photography

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There are some times when, to feel fully creative, one needs to just let go of the norms, open your mind to the great possibilities that are out there and break out into something new. I’ve been reading a lot of work by the Canadian photographer David Duchemin recently, both his blogs and some of his published work, such as the The Vision Driven Photographer. David encourages you to open your mind, to try to reach for the creativity that all of us have to some degree or other. While I don’t feel that I am, or ever could be, the world’s most creative photographer, I do believe that with the technology available to us, everyone’s creativity today can be enhanced to levels that would have been almost impossible only a few years ago.

Whether the audience who sees my work are appreciative or not is a different story. The difficulty with impressionist photography, or Photographic Jazz as I’m thinking of calling it – maybe I could copyright that term? – is that it is, by definition, outside what is considered ‘normal’ photography. It will not win any prizes in the local camera clubs, that’s pretty much a nailed-on certainty, but it is an expression of art, of creativity, and – possibly very luckily – I don’t depend on it to earn my living. But when an idea comes I get a knotted feeling of anticipation in my stomach, I need to plan, to make notes, to think about where I’m going and what I need to do, to visualise what the finished picture could look like.

Heart Lake
Multiple exposure – Wind on Heart Lake

Recently I bought a new Fuji X-E2s mirrorless camera. I love the quality of my DSLRs, don’t get me wrong, and I’ve no plans to trade them in just yet, but the light weight of the Fuji plus the quality of the images from the APS-C sensor frees me to carry this camera everywhere and to have complete confidence that the images are going to be first rate. One of the techniques that had been on my mind for some time is the photo montage, a series of pictures of the same object from slightly different viewpoints, blended together to make a new composite.

With the Fuji in my bag I was able to take it to work so I could take the necessary shots during my lunch hour. No huge weekend plans to be made, no disruption to family life, just a quick trip across the road at lunch, take the shots and then back to the office. So much easier than having to cart the DSLR around. That’s why I’m going to love mirrorless; not just because it’s light, not just because of the image quality but because it frees me to just take pictures, it opens up opportunities to encourage and build that creativity.

Toronto schoolbus
Composite – 700 University Avenue, Toronto

Marilyn Towers
The ‘Marilyn’ towers, Mississauga

Queens Park
Bowl of Light, Queen’s Park, Toronto

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About a year ago I started shooting film again. I thought it might be a temporary thing but the more I shoot it, the more I want to shoot and the less I feel like taking the digital cameras out. That’s not to say that the D610 & D7100 don’t have their place; if I’m going to do any wildlife or sports then those are my go-to cameras, but for street, landscape – and a few portraits – I’m thinking more of film than ever before.

And not just shooting film. I’ve also made the step up to developing and printing. Setting up a darkroom wasn’t expensive with the help of Kijiji, Youtube and my niece; it was cheaper to do that than to go to a local college and take lessons, although I do have to discipline myself to use test strips and not just go for the print!

While the variety of film available isn’t what it used to be, the quality is there and I’m slowly getting used to the different characteristics of different films.

Ektar02
Ontario Farm – Kodak Ektar 100, Nikon F90x

Kent01
Kentmere 400, Olympus Trip 35

Olympus035b
Ilford Delta 100, Olympus Trip 35

Sun006
Kodak Portra 160, Bronica ETRC – medium format

Check out these links for just a few of the ever-increasing number of analogue photography sites.
I Still Shoot film
The Film Photography project and podcast
A brilliant documentary highlighting film shooters

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