Saturday, December 24, 2005


Merry Christmas Eve

This is a lovely handmade Christmas card that we received from some lovely friends. Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 15, 2005


A lot of times when I'm shooting it feels like the first number of shots are kind of like photographic doodling. It takes me a while to get used to seeing photographically when I haven't done it for a while. A big part of the reason why I am excited about the prospect of digital is the ability to get into that mode more often. I find that shooting film gives a sort of gravity to the photographic process that I can't wait to shed (probably because of the expense of it). My love for creating beautiful images will keep me from just snapping at anything but I do think I'll feel a certain freedom once I get my camera (although I'm sure any creative bonds that I have now are of my own making).

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I crawled around my backyard this morning in the freezing cold to grab some shots. For some reason my shooting opportunities in winter always seem to fall on the coldest days.

more frozen leaves

This is the effect that I really like with the frozen leaves. This is with the sheet of frozen leaves popped out of the cookie sheet and propped up against the window. I tried using distilled water this year to see about getting less bubbles in the ice.

Frozen Leaves

This is my third year that I've played with autumn leaves like this. Every year I try slightly different methods to see what I get. I think I picked up the idea from one of the critique sites that I visit. It doesn't take a whole lot of preparation. I just gather some leaves, spread them on cookie sheets, fill the cookie sheet with water, carefully place the cookie sheets in the freezer and let them sit overnight. The next day, or the next time I have the chance, I just pop them out of the freezer and shoot away. These are leaves from our gorgeous Japanese Cherry tree.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Commentary from a camera

It's been quite a while since I read, 'The photo commentary of an expensive camera in the hands of an amateur.' (from McSweeneys) For some reason it came back to mind today. Here are a few of my favourite lines (but you really should read the whole thing):

'Your background experience involves taking pictures of high-school girls in bikinis in the deep end of the country-club swimming pool with an underwater disposable camera.'

'You can always use an ultrahard-contrast paper when you develop the picture to bring about your desired artistic affect, but I know you're going to end up taking me to Wal-Mart to get this printed out on butcher paper.'

' I don't want to sound condescending, but I think if you unrolled a spool of unused film, the sun would expose a better picture.'

I think this is an hilarious way to address the camera/photographer connection. If I had a dollar for every time someone, after looking at some of my pictures, said, 'You must have a really nice camera,' I might have enough money to buy one of these (in all truth I probably would be closer to that camera if I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone exaggerate by saying 'if I had a dollar for every time . . .'). It is kind of a weird situation. Does having nicer gear make you a better photographer? I think the beauty of some pinhole or toy camera photography shows that the answer is a resounding no. But being able to get the results that you want does sometimes necessitate nicer gear. Increased control seems to be the big issue in moving to more expensive equipment. The bottom line is, if someone is showing you pictures that you like, discuss the pictures and not the camera.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

DIY macro lens

Today on boing boing I found one of the coolest do-it-yourself projects that I've ever seen. It is essentially turning an empty Pringles can into a bellows, which turns a standard 50mm lens into a macro lens, letting you get super close to things. Just have a look at how close he is able to focus on a match. It's a fairly simple project with all kinds of potential. You should check it out. Link (via boing boing)

I once messed around with some camera equipment and turned my SLR into a pinhole camera. It was loads of fun. I didn't really get any great shots from it but if I can scan one I'll post it here. Maybe I should get out and try some more. Link to instructions.

Speaking of boing boing, there's a new show on CBC called 'Freestyle'. This has taken the place of 'The Roundup' which replaced 'Richardson's Roundup' in the afternoon timeslot. Essentially what they do is play some music and in between songs talk about cool stuff that has been highlighted on boing boing. I'm not sure about the rules about this kind of stuff, but I find it interesting that day after day (I've only heard a couple of shows and they both have included things gleaned from boing boing) they get a lot of their ideas from a website that they never credit.

'I've found Narnia!'

Friday night we had a huge storm. It snowed and snowed and snowed. The wind plastered the wet snow to everything. There was even thunder and lightening while it was snowing. Apocalyptic. We, of course, being stubborn decided to go to the cinema because we had already purchased our tickets. Our new winter tires easily handled the slush as we swerved to avoid fallen trees and dangling power lines. And so we arrived at the brand new theatre to watch 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.' (I think a quick note about the new theatre is in order here. The previous theatre had 3 screens. If a good movie happened to somehow find it's way here it was always shown on one of the small screens. By small, I mean that you could probably put more people in an average living room. In fact it the typical living room is a lot more comfortable because it lacks the broken and torn seats, the sticky floor, and fuzzy sound. So you can see how going to a film in a new theatre with big comfy seats, nice big screens, and good sound can appear to be worth braving the dangerous roads.) For those who haven't seen the movie yet or read the books (and you really should) Narnia is a magical world which has been ruled for 100 years by the white witch. With her reign comes eternal winter. When Lucy first goes through the wardrobe into Narnia, she goes from the warm British climate into the snowy woods of Narnia. We had just had a couple of glimpses of Narnia when a kid a couple of rows down from us decided to go get a refill on his popcorn (Geographic note: the exits are placed in front of most of the seating in the theatre we were in.). He headed for the nearest exit and opened the door, flooding the theatre with light. Snow started blowing in. He kind of froze and then looked back, not sure what to do (everyone at this point was looking at him). I'm not sure what motivated his decision but rather than cut his losses to embarassedly head for the door to the lobby he, in a t-shirt, went out through the door he had opened. I'd really like to think that his suspension of disbelief was so great that when confronted with the sudden unexpected snowy world that presented itself he thought that he'd found the entrance to Narnia and couldn't help but go through to see what adventure he might have.