A Good Day by Michael Orton

Today was one of those days.  After 35 years of car­ry­ing a cam­era I con­sider myself for­tu­nate indeed to have expe­ri­enced some of these days, when every­thing seems to align, the weather, the light, the sea­son, the loca­tion, and let’s not for­get, the pho­tog­ra­pher. After all, with­out the act of mak­ing the deci­sion to set out, noth­ing will be cre­ated. While work­ing in the stock photo busi­ness my work­flow was quite dif­fer­ent from today . My goal was to cre­ate mar­ketable con­cept images and I would research loca­tions to shoot spe­cific images. I would have to place myself in the right loca­tion, at the right time with the best light which was not always easy. Remark­ably I did have some of ” those days ” back then, but not like the ones that have occurred since I became immersed in ICM (Inten­tional Cam­era Move­ment) these last years. I have an inti­mate knowl­edge of the land­scape within a close dis­tance from home and can almost visu­al­ize before set­ting out the like­li­hood of there being the type of sub­ject mat­ter that will feed my imag­i­na­tion. And of course the more I explore the more data I have to draw from. With ICM the required “raw mate­r­ial”, unlike mak­ing a con­ven­tional pho­to­graph, is not a spe­cific object or rec­og­niz­able scene, but rather the start­ing point, like a piece of clay , shape­less until forged and formed into shape. This is the essence of work­ing in this fash­ion. It has lit­tle to do with the actual tech­nique of mov­ing the cam­era and every­thing to do with how you can imag­ine and explore that which is the start­ing point, the raw material.

Today is a late fall day. Leaves had been falling for weeks, morn­ing mists were begin­ning to appear, skies were a patchy blue. If I’m lucky this time of year lasts a few weeks. I love work­ing when there are spaces in the trees and the branches con­trast with the inter­spersed leaves. I set out to walk the edge of a river not far away. There are a vari­ety of trees, bushes and growth, with logs, large and small stones lin­ing the shore­line. (And the salmon are run­ning ) I made many more than the four images shown, but these I selected because they were made stand­ing in almost the same spot.


"A Good Day" - Image 1 by Michael Orton

A Good Day” — Image 1 by Michael Orton


Image one is the light reflected off of the leaves of a small bush , which I ren­dered into hun­dreds of shards of light with a fast cam­era move­ment and short shut­ter speed. When viewed at full size this image has remark­able com­plex­ity and blend­ing . The bush was a short dis­tance to my left.


"A Good Day" - Image 2 by Michael Orton

A Good Day” — Image 2 by Michael Orton


Image two is sim­ply fallen leaves on a spread of medium sized round stones with the sand washed from between them. They are in the shade , and the blue comes from the reflected blue of the sky. The sky had some clouds which occa­sion­ally gave me over­cast light. - 1/2 sec­ond with what I refer to as medium cam­era move­ment speed , using a some­what oblique line and chang­ing focal length dur­ing expo­sure. When I move my cam­era most often I do not swivel from a fixed point but move it in a sim­i­lar fash­ion to a movie cam­era on a track. These stones and leaves where just to my right.


"A Good Day" - Image 3 by Michael Orton

A Good Day” — Image 3 by Michael Orton


Image three is look­ing across the river . You can see the sandy embank­ment ren­dered as a soft­ened wash while the trees and their reflec­tion remain some­what rec­og­niz­able. I used an extended oval motion at 2 sec­onds to retain the ver­ti­cal lines.


"A Good Day" - Image 4 by Michael Orton

A Good Day” — Image 4 by Michael Orton


Image four is, yes wait for it, a pho­to­graph, and was taken stand­ing in exactly the same spot as # 3 . Some­times you just take what you are given and make the best of it. I took the polar­izer and ND fil­ter off, kneeled down and scooped this image from the sur­face of the river.The intri­cate, jagged lines of the reflected trees and a hint blue from the sky were to good to pass up. Hand­held at 1/125.

So yes it was a good day. One that I wish every pho­tog­ra­pher could expe­ri­ence, because when you do, it will fuel your pas­sion . This is what keeps us looking.

The video ” A Walk In The Palm Grove ” on our web­site is another good exam­ple of what can be cre­ated at one location.

There is no sub­sti­tute for see­ing… Michael

The pre­ced­ing arti­cle is copy­righted and writ­ten by Cana­dian fine art land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher Michael Orton. You can see more of his work at michaelortonphotography.com

The Nikon 105 with Defocus Control is Dreamy

The Nikon 105 f2.0 DC lens is one of the most inter­est­ing lenses that I’ve ever tried. I just tested one from The Cam­era Store. This lens is super-solidly con­structed, mostly of metal, and feels great both in your hand and on the cam­era. It has a built in lens hood which I found con­ve­nient but the high­light of this lens is the defo­cus con­trol which brings its cool­ness fac­tor to eleven.  What’s cool about this DC (Defo­cus Con­trol) lens, is that you can defo­cus the fore­ground or the back­ground to accen­tu­ate the bokeh (zone of blurriness/creaminess/dreaminess) in the fore­ground or the back­ground. It takes a lit­tle bit of play and the results are sub­tle, but if you are into this type of sub­tlety and you are pre­pared to pay more than a grand, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed. This lens is in a class all by itself.

Nikon AF DC105mm f/2.0 D Lens

Nikon AF DC 105mm f/2.0 D Lens


Let me say imme­di­ately that this spe­cialty lens is not for every­one. It is made in my esti­ma­tion for por­trait, land­scape or fine art pho­tog­ra­phers that love to play with selec­tive focus and who want to be in supreme con­trol of their bokeh. If this last sen­tence was con­fus­ing then you are prob­a­bly not ready for this lens. But if you already love bokeh and want to play in the bokeh-olympics, this might be the finest tool available.

But Doesn’t Nikon Have Another 105mm Lens That Also Does Macro?

Yes they do and that lens is another fab­u­lous por­trait lens that does true macro. The Nikon AF-S 105 mm F2.8 Micro is a lens that I’ve owned for a num­ber of years and it’s about 300. cheaper than the DC lens. It’s razor sharp, has Vibra­tion Reduc­tion (VR) and does true 1:1 Macro. If you like to do por­traits as well as Macro work, get this lens instead.

But if you don’t do that much Macro and want a fab­u­lously unique tool that is great for por­traits and bokeh-play, the DC may be the bet­ter choice for an expe­ri­enced pho­tog­ra­pher. The DC lens is also an f/2 lens. The f/2 is brighter in the viewfinder and always deliv­ers more bokeh than f/2.8 all things being equal.

In terms of head to head sharp­ness and aut­o­fo­cus speed, I found the aut­o­fo­cus a bit faster on the Micro (Macro — Nikon calls their Macro lenses Micro just to be spe­cial) lens and I found the sharp­ness to be a hint sharper. The 105 DC lens is also razor sharp (but has no VR) and has very fast  aut­o­fo­cus, but head to head with the 105 Micro, it loses by the small­est of mar­gins to my eye. Please be aware that I only tested this lens on 2 shoots in cold­ish Mon­treal weather which unfor­tu­nately lim­ited my play.

How does it work?

The instruc­tion leaflet that comes with the lens is near use­less. You’ll want to play with this sucker for a while. But basi­cally, to get good bokeh effects you need a large aper­ture so you’ll choose an aper­ture like f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4, or f/5.6. Once you set that aper­ture, you’ll focus on your sub­ject. Then you’ll decide if you want to defo­cus what’s in front of the sub­ject, what’s behind the sub­ject, or not defo­cus at all. The defo­cus­ing sim­ply soft­ens the back­ground or fore­ground more than it would be with other lenses. The effect is sub­tle and not every­one will even notice it espe­cially novice pho­tog­ra­phers. Per­son­ally though, I love this lens and I made a mis­take when I pur­chased the f/2.8 Macro lens. I don’t do that much macro and would have got­ten more use and joy from the bokeh play offered by this lens.

From L to R - Zero defocus, defocused foreground, defocused background - Click to enlarge

From L to R — Zero defo­cus, defo­cused fore­ground, defo­cused back­ground — Click to enlarge


The images above were shot against a giant Christ­mas tree. The mid­dle image makes the fore­ground lights around the neck have an inter­est­ing glow due to the defo­cused fore­ground, but the eyes lost sharp­ness. In gen­eral I found that defo­cus­ing the fore­ground looked weird most of the time. To my eye the nor­mal set­ting and the defo­cused back­ground set­tings are the best look­ing in this set and in gen­eral. The non defo­cused images looked superb actu­ally. But a lens like this is usu­ally bought for the abil­ity to defo­cus it.

Left image had no defocus. Middle Image had background defocused to f/4 but aperture was f/2.0. The image at right was shot with the 105 Macro lens at f/2.8 its widest aperture - Click to enlarge.

Left image had no defo­cus. Mid­dle Image had back­ground defo­cused to f/4 but aper­ture was f/2.0. The image at right was shot with the 105 Macro lens at f/2.8 its widest aper­ture — Click to enlarge.


The rea­son to get the Nikon 105mm DC lens is for the (De)focus play that it offers and nor­mally you’ll set the defo­cus to the same aper­ture you are shoot­ing on. But you don’t have to fol­low that rule and when you break it, it throws the back­ground or fore­ground into an even softer or dreamier state. In the set of images above, the left image shows beau­ti­ful f/2.0 bokeh with a very sharp head­stone and no defo­cus was used. The mid­dle image was shot at f/2.0 but the rear defo­cus was set to f/4 which thinned out the zone of sharp­ness in the fore­ground in this case and soft­ened the back­ground to an even dreamier state com­pared to the pre­vi­ous shot. For com­par­i­son pur­poses the shot at right was shot with the 105 Macro lens that has no defo­cus con­trol. It still shows excel­lent sharp­ness in the head­stone and lovely bokeh in the back­ground, but it is lim­ited to f/2.8 with­out defo­cus con­trol, and so it can’t be as dreamy as the DC 105mm.



Mount Royal Ceme­tery in Mon­treal. Rear Defo­cus used on the Nikon 105mm DC — Click to enlarge


In sum­mary, if you are just start­ing out in pho­tog­ra­phy and you want an awe­some fast por­trait lens that also offers macro, the 105mm f/2.8 with VR is prob­a­bly a bet­ter choice for you and it’s 300 dol­lars cheaper.  If you just love bokeh and exper­i­men­ta­tion and are a more expe­ri­enced pho­tog­ra­pher that rarely uses Macro, you might well want to try the Nikon 105mm f2.0 DC lens.  It’s a one of a kind lens that will retain and go up in value in the future due to its unique­ness. I plan on adding it to my arse­nal in the very near future.

Two Photo Accessories Reviewed

Hi photo lovers!

I’ve tried a cou­ple of photo acces­sories recently that I’d like to share with you because they make my life easier.

1 — The S&F deluxe tech­ni­cal belt by Lowe­pro.

Lowepro S&F deluxe technical belt

Lowe­pro S&F deluxe tech­ni­cal belt

My wife picked this up for me recently as a gift and I’m lov­ing it. As men­tioned in pre­vi­ous posts and pod­casts, I’m a big fan of lens pouches and I use them almost exclu­sively (ver­sus car­ry­ing a cam­era bag) on most per­sonal photo shoots. Usu­ally I have 3 lenses on me and 2 of them are car­ried in lens pouches. Until a few weeks ago I sim­ply clipped the pouches onto an actual belt that goes through my jeans. It works well enough but get­ting into the jean pock­ets is dif­fi­cult and my wife felt I looked all dishev­elled espe­cially if I needed to wear a jacket. She was right.

I have to say, the tech­ni­cal belt is WAY bet­ter than clip­ping the pouches to a reg­u­lar pants belt. It is so much more com­fort­able and you can see the solid back sup­port if offers, it’s a pure joy to wear. Espe­cially when going from shoot­ing to the car, the whole belt comes off in a flash with the pouches firmly secured onto them. If you do need to get into your pants pock­ets you just slide the belt around. In addi­tion, it looks and feels great when you have to wear a jacket. It might well be my favourite acces­sory of 2013. It can be pur­chased imme­di­ately at B&H in the USA or at the The Cam­era Store within about 1 week.

2 - Pho­toRe­pub­lik Twin Speedlite Holder — This acces­sory was loaned to me for review by our spon­sor The Cam­era Store and I find it to be an extremely well built acces­sory. Some of the com­mon gripes peo­ple have with flash hold­ing acces­sories are their over­all ‘dink­i­ness’  and that the actual point of con­tact between the flash and the hold­ing shoe is flimsy (read risky) and dif­fi­cult to con­trol. Good new or used flashes are at least 100–600 dol­lars, why would you want to attach it to a bracket with a flimsy flash shoe holder that looks like it costs less than a nickel. One care­less bump into the light stand can snag the bot­tom part of the flash right off.

This twin flash holder is crazy solid in all respects and oper­ates smoothly. The point of attach­ment to the flash as well as the whole unit (except the knobs which are still very solid) is made of steel and oper­ates very smoothly to attach to your flash. It feels safe and that will make you feel more secure about the setup. There’s place for an umbrella holder and it tilts from front to back for eas­ier angling of light. It’s a per­fect attach­ment for shoot­ing with an umbrella when when you need more punch than one flash can offer.

PhotoRepublik Twin Speedlite Holder

Pho­toRe­pub­lik Twin Speedlite Holder — Comes with a  threaded mount­ing screw (shown in between the 2 flash hold­ing units)



123 — Entry Level Camera Trigger Showdown — PocketWizard versus Cactus

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #123 com­pares 2 entry level trig­ger­ing devices for your cam­era. A ‘trig­ger’ is sim­ply a device that allows your cam­era to fire nearly any portable flash, mono­light or stu­dio flash while it is OFF-camera. The abil­ity to fire a flash or other light source while OFF-camera allows you to mod­ify the direc­tion and the qual­ity of the light(s) to pro­duce much more cre­ative and pro­fes­sional look­ing pho­tog­ra­phy ver­sus direct on-camera flash. The 2 units tested are the Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X and the Cac­tus V5 Duo.

The PocketWizard Plus X transceiver (sold as a single unit) and the Cactus V5 Duo (2 transceivers)

The Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X trans­ceiver (sold as a sin­gle unit for $99.00) and the Cac­tus V5 Duo (2 trans­ceivers for $99.00 or sold indi­vid­i­ually at $59.00)


Thanks to The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  for spon­sor­ing the Photography.ca pod­cast and for loan­ing me the test equip­ment for this week’s podcast!

Both these units do the identical job with identical (100%) reliability in both my indoor and outdoor tests.

Both these units do the iden­ti­cal job with iden­ti­cal (100%) reli­a­bil­ity in both my indoor and out­door tests. The top photo shows how the Cac­tus trans­ceiver attaches to both the cam­era and to an off-camera flash. The bot­tom photo shows how the Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X trans­ceiver attaches to both the cam­era and to an off-camera flash. The main dif­fer­ence is that the Pock­etWiz­ard is miss­ing the extra hot shoe so it attaches to the off cam­era flash with (an included) sync-wire.


The build qual­ity of the Pock­etWiz­ard is slightly more robust than the Cac­tus V5 and its leg­endary reli­a­bil­ity (Pock­etWiz­ards have been around for decades) and the fact that they work with every other Pock­etWiz­ard ever made are its main advantages.

Where the Cactus V5 duo really shines is with the addition of the extra hot shoe on the unit. Both these units will do the identical job, but the cactus's design is more elegant and user friendly.

Where the Cac­tus V5 duo really shines is with the addi­tion of the extra hot shoe on the unit. Here the flash will act as an on axis-fill flash to fill in shad­ows cre­ated by another light, and it fits snugly into the hot shoe on top of the Cac­tus V5. At left is the Pock­etWiz­ard attempt­ing the same task but because it has no extra hot shoe it must be attached to the camera’s flash via an included sync-wire


Both these units will do the iden­ti­cal job, but the Cactus’s design (at right) is more ele­gant, eas­ier to attach and the Cac­tus V5 Duo is half the price of the Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X. Unfor­tu­nately the Cac­tus V5 will NOT work with Pock­etWiz­ards or even dif­fer­ent Cac­tus models.

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

The Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X at The Cam­era Store
The Cac­tus V5 Duo at The Cam­era Store
Illu­minight — Pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tion by Marko Kulik

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Thanks as well to Enrique Waizel, Bernard Dal­laire, Jason, Dar­nell B and Royce How­land who posted com­ments directly on the blog.  Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board.

If you are look­ing at this mate­r­ial on any other site except Photography.ca — Please hop on over to the Photography.ca blog and pod­cast and get this and other pho­tog­ra­phy info directly from the source. |Sub­scribe with iTunes|Sub­scribe via RSS feed |Sub­scribe for free to the Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast — Photography.ca and get all the posts/podcasts by Email

You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

I Waited 30 Minutes in Line to See Chihuly — 6 Days Left

Dale Chi­huly is an Amer­i­can glass blow­ing artist/genius/innovator. I went to see his show at The Mon­treal Museum of Fine Arts last week and waited 30 min­utes in line because his pop­u­lar show is com­ing to an end and I’ve been busy for the last few months. The show ends offi­cially on Octo­ber 27th.


One of my great­est pet peeves on planet earth is wait­ing in line. Give me the best restau­rant in Paris, New York or Mon­treal and if I have to wait more than a few min­utes, I’d rather pick up a falafel or pizza slice and eat it on the go. Don’t get me wrong, I love good food, but my hate for line-waiting wins over nearly 100% of the time. Need­less to say, when I went to the museum last week and saw a line of about forty peo­ple I was not happy.  My wife and I sur­veyed the line. She knows me (and my bad whiny behav­ior) with lines…so she quickly told me that it was ‘my call’ and that we could leave imme­di­ately with­out con­se­quence. As we (mostly me) were mak­ing this deci­sion, the line sud­denly started to move rather quickly and a forty per­son wait turned to a thirty per­son wait. I bitched a bit but we sucked it up and waited in line.

Here’s my review. Words or pic­tures can’t do this show jus­tice and I only stayed at the show 60 min. It’s a 10/10 mas­ter­piece that needs to be expe­ri­enced. Period. So long as you are not colour blind, all I can say is go see it. It’s worth a 30 minute wait. It’s worth a one hour wait which is my max for wait­ing for absolutely any­thing non life-threatening. If you are a patient per­son though, it’s worth wait­ing all day.

Take your cam­era because pho­tog­ra­phy is 100% per­mit­ted and encour­aged. This mod­ern aspect of the exhi­bi­tion also impressed me because plenty of exhi­bi­tions are still in the dark ages with regard to pho­tog­ra­phy. Expect crowds but expect that the wait and bus­tle will be worth it. Expect to see the work of a Master.


David Johndrow — Macro photography

We are happy to fea­ture another inter­view and more pho­tog­ra­phy from Adore Noir Mag­a­zine. Adore Noir is pub­lished online from Van­cou­ver, B.C. Canada and is ded­i­cated to fine art black and white pho­tog­ra­phy. This inter­view fea­tures David Johndrow, an Amer­i­can fine art pho­tog­ra­pher from Austin, Texas.

Mantis by david Johndrow

Man­tis by David Johndrow


AN: Please intro­duce your­self. Where do you live and work?

DJ: My name is David Johndrow and I live and work in Austin, Texas.

AN: How did you get into photography?

DJ: I stud­ied pho­tog­ra­phy while get­ting a film degree at the Uni­ver­sity of Texas. The first time I saw an image of some­thing that I shot appear in the devel­oper tray I was hooked and decided I wanted to do pho­tog­ra­phy full time. I started doing com­mer­cial work after graduating—mostly doing por­trait work. I sup­ple­mented my income by work­ing as a cus­tom printer in photo labs. I’m glad I had that expe­ri­ence because it forced me to put in a lot of hours in the dark­room. As I got bet­ter at mak­ing prints that were stronger, I also got bet­ter at visu­al­iz­ing my own work. I learned a lot from work­ing with other peo­ples pho­tographs, both good and bad.

Orb weaver spider by David Johndrow

Orb weaver spi­der by David Johndrow


AN: Tell us about your pas­sion for macro.

DJ: My use of macro came out of com­bin­ing my obses­sion with gar­den­ing with my inter­est in pho­tog­ra­phy. For a long time I had no inter­est in shoot­ing pho­tos in my gar­den. It was mostly because I didn’t want to do what other pho­tog­ra­phers have done so well before. But as I spent more and more time out­doors, I started to notice the most sub­limely beau­ti­ful things going on a very small scale and they looked amaz­ing in the nat­ural light of their own habi­tat. So, I began exper­i­ment­ing with ways to get up close and still be hand-held. I wanted to be quick and mobile. So I put exten­sion tubes on my reg­u­lar Has­sel­blad lens and dis­cov­ered that although this set-up pre­sented some restric­tions (lim­ited abil­ity to focus, lower light gath­er­ing power), I liked what I saw. In fact, the forced sim­plic­ity of the set-up allowed me to focus more on the image than on the tech­ni­cal aspects of shoot­ing the pic­ture. I used the lens wide open out of neces­sity because the film I use is rel­a­tively slow for the shade light I like. For­tu­nately, it turned out that the shal­low focus worked great at iso­lat­ing the details of the things I was shoot­ing. Sud­denly I would get lost look­ing through the camera—like enter­ing another world. Ordi­nary things took on an aura of grandeur and impor­tance. I decided I would treat the sub­jects in nature as for­mal por­traits and try and make them look iconic and, at the same time, retain their wildness.

AN: What is your inspiration?

DJ: Pho­to­graph­i­cally, my biggest influ­ence is Irv­ing Penn. I love how he can make any­thing look ele­gant , from fash­ion mod­els to tribal peo­ple to found objects. I love his high con­trast print­ing style and how graph­i­cally strong his com­po­si­tions are. I also like Edward Weston and Karl Bloss­feld. Bloss­feld was really good at show­ing the archi­tec­ture of nature. Another influ­ence on my art is the botan­i­cal artist Ernst Haeckel. I have repro­duc­tions of some of his draw­ings up in my dark­room to inspire me. He really shows the beau­ti­fully intri­cate designs of nature at all scales. Some­thing about his art is won­der­fully weird and psy­che­delic. Besides these pho­to­graphic and artis­tic influ­ences, I also need to men­tion my love of Lau­rens Van der Post’s sto­ries of the bush­men of the Kala­hari and how they revered the small things in nature the most.

Stinkbug by David Johndrow

Stinkbug by David Johndrow


AN: What do you wish to con­vey to your viewers?

DJ: I hope that when peo­ple look at my pho­tographs, they get a new per­spec­tive on the things that are all around us that we some­times take for granted. We tend to get dis­as­so­ci­ated from nature and for­get what a mir­a­cle it is. I am always amazed at the new things I dis­cover out in my gar­den. Things seem to appear to me as if by magic. I try to cap­ture some of that magic to share with oth­ers. It’s a real chal­lenge to depict some­thing that has been pho­tographed so many times. What I’m learn­ing is that the ways of expe­ri­enc­ing nature are infi­nite. I hope peo­ple who see my pho­tographs come away with a greater appre­ci­a­tion of the beauty of com­mon things.

AN: Can you tell us about your post pro­cess­ing techniques?

DJ: I like to print my images on sil­ver gelatin, platinum/palladium or gumoil. I let the image dic­tate what medium I will use to express it. Although I orig­i­nally cap­ture all of my images on film, I some­times make enlarged inter-negatives, either with my enlarger or dig­i­tally, depend­ing on the image, so that I can make con­tact prints. By using alter­na­tive processes I am able to have a wider range of expres­sion in my print­ing and a greater chance of the “happy acci­dents” that I think make pho­tographs unique. I strive for extreme sim­plic­ity in my images. Pho­tog­ra­phy, by its nature, is a reduc­tion of infor­ma­tion. By remov­ing what is nonessen­tial, images get clearer and more pow­er­ful. This is also the rea­son why I love work­ing in black and white.

AN: Do you have any projects on the go?

DJ: I am now exper­i­ment­ing with sim­ple pho­tograms, bypass­ing the cam­era alto­gether. I’ve got­ten so into it that I’ve amassed a large col­lec­tion of objects that I can print just using sun­light. Of course I still work in my gar­den with my cam­era close by and keep my eyes open for the next mys­tery to present itself.

Toad by David Johndrow

Toad by David Johndrow


This inter­view and accom­pa­ny­ing images was reprinted with per­mis­sion from Adore Noir.
Adore Noir is a sub­scrip­tion based online pho­tog­ra­phy mag­a­zine spe­cial­iz­ing in awe­some fine art black and white photography.

Photography forum image of the month – September 2013

Hi Photo lovers!

Every month on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum mem­bers nom­i­nate images that they like. Then at the end of the month I choose an excel­lent image and talk about why it rocks. The photo I choose is not nec­es­sar­ily the best one of the month. I’ve come to real­ize it’s not really log­i­cal to pit images from totally dif­fer­ent gen­res against each other. That’s why there are cat­e­gories in photo con­tests. I just choose a photo that has extremely strong ele­ments that we can learn from.

This month’s choice goes to Hill­bil­ly­girl for cap­tur­ing this image from Rodeo Action

I chose this image for sev­eral reasons:

1 — Deci­sive moment and ges­tur­ing — This cap­tured moment is extremely well timed and the cap­tured ges­tures are superb. Look at the mus­cu­la­ture and the angle and stretched out leg of the horse in mid–maneu­ver — It’s fab. The con­cen­tra­tion on the rider is also fab.

2 — Sharp­ness — The sharp­ness here is bloody gor­geous and any­one who has tracked mov­ing tar­gets knows it’s not easy. A nice fast shut­ter speed cou­pled with pre­cise focus­ing has frozen an intense moment. Even the kicked-up dirt in the air and on the ground is sharp — love it.

3 — Com­po­si­tion — Com­po­si­tion works really well here with the fence of spec­ta­tors in the back­ground, The Coors barrel/obstacle on the left and the intense ges­tures of the cen­tral main focal points.

4 — Post processing/exposure — I like the fairly real­is­tic pro­cess­ing in this image with good well con­trolled tones in the sky and good clar­ity in the faces of the horse and rider.

For all these rea­sons, this is my choice for image of the month. Since we all have opin­ions, some mem­bers may dis­agree with my choice. That’s cool but THIS thread is not the place for debate over my pick, NOR is it the place to fur­ther cri­tique the image. The pur­pose here is to sug­gest strong ele­ments in the photo that we may learn from.

Con­grats again to Hill­bil­ly­girl for cap­tur­ing this fab­u­lous moment!

Rodeo Action by Hillbillygirl

Rodeo Action by Hill­bil­ly­girl — Click to see larger version

122 — How Big Can I print that Photo — Interview with Royce Howland

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #122 fea­tures an inter­view with Royce How­land where we dis­cuss how large we can print our pho­tos. These days cam­eras of all kinds are every­where and if we want to make big enlarge­ments from those cam­eras we need to know how big we can print the image before it starts to look bad. Royce offers up tips on how to make ‘the best enlarge­ment’, ‘a bet­ter enlarge­ment’ or ‘a good enlarge­ment’ based on the cam­era, the print­ing mate­r­ial, the sub­ject mat­ter and some other factors.

Thanks to The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  for spon­sor­ing the Photography.ca podcast!

To recap the math in this pod­cast the best images get 300 pix­els per inch. 200 pix­els per inch gets you bet­ter enlarge­ments and 100 pix­els per inch yields good results. To get an idea of the pos­si­ble enlarge­ment range, we divide the image pix­els of our cam­era by the PPI to get inches of print size.

Our the­o­ret­i­cal 6 megapixel cam­era pro­duced images of 3000 x 2000 pix­els. So a good enlarge­ment could be 30 x 20 inches, bet­ter could be 15 x 10 inches, and best 6.7 x 10 inches.

If we look at a 12 megapixel image (from a Canon 5D for exam­ple) the pix­els are 4000 x 2666.  So a good enlarge­ment could be 40 x 26.7 inches, bet­ter could be 20 x 13.3 inches, and best 13.3 x 8.9 inches.

If we look at a 24 megapixel cam­era the pix­els are 6000 x 4000 so we could have a good enlarge­ment of 60 x 40 inches, bet­ter one of 30 x 20 inches and best one of 20 x 13.3 inches.

7.5 megapixel camera phone shot by Royce Howland. This image could easily be printed 20 inches high.

7.5 megapixel cam­era phone shot by Royce How­land. This image could eas­ily be printed 20 inches high.


37 megapixel medium format image by Royce Howland. This image could easily be printed 45 inches high.

37 megapixel medium for­mat cam­era image by Royce How­land. This image could eas­ily be printed 45 inches high.

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

The Dig­i­tal Neg­a­tive by Jeff Schewe
Per­fect Resize
Qim­age Ulti­mate
Sep­tem­ber reg­u­lar assign­ment — Shoot from a high per­spec­tive
Sep­tem­ber level 2 assign­ment — Shoot into the light
Illu­mi­nite — Pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tion by Marko Kulik

If you liked this pod­cast and want to review it on Itunes, this link gets you to the main page

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Thanks as well to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

If you are look­ing at this mate­r­ial on any other site except Photography.ca — Please hop on over to the Photography.ca blog and pod­cast and get this and other pho­tog­ra­phy info directly from the source. |Sub­scribe with iTunes|Sub­scribe via RSS feed |Sub­scribe for free to the Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast — Photography.ca and get all the posts/podcasts by Email

You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

Calgary Canon EXPO 2013

Our spon­sor The Cam­era Store, and Canon are intro­duc­ing the Cal­gary Canon EXPO 2013. If you are in Cal­gary, Alberta the week­end of Sep­tem­ber 27th 2013, you may well want to check out the Expo. Leg­endary celebrity pho­tog­ra­pher Dou­glas Kirk­land will be giv­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion “A Life in Pic­tures” and local pros will offer sem­i­nars and tips on shoot­ing land­scape and wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy. Although this event is not free, it comes with a $50.00 credit toward new Canon gear. For addi­tional infor­ma­tion check out the Cal­gary Canon EXPO 2013.

Marilyn Monroe by Douglas Kirkland - 1961

Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe by Dou­glas Kirkland

Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal — Photo Month in Montreal

Every two years, Mon­treal, Que­bec, Canada fea­tures a major, month-long major con­tem­po­rary pho­tog­ra­phy fes­ti­val called Le mois de la photo à Mon­tréal. This year’s fes­ti­val runs from Sep­tem­ber 5 — Octo­ber 5, 2013 and fea­tures 25 pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tions in dif­fer­ent parts of the city.

This year the theme of the fes­ti­val is Drone — The auto­mated image and it is guest curated by Paul Wombell. I’ve been going to this fes­ti­val pretty much since it started and the exhi­bi­tions are almost always laden with exper­i­men­tal (less con­ven­tional) pho­tog­ra­phy and themes that require reflec­tion. If you’re look­ing for more con­ven­tional pho­tog­ra­phy (beau­ti­ful land­scapes, still lifes, street pho­tog­ra­phy) you nor­mally won’t find it at this festival.

Although Le mois de la photo is a pho­tog­ra­phy fes­ti­val, many exhi­bi­tions will be video based and some will fea­ture instal­la­tions. I always find a few exhi­bi­tions that I really like and will report back on my faves.  Feel free to check out the exhi­bi­tions here.

Le mois de la photo