Blog Archives

A Photographer’s Guide to PEI

From an idea hatched over lunch in February 2011 – to now see this project in it’s final published status almost exactly 3 years later – it comes with great pride and excitement to make this announcement and release it to the world.

A Photographer’s Guide to Prince Edward Island is a 95 page ebook created by John Sylvester and myself from 30 years of experience photographing this island we call home. Prince Edward Island is a great place for the landscape photographer. It may be Canada’s smallest province, but there’s a remarkable diversity of scenery from it’s red cliffs, green fields and blue water.

Packed full of images, we designed this guide to take the reader on a visual tour of more than 40 of our favourite locations across Prince Edward Island. Whether you are a resident or a visitor, photographer or not, the contents of this ebook is our photographic tour for you, highlighting some of the most scenic stops from coast to coast.

It was a joy to work on this project together with John. I truly hope you’ll enjoy it as well.

Prince Edward Island Photography Guide eBook

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Photographing Nature at Home

For the past two fall seasons, I have taken home – at random – a selection of leaves as they fell off the trees. After a year of life in a shoebox, they have become very brittle but have curled in some interesting ways that might make for some interesting photographs during the cold winter months. In an effort to do something now, instead of procrastinating for another year, Darwin & Sam challenged me to one of their oopoomoo projects.

So in 2014, I’m dusting off some unused macro equipment and trying something different.

Macro Tree Leaf - © Stephen DesRoches

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2014 Year in Preview

It sounds too early to be doing a year in review for 2014 already but I’m already sure I now know where it’s going. Embracing the “Dad with a camera” to it’s full potential.

Baby DesRoches

Elsie Dawn, Jan 2nd, 8:09pm, 8.8lbs

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Snow, Snow & Some More Snow

The sun is out today but it has been a winter of snow for PEI. Prince Edward Island’s average snowfall in December is listed as 60.5cm but it looks like some island weather stations are reporting 170cm of snow fall for Dec 2013.

Winter on PEI

It has felt like one storm after another but the whiteout conditions can make for some nice simplistic images.

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Looking Back Before Moving Forward. The Stories of 2013.

Twenty Thirteen was not a great year for consistent blog posts. I was more focused on producing work than sharing it and as a result, weeks would pass without an update. Thank you for still being here while I continue to try and regroup and write more often. What 2013 was however, was a very busy year.

The calendar doesn’t wait until I’m ready and if nothing else, it is pushing me to look over my years work. Many image files of which have yet to be sorted, explored and appreciated.

My time is split between a design studio and personal adventures in art through photography. It’s photography that has helped keep me away from spending too much time at a computer desk. It encourages more travel and exploring more of Prince Edward Island – a place I have called home all my life – but a place that I still take for granted. For an island so small, there are still so many locations I have yet to experience.

What did 2013 look like to me? Photographically speaking, here is my year in review. But prepare yourself, this is no top 10 of what I think are my best. It truly is a wide range of images that reflect back on a subset of my past 12 months.

Greenwich Beach, PEI National Park - © Stephen DesRoches

Greenwich Beach, PEI National Park

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The Gift of Art

Several months ago, I received an email asking kindly if I would participate in “The U.S./Canada Project”. The concept was simple. Massachusetts artist Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord wanted to send a copy of her new book to each of the 50 States and 10 Provinces. I was selected via Google and asked to be the PEI recipient.

A little while later, and I received Art Lessons – Reflections From An Artist’s Life in the mail. A small 30-page pocket sized self-published book.

Being an artist is not about fame or fortune, where you show or how much you sell. Being an artist is a full-time life, not just a full-time job or a career. - Art Lessons

My assigned tasks were also simple:

  1. You are sent a copy of Art Lessons.
  2. You log onto BookCrossing and note that you have it.
  3. You read it, if you want.
  4. You release it, either controlled—give/send it to someone—or wild—leave it in a public place.

Every time I moved out of the self-imposed lines I was honouring, it took bursts of both determination and desperation. Every transition grew out of months filled with tears. Each time I needed to stop making rules for myself and dig down to the next layer of making art—to take what I knew and step into the unknown. Our work is what leads us in new directions. We need to let it be our guide and have the belief and the confidence to follow it.

And now it’s time for me to release it. Who would be interested and preferably local to PEI?

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I do what I do, to see the world differently

“Can you imagine what we could make if we loved our photographs and the adventures of making them, more than we loved our gear?”

I wish I had the ability to write and communicate a message like David does so well in the video below.

The photography community is clouded with gear reviews, competitions and very strong opinions on how things should be done. It can be at times exhausting, frustrating and maybe even repulsive.

Occasionally, videos like this are created that focus on the love of photography. Videos that are very much worth sharing.

After 5 years since I first met David, I had the opportunity to meet him again in-person twice this year. His authenticity makes his message super easy to endorse by reposting here on my own site.

For the photographers here, take 2 minutes and enjoy: “For the Love of the Photograph – I want to do this for the rest of my life.”

Professionally speaking – this video might have confirmed a secret man crush – which my wife probably agrees with.

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Hitech Filter Review : Something Changed for the Worse

I do my best to keep this a gear free blog but I have had several frustrations with filters over the past several years. And despite those frustrations, I continue to see positive reviews. If you’re not a photographer yourself, you can skip over this post.

I love to hate filters. A pain to use but sometimes necessary. If I must carry around a set of expensive glass and resin slides, they better be worth the effort.

The basis of this blog post is that I believe the brand Hitech has been inconsistent with their manufacturing. When I bought my first Cokin-P sized Hitech filter, I was quite happy with it. Then I added a second, third, forth, and fifth by late 2010. They all preformed very well, were all neutral, and I became a supporter of the cheaper more affordable brand. But that has all changed and I now feel guilty for recommending them.

Vignette is a real problem on wide lenses and to solve that, I needed bigger filters. Without hesitation, I ordered the same but larger Hitech filters. Shock was an understatement when they arrived with a strong magenta coating. Nobody from the customer service took the time to respond so I’ll make my own conclusions.

The real icying on the cake was when I broke one of my good filters. I reordered the same filter in spring-2012 and it too suffers from the same magenta curse. Same part number. Same camera store.

What did Formatt Hitech change and why? Are they better again because I’m starting to see more and more positive support for them.

After much hesitations, last night I press published on the oopoomoo blog asking a very simple questions. Are Hitech Filters Any Good? You can see the full review there.

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Photographing Insects in Flight

For reasons I can’t explain, I set out earlier this summer with the goal of photographing a bee in flight. I suppose it was for the challenge. Although not perfect and has room for improvements, I think these first attempts are pretty good.

Bee in Flight

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