Sometimes a good photo strikes the imagination.

Sometime in early 1968 I was moving a bunkhouse bed that belonged to another soldier who had served his required time in the Army and left for home.

Under the mattress was a book I had never seen before called “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. About four years later after I too had left that bothersome military chore me and many other young men were forced into, I was wandering through a huge used book sale and came across three books tied together; “The lord of the Rings”. I was so excited with that find that I hid myself away and in a non-stop session read them all. (I will say that my girl friend at the time was not at all understanding with my three-day disappearance)

Like any good story “The Hobbit” often comes to mind when I am in some creative outdoor setting.

This past weekend I joined my friend Jo McAvany and four costumed friends at a cold waterfall surrounded by ice and snow. My main job was to move the large wireless flash around, but I was able the get some photographs of our subjects when they were not posing for the planned portraits. I wasn’t especially trying for anything in particular, mostly just some outtakes that included Jo directing and photographing people.

Most of my photos were not shot with that flash. I was using a 70-200mm and a 24-70mm. I would set the light up for the person Jo was photographing and either wait for someone to randomly look at me or quickly choose a place where I could get a good shot.

I wasn’t expecting much, just some usable individual photos that were different than Jo’s that she could add to those she was giving to her friends.

“My imagination take over”

When I loaded my photos on my computer and selected those I would edit to pass on to Jo I began to see characters that could fit in Tolkien’s wonderful tale. In my imagination I saw water sprites, fairy queens, elves, and wandering heroes. Gosh, there was even the mysterious Tom Bobadil standing in the white snow in front of raging falls with soft green backgrounds and foreboding rock walls.

I didn’t see any of that when I was trudging through the snow and cautiously testing my footing on the slippery ice beside the turbulent icy water when I was photographing our models. Nevertheless, there the story of the Hobbit was as I looked at the images on my computer display. All I had to do was employ some creative and subtle editing to bring the story to life.

Philosopher, writer and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, “The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographing Pumpkins

 

Halloween is on its way. It’s usually a fun time with costumes, candy, spooky displays, parties and more candy.

This year will probably be a bit calmer and in some places maybe not at all.

Talking with my friend Jo and her husband Shaun. We thought it might be fun to have our own get together. Our safe “Bubble” for Halloween will be Jo, Shaun, their two children, probably our friend Drew and me.

What do we need for party decorations? Well to begin with pumpkins.

That meant a short hour and a half road trip to the town of Ashcroft and a visit to the huge Desert Hills Ranch farm market. I was sure that Desert Hills would not only be a great place to get pumpkins, but also a place that would be packed with photo opportunities, and if we went mid-week we would miss the crowds and be much safer during this blasted and darned inconvenient pandemic.

Jo chose to bring the versatile Nikon 28-300mm lens and, as usual, I mounted my 24-70mm on my camera.

The Desert Hills staff had made acres of different displays using pumpkins that presented endless photo opportunities. Upon arrival I got out of my truck and immediately wandered off pressing my camera’s shutter.

Jo was more goal oriented and headed to the large tents filled with vegetables and grabbed a wagon to fill. I eventually caught up and easily talked Jo’s photogenic children, Emit and Evinn, into running, pulling the wagon, and posing in front of the displays.

I put three big pumpkins in one of the wagons Jo had filled with all sorts’ of fresh vegetables, parked it in the shade and continued on with my photographic adventure.

We were only there for a little more than two hours, but I could have stayed all day. There was so much to photograph and the October pumpkin theme was fun, creative and addictive…I didn’t want to stop taking pictures.

American Photographer Annie Leibovitz once wrote, “The camera makes you forget you’re there. It’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much.”

It was a good day for photography, not to hot and a good combination of sun and high clouds that held back that photo ruining harsh contrast.

As we had hoped, there weren’t a lot of people there. That gave Jo and I lots of room to do photography and it also wasn’t at all dangerous for Emit and Evinn to run around anywhere they wanted.

I’ll slowly go through my image files from that day and convert some into black and white. Black and white Pumpkins look good.

I think, even in this confusing and disturbing time we are struggling through, that there are excellent opportunities for creative and interesting photography. Now that our Desert Hill Ranch Market trip is past and the images are safely waiting on my computer for me to get inventive and imaginative with, I am wondering what I should plan for next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any day with a camera is a good day. Rain, shine or grey. 

   

When a morning is cold, flat and grey I just feel like leaving my camera in it’s bag and staying home with a hot cup of coffee.

On Tuesday I had talked with my friend Jo and made plans to go for a morning drive along the Thompson River.  Jo wanted to try some long exposure photos down by the concrete bridge that crossed the river to the Lafarge Cement Plant.  The river is low right now and it always seems to be windy along the river this time of year. Perfect for slow shutter shots on the dry wide beach.

Tuesday was a sunny, light sweater, fall day and we were hoping Wednesday would be nearly the same. The TV weatherman said Wednesday would be “cloudy and windy”. 

Shouldn’t that mean there would only be some clouds moving through?  Well, it didn’t. Wednesday had a damp, cold wind and there wasn’t a bright spot to be found anywhere in the sky. It had rained all night and the day was grey with an almost depressing flat light. Nevertheless, we packed our cameras in my car headed out. 

 On Photo Argus blog’s introduction by Nate Day he writes, “Staying motivated and inspired is crucial for a photographer’s long-term growth. It’s far more important than having good gear or perfect lighting. After all, if you feel unmotivated, your expensive equipment will lie untouched, collecting dust while you make excuses for why you’re not shooting any photos today.”

That’s a good thought. Heck, we were motivated because any day with a camera is a good day. Rain, shine or grey. 

Jo had a 28-300mm on her camera and I decided to take two cameras; one with my 20-120mm and the other, the Infrared converted, with a 20-40mm.   The day was dismal and I was sure I would be able to get some unusual pictures with the IR camera. 

On a cloudy day that camera doesn’t capture much IR light and depending on the direction I point it I get all sorts of creative exposures. Hmm…maybe “creative” isn’t the correct word.  “Surprising, unexpected, peculiar”, and even “strange” might be better words to use.  But Heck, I was sure if any of my shots worked they would at the least be colourful and make for some fun after I loaded them on my computer and experimented with different programs.

I made several stops trying to get something I liked. But now as I look at my images they aren’t very exciting.  When we finally got to the cement plant Jo got her tripod out and walked down the sandy beach and started doing some long exposures. I took a couple shots with my regular camera, then changed to the IR and wandered up and around some big trees and then along the cold windy shoreline. 

I wasn’t surprised when I looked at my camera’s LCD and saw what looked like dark under exposed images. Flat heavy clouded days seem to trick the meter on that camera. I think the Infrared conversion might be making the exposure inconsistent under heavy clouds. The camera’s Histogram also showed that I was a bit under exposed. I’m not one that checks the LCD much to see if I got the shot. But I do check the Histogram to make sure my exposure is where I want it to be. 

We had a cold time, but a good time.

When I got home I loaded my images and chose those I wanted to change to Black & White and which ones I wanted to enhance the unusual colours.  

The images I converted to B&W took a little time to lighten the dark areas while those I left in colour gave me lots of freedom to manipulate them anyway that looked good to me.

Photography has away been a very creative medium to me and with a camera converted for infrared one can just let loose. No rules.

“Night Moves”

Ok, I borrowed the title of Bob Seger’s December of 1976 hit single.  My article has nothing to do with Seger’s song…I just liked the title.

On a cool, damp night last weekend my friend Jo and I were positioning our tripods at Vancouver’s Science World. As we choose subjects to photograph along the False Creek waterfront. She turned to me and mentioned that she thought the calm ocean with the reflecting lights from the city was “moving”.   

At first I thought she was talking about how the moored sailboats were “moving” and appeared blurry in our long exposure photos, but as I stood in the shadows enjoying the city lights I realized she meant the scene we were photographing was inspiring and stimulating.   

My title “Night Moves” seemed appropriate.

Jo McAvany and I had made the four-hour trip to Vancouver to attend the Vancouver Camera Swap and Sale.  The organizer, Tonchi Martinic wrote, “After all this time of this COVID crisis, I am happy to tell you that I am going to have the Vancouver Camera Swap Meet on October 17th, 2021”.   So I loaded my car with cameras and equipment from my shop, easily talked Jo into going with me, booked accommodation, and drove to Vancouver.

We had planned on doing some “street” type photography at the Richmond night market that first night, but the wind and pounding rain started just after we arrived so we were forced hold up in our hotel and waited till after the Camera sale the next day. Hopefully we can take another trip before the winter snows.

After our busy and fun day at the Camera Swap and Sale we found an Italian restaurant for supper, then grabbed our cameras and drove to the Vancouver Science Center to spend the evening making long exposures of the city lights along False Creek.

“False Creek is a short narrow inlet in the heart of Vancouver, separating the Downtown and West End neighbourhoods from the rest of the city. It is one of the four main bodies of water bordering Vancouver.” 

We also made a quick stop on the way to photograph the colourfully lighted ninety-foot sails atop the iconic Canada Place.

They are two very fun locations to photograph anytime, but at night Canada Place and Science World are special.

Jo was using a 28-300mm lens and I had my 24-120mm lens.  We had thought about bringing our 24-70mm lenses, but the 28-300 and 24-120 would be more versatile if we got to do street photography.  The only other equipment we needed was our tripods, and oh, clean handkerchiefs to wipe the slow, wet drizzle off our cameras.

I recently read an article on night photography by American photographer Todd Vorenkamp. I liked his description of taking pictures at night, “The physiology of our eyes causes them to see very differently than the camera at night. During the day, the cones in the retina reveal the world in Technicolor. At night, the cone’s companions, the rods, work overtime to offer a picture of what is before you, which the cones relay with muted colors. The camera does not know the natural boundaries of rods and cones. It has the ability to capture color regardless of the level of ambient light. Therefore, the camera allows us to see our dark surroundings in a vastly different way than our eyes perceive it. Photographing at night allows us to see night in all its wonderful color.”

For those of us that like to wander dark streets and waterfronts with our cameras, the festive Christmas season will soon be here and there will be so much more exciting night scenes to photograph. 

Not much has changed…but the masks?

Jo and I joined our friends Laurie and Habiba at the Richmond Camera Swap meet and Sale this past weekend.

We were excited to finally be able to attend another camera packed event after the exhausting yearlong wait caused by the pandemic. 

As I wrote last week, we overnighted at the coastal village of Steveston. 

I got up early the morning of the camera sale and sat by the open window looking at the ocean, breathed in the cool salt air and listened to the seagulls for quite a while on that clear blue day before packing my car and heading to the camera sale location. 

Gosh, it couldn’t have been a better morning. 

We stopped at a coffee shop for a takeout breakfast and still arrived on time for the camera sale at the South Arm United Church by 8AM to join the gaggle of sellers carrying, pulling and pushing crates filled with photography equipment into the hall.  We were directed to our reserved tables, instructed to wear masks and shown the large bottles of hand sanitizer.

My friend Laurie & his wife were already there. They left their home in Kamloops very early to make the 4 plus hour drive through the mountains that morning.  That meant they were on the road by 4AM.  I remember doing that years ago, but those times are long past – I just don’t have the stamina any more. Besides I like making the camera sales a bit of a holiday. Sure there is the additional cost of renting a hotel room and eating out, but I do enjoy the adventure.

Not much has changed…but the masks? 

The frenzy and excitement of the used camera sale is still the same. There are still lots of like-minded people talking about cameras and photo gear and there are still lots of great money saving deals and, as always, an electricity in the air that is energizing and helps make the event the one of the friendliest places on earth. 

Ahh..But the masks. 

A short time ago if anyone would have told me that I would be walking into a building filled with people wearing masks I would have thought they meant Halloween masks. And although I don’t at all mind doing my civic duty by wearing a mask I always have an uncomfortable feeling when I get out of my car and put on a mask over my mouth and nose. Its as if I was some bank robber from one of those old black and white movies.

So there I was sitting at my table loaded with cameras hoping to sell while wearing an identity-hiding mask – talking with others that were hiding their identity from me. 

I always watch body language and I really watch a perspective buyers face.  How else can I tell if they are actually interested in that lens or just lookie-loos spending the day wandering a noisy camera sale?  Well I sure couldn’t do that, and it made selling harder, but Jo and I laughed a lot behind our masks and had fun with all those masked men and women anyway.  However, I have no doubt that under that face covering there were some 20 something’s grimacing instead of smiling at my dated humour. 

I am sure everyone that attended had a very good time at the Richmond Swap meet and camera sale.  We sold some, bought some and had a great time meeting and talking with other photographers and in my mind (other that pointing our cameras and making pictures) it doesn’t get much better than that.   

Now we will be waiting till the next sale that has been postponed and postponed. It’ll be in October. I’m already excited.

Photography in the coastal village of Steveston. 

Steveston is a historic place on the outskirts of Metro Vancouver that my friend Jo and I stayed at (and spent the evening photographing) on our trip to the August used camera sale in Richmond. 

We were lucky to be able to book lodging at The Steveston Hotel, a landmark for the village built in1895. 

The last time I visited Steveston must have been about 20 years ago. Other than the marina and the fishermen that sold their fresh catch there wasn’t much.  My wife Linda and I had arrived on a cool December day with our big large format 4X5 inch film cameras. However, as we set up it started to snow a very wet windy snow that forced us to wipe off our cameras and leave. 

We had parked in front of the Steveston Hotel and hoped to get a room, but it was as every time I have checked over the years since then, full with no vacancy.  I didn’t think I could get a room this time either. But as I wrote, we were lucky this time.

Steveston is filled with great places to eat. We chose to get delicious Greek seafood take-out so we could sit out on the boardwalk to enjoy the ocean as the sun went down. 

The waterfront walk was perfect for out-of-town photographers like Jo and I for wandering after dark to make long exposures of the night-lights. Long exposure photographs are just plain fun. All one needs is a camera and tripod. Oh, and an off camera release…that I inconveniently forgot. The off camera release allows one to not only reduce camera shake, but makes it possible to use exposures longer than 30 seconds. 

Because we didn’t have the off-camera releases we were forced to use the self timer to stop the shake and struggle to get interesting lighting effects with only 30 seconds. 

So – set the shutter speed at 30 second, then keep changing the aperture depending on how bright one wants the scene. 

Jo was using a 16-35mm and I had, as usual, my 24-70mm lens. With long exposures we could brighten up the boat’s details and soften the moving water. Some times even lighten the dark sky to blue. 

I also set up my tripod in an alley between brightly lit shops with people walking around that would, as soon as they saw the camera say, “Oh, sorry” and quickly dart to the side so as not to ruin my shot. I would laugh and tell them they were just fine. After all a thirty second exposure is to slow to catch most movements and even if someone stops they were little more than a dark blur on the worn, wood surface of the walkway. 

We were out till a bit after 10pm and all though most visitors had gone home there was no shortage of loud revellers. Tonight as I sit beside the window of my room that looks out on the street, boardwalk and ocean I can hear the odd loud voice happily leaving the bar downstairs and making his or her way to their car. (I am sure there is a designated driver) 

Its’ now 11PM and the street is empty except for what looks like a mom and her two children taking their furry white dog for a last walk on this pleasant cool evening. I’m not really tired and am enjoying looking out on the quiet village as I write. I’ll get up in the morning; enjoy a cup of coffee and a bagel in the cafe downstairs. Then Jo will join me and we will finish the morning walking with our cameras in the salty, seagull filled air before making the drive over the mountain highway home. 

It is always fun to make some time for another Photographer’s adventure. With all the fires and the middle of the night evacuation we went through I have been a bit on edge and getting away to photograph a different environment is more than any doctor could recommend for a frustrated soul.

Photography at any age.

 I think the first camera that I could call my own was a Kodak easy-load 126 cartridge film Instamatic in the early 1960s.   I received that simple plastic Instamatic “snapshot” camera (that had no adjustments other than the setting for flash cubs and one for natural light photographs) in the sixth grade and saved money I earned at odd jobs to buy the 20 shot cartridges. 

It was so much easier to use than my parent’s awkward folding camera. All one had to do was point and shoot. Sure some shots were over exposed, some were under exposed and there were the expected blurry photos because the subject was moving to fast or because of camera shake, but I didn’t really care I just wanted a picture to remember. 

I’d take my film to a drive-through Fotomat kiosk located in a nearby shopping center parking lot and return the next day for an envelope filled with pictures that I would glue in a photo album.  

I still have a couple tattered old albums with wavy edged 4X6 inch, unglued photos stuffed between the pages because the little black adhesive corners became useless many years ago.

I thought about all that as I sat watching Jo’s five-year-old daughter walk around my yard with a modern DSLR I gave her to use so she could take pictures like her photographer mother. 

This was Evinn’s first chance at being left alone to make pictures with a big camera. She is always joining her mother for photo sessions, so all I had to do was set the camera on P mode. Put the zoom focal length at 18mm and show her where the shutter release is on the camera…then step away as she pointed the camera just like mom. 

We wandered around and she photographed anything that caught her eye.  (There must be 50 or so exposures of Bailin the cat)   When her mother returned they sat on the porch and scrolled through the pictures on the LCD.   That instant reinforcement is great for building confidence and creating a young artist. Even at five years old.

I saved her 198 images in a file on my computer and will transfer the file to Jo’s computer so Evinn can look at the pictures she made again.  I will also go through her files with her and pick out a couple to make 8X10 prints she can show to people.

 Gosh, modern digital cameras are so much better and way easier to use than those old film cameras, especially for a child.  The cost alone would scare a parent away from getting a camera for their young son or daughter.  

Photo By Evinn
Dad and Emit

Photography as an Art

Ever since I became interested in photography there has been this discussion that photography isn’t really a true Art.  Sure everyone thinks photographers are creative, but is a Photographer an artist in the same way as a Painter or Sculpture is?

Some years ago I was asked to give a talk on “Photography as Art” to the local chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists.  I had been talking with a couple chapter members and had “aggressively” vocalised my displeasure when someone said they didn’t think anyone but painters were serious artists.  A couple of days later I got a call asking me to give a talk at their meeting.

There used to be an Arts organization that held a yearly “Festival of the Arts”.  They said that the festival was for all types of artists, but the judges usually thought little of photographers and showed it in the way they gave out their ribbons for excellence. 

For years it was usually painters that I would argue with when they said that because photographers relied on technology photography wasn’t a true art. And if that isn’t enough to bother those of us dedicated to the Art of Photography, this week I was told by a photographer that only used film say that those using digital cameras weren’t true photographers. (I have herd that before) 

I suppose there will always be those that will be quick to criticize anything new. I can imagine some ancient Egyptian that grew up carving figures into stone with a stone chisel thinking that young guy with those newfangled finger paints shouldn’t be decorating pyramids. 

When I discovered the enjoyment of photography I was hooked. Over my college years I had taken all sorts of courses in Fine Arts. But when I took my first classes in photography everything changed for me.  There was the ever-evolving technology of the camera and lenses. There were all the different types of film and chemicals and there were enlargers and printmaking. It was all so new.

I had learned about light and shadow in painting classes, but with photography understanding and using light was so much more real.  There was natural light and there was electronic flash. Flash excited me the most. (And still does)  

Then after about forty years of using film photography equipment, Digital cameras appeared and photography again changed for me as my creative opportunities exploded far beyond anything I could imagine.

When I would explain Photography as an Art to a painter I would discuss techniques that would relate to making an image that would make sense to someone that applied paint to a canvas.  I remember a fellow saying, “Painters don’t talk about the equipment they use like photographers do”.   My response to that is, “so what?” and “gosh, that’s too bad its so much fun.”

With regards to that photographer that thinks film is the true way to create a photograph I began by saying that most of the time I use my digital camera the same way he would use his old film camera.  However, he must choose different kinds of film, paper and chemicals to create some special effect, whereas I not only have an amazing sensor that can record more information than his film, I also have a computer and specialized programs that allows me way more control over detail and subject tonality than his film and chemicals ever will. 

I mentioned that if he wanted to make a print to sell or he wanted a photograph that his grandchildren could enjoy he would be limited to a Black & White image so he could “double fix” it for preservation.  A colour print would need to be handled carefully and kept out of direct sunlight or it will fade.   I use a pigment printer that is not uncommon no days and so much more environmentally friendly than film and film chemicals – that ink based image will also allow me to display the photography in direct sunlight for close to a hundred years.

Digital technology has made photography much more available for those that want to document their world. (Without damaging the environment I might add)  And for those of us that enjoy creating personal statement photography and love the opportunity of the growth this exciting technology offers, Photography is the perfect medium.

Spring Pond

 

I finally got a chance to visit the local pond.   

The day was perfect with a slight overcast and the morning breeze had finally died down. I had been stacking lumber from the deck I have been dismantling all morning and decided a rest and trip to the pond was in order.

After stopping to check that my exposure was good, setting my 150-600mm lens to 600mm and placing it on the bean bag I had resting on the open window I slowly drove along the pond to a spot that gave me a good view of one of the geese families.   

I prefer shutter-priority for this kind of shooting. That’s the S mode for Nikon and TV for Canon.  With shutter-priority I select the shutterspeed and the camera choses the aperture.  I follow that old photographer’s “rule” that advises to always choose a shutterspeed that matches, or is a larger number than the longest focal length of the lens to reduce camera shake.  I only change to Manual  mode if I want to decrease the depth of field with a wide aperture for a tight portrait shot with an out of focus background of a single bird.

I have tried all sorts of contraptions to help me keep my camera from moving when I am shooting from a car.  There are vices that connect the camera to the window, extensions with tripod heads that will fit tightly from the driver’s door to the passenger door, tiny tripods, and steering wheel holders.

I even set up a tripod that had one leg on the floor, another under my left arm and the last extended out the passenger side window.  

There are more creative devices available that I am sure will work, but the most successful for me has been a beanbag that I set on open car window. (Or like the one I use that is filled with rice) 

I have two “beanbag” supports that permanently reside with my tripod and a couple monopods (oh and an umbrella) in the trunk of my car.  

The geese weren’t too spooky on the quiet morning and only one car passed as I was waiting for the geese and goslings to wind their way down to the water 

I stayed until the two families paddled their way to the far side of the pond, then moved to see it there were any turtles sunning themselves on the dead tree that has been laying half submerged for the past forty years I have been visiting that pond.  There were only three or four, but the day was cool and I’m sure that old tree will be covered with all sizes of turtles when it gets sunny and hot.

There are a couple more small ponds that I plan on visiting in the next few weeks, It’s always fun to get out the long lens and photograph the critters that live there.

Close-up photos in the last snow of February

I was darned happy when I got up and looked outside on the last morning in February. 

There was two inches of snow covering my yard and the temperature was just touching the freezing mark.  Oh, and it was Sunday and I had nothing that I was supposed to do but enjoy February 28th.

The morning had a slight overcast and there was a faint breeze. I thought the breeze might be bothersome, but the overcast was the ideal condition for photographing my garden. I mounted my large wireless flash on a sturdy light stand. That flash would give me control over subject brightness and direction of the light and allow me do reduce background light. Additionally, the flash stopped the movement caused by that slight breeze. 

I rarely walk out in my garden with a plan. I just wander and photograph whatever catches my attention. On this day the snow clinging to plants and rocks and other objects that reside in my garden created the perfect subjects.

I’ll mention that my sprawling garden isn’t just a place where plants grow. My garden is also a place that contains things I have found. Plants climb over old chairs, stepladders, wooden wheels, pieces of fence, old doors and windows, and many other discarded objects that I think might be fun to photograph along with the plants.

Regular readers know that I employ a flash whenever I can.  Using a flash means I choose the direction of the light that touches my subject. And as I just mentioned, a flash allows me to determine the brightness of the subject and the environment it’s in. 

Natural light is so restricting and if I didn’t have a flash I wouldn’t have bothered trying to be creative on that breezy, flat, overcast morning.  However, all I had to do was choose my subject, underexpose by two or more stops, position the flash so the direction of the light is where I want it and push the shutter.  (If my subject is to bright or the direction of light isn’t good I move the flash and try it again.) I usually test more than one aperture depending on the background and what depth of-field works best.  Lenses that are designed for close-up photography usually produce a pleasing bokeh and don’t always need the widest aperture.

For those that don’t know what “Bokeh” means, Wikipedia’s definition is. “Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in out-of-focus parts of an image

For me, there really aren’t any rules for close-up garden subjects other than keep the camera steady and the center of interest sharp. And regarding the photos we can find in a snowy End-of-February (or March) garden I’ll finish this with a quote by the English novelist William Thackeray, 

“The two most engaging powers of a photograph are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.”

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Photography in the month of February

The month of February has been darned cold, wait, I think uncomfortably cold is a better word choice. Despite that, I have spent a lot of my time out walking around.

The days have been bright, painfully bright for me in fact. I have been experiencing a new and colourful world this month.  For the last few years everything I saw has had a warm brown tinge, colours were not brilliant, shadows lacked detail, and it was never very bright.  Even the correct calibration on my computer’s display always looked dim.

Two weeks ago I had my final cataract surgery. (That’s both eyes now) and the world is bright and colourful, and I can’t get enough of it.   My camera’s new storage location is on my kitchen table to be always ready when I want to rush outside. I must admit that many of my photos in the last couple weeks are of nothing more than shadows or colours along the road that I didn’t see before, but I am having fun. 

This past week my friend Jo called and said she had to go to the small town of Falkland and asked if I wanted to get my IR camera and go with her.  The day was cloudless, sunny, very cold and, of course, perfect for photography. 

Fortunately she wasn’t in a hurry, because I kept making her stop so I could photograph everything. Its not that I haven’t taken that forty-plus-minute drive to Falkland a thousand times before in all kind of weather. But I had forgotten how colourful it was.

We stopped to photograph at a quiet roadside church in Westwold, a small community that borders the road along the way.   It was the middle of the week and the snow on the pathway wasn’t even disturbed. I think churches are struggling with the pandemic lockdown.

The church was an excellent subject. Although not very distinctive with it’s non-descript wooden walls. But there are trees near it and hills in the background and I wanted to work with the IR to get strong contrast, luminous trees, a black sky and the white window edging and stark white cross would glow with the reflecting infrared conversion.

That was in the late morning. We continued on to Falkland so Jo could talk with a dog breeder for her Mastiff and I had plenty of time to wander through the trees along a frozen stream.

Before we returned we stopped at the Falkland Pub for a late lunch. I have never been in that place before, its parking lot is usually full of pickup trucks in the winter and any day in the summer one will carefully need to wind their way through rows of Harley Davidsons. But on this day there was only one car and when we went in the human total was only seven including the waitress (That’s a sign of the times I guess) Nevertheless, it was a welcoming place with music and the lunch with beer was good.

The afternoon light had changed and we stopped again at the Westwold church. There were a few more shadows and a slight breeze. Brrr…I didn’t stay for long.

Never mind the cold, the weather will change again soon and all of us that like wandering with our cameras will continue to have fun photographing the changes that happen.

I’m being forced to finish this article. My two cats that are normally running around outside are not very pleased with the drop in temperature and have been staying in the house. Now, at the end of the day they are full of energy and have decided a good place to play is between my computer display and me and after all the running and jumping outbursts are stopping to sit on the keyboard and demand attention.