About tgawalt

I am a photographer growing as an artist associated with Dream Imagine Believe Photography and You Can Learn Photography.

July Theme Challenge – “Boats or Cars”

The theme challenge for July 2022 is “Boats or Cars“. This month the assignment is to go out and take images of “Boats” and/or “Cars”, whatever you have access to, and at the same time you’ll enjoy some exercise while out for a walk around your local town. The best time to take these types of images is not in the middle of the day as the light is too harsh unless your subject is in the shade. The best time is early in the morning or later in the day and even better if there is some type of atmospheric condition that will enhance your image. Let’s see what images you create this month.

If you want to share your image there is no facility to upload your image here, however just paste your social media link to the image in your comment and we’ll be able to see your image. Please note comments are moderated so it will not show up right away, however we do get a notification when any comment is posted so it won’t take long to get approved and subsequently show up. By posting your social media link of your image in your comment, it gives everyone visiting the bog a chance to not only see your image for the challenge but also the ability to look at your other work as well by visiting your social media through your link. We want sharing to be a positive experience and we hope you have fun this month with this challenge.

The first image of a the boats in the fog creates a nice clean background and with no wind allows us to see the reflections in the water as well. The second image of the sail boat was taken as the sun was setting and the moon was rising. In this case the timing of this type of shot requires a bit of planning and it only happens once a month where the moon is rising about 15-20 min before the sun is setting. remember the earth is moving so the moon will appear to be moving in the sky on a vertical angle left to right, so your composition may be changing slightly as you take multiple shots. In this case you also need an adequate smaller aperture (larger Fstop number) and focus on the island to get the boat and the moon within acceptable focus. In addition capture at lest one or two images while focusing on the moon as well just in case you choose an incorrect aperture.

You can take images of boats at a wharf after dark if there is enough artificial light. The first image the artificial light is included with a star burst created by using a small enough aperture between f8 and f16. The tricky part is getting the right exposure, so make sure you take enough images as you are adjusting your exposure to ensure you get the shot. You also need to consider the movement of the water which will blur the boats if the shutter speed is slow, (greater than 2-5 seconds), you may require to use a higher ISO to allow an increased shutter speed and then use noise reduction in post processing. The second image not only had artificial light but also the moon was rising within the clouds which adds more mood to the image and with a single exposure the moon is a bit over exposed however I decided to maintain this exposure because its was what I experienced while taking the image.

The images of the blue and maroon cars shown below were taken with a DSLR with different lenses. The first image of the blue car was taken with a zoom lens at 180mm from across the street to get a better composition than what I could attain than being close with a wide angle lens. The second image of the 1948 Willys Jeep Overland Station Wagon was taken again with a zoom lens at 120mm to limit the view of the subject as the background outside of the composition was too busy to include in the image. Take time with your compositions to exclude anything in the background that is distracting as much as possible.

The next set of car images were taken with a iPhone 11 promax. The first image of the 1948 Willys Jeep was taken using the 2x lens which is equivalent to 52mm to again isolate the subject as much as possible to minimize the distracting elements from the composition. The image of the 1943 International KB-1 half ton truck was taken using the 2x lens to again isolate the subject as much as possible. The next image with the reflection of the three vehicles was also taken using the 2x lens to again isolate the subject as much as possible. If you do not have a 2x lens you can always use your 1x lens and then crop the image accordingly to remove distracting elements, but remember to try many different compositions to achieve the best image possible and also keep in mind the tilt of the camera phone to minimize the perspective distortion which is exaggerated the closer you get to the subject.

If you are struggling with composition trying to remove distractions or people you can always get close and take detailed images by finding ornamental objects or patterns such as the following images shown below.

With our monthly theme challenges we try to seek out an instructional resource, below are a few YouTube video links to help with some hints and ideas.

This Month’s Photography instructional aids:
Car Show Photography Tips: by Tony & Chelsea Northrup (6min 35sec)
Photography Tips: How to find the right camera settings – think like a photographer: by Mike Browne (11min 30sec)

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.

Episode 11 – Tracy Munson – Hillsborough, New Brunswick

Podcast Episode #11 – Jun 15, 2022

In this podcast interview we will be talking to Tracy Munson, an international award-winning professional photographer, currently based in Hillsborough, New Brunswick.

You Can Learn Photography Podcast Episode 11 – Tracy Munson (mp3)
©Tracy Munson

Tracy Munson is an international award-winning Canadian photographer, specializing in pet portraiture and fine art nature photography. She has earned a Master of Photographic Arts designation and multiple Accreditations from the Professional Photographers of Canada.

While living in Toronto, Tracy took every opportunity to escape the city and her rewarding but stressful job in one of the country’s largest Animal Shelters. For many years, she travelled Canada in a tiny car, with a large man, a tent, and two chihuahuas. After seeing it all, Atlantic Canada kept drawing her back and in 2018 she escaped city life for good, relocating to beautiful Albert County, NB to pursue photography full time.

Her work has been published in books, calendars, and magazines and has been displayed in gallery shows within Canada and abroad. Winner of multiple image competition awards, including 2 National Best In Class (Pictorial/Floral 2017, Animals 2021), and Atlantic Region Photographic Artist of the Year the past 4 consecutive years (2018-2021).

You can follow Tracy’s work and learn more from the following links:
■ Website: tracymunsonphotography.com
■ Instagram: @tracymunsonphotography
■ Facebook: tracymunsonphotography

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.

June Theme Challenge – “Golden Hour”

The theme challenge for June 2022 is “Golden Hour“. This month the assignment is to go out during the “Golden Hour” and enjoy capturing some images when there is amazing light.

The “Golden Hour” is the time of day that is the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset. This is when the sun is closer to the horizon and is casting warm light on the landscape and your subject. You determine how you want the landscape or subject in the light depending on the angle of light cast on the landscape or subject to your camera. This is also the time of day where you can make use of the shadows to add depth to your images.

Below we’ll talk through some examples of golden light images, which will hopefully give you some ideas for this month’s challenge. Although the examples shown below are of landscapes and wildlife you can also shoot portraits in this type of light as well, especially side or back-lit portraits. The concept is to use the warm light to enhance your subject so consider your camera position in relation to the subject and the light.

Let’s see what Golden Hour images you create this month. If you want to share your image there is no facility to upload your image here, however just paste your social media link to the image in your comment and we’ll be able to see your image. Please note comments are moderated so it will not show up right away, however we do get a notification when any comment is posted so it won’t take long to get approved and subsequently show up.
As an example; take a look at the sample comments for an Instagram image and Facebook image at the bottom of the September 2021 Monthly Theme – Water blog post. By posting your social media link of your image in your comment, it gives us, or anyone visiting the bog, a chance to not only see your image for the challenge but also the ability to look at your other work as well by visiting your social media through your link. Again the comments here are moderated, we want sharing to be a positive experience. We hope you have fun this month with this challenge.

The first image of a Willet perched on top of a damaged lobster trap, that had washed ashore, was taken at a low angle to get the subject in a clean background. This time of day with the warm light gives an orange colour to the feathers which during normal daylight would be brownish gray with white. The warm light also provides a great background colour. Remember to focus on the bird’s eye. This was shot with a longer focal length, 600mm, and with an aperture of f/7.1 creating the creamy blurred background in the image.

We don’t see American Robin’s very often at the beach close by where we live unless there is some seaweed on the sand where they can forage for insects. In the golden hour light it enhances the rusty red colour of the Robin’s breast feathers and also casts a long shadow which enhances the dimension of the bird. The background slight blue colour of the water is a complementary colour to the bird and the warm sand colour so the background also blends in well with this image.

The image of the Great Blue Heron, is in silhouette due to the Golden Hour back light. It’s not always necessary to see detail in your subject as seen here you can still recognize the bird because of it’s shape which is also enhanced by the reflection in the water. The subject was placed in the bottom center to provide some symmetry for the golden water above and surrounding the bird.

The grass shown below is in part of a local swampy area in Blandford Nova Scotia, known as the dipper pond, which can be beautiful with golden light. You can also see the various shadows cast by the grass creating areas of interest due to the light being closer to the horizon. Taking this image was intended to be more about the colour and shadow. Also shot with a 1/15s shutter speed to get a slight sense of movement on some of the grass as the wind was blowing it around, which can be seen in a few areas. The wood post is the only remaining part of the fence, which has been deteriorating for quite some time, in that area of the swamp.

If you happen to be out in a boat in the early morning or early evening you might get a chance to capture the golden light on the waves from the wake created behind the boat as you’re streaming to your destination. This image makes use of selective focus to have the middle part of the image the sharpest.

This next image shows golden light hitting Percé Rock at the end of day taken from The View Point of Percé Rock on Cape Mont Joli which can be a peaceful spectacular sight, taking in the Northern Gannets as they are flying around the rock and diving in the bay. The shadows on the rock are created as the sun gets even closer to the horizon, during sunset as the sun is dropping behind Mont Saint-Anne. Percé Rock is located in the town of Percé on the Gaspé Peninsula, Quebec, Canada.

With our monthly theme challenges we try to seek out an instructional resource, below are a few YouTube video links to help with some hints and ideas.

Golden Hour Photography instructional aids:
Landscape Photography Tips and Techniques – Capturing Light During The Golden Hour: Visual Art Photography Tutorials (9min 14sec)
Landscape Photography In Golden Hour: by Steven Hanna – Landscape Photography (7min 44sec)

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.

Episode 10 – Dennis Minty – Clarke’s Beach, Newfoundland

Podcast Episode #10 – May 15, 2022

In this podcast interview we will be talking to Dennis Minty, a professional photographer, educator and author, currently based in Clarke’s Beach, Newfoundland/Labrador.

You Can Learn Photography Podcast Episode 10 – Dennis Minty (mp3)
©Dennis Minty

Through mindful and heartfelt photography, Dennis Minty wants to help others connect with nature to cultivate joy, wonder and respect for the world around us.

Dennis Minty has been making images since age 12, but he did not embrace photography as his main career until after a 30-year professional life as a wildlife biologist and environmental educator.
In this role, he designed, established and managed Salmonier Nature Park in Newfoundland, the province’s only wildlife rehabilitation facility and a premier nature education centre. His work in environmental education (EE), for which he received a Governor General’s Medal, included authoring three books, developing school curricula in both Canada and other countries and training teachers to incorporate EE into school learning.

After his career as a public servant and international consultant, Dennis turned to his life-long passion, photography, and made a new, successful career of it. “I think that everything we do in life can help shape our vision, ethics, skills and commitments. All of these are ingredients of image-making.” Dennis immerses himself in nature through photography. “The two are inseparable,” he says.
He strives to make his work quiet, contemplative, evocative and filled with light. “My goal in creating an image is, not simply to document, but to inspire an emotional response in the viewer that might echo what I feel when I am making the image.” His work has been called “soul-stirring”, “poetic”, “inspiring” and “profound”, and has been praised by people like Shelagh Rogers, Margaret Atwood and Freeman Patterson.

Besides making his own photographic images, Dennis loves to help others make their own and improve their photo skills. Informal teaching has always been part of his careers and now he uses this skill-set in photography.
Since 2002 Dennis Minty has been working with Adventure Canada as a naturalist and photographer in Atlantic Canada, the Arctic, Antarctica, New Zealand, Galapagos, Iceland, the Faores and Scotland.
In his work with Adventure Canada, he encourages people to see more creatively and capture images of the trip that will have a lasting emotional appeal. As well, he coaches folks on the fundamentals of photography. On shore, he continues the photography coaching, but also does nature interpretation, from marine mammals to seabirds to the botanical landscape of the Arctic. His goal is to deepen fellow travellers’ understanding of their destinations.

Currently, Dennis practices his photography by selling his work as fine art prints, publishing his work in various magazines and websites, leading small group photo tours and workshops predominantly in Newfoundland/Labrador and offering private photography lessons.
Dennis loves his home province, Newfoundland/Labrador and delights in sharing his knowledge and stories with fellow travelers. “To belong to a place is a gift. And I have
been blessed with a profound and abiding sense of belonging to this place on the eastern edge of the country.”

Besides his educational books, Dennis has authored six photographic books, his latest being, Slow Photography, Images with Intent.
In 2016 he was inducted into The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s College of Fellows.
Dennis resides in Clarke’s Beach, Newfoundland with his wife, Antje Springmann, and various pets and farm critters that come and go through the years. He is very proud of his three grown-up children and seven grandchildren.

Dennis Minty’s latest book Slow Photography, Images with Intent was discussed on the podcast and can be purchased via payhip.com as an eBook in PDF format from the following link: Slow Photography, Images with Intent by Dennis Minty

You can follow Dennis’s work and learn more from the following links:
■ Website: mintynaturephotography.ca
■ Facebook: facebook.com/dennismintyphotography
■ Facebook: facebook.com/dennis.minty
■ Dennis Minty Prints: market.newfoundlandcanvas.com/dennisminty

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.

May Theme Challenge – “Your Local Zoo”

The theme challenge for May 2022 is “Your Local Zoo“. This month the assignment is to go to a zoo near you and enjoy capturing some animals that you may not have had the chance to photograph before. You’ll contribute to supporting the work they do at your local zoo when you pay admission and you’ll get an opportunity to photograph various types of animals up close.

Two well known Zoo’s in Nova Scotia are the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park and Interpretive Centre located in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia known for it’s variety of animals and birds native to North America and the Oaklawn Farm Zoo located in Millville Nova Scotia known for it’s various exotic and native breeds of animals, birds and reptiles.


There are many challenges to getting good images while at a zoo and we’ll discuss some techniques that will help through showing sample images which will re-enforce the tips presented. The main problem we face as photographers at a zoo is the wire fencing to make it disappear from our images. There are a number of key elements that will help make better images:
■ overcast weather minimizes the glare on the fencing, or find a spot where the fence is in the shade
■ get as close to the fence as possible
■ wait for the subject to be further away from you
■ use a longer focal length lens such as 100mm – 500mm with a wider aperture such as f/4 – f/8 this will blur out the fence that is between you and the subject, pick the aperture that blurs out the fence but also has enough depth of focus to have the subject sharp
■ use a single continuous focus point and focus in a clear spot of the fence, if your having trouble you may need to switch to manual focus, remember to focus on the subjects eye
■ wait until your subject is away from the fence to the subjects left or right so its out of the image frame
■ also wait until the fence behind the subject is further away too so the fence will be blurred out in the background
■ a tighter crop will also help with removing fencing and other distractions from your images
■ Photoshop may be required to cleanup the fencing that was not removed with in camera techniques as described above, you also may want to completely replace the background depending on the in camera result

Let’s see what Local Zoo images you create this month. If you want to share your image there is no facility to upload your image here, however just paste your social media link to the image in your comment and we’ll be able to see your image. Please note comments are moderated so it will not show up right away, however we do get a notification when any comment is posted so it won’t take long to get approved and subsequently show up.
As an example; take a look at the sample comments for an Instagram image and Facebook image at the bottom of the September 2021 Monthly Theme – Water blog post. By posting your social media link of your image in your comment, it gives us, or anyone visiting the bog, a chance to not only see your image for the challenge but also the ability to look at your other work as well by visiting your social media through your link. Again the comments here are moderated, we want sharing to be a positive experience. We hope you have fun this month with this challenge.

The first image of the Siberian Tiger was taken at a low angle, remember its important to get to eye level so the viewer feels connected to the subject. This image was taken at Oaklawn Farm Zoo as the Tiger was pacing around the pen. I used a longer focal length, 400mm, to isolate the head and neck of the subject removing the fencing from the right side of the subject and minimizing the background which is also out of focus due to the focal length, aperture and position of the subject away from the camera and background.

The image of the female African Lion, taken at Oaklawn Farm Zoo, below is a composite image meaning I replaced the background using Photoshop with an image of a field because the Lion did not move a way from the fence background. As in this case if the need arises to replace the background keep an eye out for background image possibilities at the zoo or surrounding area with the same light and colour so the composite will look as natural as possible. Always keep an eye out for possible scenes to use as backgrounds just in case the in camera image did not work as hoped. If you do not have access to Photoshop checkout a free online web browser based alternative called Photopea which will allow you to achieve background replacements.

The horses shown below, taken at Oaklawn Farm Zoo, were composed tightly to remove the surrounding distractions

The next four images shown below were taken at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park. This image of the Cougar was using a longer focal length to blur out the fence close to the camera and a tight composition to remove the fence on the right side, however the Cougar did not move a way from the fence in the background, so I used Photoshop to remove the fence.

The image of the Arctic Wolf with the reflection was taken with a longer focal length and composed tightly to remove the fence for the left of the Wolf, however the background was his wooden den and as a result I replaced the background using Photoshop.

The image of the Timber Wolf was taken as the Wolf was pacing around it’s pen and I waited until the Wolf was in a position that gave a clean more natural background before I captured the image. The Timber wolf was in the optimum position in the pen, being far enough away to blur out the fence, a great background, and in good light.

The Red Fox image is a composite replacing the background because the pen just did not have any angles that I could position myself to get a good background. The background for the Fox image was shot at the zoo and used to replace the background using Photoshop.

As you can see from the examples above that it’s challenging to get all of your images successfully in camera, and may require some Photoshop work to get a final image. In any case you can see it’s possible to create successful images. It’s well worth the experience, to get out for some fresh air, exercise, as well as support your local zoo.

With our monthly theme challenges we try to seek out an instructional resource, below are a few YouTube video links to help with some hints and ideas.

Zoo Photography instructional aids:
5 Tips For Taking Great Photos At The Zoo with Laurie Rubin: by Laurie Rubin [ViewBug] (14min 13sec)
No Fences Ep 137: Take and Make Great Photos with Gavin Hoey: by Gavin Hoey [Adorama] (12min 2sec)
How to Remove Fence Lines: Photoshop Tutorial #49: by Glyn Dewis (16min 5sec)
Remove Fence with 3 Simple Steps in Photoshop: by PiXimperfect (15min 33sec)

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.

Episode 9 – Sara Harley – Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Podcast Episode #9 – Apr 15, 2022

In this podcast interview we will be talking to Sara Harley, a photographer and writer who enjoys creating conceptual art from her images, currently based in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

You Can Learn Photography Podcast Episode 9 – Sara Harley (mp3)
©Sara Harley

Sara Harley lives and creates on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. She has carried a camera for many years, and has recently turned to creating composited art using her own photographs. Creating works from her imagination, her images range from dark and brooding to light and inspirational which strive to elicit an emotional response.

Sara’s photographs have been exhibited in many group exhibits, local and abroad, and has also hosted solo exhibits.

She was thrilled to have one of her photographs used on a cover for a book by Margaret Atwood, and published by several magazines. Sara also publishes several project guides each year.

As a photographer and artist, Sara’s work continues to evolve.

You can follow Sara’s work and learn more from the following links:
■ Instagram: @saraharley.studio
■ Blog: www.saraharley.ca

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.

April Theme Challenge – “The Moon”

Although a bit late, for this month, April 2022, the theme challenge is “The Moon”. This month the assignment is more challenging from a technical perspective and it requires a bit of planning as well as some specific gear. Your goal is to shoot a single image of the moon either on it’s own or in a landscape.

The moon varies in brightness due to the amount of ambient light from the sun. The colour of the moon is determined by the reflected light from the sun including the angle of the sun in relation to the moon and the atmospheric conditions. The best time of day is when the moon is rising as the sun is setting or when the moon is setting just before the sun is rising.

For images of the moon, go out at the edge of twilight. From last month’s challenge we learned that Civil twilight is the most favourable time within the “Blue Hour” to take photos when we observe the most beautiful colourful light.

Here are some specific tips that will help getting a great image:

The location of the moon in relation to the landscape. It is important to pick a landscape that is further away so that you can achieve a sharp landscape and sharp moon.

Choose a longer focal length such as 200mm or longer so the moon will look larger in your image similar to what your eyes see. Also choose a smaller aperture f/8 – f/11.

Adjust your exposure for the highlights which is the moon, the landscape may be slightly darker but if exposed correctly you will be able to increase the shadows in post processing to bring out enough detail in the landscape. Carefully consider your shutter speed because the earth is moving and as a result the moon will appear to be moving so choose a faster shutter speed say 1/60 to 1/125. It may require a higher ISO setting to get the correct exposure.

Shooting in low light and at longer focal lengths such as 200mm etc… it’s important to use a tripod to ensure sharp images. It’s a good idea to turn off image stabilization, however this depends on your gear as some equipment with newer technology may not be required this step so it’s important to know your gear.

Post processing is typically required to adjust the brightness of the shadows to bring out the detail in the landscape.

Let’s look at some image examples.

First we start with closeup images of the moon with no landscape taken with a longer focal length. The first image is taken when the moon is higher in the sky and as a result there is no colour. The second image is an image of the moon that was not at the horizon and a bit higher in the sky but the colour was influenced by the atmosphere due to the smoke dust from the forest fires across Canada that year. The third image is more dramatic due to the clouds and the light off the moon and clouds creating a more dramatic image. Remember to keep an eye on the news and the weather to determine when it is a good time to go out and capture your image.

When choosing a location to include the landscape it’s important to pick a landscape subject that is further away so you can use a longer focal length to have the moon appear larger in your image. You can use the PhotoPills app or the TPE app to help plan. Remember to watch the moon rise/set in conjunction with the sun set/rise during the month to pick the right time to get the best image possible. Each of these images are a single shot and enhanced using post processing to bring out the landscape detail.

Even if you only have a mobile phone and do not have a longer focal length you can get an image where the moon can enhance your image. It just takes timing. In this image I saw the clouds moving and the moon’s position changing in relation to the clouds and was hoping the moon would appear as an eye in what I called the dragon cloud. I took a number of shots so I would not miss the exact moment with the moon in the right position. Although more challenging just be observant while you are out taking images, you never know what you’ll see and capture.

Let’s see what images you create of the moon this month

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.

Episode 8 – Brian Merry, Banff Alberta

Podcast Episode #8 – Mar 15, 2022

In this podcast interview we will be talking to Brian Merry, a professional landscape and travel photographer, currently based in Banff, Alberta, teaching and leading photography seminars, workshops and tours in Canada, California, and Japan.

You Can Learn Photography Podcast – Episode 8 – Brian Merry (mp3)
Brian Merry ©Shelly Vandervelde

Brian Merry was born and raised in Nova Scotia exploring every corner of the Atlantic Canadian Provinces by air, land and sea. Brian started his self directed apprenticeship in outdoor photography in the late 1980s and began seriously exploring the natural world through his lens in 1990. Back then he was shooting a manual film SLR Camera learning with each picture taken and roll of film developed.

Between 1990-1997 Brian earned a Fish and Wildlife Technician diploma from Fleming College in Ontario followed with a BSc. with Honours in Biology from Acadia University. His honours thesis specialized in population genetics and wildlife management. During the 6 years at college and university Brian continued to passionately teach himself everything he could about photography.

While studying at Acadia University Brian concurrently worked as a lab instructor in the biology program during each of the four years during his honours degree, including the first year. teaching labs in “Introductory Biology” and facilitating the “Introductory to Genetics” labs while completing his degree and honours thesis. This was the beginning of Brian’s teaching experience.

After 7 years of self directed photography education, read between the lines, “trial and error!!”, and after finishing up a 4 year degree at Acadia University, Biran moved to Banff in the Canadian Rockies and began his professional landscape photography business in the summer. He has enjoyed a long career as a professional photographer thriving through numerous changes in the industry. We’re presently adjusting to the new normal in the wake of the Covid-19 global pandemic. But, the most dramatic shift in the “landscape” occurred when the photography World shifted from film to digital between 2001 and 2002, which was amazing to experience how quickly and completely that radical shift happened throughout the industry.

Brian was grateful that he had the courage to embrace professional grade digital cameras early on in the transition. That decisive move put him on the “front line of the digital revolution” as he adapted a thriving event photography business from a 100% film operation to a 100% digital operation that spanned the Canadian Rockies and employed 13 photographers seasonally, swiftly making this shift in less than a year.

Brian also began teaching and leading photography workshops and tours in 2006. His professional instructor experience from both Acadia University ,and later at Lakeland College in Vermillion, AB, has proven invaluable. This experience and training served him well while developing and delivering his own educational workshops and presentations featuring his outdoor photography from around the World.

Brian delivers landscape photography seminars, hosts and leads workshops and tours across Canada, in California and in Japan. He thoroughly enjoys teaching landscape photography workshops and leading tours. It is very rewarding to see the sparkle in his students’ eyes, and the realization in their faces in the moment when “they get it!”. Brian was so proud when BMerry Photography was Awarded the best unique tour company in Alberta in 2019 by the International Travel and Hospitality Awards.

For almost 30 years photography has been an integral part of Brian’s life. “I can’t imagine not being a photographer, Photography is part of who I am.”

You can follow Brian’s work and learn more at:
brianmerry.ca/
facebook.com/BmerryPhotography
facebook groups Bmerry Photo Lanscapes
https://youtube.com/c/BrianMerryPhotography
International landscape Photographers Association (ILPA)
Join the ILPA Event Insiders Email List

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 – “Blue Hour”

For this month, March 2022, the theme challenge is “Blue Hour”. This is the time of day referred to as twilight which is, approximately, the hour before sunrise and the hour after sunset.

Twilight is the duration before sunrise or after sunset between day and night. Twilight goes through 3 stages; civil, nautical, and astronomical twilight. For more detailed information on twilight please visit Wikipedia about Twilight.

In general Civil twilight is approximately 20-30min before sunrise and 20-30min after sunset. Civil twilight is the most favourable time within “Blue Hour” to take photos, because the light from the sun could reflect off any high clouds, if present, that are in the sky which can create result in a beautiful colourful light.

Civil twilight is also a great time of day to shoot at slower shutter speeds which allows you to create photos that show motion. This time of day is at a lower brightness of light which makes it possible to obtain slower shutter speeds without the use of neutral density filters.

Hopefully viewing the following images will provide some inspiration to pick up your camera and get you out there to create some of your own interesting images.

Here are some examples of the colourful light that occurs on the high clouds in the sky when lit up by the sun before sunrise or after sunset. Typically this colourful light occurs within the time period between 5min to 10min after the sunset and 5min to 10min before sunrise. As already mentioned with less light this allows for slower shutter speeds, and in these cases you can capture the movement of the waves as blurred action which shows motion in your image. the first image captures the motion as the wave is receding and the second image shows the water as the wave is coming in. It’s important to push the shutter at the right time and therefore best to use a cable release. You can also use a 2 second self timer mode but you have to push the shutter 2 seconds before the decisive moment.

A cell phone camera can capture amazing images as well during Civil twilight. The second image of the Moon is a Photoshop “composite” using a cell phone image of the clouds and a DSLR image of the moon taken with a zoom lens as the moon was setting just before the blue hour which was then combined in photoshop, this is why the moon looks large in the final composite image. This moon image, although not similar, was inspired by the scene of Luke Skywalker when on Tatooine looking at the twin suns in the Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope Movie.

Taking images during civil twilight combined with the right atmospheric conditions (land fog caused by cooling air temperatures) can create some dreamy landscapes as well.

Reflections can create interesting images as well. Look in all directions you never know what you’ll be able to capture.

Even when the magic colour in the sky doesn’t happen, take advantage of the low light for slower shutter speeds to create some long exposure images resulting in a dreamy landscape.

March still has cooler temperatures and we still need to be aware of the possibility of moisture accumulating on your camera equipment in certain situations. Please refer to last month’s February theme challenge – “Winter Scene” and scroll down to the paragraph on “Equipment Care” for more information on how to protect your equipment.

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 an instructional resource, below are a few YouTube video links to help with some hints and ideas.

Blue Hour Photography instructional aids:
Getting The Best Photos in Blue Hour: by Nigel Danson (18min 16sec)
The Blue Hour it’s the best time for Landscape Photography: by Gary Gough (11min 26sec)

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.

Episode 7 – Nancy Rose, Hubley Nova Scotia

Podcast Episode #7 – Feb 15, 2022

In this podcast interview we will be talking to Nancy Rose, a photographer, author and illustrator best known for her book series “The Secret Life of Squirrels” currently based in Hubley, Nova Scotia.

You Can Learn Photography Podcast Episode 7 Nancy Rose (mp3)
©Nancy Rose

Nancy worked as a Guidance Counselor and Family Studies teacher until she retired in 2016. Nancy grew up in Antigonish, NS, in a family of seven children where creativity was always encouraged and over the years she has pursued a variety of art and craft endeavors in her spare time. She started taking photography seriously in 2007 when she joined Flickr.com where she was inspired by the creativity and talents of photographers from all over the world. Her interest in nature and wildlife, and a storage room full of fabrics, paint, clay and craft materials merged with her photography passion when she discovered the curiosity of the little North American Red Squirrels who raided the bird feeders in her backyard. By making miniature dioramas and squirrel-size props she has created hundreds of scenarios where the inquisitive squirrels find themselves in some rather human-like poses as they search for peanuts hidden in the props. Gradually, the “secret life” of her backyard squirrels emerged. Her first “actor”, Mr. Peanuts, has been followed by a succession of cute and curious squirrels who come daily for peanuts and sunflower seeds and to check out whatever Nancy puts out on the table on her deck. Sometimes she gets a good shot right away, but more often it takes hundreds of photos to get a clearly focused shot that tells the story Nancy has in her head.

In 2013 Nancy’s humorous squirrel photos on Flickr went viral and they have been featured on numerous websites, and newspapers locally and internationally, as well as on local and national television news shows. When some of her amusing squirrel photos appeared in The Toronto Star and National Post she was contacted by a literary agent at Westwood Creative Artists in Toronto. From there her books were born and her followers grew in number. Her fifth book was published in June 2021.

Nancy’s first book, The Secret Life of Squirrels was published simultaneously in Canada and the US in 2014 and has also been published in Japan and South Korea. It is also available in a board book for the youngest readers, and in 2016 available in paperback through Scholastic Books. Merry Christmas, Squirrels followed in 2015, The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story in 2016, and The Secret Life of Squirrels: Back to School in 2018. Oakley the Squirrel – The Search for Z – A Nutty Alphabet Book came out in June 2021 and a follow up about Counting and Camping is at the publishers now. Nancy is currently working on a fourth year of photos (for 2024) calendars with Workman Publishing.

Nancy does classroom visits (live, before covid) and virtual these days, via Zoom or Googlemeet. She is available to read to students of all ages. “I can talk about the roles of author and illustrator and working with a publisher. I show many of my homemade miniature props which appear in the books to show the students that art has many forms. We talk about nature and wildlife, crafting and recycling (The 3 R’s) and the 4 P’s: photography, practice, patience and persistence. After my visits students have often created their own miniatures and written stories to go with them.”

You can follow Nancy’s work and learn more at:
secretlifeofsquirrels.com
facebook.com/nancy.rose.1042
instagram.com/nancyroselovessquirrels/
flickr.com/photos/nancyandwayne/

Some Youtube Links:
Merry Christmas Squirrels! by Nancy Rose (Little, Brown Young Readers)
Merry Christmas Squirrels! read by Patti Smith (321 Read)
The Secret Life of Squirrels read by Mr. Kirby’s Neighborhood
Squirrel with tissues Nancy Rose “Secret Life of Squirrels”

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.