Monthly Archives: January 2013

Photo of the Week – Anticipating Spring

Click on the thumbnail below to see 44th Parallel Photography’s Photo of the Week

 

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Filed under Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Flowers, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, Photo of the Week, photography, plants

Tactilize – a new resource for photographers?

I try to make time to tune into a variety of info pages to keep up with new technology, new developments in photography, new software, things like that. I’ll say right off the bat, it’s impossible. You just can’t keep up. But I figure tuning in, even irregularly, will still keep you partially informed.

Yesterday I tripped over something called Tactilize. From what I’ve read, it’s hot off the presses, very new! Now how to explain it… In a nutshell, it’s a service where you can use their web-based software for building iPad apps. But they aren’t apps in the sense we normally think of them; they’re ‘cards’, which are one page posts. Could be an image, an advertisement for your website or an exhibit. Just about anything. It’s another way to get your content out there. But I like it. It’s fresh and simple.

Tactilize_SS

I’m quickly learning that engaging in social media is absolutely essential for building a following and developing a name in photography (or any other business). If you don’t ‘put yourself out there’, nobody really knows about you. It’s a tough slog, but oh so necessary.

I’m a huge fan of digital technology. Although I wonder what being addicted to our smartphones will do to our brains and eyeballs over the longterm, I do feel that we are in a period of unprecedented development, where global communication sits at our fingertips. All you need is access to a computer and the internet (yes, I realize that there are many people in the world who don’t have access to and can’t afford such access – I think that’s something that needs to change – we need to democratize access to communication tools).

I decided to try Tactilize. My first ‘card’ is a mock-up of my advertising postcard for my photography business – 44th Parallel Photography. Nature photography is a really big field and getting noticed is hard. So I figure using a variety of ways to get the word out is worth the effort.

Here’s what my first card looks like:

Tactilize Advert_44thParallel

 

 

There’s an iPad app you can download from iTunes store

 

Grab the free Tactilize app from the iTunes store so that you can browse the 'cards' on your iPad

Grab the free Tactilize app from the iTunes store so that you can browse the ‘cards’ on your iPad

 

The Tactilize website has a brief video describing what they are all about. Have a look.

At this point, I’m intrigued by it all. Who knows what my final view will be – whether it’s a keeper or not. But for now, I like it. It’s different. There are so many info sharing services out there – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, just to name a very few. But Tactilize seems different (either that or I’m living a sheltered existence and am not aware of its equivalent out there; if that’s the case, post a comment to let me know what else is out there).

If you give it a try, post a comment here and let me know what you think. I’m curious to know!

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Filed under Creative Photography, Digital Photography, nature photography, photography, small business, technology

A new photography contest – Shutterlove

I usually tune in to Art Wolfe’s blog regularly as it’s packed with great info, great adventures and great images. Haven’t been there for a while since it’s been so busy. I just tuned in and noticed that he was advertising a new photo contest, in conjunction with a company called Shutterlove.

For all those great nature photographers, have a look and consider entering some images. I haven’t read the details yet, but it says the entry fee is only $10, which is very decent compared to many. It looks like the first contest deadline for entries is March 4th.

Click on the thumbnail below to have a look at the contest details. And if you do enter, good luck!

Shutterlove Photo Contest

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Filed under Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Nature, nature photography, photography, Wildlife Photography

Beyond fair weather photography

This week’s Photo of the Week is of a distant island on a frozen lake, in the middle of a raging blizzard. I think the conditions made for a great photo. Composition is simple, there’s no distracting colour, and the ripples of the snow on the windswept lake offer some texture. The image IS in colour, not black and white. It’s just that there wasn’t any colour – not in the white out conditions I was in.

It’s not the first time I’ve been out in a raging blizzard making images. I don’t always get the opportunity to head out in those conditions. But when I do, I enjoy it. It allows for a whole suite of completely different creative opportunities than on most of my photo outings.

A cattail marsh in the midst of a raging blizzard. The only colour was from the dead cattails in the foreground. The conditions allow for simple compositions.

A cattail marsh in the midst of a raging blizzard. The only colour was from the dead cattails in the foreground. The conditions allow for simple compositions.

The image above is memorable as I stopped at the side of a quiet rural road, about 5 km from my house. It was just a really quick stop to grab an image that caught my eye and so I left the car running, the windshield wipers on the car were on full because the snowflakes were coming down big and heavy, the heat was on full blast and I had Christmas songs blasting on the CD player. My big 600 mm lens was in the back seat…. I pulled over to the side of the road so I could safely make my image. When I do this, I usually leave the car window open or the door ajar because I don’t trust self-locking vehicles. But the snow was coming down so heavy, I couldn’t leave the window open. And hey, I was only stopping for a minute to make a photo….

I got back to the car and the doors were locked. All of them! Even though the self-locking mechanism isn’t supposed to engage while the car is running, but is not in gear, well, my car didn’t read the manual. It was locked up tighter than a drum! So here I am, a few hours before dark, on a pretty isolated road, in the middle of nowhere, in a raging blizzard. Oh, and my cell phone was sitting on the front seat, along with my jacket and mitts. Luckily I was wearing a heavy sweater, skidoo boots and the temperatures were only just below freezing. But still…..

I had a choice – break one of the windows so I could get back in my car, or start walking toward home and hope like heck someone came by so I could flag them down. I wasn’t actually worried so much about the car, even though it was running, lights were on, etc. I was more worried about my 600 mm lens, sitting in the back seat and visible. Usually I have the seat belt on her and she’s covered. But today I was in a hurry. Taking shortcuts is always a bad idea…

So, I chose to walk. Fortunately, it was only about 10 minutes when  car came by. They had a cell phone. So I called my husband and had him bring the spare keys. So, a note to those with a self-locking vehicle. Don’t trust it! I now drive a car with manual only locks. I like that much better.

The view on my walk to get help.

The view on my walk to get help.

So, the moral of my story is definitely go out in this crazy weather and make images. Just do it safely. Driving conditions can be hairy and well, there are crazy things like auto-locks. But those aside, have fun with the creative conditions at hand.

The colours in this birch thicket caught my eye. I liked how the blowing snow muted those colours but also created a diagonal texture to the image.

The colours in this birch thicket caught my eye. I liked how the blowing snow muted those colours but also created a diagonal texture to the image.

An old barn off the road. The fence and dead grasses in the foreground contrast with the hazy view of the barn. The blowing snow gave the image some texture.

An old barn off the road. The fence and dead grasses in the foreground contrast with the hazy view of the barn. The blowing snow gave the image some texture.

Next blizzard or foggy day, I hope you get out with your camera. Most ‘normal’ people choose to stay inside when the weather is foul. But us photographers see the creative potential and so, instead of curling by the fire, we grab our gear and hit the road.

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Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Landscape, Nature, nature photography, Photo of the Week, photography, Winter

Photo of the Week – White Out

Ah, it’s good to be back and working on the Photo of the Week after a brief trip out west for work. When we flew out to Edmonton it took us nearly an extra hour (of an already nearly 4 hour flight) just because the headwinds were so extraordinarily strong! Nothing like battling the jet stream….

I think those winds landed here. Today, I’m sitting at the computer wondering if the roof will lift off or that I’ll feel like I was teleported into a colourized version of the Wizard of Oz as the house gets sucked off its foundation. Sheesh!

Our noisy, windy day today compelled me to post a photo taken last year at Sharbot Lake, but it actually looked pretty similar here an hour ago.

For me, this Photo of the Week illustrates that you can make some great images in the worst of weather. Being out in 70 km per hour winds and driving snow doesn’t feel good. But it can offer some pretty impressive and interesting photographic opportunities.

Click on the thumbnail below to have a look at this week’s Photo of the Week from 44th Parallel Photography.

20 January 2013

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Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Landscape, Nature, nature photography, Photo of the Week, photography, Winter

Photo of the Week – Ice and Fog

Happy New Year, everyone! The 44th Parallel Photography Photo of the Week is back, after a brief holiday hiatus. This week’s image reflects our current weather conditions – distinctly un-winter-like (and a new record for the region). I much prefer ‘real’ winter and will be glad when we’re back to it, but I must say that the fog does create some great photographic opportunities. So while the weather is lousy, get out there with your camera. 🙂

Click on the thumbnail below to view 44th Parallel Photography’s Photo of the Week.

13 January 2013

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Filed under Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Landscape, Nature, nature photography, Photo of the Week, photography, Winter

Perils aside… let’s talk about passion

My last blog post, a few days ago, was about the perils of following your passion, whatever that may be. In the photography world, many of us would quit our ‘day jobs’ in a heartbeat, to become a full-time photographer. That doesn’t necessarily mean you hate your day job. It just means that you have a greater calling. It just means that there is something you are really, really passionate about and that you wish you could spend all your waking moments doing it.

Like I said before, for me, photography (and the things associated with my photography such as writing, conservation, environmental preservation, and connecting with people) is oxygen. Sure, I find it hard that I can only ‘breathe’ part time. 🙂 But let me tell you, it’s better than not breathing at all!

"You conceive your world in your mind and then create it with your hands" - Chris Widener

“You conceive your world in your mind and then create it with your hands” – Chris Widener

To reiterate what I said in my last blog post, read Malcolm Munro’s article on the perils of following your passion. Then dial that message back one or two turns. I wholeheartedly agree with Malcolm. You NEED to be a realist. But at the same time, don’t give up on your passion. And don’t become disillusioned. Just be realistic about what you can do given your current circumstances.

The key is: find a way to make it work. Might not be the way you first envisioned it. But this is life. We don’t always get what we want, when we want, in the way that we want. So, instead, tweak your expectations. Trim your sail. Refine your course. You WILL get there. It’s just that the path you take may very well be different from what you first envisioned. But that’s ok. It doesn’t make you any less successful at achieving your dreams.

"Dreams express what your soul is telling you, so as crazy as your dream might seem - even to you - I don't care: You have to let that out" - Eleni Gabre-Madhin

“Dreams express what your soul is telling you, so as crazy as your dream might seem – even to you – I don’t care: You have to let that out” – Eleni Gabre-Madhin

Oh, and one more thought…. don’t give a rats fuzzy bottom what anybody else thinks about your passion for photography (or whatever else it may be that you want to do – as long as it’s legal and ethical). You’re following your passion for YOU. Not for them. For you. In doing so, however, just ensure that you meet your responsibilities to yourself and your family. You know, the important stuff like mortgages, food, vehicles, utilities. It’s hard to process images in Photoshop when your electricity has been turned off due to non-payment.

I’m only a part-timer, but I feel like I’ve been around long enough to be developing a pretty healthy view of what the photography world is really like and that, typically, it takes a massive boatload of hard work and long hours to make a living as a photographer, especially in the field of nature or wildlife photography. But don’t let that stop you. Be persistent. Be positive. Be determined.

Here are a few more great quotes – fodder to fuel your drive to fulfill your passion…

"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't fine them, make them." - George Bernard Shaw

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw

"The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that's bigger than they are - that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth." - Richard Leider

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are – that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” – Richard Leider

"For the first couple of years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. If you are just starting out or are still in this phase, you gotta know that it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.... It's only be going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions." - Ira Glass

“For the first couple of years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. If you are just starting out or are still in this phase, you gotta know that it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work…. It’s only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” – Ira Glass

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." - Neil Gaiman

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil Gaiman

"Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

“Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it." - Kurt Vonnegut

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” – Kurt Vonnegut

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Filed under Abstracts, conservation, Conservation & Environment, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Dreams, learning, lessons learned, Life's short...., Nature, nature photography, Opinion, Philosophy, photography, Reflections, small business, Vision