Friday, November 30, 2012


This post is following one of my more prevalent themes of blogging in sharing my school projects. This assignment is a mimic project for my production class wherein we were given two classic still life photographs; one colour and one monochrome, and we were to recreate them from scratch. We worked in groups to assemble the objects but had to shoot and edit individually, and just to make sure we were putting in our fair work in studio, we were marked equally on our final edited print and on our original RAW file.
The photos assigned to me were Still Life with Watermelon, New York, 1947 by Irving Penn (Colour) and The Triumph of the Egg by Paul Outerbridge (Monochrome). The last part of the project was to create our own image with at least one element from each of our mimics. I called my image + and - of Deconstruction.
Archipelago Photography

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Technological Art

One of the things about my photographic style is the technology. Although I'm by no means an expert at Photoshop I'm certainly an avid fan. I like to try my best to keep up with some new styles of Photography (with things like Popular Photography magazine, and the Digital Rev TV YouTube channel) and so I like to give things a try every now and then. As you may know, I've given HDR
a few tries over the years, and I still find it a handy tool, but I've learned the hard way that the quality of your image is going to come down to the technology you are using. The first photo, Commute, is one of the first HDR images I've made with Adobe's CS5, and I'm rather impressed with the ability to make it look, well, not ridiculous. It's a combination of 4 images and shows a subway bridge passing over a street and all heading into downtown Toronto. The second image, Michael, is my first attempt at faux tilt-shift photography. (Tilt shift lenses are a terribly complex and I know I'm not qualified to explain them, but if you are interested, be sure to look them up.) This, like many of the images floating around is not a real tilt-shift lens, but a post-production trick. The point is to make the image look like it is tiny by faking a very small depth of field on the subject. Through that, it looks like a miniature train (hence why I named it after my father, a model train enthusiast). What do you think about these two? Feel free to comment and let me know, I'm always looking for opinions.
Archipelago Photography- islands of thought and image, connected with a name

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Being at school for photography has many perks. The premier being that I'm learning a whole ton of cool stuff about photography. But there are others. The next coolest might be meeting people. Since day 1 I've been meeting people who are a)interested in photography in the way that I am, and b)super talented in their own unique styles and niches. I've been hanging out a lot with a couple guys who couldn't be farther away in styles. My buddy Bobby (Link to his work) shoots very colourful, visually appealing images on the cutting edge of digital technology. Very cool stuff, believe me. But my other buddy Dylan MacArthur (Link here, duh) shoots nearly entirely B&W film, and most of it is street level, emotional, truthful stuff. I saw Dylan in action today and this guy is like a ninja. His skills with street photography are something that I am both very envious of, and looking to emulate.
I was thinking the other day, on one of my many 'wander Toronto, shooting and thinking' trips that if I want to move into Photojournalism when this is all said and done, that Street Photography is the thing I seriously need to work on; like a lot. So be prepared, I'll be posting some (crappy) street photos when they come in the next couple posts.
But if there's one thing I've learned recently it's that if you really want to take this seriously, carry your camera everywhere, and keep your eyes open; always.
Archipelago Photography

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Women

This is a project I've been working on over the last few weeks. It's actually the piece of work I'm the proudest of that I've made in a long while. I think it's kind of a cool idea, just showing one bit of a face, of all the girls that really matter to me in my life. For those not in the know, from left to right we have, my Mom Jane, my sisters Katie and Maggie, my nieces Abby and Kendra and my girlfriend Rachelle.
Archipelago Photo

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photoshop Class

Technically the class is called Digital Photography, but it is, in essence, Photoshop. It's one of my favourite classes so far, but  I'm not so sure I'm happy with my work in it. The class has really driven home for me that the strength in Digital Manipulations is in the pairing of great concepts and great skills. And I'm not so sure either of these pieces show exemplary concepts, and the skills are still coming to me slowly. This is not to say I am not proud of these pieces, only to say that they especially remind me that a piece could always be better. That's the joy of art.
The pieces are London Normal School for a project called Photomontage, and Maggie's Last Leaf for a project called Illusionism.
Archipelago Photography- islands of thought and image, connected with a name

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Royal Ontario Museum

I have been exploring the neighbourhood that I now live in for a few months now and I have just recently discovered a great surprise. I live reasonably close to the ROM. I had been to the ROM once in the past and really loved it. All the history and science really interested me, because although I'm not terribly knowledgeable with those subjects, they inspire me and keep my mind interested. Also, because I'm in touch with the 6-year old in my mind, I just love dinosaurs. I mean, who doesn't, really? So the other day, I had a whole Monday to myself, basically no homework, and nothing to do. I walked to the ROM and spent the whole day just wandering the museum by myself. I made some pictures, but making the event about my eyes, not my lens. For those looking for a museum to photograph, choose the ROM for sure. The whole museum is photo-friendly, even flash and video, just not in all exhibits. Here are a few of the images I made that day.
Archipelago Photography

Friday, October 5, 2012


1. Canon Rebel
2. 12-24 Sigma Lens
3. Tripod
4. Downtown Toronto Lights
5. A few hours to spare from studying
Archipelago Photography

Grow Green

There is a wonderful greenhouse nearby my school, called the Allen Gardens Conservatory, that I visited the other day with a friend. We decided to take upon us a challenge; to shoot macro-esque photography with plant-life using incredibly wide angle lenses. (I'll post next about what else we did with these lenses beyond this.) What this means is that we took a lot of the natural lines and warped them with nearly- fisheye lenses. We ended up actually bumping our lenses into the plants themselves sometimes! These plants are probably only 5-10 cm away from the end of the lens. Anyhow, it was lots of fun, I'd recommend giving it a try. Take a lens that is made for one thing and photograph something totally different with it. Why not?
Archipelago Photography- islands of thought and image, connected with a name

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche. If you live anywhere near Toronto, and haven't been, you really should go. It's an all night art show/cultural event that runs mid September every year from 7:00pm to 7:00 am. The whole city is transformed into a piece of living breathing art. This was my first year, and it was pretty cool. The first photo is a shot of the crowds, which started out heavy and only got worse. The second one is an art piece where a electric guitar was raised and dropped while plugged in, until it eventually was destroyed. Kind of a chance music meets active visual destruction. It was pretty cool. the last one was just two girls painting in creepy masks to creepy Danny Elfman-ish music. There were scores more exhibits and things. If you haven't been before, do it. You'll thank me.
Archipelago Photography

The Western Fair

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Inhuman Portraiture

I am a firm believer in fear. In that one singular emotion having much power. For some people it runs their lives but for the rest of us it just comes and gets to us at certain times. I personally am a pretty fearless guy if I can say so myself. I've got a good logical head on my shoulders about nearly all illogical fears. Except one. I bet you've been wondering "What does this have to do with the painting mannequin?" Well, that's my fear. I'm afraid of mannequins. Larger ones of course, and not to any degree that it causes me pain to go shopping, but still, it's in my mind and I accept it. I've taken that fear and put it to use. I've used it as fuel in a fire of inspiration I started the other night. I've got this little guy (and I couldn't tell you why, by the way, I certainly am no painter/sketcher) and I've been playing around for a couple days when I started thinking of what I could do with him.

The last two photos are the beginnings of a series I'm working on that I'm thinking about calling Student. Basically using this little guy to emphasize some of the challenges faced by students nowadays (kinda following the idea, write what you know, except in my case, its shoot what you know). Respectively I might call them OSAP and Essay. The first two are part of a set that was trying out how to light the little guy, and getting a hang of being able to form a subject for what is essentially portraiture, completely however I want.

*If you don't care about photography you could probably skip this paragraph*
The lighting was fun and I used a whole range of lighting sources to see the effects; some ambient room light, a tabletop (warm halogen) lamp, another (cool, tungsten) lamp, a computer screen and a candle. I found that the unearthly lighting was best achieved with the cooler light sources and the candle. It seemed that both extremes of colour warmth achieved satisfactorily creepy effects. Another trick I used was in the background. See the first three? Seamless, white, 90 degree coverage background with no seam. It's a miniature cyclorama I made with a sheet of printer paper, some sticky tac and a cup. Basically you make the paper curve from the tabletop to the vertical back and stick it there so it doesn't move. Pretty simple, but I got the idea from one we have at school that is about 6 metres long by 2 metres tall and 3 metres deep. Aside from all that, Tripod, telephoto lens, closed aperture, long exposures, the basics for this kind of stuff.

Overall, I'm pretty damn happy with the results and I know I'll be pursuing this some more.
Archipelago Photography

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


So I'm taking a photo of a telephone bank just inside the door of a subway station. There's no one around so I take a little time to set up my shot, and then all of the sudden a voice comes booming over the loudspeaker "THERE IS NO PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE SUBWAY SIR!" I nearly had a heart attack. And I didn't even think to take my shot. :(
I did however make a whole bunch of photos earlier on  the subway. It's a fascinating subject with lots of cool metaphors and visual styles possible. Perhaps I'll have to risk another incident with "The Man" and explore more of this cities most interesting transit system.

Flying Vermin

Maybe it's because I'm still new here, but I don't hate the pigeons, I think they are kinda cool. They are so used to human contact that you can get so up close with them and they won't even flinch. That makes them interesting subjects, and some of the most calm wild animals I've ever photographed. The story behind the second one is interesting. I had seen the pigeons gathering at one specific place for about ten minutes and then, like clockwork, this man arrived. He stopped and the pigeons swarmed him but not touching him. Then he began to feed them. I deduced he must go there often at the same time and so they were waiting for him. Cool huh?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bad Photographer Jokes

"It's a good thing they're using a safety light so the chicks don't over-expose!"
Is actually the first thing I thought when I saw these baby chicks last weekend. Perhaps art school is doing strange things to me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My New 'Hood

So team, this is it. The new Archipelago Photography homebase, in Toronto. I've moved away from home in London to the heart of the big city, to study Photography at Ryerson University. I've found myself a cool little place to act as my home base for the next year at least. It's been an interesting experience being on my own. I've seemed to have more free time than usual but that's probably just because classes haven't really swung into full gear yet. Yesterday I went out and took some pictures of my neighbourhood. The first one is my street but the second is not my address. The third is some weird modern art in front of a huge building the second a construction site of massive proportions. the last one is one (or two) of a series of art pieces in front of a building a few doors down from mine. There are two wolves, a couple foxes, a moose, a stag and a doe. I don't know what they're all about but I kinda like to think it's a kind of Romulus and Remus founding this next chapter of my life. I'm sure I'll have lots more product to share in the coming time. For now, cheers.
Archipelago Photography