Personal Work

Mid Winter Blues

I’m finally able to walk again after having surgery on both my feet this past November. Being stuck in the house is no fun at all during the winter months especially when you think it is the best time of year to photograph. So it has been a long winter so far in that I haven’t been able to enjoy it until recently. With the recent record breaking snowfalls of over 100 cm in the Ottawa area and yesterday’s mild temperatures it made it a great day to head out with a friend to Perth, Ontario otherwise known as the prettiest town in Ontario. Danielle and I made our way there for the day and she graciously allowed me to try out her Mitakon 50mm .95 lens which I used for the in town photographs. Here are some of my favourites from our outing. Hope you enjoy.


Q and A with Kai Behrman and the Art of Creative Photography

As part of my interview for Kai Behrman's Podcast: The Art of Creative Photography, Kai asked me the following questions. 

1.) Favorite photograph – by whom and why?

My favourite photo at this moment is A Winter’s Night by me.  It is a photograph I took one night around 11 pm in mid-November.  The ice had just frozen over and people were beginning to walk on it.  I was unsure of whether or not I should venture out to capture the scene but I noticed a truck parked on the ice so it couldn’t be too bad.  I was alone with the exception of a fox that crossed my path.  I  love the darkness with a glimpse of light streaming through what seems to be an opening in the clouds, the storyline of traces of human life and community in barren and cold conditions.  And I especially love the stillness and mystery that it evokes. I currently have it hanging in my living room. 

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2.) Favourite inspirational quote about photography (or life in general)?

I have two favourite quotes:

“Work is love made visible” by Kahlil Gibran

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And

“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”  Ralph Hattersly

3.) Favorite book – by whom and why?

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis.  I loved this book because it is a story about 15 dogs who received the gift of human consciousness from two gods on a bet.  The bet was that dogs would be even more unhappy than humans are if they were given human consciousness.  It was my favourite read because I love dogs of course and I like to think about these things i.e. what constitutes a good life and how one should achieve happiness and meaning in life.  Also, one of the key canine protagonists Majnoun reminds me of my 10-year-old Golden Doodle named Saydee. 

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4.) Favorite photographer – why?

Yousef Karsh - As you know, I have already mentioned how much I like the work of Annie Leibowitz however, I thought I should also mention a Canadian master portrait photographer who happens to be from my hometown in Ottawa, Canada.  His portrait of Winston Churchill is masterful.  I’ve seen an original print of it in the Speakers Chamber in the House of Commons and it is arresting.  He had an uncanny ability to know and connect with his subjects in a way that is congruent with their story.  He has photographed some of the great personalities of the 20th century:  Queen Elizabeth, Einstein, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Picasso and others. 

5.) One contemporary photographer, you’ve recently discovered?

David Burdeny… I love his colourful medium format aerial work.  He makes gorgeous very large prints. 

6.) Favorite photography gadget?

I love my Peak Design Slide strap.  It enables me to switch cameras effortlessly as well as distribute the weight around my shoulders.  

7.)  The favorite song when traveling / for the road? Why? —> 

The new rendition of Paul Simon’s classic:  The Sound of Silence by American rock band:  Disturbed. He sings it with such passion and the song’s lyrics really resonate with me.  Actually, it might be a good theme song for my favourite picture. 

8.) What’s in your camera bag?

I have both the Fujifilm XH1 and XT2, cameras along with several Fujifilm lenses:  XF16MM, XF23F2, XF35F2, XF56APD, XF10-24, XF16-55 and the XF50-140.  I also have a Fujifilm EF500 flash as well as a Godox V860II Flash.

Ice Storm

It is supposed to be spring.  I must admit the weather here in Ottawa is leaving a little bit to be desired.  It is going up and down like a yo-yo.  At the end of February it was positively balmy and now that it is mid April we have been getting snow and freezing rain.  In Yellowknife, it is predictably freezing cold for much of the year.  But with a good coat and a pair of mukluks, you are pretty well set for venturing outdoors.  

Today it was so crappy I could barely take Saydee for a walk.  Schools were closed, power lines and tree branches were down and many homes were without power.  I literally had to drop my poochie off at the park and waited by - no hung on to the car as the wind was gusting at about 60km hour.   I did, however, think it was beautiful.  The trees were all glistening with ice as were the roads.  A good day for a photo shoot then.  So off we went in search of beauty amidst the chaos.  

I probably could have used Fuji's new XH1 with in body image stabilization as I wasn't too sure on my feet. 

Here are some of my favourites. 

Christmas Tree Farm

We pushed off our annual outing of going to get our Christmas tree until the snow came.  It just didn't seem right otherwise.  Here it is almost mid-December and finally, we got a couple of centimetres of snow last night.  So today was the day.  

We decided to go to the Fallowfield Tree farm.  We had been there three years before - the year before traveling to Yellowknife.  It was a mild -3C so given that we are used to -30C at this time of year, that was no big deal.  I was looking forward to photographing the typical Canadian winter scene of hay rides, Christmas trees, goats and horses.  Since I still have Fuji's medium format camera I wanted to try it out at the tree farm.

So here are some favourites from the day.  

Grand Opening of the Snowcastle in Yellowknife, NT

Yesterday at 12 noon, the Snowking:  Tony'unveiled' or more specifically carved the front door out of his massive Snowcastle and warmly invited people in.  Each year the Snowcastle is somehow improved from the year before and this year's Snowcastle is apparently the biggest ever in the 21 year history of building Snowcastles.  There are slides for children, a courtyard and a Grand ballroom of sorts.  There is an ice bar and VIP lounge.  Hot Chocolate will be served.   For the month of March the Snowcastle will set the stage for a variety of artists, songwriters and bands.  Here are some photos from yesterday's opening ceremony.

All photos taken with #Fujifilm XT1 and XF10-24 lens.