About tgawalt

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

February Theme Challenge – “Water Drop Photography”

With the weather being much colder outside this month, I encourage you to try playing with water drop photography. This can be time consuming, but lots of fun at the same time and you can try this initially without any fancy gear. Just use some containers you have kicking around, a plastic bag, clamp, needle, your tripod and you can give this a try.

I realize we cannot all be specialists in every genre of photography so for this month’s challenge I hope you will take the time to watch a talented UK professional photographer Adam Karnacz who does water drop photography as one of his specialties. Below you’ll find the link to his free Water Drop Master Class available from his website. Adam is unbelievably kind and provides this master class for free. If you enjoy what you learn please consider thanking him by making a donation.

Hopefully you’ll have lots of fun and enjoy something a bit different while wondering what to photograph staying out of the cold weather. Let’s see what images you create this month.

Although you can pull out a lot of gear to create amazing images, these two initial images shown below were created with minimal gear; Canon 50D, 50mm lens, tripod, and a wired remote, and natural light from my kitchen windows. It’s all about timing and a bit of post processing, mainly white balance for the blue colour and some cropping. The settings used were; f/2.8, 1/500, ISO 200, @50mm. If you have an f/4 lens then use ISO 400. You may need to tweak your settings a bit to suit your lighting conditions. The most important thing is a fast shutter speed which you may want to increase to 1/1000 or even 1/2000 making the necessary ISO adjustments to obtain a properly exposed image.

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, and in this case here is a link to help you excel at water drop photography:
Water Drop Photography Master Class by: First Man Photography (Adam Karnacz)

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 15 – Josée Talbot – Lotbinière, Québec

Podcast Episode #15 – Jan 16, 2023

In this podcast interview we will be talking to Josée Talbot, a Graphic Designer and equine/equestrian Photographer, currently based in Lotbinière, Québec.

You Can Learn Photography Podcast Episode 15 – Josée Talbot (mp3)
Josée Talbot (image courtesy of ©Vanessa DC Photographe)

Josée Talbot, is a Graphic designer and Photographer by profession, from Québec City, in a district of Limoilou, now settled in Lotbinière. Passionate about horses since her childhood, she drew them everywhere, even winning several drawing contests! On school benches, Josée dreamed of wide-open spaces, manes in the wind, open nostrils, wild gallopades, the sound of hooves, in short, horses lived in her imagination! Film photography was a discovery for her while studying design at Cégep de Sainte-Foy in the 80s. In 2008, she decided to do it more seriously, but in digital this time.

You could say she is self taught in digital photography, with friends who are pro photographers always eager to help her. Josée took a couple of workshops where she learned a lot and has been attending horse shows since 1987, first as a competitor with her horse, then simply to watch others compete and then, to photograph classes. She started photographing horse shows in 2009 up until 2020, and still does from time to time. Knowing this sport, Josée makes pictures that show her customers and their horses to their best.

Specializing in equine (and equestrian), wildlife, nature and landscape photography. In April 2014 joining the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC), received her first accreditation in equine photography a month later with a mention of Excellence. The first time attending the National Image Salon Competition in 2015, she received a score of excellence for her photograph titled “Monroe” and which was selected to be part of the PPOC Loan Collection. In 2016, she received a second accreditation in Fine Art photography. In 2017, Josée attained another Excellence and a Best in Class for her photograph “The Left Turn” in the Fine Art category which was also selected to be part of the Loan Collection. A huge honor! In April 2020, she received a Craftman of Photographic Arts (CPA) and in 2021 a Master of Photographic Arts (MPA), designations delivered by the Professional Photographers of Canada. A great accomplishment but, most of all, a great recognition from her peers. In Summer 2022 Josée joined the Equine Photographers Network, an association for equine and equestrian photographers from all around the world where she feels more at home.

Josée likes to push her images further and work with the graphic tablet with software such as Adobe Photoshop, Topaz Impression, and more recently, Jixipix Pastello and Impresso Pro, which is called digital art. By thus working her images, to stand out by her unique style, the rendering of the gestuals, and sometimes even, to confuse a photograph with a painting. She aims to produce Fine Art images that every horse lover would want to hang on their walls.

In 2018, Josée’s first solo exhibition was at a charming restaurant in Vallée-Jonction, Le Resto St-Vincent. It was a great experience and a success, and hoping to do it again! She also offered her first equestrian photography workshop in September 2018, another one in August 2020, and offered 2 workshops in Summer 2022 to members of a photo club. Josée finds teaching very rewarding!

You can follow Josée’s work and learn more from the following links:
■ Facebook: TalbotPhotoArt
■ Website: talbotphotoart.ca
■ Instagram: josee_talbot

Links to Magazines mentioned in the podcast:
■ Cover and feature article in Photo News Magazine Summer 2022 Issue pg 24
 Josee Talbot Equine Portfolio Interview.
■ Cover and feature article in PPOC Gallerie Magazine Fall 2021 Issue pg 10
 Josee Talbot MPA, Horses Seen Differently.
■ Cover and feature article in PPOC Focus Magazine October 2014 Issue pg 14
 (French) Josee Talbot Accredidation Equine.

Links to Photographers mentioned during the podcast:
Raphael Macek
Tim Flach
Bev Pettit
Katarzyna Okrzesik-Mikołajek

Links Related to Sable Island:
Sable Island National Park Reserve Website
Roberto Dutesco (Sable Island photographer and film maker)
Movie about Sable Island Horses – Roberto Dutesco
Video of Sable Island – CBC
Video of Sable Island – Brinton Photography

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.

January Theme Challenge – “Winter”

For this month, January 2023, the theme challenge is “Winter”. It’s that time of year when it’s cold outside but if you do decide to brave the environment you will have the opportunity to see how the snow and ice can be your subject or how the effects of snow and ice can complement your subject. Now there are some days that it may be too cold to take your gear outside, in such cases look to see if there is frost on your windows, you’ll see some possibilities for interesting images.

Taking photographs in the cold weather has it’s challenges; your digital gear may not work if the temperatures are extreme (keep your spare batteries in a pocket close to your body to keep them warm), keeping yourself warm and comfortable, be careful not to fall, as well as keeping your gear free from condensation. After your photo shoot, if you want to load your images on your computer as soon as you arrive home, remove your memory cards from your camera before you go inside so you don’t have to expose your camera to the inside warm air.

Protecting your gear; Taking your camera gear from a warm environment to the outside usually does not cause any issues, however when going from the cold back into a warm environment is where condensation can quickly form on your camera/lens and this is where it can be harmful to your gear, eventually causing spots on your external and more seriously the internal lens elements which eventually causes mold to form. Before going in to a warm environment from the cold, place your camera/lens back inside your camera bag (your bag needs to be padded with zipper closed) this will allow your gear to raise in temperature slowly and therefore condensation will not happen. An additional protection tip is to put your camera/lens in a double zipper x-large Zipper Seal (Dollarama 33cmx39.6cm / 12.9″x15.5″) bag, this will allow the condensation to form on the outside of the bag and not on your camera/lens.

When the temperatures are bordering the freezing mark there is always a chance of freezing rain, this creates magical conditions and depending on the light you can create some interesting images. Be careful, it can be very slippery so use the proper footwear with cleats or crampons so you don’t fall.

You can have fun taking images inside as well, if there is frost on a window. Frost forms on windows if there is a bit of humidity inside when it is very cold outside. Usually you’ll see it early in the morning before the sunlight directly hits the window causing it to warm up which melts the frost. Consider your position in relation to the outside which will be your background to get the best composition. Remember about minimum focus distance of your lens, you may have to be a little further away to be able to auto-focus.

Snow can help remove distractions in the landscape to create a more minimalistic image and also so how resilient subject elements in your image can be. Depending on the overall conditions and camera colour temperature setting used an image can project a cold and remote feeling to the viewer.

With ice it’s a matter of catching the right light and angle to make your images more interesting. Look for interesting conditions such as changes in water level which can cause ice to appear elevated or rocks that push the ice up creating interesting shapes.

Keep warm; To enjoy your time out in the cold dress in layers with thermal socks for your feet and gloves that allow you to operate your camera and keep your hands warm. If you are in icy conditions use crampons or cleats on your boots, they will keep you from falling so you don’t get hurt or break your gear.

White balance; Set the white balance to match the weather condition; use sunny, cloudy or custom. If you are not sure use auto but the result may not be as good (depending on your camera) as my previous suggestions.

Exposure; The challenge in taking a photograph with snow, frost or ice conditions is getting the right exposure. If you let your camera automatically pick the exposure you will immediately see that the snow, frost and ice is more gray than white. This is because the camera’s auto exposure is based on 18% gray, which is the amount of light reflected from a 50% gray surface. To solve gray looking snow, frost and ice, set your “exposure compensation” at +2. If you see the “highlight alert” on your display then back off the exposure compensation by -1/3 at a time until you no longer see the “highlight alert”. You will then have the proper exposure for shooting with snow or ice conditions.

The same exposure technique goes for manual mode, set your exposure until your camera meter shows +2. Then take a photo and see if you see any highlight alerts, if you do then back off the exposure by -1/3 increments until you no longer see any highlight alerts. Your final best exposure for auto or manual exposure is usually closer to +2 than +1. You can review the blog articles on exposure compensation and highlight alert if you need help.

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.

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 number of YouTube video links to help with some hints and ideas.

Winter Photography instructional aids:
How to take amazing photos in the snow: by Gavin Hoey (3min 53sec)
Landscape Photography Tips & Techniques, Winter Freeze: by Thomas Heaton (15min 55sec)
Snow Landscape Photography Tips: by Micael Widell (10min 17sec)
Landscape Photography in the Snow, Winter in North Yorkshire by: First Man Photography (11min 5sec)

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.

November Theme Challenge – “Waterfalls Again”

This month I encourage you to create an image using slower shutter speeds to show motion in water. Now that we are getting some rain the streams and rivers are starting to show signs of water again, so it’s a great time to get out and try taking waterfall images. Spend the time creating a good composition, you will be rewarded with not only great images but a nice relaxing adventure listening to the water.

Choosing the right weather conditions is important when to go out shooting waterfalls, overcast conditions or early morning as well as late in the day when there is dappled light works very well. Even on damp days just before it starts to rain or just after, the colours appear more saturated especially in the fall adding even more to your final image.

©Trevor Awalt_IMG_4161_small

f/16, 1.6sec, ISO 100, @24mm

Shutter speed is typically chosen in relation to the amount of water that is flowing. If there is a lot of water the shutter speed does not have to be as slow. With less water the shutter speed needs to be a bit slower to show the motion. Some like the slow shutter speed effect because it gives the viewer a calming feeling. In the images below you can see the water appears smooth but still shows detail, this adds the dimension of motion to the image. Remember you want the water to appear white but not over exposed, so watch your histogram and highlight alert.

©Trevor Awalt_48A9360-Edit_small

f/11, 1.3 sec, ISO 100, @24mm

The use of a circular polarizer filter will help take the sheen off the water as well as the shine off the rocks, and also prove a bit more color saturation. Think about your shutter speed to create the look you are going for, if you use too long of a shutter speed your water may no longer show any detail and just be complete white mist. The more water which would typically cause the water to move faster you would not use too slow of a shutter speed. Using a circular polarizer also reduces the light by 1 to 1 1/2 stops of light helping to get a slower shutter speed.

Don’t limit yourself to one composition or wide angle lens, use a longer focal length (zoom lens) and even vertical compositions to isolate the scene to reach places you are not able to physically get closer to. Spend time working the location, these simple techniques will help you create a different image such as the one shown below.

©Trevor Awalt_48A8100_small

f/11, 0.6 sec, ISO 50, @110mm

When using slower shutter speeds, you will need to stabilize your camera typically using a tripod, gorilla pod, or platypod. Even setting your camera on a solid surface works if it provides an acceptable composition. In any case use caution at waterfall locations, wear good rubber boots so you don’t slip and fall on the wet rocks especially with wet leaves in the fall.

As far as camera settings go start with your lowest ISO, typically 100, set your Aperture somewhere between f/8 – f/16 to obtain a shutter somewhere between 1/4 sec to 2 sec. Your ideal shutter speed is dictated by how much water and how fast the water is moving. Check your images to make sure your images have the right balance between silky smooth and detail.

Your focus point is determined by the depth of field required to ideally have a sharp image from front to back. In general if you are using a wide angle lens the hyperfocal distance should be close to 1/3 into the scene. Please refer to my blog posts on focusing Depth of Field and hyperfocal distance. If you are using a longer focal length, focus on the main subject and take into consideration the depth of field when choosing your aperture, focal length and how close you are to the subject.

If possible clean up any debris that would distract from the image. However, sometimes this is not possible as seen in the image below. The small branch that was on the rock to the upper left I was not able to reach to remove it.

©Trevor Awalt_IMG_4398_small

f/16, 1/8 sec, ISO 100, @24mm

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 some YouTube video links to help with some important tips, hints and ideas.
Waterfall Photography instructional aids:
Photographing waterfalls with landscape photographer Sarah Howard of Image Seen: by Sarah Howard (10min 28sec)
How to Photograph Waterfalls – Landscape Photography Waterfall Tutorial: by David Johnston (15min 3sec)

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 14 – Guy LeBlanc – Memramcook, New Brunswick

Podcast Episode #14 – Oct 15, 2022

In this podcast interview we will be talking to Guy LeBlanc, an Amateur Portrait and Nature Photographer, currently based in Memramcook, New Brunswick.

You Can Learn Photography Podcast Episode 14 – Guy LeBlanc (mp3)
©Guy LeBlanc

Hi, my name is Guy LeBlanc, born December 8, 1982, the 5th of 6 siblings. For as long as I can remember there was photography in the family. My mom and dad had wanted to record their family growing up. My mom bought a Canon TX and took a basic photography class. I still have my mom’s old camera. I think my first camera was a simple point and shoot with 35mm film. So, I’ve always been interested in photography but never enough to study it and take it very seriously. My interest really developed and took off in 2016. I was going through a transition period in my life after suffering a Post Traumatic Stress Injury due to accumulated incidents at work. I wouldn’t leave the house except to exercise my dog.

With this turn of events, I became very close friend with my neighbor Norbert Dupuis as he would come over to exercise his dog with mine. I should mention that Norbert has studied and done photography for over 40 years. After several months of having dog play dates every day, Norbert suddenly asked me if I was interested in learning photography. My reply was, I don’t have a camera and can’t afford one. That didn’t deter Norbert, he simply told me to take out my cell phone and I started learning the basics of photography. After seeing how eager I was to learn, Norbert did the most generous act of kindness. He gave me my first digital camera. It was a Canon Rebel; I believe the first of the rebel series. He no longer used it as he had upgraded. This is when my love and passion really took off. I must say that I owe a great deal of gratitude towards Norbert for what he did for me. Photography has helped me greatly in my recovery. Other than photography in my spare time I like to build model cars, play guitar, go hiking, bird watching.

I don’t have an official business yet, but I do post on Facebook @Guy&TangoPhotography. I got the name from a friend whom I had ask for help to come up with a name for my page. She mentioned I should name it whatever I had taken most pictures of, that was easy. My dog Tango, and the name was put together.

You can follow Guy’s work and learn more from the following link:
■ Facebook: @Guy&TangoPhotography

The photographer Guy mentioned for inspiration with Horse images, during the podcast, is “Josee Talbot” who can be found via the following links:
■ Website: talbotphotoart.ca
■ Facebook: TalbotPhotoArt

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.

October 2022 Theme Challenge – “Fall Colour”

This month I encourage you get outdoors to experience the fresh cool air and create an image taking advantage of the Fall Colour. Spend the time to enjoy nature, be patient and you will be rewarded with not only great images but exciting experiences.

When shooting Fall Colour consider your shutter speed in relation to the amount of wind because the leaves move with the wind. In the images below you can see the water is calm providing reflections because there was not much wind, therefore your shutter speed can be a bit slower allowing for a lower ISO for a higher quality result.

Watch your RGB histogram, it’s easy to over expose the Red channel because of the vivid colour. An overcast damp day provides perfect conditions, use a circular polarizer to minimize the reflection from the leaves to get a more saturated colour with better contrast.

Don’t limit yourself by just using a wide angle lens, use a longer focal length (zoom lens) to isolate the scene and reach places you are not able to physically get closer to.

Fall is a great time to photograph waterfalls as well. Use your polarizing filter to minimize reflections and select a shutter speed that smooths the water but still maintains texture in the water. To get slower shutter speeds, go earlier in the morning or later in the day when there is less light, or try using a 2 stop or 3 stop neutral density filter. Take the wide angle shots but also get those intimate shots as well by using a longer focal length or getting closer to the subject.

If the opportunity arises, capture a portrait. Remember if you are taking a portrait of someone you don’t know ask them if it’s ok, and you may also want to get their email address so you can send them the photo.

As always check the result on the camera display by zooming in and around the image to make sure it’s sharp, review the RGB histogram, and check the composition for minimal distractions to make sure everything is just right before you consider being finished taking your image(s).

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 some YouTube video links to help with some important tips, hints and ideas.
Fall Colour Photography instructional aids:
7 Photo Ideas to instantly Improve your Autumn photography: by Nigel Danson (15min 17sec)
5 photography Tips to ensure your Autumn Photos are Amazing: by Nigel Danson (10min 44sec)
Photography in the Woods | Autumn Colour: by Thomas Heaton (21min 16sec)
Autumn Landscape Photography Tips and Techniques: by Landscape Photography iQ (5min 36sec)

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 13 – Shane Gross – Nanaimo, British Columbia

Podcast Episode #13 – Sep 15, 2022

In this podcast interview we will be talking to Shane Gross, a Canadian marine conservation photojournalist and Co-founder of the Canadian Conservation Photographers Collective currently based in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

You Can Learn Photography Podcast Episode 13 with Shane Gross (mp3)

Shane’s childhood passion for sharks has grown into a love for everything that lives underwater. Telling long-form narratives about the ocean and human’s impact on her, both positive and negative, are what drive him. 

©Shane Gross

Shane’s Fun facts:

Shane is available for photography assignments, and speaking engagements. “I hope you’ll take the time to look at my images and read the stories behind them. Our oceans are in real trouble because of our collective actions. Let’s use our skills, talents and abilities to make real conservation change. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with anything. I want to help“. 

CBC News The National – Shane Gross Capturing humanity’s impact on ocean life (10 min 7 sec)

Shane’s latest book is available for purchase Bahamas Underwater

If you’d like to support Shane’s work directly via Patreon please click here. Thank you!

You can follow Shane’s work and learn more from the following links:
■ Website: shanegross.com
■ Instagram: @shanegrossphoto
■ Facebook: shanegrossphotography

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

Shark Kids – Shane Gross a Marine Conservation Photographer (59 min 29 sec)

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.

August Theme Challenge – “Summer Fun”

Sorry for the late post this month. The theme challenge for August 2022 is “Summer Fun“. This month the assignment is to go out and enjoy summer and while you are out capture what’s going on around you. We’ll show some examples below but you are certainly not limited to just these ideas, it’s just to get you thinking. 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.

As you are out and about this month observe what is going on around you and capture what you see you think would be fun or someone having fun. The first image of the girl on the beach would be a great subject to represent someone having fun. However, let’s be clear here this was my grandchild so it was no problem to photograph her because I had her parents permission, but please do not take images of children unless they are yours or related and still make sure you have permission to photograph them by their parents and leave the sharing online to them unless they have hired you to take the photos and you have a signed model release, even then keep the safety of the child in mind at all times. The second image of the dog was taken at a local beach and who was enjoying playing fetch with it’s owner. Introduce yourself and ask if the owner minds if you take photos of their dog, and remember to get their email so you can offer to send them a photo or two as a thank you, they will appreciate it.

Looking at the next image, when was the last time you flew a kite? They can be very interesting and colourful and if there are some clouds with blue sky for a great background your image will be even better. There are so many flowers this time of year, flowers are a difficult subject but take your time and you’ll have a lot of fun. Think about composition, perspective, and a clean background and you’ll come away with some great images.

The shorebirds such as sandpipers and piping plovers should be migrating soon and you’ll be able to go to a beach and get an opportunity to spend time with them and capture some great images. Have some fun yourself and remember do not chance the birds, observe them to see what they are doing and go sit where you think they are going to go. Wait for them to come to you. They will come very close if you stay still and wait. Be patient and you will be rewarded. Remember to get low as possible, sit kneel or even lie down on a sheet of plastic or blanket.

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:
How To Photograph Shorebirds: by Simon d’Entremont (12min 7sec)
My 8 Best Tips for Flower Photography: by Micael Widell (8min 9sec)

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 12 – Jason Dain – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Podcast Episode #12 – Jul 15, 2022

In this podcast interview we will be talking to Jason Dain, a Wildlife, Landscape and Night Sky photographer, currently based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

You Can Learn Photography Podcast Episode 12 – Jason Dain (mp3)
©Jason Dain

Jason Dain is an Information Technology professional in the Natural Resources sector. Jason is a passionate birder and photographer who got into birding about 7 years ago when he got a new digital camera and started taking pictures of birds and learning more about them. Jason enjoys birding around the St. Margaret’s Bay area where he lives as well as other areas all over the province. As part of his work, Jason travels to different places around the world and has had the privilege of birding on 5 of the 7 continents.

Jason has been involved with Astrophotography for just over 4 years. He started with photographing the Milky Way and progressed into multi-night Deep Space object photography. Jason has had his photographs published in print and online internationally and has been recognized with 2 NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day awards for his work.

You can follow Jason’s work and learn more from the following links:
■ Instagram: @dainjason
■ Facebook: jasondainphotography

As mentioned in the podcast about ethical birding and nature photography, here is the link to The American Birding Association Code Of Ethics.

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.

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.