I haven't taken pictures in a while; I want to get back into it as a hobby. I don't want to have any expectations to meet, just a chance to play around, possibly with friends, and get comfortable with the camera and my own skills that I don't feel like I'm struggling to juggle the need to think technically and be aware of the right moment to capture the shot. I rush to get through my discomfort and it shows in the pictures. I eventually would like to get some new gear, but before I do that, I want to feel like I've mastered working with the stuff I have.Read More
Last summer, I offered pay-what-you-can portrait sessions; I did three of the ten promised shoots, edited one set, and then put my camera away sometime in late August, and haven't taken it out since.Read More
Nocturne is this weekend; I went pretty much every year since I moved here. but it really peaked for me about three years ago. I don't really want to go out by myself (or run into people on the street when alone), but I don't really feel up to making plans with other people this week. It's a free event, so budget isn't a problem, but I just have this overwhelming feeling that art really isn't my thing, no matter how much I want it to be. I guess that makes me a dilettante.
I'm sitting on raw photos I shot in August when I did a "free photoshoot" offer. I'm not especially thrilled that I haven't finished editing them, but when I see what I shot, so little of it is salvageable. Too many out of focus shots. Part of me thinks it's because I'm using a cheapo Opteka portrait lens that won't focus properly at 1.8, but the poor craftsman blames his tools. It could just be my own eyes. I had hoped to supplement my income with photography, but I really don't think I have hustle, skills or tools to make it work right now, nor can I really afford to invest in the latter two. I've been wondering whether I actually enjoy photography, or just the validation that I get when I share the pictures.
I recently read Truth Is Fragmentary by Gabrielle Bell; it's a graphic novel of her travelogues and diaries, including daily comics for the month of July in three different years. There's quite a lot I identified with, particularly her insecurities and anxieties; the tendency to pull away from other people and get lost in the mess of one's own thoughts.
I have more I want to talk about, but I need Tylenol and rest.
I'm trying to get more practice with the camera before a gig in the fall, so I put out an offer for some free photo shoots to the first ten people that liked my status on social media. I'll eventually transition to more paid gigs, but these are a way for me to feel more comfortable with the process and get more proficient with the equipment I have.
I had the first of these freebie photo shoots yesterday with Lucy, who was a fantastic subject. Thank you for a fun shoot!
The aforementioned portrait shoots will be about an hour or so (not counting a bit of ice-breaking and getting to know each other beforehand, which I find helps the shoot overall), and I will edit and send the five best shots of the session. I'm also interested in doing simple "pay what you can" head and shoulders shots (one edited photo) and getting more practice with event and party photography.
I'm currently looking for work, so the photography thing hasn't been a big priority for the past few weeks. I haven't really felt motivated to write either, although sometimes I get the urge in the middle of the night, which I usually try to extinguish because my sleeping patterns are messed up enough as it is. Pay-what-you-can photo shoots are still on the table indefinitely, but it's definitely a side-gig for me at best; to be honest, even that doesn't seem like much of a priority compared to finding full-time employment.Read More
My friend Laura and I had been meaning to do a shoot for a few weeks; the weather in Halifax was actually quite mild and gorgeous on Sunday, so we headed downtown. We did the first part of the shoot in Victoria Park, then went behind the library for the rest.
Laura then got a few shots of me before we headed off:
If you live in the Halifax, NS area, like what you see here, and want to do a shoot with me, I'm offering pay-what-you-can pricing for anyone who books a sitting for the month of February. Granted, I won't shoot in the middle of a blizzard like the one we had yesterday, but as long as the weather cooperates, we should be good to go.
After a few months laying low, I'm offering pay-what-you-can portrait shoots in the Halifax area for anyone who books a sitting for the month of February. I will give you five (5) edited portraits for whatever amount you're willing to offer me.
Three things to keep in mind:
1) Weekends are best for me, but I'm available anytime after 4 on weekdays.
2) I usually prefer to shoot in available light so outdoor or well-lit indoor spaces are best, but I have a flash attachment.
3) I prefer to meet up beforehand and discuss any ideas or locations for the shoot over coffee/tea, especially if I don't know you that well in person. (Don't want awkwardness to translate to the pictures)
Some of my work is already on my website, but I'm always looking to get more experience and develop my skills, and hope to branch out into some conceptual projects in the future. If you're in the market for a new profile picture for social media or your website, or you just want some nice photos of yourself, use the contact form on the website to get in touch.
The beginning of the year always brings reflection, especially on social media; I've seen a lot of posts reflecting on the previous 12 months and tentatively mapping out future plans. I've done posts like that in the past, but I didn't really feel like trying to itemize and summarize (or even make sense of) all that I've done and felt in the last year, at least not in the space of one Facebook post lost among many.Read More
This exercise winds down with one last entry. It's a relief to not have to worry about my daily posting quota or feel guilt over marking the day with a one-sentence post, and there's some bit of satisfaction to take in posting every day for 30 days, but the thing I worry about is that I'm going to squander this momentum. Maybe it will channel itself into my renewed focus on the SNL reviews, but what I really want is to regularly update the two streams of my blog. I aspire to the level of writing I see regularly on The Belle Jar and Trans Canada (My Way), and want to have something more to say than what I thought of a 30-year-old episode of a television show. For someone who's been trying to write for years, I'm still searching for my voice.
I started a new job last week; it's in Dartmouth, so the commute is a bit longer than it was to my old job. This means I have to wake up earlier, which technically means I should be getting to bed earlier than I have been. Old habits die hard. Wil Wheaton just posted an entry on his blog about seven things he did to reboot his life that gave me pause, but do I need a reboot of my life, or do I need to figure out what I want before I can do that?
I'm giving myself two weeks until my friends' party to pare down the growing backlog of photos I still need to edit from this summer (going back to June). I don't know what the penalty will be aside from feeling like I can't stay on top of things, but it has to be done or it will either grow bigger with every event I shoot, or hold me back from wanting to take more pictures.
Another travelling day. I always forget about how much being in transit takes out of me, despite the fact that I'm not the one driving. The bus ride from Moncton was actually a little shorter than expected because it was a limited-stop express coach, meaning I got into the city about an hour earlier than scheduled. I was hoping to get home early enough to vote in the advance poll today, but between my exhaustion and a long trip from downtown to home, I decided I wasn't going to leave the apartment again tonight.
I may not have been as social as I wanted to be on the weekend, but I'm glad I was able to spend some time with the pets, particularly Natalie, the 18-year-old torby. She still has her feisty moments, but she's much more frail than she was the last time I came home: she spent most of her time resting in the kitchen. The other four cats and the older dog all seemed to be happy I was there and particularly affectionate. The 7-month old puppy took a little while to warm up to me.
Been thinking more about the conceptual portrait photography project again (mentioned on Day 4). I want to do something focused on the face and eyes, but I'm also fascinated by the idea of tracking changes through repetition and how multiple shots of the same thing taken over a period of time can tell a story. I'm still having a little bit of trouble trying to come up with a specific enough statement I want to make; if anyone can lead me in the right direction, let me know. I'm also looking for volunteer subjects once I have something figured out for the concept.
I probably should be getting better sleep than I do. When a friend told me that she's usually asleep by 10pm, I thought to myself "God, that's early". I joke that I still haven't adjusted to Atlantic time, but I don't think that excuse works over 15 years after you move east from the prairies. Maybe it's because I don't think I've gotten enough done in the time after I get home from work, or maybe it's the classic "fear of missing out", but it's normal for me to stay in the living room "working" until midnight, and then spending the next hour trying to unwind.
Unfortunately, I have to wake up at about 6:30 to get ready for work the next day. Due to the nature of my day job I can get by with a daily cup of coffee, but on days when I feel especially out of it, interacting with other people is something I try to avoid unless absolutely necessary or feel enough at ease with them. I wonder how much social I would be if I went to bed at a decent hour.
I've been thinking about a conceptual photography project. I'm fascinated by images that mark the passage of time, especially changes (both gradual and sudden) to the appearance of either a person or a landscape. A drastic haircut, a new sign, the processes of aging, rebuilding, and renewal. I wonder how I could execute this.
I'm trying to make a little extra money to save for a trip to NYC this year, as well as get some more practice before shooting a wedding, so I'm offering pay-what-you-can portrait shoots for anyone in the Halifax, NS area from now until June 12. Send me a message through the contact form or e-mail me directly at bjdwsm(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll work out the specifics.
I went about two months without a post on this site; my energy's been all over the place lately, and I often don't have the amount of focus that I feel I need to do anything particularly well. There are a number of things I'm doing or want to be doing these days, some more important than others, but for the last few months I've been short on resources (financially, yes, but more in terms of time and energy) and have been more concerned with maintaining a sort of "status quo" with my life than moving it forward.Read More
I had sittings with two different couples this month: an engagement shoot in Hemlock Ravine Park on the 1st (which was my first paid shoot), and a maternity shoot in Halifax Public Gardens yesterday evening. When shooting, I don't really have too many set ideas for what I want to do and prefer to follow the lead of my subjects; if something comes to mind as we walk around or in the middle of one pose, I'll pursue it, but many of the best shots come from when everyone's relaxed and loose, and I catch the little signs of life that don't necessarily come out of the initial pose.
My portfolio still needs a bit more work, but I will include a section for my couples portraits; I still have to go through my other photography for other parts of my portfolio, but if the weather holds up I may go out with the camera this weekend.
I continue to welcome new opportunities for portrait shoots in the Halifax area; I am available anytime after 4:30 on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday. I'm only charging for natural light outdoor portraits at this time; however, I need more practice using my flash and doing night portraits, so I'm looking for volunteer models for that kind of work. Send me a line through the contact page if you're interested in a sitting.