#1106 “Math is a sport…”

I’m in the final stretch of my Bachelor of Education training. I’m working in an inner city Grade 5/6 class.

The practical ‘in-class’ part of the course offers me the greatest learning – I am in the “On-Site” niche of the B.Ed. program that offers six months of practical training in the classroom. The normal B.Ed.’s six months of lectures are condensed into two and a half months for On-Site Teacher Candidates.


Mentor Teacher, Mr Smith, making learning fun.

A couple of weeks ago, my mentor teacher, Steve Smith,above, and I discussed plans for a geometry lesson and unit. “Make math a sport,” he urged. He was pushing my teaching practice to make the lesson more tactile, practical and involved. “If you tell them what an isosceles triangle is, they’ll never remember! But if you help them discover the answers for themselves they’ll never forget.”


• photo from Creative Commons – Wikipedia.

Out came the geoboards – a hands-on math manipulative that students use to create geometric shapes. Our lesson started with students finding a geoboard on their desk – they naturally started playing as students got ready to learn. The class progressed with much triangle building and students themselves discovering the properties of triangles.

One student smiled and said “You’re fun!” All I did was ask them guiding questions to help them discover the answers! The process made it fun (and memorable.)

Thanks to Mr Smith for refining my teacher skills in good ways!

#1090 World Press Photo Winners 1955-2011

Last blog post we announced the arrival of the World Press Photo Exhibition at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

Past Winning Photos
Since then I discovered a site showing the winning photos of the award from 1955-2011. The photos give an idea of what to expect from this year’s exhibition.

WARNING!: Some photos in the link above show scenes of conflict or portray challenging situations that may not be suitable for all audiences.

Local World Press Award WInner
Ottawa’s own David Barbour, below, won a World Press Award in 1986 for a photograph taken in Egypt for CIDA.

Exhibition Details
This year’s exhibition runs from July 25th to August 21st, 2014 at the Canadian War Museum. It’s free!

Ottawa’s David Barbour – 1986 World Press Award winner

#1082 DIY Portraits

Last week Good Works hired us for a session of DIY portraits – it’s a good team builder that produces some fun work photos, all at an affordable price!

As usual, once people were settled and their camera was plugged into (and tested) our pre-set studio lights, the studio was filled with giggles, laughter and much fun.

How it works:
• The studio is booked and the group plugs their camera into our studio lights. We give a tutorial and offer support as needed throughout the session but photos are taken by the group.

In just over an hour Good Works produced some great shots they will be using for promotions and clients – all reasonably priced.

Interested in a similar session?
Let us know…

DIY Portraits at the photo studio

DIY Portraits at the photo studio

#1071 Advanced Fundamentals – Photo Class Review


© AlG –  Advanced Techniques – LightPainting balanced with night light

Last weekend we ran Advanced Fundamentals – a photo course designed to take people beyond the basics of “manual exposure mode” that we cover in Creative Fundamentals.

The idea of the workshop is push people’s skills beyond their comfort levels… just a bit.

photo fundamentals

©GillesG Exploring Shape, Line and Form

We offered:
• traditional exercises to help with composition, perspective
• unusual tasks to make participants think (and shoot) differently
• advanced challenges dealing with light, shape and form

Ottawa photo class

Advanced Challenges… How is the background (metal bars above) blurred and the portrait subject sharp? (It’s not done in post processing!) © AGarner

All in all, it was a productive weekend. We dodged the rain retreating into some underground and covered secret spots I’ve discovered over the years.

Enough from me…
Students said:

“I would happily recommend – urge – anyone interested in improving their photography to take one of your workshops.”

Gatineau Ottawa Photography

Finding Beauty in Chaos © GGagnon

“Harry is very attentive to the student needs and is always available to help and answer questions – The course took me out of my comfort zone… that is good.”

“Thanks again for a fun Creative Fundamentals 2 workshop. It was very helpful and it enriched my photographic knowledge beyond what I expected.”

Ottawa photo workshop

© ALG     Secret Spots shared with participants.

#1062 Web Distractions!!

Welcome back to our current instalment of Web Distractions. And thanks for your part in sharing your finds on the web!

We have a full slate of photo and arts based web investigations.

“Absurdly Expressive” dog portraits
I love dogs!
And I think Debbie S. knows it. She shared this collection of canine portraits.



Best photographers in film
Thanks to Rod MacIvor, retired photojournalist, for this link to some amazing films involving photographers.

4500km China walk – with camera
Nichole McGill provided this link to a man’s amazing photo trek through China…

“Leica photography is dead.” … interesting view on an amazing camera line-up
Dave Andrews posted this link link. Interesting…

Illegal photo taking in Hungary – the controversy!
Nathalie Madore shared this link to a new Hungarian law that’s shaking things up!

Shy photographer gets noticed
Ken H offers this fun story…

Montreal’s underground photographic beauty
Danigirl brought us this look at what lurks, beautifully, under Montreal.

Vivian Maier’s hidden photo talent and collection
Liz links to this documentary of a hidden talent who wanted nothing to do with the fame she is generating! Amazing story…

A big thank-you to contributors! Keep sharing your photo and arts links!


DavidBarbour.com with his Leica

#1058 – Online Photo Program – Special Offer (for a limited time!)

Our online photo program has been going almost two years.
We’re offering a special offer for a 6 month membership for a limited time…

Online Photo Challenge

Online Photo Challenge – © Al Garner

Members are talking:

There is zero chance that I would have taken these shots without the online photography program. I think I get the biggest bang for my buck from the online program. Keep it coming!

This course has accomplished two things for me. First, it has renewed my love of photography and second it has made me a better photographer.

Yes, I am totally hooked…

Thanks Harry – I have signed up for another 6 month session. I like the challenges. It stretches my creativity.

photo challenge

Online Photo Class © M. Reece

The Online Photo Program
• A new photo challenge every month
• New content 4 times per challenge
• Ongoing feedback via a private Facebook group
• Member critique video at the end of each month

Special Offer!
For 12 days only we’re offering $30 off the regular price of $195 for a six month membership. That’s a 15% savings.

But only until March 29th…

More Online Program Details
Register now and save!

Online photo seminar

Simple Studio Lighting Challenge – Members learned to take photos like this with simple household tools!

#1054 Exposed! Photo Newsletter – The Low Down on High ISO

At the end of February we sent out our latest photography newsletter based on a question from one of our Online Program Members:

“… shouldn’t I keep the ISO low whenever shooting?”

My answer has steadily changed as the world of photography has re-invented itself.
Get the latest ISO details to know when to use what ISO:

The Low Down on High ISO”

High ISO shooting

Until fairly recently I would never have dreamed of shooting at 1600 ISO for a client shoot. (Many years ago) when I first started shooting stock I did not dare shoot above 100 ISO!


#1051 DIY Portraits at the photo studio

The studio was filed with giggles and smiles.
It always happens when we host DIY Portraits.

DIY Portraits – Ottawa Studio Works

Families and groups have been taking advantage of our unique service – we set up the studio lights and equipment at our photo studio. And our guests plug in their own SLR cameras.

After a quick tutorial and test shot the group is in charge of their own portrait session. They shoot their own portraits or use a remote release to take their group shot.

Ottawa Gatineau Portraits

Family Portraits – DIY – Ottawa Photo Studio

The Result?
Some fine, self-directed portraits and a super-fun family, corporate or group experience.

DIY guests walk away with their memory card full of their portraits to print, share and post as they please!

We offer this service for special times of the year like Christmas and Mother’s Day but also offer Custom Sessions. The cost depends on a few things: custom dates, family or corporate use.
• Prices start at $150 for an hour of DIY family portraits on a day we offer a series of spots to the public.
• A corporate 75 minute DIY portrait session costs $275 for a booking.

Contact us to book your session.

Ottawa photo studio

DIY Portraits – Ottawa photo studio

#1050 Web distractions

A big thanks to our readers for the content of this edition of web distractions!
We have a long list this week!

Keeping up with Olympic photo deadlines
Past student, Nathalie Madore, shared this link from a photographer on the pressures of shooting the Olympics!

Beauty without Processing
Nichole McGill shared a link to real beauty.

Librarian Portraits
A reader who prefers anonymity offers a whimsical look at the look of librarians!

analogue photography

Film photography – slide, light table and loupe!

Sexism in stock photography?
‘Anonymous’ also offered this look about sexism in stock photography.

14 Photo Project Ideas
Barbara McKenzie sent this look at some good ideas to boost your photo creativity.

Toilet Paper Roll Art!
Dave Andrews offered this very fun look at amazing art found inside toilet paper rolls!

“Humans of New York” Photographer Interview
Hagen Hohn, past student, sent out this link of an interview with ‘overnight photo success’ photographer Brandon Stanton.

proper exposure

Blacks ad whites – proper exposures!

#1048 Stock Photography Assignment – Trip to the Dentist

A while back I did some work for the Dentist in Commack who were looking to upgrade their online presence.

After consultation and some logistics I went to their office to capture the smiling faces behind the dental practice.

There were more smiling faces when I handed in the work. They were thrilled and so was I – this is my favourite type of photo work – a targeted stock assignment.


Stock photo assignment – Ottawa

Ottawa Gatinea

stock photography – targeted promotion

commercial stock assignment

Stock photography – Ottawa/Gatineau