To all ye who want to paint with light ...

I should have started this blog many moons ago as I started experiencing the joys of rediscovering the art of photography. But as the saying goes - it's better late, than never!
So, here I am, in the hopes of recording what I learn as I progress from ignorance to enlightenment; about what my eyes can see that my camera can capture; and, what my mind imagines and my camera paints with its capabilities.

Please feel free to add any comments and share your wisdom (tips or tricks) that you have picked up along the way.

And do check out my How-To and Birding pages as well.

Monday, August 29, 2011

B&W Project 52 - Week 4

I did a photo shoot for my friend last evening, and it was one of the worst disasters I've had thus far.  She got late arriving, so we were working in fast-fading light.  But I had already prepared myself for it, and had my flash at hand.

However, on reaching the park where we were supposed to have the session, my flash refused to fire!  I had no idea what had gone wrong with it or the triggers, and then it  starting firing very unpredictably once I started using my pop-up flash to trigger it.  I ran a number of tests this morning, but it's still not doing it's job as it should.  Maybe it's the sync chord that needs replacement?   Anyway, the entire session was a nightmare, and I didn't end up getting many nice images.

B&W Project 52 - Week 4
I added a selenium filter to this one in post.

The following image is technically very wrong as there's too much shadow in the face, especially around the eyes,  but there's something about it, that I really like, and therefore decided to post.  Please let me know if you think I'm crazy for posting this. :-S

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Charming Charlevoix - Part 2

Parc National des Hautes Gorges de la Riviere Malbaie

Tranquil waters of River Malbaie

On the first day after arriving in Charlevoix, we drove up from La Malbaie and visited this breathtakingly beautiful park.  We had chosen to stay at La Malabaie only because it would be in close proximity to the few places we had planned to visit; the ride to the Hautes-Gorges Park took about an hour and a half.

River Malbaie

The drive was really lovely, and we passed through a number of fields of wildflowers and some really quaint and picture-perfect villages.  Something we observed was that each village had it's own landscaping  theme.  I particularly remember a couple of villages where one had put puppets/effigies in their front yard that ranged from an Elvis Presley doll, to a nun in her habit sitting and swinging.  Another village had small sets of the Nativity scene or little altars of worship at the front of their houses.  Unfortunately, they were country roads, and too narrow for us to pull over and take pictures.  Now I'm regretting not having attempted a few shots from the car itself.  Maybe I'll have the opportunity of going back again, if only to take pictures of these villages.

River Malbaie gushing forth

The park is surrounded by mountains, and the River Malbaie rushes through this gorge.  There are hiking trails, fishing activities, as well as canoeing and river boat cruising.  I managed to only hike on one of the shortest trails, because my friend and I were too busy taking photographs!  We were stopping after every two steps, and it`s a wonder we even made it to the summit.  The view from there was absolutely stunning!

Riviere Malbaie

There was one little patch of pretty pink Sheep Laurel and I just had to photograph them.
Sheep Laurel

And some very interesting cones
Purple cones

Silver cones

Canoeing seemed to be a popular activity at the park.  Although I didn't experience it first-hand, I think it might be a great experience to be out there boating on the river, taking in the beautiful views. 

Canoeing at the Parc

Getting ready for the race
... or participating in a group activity

Stacks of canoes ready to be pulled off the rack

It was a memorable day, and if I am ever to go back to Charlevoix, I want to visit this park again. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

B&W Project 52 - Week 3

B&W - Week 3

Thanks, Jim, for finding me my shot for the week! :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Post on My Birding Blog

It was long overdue!  I have so many hundreds of shots of birds, and I haven't had time to post them or even process them.  This new post is all about Black-Capped Chickadees!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

B&W Project 5 - Week 2

Recent photo shoot with a gorgeous young lady!



Sunday, August 7, 2011

Stanko & Tibor: A Comic Strip Par Excellence!

The creator of Stanko & Tibor - Jon Druker

If you remember from my last post, I had promised to write about a really talented cartoonist I had the opportunity to interview.  He is my ex-boss, but it wasn't until recently that I found out about his extraordinary talent for cartooning.  I always knew of his humorous side, but discovering that he actually translates it into an art form didn't really come as a great surprise - I was almost expecting it!  And for all you car lovers, please know that he is a contributing editor for The Car Connection

Jon Druker, the creator of Stanko & Tibor, invited me over to his home to give me an idea of what he does, how he does it, and where he gets all his inspiration from.  I also had the pleasure of meeting his two sweet little girls who even helped me with my reflector!  Now, even my son doesn't offer to help me with it, although I did bring him with me to Jon's on this occasion.  But he didn't object to losing his job as an assistant at all! 

The creator of Stanko & Tibor - Jon Druker

Please read on, and definitely hop over to his blog, and since Jon has very kindly offered to do a guest post for my blog, please keep your eyes open for it!

Jon, ever since I heard about your comic, I've become a great fan of it.  How long have you been cartooning?

Jon: I have been cartooning since I was a kid, but only seriously since I was in my mid-20's, when I was doing my undergraduate degree at Queen's University. As for this comic strip, it's something I started when I was at university, lo those many years ago, but I stopped doing for one reason or another. I only picked it up again as a promise to myself I made before my 40th birthday to start cartooning again, and publish it on the web.

I see you cartoon about a lot of different things, including current affairs.  What do you draw your inspiration from?

Jon: Inspiration comes from many places. Mostly my family, where out-competing each other for the best joke or funny line has been a tradition since well before I was born. Comedy is a central part of how I handle life, and see life. There is humor everywhere and in almost all situations, even including death. I have heard some of my favorite jokes at funerals.

As for visual inspiration, it's interesting that you, Toni, as a photographer ask. That's because I often get a picture in my mind of the story I want to cartoon. I see the images in my head and try to place them in a frame and space them out. It is the visual aspect that I find the most challenging to "construct" so to speak.

My drawing inspirations range from Hergé's Tintin to Charles Schultz's Peanuts, to Astrerix & Obelix, the X-Men comic books from the early 80's by John Byrne. But there I have also taken inspiration from many of Dali's paintings and drawings, and in particular Picasso's sketches. Carravaggio was another source of visual "food" for me. Such geat colors and structures in his work.

The creator of Stanko & Tibor - Jon Druker

So, Jon, who would you say, is your audience?

Jon: My audience is anyone and everyone who wants to laugh at the world the way I do. I don't aim at anyone in particular and just hope others get a laugh -- and buy my t-shirts.

What are your other passions/interests?

Jon: Cooking, cars (I blog at on advertising), and skiing. When I can squeeze it in I also contribute my time to a charity called Leave Out Violence.  Somewhere in between I manage to work full-time and raise 2 kids with my wife. Not sure if I am taking on too much at once. 

Would you ever consider offering your cartoons as a service, for example, for book covers, illustrations, etc.?

Jon: I'll happily offer my services for book covers and other illustrations, I just have to find the time to do it. :-) 

Jon, thanks a lot for your time and for inviting me into your den, where you make the world a more humorous place, one comic strip at a time!  :) 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another Project - B&W Project 52

Week 1

The Rose

I couldn't wait to post the first one!  This rose was from the bouquet my friend brought me on my birthday. I had to click this before it started to wilt with the heat, but fortunately, the weather's cooled down a little bit again, so the 3 red roses are still thriving. 

I am starting this project in the hopes of getting back on track with some serious photography, rather than just shooting what I can find.  52 black and whites in the next 52 weeks!

I will try to blog more regularly now, and hope to start with the food project in the next few months.  I rather wait for the colder months to do that, so I'll find something to shoot while I'm indoors.  I'm looking for feedback on the best practices of doing b&w photography, so please drop me a line when you stop by!

I'm also excited about two photo shoots coming up in the next couple of days - one of them is going to feature a great cartoonist from Montreal!  Stay tuned!