Antelope Canyon is one of those places that keeps calling to me whenever I would see pictures of it but being inside the canyon and seeing it with my own eyes is an experience all onto itself. The colours, the light…the crowds 😦
I am grateful that I took a photo tour. Without a guide holding back the crowds it would be impossible to get a decent shot. As it was we had approximately 1 1/2 to 2 minutes to set up and shoot each shot. I’m glad that we had started with Rattlesnake Canyon first as it gave me an opportunity to try different settings in a less crowded canyon and at a more relaxed pace.
In the end it was worth it. Here’s the first image I come away with. More to follow.
Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.
I just returned from a trip to Arizona and can now happily cross off one of my photographic bucket list items…slot canyons. I’ve been wanting to photograph Antelope Canyon from the time I first saw Peter Lik’s famous image. I know it’s been photographed by everyone but none the less its something I’ve always wanted to do.
The slot canyons are on Navajo land so the only way to access them is with a Navajo guide but even so if you want help with crowd control and be able to set up a tripod then your best bet is to book a photo tour which is what I did before leaving home. I’ll give you more information on the tour company I used and the tour I booked in a subsequent post.
I did two canyons that day with the first being Rattlesnake Canyon. This was a great canyon to start with as there were no crowds and a great way to start shooting and testing different settings and exposures.
Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.
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.
I spent the weekend in Muskoka with my husband celebrating our anniversary. It was a wonderful, relaxing couple of days spent by the lake and exploring the neighbouring small towns. The resort we stayed at was right on Lake Rosseau and of course my favourite time to shoot is at sunset so how could I resist this scene.
Click on the image to view a high resolution version (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.
I think that one of the most important things that we, as photographers, can do to grow and improve our craft is to learn from other photographers. Whether you’re attending a workshop, reading a book about photographic vision or techniques or learning what makes a particular photographer tick, that knowledge will propel you forward and inspire you in immeasurable ways.
I am so pleased to introduce you today to Shannon Kalahan of Seeing Spots Photography. Shannon approached me a few weeks ago to see if I was interested in being interviewed for her blog and she on mine. I’d never done an interview but I jumped at the chance especially since I’d been following Shannon’s work for quite some time.
Shannon resides in Connecticut and is an incredible travel and landscape photographer, writer and teacher. Shannon has a keen eye for composition as evidenced by her beautiful photographs. You can see a selection of her images throughout this post but I do encourage you to visit her site and explore further.
How did you start out as a photographer and when did you know that this was something you wanted to do?
I think I’ve been excited about taking photos for as long as I can remember. I remember many rolls of film passing through my hands when I was a little girl. As far as what set me down my current path though…? My first taste of travel photography was a trip to Spain and Portugal in 1999. I loved being able to capture all of the beautiful places and moments I encountered while I was there.
My first serious attempts at photography came a few years later when I started volunteering for an equine rescue. At the time, they didn’t have a website and very few images of the adoptable animals. I knew that if people could see the animals, they would be more inclined to help – they stopped being some nebulous problem and started being living, breathing creatures that could melt your heart. So, I picked up my camera (well…my Mom’s camera) and started shooting. Having a structured project like that, including building a website, newsletter, etc helped teach me a bit about some of the discipline and skills I would need later when I finally started “Seeing Spots Photography”.
(The name, “Seeing Spots”, by the way, is an homage to the horse “Spot” I adopted from the rescue. He was my favorite subject to photograph for a very long time! lol)
Did you study photography formally?
I took one black and white film darkroom class, which went over the basics of composition and camera use towards the beginning of the semester. The rest of the semester mainly focused on processing film and developing images in the darkroom.
From that class, however, I picked up a photo mentor who was a great resource when I had questions (still is!) and continued to teach myself with online resources, the occasional workshop, and by making lots of mistakes.
Your landscape and travel images are beautiful. What inspires you?
It’s a two-fold answer, I think. I love the idea of putting something beautiful out there into the world and I love experiencing all of the awesome stuff that our planet has to offer. I have a strong belief that if more people could travel, as a whole, the human race would benefit from it. It’s harder to ignore problems in other places when we have a vested interest or emotional connection with the diverse and beautiful cultures/locations around the world.
I am very aware of how blessed I am to have the opportunities and resources to travel, and equally aware that not everyone is as fortunate. I love the idea of being able to bring beautiful images from the places I’ve seen into other people’s homes. Again, the hope is that it will both bring them some measure of happiness to see these places, similar to the joy I get from creating the images…and that it will entice them to learn a little more about whatever the subject matter is.
As I was going through your catalogue of images I was blown away by your long exposures. Can you tell us what your process is in creating these images?
First, thank you so much for the kind words. I really, always appreciate feedback. 🙂
So, long exposures… Most of those long exposures are either done in low light/overcast conditions or with simple ND filters. I have used higher stop filters, but that isn’t the norm for me. Most of my images involve waiting for the right light and going to pre-scouted locations when I think the conditions will be favorable. From there, I tend to use basic camera controls to get the time value I’m looking for.
In particular, I like trying varying long exposures for water (waterfalls, streams, lakes and ocean) since we have so dang much of it in our state. I am definitely not a “water” person (because…you know…sharks and such) but I am drawn to water as a subject to photograph. It ends up in a lot of my images, preferably smoothed out with a long exposure.
As I was reading through your website I learned that you volunteered at an Equine Rescue and photographed the horses. Can you tell us a little more about that? Do you plan on pursuing animal photography down the road?
Well, as I mentioned a little bit earlier on, it was definitely one of the catalysts that put my feet on the path to photography. The idea of taking photos of the horses started out as a way to help get them placed in permanent, loving homes but it turned into a huge learning process on so many levels for me.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with horses, they are generally anywhere from about 800-2000lbs and are “flight animals” who have survived over the years primarily by running from danger. Their eyes are very good at picking up movement (aka danger), and the only thing that usually tempers that is a strong hierarchy (faith that their alpha leader will keep them safe). This boils down to very large animals that spook easily and can trample you if they get too afraid.
It created a unique environment for learning photography, to say the least. I learned a lot about patience, about waiting for the right moment and about the importance of good light (a camera flash is usually terrifying for a horse). Since the idea was to get these animals adopted, I also learned a lot about the importance of flattering angles for the subject and how significant a beautiful landscape background could be.
As far as pursuing it in the future…I have no active plans for that at the moment, beyond the occasional request for portraits, but who knows where I’ll end up?
I love photography books so naturally I was excited when you offered your “Photography + Connecticut – The Nature and Landscape Mini Guide” as a free download. What inspired you to write this book and can we see more ebooks from you in the future?
Ahh, now this is something I do see more of in my future!
As a lifelong Connecticut resident, I have spent a long time finding the beauty in our state and have also noticed it frequently gets overlooked by other photographers looking for locations. It’s a damn shame, in my opinion. I’ve felt for a long time that with a little more marketing, Connecticut could attract more “photo tourism” (because let’s face it, us landscape photographers are our own unique brand of traveler more concerned with good light and location than where we will end up sleeping). I guess I finally just got tired of waiting for someone else to put out a good “Why you should bring your camera to CT” publication, so I decided to do it myself.
Plus, it was a great trial run for an educational ebook we have in the works for later this year. It’ll have a lot of great tips, beautiful images and embarrassing stories in it…I think people are going to love it.
— You photograph, you write and you teach. (And I thought I was busy 🙂 ) You offer private sessions for photo editing, in field instruction and photo critiques and if that’s not enough to keep you busy I noticed that you and your business partner are going to be offering workshops. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Yeah, who needs to sleep anyway? Haha Well, at the moment, we are acquiring permits for a few east coast locations so we haven’t announced workshop dates yet. There will be at least one or two New England dates though, and possibly a third a little further down the east coast. I have a newsletter which I will use to keep everyone up to date on that as it develops. (hint hint!)
What’s next Shannon? What new projects do you have on the horizon?
I’m currently working on another magazine article, and have an art gallery showing if you’re in the CT area. Although, if you’re in the CT area, you know our weather has been awfully unpredictable lately and the opening reception just got postponed again. I have a friend who photographs for a local newspaper, though he was allowed in to see the display and says it looks great. 🙂
We also have at least one educational ebook and workshops, and I’m hoping to put together at least one more mini guide in the next few months.
Beyond that, I’m always open to new partnerships, projects and friendships. If anyone has anything in mind, contact me and we’ll see if it’s something we can make happen.
Where can people find you?
It’s that time, when I sit back and reflect on the year that’s behind us and the work that I’ve done. I’ve been fortunate this year to have had the opportunity to do quite a bit of travelling and to document those places with my camera.
It’s also been an incredibly busy year both on the home front, at work and photographically speaking. Earlier this year I launched a pet photography business, PhoDOGraphy by Edith but at about the same time I did that things started really heating up at work which left me with less time then I had hoped to start building my business and marketing it. I intend to change that in 2015. On the positive side my print sales were up this year and I was fortunate to have some of my images licensed for book covers and fundraising events.
I’ve become more critical of my work, which I think is a good thing and I’m always looking to change and improve, which in essence helps you grow both as a photographer and as an individual. This year I became a member of Professional Photographers of America and I will be attending their Imaging USA conference in Nashville at the end of January. This will enable me to immerse myself in 3 full days of learning the business side of photography, photographic technique and post-processing techniques.
I always find it difficult to narrow down a years worth of work into my “favourites” but here it goes. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy 🙂 You can click on any of the headers to view the original blog posts.
Over Christmas and New Years last year we took a family trip to New York. As I always do on family trips I try to find some time to sneak off and take photographs. We were staying with family in Brooklyn and I had to opportunity to explore DUMBO quite a bit. This was one of my favourite shots from Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.
This was taken on the same trip but along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
We had a very different winter last year. We were hit by an ice storm in Toronto just before Christmas and the months of January and February we saw most days in the -20C range. One very cold February day I decided to start experimenting with some macro photography and oil and water. I really liked the final result.
I did end up braving the cold one weekend and headed out to photograph dog sled races in Cannington, Ontario. I’ve always wanted to do that and wasn’t going to let the -12C forecast get in the way. I bundled up tight and headed out….brrrrrr!
Last March I attended a Pet Photography workshop in Houston, Texas given by the Paw Print Divas. It was an incredible experience and I learned a lot. It was also he first time I had attempted pet photography in a studio and fell in love with the process and the control that I had over the setting and lighting. This is Gilley.
Here’s another favourite from the workshop. This is Jiff!
Toronto’s newest attraction open last year, Ripley’s Aquarium and I joined my camera club for a photo outing there. It was a tough shoot due to the lighting conditions but the Jelly Fish exhibit was my favourite.
In April I once again attended a photo outing with my photography club, this time to the Toronto Centre for the Arts. This was taken from the upper lobby and I loved all the converging lines.
The month of May found me travelling to Israel, for a family function, with a side trip to Petra Jordan. This image was taken in the old city of Jaffa.
The best views of Tel Aviv are from a top the hills of old Jaffa.
Petra is a place that I’ve been wanted to visit for a very long time. I flew from Tel Aviv to Eilat in the south and then walk across the border (yes walked) and then I boarded a bus a drove 2 hours to the ancient city of Petra. It was incredible! It was another hour-long, hot walk in the desert before getting to the Treasury but it was well worth it.
This year I celebrated a big birthday and when my wonderful husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday I promptly answered that I wanted to go back to Italy…what else. As an extra treat we stopped in Paris first for a few days. The images I took in Paris and Italy are some of my favourite and it was difficult to narrow it down. This one was taken on our first night. We were exhausted from travel and jet lag and sunset that evening was at 9:53pm but I wasn’t going to miss photographing the Louvre at night.
You can travel to Italy every year and still not see all its beauty. With the exception of Rome every place we visited this year was new to us. One of the towns we visited was Lerici. We stayed in a wonderful hotel over looking the Bay of Poets and it was one in many spectacular views we enjoyed on this trip.
Lake Como is a place that I’d wanted to go to for a very long time and it was our first stop when we arrived in Italy. We stayed in Bellagio with its narrow, multi-stepped streets.
Our base in Cinque Terre was Manarola.
This is one of my favourite images that I came back from Paris with.
Some images just work better in Black & White and these tourists strolling through one of the many arches at the Louvre fit the bill. I love how having the tourists there really gives you a perspective on the scale of those arches.
Nothing says Tuscany more than rolling hills, hay bales and cypress trees…oh and wine of course but you can’t see that in the image 😉
This is one of my favourite images that I took at a shoot at Toronto’s Distillery District this fall.
So this is it folks, Happy New Year to you all. I look forward to seeing what 2015 brings.