Photography is Marvellous


Victoria harbor


Brick doorway 1


Canadian Flag


Storage Tanks


After the Rain

Toad in Pond

I must admit that I have never really thought of identifying myself with a particular photography specialty. When I was earning my living photographing people, weddings, family portraits, and such, I might have said that I was a portraitist, but not so much anymore. Nevertheless, when I was talking with a woman that had recently become a member of a local photography club, she mentioned that someone had told her she should always have a specialty and wondered about mine. I couldn’t be specific in a response.

I suppose that might be a good way to learn photography and that could be why other members are suggesting that to her. Choosing a particular course of study and getting real good at it is a great plan.

This woman told me she was having a great time learning photography and enjoyed her interaction with the new friends she was making at the photo club. But, she was worried some members would be critical that she hadn’t chosen a specialty because she likes to photograph lots of things and asked me what my specialty was.

Although I have a shop where I sell used camera equipment and I regularly teach classes, after 40+ years I have retired from client work. Nowadays I am just enjoying photography and can be very selective if I want to, but mostly I choose anything that finds it’s way in front of my camera. Everything is an exciting opportunity. I told her that, and suggested there are a whole bunch of really good photographers wandering around that are like me; opportunists when in comes to their subjects and who don’t specialize.

I have positioned a couple monitors in my shop so that people don’t have to crowd around my computer when I want to show them a particular picture. And for classes I set up a screen and turn on my digital projector. So I selected a file that I sometimes use and scrolled through it for her to show her how much fun I have photographing everything.

As readers can see from the posted images, I just enjoy photography.

French painter & photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue said about photography, “It’s marvellous, marvellous! Nothing will ever be as much fun. I’m going to photograph everything, everything!”

A Photography Excursion In My Own Yard     


Rusty Chain

Painted wheel


Wagon wheel

Water tank

Window hinge



It seems as though photographers get so hung up on traveling in search of exotic, or inspiring, locations that they forget about what is right out their own door.

I must admit that unless I have decided to take pictures of a colourful plant, or quickly capture a photo of a feral cat looking for handouts, or a deer that has hopped the fence with hungry designs on the spring buds growing in my wife’s garden, I rarely wander our yard with my camera in hand. The items we pass by every day become so familiar and commonplace that we pay little attention to them.

Last Sunday I wondered if the ten lilac bushes I planted late last fall made it through the winter. So I walked along the fence to check for spring growth and sure enough all of the new shrubs made it and I later told my wife that all the lilacs she had shipped all the way from Quebec are doing just fine. Of course with the unusually warm winter we had here in British Columbia one would expect no less.

As I walked around I spied a pile of old chain rusting on a log and realized I might be missing an opportunity for a few pictures if I didn’t get my camera. I admit I am not the most fastidious person when it comes to keeping tidy the two acres of land we live on, and because bits of things interest me I am forever picking up stuff that is apt to spend lots of time resting wherever I place them when I got home. That chain has only been sitting there for a year or two, but there might come a time when I will need that well-rusted length of chain.

So I got out my camera and mounted my wife’s treasured 70-180mm macro, grabbed my flash, and headed out. The Nikon AF 70-180mm is unique. It is the only true macro zoom lens around which allows precise framing without having to change working distance and refocus. And so, yes, that lens is special to Linda.

This photo hunt was to look for those bits and pieces similar to the chain and that’s why I chose that macro lens, so I could get in close or zero in on just a part of what I wanted to photograph.

One of my favourite photographers, Robert Mapplethorpe wrote, “With photography, you zero in; you put a lot of energy into short moments, and then you go on to the next thing.

Those words were perfect for my walk through my spring-like yard. I’d find an object or feature, focus close with the macro lens, zoom in to crop tight, release the shutter a couple times and move on.

Although I can use my flash wireless off-camera, this time I chose to connect it to the camera with a dedicated TTL cord. I decided it would be easier to hold the flash and aim the light from different angles than it would be if I had to keep moving and adjusting a stand. Instead of fussing with a flash mounted on a stand all I did was put the flash in my pocket till I needed it to photograph flaking paint, rust, moss-covered wood and all sorts of things that have found a home in our yard.

I am of the opinion that those photographers that live in a well-kept, tidy yard are missing out on such an opportunity. Just think of how much fun I had on my safari discovering great things of which to take pictures.

Of course there is the possibility that my wife will come up with an altogether different kind of safari once she sees my pictures, one that will be a lot less fun for me.



Trip to Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia        

Lake view

Town Directions sign

Harrison town

Coastal mountains

4PM at Harrison


Wet Street

Hoter Bear

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. That verse from the famous Scottish poet, Robert burns fit perfectly with our long anticipated plan to have a pleasant vacation at Harrison Hot springs.

My wife and I had been looking forward to a few days soaking in the luxurious Harrison Hotel’s mineral springs, and doing photography in the small waterfront town, and the nearby Sasquatch Provincial Park trails.

The weather report was for a sunny Monday, with some rain on Tuesday and a clear partly cloudy Wednesday. So we thought, rather than abandon our reservation (with the accompanying cancellation fees) we’d put up with the showers and stay close to the hotel. After all, shooting in the rain isn’t all that bad as long as it’s not too hard. However, “hard” is just what we got for our one full day at the resort town.

The first evening was so much fun with a soothing dip in the hot pool and a nice walk down the esplanade for a nice meal of fresh mussels and clams. And we sat talking about our plans for an early morning soak and a day of photography.

I rose early the next morning raring to go and went to the balcony to see what the day had in store for us outdoors. Well, what it had in store was a heavily cloud-covered town and one of the heaviest torrential downpours I could remember.

Trying to be optimistic we wandered down to have coffee, then headed for the hot pools in hopes of waiting the morning rain out. I will say that my short description of that event was that we were getting as wet from the rain as from the pool.

The rest of the day was much of the same with occasional short trips out when the rain lightened enough for some photos. As long as the rain was light I could wipe any accumulation off my camera with a towel. And the lens hood fended off rain as long as I didn’t angle the camera and lens in an upward direction.

My planned hikes in the dripping wet forest were out, so my short excursions were limited to the small town and beachfront. I liked the overcast and low hanging clouds. But those expeditions were short and I hesitated to get to far away from the safety of my hotel.

I normally take time to wander about indoors and had packed a flash for some interior photography. But along with a wet visit to the Harrison Hotel, we had also selected a time when there was a large convention. My one attempt at photographing the large 12-foot plush RCMP bear in the lobby took about 20 minutes as I waited for people to pass by so I could get a clear shot.

Oh well, so much for photography. I worked hard to get the few photos I got. In spite of the rain we did have a great time relaxing in the very hot mineral pool, chatting with other guests, and we had some enjoyable meals in local restaurants. In future I will need to take coastal weather reports more seriously if I want more than that.