New landscape online magazine

Thanks to Google Reader I chanced upon this new online publication Landscape Photography Magazine.

Check it out. It’s free  🙂  BTW that’s my Algonquin sunrise shot. Thanks to Ethan Meleg and the editors of Outdoor Photography Canada magazine for arranging the workshop a couple of years ago now. Never would have gotten this shot if Ethan hadn’t insisted we get up before dawn and drive 20 kms into Algonquin Park to one of his favourite spots. Mother Nature cooperated thankfully.


Podcamp Toronto 2011 now history :(

Congratulations to the organizers of Podcamp Toronto 2011. With well over 1500 registrations I guessed at Saturday’s peak there were at least 800 maybe a 1,000 people in the Rogers Communications Centre at Ryerson University. (That’s me getting ready for the photography session with Michael Willems who wowed the crowd.)

We have to thank Rogers for this magnificent contribution to Ryerson. It’s a high tech wonder and will help educate Canada’s new digital workforce.

Podcamp attracted participants from around Ontario. These earnest 20- to 30-year olds packed the seminar rooms all day Saturday and Sunday morning. And what seminars they were. Some of Canada’s top digital entrepreneurs freely shared the “secrets” of their success (typically a good idea that solves a problem and tons of hard work, How novel and new – Not!). Smart phones and digital pads were the order of the day. Lots of Flip video and tons of DSLR cameras were evident.

As one of the oldest participants, I had a ball. Great camp. Great conversations. Great workshops.

Podcamp Toronto 2011

It was a gathering of a tribe: The Digital Tribe.

It was all about sharing and caring. Organizers (and podcamps aren’t called “unconferences” for no reason and there isn’t much organization nor should there be) did a fabulous job or making sure the doors were opened on time and the classrooms were available to those who promised to making presentations. A coffee company provide wonderful coffee and croissants for 1,000 participants all day long. Rogers offered WiFi and Ryerson provided the rooms.

But it was the people…mainly young people (remember I’m in my 60s so a lot more people look young to me) packed rooms and sat in halls and talked – actually talked in person – to each other.

My photos I hope document a moment that has come and gone and maybe remembered with a certain nostalgia by all.

I know kids in their 20s and 30s will bristle when I said this but this is the right of their seniors to say:

The kids are alright. Our digital future is in good strong hands,

BTW the Strobist Toronto group was at the Podcamp shooting portraits. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

PodCamp Toronto 2011 Photos

Hi everyone from Podcamp Toronto 2011 and welcome to Peter West Photo.

Over the weekend (Feb. 26-27) I shot photos which are available for download so long as you aren’t using them for commercial purposes (Making money off my work without paying me.).

Feel free to print your images or use them on your Facebook or other social media pages.


On Sunday I’ll be conducting workshop with my friend and fellow professional photographer Michael Willems. Here’s more information on this free workshop taking place at Ryerson University.

BTW I’ll be brining an umbrella and flash with me on Sunday so if you want a portrait done, this would be a good opportunity.

Michael and I are both available (separately or as a team) to talk to your photography club or to shoot special event photography for your company, club or cause. Our rates are competitive and you’ll love the results.

David Oliver and the art of black and white

David Oliver is one of the world’s best photographers. Best of all, he loves black and white images. The bad news is he lives in Australia so going for a workshop might be out of the question.

Anyway David was the feature photographer for NIK’s webinar this evening which focused on their Silver Efex Pro software.

Now as many of you know I started my photography career shooting black and white images for a daily newspaper. After shooting for years – and years – and years I got to the point where I could see in black and white. I still can but nowhere near as well as when I was younger 🙂 Even better I got to run the newspaper darkroom and I got pretty good working with chemicals.

With the arrival of digital photography wet darkrooms went the way of the DoDo bird and I miss it.

But here’s good news: Thanks to NIK’s Silver Efex Pro I can do fabulous black and white images again and I don’t even need to get my hands wet.

This is a shot I did during a walk-about with fellow photographer Mike Cauterman up at Mountsberg Conservation Area. These three riders came by and I shot them as they approached. After I brought everything up into Lightroom 3 I converted this one in Silver Efex Pro.

Now that I’ve watched David’s workshop, there’s so much more I can do. If this guy ever offers a workshop in North America it would be worth the time and cost. Maybe I could convince Marion to visit Australia one of these days.

Winter’s Day

What a lovely day (-10 in the morning) and my friend Mike and I took the day off to go shooting. We ended up at Mountsberg Rapture Centre near Milton, Ontario. We walked around the centre and headed out to the sugar bush where the sap is starting to run on warm days.

Today wasn’t a warm day but there was lots to shoot.

We had a wonderful moment when three women on horseback came up one of the trails.

I’m not a big horse person but Mike hasn’t met an animal that doesn’t know that he’s a friendly sort.

Me. I like taking photos and left Mike to talk to the horses. (That’s Mike hugging a horse in the photo below.)

Funny thing though. As we were talking I said to the ladies that if they wanted to see photos of themselves to drop by this site.

(Here’s the link to images at Peter West Photo at my SmugMug site.)

Once I said my name one of the women said don’t you know so-and-so and I said yes I do.

Small world as we knew each other from Facebook connections. I’m giving a workshop next week for the agencies of the Oakville United Way and trust me this trail-side Facebook conversation will be featured.



NIK Workshops

One of the advantages of shooting in RAW is you can open these images in any of the high-end photo editors (Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, NX Capture) and create your own custom JPG for viewing online or printing at home or by a lab.

But a RAW photo editor is just the start. With the exception of NX Capture (which is designed mainly for RAW NEF files from Nikon cameras)all of the above editors work with NIK’s family of software products. (NX Capture does work with NIK’s Color Efex Pro 3 filter package. NX Capture is my preferred editor for my individual Nikon images while LR 3 is my editor for working on my commercial special events work. Aperture is for MAC computers only but is available right now for $70 which is a bargain. Adobe’s Photoshop Elements (under $100) will also work with all NIK products with the exception of HDR Pro.

I’ve got the whole NIK family and I can recommend every program. My favourites are Color Efex Pro 3 and Silver Efex Pro 2. I got HDR Efex Pro and it’s great fun and easy to use.

But best of all, NIK has online webinars where wonderful teachers walk you through using the products. If you can’t join the webinars, there are online tutorial videos here. Fabulous products – great teachers – good company 🙂