Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Pursuit of Dundurn

"Dusk's Door"
Image shot at 1/125 sec @ F/11, ISO 100, 22mm fl
As many of you know, I've been very busy working for the city of Hamilton documenting the public gardens and parks for the duration of three seasons. Wonderful work, but has left me with with less time to pursue my other love, which is photographing the city period. So I thought I would post a few results from a few evenings ago, when I wandered the property of Hamilton's historic Dundurn Castle. I needed to photograph something just for the sake of photography in and of itself. Anyone else get like that? No looming deadline, no client to please, just you and your camera?
Dundurn and I have a love affair. I've captured it over the last couple years in every season, at every time of day, from various angles. It's the home of one of Canada's first Premiers,
Sir Allan MacNab, who later went on to become Prime Minister, and was built in 1835. The history oozes out of every regal pillar, tower, and rooftop. I even have my own bit of personal history with Dundurn! I grew up performing Scottish Highland Dancing on this property, competing in contests and performing to bagpipes!
The image above shows part of the cottage on the grounds, a mini-dundurn if you will. I simply loved the way the setting sun was bathing the tiny structure in it's last light.

"Tower Details - Dovecotes"
image shot at 1/40 sec @ F/11, ISO 100, 45mm fl, evening light, tripod
This image was taken looking up at the tower that welcomes you to the castle proper. I love the pattern, the design elements, the way the light shows the lovely golden colour of each dovecote. I can imagine the pigeons and doves dwelling on the rooftops. The flurry of wings as they all landed for the night.

" Sunsets Warm Welcome"
image taken at 1/200 sec @ F/9, ISO 100, 20 mm fl, tripod, evening light
This last image is of the castle's tiny replica cottage. I was smitten with the subtle raking sunset light coming through the clouds. I also liked the worn path leading to the door of the charming abandoned building. For a split second I thought about asking someone to approach it in the shot... but I loved that in the midst of the city's bustle, this looked so untouched, solitary. So I chose to capture it as it was.
I hope to post a few more images, overall compositions of the entire castle, perhaps a few older faves too that display Dundurn in different seasons. And I will continue shooting this beautiful property all year long.
So thanks for reading along with my rambling, and let me know if you enjoy the post!
Have a good one folks.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Freeman Effect

"Dreamy Tulip Lights"

My post this week pays homage to a phenominal Canadian Photograher who's work I've found very inspiring and uplifting. Not only does he take some of the most fantastical nature images I've ever seen, but is also very serious about gardening and conservation. So needless to say, I'm a fan. And I'm refering to the one and only Freeman Patterson.

Was reading his book "The Garden" today and he was speaking about how when we submerge ourselves in something we're passionate about (ie gardening, photography) a part of us utilizes the best part of our imaginations... whether we realize it or not. All the things we dream about and imagine on a constant basis. And as a result, the effects of it can be found in the very things we pursue so passionately. It's the underlying current, behind how you compose and take a photograph, or how Mr. Patterson gardens.

This has really resonated with me. As a photographer who loves God's creation and is constantly amazed by it, I tend to see scenes and subjects through my lens that are somehow emphasized by my imagination at times. But I've been reluctant to showcase them for some reason. Because they're rule breaking? Technically flawed? Either way, with this revelation in mind, I've included the above image. I took this just this past spring at the Royal Botanical Gardens here in Southern Ontario... it was their annual Tulip Celebration. The practical side of me tried desperately to expose all morning long for the difficult harsh light that day... and was failing desperately. At one point though, I realised I should pop my portrait lens on the ol Nikon and let it naturally blow everything out with it's super wide depth of field abilities giving everything a less chiseled, more dreamy effect.... and voila. I stopped documenting everything, and started "capturing" the effects of all the sweet glowing light waiting to be seen. It brings to my mind what the gardens in heaven might look like, or a lover's bouquet waiting to be picked. I call it the "Freeman Effect".

Two quotes from Freeman gave me pause, made me reflect on what kind of a "box" I've put my photography in... perhaps they'll make you look differently at your photography too. The first one was, " ...I'm reminded that it's not really the eye that does the seeing, it's the soul". And the other refered to when a compelling image grabs your attention..."it's when the mood is the real subject".

Hope that gives you something to chew on today, and please, be sure to check out the incredible Freeman Patterson at

Thanks for letting me ramble on for a bit, and have yourself a good one!