27 October 2011

Tied Together


Last year around this time I decided to enter in to Movember and grow a mustache to help bring awareness to Prostate Cancer.  With the help of Facebook and the www.movember.com website I was able to raise money for Prostate Canada.  My Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and thankfully for medical research and treatment he is going to be okay.  I was contacted by a member of the photosensitive website when she saw my self portraits taken for Movember on flicker.  I then took a photograph of my Dad and I and submitted that to Photosensitive.  They then put together a massive collection of black and white images of Canadians and their stories related to prostate cancer and this show is now touring across Canada.

I am especially honored that Jack Layton's picture is included in this exhibition of work.  He was such a GREAT man and it is just a huge honor to have my Dad's picture up with his.  I am so thankful for the people at Photosensitive for the work they do.  The world is a better place for having such wonderful and caring people in it.  My heart goes out to all of the families impacted by cancer and I truly hope together we can work together to lessen the sadness cancer brings and hopefully end it.

~ 319/365 Movember MONDAY ~

11 October 2011

My Top Secret

The following is one of my top secrets.  Well, for those that know me this will come as no surprise.  The Top Secret is that I love doing photography for myself.  As shocking as this may sound I do not do photography for anyone else but me.  How can this be?  Well, I have always loved looking through a lens and seeing the world through the lens.  Knowing that the moment I click the shutter I am capturing a moment in time.  I love the connection between a photographer and the subject.  It is fun to work with people and to know that I am able to create unique portraits.  I love trying new lighting styles, new editing techniques and love working in photoshop and sometimes editing a picture to death. 

I realize my photography is not for everyone.  I am blessed that some people do enjoy my work and that makes me feel awesome.  However, this positive feedback is NOT why I do photography.  It is just a bonus, an added perk that does bring me joy.  Then there are those that dislike my editing style, they hate my textures I put in some edits, they don't like how I process black and white pictures, I have been told I post too much work, that I shouldn't post a colour and black and white version of the same picture, I have been told my lighting style sucks.....to this all I can say is I don't care what you say....I'm gonna be me.  I do this or myself.  It brings me joy to do what I do.  I would hope the people saying this can find joy in something and do something for themselves that brings them joy.  

There I've let my big secret out.....don't tell anyone, I don't want people knowing how selfish I am when it comes to photography. :)

~ Randy SP 2011 ~

09 October 2011


As a teacher and a photographer I see respect slowly dying out in our society. As the world moves more and more to living our lives online, people forget about showing respect. It seems easier to send a text now then talk face to face or even pick up a phone. Even email is being used less and less as Facebook and social media becomes more popular for a means of communication. This impersonal way of communicating is really taking away the human interactions. Teens are bullying each other more and more, through text messages and social media. Parents too are at fault for not being able to model respect to their children. People are being more and more rude. Status updates on FB become more explicit and teens to adults are being totally open to the world about their personal lives and also in the expression of their anger and hate.

To me this lack of respect comes from an increasingly selfish society. People are more concerned with themselves than they are about their fellow man. Teachers are not being respected. I remember having teachers I did not like, some of them were mean and not the easiest people to deal with. However I did not disrespect them. Despite what I felt about them as teachers, I still showed them respect and was never taught by my family to show disrespect or be rude to an authority figure like a teacher. Today, parents are teaching their kids that they able to be rude and show disrespect to teachers and authority. The parents are pampering their children by coming to the beckon call of their child. If the child struggles in school parents that pamper their children are likely to blame the teacher, the school and not look at their child as a possible problem.

I really feel like lack of respect is a growing problem not just in schools but in most all areas of life. Photography is not immune to this. So many professional photographers have problems respecting each other. I am not sure if this stems from jealousy or feelings of inadequacy but it is real and I do not understand it. So many photographers have real problems and strong feelings about the work of others. When I started out in photography I looked to other photographers for help. I had some amazing people help me out.  Nathan Elson is one such photographer. He was always kind and helpful to me and someone I respect for the way he handles himself. He is a pro in Calgary and does amazing work and frequently gives back to photographers by teaching workshops and giving advice and tips in his twitter and blog. However there is a lot of photographers not willing to respect another person that is growing or learning. Many dislike the growth in photography and see it as a negative that many people (lots of them female) that are buying DSLR cameras and going out and starting photography businesses. I do not look at someone and decide to respect them based on their work. I respect them because I want to be shown respect too. So many people want respect but are not able to show it to others. They do not see that it starts with showing it. I love seeing young photographers that are starting out. I love seeing people taking the same journey that I have had. I have seen some young photographers struggle, produce some really amateur work. I just smile and remember to when I was just like that and realize there are days when I am still like that. However, I show them respect and help them any chance I can. I know people helped me and I am always wanting to give back. The best part is I have watched some of these young photographers become REALLY REALLY good. So good in fact that many are better than I am in less time it took me to develop my skills. The point is I am still growing and we all are. If respect is shown and given to each other, it makes this growth a lot easier. The disrespect only breaks things down and creates such a rift in relationships and does nothing to improve the world.

In closing I want to post some shots from a recent shoot, nothing to do with my topic of respect. :) I just wanted to share.
~ Crystal ~
~ Crystal ~

07 October 2011

~ Thanks Giving 2011 ~

The world sure seems to lack the spirit of thanksgiving.  It seems it's an ever growing selfish world with people centered on doing what ever they desire.  The whole idea of respecting others seems lost.  It seems there is such a rush in our world to just keep getting and getting more.  I think I am really thankful for my health.  It sure is a fragile world we live in and one moment to the next no one knows what can happen.  I think this is why I love photography so much.  It captures those moments and memories.  It allows us to look back and be thankful that we had those memories and feelings.

I have had a really rough week of work.  Probably the most challenging since I started teaching in Vegreville.  I am really thankful for this short break.  I need time to refocus and rest.  So much is going on in my brain and I need to just detach from the stress and try and relax.  Felt like this week I was really being hit from everywhere.  My feelings are pretty low right now, kind of that feeling like being kicked when I am down.  It's not fun.  I think I just need to reset my life and do somethings different and set some new goals and directions.  Things seemed to be going fine but then life smacks you in the face and you realize how quickly things can change.  I really hope the remainder of 2011 is a positive one.  I do have lots to be thankful for.  I hope all my friends and family take time to be thankful for what they have.  I give thanks to God for all the good things in my life.  

I will end my blog today with some family photos taken awhile back.  Thanksgiving to me is about family so I feel it's fitting. :)

~ Fall Family ~ ~ Family Fall ~ ~ Family ~ ~ Family ~

03 October 2011

World Photo Walk 2011 - The Lonely Man

I attended my 2nd straight World Photo Walk.  It is a challenge to get together with a group of photographers and walk for a few hours and try and find a magical shot.  You never know what you will discover but that is part of the fun.  I enjoy looking for those special moments.  I think a highlight from this walk was shooting what appeared to me to be a homeless man sitting against a wall.  He had a bag beside him with what looked to be his belongings and he was reading something.  I had my 40D with my 70-200 on so I aimed and fired.  It wasn't until I was on lightroom reviewing the images that I realized how special this shot was.  I processed it as a black and white and tone mapped it using photomatix.  I also realized he was reading a cell phone manual.  Probably one of those pay as you go phones from a convenience store.  To me this image is really reflective on our society.  We have elevated cell phones to the point where everyone has to HAVE one.  Really makes me think when I see this image about technology and how it is really a big part of our lives.

~ Lone Man ~
~ Lonely Man ~

02 October 2011

~ Critique of Photos -my Rant ~

I thought I would plug my friend Mac's podcast.......if you want to go listen to it here is the latest episode:

The following is all the opinion of moi.....I realize my buddy Mac feels totally different.  I just needed to vent this out:

He has a totally different take on critiquing a photo than I do.  He seems to think photographers are "sissy" if they do not like being critiqued on their work.  His co-host Sid mentions "big boy panties" and Mac calls them "Sissies".  I have deleted comments so I guess I am a sissy.

First of all I will comment on what a critique to me is.  It should be intended to HELP, the photographer improve and to make the photograph better.  If a photographer does NOT ask for a critique I do not think it is worth giving it.  Sure you have a right to like and dislike someone's work, but if it is not asked for then how is it going to be constructive.  If I post on a place that is a forum known for critiquing then that is great, let people give me the advice I need.  However if I am on FB, don't give me a critique if I don't ask for it.  It is NOT my portfolio and most of the stuff I post is things I do for fun.  I edit a LOT and not all is stuff I care to get "critiqued" on.  As a teacher in class, I try and teach students to give constructive critiques.  I see work all the time that I could rip in to and give constructive criticism to.  If the person I am viewing does not ask for my advice than it is not worth me giving it.  But if you are looking at social networking websites as venues for giving professional critiques then I think you need a new hobby.

So just like Mac and Sid calling people sissies and needing to get big boy pants on I think they need to realize they will get slammed and comments deleted if they give unwanted critiques.  They need to expect that a majority of people will not respond to this in a positive way.  They say "if you're putting your work on the net, you're asking for it".  So they also need to understand their unwanted critiques will also get slammed and deleted.  To me it's common sense.  If someone does not want to be critiqued and they get negative feedback they may not like it.  I will not grow as a photographer from negative feedback and critiques, I will grow from going out and taking lots of pictures.  I do think that Sid and Mac should not be referencing Social Media as places for photography critiques.  Just like a person shouldn't be using FB as a place to host their portfolio work, they shouldn't be looking to it for intellectual responses.  Most of it is filled with profanity filled status updates like "FML my bf broke up with me".  Most photographers do business over Social Media places or have family and friends there.  In my opinion, NOT the places for critiquing a photo. I would suggest they do a podcast on places for doing critiques.  Here is what I found in a simple google search:


Just 3 random sites I found in a quick search.

I kind of understand what they are getting at, but really think it is not something they can win at.  Too many people have feelings and will act like sissies (myself included).  Not sure why unsolicited critiquing is such an important topic to Mac and Sid.  But to me it really borders on an area of photography that has ALWAYS got me hot. I have ALWAYS disliked the negativity around photographers that hate on other people.  So many Professionals rant and cry, much like sissies about the fact that amateurs are ruining the industry.  I love the fact that people are picking up cameras and going out shooting.  Some people have thick skin and some have thin, I don't know what kind of person they are because the internet is so impersonal.  So giving my unsolicited critique to a stranger or someone I do not know could have devastating outcomes.  So I was on my high horse and ripped them for the image when it was something they loved and enjoyed.  If that person breaks down and loses hope about photography because of my comment I would feel terrible.  I wouldn't laugh about it and say put on your big boy pants, or call them a sissy.  What if they are just starting out?  Is that something I am in a position to be doing?

I see work a lot that I dislike, in think is terrible.  I laugh sometimes about it or talk to friends about it.  But I do not feel it's my right to step in just cause this person posted it on the net and flame them in a critique.  I just can not agree here.  I think this kind of thing is damaging and negative in photography and not something I support.  I want to see it done in a manner that supports someone and will have positive outcomes.

Just my two cents. :)