#ModesofFlight #LandscapePhotography | I

Hamilton Ontario Canada low light urban landscape photography

Gore Park from the East

I do reflect on my town a lot. Sometimes I fear that you get sick of it but what can I do? It’s not like I’m going to shut up about my city anytime soon. I like to show off “The Hammer”. It gets a bad rap from outsiders and citizens alike.

I once had a small exhibition in which some guy in his twenties was absolutely shocked about the picture I made of Hamilton’s Gore Park fountain. He was a lifelong citizen but he never saw the beauty that the city of Hamilton actually has to offer, especially in the downtown core where this fountain is. This is the inner city where people expect nothing but loss and degradation but there are substantial efforts by citizens and City Council to improve all of the downtown areas, starting with the core.

If I were a tour guide , I think I would make it a point to show off Hamilton’s core, as some already do. I’m pretty sure that the core is my favourite part of this city, other than my own home. There are times when this town can really dazzle you.

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#ModesofFlight #StreetPhotography | II

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada contemporary street photography

Now There’s Something You Don’t See Everyday

That’s exactly what a woman in the vicinity said to me with a chuckle when she spotted me photographing this character.

So, You’re Looking for a #WeddingPhotographer ? | Part 7

Hamilton Ontario wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

In Ascent

FINAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY CONSIDERATIONS

Here it is, the last part in this blog series. For those who have read all of the preceding posts, I thank you and I hope they have been informative. Experience has shown me that there are many people seeking out wedding photographers, and aren’t sure how to go about it or what to expect.

For anyone who has yet to read the preceding parts or need to review any of them again, you can link to them from here:

Introduction
Part 1 The Question of Divorce When Considering Wedding Photography
Part 2 When to Search and Book?
Part 3 Average Pricing for a Professional Wedding Photographer
Part 4 All About Engagement Photography
Part 5 Pre-Wedding Event Planning and Coverage
Part 6 Consultation on Wedding Day Photography
Part 7 Final Wedding Photography Considerations (here you’re are)

This final post is about associated wedding photography possibilities that could actually be your first or only considerations in having wedding-related portraits done. It’s also about making sure that you consult on an output that you’re looking for because wedding photography is an investment.

The options could be a lot of fun in creative expression or they may clash with your sense of propriety or economic limitations. It all depends on your personality and sense of responsibility, as most things in life do.

Hamilton Ontario wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

Pucker UP Baby!

Morning After Photography

You may have already heard about this trending by now. I wrote a bit about bridal boudoir in Part 4. Well, this is a relatively new version of it.

It seems to have started back around 2011 or 2012 when super talented, super creative, ultramodern New York-based photographer Michelle Jonné began offering portrait sessions to couples that gave the impression that the consummation had taken place.

The audacity to do this not only indicates that Jonné is not only creative and risk taking in business but also a visual artist. Not all great artists push or question existing social or political status quo but it is quite common for artists to do so in one way or another. Jonné’s an artist, and of course I mean that as a high complement.

Like bridal/engagement boudoir, morning after photography does not feature people actually having sex or even simulating sexual intercourse. It is; nevertheless, the creation of erotic images that definitely suggest that newlyweds have passionately unleashed their physical desire for each other after they’ve tied the knot or are about to. Even though there’s a chance that after a very full wedding day, a couple won’t actually have the umpf to do the deed.

How far can you go without being sleazy? There’s no nudity associated but actual or implied nudity is conceivable. As racy and exciting as the outcome can be, the shots would be considered absolutely boring for any genuine purveyor of X-rated material.

Yeah, right! Like, what for? Who are you going to show these pictures to, grandma? Probably not. Chances are that the shoot and the occasional review of these special glamourous boudoir shots will be long-lasting, fun, vanity-serving experiences just for the couples who dare pursue this opportunity. Maybe images would be shared among very close likeminded friends. Maybe you’d be inclined to go much further than that. After all, we now live in a time in which all kinds of people post far more sexually provocative, and frankly weird and obscene pictures of themselves all over the Internet. I’ve heard that some want to prove that marriage doesn’t mean bed death.

The argument is understood. While we live in a world in which increasingly more are willing to say; “to each their own,” it still seems like photographers and prospective clients should draw a line at what should be photographed and shared for the sake of propriety and common sense — whatever the latter means these days. As long as there will be a need or want for it; nevertheless, “to each their own,” will still win out on this one.

It must be said though, that posting racy images of yourself online — even if there’s no nudity, can still result in others judging you harshly. You can still lose your job, and getting caught up in a scandal that others will make into a mission to never let you live it down. So, think very carefully about the consequences of showing off something so beautiful but risqué.

The adversity may not even be due to you or a friend of yours publishing the photos. As with any wedding photography or portrait assignment, it is an intellectual property standard that the photographer gets to own and use all images as he or she sees fit. Worldwide, there are release clauses built-in to all such agreements. So, if the photographer self-promotes by using any of these pictures, you could still be spotted somewhere in a seemingly compromising position.

A possible way around this, is negotiating with your photographer to amend an agreement so that only you will have the right to publish such images anywhere, anytime. The chances of such a negotiation succeeding are slim but not impossible. It’s worth it to ask! If success is possible, do expect that any chance of receiving a discount on such photography will go straight out the window.

Hamilton Ontario wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

Oh yeah, good times!

Hamilton Ontario wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

Oh oh!

Morning after photography still isn’t a major trend. In fact, it has become more used in fashion-related editorial photography. Morning after shoots, nevertheless, is also not showing any sign of disappearing altogether, and likely because of the editorial work. There’s just enough of a demand that other photographers have begun to present the option to clients.

Despite the name, a morning after photography shoot is most likely conducted several months after an actual wedding day and honeymoon, and even under a separate agreement apart from that for the actual wedding. Probably by then, you will have shared your truly most intimate moments alone with your significant other. As you should have.

Am I willing to push this creative and social envelope with clients? Yes, but I’m disinclined to mention it during a consultation. It’s my same approach with bridal boudoir. Clients who seriously want to express themselves this way will request it without any prompting. Just don’t think that anything goes with me. If you request something that breeches even my boundaries of decency, I’ll be sure to diplomatically let you know.

How does a couple go about getting up the nerve to do this? You have to get your head around what it takes to approach your photographer with ideas for such a shoot. The creativity starts with you and is to be pushed by you, not your photographer. Committing to it seems, to me, to be a considerable test of your relationship with the one you’re about to marry or have already married. Before even going to consult with a photographer, you have to get together with your partner and openly come to terms with your respective sexual fantasies and fetishes because these might be what you want a photographer to help you dramatize in pictures. You have to share these thoughts and feelings with each other first, and without ever making each other feel dirty, depraved or ashamed for having such desires. Of course, unless you like feeling dirty, depraved or ashamed. Some couples do achieve this sexual honesty in their private lives while many others simply can’t.

Whether you’re a boy or girl, gay or straight, you may want to see your man looking like a clean-shaven Wall Street stock broker in slacks, suspenders and expensive leather shoes or a beastly, sweaty, brutish mountain man in filthy coveralls with an unkempt beard down to his chest. Perhaps you fancy your girl in glamourous lingerie, pearls and the highest stiletto heels or as a tough cop who has responded to your call about a possible neighbourhood prowler on your wedding night. Just maybe, you like the idea of simply waking up next to your new mate feeling their skin against yours as you embrace, and sharing body warmth. That sexy, seductive and protective type of warmth that signifies that you belong to each other exclusively. All of these possibilities are only just the beginning. How much further it goes all depends on what you are willing to acknowledge turns you and your mate on, and what you’re willing to dramatize before a photographer’s lens.

I think this is what it really takes for you to pursue a morning after shoot. Apart from that, you have to find a photographer who can forever be respectful of your erotic, romantic, creative vision that comes from a place of genuine love for the uniquely special person in your life.

Hamilton Ontario wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

Bolt for Cover

Trash the Dress Photography

Love it! Its roots are not in wedding photography but in editorial bridal fashion photography, and it goes from mild to extreme. It has grown into a permanent feature of wedding photography, and it is requested by women who want to symbolically burn the bridge between their single and married lives (sometimes that means after a divorce), have a good time doing it, have no intention of keeping an expensive gown that they’ll wear only once, and have no intention of handing their dresses over to someone else for any reason.

The only drawback to it, for someone willing to get rid of their wedding dress, is the environmental impact. You may think it a waste to not give or sell the dress off to someone else who may reuse it. Style can be everything to a bride, however, so if you’re sure that your dress will become outdated or worse, cursed, after you’ve worn it, you might want to consider remembering the best of having the dress by trashing it glamorously!

Due to it’s origins in fashion, trash the dress (a.k.a.: “burn the dress”) portraiture usually depicts only the newlywed bride but sometimes the groom is right in there too.

It always has its own shoot day sometime after a wedding, if there’s a wedding at all. Many photographers quote full price for this as an item separate from the actual wedding package. I’m actually considering offering discounts or rebates on wedding photography packages to clients who are determined to go through with it. I welcome feedback on that.

Hamilton Ontario wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

Father & Daughter

Proofing

It’s a funny term I know, and it does cause confusion. The name is more than likely derived from the artist’s proof which, historically, is a representational print of artwork – the digital age has expanded on the concept because not all artist’s proofs are printed now. In one brief sentence, a wedding photography proof is a representation of the final wedding portrait.

Digital photography was created by Kodak in 1975 but it didn’t become commonplace until the 90’s. I started learning photography as a kid back in the 80’s when analogue film was still king. For those who actually don’t know, back then all film negatives were chemically processed the same way. The pictures from the developed negatives were first printed as small images on common low-cost photographic paper as contact sheets or as larger prints. These first drafts were the proofs, and they were checked with magnifying glasses to see which images would be selected for special enhancements and retouching.

The negatives were used to make final prints of the chosen images on higher quality photopaper with all necessary enhancements in place. Wonderful work by highly knowledgeable and skilled photographers and darkroom technicians were made this way for a century.

Digital photography involves the use of cameras that record information on digital media (sometimes even on analogue film which images are later digitized), and the use of computers to review and critique the initial images as they were recorded for selection for editing. Digital photography also involves the proofing stage, and the editing or retouching of those images by use of computer software like Photoshop and Lightroom to produce the final images.

Notice that with the advent and growth of digital technology, minimal money and no materials have to be spent to give clients a tantalizing idea what they’re buying because proofs no longer have to be printed. With that in consideration, wedding photographers now have several means of proofing wedding pictures to clients for approval, including the old-fashioned way of printing everything. The means of proofing relied on may impact why you choose to hire one wedding photographer over another.

Proofing is when clients can really contribute to analogue or digital post-production decisions. A client may see their proofs and think that the exposure appears too dull or dark, and advise the photographer to brighten the images up a bit before printing anything into final individual pictures or albums.

Hamilton Ontario wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

Married

Online wedding photography proofing has become a leading way for photographers to allow their clients to preview their pictures. This is because the service features easy to use integrated slideshows, and password access to accounts allows friends and family to weigh in on the decision-making. Orders can be made online, and files can be e-mailed depending on data size.

There are downfalls to online proofing. Accessibility to accounts are time-restricted so, if you happen to be away, in the hospital or anything happens to prevent you from logging in to scrutinize your pictures during the viewing window, you won’t get that chance. This online service costs money to the photographer that gets transferred to the client. Online proofing can be fairly inexpensive on their own but added to all of your other wedding costs, it could blow your wedding photography budget.

Seeing your images on your computer screen or smartphone display can also cause issues due to respective resolutions. After getting your photographer to brighten your pictures up to your satisfaction, you may find the final prints look too washed out or so colour bold that your eyes hurt.

You may also have to preview images that are proof marked or watermarked against photographer copyright violations. That’s right, as aforementioned, even though you pay for your pictures your photographer still has legal rights to own the images and use them as he or she feels fit.

Proofing by CD, DVD or e-mail is still done. You still get to see them on screen but are still susceptible to making post-production errors due to screen resolution misinterpretations.

Proof books have come a long way aesthetically. They’re now beautifully hardbound like a finished album but their pages are still printed in contact sheet arrangements with gaudy image numbers. Each proof is also small, so you better get yourself a good quality magnifying glass. The final album will look much better but you need to use the proof book to make selections for the final wedding book.

Printed proofs are also still done, and are still typically 4×6” size. That size is better than what you have to deal with in a contact sheet, and your colour, shade and detail resolutions will be true. It’s easy to select which shots you want made into final portraits. Of course, printing costs more than looking at images digitally, and you usually have to keep paying the photographer for additional prints.

As a potential wedding photography client or even as a photographer, what’s your preference?

The Flip-Side of Providing References is Continued Contact

By the way, just a parting question regarding business etiquette. It would be interesting to see what the majority responses would be, if there are any direct responses at all.

Do you like the idea of your wedding photographers wishing you happy anniversary every year after your wedding day or do you just want us to leave you alone after all business has been concluded?

#Mercenartist 2018

new year’s resolution display banner modes of flight

EYES FORWARD! There’s no real reason to look back at 2017.

I will acknowledge, however, that after rectifying the technological issues that I faced from late 2016 into 2017, I managed to claw back roughly half of the following that I had lost before I went offline. I still have a long way to go.

The very next step in the growth of MOF will be to complete a new gap analysis for what I need to focus on achieving this year as a fine artist and commercial artist. That will be followed by developing a new Artist’s Business Model Canvas. Really, I should have completed the gap analysis in November or December but it’s not critical. January will do, and I can redo it by this year’s end.

One thing I am looking forward to for my personal commercial arts projects, is NASA making good on its launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in March. Although I can’t expect results from the mission to benefit me before 2018 is over, I am hoping that this mission will eventually help me advance my personal sci-fi and fantasy art projects. That work has literally been on hold since the Kepler mission proved unable to locate an adequate real-life Earth analogue that I might use as a setting for a fictional world on which to illustrate adventures. Looking even beyond 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launch could bolster my commercial artwork.

The Hammer Home Street Photography Project will continue, of course, and I will continue to post some on this blog, Twitter, Facebook and Viewbug. I’m on schedule to conduct another presentation on the genre to a photography club in April. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Apart from these, I can already see that my focus will be to continue refreshing my portfolio and inventory, and be more forward in networking. I already began adding items to my 2018 Preliminary Artist Action Planner last summer.

From photography equipment to computer software, there are also some technological gaps that I hope that I can fill before the year is out.

So, to all of you who have continued to follow me. I thank you so much for your interest and support. It really means a lot.

I wish you all a happy and successful new year, and thank you all so much for loving the visual arts.

#ModesofFlight #DocumentaryPhotography | II

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

None of us materialized out of thin air. We were all born from someone’s womb. For those of us who are truly blessed — which is most of us, those wombs belonged to mothers who love us with all of their might. For those of us who are doubly blessed, we are also the offspring of fathers who also have the highest hopes for us. All of this faith put into us from before we’re even born.

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

What do we do with it? All of that love and adoration. Even if we don’t turn out exactly how our parents wanted us to, which of us at least comes close to honoring our parents hopes in some way by making sure that we do decent and honorable things with our lives?

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Which of us keeps this respect in mind as we go about day-to-day?

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Which of us uses this respect as a guide?

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

What’s it like for those of us who don’t?

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada documentary photography photo essay

#Illustration Explorer | Part 5

illustration fine art marketing career guide tutorial tips course

A preliminary pencil drawing for a character concept.

DRY MEDIA FOR FIGURATIVE ILLUSTRATION

Fundamental to illustration or the creation of virtually all other 2D visual art is drawing. The ability to draw reasonably well is still very important, even if most or all of your art is computer generated. Drawing is where I started all the way back at the nursery school age. Everything else came afterward.

Sketching and drawing reveals the ability of an artist to recognize form and texture, and develop creative vision.

As a toddler, I would use magic markers, biro pens; anything that I could get my little hands on, to mark and scribble on paper or the walls in the home. Mum kept a picture of me doing exactly that. Wanna see it? Take a look at my artist’s statement. Real drawing for me; however, began when I was old enough to use dry media.

Just as it sounds, dry art media includes crayons, chalk, pastel, charcoal, pencil crayons, metalpoint styli (goldpoint, silverpoint, copperpoint) — amazingly beautiful and expensive drawings can be produced with pure metals, and my all-time favourite graphite pencils. Associated dry media are erasers (plastic [white], rubber [pink], gum and kneaded), erasing shields, smudge tortillons, blending stumps and soft brushes for sweeping away eraser crumbs.

You can draw on any marking surface that will accept the chosen media. When working with graphite, I prefer white papers and show card stock. I prefer cold press stock with medium tooth. Say what?

During the manufacture of hot pressed stock (HP), as opposed to cold pressed, paper is passed between hot glazing rollers. Finished hot pressed stock is nice and smooth. It can even be a bit shiny. Cold pressing, on the other hand, is when stock is directed between cold polished rollers. Cold pressed stock can have varying rough textures to sight and touch. The graphite work I typically produce depends on a somewhat rough texture — medium tooth, in order to bring out visual textures like brick, hair and even smooth metal with gradated shading.

I like the look and feel of working with this media. It helps me to develop my artistic voice. Whether you’re reading this as an artist or not, you should choose some media, experiment with it a bit, and then try to express your thoughts through drawing.

illustration fine art marketing career guide tutorial tips course

A pack of my drawing pencils of nearly all possible graphite grades.

Just a Bit About Graphite Pencils

I don’t want to get into any big explanation about graphite pencil types. That’s been done before by many artists. Quite simply hard graphite, a form of carbon with a silvery-grey luster in certain light, is given an H grading by manufacturers. H to H9 is the softest to the hardest of the hard graphite grades. They produce light silver-greys to very light silver-greys in that order. Between the H (which I tend to think of as 0H although it should probably be thought of as 1H) and 2H there is a hard F grade graphite. I prefer to think of F as 1H but in spite of my preference, that’s not what it is. F is F!

On the other side of H, is the intermediate grade of HB that pretty much everybody who doesn’t do everything by computer or smartphone is familiar with. The first of the soft graphite grades start at B, which I think of as 1B. The softer the graphite, the higher the number in the grade all the way to 9B. 9B doesn’t really look all that grey but black.

I’m most likely to use everything from HB to 4H in my work. Rarely do I use graphite outside of this range.

Another type of graphite pencil that I enjoy using sparingly is aquarelle or water-soluble graphite. It’s great for rendering leather, the skin on a dog’s snout or an eagle’s talon.

#ModesofFlight #Art | I

Black and white BW B&W sepia tone Hamilton Ontario Canada contemporary fine art photography

The Typesetter’s Shop

As we’re nearing the end of 2017, I thought I’d summarize my year, and make a sincere request. Well, I’ve been entering a new educational, creative and marketing phase in the fine art aspect of my career. One that’s a bit more forward in the art community where I live. I have a lot on the go right now. Maybe too much but it’s a welcome challenge.

Creatively, one of my projects is putting together a photography series of sepia and similarly toned photographs. So far, most of the work consists of landscapes but I’m not sure if that will remain the case. I’m keeping developments somewhat spontaneous. Every now and then, I’ll post one of these “experiments”; like this one above (which is a reworked oldie), and some drawings and paintings.

An artist should always be confident in his or her work but it can be useful to receive critique. A long time ago, I used to ask for some but well-intentioned people seldom want to give you that constructive criticism when it’s requested and deserved. So, I stopped asking. I’m trying again.

I’m certainly not inviting insults. Just real and helpful feedback. If you’re an artist, art collector or art critic then great. I definitely want to hear from you but you really don’t have to be any of these. You just have to know what you like from what you don’t, what you can use from what you can’t and be willing to share your honest opinion. I can take it!

If you don’t want to comment openly on a post, certainly contact me discretely through my About page. I’m very much into conversations about the visual arts and artwork — mine or someone else’s, so whether your response is directly on a post, through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or whatever don’t be surprised if I even have questions for you.

Do not fear, it will be of great benefit to me. I’m always looking to grow.

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