Looking to the Future and at the Past

Janus, the ancient Roman god of, among other things, beginnings, transitions, time and endings, is, according to Wikipedia, “usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past”. I look at this post as my 2018/2019 Janus edition, in that I will briefly review my past year’s goals and accomplishments, then look forward to plans for the coming year.

Small tree covered in snow

At the end of 2017, I wrote a post about what my hopes were for my photography in 2018. Some of these goals were met, while others were not. Here is a review of some of those goals:

My hopes to photograph significantly more wildlife didn’t happen and while it is not the top of my list of hopes for 2019, I’m still hopping to do better in this area.

I expected Nature photography to be the focus of my efforts, which it was, and it will continue to be. This is a broad area, so to narrow it down just a little, I expect to be doing a lot of seascape, landscape and woodland photography. I know, that doesn’t narrow it down too much!

Photographing in new locations was another priority for me in 2018 and I made progress in this area. I was able to travel to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state and had a great time exploring the sea stacks on the coast as well as the rainforest. I also made a trip to the northern end of Vancouver Island, where I visited more sea stacks in San Josef Bay, in Cape Scott Provincial Park. Since the southern end of Vancouver Island sees very little snow, I made a trip late in the year to Mount Washington in the central island area, so I could make some winter images. There will definitely be more varied trips around the island and the province, as well as at least one to another destination further south.

I had hoped to do more ongoing projects, but only recently have started one, which would fit in with another goal, video. Right at the end of the year I started a YouTube channel, producing a minute long trailer, and about a ten minute vlog.

Another area I wanted to become more involved with was teaching photography in some way. So far this hasn’t panned out, but it will remain a longer term goal. I did manage to lead a photowalk and regularly contribute advice at my local photo club, however, I would like to move to more structured teaching opportunities in the future.

I have been able to have photos in several public exhibitions this year, and have sold prints as a result, so I am very happy with this area and want to get into even more events in the coming year.

In addition to the goals I mentioned above there a few more things I’d like to do this year:

I did a little astrophotography in 2018 and have decided that I would like to do more in the coming year. Generally I don’t like to use gear as an excuse, because it really isn’t, but I’ll probably invest in a proper wide angle, reasonably fast lens, so that I can do more in this area.

I was also slowed up a little in the first half of 2018 by an old injury that chose to flair up and limited the difficulty & frequency of my hikes, but things have improved. I am planning on being a little more adventurous on my photo-hikes this year, including at least one multi-day hike which will take me a little beyond the furthest point I’ve travelled to on Vancouver Island.

One last thing I will be doing in 2019 (and beyond) is getting additional education and acquiring new skills. While I’ve done a lot of online learning related to photography, I have to go back several decades to the last time I did any in person training, when I took a B&W darkroom course! This time, in addition to online learning and informal opportunities, I will be attending a multi-day photography workshop, where I will get the opportunity to try new methods and genres that I haven’t had much exposure to.

I hope everyone enjoys following my blog in the new year as well as checks out my adventures on my YouTube channel. Happy 2019 to everyone!

Top Ten (favourite) Images of 2016

This is the second annual list of my favourite images from the past year.  I started last year after seeing the great images of many other photographers featured on the great blog site of JMG Galleries. While I was not able to make as many images as I had hoped in 2016, I did manage to have some interesting and new experiences. Here they are, in no particular order:

bw fog trees
It’s all about the light

Living on the west coast of Vancouver Island offers so many opportunities to make captivating images of nature. It’s easy to wander along a beach or into the woods and see something different every time. In the photo above, the fog was slowly lifting and the sun lit up the scene in a way I just had to capture. Converting the image to monochrome evoked just the feel I was looking for.

man taking pictures on a beach during sunset
Everyone loves a sunset

Sometimes you travel a little bit farther for something special, like the above image of a man taking a cellphone photo at sunset, on a beach in Tofino, BC (one of my favourite places to get away from it all).

bubbles in the ice on a lake
Frozen Bubbles

Just around the corner from me is tiny little Poirier Lake, which has trails around it and a little dock.  I was lucky enough to visit it on one of those rare days when it had a little ice on it.  Just next to the dock there were little groups of bubbles that had formed and I thought in this particular group of bubbles was particularly intriguing.  It seemed to hint at the shape of an animal paw/foot, and the fine powder on the bubble just left of centre had interesting patterns on it.  It’s one of those things that if I hadn’t stopped to take a close look, I wouldn’t have seen and I doubt anyone else would, either, as the weather warmed up and the lake was ice free before sundown.

pinwheel looking lights of a ferris wheel at night
At the Fair

Some of the images here made the list in part because I was trying out different techniques than I normally use, or just plain trying to be more creative.  One of these is my image of the ferris wheel at the Luxton Fall Fair.  I had tried a variety of different techniques to capture the motion  of the rides and/or add some intentional camera motion and most of those images seemed pretty standard to me.  This one I combined a couple things and loved the final result.

ornate brass door hinge
Details Matter

Sometimes you just have to make images with the camera you have with you, such as the image above.  This is a detail shot of a brass door hinge (rotated 1/4 turn counter clockwise) on the Grand Mosque in Constanta, Romania.  In this case, I was on a work assignment in the area and did not have my DSLR or any of my film cameras with me, but I am very happy with the results I was able to get using my iPhone.

man standing with two hats
A Street Portrait

I am most comfortable making photographs of nature, landscapes, cityscapes, or even abstract subjects, so something like a street portrait was a bit of a stretch for me.  The gentleman here was kind enough to pose for a photo I made using a century old Ensign camera and black and white film.  Using the Ensign sparked the film bug in me and I have since blown the dust off my old Canon AE-1 and acquired a Hasselblad 500 EL/M.  I am by no means abandoning using digital cameras, but going back to film and even getting back into film development has really got me excited and feeling inspired.  I now have a dedicated film scanner and am looking at experimenting even more… keep watching this blog for more updates on these experiment.

young girl standing in the rain
Smiling in the Rain

Having a satisfying experience with street photography, I continued to expand my comfort zone and when the opportunity came to make some family portraits, I was up to the challenge.  The weather on the day did not cooperate, but adjustments were made and I really enjoyed the photo session.  In fact, the rain, lit by the fill flash, even added a distinct look to some of the images and gave them a more ‘authentic’ wet… I mean West Coast look.

a yellow boat floats in front of an apartment building
In the Bay

Every year, for the past several years, I have joined in the local area Kelby Photo Walk and always enjoy mingling with other photographers and strolling along for a few hours of photography fun.  This year the one I participated in was in Oak Bay and I found this cute little yellow boat, gently floating on the water, which had tiny ripples on it, while there was an imposing concrete apartment building and dark foreboding clouds in the background… I loved the contrast.Remembrance Day CanadaRemembrance Day has a very special meaning to me and I wanted to make an image that would be simple & respectful.  I chose use the poppy we wear in Canada for Remembrance Day, against a dark background and tried to light it in a way to make it stand out.  I almost never use text on any of my images; however, this was different and I chose a very special poem.  Written by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae while serving in the military as a doctor in Europe during WW I, In Flanders Fields has become synonymous with Remembrance Day ceremonies, and always makes me pause and reflect.

christmas tree shaped light display
The Sooke Traffic Circle Light Tree

The year ended with my creative take on the “Lights of the Season“, which was the winning entry in a contest run by Oopoomoo (one of my favourite photography blog sites).  I had fun putting this list together, but had a hard time getting down to the last ten, but that’s a good problem to have.  I know this year the images covered a wide variety of photography genres and I am sure I will eventually have a more consistent type of image; however, it likely won’t be 2017, as I plan of doing a lot more experimenting and expanding my repertoire.