Feels Like Nothing Going On
Until I made a list
Bloggers often apologize for the extended time between blogs. First of all, that assumes that throngs of admirers are panting for the next post (but let's assume they are!), but secondly that the writer has something to brag I mean blog about!
I have that feeling that nothing has happened. So I listed the nothings since my last blog. The list grew longer than I had anticipated. Here goes.
Going way back to September 4th, I paid a 6 a.m. visit to Brockville's new Railway Tunnel. I have photographed it before. Thousands of others have photographed it before and thousands more will photograph it again.
That day, the tunnel opened at 6 a.m. - this of course is before and after. You can't do a completely straight-on view, because it has a little crook at the north (far) end.
On September 7th, I paid a dawn visit to St. James Anglican Church in Maitland, Ontario. While not a parishioner, I have a connection there, and submitted a photograph last year, which resurfaced recently and led to this ongoing project.
Portraiture - an old friend (well ... we're not old ... although perhaps not young ...) asked for family portraits at her cottage ... with their rambunctious dogs. Of course I agreed, and went into cottage-country on September 10th. The day before, she belatedly confided in me that they had been unsatisfied with other professional photographers multiple times in the past. (No added pressure!) Over an 18-hour period, including a fabulous dinner then breakfast, I did three or four shoots (it depends how you count them), and ... for privacy reasons cannot show you the photos here.
However, a few days later, I got this:
"Every time I look at your photos of us, I just think 'those are the best pictures anyone has ever taken of us'."
Wow. I try not to over-value external validation. But that just feels great. (And I put a considerable amount of work into it.)
This is why people have cottages. And yes, of course I snuck a little art-photography into the portraiture.
On September 15th, I sailed as crew with a friend in a regatta at the Brockville Yacht Club, and had a blast. I'm not saying that we were in the lead, but you will notice a lot of boats behind us.
I appeared again at dawn on Brockville's Blockhouse Island, September 16th, as I have many times before, often feeling unimaginative for showing up in the same spot again, and then often finding something new, sometimes even magical.
The freighter ship Algosea downbound at Brockville at dawn. In the far distance is a tiny blip, an upbound ship, Whitefish Bay.
I have to refer you to larger versions of those photos - they really need to be seen that way; not hard to find here.
On September 18th, I visited Kinda Electronics, a repair shop in downtown Brockville, because I know the owner and found the shop visually fascinating. Ahmad kindly allowed me to do this project.
That said, those images do not do the store justice. You have to see it for yourself. Plus, Ahmad can fix (almost) anything, and is a nice guy.
A friend of mine (one of three) went out with cameras one morning, September 24th, and instead of woodlands, decided to try urban photography. The visual feast was such that we never moved far enough to lose sight of his car. Mostly we hovered around Brockville's First Baptist Church on Courthouse Square.
Odd thing - in the often-odd category: we had a field day with reflections in this window.
We didn't even see them until we had been there an hour.
A nice thing about urban photography is that, after our session, we could duck into a local café for lunch!
Later that day, with special permission and with a guide, I climbed the tower at the St. Lawrence Anglican Church in Brockville. It's one of the highest points of the old city, and although after an entire day of clear blue skies, clouds rolled in at about the same time as I did, it was a transcendent experience.
It turns out sometimes that all you have to do is ask (but in this case, please don't), and it doesn't hurt to bump into some old and new friends who were extraordinarily willing to help. (Thank you!)
For more photos, check for an eponymously-named album in my Gallery.
I photographed the Annual Queen's Alumni Charity Golf Tournament on September 28th. The backstory: I am an alumnus of Queen's University Medicine, and they hold an annual tournament for a student bursary fund. I don't golf! (Grown people knocking a dimpled ball into a hole ... I mean honestly! I find it much more logical to move a boat around very slowly with wind-catching cloths, at great expense, and requiring far too much time and effort. But I hear that golf is catching on.) So I offered my volunteer services as photographer, and the organizers enthusiastically agreed.
Smuggler's Glen Golf course, where the staff did everything they could to help me - unfailingly friendly
I try to make art of my portraits as well, on this occasion attempting to corral uncontrolled mid-day lighting.
I also got lots of shots of people swinging their golf-sticks (what are those things called again?), but compassion precludes me from showing them here.
I had a great time, and more or less collapsed later back at home.
On September 29th, some of my relatives agreed to a quick family portrait for a mix of people which has never occurred before. I'm not showing it here, but would like to report that the final product is a blend of two exposures ... you know, blinking, grimacing, hard to get everybody looking good all at once ... and no one can tell; editing skills coming along!
In early October, myself with a much-loved family delegation headed off to ... where else? ... friendly Manitoba! We had our reasons, and although we weren't there for the scenery, as we headed into near-wilderness out of Winnipeg, people were soon exclaiming about the beauty, such as is not to be found anywhere else we have been.
Tamaracks (a type of Larch, I understand) look like they should remain green, but they turn colour (no reds) and will eventually lose their leaves in Winter. They characteristically co-exist with Black Spruce which have those tufted tops.
Clearly, only parts of the province are prairie. This is Canadian Shield, billions of years-old granite, scoured by glaciers as recently as 10,000 years ago. (I can barely remember the time ...)
In Winnipeg, we visited the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR). In some ways, I hadn't wanted to go: my imagination is too vivid and I recoil at the horror of our very flawed collective humanity. I emerged profoundly sad but otherwise unscathed. A few hours was enough at one go. The design seems to encourage hope as one goes through the galleries sequentially, bottom to top. That might work better on you than it did on me.
(Then we had dinner! Life carries on.)
Nonetheless, by all means go. It's a Canadian must-see, no question. Note that it's called a museum for human rights, not of or about human rights. The message is clear; we must do better.
Interesting and I believe somewhat controversial architecture
Looking down through multiple levels of walkways between galleries in the Canadian Museum For Human Rights
Two separate friends have wanted me to photograph swans in a swamp on the Glen Smail Road, north of Prescott, Ontario, so I went there in the late afternoon on October 12, and the swans were ... absent. Well, I thought: I'm here. Let's set up the tripod and see what happens.
The skies were heavily overcast, and grand vistas unlikely to work, photographically. On goes my longest telephoto lens, and I look for details ...
On October 14th, some dedicated organizers held the first annual Brockville Butterfly Run, illuminating the long-hidden grief of PAIL, which plagues so many families. That's "Pregnancy and Infant Loss". The event was very well attended, and included shorter and longer runs (or walks), involving the Railway Tunnel (above), preceded by a short opening ceremonies. It wasn't all sorrow and tears by any means, but it was clear from the moving speeches and from the numbers that many people need a voice about this.
I was one of several volunteer photographers. From a technical standpoint, I include these daytime shoots in the "impossible" category, with no control over the light or action, so requiring lightning reflexes (which I don't have) and a good familiarity with camera settings (which I do have). (Adjust the exposure, people! Let the background do what it will do - if you're photographing people, expose for the people!)
Most of my photos (hundreds) have ended up online, and I include here a small selection, more towards the "art" than people line.
A name-veil - people could attach a name from a pregnancy or infant loss.
On October 15th, I dropped by the Brockville Arts Centre lobby to see an exhibition of decades of photographs by Gordon Beck. I had not been very familiar with his work, and was delighted to find very engrossing photographs - and a pleasingly curmudgeonly narrative - posted on the walls. If you can get there this month, then simply go - well worth seeing. (Buy one or two, if you like!)
Finally, also on October 15th, I photographed some friends at the Brockville Yacht Club. Those images will have to wait, but we were examining the space needed and evaluating the lighting setup for the upcoming Artisans & Crafters' Show and Sale, a worthy charity event for the BYC Sailing School. For their efforts, my volunteer subjects got a free portrait shoot! Why we were doing that and what will come of it will all be revealed in the not-too-distant future!
The Artisans Show and Sale is coming up on Sunday November 4th, at the Brockville Yacht Club, 1-5 p.m., so make a calendar-note and prepare to do some shopping! Many of the artists are club-members - there is amazing talent everywhere you look.
And that's all I've got! Nothing has happened!
Although, I do still seem to have a photographic to-do list. Eventually I will rest.
While You're Here:
Remember that I make photographs and that I sell photographs.
Almost everything which you see on this web site is for sale. Prices at the time of writing, for example, for an 11x14" fine-art print with a generous white border would start at about $50, and you can go up or down from there. Check the rates page. More importantly, check out my gallery.
Book a portrait-sitting - the right frequency with which to commission formal portraits is a bit more often.
Thank you so much for reading.
Charles T. Low