Friday, October 30, 2015

U of A East Campus Housing - Pinecrest House

A few years ago the architects who designed the first phase of this development at the University of Alberta commissioned me to photograph it.   My goal at that time was to get at least one shot that speaks to the 'home fire burning' aspect of a residential development.  Most of the residents are students living away from home so I wanted to portray their academic residence in a very warm, welcoming way.  I was pretty happy with the results from the first assignment so when I was asked back to photograph the latest phase of the development I felt an obligation to repeat the success from the first go-round.  This is Pinecrest House on the east edge of the U of A campus.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Leduc Civic Building

Most how-to books on landscaping photography will at some point make reference to using an S curve composition to draw the eye into the scene and then direct the viewer attention through the picture space.  Usually it is a foreground element that achieves this; something like a footpath, a piece of driftwood or a stream.  Seldom do elements in the top half of the frame contribute to the strength of this compositional technique like it does in this image.

Friday, October 16, 2015

YEG Iconic Structures

In October of 1987 The City of Edmonton erected this arch to mark the 'twinning' of the city of Edmonton with Harbin, China.  I photographed the arch recently as part of an assignment for the City of Edmonton.

Known as the 'Chinatown Gate', the structure marks the entrance to an area of downtown that once featured many Chinese businesses many of which have now closed or relocated making the future of the arch uncertain.  It looks rather glorious in the morning light don't you think?

Monday, October 12, 2015

From the Vaults

Every now and then I go back through older photo archives and often I come across images that I skipped past or set aside altogether that seemed to warrant a little attention.  This is such an image.  I took it with my iPhone in 2012 along the shores of Vermilion Lakes in Banff National Park.  As you can see, it was nearing dusk and the light was fading.  I have found that the images taken with an iPhone are amazing even in low light, but they can be a little grainy.  Or quite a lot grainy when viewed on a larger screen.  None the less, I liked this scene and the photos I took that evening, mostly I like the coral-coloured fringe along the mountain top and the reflection of it in the water.

To get rid of the grain I used the 'Orton' technique; a method developed by Michael Orton.  Originally a fairly labour intensive technique used in film photography where 2-3 negatives were stacked to make a print, the photographer would make one image that was perfectly exposed and precisely focused.  Then a second image of the exact same seen would be made slightly out of focus and a couple of stops over exposed.  Then the two negatives would be sandwiched together in the printing process.  To achieve this look with film one had to decide to employ the process at the time the photos were taken and you had to use a tripod so that the negatives could be exactly aligned for stacking together later.  Knowledge of the technique and lots of advance planning and decision making was a requirement.  And you'd probably have to do the printing yourself - most labs would not want to be bothered with the fussing around and all that negative handling.  In the digital age, any single photo made with any digital camera (or phone) can be used to achieve much the same effect.  The steps are simple and the result is a nice, soft, slightly ethereal image.

If you'd like to give this technique a try I recommend the instructions at:

Friday, October 9, 2015

Recent Projects - The Meadows Recreation Centre

The Meadows Recreation Centre in Southeast Edmonton opened last year.  In addition to the expected recreation facilities the building includes a library and spray park.  There's also an outdoor skating area which I will return to photograph when it's up and running this coming winter.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Recent Projects Edmonton Federal Building

We'll do one more photo of the Edmonton Federal Building - at least for now.  The Heritage Lobby has been restored to it's former glory and looks very cool.  On the wall behind the desk just under the clock is a plaque declaring that the building was officially declared open on March 8, 1958 by John Diefenbaker, 13th Prime Minister of Canada.