Tag: hamilton

April Art Show celebrating the Niagara Escarpment

For the month of April, I will be showing fine art photographs depicting various locations and scenes along the Niagara Escarpment in a show called Singular Moments. I have a number of 20×28″ and 16×20″ framed works, a folio of 12 photographs as well as ArtCards. All works are original, signed photographs numbered in Open Editions. Each is individually printed using pigment ink on the finest museum-quality natural rag watercolour paper.



Hope to see you there!

Pushing Yourself – Visually

This past Saturday morning I led my Landscape Photography class on a morning field session down in the hamilton Beach area. We started off right under the Skyway Bridge at the canal leading from Burlington Bay to Lake Ontario – not the prettiest place at the best of times and this was October 30th: grey skies with the temperature at about 3°C, and few leaves left on the few trees in the area which was mostly aged cement and steel.

“Why are we here?” was the first and often-repeated question.

I believe that if you want to stretch your vision, you must work in visually challenging places. Once you have the technique down, it is relatively easy to make great landscapes in beautiful places. But are they visually dynamic images? Perhaps, if you have learned to create visually dynamic images. That only happens when you have truly challenged yourself.

What do I mean by “visually dynamic images”. These are images that visually “pop”. Images that show a different perspective, a different way of seeing. Images that make use of visual elements in the landscape and portray them in a creative way.

You can do all this in pretty places, but often we don’t because we are not forced to. There are plenty of beautiful photos that you can take just by standing there. Visually dynamic images often require a different perspective, a perspective that we may not consider if we are busy capturing the obvious.

I try to get photographers to think in terms of good, better and best. In a beautiful place, you can take good to better photos without working very hard, but what about the best photos – they are the ones that require a new and different perspective.

Going to a location that is visually challenging to begin with forces you to go beyond the obvious because the obvious is not very photogenic. Consider it a “sketching” outing: you may not come away with a photo contest winner, but what you are doing is exercising your brain, forcing it to see beyond the obvious. I tell my students that this is the practice that allows you to hone your visual skills so that when you get to that grand location, your images will be well beyond the snapshots everyone else is taking.

While I generally prefer to photograph alone, in this case it helps to go in a group so that you can feed off the different ideas and perspectives that others think of.

So, find a nearby location that is not visually stimulating and see what you come up with. Try going back more than once at different times of day and throughout the seasons.After a couple of years of this I will bet that you have more than few images worthy of showing.

Landscape Photography

We are half-way through the Landscape Photography course I am teaching at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. I

Hermitage Creek, Sulphur Springs, Dundas Valley Conservation Area, Hamilton, Ontario
Hermitage Creek, Sulphur Springs

am so energized by the 15 students, our hands-on field sessions and the classroom sessions where they work magic on their images. Despite the threatening rain each time we’ve been out, students are managing to produce some incredible photographs. I will be sure to highlight their work as a collection that can be viewed online.

Like any other style of photography, producing quality landscapes is a craft. Ideally, you want to create the feeling that viewers feel a part of the photograph so they can “walk into the image”. To create a classic landscape – often called the grand vista – you want three elements:

  • the image portrays the surface of Earth;
  • the horizon is apparent or perceived; and
  • there is a progression from foreground through to midground and background.

Now, these are not hard and fast rules. Landscapes can involve a whole lot more and a whole lot less.

One method involves getting down close to a strong foreground element – rocks or foliage, for example – with a wideangle lens set to a small aperture (f/16), can be the start of creating a truly three-dimensional image. Of course, landscapes can also be made with telephoto lenses.

As with any artistic endeavour, photographers are most successful when they have a clear sense of what they are trying to say. So work on your craft by looking carefully at your successes and failures to help clarify your vision and style.