Writing with Light

Montreal

2015 My Year in Review

Every year Jim Goldstein runs a project on his blog, JMG Galleries, where he encourages photographers to post their best pictures of the year. It’s a great project and I’ve participated every year. When I started participating about 4 years ago I thought, “what a great way to have pictures seen by a whole new audience.”

That was me when I first started blogging but now there are so many other reasons that I participate. Yes I still like that fact that I may reach a new audience but more than that I find this to be a difficult and yet rewarding exercise. It’s tough to cull through your work and pick what you think may be the best of the year. It really gives me a chance to go though my images (some that I haven’t looked at for almost a year) and decide whether they’re good enough to make the cut of the top 10 or 15.  I try to review my images from a technical perspective and from a creative one. Certainly I’m drawn to certain images due to the circumstances of where and when they were taken. The picks may not always be perfect and certainly wouldn’t win any awards but art is subjective and what one person views as a masterpiece another make look at and dismiss entirely.

It’s been a busy and rewarding year both on the photographic front and from a family and work stand point. I’ve taken on a new role at work which was unexpected at the beginning of 2015 but I am loving it. The only downside has been that its been so busy that my photography had to take a bit of a back seat.

From a photography perspective I’ve continued to sell prints and license new work which is always very exciting and rewarding. I won’t make any specific commitments for the new year because I know that my day job will still be taking up a lot of my time but learning new photographic techniques and honing my craft is something that I know will always be important and I will find and make the time to do it.

If you have a chance jump on over to Jim Goldstein’s site here in or about the second week of January and he should have a list of year in review post listed for your viewing pleasure. There’s always a great list of photographers on there, you won’t regret it.

As always you can click on the images to enlarge them or to Purchase a Print.

Cuba, Havana, Old Havana, street photography, travel photography, black and white

Cuba

water drops, gerber flower, refraction, milkweed, macro photography

Refracted Water Drops

Havana, Cuba, Cuban Cigars, Cigar, Stogie, travel photography, cigar aficiondo, black and white

Cuba

Hilton Falls, Ontario, Milton, conservation, waterfall, long exposure, trees

Hilton Falls, Ontario

Boston, skyline, Fan Pier, sunset, blue hour, travel photography, harbour, lights, Charles River

Boston

Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, Ontario, Muskoka Chairs, dock, sunset, nature

Muskoka

Lake Ontario, Toronto, Beaches, sail, sailboats, water

Lake Ontario

Old Montreal, Quebec, night photography, long exposure, historic

Old Montreal

Jerusalem, Israel, street photography, black and white, monochrome, man, beard

Jerusalem, Israel

Israel, Jerusalem, Western Wall, Orthodox, Man, Walking, Motion, black and white, travel photography,

Jerusalem, Israel

Tel Aviv, Israel, sunset, beach, family, photographer, golden, water, sea, Mediterranean

Tel Aviv, Israel

 

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Old Montreal Streets in Motion

A long exposure of the streets of Old Montreal at night. This is one exposure and I decided not to clone out the moving people in order to show the constant motion on the streets.

Old Montreal, Quebec, night photography, long exposure, historic

 


Old Montreal at Night

Yes I know it’s been quite sometime since I’ve published a post. First of all thank you to all who emailed me with concern, asking where I am and if everything is ok. Yes all is well. I’ve taken on a new expanded role at work and have been doing some business travel which has taken up a lot of my time. As much as I hated to do it, my photography and my blog had to take a back seat for a couple of months while I emeressed myself in my new role at work and learned the ropes.

It’s interesting though the guilt I felt the first couple of weeks of not blogging. I would arrive home fully expecting to sit down at the computer in the evening and crank out a post but then there was other “work” to finish and before I knew it midnight rolled around. I finally decided that a half-hearted post wouldn’t do and I would give myself permission to take some time off from blogging.

So here I am back again. I can’t promise I’ll be as regular with my posts as I had been, at least not for the short-term but I will certainly try to post semi-regularly.

I also haven’t done much travelling this summer but we did manage to go to Montreal for a weekend to visit family. Family visits are great but it’s always a bit tough to eek out some time for photography. We did manage to go out to Old Montreal one evening and I did bring my tripod and gear with me for a few shots.

Old Montreal is beautiful at any time of year but in the summer its bustling with people. Street performers are out, people are walking through the cobblestone roads or sitting at an outdoor Cafe enjoying the evening. Of course at night the star attraction is the lights which brings the buildings and streets to life.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Old Montreal, Quebec, night photography, lights, buildings, historic


A Montreal Landmark – Welcome to Schwartz’s

There are so many things to do and see in Montreal. Having grown up in this city I can appreciate its people; it’s neighbourhoods (some trendy, some not); its European flair and fashion forwardness. It’s a city rich in history and at times in political turmoil. I love it. It’s home, even if I haven’t lived there for years. So what does an ex-Montrealer do when they go back to their old hunting grounds?  Go to Schwartz’s, of course, for the best smoked meat sandwich one will ever eat with fries, a dill pickle and a cherry coke to round off this gastronomical feast.

Click on the image to enlarge (believe me it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

Schwartz"s Deli, Montreal, St. Lawrence, The Main, smoked meat, travel photography


Horsing Around in Old Montreal

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend. With all the snow and wintery conditions in Europe this past weekend I’m a little hesitant to tell you that it was very Spring like in Toronto yesterday. So much so that I headed down to the Lakeshore yesterday for some sunset shots. I’m working on processing them and will share a little later in the week.

In the mean time I was going back through my archives and I was surprised that I hadn’t posted this shot. I shot this last August while strolling through Old Montreal.

Old Montreal, which is located along the St. Lawrence River is the oldest area in the City of Montreal, dating back to New France in the mid-1600s. In 1964 it was declared a historic district by the Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec.

Today its cobblestoned streets are lined with galleries and restaurants and in the summer it comes alive with street performers. If you didn’t know any better you’d think you were walking through a small town in Europe.

Click on the image to view a larger version in the Gallery


Topaz Labs – Star Effects – A Lighting Enhancement and Star Creation Software

Topaz Labs announced today that they have just launched a new plug-in…Topaz Star Effects. I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to play around with the beta version this week and this really is a handy tool to have in your post processing arsenal of tools.

Topaz Star Effects allows you to create unique star effects by manipulating and enhancing the various light sources within your digital images. With just a few clicks you can easily transform points of light within your image to create stunning lighting and star effects, supplement existing light sources, change or enhance image mood, add shimmering effects to things like water and jewelry, and much more.

Some of the unique features you can expect ot find in Star Effects are:

  • Selective Brush. Intuitive selective adjustment brush that allows you to select the light sources in your image that you want to add (or remove) star effects.
  • Star-Type Selection. Choose the type of star you want.
  • Star Stack-a-bility. Features an apply button allowing you to create various layers of star effects with different characteristics.
  • Color Adjustments. Allows you to adjust the color characteristics of your added star effects.

Star Effects has the same, easy to navigate, layout as the rest of the Topaz Labs suite. The beta version had 13 presets but more will be added. The presets are a good starting point but there are hundreds of variations to the effect you can produce by using the adjustments tools.

“Star Effects™ is the most customizable and inclusive star filter out there right now.  With adjustments like star type, glow, ring flare and color controls, the program allow for users to create effects from realistic sun flares and glowing water to more obvious, artistic additions,” said Nichole Paschal, Senior Marketing Specialist for Topaz Labs.  “Plus the ability to selectively add and remove these effects, in a single click, is easy to understand and an important aspect to Star Effects™.”

Here’s an example of 2 different ways you can use this plug-in. Click on the images to see a larger, more detailed version.

This is the original tonemapped version using 3 brackets

I used Topaz Adjust 5 in this version to make the scene darker and more foreboding.

Here I used Star Effects to add a sun flare through the trees

 Click on the images to see a larger, more detailed version

This is the original shot. You can see the star flares on the lights leading up to the church which is a result of an aperture of f/22

Using Star Effects I added light stars on the church and the lamp post near the trees on the right.

Topaz Labs is offering a special introductory price of $19.99. Just enter coupon code “TopazStars” when purchasing.