vancouver photographer

Salt Spring Island

I recently visited Salt Spring Island with Ayase Kay. I feel like I have been working in a tornado for the past year, so getting away to a Gulf Island was a welcome escape. As soon as I stepped on the ferry, I felt responsibilities melt off my shoulders. Plus, the added bonus of nearly no cellphone reception was fantastic. On the island, we stayed with Ayase's Dad who is an artist. He is a painter, sculptor and musician. His home was eclectic, with every corner full of art, instruments, books, photos, sentimental knick-knacks and odds-n-ends. I felt inspired and in awe, his home was like the mix of a library meets an art gallery. 

We explored the property, went swimming in Cusheon Lake, had lunch at the farmers market. We danced at Beaverton Hall to electronic DJ's late into the night, barefoot while sipping cans of Yerba Matte. I had a potluck dinner on Aloha Aina Farms the next day, went swimming in Spirit Lake and soaked up a long, pink, summer sunset. I felt time move a bit slower, the sun and gravity made my foot steps a bit heavier. I left for the ferry Monday morning feeling relaxed and happy. 

Kincardine Exploring

I recently travelled to Kincardine, Ontario, to photograph a wedding. I managed to make some time to explore, and took some photos of Kincardine and the surrounding area. I had only been to Ontario once before, to visit Ottawa. Although Ontario is not exactly an exotic, far off country, I was curious to spend some time on the other side of Canada and see if I noticed anything different. Spoiler alert- I didn't. Except I think people are much friendlier in Kincardine than they are in Vancouver. The weather was interesting as well, very humid some days and storms with fork lightning that struck into the lake would roll in and out.  

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I drove my rental car outside of Kincardine, and through some farm land. I drove down an empty road, and only saw only maybe 1 or 2 other vehicles. I pulled over to take some photos and explore a decrepit farm. It was perfectly silent, I couldn't hear any buzz of city sounds- only birds and a breeze that would catch a piece of stray tin roof and make it clang gently once in a while. I'm not sure if there is a word for this, but I experienced the feeling of being completely alone. The pang of realization that no one has any idea where you are, you are completely alone in a new place. It's kind of thrilling and liberating to be completely cut off and alone. Maybe this is felt so much more from living in a culture and age of connectivity, and being glued to my phone. The last time I felt like this I was travelling alone in another country.

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There was an old, abandoned farm house on the property. The yard was completely overgrown, with plants growing up to my waist. Part of me was nervous about exploring it, but I knew I would regret it if I didn't take a few photos. I walked carefully through the tall plants and carved a path to the front door. I looked through the window, and saw abandoned furniture and clutter. I went around the backside and the door was unlocked. 

Photography Tips Part 1: Rule of Thirds

I wanted to share some simple tips I use when taking photos. Sometimes people tell me, "I can't take nice photos"... or, I hear this one quite a bit, "that camera must take amazing photos!"

Well here is the truth: it's not all in the camera, and you can take nice photos too. 

I like to take photos with my iphone, disposable cameras, film, my "big, black camera"... it's not how big and expensive your camera is. It's about composition, lighting, colour, focus, and expression. Don't get me wrong, there is beauty in quality and sharpness, but sometimes the most beautiful photographs are unexpected, a bit blurry or slightly out of focus. Sometimes it's a memory or a relatable emotion in someone's face. But I am going to start a series of blog posts on some simple tips on composition, posing, authenticity and more to help anyone take better photos. 

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Composition Part 1: Rule of Thirds 

When you are taking a photo of anything or anyone, you need to pay attention to your composition. Composition will make or break a photo. You can take the rules I will teach you and apply them to painting, design, cross stitching, anything visual! But, what does composition mean in terms of photography? Composition is framing your photo's subject and/or landscape, and creating balance and negative space to create a visually appealing photograph. A lot of this is natural intuition because when most people look at a photo, they know what a good photo looks like verses a bad photo. The rule of thirds is the basis of composition and I think the first step, so that is what we are going to focus on today.

Using the rule of thirds creates visual balance by dividing the composition into thirds. Groups or divisions of 3 are naturally visually appealing to us (as well as groups of 5 or 7!).You can visualize thirds when looking through your camera lens or on screen, or a lot of cameras have a grid feature built into the viewing screen (like on your iPhone!). Below I have a couple examples of photos I took with a grid divided into thirds applied to them. The grid was created by placing two equally spaced lines horizontally and vertically which creates three equal sections up, and three equal sections sideways. You can see where the lines intersect I have put an X. Using the rule of thirds you would want to put your subject either on one of the X's, or lined up with one or more of the grid lines. See below I have an example of photograph where the focal point is on an intersection, and one where the focal point is lined up on two grid lines. 

Side note- negative space is the empty area around the focal point, I will go more in depth about negative space in an upcoming post.

 

You can see in example 1 above, the focal point (Rob & Eliza!!) are hitting the sweet spot at the lower intersection (they are also technically lined up along the bottom third line). Below in example 2, the subject hits the top horizontal third, and as well lines up in the centre section. I wanted to show two different examples of composition to teach you that there are so many possibilities for composition and applying the rule of thirds. It is a simple rule that you can apply any time you are shooting, and will improve your photos tremendously! 

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Please send me an e-mail if you have any questions!