Fine Art

Let it Rain

The one thing I like in the summer is a good old rain. This was a storm that came up one weekend. The neighbours were having their fence replaced, so I had full view of the rain drops (and resulting bubbles) in their pool.

Shot with the Fuji X-T1 and the 16-55 f2.8. The all weather sealed combination meant that if the wind picked up and blew onto the camera (and me) I needn’t have worried about them getting wet.


Tiny Bubbles

XT013300Inspiration comes from from anywhere. This was a glass of water on the bedside table. The water had little bubbles in it, and the light from the sunshine outside gave it a nice backlight. I grabbed my X-T1 and used the 60mm macro.


Industrial Colour

In Ottawa, the city is working on building a tunnel for a long-overdue light rail system. The system will run east to west under the city, with a number of station stops along the way. One area where the work it being done, this large crane dominates the area.

I’ve looked at it on many occasions, wondering how to get a decent photo of it.

Recently on a walk a lunch, I was in the proverbial right place at the right time. The sun was out, and the yellow crane against the blue of the glass building behind, and the reflection of the city on the building, made for a neat shot. And the yellow against the blue, a natural colour combination match, helped too.

My X100 has become my trusty companion these days. Light, and fits in my pocket, I don’t need to carry it but put it in my pocket, and when ready, pull it out and shoot.

Shot in JPeG mode, only minor adjustments made for the vertical.


Under the Bridge

Its getting warmer! As March moves in, the temperatures rise, and its no so bad being outside again.

Today I made my way down by the Rideau Canal locks. It’s still a bit icy in some spots as I made my way down to the Ottawa river. So I doubled back and went under the Plaza bridge, which traverses the canal. This is a really neat place – not creepy like some bridges can be. One one side is the canal, the other a seemingly art deco set of stairs and lights, and as a bonus, the remnants of the original Sapper’s Bridge, built in the early 1800s.

I always like the look of the bridge from underneath. It has that hidden city look to it, and the straight lines and angles merge well with the curves of the bridge arch and openings.

I had my trusty X100 with me, and with all the monotone colours of cement and snow, put the camera in B&W mode and took a few shots.


The wide view looking south towards the National Arts Centre. The canal is to the right.



A closer view of the stairs. Curves and lines in grand designs.



If you look at the other photos, there are little archways. This is shot from one of those, looking north. The building on the right is the Chateau Laurier. I love how this photo looks like it could have been taken in 1915 as much as 2015.



It’s been a long, and very cold winter. The Rideau Canal has been opened for a record 47 (and counting) consecutive days. That’s cool, but it means it’s been cold for a long time. And after these long cold days, one starts to look longingly at the calendar for spring. And it’s the little things that crop up, unknowingly that brings out the hope of warmer days ahead.

This photo is one of those signs. It’s a garden lamp that runs on a solar-rechargeable battery. It has been dark for much of the winter, with little sunlight available during the day to charge the battery (and cold temperatures on it don’t help).

But last night I looked outside and saw it glowing away. Still holding its own above two feet of snow. The hope lies in that there is enough daylight hours to charge the battery and have it enable the little LED inside. I was excited, and the pattern it threw on the snow was perfect.

I grabbed a smallish tripod and my X-T1 with the new 16-55 f2.8 on it and put it outside. Being the wuss that I am, I stayed in the house and placed the tripod in the snow outside. And thanks to the wi-fi on the camera and my iPhone, once I framed up the image, I shut the door and did all exposure adjustments from the warmth and comfort of the living room.


The end result is great. A black and white treatment looks the best, compared to the odd blue cast of the LED.

Sun Pillar

One of the things I really don’t like about winter is the dark. Its dark when I get up in the morning, and its dark, or getting there, at 4pm in the afternoon. I really look forward to December 21st. Because that’s the day with the least light, and from there on, it gets brighter. Slowly, but it gets brighter, roughly two minutes more a day. Its really nice when its cloudy for a number of days, and then its sunny and the sunset is that little bit later in the evening.

Today on the way home, the sunset was brilliant and orange. As I got off the bus to head to the train, I saw a sun pillar and had to grab a picture. Its one of those times I’m glad I tote a camera around with me. The reds and oranges were spectacular. I couldn’t quite position myself such that the pillar was right behind the building (looking like a beam coming out of the middle of it).

Sun pillar

A bit of spring

Spring is taking its sweet time getting here this year. While at Costco I picked up some tulips. Over breakfast this morning I had this idea to light the bunch from above. I went into action. Using a studio light, I positioned it such that it pointed straight down on the flowers, added a grid and barn doors.

That’s it. One light. Used the X-T1 and Elinchrome wireless trigger.

A similar shot is available as a print at my SmugMug page.

Yellow Tulips

Of Strobes and a Flower

D700_DSC_2868A couple weeks ago, in a desire to instil a bit of spring into the house after yet another week of frigid temperatures, I bought a bunch of tulips. As cut flowers do, they opened up, and I saw an opportunity as the petals opened up to get some interesting photos. I began to get an idea of how I’d like to do this.

My intent was a tulip bright against a black background, as you can see from the photo on the left. The execution was really quite simple and went fairly quickly. Here is the run-down:

I set up a black fabric background using some old curtains someone gave to me (one never knows when old black curtains can be useful, so I said I’d take them). Now, I could have blacked out the background, which in the room I did this has beige walls, using the basic inverse square law of light, but the room is rather small, and I wanted to help the effect along. I positioned the tulip on a small table in front of the curtain.

My main light is a Nikon SB900 flash pointed down at the tulip, power set to 1/5 and zoomed in to 200mm to make a nice tight source of light that wouldn’t spill onto the blackdrop much. After a few test shots, the shadow that appeared behind the bulb on the stem was not pleasing. So I dug out a Nikon SB600 and placed it just below the flower pointing it towards the back to fill that shadow. It was zoomed to 50mm and the power dialed back to 1/20 to again minimize the spill.  Here you can see the overall set up.

Photo Shoot setup

A blackdrop, two strobes and a tulip.

Using an 85mm lens, I set my camera to ISO 250, shutter 1/250s and aperture to f16. The SBs were triggered using Nikon CLS. This resulted in the image like the one below. Minor adjustments were made in Adobe Lightroom to cut out the blacks some more, and a little adjustment to contrast and a tweak of saturation. Overall, not much post was done.


A slight change for the photo at the top of this post in that I moved the SB600 around to behind the tulip. I like the shadow disconnect in the stem.

For fun, I put on a full CTO gel on the SB900 to see what came out (leaving the SB600 still bare). It had a neat effect. I like it.


A selection from this shoot will go into my iStock portfolio and the ones you see here into my Smugmug gallery for purchase.

Curves and lines in grand designs

museumThe Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec is a pretty neat building. Designed by Douglas Cardinal, and opened in 1989, it has an extensive collection of artefacts and information on Canada’s history. The outside is cool too. Walking around the building last week, the various curves and rim of snow on the edges of each level made for some interesting flows and lines.

 Check out the rest here ( Prints are available, by selecting the Add to Cart button.