“Crumble & Rust” Show Opening This Saturday

I have a show opening this coming Saturday (Jan 15) from 1-4pm in the Turbine Room at the Alton Mill. The show will be up until Feb 13.  This is the first-ever show put on in this room. The old turbine, boiler and drive machinery provide a marvelous backdrop for our photos of urban and industrial decay. I have invited three friends to join me in this show: local photographer/painter John Ashbourne, and from Toronto, two founders of Gallery DK – Sean Galbraith and Russell Brohier – fresh from their recent shows at the AGO and Pearson Terminal 1. There are some really large images in this show of interesting places you don’t often get to see. If you can get out, come by and check out the show!

A Fire Below

Fade To White

I really liked the look of a shot I took of some birch trees in a blowing snowstorm back at Christmas time. Enough so that I decided to go back for more shots and make a small series of it. The high-key treatment I used on these is quite a change of pace from my usual darker look, but I think it works well in the context of these shots. I have added these to my online Portfolio in an album titled Fade To White.

Standing Around

Fade To White

Huddled Together

Two Apart

Trying something new.

I have been doing a lot of experimenting with Photoshop over the past few months. Initially the results were pretty rough, but I have been improving. I showed some of my earlier experiments in the Bodie post and in the Burning the Old Year post. Three of the images in today’s post were processed in a very similar way, although the results appear very different. All were solarized in B&W, had a copy of the original layer overlaid in color blend mode, then had parts of a third copy of the original layer in normal blend mode painted in. The fourth image, Field Call, was converted to B&W to allow me to exaggerate the drama in the sky, then I overlaid a copy of the original in color blend mode and finished by painting in a bit of another copy of the original layer (in soft light blend mode) over the most distant phone booth.

Spring Runoff
Atmospheric Distortion
Field Call

Feeling lucky today?

Does luck play a role in capturing that “perfect” moment in a photograph? You know the kind of moment I mean… when the shadow of a cloud is just right… or perhaps when a ray of sunshine breaks through the overcast and hits the subject of your photo? For me, the answer is yes – sometimes.
Generally, I feel that I make my own luck by continually practicing my craft. This improves my ability to anticipate those “perfect” moments and if I take enough pictures, I improve the odds of having camera in-hand when one of those moments comes along.
A couple of years ago I had one of those moments that led to one of my favourite photos. I was traveling a rural road through Eastern Ontario and had stopped to take some shots of an abandoned farmhouse.

Farmhouse, from the gate.

I changed to a long telephoto lens to pick out some of the interesting details of the building. It had a sheet-metal roof that had rusted into most interesting patterns of colour.

Red roof

Moving in closer, I started to take a look at the doors and windows. (Looking at my portfolio, you can see I have a thing about windows and doors.)

Front door
Side windows

Taking one more shot of the side windows was when good luck struck in the form of a startled bird. Look in the upper left of the photo below to see it.

Good luck shows up.

In a perfect world, I would have caught the bird in the centre of my frame with my telephoto at max zoom. But the world I live in isn’t like that, so I had to work with what I had. With a heavy crop I was able to simulate the zoom in post-processing. This left me with the essence I wanted: a splash of bright colour and a powerful diagonal line with the diagonal reinforced by the gesture of the bird and the shadow on the side of the house.

Black Bird


Welcome to my re-designed web site! One of the key reasons for the change was to add a blog page so I can discuss my recent photos and show my experiments with photo-taking and post-processing techniques.

My work-flow is totally digital. I use raw files from a Canon 20D, using Adobe Lightroom 2.0 for raw file conversion, photo file management and printing. I use Adobe Photoshop CS3  for any post-processing work done on a photo beyond the raw conversion. (Edit: As of 2010, I now shoot with a Canon 5DMII and use LR 2.7 & CS4)I do my own printing for shows and clients using mainly a Canon Pixma Pro 9500 with a variety of Fine Art Papers.