Writing with Light

Archive for December, 2011

2011 – A Year in Review

I started this blog on June 2, 2011, almost 7 months ago. It hasn’t been a full year yet but as we bid farewell to 2011 and get ready to welcome in a New Year I thought it fitting to look back on the short life of this site and how I fit into this thing called the World Wide Web. I launched Edith Levy Photography & Project 52 as a way to share my images with family and friends and ensure that I make a commitment to get out and shoot on a consistent basis. I also hoped that this blog would allow me to connect with the photographic community, get feedback and learn from others.

Well what’s happened in the last 7 months has completely exceeded my expectations. I’ve been posting more than once a week. I’ve been shooting, shooting, shooting. I’m learning new post processing techniques everyday. I have met so many wonderful and supportive individuals….people that I’m proud to call “Friend.” I want to say Thank You to everyone that follows this blog and comes back day after day. It means so much to get your encouragement and feedback. I’m truly proud to be part of this community.

This blog has grown since its inception and I’m amazed to say that as of yesterday I’ve hit over 20,000 views. As I look forward to 2012, ideas keep swirling around in my mind on where I’d like to take not only this site but my photography as well.  The only thing that I really need is time which there never seems to be enough of. The ideas are taking shape and I’ll tackle them methodically, one at a time until they become reality.

I’ve had some people ask if I sell my images…I do. Keep an eye out because early in January I will be adding a gallery to the site where images can be purchased.

Below are some of my favorite images from 2011…Enjoy.  Wishing you a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year!

You can click on the images to see a larger version.

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Laskey Emporium

Project 52 Entry #31

We’re back at Black Creek Village. In my last post we visited the The Saddler & Harness Maker which you can see here if you missed it. Today we pay a visit to Laskey Emporium, a general store in the traditional sense.

Here you can pick up dry goods, toys for the little ones or textiles to make a pretty dress…the Walmarts of its day. As I was standing inside the store I was just imagining how simple it must have been back then. Shopping for gifts must have been easy…..

Click on the images to see a larger version


The Saddler & Harness Maker

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.  As I eluded to last week I would be posting some images from my visit to Black Creek Pioneer Village.  The village is a recreation of what life looked like in 19th Century Ontario. The site includes 35 restored heritage buildings including a Blacksmith shop, General Store and Schoolhouse.

We start our visit today with the shop of the Saddler & Harness Maker. (You can click on the images to see a larger version)

This was such a terrific building to photograph. The sun was shining on this day and casting some awesome shadows on the building itself. I positioned myself a few different ways until I got the shadow of the tree the way I wanted it with the branches almost hugging the building. I really wanted the focus to be on the shadows and felt this worked best in B&W which I processed with Topaz B&W Effects.

The next 2 images are from the interior of the building. All I could think of when I was in there was that this would make a great Ralph Lauren ad.


Happy Holiday

As everyone goes off to spend time with family and friends and celebrate the holiday season I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Holiday. Whether you celebrate Christmas…Merry Christmas; Hanukkah…Happy Hanukkah; Kwanzaa…Joyous Kwanzaa or any other holiday have a safe and happy celebration.

I leave you with this image from Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto.


A Day in the Country

Project 52 Entry #30

A quick post today. This was taken this past weekend at Black Creek Pioneer Village here in Toronto. I spent a wonderful morning shooting there and I’ll have a whole series of images to share with you next week. Can you believe this is the month of December? No Snow :(

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah so I’d like to wish all those celebrating a very Happy Hanukkah.


Rabari – Encounters With the Nomadic Tribe

A New eBook from Light Stalking

When Light Stalking approached me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing a new ebook that they were getting ready to release I was intrigued. They stated that this new ebook provided great insight into the photographic process of a travel photographer by Mitchell Kanashkevich.

The first thing that struck me when I received the book were the images. They started to tell me a story right away, that of a talented photographer who engages his subjects in order to exude a sense of familiarity and serenity in his subjects. How else could he capture such personal and enthralling images of his subjects.

As I read the book I quickly realized that this was much more than just the technical side of the photographic process (although that it is) it also lays out, in detail, the thought process of a photographer as he defines his objectives of what the final portrait is to convey.

The book is comprised of 10 images  and for each image Mitchell Kanashkevich out lines the following: 

  • background information of how he selected his subject and where he shot
  • Objectives
  • Lighting which is modeled with a detailed lighting map
  • Composition
  • Equipment used and camera setting
  • Challenges & he overcame them
  • The “what” and “why” of post processing

I really felt that I was along for the ride on this photo shoot. It helped demystify how these images were taken. I’ve always found it intimidating shooting portraits when I’m travelling and Mitchell has created a guide that answers all those questions that you’ve ever asked as a photographer. To me the most useful part was understanding his thought process, how he lit his subjects and his post processing work….yes these images didn’t come straight out of the camera looking like this.

Kanashkevich is a travel and documentary photographer who’s written for Digital Photography School and Craft & Vision. His work is used by Getty and Corbis and has been seen on the cover of Geographical magazine and Digital SLR Photographer as well as in many other magazines. He has visited exotic locations such as Indonesia, India and Ethiopia to further his photographic experience and travel photography portfolio.

Rabari – Encounters With the Nomadic Tribe is available for download for the special Christmas release price of $19.95 when you apply the special launch discount code “HAPPYXMAS” until Dec 25th. Click Here to get the ebook.


Oops!

Nathan Phillips Square is situated right in front of the Toronto City Hall (very much like a courtyard). The Square hosts a variety of art and holiday exhibits throughout the year including the Festival of Lights in the winter. By the beginning of December the front courtyard is turned into a public  skating ring.  Shooting at night forces you to use long exposures and thought this would be a great opportunity to focus on the movement of the skaters. I shot a lot of images but this particular one, with the motionless skater on their knees and the movement around them was the shot that made it to the top of the pile for today’s post.

As usual click on the image to view a larger version.


Festive Tower

I went on a Photo Walk this past Tuesday with the Toronto Digital Photography Club which I joined in the fall. They’re a terrific group of people who are passionate about photography and eager to share their knowledge with new members like me. We were meeting in front of City Hall in downtown Toronto to shoot the festive lights and decorations around city hall and Nathan Phillips Square. I work downtown so I decided to walk around on my own for a while before having to meet the group. Now that its getting dark so early I always enjoying looking at the CN Tower which is usually lit up with different colors. Now that Christmas is just around the corner, the CN Tower is a very festive sight indeed.


It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like……

Project 52 Entry #29

This is the lobby of the Fairmount Royal York hotel in downtown Toronto. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in here but outdoors there’s not a snowflake to be seen. Actually its one of the mildest December I can remember.  Hopefully we’ll get some of the white stuff before the holidays.  Have a great day everyone :)


New eBook – Vision Is Better II By David duChemin

The latest Craft & Vision ebook, Vision is Better II – Free the Mind, Free the Camera. Again. by David duChemin is being released today. I was very excited to receive my copy of  David’s latest ebook because, by my own admission, I’m a big fan of David duChemin. Why? Well I admire his photographic talents and his integrity as a photographer. His mantra of Gear is Good / Vision is Better oozes out of every blog post and book he writes, in a good way.  As a writer he’s honest, brutally honest truth be told.

Vision is Better II is a compilation of 44 essays which were published on his Pixelated Image blog this year. David has also included some previously unpublished essays. Whether you’ve followed David’s blog throughout the year or not this ebook will make you think. This is not a book about photographic technique although he does go there. It’s about the creative process; getting inspired; taking risks, not only as an artist & photographer but as a person. Follow David through a year where he’s made some changes in his life, planned for an adventure and then suddenly it came crashing to a halt, quite literally, when he fell of a wall in Italy, fracturing both ankles and his pelvis.  While going through months of surgeries and rehab he continued to inspire, he continued to hone his craft and define his vision. Is he done? Nope. This is an ongoing journey which I’m happily tagging along for.

This massive 95-spread eBook is the follow-up to one of Craft & Vision’s best-selling titles. The Vision is Better series acts like a PixelatedImage yearbook that gives readers a no-holds-barred vantage point into the adventures and life of David duChemin while at the same time providing you with fresh ideas and insights about making the most of your own photographic journey.

Discount Offers
Save $1Pay just $4 if you use coupon code VIB4.
Save $3 – Get the Vision is Best Bundle for just $7 if you use coupon code VIB7.
Save 20% - Purchase 5+ PDF eBooks and use the discount code VIB20.

Click here to purchase These discount codes expire Wednesday, December 21 at 11:59pm (PST).


Hockey Night in Canada

We had a great time at my son’s hockey tournament last weekend in Montreal. I was trying to capture different shots during the game and I really liked the way this composition came out. I thought this would be a good image to try my hand at digital painting. After processing this through Adobe Camera Raw I then used Topaz B&W Effects to desaturate the image and then adjusted different settings in the details & strength sliders (under simplify) until I ended up with this final version.

Click on the image to see a larger version.


Bagel Time!

Now if you’re in Montreal on a Sunday morning (or any morning really) there’s a time-honoured tradition that you must have a bagel for breakfast…preferably with some lox and cream cheese. There are many great bagel places in Montreal, where they hand-roll and bake the bagels in a large wood fired stone oven. Our favourite (and home of the original Montreal Bagel) is Fairmount Bakery.

When it first opened in 1919 the bakery was located on a little lane just off of St. Lawrence Boulevard which was known back then as “The Main.” In 1949 the bakery moved to Fairmount Street (just one block north of St. Lawrence) where it still resides today. Mmmmm you just can’t beat a hot, fresh Montreal bagel (hmmm…I think I may hear from some New Yorkers after I post this :) )

The image above is 3 bracketed exposures processed with Photomatix and then using Topaz Adjust 5 I applied the Vintage Grunge Preset 2 from the Film Collection.


Montreal Lights

Project 52 Entry #28

We were in Montreal this past weekend for my son’s hockey tournament and stayed downtown at the Chateau Champlain. In anticipation of our weekend getaway I decided to rent a fisheye lens which I’ve always wanted to try out. This is the view of  downtown from our hotel room.  The Fisheye was the Canon 15mm…let me know what you think.

Click on the image to view a larger version.


“Square” – An eBook by Andrew S. Gibson

Last month I reviewed “Beyond Thirds – A Photographer’s Introduction to Creative Composition” by Andrew S. Gibson. This month Andrew has just released his latest e-book “Square – The Digital Photographer’s Guide to the Square Format”.

In Square, Gibson delves deeper into creative composition but this time with the intent of producing an image with an aspect ratio of 1:1. The rule of thirds doesn’t apply here…so what does? This book isn’t  just about cropping your images (although he does discuss this). It’s about composing your shots and making conscious decisions that will have an impact on the final image.

Some of the topics that Andrew covers are as follows:

  • The History of the Square Format
  • Going square (three ways to create square format images)
  • Square Subjects
  • The 35mm problem
  • Cropping Square
  • Design & Balance
  • Shape
  • The Four S’s (shape, simplicity, space, and subtlety)                                                                                
  • Creative layout
  • Framing

 In addition to this Gibson also includes case studies by photographers Matt Toynbee and Flavia Schaller and additional tutorials in the appendix.

Square retails for $9.97 and can be purchased directly from Andrew Gibson’s site here.


The Spirit of Hockey

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Today will be a quick post as we just got back last night from Montreal where my son had a hockey tournament. They played amazingly well and made it to the championship game on Sunday but (in a heartbreaking defeat) lost in overtime. I hope to have some Montreal shots for you later in the week but I thought this would be a fitting image for today.

This sculpture, titled “At The Crease”  is located at the entrance of The Spirit of Hockey store in Brookfield Place in Toronto.


Brookfield Place

Brookfield Place, formerly known as BCE Place, is an office tower located in Downtown Toronto. After I finished shooting at Union Station (you can click here to see that image) this past Saturday I headed across the street to this unique building. Luckily it was quiet and while I did get nabbed…again…by the “tripod police” I was able to get a few shots in.

You can click on the images to see a larger version.

Entrance to Brookfield Place


11 Ways to Improve Your Photography – eBook…and its Free!

Yes you heard me right…it’s a free download. Consider it a gift from Craft & Vision.

Their newest ebook 11 Ways to Improve Your Photography is a compilation of 11 chapters/articles from Craft & Vision authors which includes:

  • David duChemin – Make Stronger Portraits
  • Martin Bailey – The Power of the Print
  • Michael Frye – Learn to Direct the Eye
  • Andrew S. Gibson – Create Projects and Collaborate
  • Stuart Sipahigil – Slow Down and Learn to See
  • Nicole S. Young – Refine Your Composition ….. and more

This compilation is jam packed with practical and insightful information that will help take your photography to the next level. Actually I can’t believe that it was free…thank you Craft & Vision for a terrific ebook.  You can download 11 Ways to Improve Your Photography here.


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