Print lessons from another master

I’ve said this before, but if you want to become a better photographer join a local camera club.

Look for a club where the members welcome newcomers and where’s there’s a good mix of photographers ranging from beginners to pros. Checkout the schedule of club events. The best organized clubs post this schedule months ahead of time.

Case in point is my home club of the Oakville Camera Club. A small beginner-friendly club, OCC has tons of special events ranging from shooting days to special workshops.

But last night’s club meeting was exceptional.

Our own Walter Sawka did a two-hour tutorial on all things about printing and it was amazing.

I heard Walter do a similar workshop two or three years ago when I bought my Epson 3800. I loved that workshop and understood about less than half.

Last night’s workshop covered much of the same ground but this time I got all of it plus I learned a few new things I didn’t know about colour space.

Walter was kind enough to bring a selection of his photos so we could admire the expert work he’s done in mastering the printing process.

Remember, even if you think you’ll never print a digital image at home, attending workshops like the one from last night will just help you become a much better photographer. Even better, if you are printing, you’ll quickly find out that you aren’t alone in struggling with the process. That’s what makes having guys like Walter such a valuable club resource.

Walter is going to do part II in the fall and I promise you I will be there in the front row.



Sitting at the master’s feet

Jay Maisel, who some – including me – consider one of the best living photographic artists was in Toronto on Friday giving a lecture at Vistek Camera’s ProFusion 2011.

Jay runs workshops out of his New York City brownstone for around $5K a week. BTW rumour has it that Jay bought the building for $102,000 in 1966. It’s worth and estimated $30,000,000 now. Nice investment! Three of the audience participants had taken the workshop and raved about it.

Jay is not a techno geek. He shoots in three-frame burst mode at ISO 1600 using aperture priority. He shoots on New York streets, in the subway and from his magnificent roof. His colour images are all about people and life on the street. When I grow up I want to become Jay Maisel.

Best quote of the day: and I paraphrase…”It’s about pictures not pixels.”

There’s nothing to shoot

So the nature webinar is over and I’m thinking there’s nothing around here to shoot.

Then as I’m walking in a park I see a bit of motion out of the corner of my eye.

And I look down and there’s this frog.

He hops on rock by a fountain and waits for his big moment.

And here it is on the Olympus E-PL 2.

Handsome little fellow.

How to shoot great nature shots

Wildlife photography is one of the most difficult forms of photography. Not only are you often out in inclement weather but you’re lugging 30 pounds of equipment with you.

Or not ūüôā

I’m watching a NIK Software / X-Rite ¬†featuring Juan Pons ¬†who is doing an hour-long webinar called Wildlife and Nature Photography Too¬†which will be archived and available for free.

He talked quite a bit about setting up your own bird-feeder attractor suitable for shooting birds in your own backyard. Doesn’t get easier than that, does it?

Mike Cauterman of Appleby Media lives on the Niagara Escarpment and his property is right on a major bird migratory route. Mike has a bird feeder outside the sliding glass doors of his dining room. He can crack the doors open six inches and set his camera up on a tripod and shoot great bird shots with remote in one hand and a beer or coffee in the other.

Shoot like a Pro

I saw David Ziser when he did a workshop a couple of years ago in Buffalo, NY. Buffalo from the GTA is a 45 minute leisurely drive and the workshop was excellent.  

David is very generous with his time and talents. If you’re even thinking of shooting a wedding this summer, camp out at David’s “Digital ProTalk” website and watch all of his tutorials. I guarantee you will be a better photographer if you make the effort.

David’s got another excellent video¬†which he posted today on how to make wedding shots more dramatic and it’s a good place to begin your education.

Walk…slowly and carry a little camera

The biggest problem most amateurs have is what do I shoot?

Well this weekend in Hamilton there’s an air show. You will find tons of stuff to shoot there. Most of it won’t be in the air because most of us don’t own 600mm lenses which are sort of “the” lens to have at air shows. You will be amazed how small airplanes look in photos shot with anything less. But you will be pleased with how good an airplane sitting on the tarmac can look through even a modest wide angle lens.

Everything is in bloom. And I often shoot images of flowers just for the shear joy of it and the images make for great background images on my monitors.

So it’s mid June already. Get out and shoot. Oh yeah, the big secret is walk slowly – really slowly and use your eyes before you use your camera. Keep it simple. These shots were taken with an Olympus E-PL2 as JPGs and edited in IPhoto. Doesn’t get simpler than that.

Charges laid in G20 photographer’s beating

Finally the subject officer in the alleged assault on Dorian Barton has been charged.

Barton is the 30-year-old cookie maker who claims he was photographing police at aQueen’s Park demonstration during the G20 when he was slammed with a riot shield and beaten with a baton. He suffered bruises and a broken arm.

Almost a year ago now on June 27, 2010 the Special Investigation Unit started an investigation which was twice dropped due an inability by anybody in the police service to identify a suspect even though a photo of a suspect was presented to police.

Newspaper reports say that after 11 other police officers failed to identify Barton’s assailant that a “blue wall of silence” was compromising the investigation.

Barton says only a full-scale public inquiry will satisfy him. He said in a Toronto Star article that the charge would never have come about if not for the media’s (especially the Toronto Star) persistence.