Homage to X-Files


Well, it’s not from the X-files, of course. It’s from Rotary Park in Ajax. The glow at the top is not from a spaceship or a helicopter, but from the moon.  The glowing light in the background is also not a spaceship or Area 51 or anything like that. It’s the water treatment plant.

At least that’s what they claim…

Night Reverie

Photography, The Artist's Journey

#conceptualphotography #townofajax #lakeontario #fog #mist #dreamscape #visualsoflife #artisoninstagram #lakeontario #rotarypark #canon6d #photography

I didn’t quite drop everything for the fog. Not quite. I thought I should finish this damned kitchen sink installation thing. I thought I should probably feed the kids. But the pull of the fog is a strong one. It’s hardly ever here and doesn’t last long and I’m no good at shooting it yet. And while I wouldn’t say I resented the interferences, I would say I was quietly aggravated. And when Sobeys didn’t have any more whole chickens left, damned if I was going to go grocery store hopping.

When I shoot, there is a high load of energy and anxiety in equal measure. There’s a freight train in my head and it leads me. I don’t feel the cold of my hands, the scrapes or bruises I collect, wet feet. Someone happens to me. Just one more. Just one more.

Then there is the anxiety of getting caught shooting someone’s home or a plaza security guard chasing me off, the boogey men in the night when I shoot at night (I shoot a lot at night), the jerk surprise blaring of a horn (why do people honk when they see me shooting, I don’t get it), the sudden appearance of pedestrians right behind me that I didn’t see coming. And this thing about getting back home. And taking up time. Damn, I forgot my phone! Shoot, it’s 3 in the morning already. I’m sure I’d shoot better if I was calmer.

But there is this other thing, this freight train inside, driving me, something amped up. Go. Go. It’s like increased awareness. Like heightened living. Along side of the anxiety there is this other thing. This excitement, this giddiness, this joy in the capture. And it always takes longer than I think it should and always longer thanI think it actually has. And I’m there. As present as could be. Just one more. Just one more.

It takes its toll, naturally.

After, I am completely exhausted. Physically and mentally. I don’t know what I’ve been doing with myself to be this tired. I wonder why I do it. I’m not sure why I like shooting then. Or if I actually do. Especially this night business. I like the light. I love the sun. Why do I do it? Some days I can’t even be bothered to really look at what I got beyond reviewing the images on the back of the camera. Getting the card out of the camera and putting it into the camera, starting the apps and all the seems like too big of a chore.

Later, when I have a quiet time to myself, or maybe as a treat to myself, I’ll look at the shots. This is a different thing. Like a secret thing. But calm. Measured. Like a sleuth. Sometimes, often times, there is at least one that demands my attention. It’s not always the one I think it’ll be. Sometimes it takes time to discover it. The onslaught of images to sift through sometimes causes me to overlook a diamond in the rough.

This is one of them. I remember this sequence of shots very well. The fog was starting to disappear but what was left of it was starting to settle as low lying mist. I was caught by the soften of the light. I had to get back home and I was in conflict. But I couldn’t let it go. I remember now why I shoot. I look at the disasters you’ll never see and think about what I can do better next time. I lovingly treat the images that I like even just a little. Little gems, little jewels, little gifts. Just one more. Just one more.

On style



I joined the Ajax Photography Club and went to a very interesting talk by Michael Willems on “Developing Your Photographic Style”. Quite by accident I decided to join the club when developing your style was a theme this year. Thank goodness!

Over the past few months “style” has been a weight I’ve been carrying around. I understood what it meant, but applying it to my photographic work was a whole other ball game. Pretty sure my earlier posts talked about or at least implied the pressure of trying to define my style. I just didn’t feel like waiting around for it to happen (just shoot long enough, you’ll find it). I’ve been doing all this too long. Secretly of course, I was quite sure I didn’t have one. I like to do too many things, experiment with too many things.

Once you know who you are, you’ll know what your style is, goes the advice.

I think not.

Not for me, anyway. It’s possible to get too close to your work. It’s possible to get lost in that low lying anxiety.

Michael Willems was the first I’ve encountered that actually had specific and actionable suggestions on how to tackle this question of style.

One of the more helpful take aways was the suggestion of going over your past work for those of us that have work to look back on which I do.

What patterns emerge? Certainly when I look at the work I’ve done that I’ve never intended to show anyone, I see a number of patterns.  Structures, empty rooms, skies, flat graphics, people – but specific kinds of shots (of course the rabbit heads!), and the requisite selfies.

With some of my work there has been a certain darkness and isolation that has been there since I started shooting, although much more muted than it was. There is also a kind of unreality of others, some fantasy based, some blown out highlights, over-saturation. When I think about what my obsessions are, there are identifiable ones. But rather than thinking that I just keep going after the new shiny object, (ie. I do too much and I need to just pick something) I suspect I am actually after something.

I have visual stories to tell, but I haven’t told them all, and I haven’t found a way to more accurately tell the ones I’m working on.

The new few shots are an exploration of the Lake Ontario. The lake and lakes in general have been a feature of my life except for when I lived in England. And when I lived there, I remember going to the Thames and feeling unsatisfied, and then taking a trip in December to the Highlands of Scotland (people thought I was mad) to get that water and land fix.  Later I remember asking my husband once why he took the Lakeshore instead of the Gardiner and I was surprised when he said, because you like to look at the water.

Well here are some of my looks.


Photography, The Artist's Journey

So I’ve taken a bit of a side path with my more recent work. I haven’t shown a lot of landscapes here, probably because I just didn’t want to be associated with my late father, landscape painter, Richard Ferrier. Besides I was a city person, concerned with urban things. Truth is I take quite a lot of shots of skies, and often water as I’m around it a lot.

Recently I did a couple of classes on landscapes, and I took the opportunity to work on my long exposures and water. I’ve wanted to get those dream long exposure water shots for ages, and never mastered the logistics of it.  The class had us shoot the sunset, but I was the last one back stumbling my way in the dark.

This is the one I showed to the class. Quite a few went before me. I was impressed with the variety of shots, both with the content and the quality. When mine came up on the screen I felt disappointed. The screen showed a much less vibrant shot than this which I was prepared for, but it wasn’t that. My reaction was: all it looks like is a bunch of rocks! Why did I shoot that? Ha!

But the response of the class was more than I could have hoped for, and maybe they saw what I did originally.

This was shot at f11, 30 seconds with an ISO of 100. The sun had gone down. That’s Toronto way back there in the background. If you look carefully you can see the CN Tower.