Thursday, September 27, 2007

Creative Livings

Recently in a post on The Online Photographer (incidentally one of the finest photography related blogs on the net) entitled Creative Livings, Mike Johnson wrote about the role of an Art School education. A particular quote stuck with me and continues to resonate:

"For individuals who have an artistic temperament, not practicing art in some way or other can be unhealthy. .......... Creative work, whatever it might be, is an appetite, a need. Trivializing it somewhat, I sometimes call it an itch. (If I don't write something every day, it drives me nuts.) People who have talent and aptitude for art are unlikely to be happy if they're not incorporating art and artistic creativity into their lives somehow."

This is infinitely true for me, though oddly enough something I've only discovered in adulthood. Not sure why. I try to explain it to those close to me, but my words seem hollow and self-serving, as if trying to justify why I need time to work on my own projects... I won't carry on. Mike said it better than I could.

Élysia Renée

So it is reasonable for one to think from the bulk of the posts here that I am primarily a landscape photographer. In fact that is not the case. I rarely in fact engage in landscape work - spending most of my time with children (my own?) and on portraiture. Odd then that I have so few posts of people here.

Although I have many more NB photos coming, I will start adding a few more portraits of differing types.

The two photos today are of my lovely daughter Élysia Renée. The first is a photo I recently rediscovered and reworked - taken within an hour or two of her birth. The second was taken within the last two months, so she is two years old. I like them both and think the earlier a particularly nice portrait of 'mother and child', while the second is a really nice capture of her gentle, friendly spirit. She is such a joy. Parenting, while constantly challenging, is possibly the most rewarding thing I've ever engaged in.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Coastal Rocks, Bay of Fundy

Continuing on the Bay of Fundy theme, this photo was part of a pano that I've been unable to stitch together in its entirety. It seems the combination of a little more than 200 degrees + vast expanses of water with little detail to note, have made this particular pano difficult. I will still be able to prepare a pano - just not as big as I thought when I was taking it. Chalk it up to failure of technique.

In spite of that, I've got some nice shots. This was taken just before the sun actually came up, looking away from the sun, down the coast. The image was taken from below the lighthouse.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fundy Trail Sunrise

Just ten odd kilometres down the road from St. Martin's/Quaco is a new provincial tourist development called the Fundy Trail. See: It's a very lovely scenic highway still under development with lookouts over amazing scenery and nice paths down to rocky beaches. We spent some time there, and in fact hope to return next year to hike the Fundy Footpath, a 5 day wilderness hike.

I accidentally met Brian Clark, the General Manager of the Trail while visiting, and one thing led to another and the fine gentleman offered to get up veery early and let me in before the gates opened, to do a sunrise shoot! What service! An unexpected level of committment from a fine public servant!

As it turns out, Brian even took me to several nice shooting spots. I took several hundred photos as the sun came up, and I hope soon to put together one of the panoramas that I took. But for now, here is a shot - also HDR - of the sunrise on the Fundy Trail. This shot was taken shortly before the sun actually came over the horizon. What an amazing morning that was - so peaceful and beautiful. I really can't wait to return!

Anvil Rock, Quaco, Sunset

By contrast to the last photo, this was taken at sunset, with the blazing sun flooding the rock with yellow light. This was taken from the beach.

Anvil Rock, Quaco, NB

Right in front of our cottage on the Bay of Fundy was a beautiful rock called Anvil Rock. It is quite similar to the Hopewell Rocks and other 'plant pot' rocks in the Bay, which are shaped over milleniums by the movement of water in and out of the Bay.

This image is taken from the front porch of our cottage after sunset when the light was very soft.

Sunrise from Lighthouse

Another shot taken the same morning, looking away from the lighthouse, towards the sunrise. The cloud blanket made for a very interesting framing - almost a lid on the picture.

Quaco Lighthouse

One can hardly go to the east coast and not photograph a lighthouse, now can you? I only photographed the one - in West Quaco. It was near enough to our cottage and so one morning I got up a 4am and drove up and waited for the sunrise...

The Bay of Fundy is quite remarkable - as there are virtually no waves. But there is this incredible movement of water in and out of the Bay every twelve hours. At this time of the morning the only sound was this sound of water rushing out of the Bay. It was the sound of water rushing over rocks - much like the rapids on a river. It was quite beautiful.

I took a series of panos which I am still working on. However, here is a shot of the Quaco Lighthouse at dawn.

West Quaco Sunset, NB

Staying with the West Quaco cottage theme, this is an image taken out the back of our rental cottage at sunset. We had very dramatic skies during our stay there. It seemed to rain for an hour or two every day, then clear up. So in the lead up and afterwards we often had fabulously dramatic skies.

Again this is an HDR photo.

West Quaco Cottages, Fundy Coast, NB

Since I'm a roll (?), let me continue. This summer our family rented a cottage in beautiful West Quaco/St. Martin's, New Brunswick. Only half an hour from St. John's NB, it was situated right on the Bay of Fundy, and proved to be a most relaxing holiday. Aside from the occasional car passing, all we could hear was the wind, birds and faintly, at night, the ocean. The Bay of Fundy is considered one of the Wonders of the World, and certainly of Canada. We enjoyed ourselves so much we are thinking of going back next year to exactly the same spot.
I recently began to experiment with HDR photography (see previous post), and so the next few posts will be HDR images - typically three to five images combined in Photomatix followed by post processing in CS3. I'm just learning this technique but having lots of fun with it. You can create images that are simply impossible to create with 'straight' photography short of very very advanced PS work = lots of time.

The photo above was taken from the beach looking back towards the cottages in West Quaco, at sunset.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Central Park Sunset Pano

Je m'excuse. Mea culpa. I haven't posted for aaages. But, I am at least comforted that I HAVE BEEN shooting! which was the point of this little exercise in the first place. So, I have tons of stuff to post, and will start doing so forthwith - what with a recent holiday on the Fundy Coast in New Brunswick, a trip to NYC and of course the ever-present kiddies which are my most photographed item...

Anyway, today I am posting a first cut at a hand-held pano that I took at a wedding reception on the weekend, overlooking Central Park, in NYC. Stitched together in CS3, it is made of 9 HDR images, so 27 photos originally!

I broke every rule in the book: hand holding at sunset, 50mm f1.8 wide open, no tripod..but..i tried to overlap all photos and I bracketed three shots each time. So, herewith the view from the 52nd floor penthouse of the Parker Meridien Hotel, midtown Manhattan, at sunset.