Category Archives: Musings

Great to Connect

I have just met a fellow OCA student via Skype, Connie Kadey, who is studying textiles. It was really great to connect to a fellow student, even though we are studying different tracks. We live in different provinces in Canada. We exchanged notes on how we were progressing in our courses and swapped stories about different exhibitions that we had been to. We decided that it would be beneficial to get together on a regular basis, do a show and tell of our work and see how we can provide support to each other. Thanks for the lively discussion Connie – I’m looking forward to our “study” sessions. Any other students in North or South America are more than welcome to join us.



A Student’s (Working) Holiday

Its holiday time here in Canada and we are off on an Alaskan Inside Passage cruise, up to Juneau, into Tracy Arm and then down to Skagway and Ketchikan and back home. Items to take along: camera, 18-55mm lens, 70-300mm lens, 50mm lens (should I take the 55-200mm as well – possibly not – not a big enough focal length gap between 55 and 70mm), batteries, charger, flash, more batteries, another charger, circular polariser, tripod, plastic bag in case of rain, camera bag … oh yes, parka and some warm clothes. My e-reader is loaded with Part 2 – Elements of Design and the accompanying relevant sections from Michael Freeman’s The Photographer’s Eye. Subjects I’m hoping to photograph: coastal rainforests, whales, eagles, bears and definitely glaciers. I have a few ideas floating around in my head for the assignment. I just hope I can nail them.

I’m also hoping to do some sunrise and sunset shots, so have copied the information from The Photographer’s Ephemeris. There is not a lot of time between the two so far up north. Sunset is at 22:07 and sunrise is at 03:55. However civil twilight times are 23:23 for sunset and sunrise is 02:38, so definitely not a lot of night time. I hope there are blackout curtains on board, otherwise I’ll turn into a zombie!

The Photographer's Ephemeris - Civil Twilight times in Juneau, Alaska

The Photographer’s Ephemeris – Civil Twilight times in Juneau, Alaska

Oh yes, mustn’t forget my scrapbook! Hopefully it doesn’t rain too much. If it does, I’ll be photographing from the cabin’s balcony. Here’s hoping I get lots of material.

Sequence of Composition

Oh this is so frustrating! I have attempted this exercise three times now, never mind trying to do it for the last month. The weather has been terrible – I live in Raincouver (as Vancouver is known by the locals). It is also said by some that we get so much rain here that we develop webbed feet! I was always so amazed by the amount of rain that falls here when I emigrated to Canada from South Africa. In South Africa we used to measure annual rainfall in millimetres. Here in Vancouver annual rainfall can be measured in metres! South Africa’s annual rainfall can be the equivalent of one day’s rain here.

So I was quite happy the other day when the sun came out and the day looked promising. It was graduation day at the university where I work and I always take the camera along to this function as I usually take the photos of the students as they are coming off the stage. (We have a professional photographer to do the “real” photos). The students were planning on doing a flashmob after the ceremony and I thought that might have some sequence of composition possibilities. I started taking photos in the auditorium, with the platform party’s procession and hoped that I could use something there too. Alas! The stage lighting was so bright that my photos of the platform party were totally washed out. Maybe I should have switched my flash off for these sequences. [Note to myself to try that out next year].

There was definitely better opportunities after the ceremony, once everyone was outside, but I had students running up to me asking for photos to be taken with their friends and lecturers, so all were posed. Once the flashmob got underway I found I could barely move, as it took place in an enclosed space. So no opportunity to move among the crowd as I had hoped. I managed to get a few interesting shots, but nowhere near the 20-30 images required.

So two days later I went down to Lonsdale Quay, an indoor market on the harbour front. Usually there is lots of activity there and it is a location that has good street photography potential. Alas! It was cold and raining and the hordes of people had stayed at home. Again a few interesting photos, but mainly of images that could fit in with Assignment 1.

So today I went to Chinatown, which has never disappointed, and which is a ripe location for street photography. Probably not the best idea to do this on mother’s day … but the crowds were better than the day before at Lonsdale Quay. Some interesting photos again, a few more for Assignment 1, but not enough for this exercise.

This has been my sequence for Sequence of Composition thus far … guess what I’m doing every lunch break this week …

Broken Mirrors

I was recently inspired by some very unusual work by photographer Bing Wright who has found a new way of photographing sunsets. He creates the images in his studio by cracking mirrors and then photographs the reflection of his previously taken sunset photographs, thereby creating stunning mosaic effects. I would like to experiment with this technique on my own sunset/sunrise photos and possibly on some other genres as well.

The article about Bing Wright’s work and these amazing images can be seen here and his other work can be seen on his website.

Reference List:

Burgett, Gannon. (8 April, 2014) Broken Mirrors/Evening Sky: Unique Sunset Photos Shot Through Shattered Mirrors [online]. PetaPixel. Available from: [Accessed 8 April, 2014]

Bing Wright. Available from: [Accessed 21 April, 2014]



I received my books from the Essential Reading list on Friday –  Photography: A Critical Introduction, edited by Liz Wells; Light Science & Magic by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fugqua; and Behind the Image – Research in Photography by Anna Fox and Natasha Caruana. My tutor advised me to review chapter one of Photography: A Critical Introduction so I sat down on Saturday eager to get started. There is a lot of vocabulary to learn and as I work through my various textbooks and readings I will add to this list:

  • physiognotrace – a turn of the 18th century type of Autocad/draughting board device on an easel with a screen where the subject sits in front of the screen lit by a candle and the “photographer” traces his profile
  • semiotics – study of signs: I did find a decent website that gives pretty good explanations about this topic, namely Semiotics for Beginners by Daniel Chandler
  • modernism – the period roughly from the Industrial Revolution between the 18th and 19th century. Many rapid changes occurred during this time period
  • postmodernism – developments in art from about the 1980’s
  • simulacrum – something made to look like something – think Las Vegas – Luxor (looks like a pyramid)
  • positivism – recognizing only that which can be scientifically verified or which is capable of logical or mathematical proof therefore rejecting metaphysics and theism
  • indexicality – involves codes – there are three kinds: iconic, indexical and symbolic
  • oeuvre – a body of work
  • mise-en-scène – arrangement of scenery or furniture as in a play.

Next on my list is the case study of Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother.

Learning Log

OK – I’m done with the setup. It only took me the entire Saturday to do. While I am familiar with building websites, this WordPress blog setup was quite a learning curve for me, partly I think, because the PDF that I downloaded off the OCA website “How to set up an OCA Learning Log on WordPress” might be a tad out of date. WordPress seems to have changed some of the layout functions and some of the menus were in different places. So there was a lot of going back and forth between the PDF and WordPress help. However, the set up is done – thank goodness and this is my first post :-). Onwards and upwards, as they say …