damage the Graflok spring back but there’s an easy work-around until I can find a part… Anyone have spare parts for a Graflex?

Ottawa’s Camera Trading Company did not have the part but did have the expertise to help me make the camera usable without the Graflok back – that’s the value of Tom and Mark (and sometimes Bob) in the store – they know a lot!

Ottawa photographer

David Barbour

As I was leaving the store I bumped into David Barbour, veteran working photographer. He smiled commenting about my camera-in-lake Facebook post. “Never turn your back on a tripod!”
Thanks David.

In 1997 I assisted Malak in the Yukon. At 82 years old he had seen it all. He told me “I’ve made every mistake in the book!” It’s comforting to know others have big ‘oops’es.

I am a big, big fan of simple, mechanical equipment.
… I love it!

#1068 How to Boost your Creativity

This month’s Exposed! photo newsletter launches today.

“His photos were beautiful but he was stuck. Our workshop student was frustrated that he had hit a plateau and couldn’t get beyond it…

The workshop student’s photos made beginners jealous – they were classic compositions – beautifully framed and well exposed. He had come on the workshop to get out of a rut.

In this edition of Exposed! we look at ways to:
• boost your creativity
• fuel new adventures in your artwork
• get out of your rut….”

Learn how to ignite your imagination’s fire!

imagination generation

Boost your creativity – try new formats and techniques…

#1061 Finding Creativity – Exposed! Photo Newsletter

“Where do your creative ideas come from?”

Good question! Creativity is an intangible seed that grows under varied and unusual ways. What works for a creative scientist may not work for an artist but there are common, underlying elements that help unleash creativity.

This month we explore one of the ideas – unstructured daydreaming and aimless wandering.

Read more to fuel your creativity.

creative outlets

Learning to harness creativity.

#1060 Online Photo Program – Student Success!

We offered a “simple” challenge to our members in the online program – photographing sunrises or sunsets.

But sometimes the simple things can be the toughest!

Sunset photo challenge

Sunset Challenge – © Marcel M.

That’s right, sunsets can be really tough.

• it’s an advanced lighting challenge with often two or three very distinct light levels to choose from.
• The sun will not wait for your schedule! Finding the time to be in the right place and right time can be tough!
• Weather can thwart best intentions. March is usually quite mild but many of our members live close to Ottawa. And Ottawa is enjoying an unusually lonnnng winter which makesit tough to get out and shoot!

Sunrise photography

Sunrise Challenge – Maisie I.

Our members braved the cold and embraced the challenges to produce some amazing work. Yep, I am proud!

Students also learned a lot!:
This was a great challenge Harry and you pushed me to get out there and take photographs regardless of the weather.  This is what I love to do!
I am really enjoying this and I am hoping that your on-line program stays around for a long, long time.

Sunset Challenge

Sunset Challenge © Marie-Josée L

Your program provided really great information… I’m totally hooked!

I will definitely want to continue until September. Its a great program… Definitely great value in my view.

We’re offering a limited time offer on 6 months of the online photo program – $30 off until Saturday, March 29th. That’s just $165 (plus tax) for 6 months of online photo fun.
(Ahem, the registration button was broken last week – it’s been fixed!)
Register Online.

Online photo challenge

Sunset Photo Challenge © Al Garner