Episode 5 – Chris Stackhouse, Bayswater, Nova Scotia

Podcast Episode #5 – Nov 15, 2021

In this podcast interview we will be talking to Chris Stackhouse, a professional photographer specializing in Prairie Landscape, Wave, and Fine Art Photography, currently based in Bayswater, Nova Scotia.

You Can Learn Photography Podcast Episode 5 – Chris Stackhouse (mp3)
©Chris Stackhouse

From an early age, growing up on the east coast of England, Chris was attracted to the essence of design, whether industrial or architectural. A talent for drawing and resourceful undertakings such as restoring old cars on a minimal budget led him to a career in civil, mechanical and piping design.

His skills, combined with a passion for the “open spaces” brought him to Calgary in 1981 ostensibly to work in the oil and gas industry. Out and about in his spare time, Chris became hooked on the prairie landscapes and their relatively gentle interactions with modern civilization.

Self-taught in all endeavors, Chris began to explore photography while pursuing a number of freelance careers such as residential construction and renovations, property management and sportfishing guiding.

It was a fateful day whilst listening to a radio program in 1998 when the realization of a radical change to the prairie landscape manifested itself to Chris. Here was a story of the rapid demise of those ghost-like sentinels of the prairie landscape, wooden grain elevators; the very living soul of human presence on the prairies was disappearing forever.

Inspired with a passion to become a photographic archivalist of those passing’s, Chris went on to spend 12 years systematically visiting and photographing most of the remaining wooden elevators across Western Canada and many from the United States.

2004 Marked the beginning of Chris’s acknowledgement of his photographic achievements and skills with his first photo exhibition, a very successful solo show entitled “End of the Line” that featured 59 prairie images. Since that time Chris has continued to exhibit his work every year, expanding his portfolio to include a unique style of ocean waves imagery, a large collection of European church doors, abstracts, panoramic landscapes and Mexican Life.

His images have been published in many magazines and papers with showings at the Calgary Stampede, Beall Park Art Center in Bozeman, Montana, Sooke Fine Arts Show, Artspring Art Center and Galleons Lap Photo Gallery on Saltspring Island, British Columbia.

Currently Chris lives on the south shore of Nova Scotia, continuing to explore and look for unique subject matter and photographing the great outdoors throughout the east coast of North America.

Visit Chris and learn more at: chrisstackhouse.com

From your podcast app click on this link to the images which will automatically use your browser.

The Music snippets that you hear in the intro and outro of the podcast is from “upbeat-motivation-corporate” by M-Dewala on Pixabay Music.

November Theme Challenge – Blue

f/8, 1/200, ISO 100, @100mm

We had some computer problems this month limiting the time to put this challenge together, good thing we have OS mirrored backups using Macrium Reflect free version which allowed us to recover the “C:” drive and get one of our systems up and working again. (This is not a sponsored add but just wanted to say it’s a great product).

We are going to keep the challenge simple this month as we will be making photos of subjects that are the colour “Blue”. It might still be a bit of a challenge finding “Blue” subjects with all the autumn colour still left, but I am sure you’ll be able to find appropriate subjects.

With this challenge you can either stay inside and do some still life photography or head outdoors and seek out some subjects to photograph.

Below are examples to spark some ideas.

Still Life; The “Blue” mailman toy above was shot using flash and a snoot, however you can accomplish the same thing with a table lamp and a piece of white paper to roll into a cone to create a DIY snoot (just remember to use an LED bulb in the lamp to keep the temperature down because we don’t want the paper to burn). You’ll have to photograph your image at night and use a tripod or something to put your camera on to keep it stable and use the 2 second self timer mode as your shutter speeds will be low. The concept was to light the mailman as if he were lit with lights on a stage. Because the light will be harsh position the toy to minimize the shadows on the face and body to make any remaining shadows pleasing. I hope you have as much fun as I did creating a similar image.

Vehicles; There are many vehicles out there that are blue, but find something unique and take your time with the composition including thinking about the focal length that best suits the situation. With the old blue trunk on the left it was shot using a zoom lens at 50mm which meant being a bit closer to the truck to exclude a lot of the background. With the car it was shot from across the street with a zoom lens at 180mm so the composition would include the street light, tree(s), sidewalk and house to enhance the image. Focal length does make a difference so think about it when composing your image to maximize the story/impact.

Boats; In the image below there was a blue boat tied off the wharf just begging to be photographed. Embracing the orange and red colours of the trees and the building it helps make the blue boat stand out in the image.

The Blue Hour; Not only finding blue subjects but shooting them during the blue hour can create solid images as well. This image is a bit busy but there is the rule of odds (three blue boats), reflections due to the calm water, and the pink sky providing a contrast in colour to the image.

let’s see what images you create this month and have some fun.

Students are encouraged to develop their ability to tell a story or invoke an emotion, as well as how to plan and troubleshoot while creating their images. As such it’s important to not only create the image but to also include a “title”, and write a short paragraph about; how they came up with the idea, any interesting back ground that compelled them to make the image, and describe any techniques on how they overcame any obstacles.

An important part of improving your photography is practice, which is one aspect of the monthly theme challenge, in addition you have an opportunity to learn about different genres, techniques and tips.