Black and White

Morning silhouette

I needed to take my son to the hospital for an appointment (nothing serious to worry about).

Since I didn’t know how long the appointment would be, I took along my Fuji X100T, should, you know, something interesting happen. I’m still riffing off the chess shots I took over the weekend, so I’m on it now – the photo thing.

Along the way, looking around, the tree line looked neat with the sun, obscured by clouds, looked kind of neat. So this picture came about. I always shoot in manual mode – I set the aperture and shutter speed and ISO, so I set the shutter speed to max and the shutter equally maxed out to get this look.

While it was shot at around 9:30am, it looks like a night shot in October.

Lockdown chess

As the unspeakable (because it is spoken too much) virus keeps everyone at home, I’ve been able to approach the camera again.

See, for the last year or so, I’ve been heavily involved in local musical theatre as a lighting designer and lighting technician. So all energies and more importantly, time, has been channeled that way.

So now with the lock down/stay at home orders, theatre entertainment has been postponed. The uptick is I can now dust off the camera, and find…no…rediscover, that creative outlet.

I was stuck though, as to where to start. An inspiration. And that led me to watch Zack Arias’ video, “Inspiration is for Amateurs“, and subsequently, one of his “behind the scenes” shoot videos. The crux of the first video, is that waiting for inspiration is a waste of time. Go out and shoot. Do something. Anything. The more you do, the more ideas come up. After watching the second video – which is just his approach to shooting a personal project, I was inspired. To do something. Being a lighting designer in theatre, I dug out my strobe lights, chess pieces and board, and tried to do….something. I tried different angles, lighting angles and gel colours.

It didn’t really work out as I’d hoped. But, true to Mr. Arias, I did a bunch of stuff that didn’t work, and as I was kind of giving up, I saw something, and started new shots, and came out with…something! Not great, but my eye was starting to see things.

While other experiments failed, this came out of it. Strobe light camera right at low level creating interesting shadows.

Further, I left everything in the room and did something else. As I was walking by it, the afternoon light gave me the next idea. I grabbed a different camera and shot a few more frames.

Low angle focused front light.
Same angle, changed shutter speed and focus to get silhouettes.

So, while I spent a couple hours on the “prime” ideas, I got the best pictures after. In the end, either way, I’m happy with what I got.

The first photo was shot with a Fuji X-T1 with a 16-55 f2.8 lens, with a Fuji EF-42 flash on the camera in manual mode at low power bouncing off the ceiling. The second flash is a Nikon SB-900 in slave mode, triggered by the EF-42, also in manual mode to dial in specific power and zoom level.

The other two were taken with a Fuji X-100T, only with the light from the window.

Getting back out there

I want to get back to holding a camera and making some images. January and it’s cold Canadian winter does not make it as easy to get out there. But I did anyway. I decided to break out the Fuji X-T1

There is a walking path nearby that the city deemed this year to keep clear, which made it easier to get out for a walk. The side streets are terribly dangerous to walk on, given recent thaws, rain and subsequent freezing, so the cleared walkway is welcome.

Afternoon walk.

A light snow was falling, giving the appearance of a fog. It made for a nice effect on the distant trees.

Not foggy; snowy.

It felt good to get out and make some images.

A little Acros

Its been a pretty cold and blustery winter. Since getting my new X-Pro2, I’ve had little opportunity to get outside and take some shots. A little while ago, the weather was (relatively) quite warm, and I took the opportunity to get out and get a quick walk in before it rained. I brought along the new camera, and threw it into the Acros film simulation. I’m not much of a fan of black and white photography, but there has been a lot of good comments on this simulation. Given that this time of year is pretty monochrome, what better time to try it out.

I’m still not convinced that black and white photography is the best, but I had a good time, and the photos here are decent enough. Enough to try again for sure.

La Machine

Over last weekend Ottawa was invaded…sort of.

As a part of the Canada 150 celebrations, a street theatre company, La Machine, came to town from France to put on one very large and expansive show. Involved, were two mechanical beasts – a horse dragon (Long Ma) and a spider (Kumo), operated by a team of people controlling legs, heads and other things.

They were in the city roaming about starting Thursday. Where the show started, with Kumo perched on the basilica near the art gallery of Canada. The story goes (the very short version) that Kumo steals a sacred temple from Long Ma, and he’s come to get it back. The ensuing four days has these two machines roaming the downtown core, engaging in battles. The final battle, where Long Ma gets his temple back, occurred Sunday night.

We popped down on Sunday afternoon to see some of the event. It was pretty cool and really well done. We managed to catch up and follow Long Ma to the War Museum, where Kumo was. They had a spat that send Long Ma running away to recuperate (and later that night, finally win).

All in all some fun. Apparently over the duration of the events, there was near 750,000 people who came to see the action.

Photos taken with the Fuji X-T1 and 16-55 f2.8 lens.

Tree line

While waiting for the train mentioned in the previous post, I had some time to kill (in the hopes I didn’t miss the train altogether). With camera in hand, one looks for interesting patterns, shapes or compositions. Thus, when looking up I saw the outline of wind-swept trees, giving a very northern Ontario/Canadian look. So I framed it up and took the shot. A little monochrome treatment worked well with the dark tones of the tree and bland sky background.

Shortly after the shot, I heard the train horn, and my attention was shifted.

Shot with the Fuji X100T.

Foggy night

A couple of weeks ago it was a foggy night in Ottawa. I took the opportunity to head over to the VIA rail station. Being the train geek that I am, I knew a train was due, and I was keen to get some foggy light-beam shots. I grabbed my Fuji X-T1 and a tripod and headed to Fallowfield station.

As is typical, the train was a wee bit late, but the end result was worth it.

While waiting, I took a shot of the signal lights. All red. Shortly after, a yellow over green over red appeared, meaning stop at this location, then carry on and proceed with caution to the next signal.

The train did show. And while passengers debarked, I set up this shot. The ditch lights (lower lights on the locomotive) are off at the station. They come on when its set to depart. That’s when I took this shot. The black and white treatment made for a more interesting photo.

After the train had left, I went over to the parking for the bus commuters and got this shot.

All in all, a good set of photos for a last minute decision to see what I could get. Of course, the entire duration was some hour and a half, but it was worth it.

Down by the River

It was a beautiful spring day. No wind, 12 degrees (54 Fahrenheit) and sunny. I took a stroll down by the Ottawa river. I brought along the Fuji X100T and the additional teleconverter and wide angle converter (although the teleconverter remained on the whole time) to grab some shots. I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, and decided to make the effort to shoot a “roll” of film – 36 shots or so.

These are a sampling. I set the camera to Classic Chrome simulation and there is only minor adjustments in Lightroom. With the much reported Nik software now free, I downloaded it and a few shots were edited using it.

X00T4493-Edit

Edited with Silver Effects Pro

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X00T4468-Edit

Edited with Silver Effect Pro. A piece of driftwood that looks like an alien statue.

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Peace Tower Perspective

The Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa is a well known, much photographed location. So how does one do something different with it?

I went up to the arch leading into the Centre Block that includes the peace tower and shot straight up.

I used the Fuji X100T with the black and white film simulation. The JPG looks great. It has a 1950s feel to it.

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Rideau Falls

I’m not one to go for the Internet fads, but I found this photo in my archives, and figured bringing it out for “Throwback Thursday” was an option.

A few years back I took an online photography course through Harry Nowell. It was a six month span where he would provide a topic or theme, give regular video updates and at the end of the month critique a selection of photos. It was a lot of fun. I took it not so much to improve my skills as to get the creative juices flowing. It worked, and some of the photos I ended up selling as stock on istockphoto.com. Double bonus!

This was the first challenge/theme in April of whatever year it was – slow shutter speed. And if memory serves, the speed had to be no faster than 4 or 5 seconds. I thought of rushing water and it drew me to the Rideau Falls in downtown Ottawa.

I used my Nikon D700 with a 16-35 f4 lens. To get the soft flow of water with the 5 second or more exposure, I racked the aperture as small as it would go and put on a ND4 and polarizer filter. The filters caused a bit of vignetting which I had to crop out. But the end result was great. The black and white treatment works well, given the time of year when everything is brown and grey anyway.

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