It has been a very busy, very productive summer for me here in my studio on Salt Spring Island.
I finally managed to set up and calibrate my archival printer and have been working on producing many new works in B&W and colour on beautiful papers ranging from 8 1/2” x 11” up to 17” x 22”. The results are much better than I had expected them to be and I am enjoying the precise control that comes with printing using a professional series printer. Subtle, continuous tones, vibrant colours and crisp rendering of the most detailed images make working in the studio a pure joy even in the warm, sunny summer months!
Two new B&W series have come together as a result of some recent work and editing:The Mists of Time
which deals with contemplative images taken on the overcast, foggy days that are encountered so often when living along the coast.The Excursionists
is a series of images inspired by the notion of a time when visiting the next village was a major undertaking. This series explores the day to day journeys that we as islanders must take in order to reach our eventual destinations.
I’ve also managed to get back out for more (moderate!) hiking and kayaking which has boosted my spirits immeasurabley as I continue to deal with fatigue from my various renal medications. As long as I am able to continue pursuing my photography in the out of doors, fully immersed in nature, then I will be content!
I decided to stay close to home yesterday to explore the forest in our back 20 acres. We steward but do not manage the forest so that it is left in a natural state: trees fall, nurse logs flourish and trails are adjusted accordingly. The woods are quite diverse with red & yellow cedars, hemlocks, alders, grand & douglas firs, big leaf maples and arbutus trees. The lowest portion is home to a wetland area where choruses of tree frogs can be almost deafening during mating season!
Sometimes I forget how much beauty there is in my own backyard! A hike through the woods is always refreshing, revitalizing and rewarding!
I was recently house sitting in Kitsilano (Vancouver) for a couple of weeks. While I was in the city, I was trying (desperately!) to find some inspiration for some new images. The weather, as well as my health, was not co-operating and I found that any time that I ventured out of the house, I began to feel worse and worse without any real hope of capturing any photos!
I decided to take my brother’s advice and visit the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park: what a life saver! The aquarium provided just the right amount of indoor and outdoor viewing to keep me out of trouble if the weather decided to turn nasty. The various occupants of the aquarium were incredibly fascinating to view and I felt very privileged to be able to view these magnificent creatures in such close proximity. The Beluga Whales were sublime as they swam leisurely around their tank watching us watching them…such graceful creatures to behold!
The two lady Sea Otters (one about 10 years old and the other still a juvenile) were the most playful pair in the whole aquarium, obviously delighted to continually show-off for the appreciative crowds that never failed to gather around their den. To view them above and below the water line was illuminating: such different behaviour in the two contrasting environments!
The rest of the aquarium complex is equally fascinating and I was particularly drawn to the Tropical section on my last two visits (I visited the aquarium 6 times in 2 weeks!), perhaps the almost overwhelming heat inside had something to do with it…who knows? Marmosets, sloths, turtles, sharks, caymans and all manner of tropical fish were there to be seen in faux tropical waters: an almost psychedelic display of colours at times!
If you ever have an opportunity to visit the aquarium, do so: you will not regret it!
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than getting out into the heart of Nature? I launched my friend’s wooden kayak from the end of Long Harbour this morning and paddled around to Chocolate Beach in Ganges Harbour for a 3+ hour tour. It was a mix of sunny and overcast with a light breeze at times but nothing worse: perfect conditions for a day out in the boat! I enjoyed playing with perspective alongside the BC Ferries dock at Long Harbour Terminal working with the various pilings in the foreground and other terminal structures in the background to give a sense of the monumentality of these forms when seen from a kayak (see RECENT WORKS
I’ve also been diligently working through my archives scanning slides and negatives so that I can finally retire film based photography for good. It’s been quite a process going through the older works but it has also given me an idea of what I need to aim for with my digital work (in some cases at least). Viewing my B&W negatives in their positive state has lead me to begin working in the digital darkroom to process my colour work into something other than tweaked RAW files. At this point I am enjoying the process of desaturating some images while working in faux B&W with others and everything in between. Photographing with an end goal of an almost monochromatic image in mind has opened up new and exciting alternatives in the digital world for my work...more to come!
A few more additions to the website: Black & White galleries of some of my past work. I miss my work in the darkroom especially printing from the big, beautiful 6x6cm negatives that my Hasselblad produced. The square format is a much different experience in terms of composition & framing and now I have to try to replicate the experience with cropping after the fact on my computer...a bit of a trade-off but not the end of the world.