Have you ever noticed that sometimes things work out better when you stop struggling and instead go with the flow?  That's a sweeping statement - let me explain.

I was an early joiner on the mirrorless camera bandwagon. If truth be told though, I have struggled ever since to get the darn thing to reliably produce the sort of images that come easily to me with my more robust (and weighty) Nikon gear.  

Now, before I go any further let me state that I have no doubt that the issue is not the camera… but rather the user.  Plenty of other photographers are producing wonderful images using the very same mirrorless system that seems to trouble me.

My biggest issue has been focus.  I can’t get an in focus image with the mirrorless to save my life.  Well - that’s not entirely true - I have had a few - but most often they are happy accidents rather than planned.  The majority of images I’ve taken with this new lightweight media darling are complete blurry messes.  Bah! 

One day as I was reviewing another collection of fuzzy missed shots I discovered one that I rather liked in spite of its lack of focus.  And BOOM, it hit me.  Since I seemed to be able to capture blurry shots with this camera so easily - why not explore that? If you can't beat them...

For some of you this will make no sense. I can hear you asking "why would you want to purposefully make out of focus images?"  Well here's the thing - I’ve always been fascinated by abstract images and the camera as a tool to create them. 

Many photographers might take to the soapbox and proclaim that abstract photos are just a way of “saving” a bad photo - which may be true in some cases - but when the intention is to make abstract images, blurry photos are not mistakes saved but rather art created. In fact the technique has a name ICM - intentional camera movement and there are plenty of photographers creating these sorts of images in a genre of art often referred to decades ago as pictorial and more recently as abstract or impressionist photography. 



Given that I have the tool in hand which I seem predisposed to create these sorts of images with… I thought I would give the genre a go. I have learned that creating abstract images intentionally is every bit as challenging as creating any other sort of image.  But I am hooked and it's kindled a love for a camera that used to cause me grief!

Have you ever found that your photography took a turn for the better when you stopped struggling? Or have you ever turned a negative into a positive in your art? Maybe it's time to consider trying to go with the flow. 

If you wish to see my (ever growing) collection of abstract landscape images sign up for my newsletter to be notified when new ones are added.  


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EVERY IMAGE TELLS A STORY - daring greatly

Often when I make an image the story it tells is inspired by something I've read, heard or a song I've listened to.  I see the scene and it triggers the words.  Do you ever find that?

I came across this willow tree last week which seemed to be "daring greatly."  I imagined it's story to be one of risk and resilience.  Perhaps it got an unlucky start too close to the water's edge or was the unfortunate casualty of a summer storm.  Whatever the reason, this lone willow is now stretched precariously out beyond the safety of solid ground.  With its roots lashed to the ever shifting and rocky shoreline it seems to be... "daring greatly."  

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic" delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 

I was recently (yes I realize I am late to the party) introduced to these words while watching Chase Jarvis interview Brene Brown on his show.  It's a long format interview but I found it terrifically inspiring.  When it comes to making my art, I am inspired to be the "one in the arena"  the "doer of deeds" the one "striving valiantly."  Creating is risky - you have to be vulnerable.  But nothing risked, nothing gained.  In fact in the case of un-used creativity - perhaps much lost!

If you are curious or in the mood for a bit of inspiration I would encourage you to watch the interview or look up Brene Brown.  She has written several books, done Ted Talks and runs Creativity Workshops through Oprah's website.  

I hope you've had a wonderful weekend my friends... and if you are not daring greatly in your own life already, perhaps something you found here will inspire you.


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CREATIVE ENERGY - limited or limitless?

Is creative energy limited or limitless?  What do you find?

This week I’ve had several creative projects on the go other than photography.  Now that I am turning my focus back to photography, I am finding the muse decidedly absent.  So I am left wondering… is creative energy limited?  Perhaps I have spent all my reserves and just need to find a way to re-fuel.  Any thoughts my fellow artists?  Have any useful tips on how to get in touch with the muse again?


This is an image taken last spring along the shore of Lake Ontario.  There is a rock beach that I like to walk and I often find interesting debris left behind after the spring melt.  It was taken on my Nikon D700 with my 14-24mm lens.  I shot 7 bracketed exposures but chose only one exposure and processed it twice in Lightroom.  The first had some increased clarity on it and the second, I decreased the clarity as I wanted to enhance the smoothness of the water and the glowing of the horizon.  I then brought both versions into Photoshop and blended them.  In photoshop I used a couple of my favourite plug-ins; Topaz Lens Effects to further smooth out the water and Nik Color Efex to lighten the center and darken the edges. I also played a bit with using luminosity masks!  Something I am researching and trying out every chance I get.  Maybe that’s why the muse sat quiet.  Perhaps she was overwhelmed.

Anyhow, hope you had a wonderful weekend my friends - I know I am squeaking this post in under the wire.  I’ve got my my order placed for a whole bundle of new creative energy for us this week!


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This image was made from photos I took last week.  It was bitterly cold but the sun rose and bathed the frigid scene in a warm, golden orange light.  

I stayed out longer than I should have.  At -28C my hands and feet were frozen sore after only about 30-40 minutes.  Good gear helps, but cold is cold.  

The thing that continues to astound me is that I don't even notice the pain until I stop and step away from the camera.  I am so completely absorbed with the process of image making that I am lost in it.

And for that I am grateful. Grateful that I have finally found something that I love so completely that I would loose a limb for it without even noticing.  

Ok - that's probably a bit dramatic.  Perhaps I should have pursued the stage... 

Have a wonderful weekend my friends. I hope you have a chance to get lost in something you truly love doing. 

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