Episode 16 – Robert McCuaig – Hubbards, Nova Scotia

Podcast Episode #16 – Mar 15, 2023

In this podcast interview we will be talking to Robert McCuaig, an Enthusiast Photographer, currently based in Hubbards, Nova Scotia.

You Can Learn Photography Podcast Episode 16 with Robert McCuaig (mp3)
©Robert McCuaig

Bob McCuaig, currently retired, has been interested in photography since he was eight years old, learning the basics from his Dad as well as reading Freeman Patterson’s book called, “Photography for the Joy of It”. Robert furthered his knowledge through courses at NSCAD in digital imaging, including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

Robert uses photography as a means of artistic expression, an outlet for his creativity which allows for the experimentation of new ideas. He enjoys capturing images from a unique perspective, that will be pleasing to a wide audience, of nature, landscapes, especially mountains with snowy caps, and people but not necessarily in a formal portrait setting.

Robert has used many cameras over the years. His first was a Kodak Brownie which only took B & W photos. At nine he graduated to an ANSCO camera which could use flash bulbs. In his teens he was given a Yashika twin lens reflex camera which was his first for taking colour photos and slides. In Robert’s early 20’s he was given his first 35mm camera, a Minolta SRT 101. This was a huge step up from his previous cameras as it had a built in light meter which served him well for about 15 years when he upgraded to a more sophisticated Minolta model. From there, beginning sometime in the 90’s Robert moved from film to digital beginning with a Nikon Coolpix 990 and as digital technology evolved upgraded to a full frame Canon EOS 5D MkIII, which is still his current camera.

In 2017 Robert acquired his first drone, jumping into the deep end of the DJI drone pool with the Inspire 2, a beautiful very capable machine, which served him well although not very portable. He resolved the portability problem by purchasing a DJI Mavic 3, which has become his favourite for many reasons.

Robert has several other interests which include woodworking, model railways, design, videography, and photo restoration. He also enjoys several sports such as; cycling, skiing, and sailing.

You can follow Robert’s work and learn more from the following link:
■ Facebook: Rob McCuaig

As mentioned during the podcast here is a link about Drone laws and regulations in Canada: Don Joyce – Canadian Drone Basic & Advanced Exam Study Information

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.

March Theme Challenge – Monochrome

For this month, March 2023, it’s a great time to think about creating “Monochrome” images when in general there is a lack of colour in the landscape.

There are many opportunities for monochrome images such as using dramatic clouds to complement your subject. Remember to compose the subject so that it stands out in your image.

Even during harsh daylight, it’s a great time to consider choosing monochrome to capture images. However, remember to consider your best position for the light in relation to your subject when shooting portraits in harsh daylight conditions.

You can also use longer shutter speeds with the appropriate light, usually earlier in the morning, later in the day, or on an overcast day, to create dreamy soothing water fall images. Note you may also require the use of an ND filter to slow the shutter speed down to the desired value. As the temperatures increase and the snow begins to melt as well as some rain, there will be lots of waterfall action to experience.

Get out there and practice by slowing down and looking for some interesting subjects. Then make them stand out by giving more attention to composition.

Although you can use post-processing software to convert your colour images to monochrome, but, If you haven’t been doing much shooting in monochrome, it’s a good idea to be able to preview your images on the camera in “monochrome” to help you visualize the result as you are shooting. To see the your image in “monochrome” on the camera LCD it requires you to change a camera setting, typically under your camera’s picture style menu.

The examples below are two procedures to show you how to change the Camera settings to shoot in monochrome:

  • As an example, to change the “Picture Style” setting on a Canon T6i to “M” (monochrome), (see the manual starting on pg 125), press the down arrow (picture style) button, on the back of the camera, and then press the right/left arrow buttons, on the back of the camera, to pick the “M” (monochrome) and then press “set” to choose the selected picture style. Before pressing “set”, you can also press the “info” button to change the sharpness, contrast, filter effect and tone effect (example sepia) as well. (Warning: It is important to know that when shooting in “Jpeg”, with the picture style set to monochrome, the captured image will not contain any colour information, therefore, remember to change the “Picture Style” option back to the previous setting such as “S” (standard) when done shooting monochrome images to allow capturing any new images in colour.) Note when shooting in “RAW” the colour information is retained.
  • As an example, to change the “My Colors” setting on a Canon SX30, (see the manual pg 79); press the “func/set”, on the back of the camera, then use the up/down arrow buttons to choose the “My Colors” option. Then press the right/left arrow buttons to pick the “Se” (sepia) or “BW” (black&white) option and then press “func/set” to choose the selected option. (Warning: It is important to know that when shooting in “Jpeg”, with the My Colors option set to Se or BW, the captured image will not have any colour, remember to change the “My Color” option back to “OFF” when done shooting monochrome images to allow capturing any new images in colour.)

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.

As always with our monthly theme challenges we try to seek out additional instructional resources. Below are some YouTube video links to give you more hints and ideas.
The Secret to Black and White photography success By: Nigen Danson (16min 33sec)
Black and White Photography in the Digital Era B&H Event Space Speaker: Harold Davis (38min 15sec)

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.