Saturday, September 13, 2008

Return from the Arctic

I'm flying home from another of my arctic sojourns. Yesterday started a little before daylight as we left the ship anchored in snow-covered and breezy Resolute, and zodiaced to the nearby shore to catch our ride to the airport. We were met by a grizzled and burly man in a thick, faded, plaid shirt that looked like it was rarely removed, and then, only when absolutely required. I said, "Good morning." and he grunted something not unpleasant, but not entirely intelligible either, clearly not a morning person. This was the only sound he made until he departed again in his battered and rattly van with a simple, but reasonably clear, "See you." How such a brief exchange could endear you to someone I don't know, but I felt a fondness for his thrifty style. He looked and acted like the iconic working man of the north.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Photographer's Attitude

We have many tools to work with when we go out to make pictures. There is the light that gives colour and shape to everything we see. There's the gear we take with us: the camera, lenses, filters and multitude of lesser items. There's the knowledge and skill that we build up over the years. And there's our attitude - the inner feelings we carry around with us, that, like the light, will shape our ability to see. A positive attitude towards your craft sits lightly on your shoulders urging you along to discover and find the best way of seeing your subject. A negative attitude, perhaps arising from some other aspect of your life, or from your lack of confidence in what you are doing, will impair your sight and ability to capture strong images that are technically good and emotionally compelling.

So here are some ideas to help create a positive attitude towards your photography.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Polar Bears

Polar bears are the icons of the Arctic. Each year I'm usually lucky enough to encounter a few. For a couple of years I was working as a polar bear guide in Churchill, Manitoba where each day we would go out in large vehicles custom-built to traverse the tundra with little impact. The operators have been doing this for years so the bears have become very accustomed to the presence of the bulky, but safe machines. They are high enough to keep people well above the bears while providing great access and visibility. Usually the bears ignore the vehicles entirely or take a curious interest in them and even approach. So that's how I got many of the images in the polar bear portfolio, but not all of them.