LIFE THROUGH A LENS: Photography, fitness and food
Standing ankle deep in a mud puddle in the wild bush country near Tweed, I suddenly see my life flash before my eyes, how my personal business as a photographer has evolved, or de-volved as it must appear.
I am guiding 10 other Quinte region photographers into a maple sugar bush during that season when clean white snow banks melt down to expose muddy rutted lanes. Our hardy Group of Eleven is about to hang on for dear life to a bale of hay as the tractor tows our wagon back to the sugar shanty a kilometre back in the woodlot.This is what I do now, twice weekly, leading tours I call “Photography & Fitness”. The goal is to get great pictures or good exercise or both.
When I look back at my 45-year life with a camera, it all makes sense. I love nature. I love hiking. I love travel and encountering authentic people and places far away from the mad tourist rush.
I also like sharing my discoveries of the backcountry with others who appreciate such things, even if we have to slosh through the mud to experience them.
Since we began the twice-weekly outings, our moniker expanded to include "Food". At a ma and pa coffee shop in a village or at a Tim Horton's after a wintry walk, the social aspect and shop talk about cameras and computers and artistic or travel documentary styles is a key feature for the participants.
At home many of our passionate photographers feel unsupported. It's nice to be among others who speak the lingo and appreciate our hunt for good images.
Besides my unusual entrepreneurial course from photographer to trip leader, I have developed as an artist and recognize my former self in the beginners.
I try to steer them away from the low-hanging-fruit photos like sunsets and pets, toward visual storytelling.
We all begin by a fascination with the equipment and the variety of perspectives offered by wide angle to telephoto lenses. Our first subjects are usually family, travel destinations and nature.For some reason photographers love old junk cars and derelict buildings. Their random shapes, textures and colours offer endless interpretation possibilities for the creative eye.
Once they have experimented with all of those things, I try to pull them toward the journalistic and documentary side of photography. Think National Geographic caliber on a hyper-local scale.
It doesn't mean you have to travel to exotic places, cover celebrities and issues of international significance. We have it all right here. Within our region we have ample scenery and human diversity to do great photography.
Incredible skies, wild wintry weather, migrating birds, and the Great Lakes maritime world are so unique in the world.
I have many mantras that I am constantly preaching. One is about inclement weather. If you wake up and look outside to a sunny, blue sky day, go back to bed. But if you gaze out to a blustery, blizzardy dark freezing day, get out there and make pictures. This is what defines Canada, eh!
Now with spring on the horizon, make a rule to get out there regularly and don't let an overcast sky stop you. The more you go out, the more guaranteed you are to encounter wildlife, dramatic skies and bump into interesting people to make your portfolio complete.Throughout eastern Ontario, photographers and clubs are sharing amazing images, in both artistic and documentary styles. The SPARK Photography Festival just opened in Peterborough and the CONTACT Photography Festival is held in Toronto each May.
Unfortunately the 2017 edition of the CLIC Photo Show in Prince Edward County was cancelled but filling the void will be "The Canadian Adventure" beginning at Picton's Canada Day celebration at St. Andrew's church. This show features framed prints as well as digital images rotating on big screen TV's and evening slide presentations with live music.
In Trenton, the Old Church Theatre is hosting our Earth Day slide presentation and a fiddler. Photography is bringing people together and providing programming that is both entertaining and educational.
The Photography Adventures group is now accepting registrations for the Spring season local outings. One-on-one personal tutoring and photography classes are also available. For the truly adventurous, a cross-Canada trip is in the works for June, including the Rocky Mountains and the Yukon and headed to the East in October. See a list of upcoming events: Facebook.com/CountyOutings or get on the e-mail list firstname.lastname@example.org
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