The Port Mann Bridge; is this a compelling image?

Port Mann Bridge_20160929_075129

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 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 ration 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 a 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 centre 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 thing 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 rations, 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 the 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 are available.

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

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Reduction Lino Cut Class with Lino Lenny

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Bill and I decided to do something completely different last weekend, we went out to the Leighton Art Centre south of Calgary and learned the basics of reduction lino cut printmaking from Lenny Lane, otherwise known as Lino Lenny. It was a busy two days, each of the budding artists brought designs we wanted to transfer to the lino block. With Lenny’s great instruction, and encouragement, he guided us  through the process step by step to our final images.

final images; Reduction Lino Cut Printmaking; Leighton Art Centre

The Leighton Art Centre is just south of Calgary, and it is a wonderful place to visit, the house if now a gallery featuring local artists and printmakers. They have various workshops if you are interested in expanding or exploring your artistic skills.

Lino Lenny is a patient instructor as well as a knowledgeable and talented printmaker, I recommend you check out his webpage to fully appreciate the art printmaking

 

 

Ode to the “The Vucciria”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis painting is called “The Vucciria” and is by Renato Guttuso, is large (300 cm x 300 cm) painted in 1974 while he was living in Lombardy. I have read that he ordered food to be shipped by air to him from Palermo, including a side of beef in order to paint food from life!

His work is a visual representation of the feelings I had while exploring the local markets a maze of food,  smells, sights, sounds and people, and an inspiration for my images.

 

The term Vucciria derives from the French word boucherie, or butcher shop, but in Sicily the meaning encompasses noise, confusion, chaos, reflecting the atmosphere that dwells along the streets of the market. Sicilians say “It was a vucciria” the way we in English say “It was bedlam” or “It was a madhouse”.

Lucky for Bill and I there are several street markets in Palermo, as old as the Vucciria, which are a frenzied mass of people buying fruits, vegetables and fish and meat, men on motorbikes piled high squeezing through the crowds delivering more merchandise to the stalls, and men shouting out to sell their wares. We returned to the markets many times to shop for local food and enjoy the vucciria!

Prints available on Society6

 

Estella to Los Arcos

After a rainy day off on Estella we headed out this morning, it was a cool start to the day, but before long the sun was shining and it was a lovely 17 k walk. 

Beautiful countryside, I am editing photos and publishing the blog using my phone, not convenient for long stories, so I will let the photos speak for me! 

Camino to Santiago de Compostela; Pamplona to Uterga 

We started our slow steady climb to Cizur Menor, and the Alto de Perdon by walking between fields of wheat blowing in the wind. 

The climb steadily increase, the views of Pamplona and the valley below were stunning.

At Zarriquiegui a hamlet about 10k out of Pamplona, we rested for a bit in the 13th-century Romanesque Iglesia de San Andrés. Our timing was perfect, as these two gentleman were singing, it was a delightful and unexpected pleasure. 

It was very windy at the top of the Alto de Perdon, the iron sculptures of the first pilgrims, and if you look beyond the sculpture you can see windmills in the distance.  In 2016 wind energy was the second source of electrical generation in Spain and  Spain is the fifth country in terms of installed wind power. Every Alto seems to have dozens of these large windmills on them!  

Our journey today 17 k, 28500 steps 4C when we left this morning, cold wind blowing most of the day with a high of 13C. Sitting at the end of the day on a sunny patio, with a glass of wine,  we will remember this as another lovely day. 
 

St.Jean Pied de Port; the Camino Francés 

The Camino Francés traditionally begins in St-Jean-Pied-de-Port.Two-thirds of pilgrims arriving in Santiago walk the Camino Francés, of which 10% start their journey here, walk south on the Rue de Citadelle, past the Notre-Dame church, and through the gate of Norte -Dame. 

I used a long exposure for the photo to show the pilgrims walking down the road. This represents the beginning of their journey.

We start our walk tomorrow. 

Last week for Morning Commute

It’s official, this is the last week for my morning commute series. I may comeback to this series some time in the future, as there are places that commuters walk or drive by everyday that we didn’t get to, there are different seasons that we didn’t photography fully, and different photographic styles and techniques that can be explored, but my days of walking to work in downtown Calgary have ended, at least for a while. Have you enjoyed the series, have you started to look out the window during your own morning commute and see things a little differently?

What’s next? Bill and I are planning to do a little travelling, I announced a couple of weeks ago, that we are going to walk camino to Santiago de Compostela once again. We are scheduled to be in St. Jean Pied de Port in south France April 19th, and begin our journey through the Pyrenees and across northern Spain on April 22, 2017.  We have been busy planning our days, places we want to stay, things we want to see, and photograph. Have you walked the camino, what was your favourite memory? Do you have any recommendations for places to see, places to stay? Do you have questions about the camino that I or the readers might be able to answer?

We are starting an exciting new chapter.

Another cold week in Calgary; my morning commute

 

It has been another extremely cold week here in Calgary, and I will admit to driving further than walking during my morning commute! My fitbit tells me I averaged about 8000 steps a day, and a lot of those steps were in the +15 walkway rather than out in the cold!  Winter seems to be colder and longer this year. When the weather is decent my average step count is closer to 12,000 steps. But I hear the weather is going to improve.

This clip from Rick Mercer on the seven day forecast explains Canadian’s love hate relationship with the weatherman. Enjoy Spring is just around the corner…..

Instagram this week; Feb 6 to 10 2017

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I have continued walking to work, photograph Calgary and the sights as I see them. It really does make the walk to work much more enjoyable to walk with a camera. When I walk with a camera I am much more aware of the view and the beauty around me. I would love to hear from you, are you enjoying the morning commute series, do you have a favourite spots to view Calgary from?

I have started to include some views of Calgary from the +15 walkways it has been so cold I have utilized the interior walkways to get to work! If you are not familiar with Calgary, a lot of the downtown buildings are connected to each other through a system of walkways 15 feet above ground, which means I can walk around downtown without going outside! Every new building built in the area must connect to the other around it. I read recently there are currently 59 bridges totalling 16 kilometres, each new building downtown will add to that! I love the mix of lights from the interior and exterior, with the reflections in the windows, and I am enjoying the street view from above, so don’t bee too surprised to see more of Calgary from inside looking out!

I hope you have had a good week, what do you do to keep the morning commute, if you have one, from being a repetitive journey that is easily forgotten?

 

This week on Instagram

 

We had a great time in Melbourne, getting out to see all the sights. I loved riding the old tram. Free throught the City Center the trams they are a great way to get around to all the different things to see.

I want to thank Leanne Cole, who was kind enough to get up before dawn and take the train into the city. We spent part of the morning waiting for sunrise! While we had a beautiful blue hour, when the Yarrow River was magnificently still, we did not get a colorful sunrise. While I would have loved to see the sky full of pick’s and purple clouds, I am more than happy with the wonderful reflections of the city buildings and bridges in the river. If you are interested in learning more about dramatic range photography, long exposures, head on over to her website and order the Dynamic Range Magazine it is full of great information.