Blog Archives

Behind Every Written Word is a Real Person

There is no shortage of workshops and conferences in the creative space fighting for our attention, money and time but a gathering of any size can have a significant impact if you reach out and take it. From the three events of which I selected to attend this year, I have met and surrounded myself with some very interesting people.

I try so very hard not to act like some foolish fan but it can feel quite incredible to have Freeman Patterson sit down at the lunch table directly across from you, or drive around town with David duChemin looking for dinner, or to help John Sexton setup his projector, or talk with Kurt Budliger late into the evening, or to setup camp in Darwin & Sam’s basement for a week. On one side, I question why would I ever publish this with the guilt of bragging or name dropping but at the same time, it’s this surreal moment to be surrounded with so many influential names from the photography world that you have grown up respecting. But still irrationally feeling like I don’t belong at the same table by faking it.

This past weekend was the Canadian Association of Photographic Arts Conference which was keynoted by both Freeman Patterson and David duChemin. And although I’ve only met David in person twice (first in 2008), the effects of reading 6 years of blog posts, all the printed books, digital books, podcasts, a standup comedy dvd and attending one of the most motivating presentations that I’ve ever had the opportunity to be part of, I can’t even begin to explain his impact on me personally without sounding foolish. So I won’t :-)

It’s hard to explain why. When I first found David’s work, he was traveling the world with World Vision and transitioning away from comedian. Something I had very little in common with. Maybe it’s the contrast of our work in combination with the shared creative opinions because at that time, Davids public brand was a low-key humanitarian who had no where near the popularity he has today.

So what’s the point of this post? I suppose it’s about the building of relationships and listening to those you trust. In a world where popularity and perception can make someone look bigger than life, we can sometimes have glazed over eyes and be starstruck at those higher up on the ladder. Assuming that individual doesn’t believe they have reached the top step, it can be humbling to hear that they may be equally excited.

I’m not one to be comfortable in situations where introductions are required but a relationship can be so much more when the reader knows the writer, and the writer knows the reader. The written word can only go so far.

In conclusion and to paraphrase by mashing together David’s own words: “Life is not about photography. Photography is about life.”


A Day to Remember

Appreciating traditional darkroom printing is something I have difficulty relating to. I have many albums of 4×6 prints from every event of my childhood but it was not art. Photography was this little box with a button, that you pressed 24 times, mailed away a funny looking negative strip, waited a few weeks, and a nicely package envelope of prints would arrive – often with heads cut off disappointment. Photography was for documentation and I found it boring which kept me focused on my inks and paint brushes.

Fast forward to last week and I had the pleasure of receiving an invitation to Photo Moncton International. But after arriving, I was asked if I could help make sure the speakers had everything they needed for the projector and audio. The presenter of that night happened to be John Sexton – a master of darkroom film processing who still uses a 4×5 viewfinder in a fully non-digital workflow. He also proudly has technical and photographic assistant to Ansel Adams on his resume.

The few hours of setup, calibration and trial runs with John and his wife Anne Larsen, provided some interesting conversations and a small window into their world. As I stood there looking through this large 4×5 panel at an upside down image, with a black sheet over my head, the demonstration provided me with a much better appreciation and hands on experience to a little bit of photography history – even if I still don’t clearly understand the process from start to finish.

John’s talk that night found a good balance between his own photography, the approach to his own work, and the career he had with Ansel Adams was something I’ll not forget any time soon. So many stories to share, so little time.

Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island

Today’s Image – Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island National Park

It was a very wet PEI weekend as post tropical storm Andrea crossed over the province dumping between 30-90mms of rain at 40-70KMH winds. The gray skies and heavy overcast clouds kept me on the trails for the weekend but also provided a chance to experiment with some heavy contrast black and white. This image from Stanhope Beach, (N46 25.267 W63 06.067) in PEI National Park, was created at the tail end of what was left from Andrea. I like colours and I rarely present my images as black and white but maybe I should be trying it more often.


Prince Edward Island Visitors Guide

Being busy is good but that often comes at the expense of keeping this blog updated. Here is a quick post with a few of my images that you’ll find in print this summer. Earlier this week, I received some of the 2013 marketing materials and was pleased to see some of my images making the cut. Here are a few scans of those pages – including the cover of the PEI National Park Visitors Guide.

2013 PEI National Park Visitors Guide




Late last week, it was asked in a group forum what was everyone’s “must have” photographic piece of equipment (excluding the camera itself). While I understand the bases of what was being asked, I was too focused on the words because “must have” is very different than “nice to have”.

So I type this from my bed watching the sun rise from my window knowing that I should be outside. And after reading this growing list of “can’t live without” gadget suggestions, my opinion strengthened that I (and you) don’t actually need to buy any of these – we only need the motivation and desire to get out of bed.

Exposed Coral

Today’s Image – Exposed Coral Reef on Haena Beach, Kawa’i Island

It’s so easy to delay the task of processing images. Knowing that the image files will still be there tomorrow is a great encouragement for procrastination. By accepting an invitation to share a small slideshow with the local photo clubs, I now have a hard deadline to prepare 3 weeks of images from a late 2012 visit to Hawai’i. This presentation will discuss the locations visited, the resulting images, and how some of the images were created.

If you’re local to Prince Edward Island, The PEI Photo Club meeting in Charlottetown will be May 28th and the Red Sands Photo Club meeting in Summerside will be June 10th.


Persistent Vision

For a website primarily dedicated to Prince Edward Island, I have been talking a bit too much about Canada’s Rocky Mountains after spending the second half of March in Alberta. An odd time of year to travel during their muddy melting spring weather but I’m pretty sure we experienced all 4 seasons ranging from high winds, -20°C mornings, +5°C afternoons, blue skies, and storms that left me knee deep in snow.

Focused around an invitation to an event called Persistent Vision, my trip started at a weekend seminar organized by Darwin and Sam, who brought over 100 photographers to Bragg Creek. Although admittedly super hesitant to fly across the country, I’m so glad I was pushed into going. Not only for the presentations but for allowing me to see old friends and meet new ones. Excuse me for the name dropping but here are some links and portfolios worth visiting:

It was great to finally meet Dave Brosha and John E Marriott. Two well known Canadian photographers who I have worked with in the past on design related projects but always over email. It can be a weird feeling to know someone having never met them. I also had the opportunity to meet those I had previously only known through their blogs and Facebook activity: Wayne Simpson, Ian Mcgillvrey, John Fujimagari and Lori Maloney. Plus a reunion with those I traveled to Iceland with last June. Royce Howland, Scott Dimond, and Branimir Gjetvaj. And of course David duChemin – the main speaker for Persistent Vision and someone I first met 5 years ago on a trip to Vancouver. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every blog post of his since.

May our paths cross again some day.

Rundle from Vermillion Lakes

Today’s Image – Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain

On the last day of Persistent Vision, everyone piled into cars and travelled into Banff to gather at Vermillion Lakes for sunrise and sunset. The morning visibility was almost zero with the fog and snow but it nicely cleared up for the evening. It’s always interesting to see how quickly the weather can change. Created on the same day, this next image was from that morning near Bow Falls.

Rock at Bow Falls


Is Subscribing by RSS Dead?

If actions speak louder than words, the concept of subscribing to your favourite websites by RSS would appear to be spiraling down a dead end path. A long list of companies abandoning the technology that could be headlined by Apple discontinuing support for RSS in it’s mail client and a few months later, Google announcing the closure of Reader. With two major companies dropping support, what are users to do with all those little orange icons we see on most websites?

How do you subscribe to your favourite websites?

Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, etc, etc can all be fun, but I really do not want to depend on social networks for content subscribing. I also do not want to bookmark and visit sites daily looking for possible updates.

Email subscriptions would seem like the obvious choice (we check that daily anyway) but unfortunately, not all websites offer email subscription support.

But they could using a third party service and maybe Blogtrottr is the strong contender to fill this replacement need. With a basic account, you provide all the websites you’re interested in, and Blogtrottr will email you when new content becomes available (or on a schedule of your choosing). With the combination of email filters, this service has the potential to be great for all those lost and left out in the cold by Google. I’m still kicking the tires but will let you know how it goes. So far, so good.

Abraham Lake Bubbles

Today’s Image – Ice Space Bubbles

To infinity and beyond… plus all those other deep space references. The common images coming from Abraham Lake deep in the Canadian Rockies along the North Saskatchewan River are bubbles caused by methane frozen in a crystal clear man-made lake. The prime time is January and February but as spring draws near, and the ice begins to melt and refreeze, the ice will crystallize and crack. If not covered in snow, the effect can be equally interesting.


Canadian Pacific

Prince Edward Island lost it’s rail service in 1989 and by 1992, all of the tracks had been removed making way for the development of the Confederation Trail – a 470 kilometre recreational hiking/biking trail reaching all corners of the island. So I don’t see trains very often and when I do, they are usually underground pushing people through concreate tubes under a city. However, here I am in Alberta staying at a place with a railway for a backyard and a cargo train every other hour. Less annoying than one might expect.

Canadian Pacific Railway

Today’s Image – Morant’s Curve

On my first drive up the Bow Valley Parkway from Banff to Lake Louise a few years ago, I came across this vantage point overlooking some tracks. I was a little kid and wanted to see a train.

After convincing the rest of the travellers with me to sit and wait it out while not knowing how long it may take – the distant whistle was heard within an hour. I have since learned from Darwin’s How to Photograph Banff eBook, that this is called Morant’s Curve.


Returning to the Canadian Rockies

After almost three years since my first visit to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, my bags are packed and I’m ready for a return trip at possibly the most unexpected time of the year – during that muddy season between winter and spring. For the next couple weeks, I’ll be working from a small lodge tucked away in the mountains with fingers crossed for great light, interesting weather, and a little bit of luck. But before I start that journey along the Icefields Parkway, my first stop will be Cochrane (oopoomoo blog headquarters) and then on to Bragg Creek to help out at the Persistent Vision party. If you happen to be in the Calgary area, join us on Saturday, March 16th.

Pyramid Lake in Jasper, Alberta, Stephen DesRoches

Today’s Image – Pyramid Lake, Jasper

Pyramid Mountain is a well known location north of downtown Jasper that is easily accessible. When I was here in the spring of 2010 for the first time, I was very much overwhelmed with this foreign-to-me landscape that simply doesn’t exist in the maritimes. It’s hard to ignore those early morning reflections. It will be fun to be back.