Wednesday, December 30, 2009

DT13.2 Blogging Non-School Related Photos

Shoot Week included catching up on some wink eye. I slept in several mornings, even took some afternoon naps with The Pack. Here I had fallen asleep, then woke up, reached over and S-L-O-W-L-Y lifted my camera off the dresser with one hand, careful not to disturb The Pack. Initially the dogs stirred when the camera clicked but they soon began snoozing again. I was able to capture my husband snoozing with our dogs Einstein and Shadow.

We celebrated both my sister's birthday and our family Christmas dinner on Dec. 21. My sister brought over a bouquet of flowers which I placed on the table by the Christmas tree. The bowl of oranges is another holiday tradition we enjoy.

My sister also brought over a box of citrus fruit that had just arrived from Florida by courier. Our other two sisters always send us a box of fruit to share at Christmas. We look forward to this treat every year.

On Dec. 23 my husband and I drove to the Victoria Hospital to sit with our brother-in-law while my sister was having surgery; one day after her birthday, two days before Christmas. We visited her in the hospital every day until she returned home Dec. 28.

Christmas Eve I prepared a meal of twelve meatless dishes to celebrate my husband's Ukrainian heritage. We count twelve ingredients: fish, buckwheat cabbage rolls, tomato sauce, perogies, sour cream, wild cranberry sauce, onions, mushrooms, baked apples and ice-cream, bread and wine.

On Christmas morning my husband and I gave each other EXACTLY the same card, moments after we shared exactly the same thought ... each wondering if this was our tenth Christmas morning together. We then attended Christmas Mass together.

In the early evening we enjoyed the final two pieces of chocolate brandy cake from the family gathering.

On Christmas evening our furnace STOPPED. Luckily we have a company on contract. It took five attempts to contact the them; finally a groggy voice answered, resulting in a serviceman being dispatched. He arrived around midnight, found the problem and fixed the furnace.

On Boxing Day I thought about hitting the stores early, then turned over and slept in abit longer. We later ventured out to buy a few books and some music videos, then dropped in at friends for their annual Boxing Day party.

A few days earlier, on Christmas Eve morning, the phone rang. "Joyce?, Its Norma". Hearing that voice brought back childhood memories. "Yes, Norma," "Its been awhile, is everything okay?" "Mom died this morning" ... In this case, "mom" was Emma. Aunt Emma died on Christmas Eve. I attended Emma's funeral on Wednesday. I felt good paying final respects to an aunt that had given me such good childhood memories ... she hid Easter baskets for me ... took me to Assiniboine Park ... treated me to ice cream on a hot summer day.

Then there was the picture that didn't get taken. Just before Christmas one of my closest friends informed me that her mom, my ex-aunt, was terminal. I planned to bring her mom some flowers and tell her how much I appreciated her over the years. On the morning I was scheduled to visit, she was taken to the hospital. And so it went ... to the hospital, home again, back to the hospital, back home again, until she was admitted to the palative ward at Riverview. Family kept a round-the-clock vigil until she passed away New Years Eve. I had wanted to take a closeup photo of my friend holding her mother's hand ... just their hands.

Its Saturday morning, January 2nd ... exactly eight months until my husband and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. I read the weekend edition of the local newspaper, which included an article on notable Manitobans who left us in 2009. Among them was a dear neighbour, Irene Grant. Each year my husband and I have enjoyed looking at a large Evergreen tree lite up on her riverside every Christmas. When Irene passed away just before Christmas we expected the tree to stop twinkling.

What a beautiful surprise to look out the window and enjoy the beauty of Irene Grant's tree again. Her daughter decided to keep the tradition alive with the help of a timer. What a joy!
The tree photo is part of another assignment but because it is image #11, I added it.

Now its back to class, new challenges, new group-mates, new skills to acquire. Let us all have a happy, healthy and successful 2010!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Karsh Exhibit

Image Link:

I selected the "Duke & Duchess of Windsor", taken in 1971, a year before the Duke's death. The Duchess later wrote to Karsh, telling him that that this photograph was the truest representation of the couple taken in their 34 years of marriage. I wonder if Karsh suggested to the Duke that he undo the top button of his suit jacket, symbolizing that the Duchess was the cause of his royal undoing. Or did Karsh burn-in the dark background to symbolize the dark past the couple wove together, casting them into the role of exiled "royal wanderers". Karsh was known as a Master of Light, having studying theatrical lighting at an early stage in his career. It looks like he created a dramatic back/side chiaroscuro effect to produce the sharp silhouette. He then burnt in the dark background to lose the stream of light, emphasing the silhouetted couple. They stand compositionally framed by a set of opened white doors, in front of the darkened background, perhaps symbolizing acceptance after exile. Here they are, turned towards each other, visably touching and supporting each other, she looking at him, he looking downward. They do not look outward, or want or expect the viewers acceptance or approval, as they have each other for support. They lived one of the biggest soap opera scripts at the time ... him, a young single heir to the throne, with three married mistresses; her, a once-divorced, married woman, romantically involved with the young heir. Once he became king, his royal duties fell by the wayside because he spent most his time with this married mistress. He historically abdicated his right to the throne, and finally married her, only to have them exiled and shunned by the royal family. Karsh framed his subjects within an open door The harsh light cast a heavy shadow across the front of the face of the Duchess, like she cast a shadow across the face of the monarchy? Karsh also used side lighting to add texture and drama. It would be delightful to research the background of each person Karsh photographed to discover the details of their lives captured within their image ... a photograph is worth a thousand words.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Colour in my Life

I chose Yellow because as a child, yellow was my favorite colour. That is why I set up a festive happy looking dish of ice-cream, trimmed with yellow candy, sitting on a yellow daisy background. Yellow is cheerful, happy, and festive.
When I chose Red I wanted to photograph a big red sporty Hummer. But when I drove down to the dealership where the Hummers used to sit, I realized their absence was because Hummer was recently sold overseas to China. So I located a big red powerful sports car to photograph. This car emits hot powerful Red exhaust! Okay, a bit of hot air, but Red is powerful! Next I chose Blue. I find water to be serene, calm and generally blue. I found this calmness outside my backdoor, down by the river behind my house. I just love the wilderness feeling I get when I walk down to the river, steps away from my computer, and the hustle and bustle of life. Then I chose Green, because it is so fresh and alive. The grass is green, trees are green ... trouble is we are into fall now, and evergreen scrubs are some of the few green things left until spring rolls around. I managed to locate a scrub green enough to photograph. For Harmonious Colour Relationship I chose a beautiful Yellow/Orange and Red sunset I captured off Waverly, behind the Humane Society Parking Lot, along a strip of hydro towers. It was rush hour and I had a hard time finding a parking spot in time to walk across the field in order to catch the sun just as it was setting. These warm colours blended so beautifully, so vibrantly, they made me feel so good that I was alive to witness their beauty! I chose Red and Green for my Complimentary Colour Relationship. The logo on the front of the nearby Canadian Tire Store reminded me of the red and green of the christmas season, sort of. The leaf comes from a tree and the logo looks like an inverted christmas tree. Besides, I like Christmas and I like Canadian Tire, so it works for me.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Earlier this week I agreed to volunteer photograph during a political fundraising dinner with hundreds of people packed into a ballroom to hear Micheal Ignatieff speak. They had arranged for a photographer to shoot during the dinner, which was good, because my husband and I were also paying guests. I'd be darned if I was going to let my pricey dinner get cold while I was shooting duplicates with a hired photographer. So I took shots at the Laurier Club reception prior to the dinner and during Micheal's walkabout, as he greeted supporters throughout the room. The walkabout was particularily challenging as I had to stay ahead, stay on the correct side of the supporters who collected into scrum-like groups, all waiting to shake hands and get their picture taken along side the Official Leader of the Opposition. The pace was very fast and I had numerious people try to stop me trying to find out where they could get a copy of their photograph. I told them, contact the provincial office or federal office for a copy. This was the first time I have shot my DSLR in automatic, with an external flash. I did so because I could not afford to be adjusting the setting as we meandered around the room at a fairly brisk pace. As a result I got a few dozen great shots, lots and lots of smiling faces and shaking hands in focus, and a couple of overly-exposed shots, where others were shooting flashes at the same time, resulting in images that were too bright to use. And then there were the shots I had to delete because of closed eyes or awkward expressions. All said and done, the experience was good, and I enjoyed the results.

Best to Forget

The morning after Remembrance Day I opened up the Winnipeg Free Press, and lo and behold, photographer Joe Bryksa had captured almost the identical image as I did of the roses at the Brookside Cemetery. I emailed him my images and in turn he replied with an invitation to accompany him on a shift. We selected today. I was to meet him at 9:30 am at the WFP offices. I got to the offices by the agreed upon time, informed the security desk that I had arrived, and was told Joe was not in. I then contacted Joe by cell phone, locating him at a homicide in Transcona. Apparently he had emailed me with a delay in plans to meet after I had checked for any emails earlier in the morning. Half an hour later I met him in a backlane near the suspected murder site. Joe invited me to take photographs, following the same guidelines that he and another photographer that had just arrived, had to adhere ... no crossing the yellow police line. I used my 75-300 zoom lenses @ 300mm, handheld at ISO200, f/5.6 @ 1/1000 sec. I was walking a few steps behind Joe, walking up to the other photographer, thinking to myself, "I had better get these settings right NOW, or else I would land up looking kind of studentish." It took about half a dozen instantanious attempts to get the right settings, as I was walking and clicking, then I got it, and was ready to shoot alongside the two news photographers.
Next we drove to another location to check out rumour that the TAC Squad (tactical squad) was still at a house in the north end of the city, but no squad in sight. Back to the office to check the command centre, where all notices come in and all assignments are assigned. Joe picked up some assignments for some images, we drove to St. Vital, took a shot of a house that had just been sold, for the Sunday housing section, then headed to South St. Vital to look for an extra image for the Sunday edition. As Joe was almost done his shift at this point, he was good enough to drop me off at my home before he headed back to the offices to retrieve his personal vehicle, and head home. And who was taking over the evening shift after Joe left for the day? None other, than a graduate of last year's PrairieView class. I also received an invitation to join him on another shift as well as sit in on an evening editing shift back at the offices. Both of which I plan to follow up on.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

I attended the Remembrance Day Ceremony on Valour Road today. After the ceremony I drove to the Brookside Cemetery and walked along the rows upon rows of memorial headstones that mark the lives lived and lost by our Canadian soldiers. These people helped give us our future. The least we can do is to stop, remember and never forget.

Monday, October 26, 2009

CI Field Trip 1 To the Zoo

Today our group took a trip to the Winnipeg Zoo. I have not been there for years so it was pretty new to me. It was abit chilly so on went the layers. I walked around using my 75-300mm, then continued around again with my kit lenses, ending up in the tropical house. Had to wait awhile for the condensation to clear off the lenses, shot some pictures, then headed home and downloaded over a 100 images to my Picassa. I chose my personal favorite for this blog.

Friday, October 23, 2009

David Fokos replied Today

David Fokos

to me
show details 12:55 AM (6 hours ago)
Hi Joyce,

I apologize for the late reply -- I only now have seen your message.

First of all, thank you for your kind word regarding my work -- it is much appreciated.

In answer to your questions... all of those images were made with my 80-year old 8x10 Korona View camera using a 210mm Rodenstock Sironar-S lens on Kodak Tri-X film developed in HC-110.

The smooth water shots like Tide Pool and Missing rail were exposures of about 2 minutes. Black Gate was about 90 seconds. Foggy Night was a 10-minute exposure and Moonrise was 3 seconds (any longer and the moon would not have been round). All shots, except Moonrise were made at f45 or f64, often with neutral density filters. I had to open up the aperture a bit for Moonrise since it was dark and the exposure was short -- that is why the foreground is a little bit blurry on that shot.

Since I am using 8x10 film, grain is not much of an issue except on Moonrise where because I knew that I had underexposed the negative (a compromise that had to be made in order to keep the exposure to 3 seconds and still have enough depth of field) I increased the development time from 5 minutes to 30 minutes and then I put the negative in a selenium toner bath to add a bit more density. These drastic steps increased the grain in that negative and it can be seen in the sand and the water. Fortunately, grainy sand is not too much of a problem.

I Hope this helps!

Best regards,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

AT6.2 Photographic Hero

"our impression of the world is based upon our total experience"


When you meet a person for the first time you often form an opinion of that person. But when you spend time with that person your perception changes, based upon your interaction with that person. I selected DAVID FOKOS because of his ability to transform potentially chaotic and turbulent texture and motion into serene and orderly calmness. What could have been chaotic has been transformed through time. What could have been grasses tossed about in the wind, or waves crashing against a shoreline, have been tamed by this man's ability to manipulate his camera. Fokos does this sucessfully by using long exposure times ranging from less than a minute to an hour in length. He filters out the "visual noise" of everyday life, using the camera "as a scientific instrument, the way a biologist might use a microscope or an astronomer a telescope, to reveal what is felt but often unseen." The resulting images make me want to walk softly through the scene, being careful not to disturb the serenity it holds.
David was born in Massachusetts in 1960 and currently lives in California. Over half of all his images have been captured near his childhood home in Martha's Vineyard. At first he began capturing color images, using a 35 mm Pentax camera. Fokos admits he struggled for 15 years, taking lousy pictures, until he was finally able to capture and express what he felt. In time he switched over to black and white photography, using an old, large-format view camera. Large-format view cameras typically use film format between 4x5", up to 20x24" single sheet film. As made evident by the work of David Fokos, large-format cameras produce sharper, better tone, grain-free images. He uses highlite elements, such as clouds or the moon suspended along the horizon, to create a strong balance in the image. It is a combination of these elements that make this photographer stand out for me. According to Fokos, via email, he creates his images using an 80-year-old 8x10 Korona View Camera, using a 210mm Rodenstock Sironar-S lens on Kodak Tri-X film developed in HC-110. Since he uses 8x10 film, grain is usually not an issue.

I found "The Missing Rail" to be most appealing because the unknown, the unseen, are what cause me to feel apprehension and to question circumstance. The water and horizon are so calm, the light so flat and stark, like a calm after a storm. Is the missing railing all that remains after a tumble into the waters below? What happened? I don't know, but Fokos has me focused.
Technically this image was exposed for two minutes, and shot at either f/45 or f/64, Fokos did not specify this in his email.

Moonrise, 2001, is characteristic of the photographer's style. Your eye is drawn through the image and up the pathway by the use of light. Strong texture suggests turbulent elements, yet they are suspended through the use of long exposures. The moon leads your eye upward, beyond the top-lite pathway, beyond the focal point. According to the photographer's email reply, technically this image was exposed three seconds (any longer and the moon would not have been round). Fokos used a wider aperture than f/64, slightly blurring the foreground. To maintain DOF he underexposed the negative and increased the development time from 5 minutes to 30 minutes, then put it in a selenium toner bath to add abit more density. This increased the grain in the negative, seen in the sand and the water.

When I look at Black Gate, 2000, my feet want to travel alongside my eye, down the boardwalk, to the end of the the dock. Threatening clouds have been tamed, calming the waters, calming the soul. This is what David Fokos images do for me, calm my soul. Technically, Black Gate was shot at either f/45 of f/64, with an exposure of 90 seconds.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Some assignment shots

It is Tuesday night during our first Shoot Week. I shot a memory card chock full of images today, picked about eight keepers for a variety of assignments. Off to shoot some night reflections tonight. Thought I'd practice putting images up so here are some shots that I took over the past five weeks. The Nygard optional shoot produced about six shots I liked, received written permission to post them.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Today I achieved satisfactory results shooting monochrome on my DSLR for the upcoming board assignment . I had wanted to reshoot a flower I had shot earlier, that had resulted in blurry, flat results. I made some adjustments to some settings (hoping I would be able to remember to set them back again later). I then went outside, set up my tripod and camera, then just as I began shooting the flower, the rain began. Back into the house I went. Backup plan: shoot some grapes and leaves on the deck, from inside the wide open deck door. After shooting dozens of shots I dropped them into LR, took the chosen one to Don's Photo on Main Street. Yes, I had to pay the premium to have the monochrome 8 by 10 rushed so I could have it by tomorrow, the last day possible in order to put it up first thing Tuesday morning. I wanted to see how Don's monochrome black and white process turned out, in preparation for the first BIG assignment due early November. No, I didn't leave this assignment to the last minute, we got it assigned yesterday afternoon, I was already too late for Don's non-premium price at that point. So far I have sent one colour board assignment to Dons and a second one printed at Shoppers in less than half an hour. Now I want to see what a true monochrome print looks like. Here is the image.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

DT Unit1 Slideshow


Monday, October 5, 2009

CI1.4 Composition at Home

Again, it is the technical learning curve that is making this exercise most interesting. I must have seven fingers on each hand, and the extra two keep loosing files as I drag them across the screen. As I shot this assignment I begin to see more and more design elements hiding within my livingroom. Trouble was, my eye saw them, and my camera was not going to capture them unless my brain told my hand which setting to set. Hum. Anyhow, here are my pics: Line, Shape, Pattern, Texture, Symmetrical Balance and Depth. And they got lost in the download time machine.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Frame within a Frame

The clear beveled pane within the stained glass door that leads from our bathroom into our bedroom has always brought a smile to me. By looking through the pane I can see beyond the window into the backyard that overlooks the river. The bevel edges turn the scene into a magical image, depending on the season. Today I see large green leafed branches waving in the wind. I chose this scene to create my Frame within a Frame board assignment. I thought the hard part was just finding the right image ... not so! Dare I say I took 114 images to get the one I was content with. Along the way it was too dark, too light, lacked depth, and so on. I say content with some limitations. If only I had a lenses that would have shown the bevel image more clearer, if only I could have controlled the suspended stained glass panel without using dark threads ... they show! The branches waved in the wind outside and the glass panel twisted and twirled inside. It was like trying to line a group of children up for a class photo. But, finally I got the image I felt content with.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Nygard Shoot

I signed up for the Nygard shoot abit reluctant, even if it was optional. I thought, why would I give up one of my few evenings off to shoot a clothing show when I really have no interest in clothing shows. But I signed up. When I arrived I handed in the wavier, picked up the ID tag and proceeded to sniff out my surroundings. I chatted with a few fellow classmates, got an opinion on some settings and went to talk with the Nygard Sr. photographer John. He gave me the scoop on the best spots to shoot from and told me the pathway the models were going to take. I staked out a great spot where I could sit or crouch, and where I could catch the models coming from both directions. I found it was really easy to shoot during the show. I became totally focused on the next model coming down the aisle. Because of where I was crouching I had to look at the eyes of the guests as they sat in their chairs to see when the next model was about to walk around the corner and past me. This resulted in great shots at close range. When the show was over I went home, downloaded my images into Lightroom and was rather disappointed. Out of over 300 images I only had about 30 I liked. I did have some good ones but most of the shots had too much blur. I KNOW it was my lack of ability with manual settings at this point, likely combined with me using my kit lenses and internal flash, that caused so many great composition shots to be so blurry. Nevertheless, I have a few good images that I have no problem sending to John at Nygard. I came away from the experience with another lesson tucked under my belt.

CI 1.3 Working the Subject -again and again and again - 100 creative ways!

Choose your objects wisely for this assignment! Of course I had to choose three Nice Natural Neutral objects of shell, stone and wood, positioned on a cedar wood deck. These choices created a rather interesting challenge with minimal contrast. Nevertheless I was pleasantly surprised to find I had a rather difficult choice in editing my 100 shots down to five favorites. My first round of cuts produced 27 favorites, the second round 16; by round three I had enlisted my husband's opinion to pick his favorite five, mark the back of the image, put them back into the mix and see if his final five matched my final five. We had a match of three. Next came the brutal critique ... why did I like the images, did they follow basic rules of composition, how did the placement of the three objects within the group of objects inter-relate to the overall composition, and so on. In conclusion I have to say I rather enjoyed the challenge. Like all PrairieView assignments to date, as I slowly get a handle on the technical processes, I have more time to express my creativity. This is the beginning of week four ... I can only imagine where the next 34 weeks of learning will take me!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Joyce Mazur DT2.1JMLines Digital Techniques Group A

Here it is. I still have my training wheels attached to my MAC and I still have my learners status.
I almost got this done on my own, then had Ally rescue me by completing the final steps. Thank you Ally.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Talk about Pressure

I am learning how to blog with a deadline. I chose this photo because I see myself sitting down, half shadow, half broken concrete. Hum ...
Backing up abit, I gravitate towards actually shooting nature photography, but also enjoy hunting through old vernacular photography. I have an old box of photographs a relative gave me years ago. When you have no idea who the people are in a photograph, the joy comes from appreciating the era, the architecture, the costume, and the composition, among other elements.
I have begun this journey as a PV student of photography so I can capture what I see into an image that becomes three dimensitional. I expect to achieve this skill by the time I graduate.
My best photography-related memory is capturing the images of my son as he grew up and capturing the many wonderful adventures I have taken with my husband over the years.

First Day of this Journey

While I have taken many photographs over my lifetime, today, here, now, I have begun this journey.