A Whole Lot of Newness

There have been a long list of real life situations that have prevented me from adding to the blog or updating the website since my last post. If you know me personally, then you know the story, and if you don’t, I’m not going to bore you with the details.

The biggest change, for those who don’t know already, is that I am no longer based out of Seoul, South Korea. I have returned to my native Canada. Now you may be asking, “how is that a part of the newness?” Well, it has been over 17 years since I last lived in Canada, so coming back is very much like moving to a new country again. But, I’ve also moved to an entirely different part of the country, Nova Scotia. Which for those of you at home keeping score is roughly 2,000 km away from the town I grew up in.

The last time I stepped foot inside Nova Scotia was for a weekend, for a friend’s wedding. Before that, I think I was about 7 years old … That’s nearly 40 years ago. So locations, weather, and sun/moon rising and setting times are a whole lot new.

New Shop

As a part of the new, I am going all in on trying to make this photography my life’s work. You will have noticed that a “Shop” section of the website has appeared, which for now is really a menu of what I will offer.

As a part of the new shop, I’m also adding something that I’ve never offered before, but figured it is time to do so, and that is to offer my editing services to the public.

Editing for the Masses

Editing, especially for those who are just starting out can be a scary thing. Trust me, I know. Editing scared me for the better part of the first 16 years of photography. That is one of the reasons why I tried to get as much right in camera, on site, in one frame … editing (or “Photoshop”) was just too intimidating. Editing has come a long way, especially now that a lot of smartphone apps offer filters and some other bells and whistles. But now that there are so many people using those apps and filters, one of the best ways to stand out is to develop your own editing style. I have one friend who is an amazing photographer, Marco Devon, based in Seoul, South Korea, that once you see one of his photos, you know it’s one of his photos. He has developed his unique editing style that is on full display on his secondary Instagram account.

Not only setting up your personal style, you are able to work some magic with a full powered edit. In this example, the original was taken at about 2 pm in the afternoon on a cloudy winter’s day. After a little editing magic, it’s a summer’s night.

Maybe you’re not looking for a full blown digital image. Just milking out some fabulous colours that you didn’t know were there when you took the photo is what you want or need.

No sky replacement was done for this one, unlike the first example. In this one, it was a matter of adjusting the white balance, and saturation. So either way, a solid edit can do wonders to your photos and feeds. So if the idea of editing is overwhelming, or you just simply don’t have enough time to go through all of your photos from your most recent excursion, allow me to free up some of your time and get the most out of your images.

Contact me for more details and prices, which start off at around the same price as a fancy cup of coffee.

The Age of IG and the Smartphone

I recently attended the annual full moon fire festival.

The short version of the event is during the evening of the first full moon of the lunar calendar – believed to be the brightest moon of the year – large bonfires are made.

People write their hopes and prayers and tie them to the sheaf that will be set ablaze. The branches, wood, and sheaf that are strung together is called the “moon house”. It is really only 1 part of many rituals that are carried out throughout the day of, the night, and the morning after.

The “Moon House”

This year’s festival felt different. It started with how they were interacting with the “moon’s house” before the ceremony. The time when it is on display and when you are able to write your piece and attach it to the house for burning later in the evening. In the past, most people would huddle around it, and there would be a large crowd. This year, people kept their distance… why? So they could get the whole house in the frame of their smartphone camera.

Cellphones in a row.

I was looking for a specific shot when it came to the lighting of the house, but as luck would have it, my sightline wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping for, especially considering where I had set up my tripod an hour before the lighting.

So I backed it all the way up, got the whole crowd in with the fire and the moon. I was surprisingly happy with myself for making that decision. I got a few shots, not as many as I had hoped as I kept knocking on my tripod. But one that I did get I thought was nice. The thing that I noticed was that after it was lit, a good majority, maybe 70-80% of the people had cleared out within the next 5-10 minutes. Hoping to beat the traffic rush. The fire part of the ceremony was the highlight, the climax, the event everyone came to see. In the past people would wait until it burnt itself out or until the fire department (on standby) would put it out about an hour later. Not this year…

Fast forward to the next day when I got it on the large screen of the computer, and bam! It hit me right away… it looked like almost everyone had their phones up taking pictures of it! They showed up, they took their picture of it with their phone, and left.

Look at all the phone screens!

It seems to have gone from taking photos of an enjoyable time, to not being able to enjoy the time because people are thinking and worrying too much about how to make some wonderful IG post, to not even caring about the time at all, and just grabbing a photo, almost as to prove to someone that they were there. I didn’t even mention the woman who spent the entire ceremony that involved traditional dancers watching a soap opera on her phone.

Yes, you were there, but did you experience what you came to photograph? The emotional experience that once led people to make a photograph used to show in the photograph…

Next issue: Finding Those Instagrammable Spots

Stay tuned!