Brian Merry and I have a remaining space open in the Landscape Photography Masterclass we’re co-leading starting June 5. We’re going to take a small group to work on photography in a series of beautiful Canadian Rockies locations. But this isn’t simply a trophy-hunting photo tour, because we’re taking the group to school as well. The primary purpose of the Masterclass is developing our creative photography with a combination of seminars, assignments, and field work.
One of our seminar topics will be telling visual stories. In my latest article at The Camera Store’s blog, I talk about the idea of story-telling through photographs. What does it mean to tell a visual story? Think about a photograph that you would say needs to be read vs. one that viewers simply look at. A visual story doesn’t have to be heavy or philosophical with some big “message”… but the idea is for there to be more to the frame than immediately meets the eye, something that pulls in the viewer’s active participation. While there’s not a thing wrong with purely decorative art, a visual story is more than a photo that looks good. A story communicates shared values, sparks memories or hopes, amuses or provokes, inspires belief or action… really there’s a whole host of things that story-telling is about.
If we think about what a story is, we have ideas about voice, characters, plot, narrative, and so on. When telling a story with imagery, one interesting aspect to think about is what perspectives we can use. Whose stories can we tell in a photograph? I have some ideas about three essential ones that I see: the subject’s story, our own personal story, and our viewers’ stories.
To find out more about how to tell these three stories, please click over to the blog at The Camera Store for my new article there! If you’d like to learn about and practice some visual story-telling of your own in a landscape photography context, contact Brian Merry or me for details on how to register for our Masterclass starting on June 5. It will be fun, the group’s activity will be focused, and we’ll share a great opportunity for creative development with our photography. Join us!
There's a degree of controversy over power in Arizona, and in Alberta too. We want to use more electricity, but nobody really wants the generation plants or the transmission lines in their back yard. Near Page, Arizona, heavy transmission lines criss-cross the sky.
Story Behind the Scene:
Driving along the highway near Page, Arizona with project teammates Colleen Miniuk-Sperry and…
A small collection of early risers look towards the rising sun at the iconic Point Imperial on the Grand Canyon North Rim.
Story Behind the Scene:
I've been to Arizona several times over the years, both before and after taking up the camera in a serious way. But prior to this project, I had never been to the Grand Canyon at all.
Today I’m just going to put out a few news items about some recent happenings. First up, I was recently interviewed for the second time by Montreal-based Marko Kulik of Photography.ca. I’ve enjoyed each conversation with Marko; he’s great interviewer and also a great photographer, with an instinct for getting into topics of interest to his audience. This time around we did a recording for the Photography.ca podcast episode #117, on the topic of digital photo artifacts like halos, noise and chromatic aberration — understanding where these things come from, and what to do about them. It’s a techie talk, but I do manage to get in a few points on art and creativity. If you’ve ever wondered about various digital flaws in your images, check out the podcast and see if there’s a useful tip or two. And you’ll also hear a couple of examples of when defects aren’t defects, if they support your creative purposes in image-making.
Second, in just over a week’s time I’ll be venturing north to St. Albert. I sure hope winter can convince itself to give over to spring by then! But either way, the show must go on, since I’ve been invited to present to the St. Albert Photography Club on the evening of Wednesday, May 8. My topic will be “Travel Photography: Stories Instead of Snaps”, and I’ll have a slide show from the recently exhibited Arizona / Alberta project. The group will be meeting at the St. Albert Inn at 156 St. Albert Trail, starting at 7:00 PM. If you’re in the area next week, you can find details about attending on the calendar page on the club’s web site.
Finally, while waiting for spring to truly arrive and kick winter into memory again, the team at The IRIS Photographic Society of Alberta have been planning our first ever Friends of IRIS event. The Lilac Festival in Calgary is a grand kick-off to spring and to the new year’s festival season. This year, IRIS will run a small group workshop at the festival. Join up with Peter Carroll, Ian McGillvrey and myself for a day of photography instruction & inspiration in a dynamic & energetic street photography environment. For information on how to register, see the IRIS event page. Don’t delay… group size is limited, and we expect to have a lot of photographic phun!
On the road near Kayenta, Arizona, we stopped to try to photograph a mare and her colt. The horses were too skittish and moved away, but I took the opportunity to capture a summer storm cloud that had a thunderous look.
Story Behind the Scene:
Before starting this project, it's fair to say that I was known -- and also thought of myself -- primarily as a landscape photographer.
Brian Merry and I still have spaces open in the Landscape Photography Masterclass we’re co-leading this coming June in the Canadian Rockies. What makes this Masterclass different than your average photo event at tourist stops in the mountains? For one thing, the instruction will go beyond the tools & techniques of the trade and present several important topics in the area of developing creatively as a photographer.
In my new article at The Camera Store’s blog, I give an example… just one part of a broader topic I’ll be covering in the Masterclass, that of story-telling through photography. Let’s say that you have some creative goals in place and know your gear well enough to know how it will help you make images you have in mind. Now you need an approach to actually get out there and do it.
For situations where the effort is casual, and the costs and risks are low, you can get away without a lot of preparation… just head out and see what develops. But in the case of travel destinations, you may want to prepare a little more. Especially if you’d like to get some photographs that are less like snapshots, and more like stories or distinctive works that really stand out in your portfolio.
In these kinds of situations, how do you get your head in a creative space and give yourself more chances at satisfying image-making? Here are 3 R’s to try: research, repeat and respond.
Want to read more about the 3 R’s? Head over to the blog at The Camera Store for my new article just posted there! And if you want to participate in an intensive field experience that involves a lot of learn-by-doing, contact Brian Merry or me for details on how to register for the June Masterclass. The group size will be small, the focus will be concentrated, and the opportunity for creative development promises to be fantastic. Join us!
The remains of this stone lodge stand in the Coconino National Forest, along a section of the Oak Creek West Fork trail (near Sedona, Arizona). The area was burned out in a fire years ago, but, tucked under a cliff face, this structure still stands. Even its wooden framing and roof escaped being consumed by the fire.
Story Behind the Scene: