Monthly Archives: January 2010

My Photo Links

Oh, I can’t wait until I’m old enough to feel ways about stuff.

As part of my shutter resolution I have doubled the size of my RSS subscriptions to include feeds from portraits, candids, photo-journalism and wedding blogs, tutorials and everything in between. One common message I keep reading is to ask yourself what is the purpose of my photo. Remember the subject and be clear on the story you are trying to tell.

I have never felt that my photos tell more than where I am or what I was doing so I find capturing emotion or making a story unfold in a picture challenging. Now when I find a picture that strikes an emotional chord with me I appreciate it more because their art affected me and I want to learn how to achieve the same.

I start things off with Days With My Father. This photo album has been around for a while but the message and emotional impact is still very strong. The photos are accompanied by a story, but in most cases words are not necessary and I find the whole piece very moving.

I am amazed by how human triumph, suffering and devastation can be captured and the photos compiled by the Big Picture from Haiti are worth viewing, but the photo set that inspired this post was Todd Heisler’s “Final Salute”.

Katherine Cathey draped herself over her husband's casket.

The amount of emotion in those seven photos can be a little overwhelming, but the glimpse into such a personal and sad moment are remarkable. I can just picture photo seven and get swept up in the feeling again.

To end on a lighter note, Beyond The Still is a project where photographers take a single photo and film a story around it using the video capabilities on their DSLR. Only the first of seven chapters has been released, but this concept should produce some interesting results over the next few months.

My Photo Visibility

It may not be a print magazine, or prominently displayed in an advertisement campaign but something I photographed was displayed on another site and it is a pretty neat feeling.

The photo was used on the Edmonton Real Estate blog as a photo of the week for what is happening in Edmonton. The photo was taken at the Ice On Whyte, and the rest of the photos from that trip can be seen here.

Sadly, I use Flickr less than I should. I use it to publish my Project 365 photos, and with the free account only showing the last 200 photos it is barely a snapshot of my portfolio. I am unable to justify the cost of a Pro account but the social networking aspects of the site cannot be beat because this whole thing transpired through a comment on my photo.

My 3-Point Hand Strap Review

In August I read about the Brando Ultimate 3-Point Hand Strap on engadget.com here. I had starred the item in my Google Reader and it sat there for a few months. After lugging the Rebel with the stock strap through England, France and Las Vegas I thought I would take a different approach to how I hold the Canon.

I ordered the 3-Point Hand Strap on November 24, 2009 and it arrived on January 6, 2010. I had no photo walks or tours planned immediately but giving the strap a work out during my daily photos would be a way for me to see if the $16USD was worth it.

So begins my 3-Point Hand Strap review.

Installation was breeze. It’s a simple concept but I am able to let go of the camera and it will stay close to my hand, attached and secure.

I didn’t realize how often I moved my right hand around the body until it was locked into place. Most of my setting adjustments were done with my hand pulled off the body, but being strapped in I had to slide the hand out of the strap a bit to make changes. This was a little awkward because I have been using the Rebel body a certain way for over a year and I had to re-learn how to make adjustments.

One thing that bothered me the most was that my Lowepro Nova 160AW case had to be reorganized. The Brando strap was just large enough that I couldn’t use my standard configuration, so I had to remove the divider between the 500D and my 50mm f/1.8 lens, which has worked reliably for me for over a year.

When Gord and I went to Troll Falls in Kananaskis I thought this would be a great opportunity to test the hand strap. It stayed ready in my hand but when the walk got extreme with snow and slippery conditions I was handicapped with being able to use only one hand. If I had to tie my shoe lace or write something down the camera had to be removed. These are not deal breakers for the strap, but if I just had the regular neck strap on none of this would have been a problem.

However, the afternoon walk to Ice On Whyte was ideal for the Brando strap. It was nice to have the camera always present and not worrying about moving the body as I went through the crowd.

The hand strap was able to remain attached to the camera when I would put it on the tripod, but I never felt that the camera was securely on there. I could still adjust the cameras position because the Brando attachment had some give. I was never concerned about the camera falling out, but I would have preferred it if the DSLR felt a little more tighter in there.

I think there is a definite place for this Brando strap, like going on a long photo through a city park or on a leisurely stroll. However for everyday typical camera use it was mostly an inconvenience and may not have aided to a steady hand with the camera. Simple urban exploration is where the strap excels, but should be left at home if you leave the city limits and do some exploration.

My Shutter Resolution

I am not one for making a New Years resolution. It may be my problem with executing the plans or my inability to create a worthwhile resolution but I have not seriously considered one in a decade. When it comes to resolutions, or plans to change your life I like to reference a Vanilla Sky quote that goes “every passing minute is a another chance to turn it all around”. Instead of waiting until the next calendar year I want to make the effort to make the change now.

However, I am breaking my own code but for 2010 I want to learn more about photography. I have taken a photo every day since October 2006, and some days are a chore, but I believe that if I know more about what I am doing I will be able to photograph the familiar and ordinary in a new and engaging way.

  • I feel that it is time to take it to the next step and focus on composition, exposure and lighting. To learn the technical aspects of a photo and how it all goes together before I press the shutter.
  • I have subscribed to more photography websites and will actually think about techniques I am reading.
  • I will visit sites that are recommended by photography people I follow on Twitter and really give that link my attention.
  • I will look at good photos and really examine them. Why do I like a certain photo? What are they doing that I can learn from? How is their photo so good?
  • I want to learn more about products (and not just what Canon is offering).
  • I want to get more involved with the Edmonton photo community, as there is a good base of users from #yegphoto that I could learn from.

Where does this ultimately lead me? I do not think photography will be anything more than a hobby for me but knowing more will only aid this hobby. If there is a weekend course or a seminar I will make more of an effort to seek them out and attend.

In December I did a round of head shots at work for the company Christmas video, and it got me thinking. Will I approach people on the street to take their photo? Maybe not. However working towards that is something that interests me. Approaching someone on the street, getting some information about them and then putting a story to their photo sounds like a great project. It’s a scary thought, but exciting.

I have never evaluated what I am doing as a guy with a camera, and I hope at the end of the year I will have an answer to that.

No better way to start a 12 month plan than by reading some very niche and highly accurate comics from What The Duck.


Say cheese!

My Musical Tag Tube

As a 2010 gift to myself I purchased a one month subscription at last.fm. My original intent was to see the historical information presented in their “Playground” and get a sense of my listening habit over the last seven years I have been with last.fm.

I paid my $3USD one-time fee for a months access and immediately downloaded my “Tag Tube”.

It looked neat on the surface, but I was a little disappointed to see what it only went back as far as April 2008. Still, there are ebbs and flows with my listening habits and this map does a good job of representing that. See the last twenty months of my last.fm tags in Underground Tube format here.

There is not much to glean from this, but it looks like the tagging system is a little off because Matthew Good appears under “Alternative Rock” and “Canadian”. Both are accurate tags but I feel that if they had went with one over the other then MG would have had a more consistent presence in my Tubes.

Otherwise the information is pretty accurate. The White Stripes usually dominated my listening in any given month, but there were occasional binges with soundtrack scores (as “My Aught Nine Numerical Review” showed). I will investigate the other features of being a Last.fm subscriber, and since listening to their radio does not interest me, I will see if this was a worth while purchase. If not, then I may consider buying again in another 12 months to see how my Tube Tags look.