Pony in the Pyrenees for Monochrome Madness


Horse on the slopes of Pyrenees Mountains
Pony in the Pyrenees 

The first day walking the Camino Francis, one of the popular routes to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, involves walking through the Pyrenees Mountains. St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles 24km, and is said to take 7 to 9 hours. We have made this trip twice now, our first days were both days were were at least 8 hours on the road.

During the day we climbed from St Jean Pied de Port at 200 metres above sea level to just above 1,400 meters then descend steeply back down again into Roncesvalles at 900 metres, which can be hard going on your knees and shins. Pack a lunch, while there is often a coffee truck on the road the options for food and water are limited.

More Monochrome image on Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness weekly blog. Prints are available on Society6.


Door knockers: Monochrome Madness

door knockers
Door Knockers for old doors https://society6.com/product/door-knockers943179_print?sku=s6-8314220p4a1v45

As we walked the Camino to Santiago de Compostela I was drawn to all the beautiful old door knockers. Of course they came in many different shapes, sizes and colours, and they were all on different types of doors. In order to have a cohesive tryptic I needed to do some work in photoshop.

I processed each of the images individually to have a similar tone and colour balance, then copied them onto one canvas together. I used the transform tool  so that the door knockers were all close to the same size. I used the black and white adjustment layer to convert the image to black and white, and then a levels adjustment layer to complete the project.

Fine art photographer Leanne Cole has a weekly challenge called Monochrome Madness each week that has inspired me. I am going to try and post one black and white image a week for this challenge.

Image of the tryptic panel as well as the each of the image will be available on Society6 if you are interested in adding them to your collection.

Pink Roses; always learning


pink garden roses
pink garden roses https://society6.com/product/roses795980_print?sku=s6-7743875p4a1v45

I love this image, but it wouldn’t work on many of the Society6 products, the image size of a single stem didn’t meet the pixel dimensions needed for some of the larger products and the single stem didn’t look great on products like the backpack.

For the shower curtain and floor pillow, I layered copies of the image. The material on the floor pillow add to the texture and delicate detail of the image, but I needed a different idea for items like the duffle bag and backpack so I decided it was time to learn how to create a pattern.



This has been the year of infrequent irregular blog posts!

It has been a while, have you missed me?! It seems that it has been difficult to post regularly, and I have turned to Instagram with a photo and short posts.  Even those posts have been infrequent over the last couple of months! So I am going to work towards a regular schedule, although I am not entirely sure what I will have to tell you!

Today I am dropping in to let you know we are visiting Lenny in Western Australia……

Lenny; a British Bulldog living in WA

The sun is shining and the weather is warm, and we are looking forward to another great day.


Calgary Peace Bridge


calgary peace bridge_25A0203
Calgary Peace Bridge; Morning Commute with the city of Calgary in the background https://society6.com/product/calgary-peace-bridge857421_print?sku=s6-7873983p4a1v45

The Calgary Peace Bridge, this image was taken last winter during one of my walks to work, for a series called Morning Commute. Images were posted on my Instagram and Facebook accounts.

I have been reviewing my cache of photos, finally getting around to editing and even printing a few of them. David DuChemin, a wonderful Canadian photographer, has advocated for many years that the best way to learn and grow as a photographer is to print your work. He suggests, we “need to live with the lines and tones and moments. Feel the colors. Doing so reveals the flaws (dust spots on the sensor, anyone?), and the weaknesses.” I so often see the dust spots after the work is printed!

Prints of this photo are available on society6



The Port Mann Bridge; is this a compelling image?

Port Mann Bridge_20160929_075129
Port Mann Bridge, in the fog. https://society6.com/product/port-mann-bridge-and-the-blue-sky_print?sku=s6-7873948p4a1v45

I joined David DuChemin’s The Compelling Frame, an online workshop and Facebook group. David describes the class as a Mentor Class in Creative Composition, helping us to become fluent in the visual language and making more captivating photographs.

I found the first two lessons very helpful, for the first time in a very long time I sat down to review my work. I have printed some older images as well as new ones, for review, and it has been a fascinating process so far. I thought I would share with you my musing about the current lesson that I am working on,  “The Frame; Orientation and Aspect Ratio” as it relates to this one image.

Before I could decide what orientation and aspect ratio of an image is appropriate I needed to understand the intent of the image, what is it I want to photograph.  We also have to understand how those choices affect the reading of the image, this is where David’s thoughts and insight are most helpful.

A little background, I was visiting the Vancouver BC area and drove across the Port Mann Bridge twice a day for two weeks. I was sitting in the passenger seat and had an amazing view of the bridge, I was in awe, and yes I photographed it from the passenger seat, through the windshield of a moving vehicle. If you know this bridge you will also know that traffic moves very slowly during rush hour most days! But there is no way to get out of the vehicle without putting lives at risk.

The intent of this images is to show the expansiveness of the bridge and how it dominates my view. The horizontal orientation supports that idea because the cables seem to wrap around from all sides, while a vertical image implied a height rather than an expansiveness.  I also looked at different aspect ratios, this is my preference, the 16:9 was too narrow horizontally. The square ration also works, but it doesn’t quite give the same feeling of all those cables wrapping around the viewer.

All of the elements lead the viewer’s eye to the center support that is almost lost in the fog, even the vehicles at the bottom are headed in that direction, and I believe support the premise of the image. There is room for the eye to move around, and I don’t think there any elements along the edge where the eye gets stuck.

To work through David’s third assignment I used photoshop. Opening the image in photoshop, although any photo editing program would work, this allowed me to look at all the different aspect ratios, orientations and framing options that might have been available.

This assignment was really helpful, and I have learned two things, I shoot quite intuitively and my camera has all these aspect ratios available to me in camera. So, my next self-assignment is to set up the tripod and photograph the same scene in different ways to study this further. By working on this in camera rather than in post processing I believe I will learn even more about choosing the framing orientation and aspect ratio that best fits the subject, and have even greater options for my portfolio.

One of my goals for this class is to photograph more intuitively, and I believe that can only be accomplished by being better informed and conscious of the choice that is available.

I would love to hear your comments you might have regarding the image or my process, and I would recommend David’s online program, or any one of his books, to anyone wanting to improve their photography.

Remake: Woman with Parasol

woman with Parasol
Remake: Woman with Parasol

I have been following Boooooooom for a while, as with so many websites that I follow, I stock from a distance, reading the information, occasionally liking and sometimes, but less frequently participating in the discussions. Lately, I have decided to take a more active role in some of the websites that inspire me.

Boooooooom has several projects on the go, Remake appealed to me. The challenge was to remake a masterwork of art as a photograph. Claude Monet is one of my favorite painters. The rules were simple it has to be a photography and the idea was to re-creating and re-staging the image. All the work here happens before you take the photo, rather than afterward, no special effects and other things to your image after the images was taken.

The challenge of re-creating an impressionist’s painting; first was the weather, we are headed into autumn here, those white puffy clouds were not available the day of our photo shoot, and because of the overcast conditions, my images don’t have the strong shadows of Mr. Monet’s painting. I did use a neutral density filter for a longer exposure, that helped to re-recreate the softness of the image, but too long an exposure, and we did do some much longer exposures) meant the image was too soft for my liking. But this softness might be something I have to get used to if I am going to re-create/remake anymore of his work, and he has an amazing collection that would be fun to explore this way!

How do you think I did, straight from the camera? Do you have a favorite painter you would like to pay homage to and re-create their inspiring picture?


Long Walk Home


long walk home; lyon france, fine art print
Long walk home; black and white fine art print https://society6.com/product/quiet-old-street_print?sku=s6-7603393p4a1v45

We were visiting Lyon France, and we had wandered the cobblestone streets of the old city. During the day I noticed this street and decide to go back to photograph during twilight, when the street lights were on, but before too dark.
As I was watching the street waiting for the street lights to come on, I was admiring the light and how it was shining off the cobblestone street when I noticed a gentleman carrying a briefcase begin to walk up the street.
I love the idea of having someone on the street, this gentleman with his briefcase was perfect. This wasn’t the image I had hoped for, the street lights had not yet come on. But I could see, in my mind’s eye, the potential, I started to move to the left to gain some separation between the person and the vehicles, I had moved my camera up to my eye, checking the exposure, focusing on the gentleman, when the bird took off. I knew I would have one maybe two frames. It worked. The light wasn’t quite what I had planned, I had intended to show the street as a long walk home at the end of the day, the warm glow of the street lamp lighting the cobblestones, the bird were a bonus, better than anything I could have hoped for. 

Have you ever headed out with your camera going to a particular location with an image in mind? Did you find the photo you were imagining, or something better? If so, did you blog about it? Let us know, provide a link in the comments, I would love to hear your story.

If you are interested, I have added this image to my society6 page, prints are available there.


IMG_8631 tango 3
Tango Dancing across the cobblestones

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love ”
Leonard Cohen

I love this quote, Leonard Cohen’s poetry and music touch the soul. I seem to have a lot going on right now, but some of it is just busy work, including looking back and sorting old photos, while working on new ideas. Thinking about where I have been, and what I have done while planning what is next. The ongoing dance of evaluating what has happened and planning where I what to go, and projects that will touch my soul.

I do have to be careful, busy work can keep me from the hard work, thinking and planning about what is next.

Ideas are wonderful but they need plans; without a plan, nothing gets done. Decisions about what projects or ideas to move forward and on but how to move forward. This means, at least for me, weekly and even daily tasks. The ideas, plans, and tasks can, and do get amended, just like dancers on a crowded dance floor, watching, turning, sometimes moving backward, but there has to be a plan and a good lead.

Busy work can feel good, like I have ticked off a bunch of tasks in a day, planning work can difficult, initiating a new project can be, at least for me, daunting, there is, at the beginning no forward momentum, sometimes there is doubt about where and how to start, who to bring into the conversation first, it’s like waiting for the music to start and “lift me like an olive branch….”






old watches and timepieces at the street market
Timepieces, old and new pocket watches https://society6.com/product/time-pieces731878_print?sku=s6-7630222p4a1v45

This is a photo was taken while visiting Madrid’s famous Rastro Flea Market; the Rastro runs through a maze of streets and to say it is well attended is an understatement!

Cheap clothing, luggage of all shapes and sizes, old records, even older photos and postcards of Madrid, faux designer purses, household goods, and electronics are the main fare. Antiques and jewelry are a big draw, in the photograph a line of pocket watches. It is hard for me to tell if the watches are really old, or replicas made to look old.

Why did I repost this photo? I could start by saying it is “timeless” but that would be a really bad pun! When I originally posted the image it received quite a few comments, and it is one of the images I have thought of ordering a print for our home. I have added it to my society6 page  

I would love to get your feedback on the image, and even my society6 page if you visit there, oh and I would love to hear any other really bad pun you can think of for the image, I love puns!