The Zen of Photography (My Way!)

The Zen of Photography (My Way!)

What is Zen?

Several different definitions for this. It is first of all a sect of Buddhism and a ‘way’ of Buddhism. 

“a state of calm attentiveness in which one's actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort…”

And I got this from The Zen Societies Website:

“It’s both something we are—our true nature expressing itself moment by moment—and something we do—a disciplined practice through which we can realize the joy of being. It is not a belief system to which one converts. There is no dogma or doctrine. Zen is the direct experience of what we might call ultimate reality…” Zen Stuff

The first definition falls easily into the western definition of ‘chill’.  “a relaxed and not worrying about things that you cannot change”  (taken from Cambridge Dictionary)

So, I don’t know much about what it would be for you but I guess it’s kind of the state that I go into particularly when I’m editing photos and creating on the computer. 

I’m ordinarily in this state, as well, when I’m in the studio or often elsewhere.  Taking photos.

I’m a swimmer and wear my Garmin watch during the day.  Not at night.  Keeps track of my heart rate.  When I’m sitting at my desk, completely focused, heart rate drops into the 40s.  Hopefully, that’s an indication that I’m in ‘the zone’.

If you are a swimmer and on Garmin, look me up.

As of late, I’ve learned some of how to use Photoshop AI.  Pretty easy to make stuff up from nothing.  Much more difficult to get really good at it.  I have thousands of photos, so my goal is to use them as much as possible in my creations. 

Makes it trickier sometimes but good to set rules for the game.  Goes for any game, I guess.  If you can work within a set of rules, and win, then you really know you are winning. 

Some of the images that I create, like the one with the ‘robot’ lady in the bedroom.  Well, it took me quite a while.  Hours.  Some dead ends and restarts.   

I find that I don’t get frustrated when I run into barriers.  Like I have a concept and get to the end and ‘bleh’.  I really, really, really enjoy the process. 

I look at my photography, how it has improved over a lifetime.  And I can see how in the few months that I’ve been working with Photoshop AI… definite improvement in my skills and knowledge. 

Part of the beauty of it is that I don’t expect everyone to like what I create.  And even those that like some of my work, may not like other material.  All part of the ‘Zen’ thing I guess.

Enjoy the photos.  And if not, have look around and see what else there is to see!  🙂

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Niagara Region Horse Photography

Niagara Region Horse Photography

Niagara Region Horses

I’ve lived in a number of different parts of Canada and the USA.  Different areas claim they are ‘horse country’.  I’ve come to believe I’m not the only person in the world that is in love with these beautiful animals. 

I was in Oregon for a while but wasn’t doing much horse photography back then.  Kinda wish I had been; it’s great horse country there.  The eastern part of the state is high desert and lots of big ranches with lots of horses.  Cowboy country.

Later I lived in Alberta for a number of years.  One of my favourite places.  Southern Alberta is more cowboy than Texas.  (More Texas than Texas!)  One of the first times I was photographing a local rodeo a little north of Calgary, the next rider was announced as the top calf roping student in his High School.  They would teach these skills in the rural high schools!! 

If anyone is worried, they would all lose points if they did anything that would harm the animals.  These cowboys and cowgirls were quite kind and humane to the animals.  They like the animals. 

Here in the Niagara region of Ontario there are horses all over.

We were picking up some honey yesterday from a local guy and decided to wander some backroads on the way home.  My wife said ‘let’s go here’.  It looked like a dead end but ‘what the heck’! 

Got a couple of hundred metres and there was a barn, a bunch of paddocks with eight or nine horses and a donkey.  I knocked to ask but no one home.  So I took these shots from the road.  I got the contact info from their sign and sent them a couple of the photos.  I’ve now been welcomed back anytime to take more. 

I’ll wait till it’s a bit drier - less mud on the horses.  They like rolling around in it too much.

Lots of ‘horse’ photos here on my website.  One of my favourites photo outings was in Southern Alberta, a branding.  I did a write up of the day here and a bunch of photos:

And as for the ‘painterly’ photo, you can look at my last few blog posts and see more of this and why.


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Photographer Fraud – Scam Alert!!

Photographer Fraud – Scam Alert!!

Photographer Fraud Alert

Please check this out and check online for others with similar experience!

April 2024

Last Tuesday I received this email:

“Hello, I need a photographer for my 65th birthday on the 26th of MAY 2024,are you available and the specified date?”

From: Nancy Kroger -

It did seem slightly odd wording to me but at the time I was unaware of this type of scam so thought I’d continue the dialogue.

I replied, had a couple of questions and then received this:

“Thanks for the swift response,You were referred to me by Joanne, she's seen some photos you have edited for previous clients.The birthday will be held at the house XXXX Morse Ave, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 4G2, i will need your services for 6 hours 12pm to 6pm for candid photos and capturing of other activities happening around the party(cake, games,speech etc),30-50 will be attending(family & friends.They will arrive in batches).It's an indoor party but we can do some outside pictures if the weather is nice, what is the total cost for the package to cover for 6 hours?”

I sent a price and then received this:

“Sounds good,I am okay with the price $XXX,I will make your payment in full so you can book me in advance for the day to avoid any disappointment, i will love to have every moment captured that day with my family and friends.Payment will be via Cheque and will have it mailed out to you asap, what name do you want to be written on the cheque and which address do you want it mailed to?”

I was already getting a bit weirded out.  They had not met me and were willing to send X dollars.  Alarms going louder now.  I emailed back and said I’d like meet beforehand.  I was willing to drop by.  (The address is given is only a few minutes away.)

I didn’t expect to hear back at all a this point.  I emailed the ‘i want to drop by’ message last evening.  Didn’t hear back in the morning, which was the normal response time.  Middle of the afternoon, I got this email:

“I will be available to meet 1 week before the event so you can come take a look by then.”

Still pretty vague, huh?

I did get their phone number as well.

So, if you feel like hassling them (son #1?), then please do.

Here is the contact info:

Phone: 657-394-8889  - It’s a California number.

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More Fun With PhotoShop AI

More Fun With PhotoShop AI

Layers and Layers In PhotoShop

I try as much as possible to use only my own photos when I’m doing these images.  Various models from my years of shooting and backgrounds.  Sometimes I’ll just cruise through my collection of photos for ideas.  That’s how I came up with the ‘elephant’ and warrior girl image.  I’d done one with just the girl and a background (also, mine) and when I started messing with the image of the elephant I realized what a great combination those two photos would make.  The bamboo was the actual background behind the elephant at the Portland Zoo.

In the image with the owl: started with a portrait of the girl.  The owl was sitting in a tree at a campground on Vancouver Island some years back.  Took some time to finalize that composite image.

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Life Should Be Fun – Enjoy The Ride And Make It That Way

Life Should Be Fun – Enjoy The Ride And Make It That Way

Life Should Be Fun - Make It So

Not everything is perfect all the time.  One needs to enjoy work or at least a good part of it.  The actual effort of doing it. 

I’m a photographer and I also work sometimes as a demonstrator/sales person at trade shows.  I work for a company a couple of times a years now (I’m supposed to be retired) selling a very high quality product

I’ve been selling it for years and at these shows, particularly of late, there has been more complaining than usual.  I started to agree how poor things were and then realized how much I enjoyed the activity.  The interaction with people. I have no qualms about the quality of what I’m selling and I don’t do the ‘hard sell’ type of selling. 

I really, really enjoy the effort of doing that activity.

Same goes for photography.  I got a new computer fairly recently so that I could access the new AI features of Photoshop

And that opened up a whole new world!  Pretty much endless creative possibilities. I have thousands of photos that I’m using for backgrounds, foregrounds and bits and pieces. 

I’ve found that a lot of photos that I took in the past, I took with this sort of thing in mind.  Taking the shot, knowing it might make a great background for something and now, wonderfully, getting to actually use these photos.

Some of the photos here have backgrounds manipulated from my photos.  Some fully, some partially.  I’ve been using buildings and streets and the like from Amsterdam and other cities in the Netherlands and also from Prague.  They lend themselves very well to this sort of image. 

I’ll come up with some kind of idea of what I want to do and start putting things together.  Much like a painting, I think.  I’m sure painters find that many times they get to the end and it’s not what they’d hoped.  I might spend a few hours on something and scrap it altogether because it looks like crap.  And when I get something I really like I can hardly stop tweaking and creating variations. 

And however it turns out, I’m having loads of fun in the process. So much fun. 

So life CAN be fun.  You have to make it that way.  And it won't get that way if you are serious.

Hope you like the results.

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