Blog Archives

Our World is Shaped by the Laws of Nature

For a long time, I’ve struggled with the idea of how humans attempt to control the world around them. With a rapidly increasing population, I could never articulate in words how I truly felt about an over populated world consuming so many resources with an increasingly growing foot print around the obsession of possession. With each new invention and product as technology progresses, we want and buy and discard the old.

The food industry alone is amazing considering the shear volume being pushed through the system and shipped around the world daily. The way we treat livestock and wildlife and our efforts to control the populations of species when nobody is controlling our own. We share this planet with everything nature has to offer but yet we claim a self-appointed authority position. With an end goal of more wealth, when does the human population out number the demand and supply of everything we have grown to depend on?

Humankind as a Geological Force

Two weeks ago on November 16th, Dr. David Suzuki took the stage here in Charlottetown with a very passionate presentation (watch it here), and addressed concerns from a global level to an acknowledgement of the local Plan B controversy hitting many of the points on which I’ve struggled to express myself in any meaningful way.

David talks about priorities and defines all the things that really matter in our lives. We need air. We need water. And although we know that without them, we would die, and if either are polluted, we would be sick, David continues to ask what intelligent animal would use such valuable resources as a toxic dump? How can we be turning our back on what got us here in the first place? We must learn to live within the constraints of nature and stop shoehorning nature into our agendas. Nature is the source of our well-being.

70% of our economy depends on the consumption of stuff. All of that stuff comes out of the earth to ultimately be thrown back into the earth as waste. We elevate the economy above the very things that keep us alive. Humans have become a powerful force – 7 billion strong – and what we do in the coming years will determine whether we as a species can survive. The full presentation can be re-watched in all it’s glory here on the Confederation Centre of the Arts website.

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The Impact of Light & Changing Weather

After spending a week in Las Vegas as part of the website support team for Essentials of Emergency Medicine, we (silverorange) went to Zion National Park for the weekend before flying back home. Several hours after hiking out to Canyon Overlook this afternoon, it still amazes me how quickly it went from solid white, can’t see anything, to clear blue skies with grand views. It could have been measured in minutes.

Part of what I remember from my previous visits to the National Parks in the Southwest is how quickly the weather and light changes. With photography, light is everything. And with outdoor nature photography, that light source is only what mother nature presents on any given day. It’s not Zion, but this next series of images shows Monument Valley over a 17 hour period last November.

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The Many Options of Digital Publishing

Publishing can be easy. With nothing more than a copy of InDesign, independent authors can skip the entire print process saving time and money by exporting a digital file for instant download sales. In the self-published photography world, it feels like the PDF remains the popular choice for those not concerned about DRM. Selling a nicely designed PDF and calling it a book has become very common with the do-it-yourself educators.

Earlier this week a new publication came to my attention when I received a review copy of PHOTOGRAPH — a new quarterly magazine for creative photographers. It already has a running head start for success with a loyal audience to it’s publisher Craft & Vision.

But following that, surveys appeared on social media feeds asking for my preference between PDF and ePub, the sharing of an unfortunate story about Amazon DRM policies, a testing of Blurbs idea of a digital book, and yesterday, KelbyTraining releases their latest ebook as an iPad app. With so many possibilities for distribution, is there a right answer for everyone? And does it matter?

PHOTOGRAPH continues the popular trend of a flat turn-the-page PDF style document. Sure large magazine such as National Geographic are producing highly interactive magazines as iPad apps, but the ability to scroll and zoom in all directions to unlock information can be more confusing than helpful. Maybe even more frustrating than navigating DVD menus.

On the other hand, ePub is the complete opposite and designed for simplicity allowing the hardware to dictate presentation for the best optimal reading experience. It works beautifully for text heavy novels but begins to show it’s weaknesses with books made of only images and diagrams.

With a mixed library of my own containing all-of-the-above formats and also including the traditional and trusty real paper books, it’s hard to claim one file format better than the other. The format should really be decided by the content and how that author or photographer wishes their work to be displayed — even if that means National Geographic or KelbyTraining requiring their audience to own an iPad, NAPP requiring the use of Zinio, or Amazon requiring the use of a Kindle. The consumer will eventually decide which distribution will win as asset management becomes more and more complicated.

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Abstract Nature Photography

Uninspired by the location and time of day, I only carried a macro lens to this years Worldwide Photo Walk and spent the entire time looking for shapes in the fall colours. This image is something completely different compared to the rest of my portfolio but potentially the start of a new series after some much more needed practice. But I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t mention the work of Daniel Sroka Botanical Abstracts. I’ve been a long time fan of Daniel’s work and he was surely in the back of my mind.

Fall Leaf Abstract Changing Colors

Today’s Image – Changing of Seasons

The division of two seasonal colours as the leaf begins to curl and die. Consider this image an abstract illustration showing the process and transition of summer to fall.

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Zombie Walk in Charlottetown, PEI

I label myself as a nature photographer. It’s what I love and where I focus my efforts but at the same time, I’m also first in line and eager to try something different. Covering a quickly progressing live event can be much more challenging when accustomed to carefully setting up a single landscape image on a tripod. The following was one of those times. Happy Halloween.

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Postcard from Kaua’i

For the past three weeks, I have been living seven timezones away exploring the state of Hawaii. Ignoring the recommendation to slow down, the decision was made to experience the four major islands in five days or less for each. While I have no regrets earning this high level of appreciation on how each island differs, it would have also been an interesting experience to take a full week or two and hike deep into the many areas not accessible by car.

Na'Pali, Kaua'i

Today’s Image – Na’Pali Coast State Park

The central to north coast of Kaua’i has amazing views and a network of canyons and valleys deep between the landscape that are mostly only accessible by hiking trails. Kaua’i truly earns the name “Garden Isle”.

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CBC Compass Story on the L.M. Montgomery Seashore

A few prints of some aerial work I did earlier this summer appeared in a CBC story about the L.M. Montgomery Seashore on September 14th. The media clip can be found here.

LM Montgomery Land Trust, Prince Edward Island Aerial 2012

The coastal land known as the L.M. Montgomery Seashore from Cape Tryon to the New London Bay.

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Plan B

I’ve hesitated writing about Plan B for a long time wanting to stay well clear of a political statement but as the heavy machinery begin to push their way through the hills and trees of Bonshaw, this very controversial project continues to be daily news since it originally surfaced almost a year ago. Plan B is the name labeled to the questionable 6km realignment of the TransCanada highway at the expense of home owners being expropriated, 15-20 million in tax dollars and the destruction of trees, ravines and streams that will require 140,000 truckloads of shale to fill. The media coverage and protest signs to Stop Plan B appear to be everywhere, and rightfully so.

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I Have Much to Learn

Iceland was the first group tour I’ve ever been on. With a fixed itinerary, pre-defined locations, and a large group with a variety of interests – to say I was highly skeptical was an understatement. Regardless of my hesitation, it was hard to turn down the invitation and I really wanted to travel with those that invited me.

Now that I’m home and relatively pleased with a few of the images I brought home, it’s interesting and often amazing to see what the rest of the group saw and shot. With each new image, I found myself saying “Where was that?”, “Why did I not see it that way?”, or “#*$?, my image sucks compared to that one”.

The trip was a very fast paced packed itinerary with little time to rest (most of use slept in the van) and exhaustion was a battle by week two. At a time when I was completely uninspired to pick up the camera with several excuses of being too tired, the light or weather sucks, it’s mid-day and hot, there were other photographers out making great images that I had the opportunity and intentionally missed out on.

To close off this Icelandic Adventure, we as a group have assembled a PDF in the form of an eBook showcasing everyone’s favourite photographs.

Iceland eBook

Today’s Image – Two Weeks in Iceland PDF eBook

This 122 page PDF is designed to be a portfolio of our favourite images from 12 photographers that ventured off to Iceland for 2 weeks in the spring of 2012. Published by oopoomoo, you can download this free 36MB PDF to see the wide variety of images and the different photographic styles artists can produce, even though we were often standing side by side in front of the same scene in the same weather.

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