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Destination Israel - 2017

We were on an 11 day bus tour of the Holy Land including destinations in Israel and West Bank. The agenda was packed and fast moving so I had to travel as light as possible. View more...


Destination Edinburgh - 2016

Our daughter was in Scotland for education giving us an interesting place to visit and of course take lots of pics View more...


Destination Japan - 2019

Coming soon...


my photography journey

I always had a passion for it so why did it take so long

Going back to my childhood...

Pretty much every family had the affordable, easy to use Kodak Brownie - the square box type. The Brownie was probably my first "exposure" to photography. Mind you I didn't have many opportunities to use it myself. Yet still I was fascinated by the idea of taking a picture, sending the film off for processing and you'd get a snapshot of the memories from a point in time that you could revisit any time you wanted (or at least when you were allowed to pull out the box of pictures).

Most of the pictures were not for special events but from pretty much any time the family was together with my Gramma, or aunts, uncles and cousins. My Mom or Gramma would always insist they take a family shot - my Mom still wants to get a picture any time she's with family, even if no one ever looks at it again. It's like she knows this moment in time will be captured for all time almost giving a sense of the eternity that comes from family.

I remember one day discovering this old camera hidden away in a box in the attic. It was flat but had a hook that allowed you to fold open one side. Hidden inside this fascinating item was an accordion or bellows with a lens facing outward which you would extend out ready to take pictures. I spent hours playing with this camera but didn't have film, so it was all pretend, but it did pique my interest in photography at an early age. I wish I know what happened to that old thing.... as it turns out it was one of the original Brownie models - the Kodak No. 2 Folding Autographic Brownie - that they stopped making in 1926.

When I was around six years old my uncle brought an acoustic six string guitar over. He let me play it during a family jam session. Of course, I was basically strumming open-string but it gave me a new pursuit which became the focus of my interest.  Playing music continues to be a very important part of my life.  Consequently I didn't think very much about photography for some time but from time to time I would still entertain my fascination for photography.

Fast forward to young adulthood...

In my early 20s I began thinking about photography again so I went out to a local camera shop and made what to me was a huge purchase. I picked up a real 35mm camera. It was the Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 with a 35mm fixed focal length. While it didn't have interchangeable lenses, I was at least able to add filters so I also purchased an assortment to somehow take my photography to new heights :).

Prior to this the camera I had used was my Mom's Argus 110 format camera, which seemed to take pretty good photos, however when I started shooting 35mm even with full auto, it was like a whole new world was opened up to me with significantly higher quality pictures.

In around this time a friend of mine received a new 35mm SLR as a gift prior to heading off to West Africa as a Missionary. With all the cool adjustable settings I was even more enamoured by 35mm photography. The only problem was this calibre of camera was well beyond my financial reach but I continued to shoot as often as I could with my Minolta.

When we had our first child I captured as many highlights of life as I could with the Minolta 35mm but as the family grew and life got a lot busier, the time for following this passion fell to the shadows.

Empty nest....

I recently heard something that has had a profound impact on how I've been looking at things lately and it made me think back on how I had captured these highlights. It said that you need to protect your highlights and embrace the shadows (@SeanTuck).  Duinrg this "shadow" time of photography for me I was living life, growing with my family and learning to embrace those precious things in life.

2010 was a year of milestones for me. I had a milestone birthday, I became a grandfather for the first time, I made a career change after many years with the same company and I purchased my first DSLR.

It’s unfortunate that fear can get in the way of creativity. Fear of failure, fear of what others think, fear of what I may think. I set aside all the creative possibilities of shooting and selected the safe "Standard" picture style, shot JPEG and used the “P” setting. After all, P gives you some level of creativity and you can choose your ISO and you choose whether the flash fires or not.  Mind you, I did spend this time learning about framing and composition.

Once I realized I could craft better looking images using RAW, I began exclusively shooting RAW. I was still afraid of the dreaded Manual Exposure so for a number of years I continued shooting in P mode. With this approach most of my shots looked pretty good after tweaking in DPP or Lightroom but I knew there were more possibilities if I could get past my hesitation of shooting Manual.

It’s interesting how the past helps shape the future. I came across an old Sekonic Auto Lumi 86 light meter that my Dad had used years ago and it somehow stayed in my posession even though it hadn't been used in years.  He had it to use with his Kodak 8mm movie camera and its bank of blinding lights so he could determine how much he needed to blind the family to get the right indoor exposure. I came across this simple light meter one day and it piqued my interest about exposure so started exploring and researching. This led me to various articles and YouTube videos on the subject of exposure.

Hearing different people's stories and perspectives on exposure and what it means to the art of photography changed something in my own perspective.  What changed for me was a shift from looking at merely taking snapshots to exploring the art and science of using light to convey a message or tell a story. The first time this hit home in a real way was one day when I was walking around downtown Toronto, I saw a homeless man sitting outside a store. The mid-morning sun was casting a tapestry of light and shadows across the front of the buildings and along the sidewalk.

As this man sat on the sidewalk, he was lit in such a way that it was as if God was highlighting him to me and saying “this person who is invisible to the world has a story”. It was then it occurred to me that everything I see around me is a part of a story or stories and these stories are there to be captured and shared.

What's next....

I endeavour to continue looking for the stories in the everyday hoping to capture the light they shed using my camera.

Join me on my journey as I share what I learn along the way.




Email: stuff@rjhonline.com