Photo of the day Jan. 13, 2011

Win­ter is a great time to cap­ture black and whites because most of the colours are cov­ered in snow. ‚It’s also a great time to shoot lines and pat­terns for the same rea­son; the lack of colour empha­sizes their forms. The lines, angles and con­trast caught my eye when I spot­ted this bench and I was happy to have the G11 with me. This was a tricky shot because it was later in the day (less light) and I was hold­ing ‚a loaf of bread and a pie in the other hand as I shot this. While this was on the screen I knew that I’d likely pre­fer the shot if it were flipped as it would make it more abstract.

Bench Lines - ‚© Marko Kulik

Bench Lines — ‚© Marko Kulik

Vintage photo of the day Jan. 3, 2011

Today’s vin­tage photo of the day is called The Pho­to­jour­nal­ist by Andreas Feininger and was taken in 1951. It has become an iconic por­trait and the sub­ject is pho­to­jour­nal­ist David Stock who won a pho­to­jour­nal­ism com­pe­ti­tion. Feininger shot the image‚for Life Mag­a­zine where he worked for decades.

Feininger is per­haps best known for his‚architectural‚ and street shots of New York City in the for­ties and fifties. This por­trait does not rep­re­sent Feininger’s aver­age sub­ject mat­ter and yet it is amongst his most famous pho­tographs for many good reasons.

The Photojournalist by Andreas Feininger - 1951

The Pho­to­jour­nal­ist by Andreas Feininger — 1951

What draws us to this pho­to­graph is obvi­ously the unique way it’s pre­sented. The Leica cam­era is turned to one side so that the lens and viewfinder act as the subject’s eyes. Both lenses have spec­u­lar high­lights which mimic the catch­lights seen in por­traits. In addi­tion, the image is beau­ti­fully printed with rich blacks and whites with detail. The eye is skill­fully guided to the focal points (lens and viewfinder) in this image, likely through selec­tive dodg­ing and burn­ing (selec­tive dark­en­ing and light­en­ing of spe­cific parts of the image). It’s the com­bi­na­tion of tech­ni­cal skill and well thought out com­po­si­tion that make this image superb.

Photo of the day – Dec. 30, 2010

A friend of mine is mov­ing out of his place with a great view of Down­town Mon­treal in 2 days so I was lucky enough to get one last crack to shoot a night scene.  As it hap­pens there’s also some­thing called Spheres Polaires in town and the spheres add to the image.

Montreal Night Scene - Marko Kulik

Mon­treal Night Scene — Marko Kulik

Photo of the day — Dec. 22, 2010

Because Mon­treal now has snow every­where, here’s another snowy shot; this time it’s a cat.

Yes­ter­day I was dog walk­ing Zeusy, and a cat spot­ted this 7 pound ter­ror. Zeus started bark­ing insanely but the cat barely moved. (That’s one of the things I love about cats btw. Unlike dogs that waste their energy willy-nilly, cats will only ‘waste’ energy if they have to). All the cat did was get up from where is was rest­ing, locked focus on the dog, and raised it’s hack­les (back fur) which made its body big­ger. Basi­cally the cat was say­ing, “you want a piece of ‚this, come and get it, but I ain’t moving!”

And that’s what drew me to the shot. It’s the cat’s ges­ture that helps sug­gest a story.

Cat with Raised Hackles

Cat with Raised Hackles

I should also men­tion that after we took the shot and moved on the cat sat right back down to rest in the snow.

Vintage photo of the day — Dec. 14, 2010

Today’s image of the day is called Mondrian’s Glasses and Pipe by the late mas­ter Hun­gar­ian pho­tog­ra­pher Andre Kertesz, and it was shot 84 years ago. If you can find this one at a garage sale, keep it, it’s worth a few bucks.

This pho­to­graph is bril­liantly com­posed and that’s why it stands the test of time. Kertesz plays with shapes in a mas­ter­ful way here and uses lead­ing lines to get to those shapes. Tri­an­gles occupy not only the pos­i­tive space, but the neg­a­tive space as well. This cre­ates an incred­i­bly dynamic com­po­si­tion. The cir­cles in the spec­ta­cles as well as the pipe and bowl fur­ther engage us visually.

Mondrian's Glasses and Pipe by Andre Kertesz - 1926

Mondrian’s Glasses and Pipe by Andre Kertesz — 1926

Photo of the day — Dec. 13, 2010 — I said, MUSH!

So I’m dogsit­ting a teeny 7 pound mini-poodle named Zeus for the next 2 weeks and we go out for a quick walk so lit­tle Zeusy can do his busi­ness. It’s snow­ing pretty hard but lit­tle Zeusy keeps trudg­ing for­ward look­ing for inter­est­ing scents to track when all of a sud­den I notice a path made by huge trac­tor tires. The lines go from fore­ground to midground and Zeus is pulling me in them. Imme­di­ately I think of the Grinch’s dog Max and I start laugh­ing. I pull out the Canon G11 and call Zeus’s name and he looks back at me. I take a few shots and then I tell him to ‘Mush!’ as I con­tinue laugh­ing to myself.

What drew me to this image was the humourous aspect and the lines. I noticed the leash’s line enter­ing the frame while I com­posed the image and that made the ‘scene’ even fun­nier sug­gest­ing that I was on a sled being pulled by this lit­tle dog. I guess my point on this one is be on the look­out for lines, they really help tell visual sto­ries!‚ I cropped this image squar­ish because it suited the scene bet­ter and I likely would have taken more time with the scene if L’il Zeusy and I were warmer.

I Said "MUSH!"

I Said “MUSH!” — Taken with the Canon G11

Vintage photo of the day — Dec. 10, 2010

I’ve been fol­low­ing the work of Jan Saudek (note: many graphic nude images on the site — NOT for the timid) for about 15 years and he is a Mas­ter pho­tog­ra­pher. What orig­i­nally drew me to his work is his sto­ry­telling, his non-conventional mod­els and back­grounds, his themes and the hand­colour­ing. Jan has a very notable ‘style’ and you will love him or hate him.

Today’s image of the day is Hun­gry For Your Touch, 1971 by Jan Saudek. I love the angle of this image and the posi­tions of the hands which are rem­i­nis­cent of‚ the Cre­ation of Adam paint­ing. I love the bright light enter­ing the door­way in the back­ground as it makes the theme of the image far richer. With­out the door the image is more about hands and inti­macy. WITH the door though, all kinds of addi­tional themes (at least to me) are sug­gested. These themes include, cre­ation, spir­i­tu­al­ity, union, long­ing and birth. That’s my take on it any­way, what do YOU see?

Hungry For Your Touch, 1971 by Jan Saudek

Hun­gry For Your Touch, 1971 by Jan Saudek

Photo of the day — December 8, 2010

I’ve come to real­ize some­thing about myself‚ lately, I just love detail shots.

There was a crazy snow­storm yes­ter­day so it was the per­fect time to go out­side and take pic­tures. :)

I took about 10 shots of var­i­ous scenes but when it came time to select just one image, I grav­i­tated toward this detail shot below. I had no ‘goal’ in mind except to take a win­tery shot. What attracted my eye to this shot were the lines. Lines in gen­eral are an extremely pow­er­ful com­po­si­tional ele­ment when used cor­rectly. Often they are used to guide the eye to another ele­ment in the image. In this case though, the lines them­selves are part of the sub­ject mat­ter and they just screamed to be photographed.

Winter Mat by Marko Kulik

Win­ter Mat by Marko Kulik

6 photos of the day — December 7, 2010

Last month I went on a photo-tour in the Rock­ies led by Dar­win Wiggett and after the tour was over he asked if we could send over our 6 faves for him to post on his site. Now that they have been posted on his site for a week or so I thought I’d also‚ post them here. Feel free to com­ment or cri­tique any aspect of these images.

Icy Sunrise at Preacher‚„s Point, Abraham Lake, Alberta by Marko Kulik

Icy Sun­rise at Preacher‚„s Point, Abra­ham Lake, Alberta by Marko Kulik

The ice for­ma­tions at Preacher‚„s Point were just awe­some. I could have eas­ily stayed there the entire day and the sun­rise was also one of the best that we had. I spent a good part of the morn­ing on my belly slid­ing on the ice look­ing for cool ice for­ma­tions. Although the ice I laid on was solid, the lake was not totally frozen and I kept hear­ing ice crack­ing sounds which freaked me out quite a bit.

Ice Cave at Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta by Marko Kulik

Ice Cave at Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta by Marko Kulik

I must have 20 shots of this ‚Ëœice cave‚„. I kept mov­ing closer and closer and closer until my footwear would not let me move any closer or my feet would have been soaked with ice-water. I was super-intrigued with the ice-forms to the right of the cen­tral rush­ing water as they seemed smoke-like to my eye.

Waveform at Coleman Creek, Banff National Park, Alberta by Marko Kulik

Wave­form at Cole­man Creek, Banff National Park, Alberta by Marko Kulik

I really dug Cole­man Creek and had the 105mm Macro on for close up details. The great thing about the 105 (I have the Nikon ver­sion) is that it‚„s also a lovely por­trait lens. When I spot­ted the inter­play between the water and the ice here, I imme­di­ately focused a few feet in front of me. I thought of surf­ing as I cap­tured this waveform.

Junction, North Saskatchewan River, Banff National Park by Marko Kulik

Junc­tion, North Saskatchewan River, Banff National Park by Marko Kulik

The rush­ing water, the ici­cles, as well as the rock faces all caught my atten­tion in this com­po­si­tion. I was also struck by the strong shapes and the inter­play between them.

Icy Tree Reflection at Waterfowl Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta by Marko Kulik

Icy Tree Reflec­tion at Water­fowl Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta by Marko Kulik

I was struck by the painterly feel of this reflected tree in the ice. The cracked ice and tex­tures made for a nice can­vas for the tree‚„s reflection.

Ice Disks, Abraham Lake, Alberta by Marko Kulik

Ice Disks, Abra­ham Lake, Alberta by Marko Kulik

This was a chal­leng­ing shot to get because I cut my pinky fin­ger on the ice maybe 5 min­utes before tak­ing this shot. I was bleed­ing a bit and tried to stop it with kleenex and it worked for a while. Every time I needed real dex­ter­ity though I moved the kleenex and it started up again. Any­way it healed up nicely. Sorry if I spoiled any macro com­po­si­tions for any­one. Wait a sec the inter­play of blood and ice ‚œ that might have been cool! I chose to con­vert this image to black and white because the nat­ural colours of rocks in the back­ground were inter­fer­ing with the form of the ice disks I wanted to highlight.

And those were the 6 that I sent off to Dar­win. Just in case peo­ple are inter­ested to see a few addi­tional shots, I posted 2 threads in our forum here.

Vintage photo of the day — December 6, 2010

On Decem­ber 3rd I sug­gested that the image of the day on this blog would mostly be my pho­tog­ra­phy and 3 days later I’m here to tell you that it will be a mix of pho­tog­ra­phy that I per­son­ally find inter­est­ing. Some­times it will be my work but often it will be other people’s and on some days, like today it will be the work of a Master.

Today’s image is by Mas­ter pho­tog­ra­pher Paul Strand and it’s called Young Boy, Gondev­ille, Char­ente, France . I just love the fact that this image is almost 60 years old. It’s a very intense por­trait of a boy star­ing right into the cam­era. What makes this por­trait work for me are the very intense and sharp eyes along with good light­ing that reveals tex­ture in the fence, boy’s hair, face and cloth­ing. The well cho­sen back­ground suits the sub­ject and sug­gests a work­ing envi­ron­ment to me. The print­ing is also won­der­ful with a full range of tones (that show up bet­ter in repro­duc­tions and books ver­sus here on the web).

Young Boy, Gondeville, Charente, France, 1951 by Paul Strand

Young Boy, Gondev­ille, Char­ente, France, 1951 by Paul Strand

Photo of the Day — December 4, 2010 (graphic image)

This image is by one of my all time favorite pho­tog­ra­phers, Joel-Peter Witkin.
I’ve been fol­low­ing his work for around 20 years. The sec­ond I saw his work I was totally mes­mer­ized but there’s very lit­tle middle-ground in terms of lik­ing Witkin’s work, you will like it or not. For me, the atten­tion to detail, the fab­u­lous com­po­si­tions, the very unusual sub­ject mat­ter that he has pho­tographed for decades, and his mas­tery of print­ing make him one of my all time favorite photographers.

Mother of the Future (2004) Joel-Peter Witkin

Mother of the Future (2004) Joel-Peter Witkin

Photo of the day (most days)

As many of you know I spend far too much time in front of the com­puter.‚ Being the admin on and is a great job and even though I do take pic­tures reg­u­larly, I often go many days with­out shoot­ing and this just has to change.

Three weeks ago I went on a photo tour in the Rock­ies with Dar­win Wiggett who has been inter­viewed on our pod­cast a few times already. Man, that Dar­win Wiggett is inspi­ra­tional and I came back on a photo high. Dar­win has been shoot­ing an image a day for well over a year I believe, and he calls it his daily snap. Here is Darwin’s daily snap for today Decem­ber 3rd 2010.

Although I am envi­ous of Darwin’s pas­sion and com­mit­ment, I know myself pretty well. I’ll try hard to post images that are shot by me and oth­ers, or post vin­tage pho­tog­ra­phy that I dig. I’ll even write a few lines about what intrigues me about the images. I should be able to do this sev­eral times a week each week — but not every sin­gle day. Any­way, effec­tive imme­di­ately and thanks again Dar­win for your addi­tional inspi­ra­tion, I’ll start post­ing pho­tos of the day as often as I can.

Here’s an image I shot just yes­ter­day a few meters from my home. The day was very over­cast and windy and pud­dles reflect­ing the city were every­where. The wind caused rip­ples in the water and gave it a painterly feel which caught my eye imme­di­ately. Because the scene already had very lit­tle colour I thought it best to con­vert it to BW using Sil­ver efex pro. Although the shot does feel a bit ‘dark’ to my eye, it did rep­re­sent the mood of the day and the chang­ing sea­sons. Please feel free to cri­tique or com­ment on any aspect of this image.

Puddle Reflection by Marko Kulik

Pud­dle Reflec­tion by Marko Kulik