Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Published Work 10-27-2007

Just a quick hit to share a few of my most recently published images...

These two images were featured in the 2007 Adventure Kayak Photo Annual, which is currently on newstands (unless of course, my mother has beaten you to them... seriously).

The top one is my wife on the West Coast Trail. As you may be able to tell from the streaming TP, things were somewhat urgent...

Of course this wasn't really the case! I made her run past at least 20 different times until I got the frame I wanted.

The second is my friends Alex and Rochelle paddling in Victoria's Inner Harbour during the 2005 Tall Ships festival. Alex is a very accomplished paddler and author, and his most recent book, Sea Kayaking: Rough Waters, is available from the Heliconia Press here.

Cheers, Josh

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Canadian Rockies Photos

I have recently set out to actively pursue a more commercial spin to my photography, as the market is much larger for that than the market for prints of landscapes, etc. As a result, I don't shoot nearly as much "Nature" type photography as I used to. I almost always try to include people in my images now. People want to see people in ads, and people sell.

On my recent trip to the Canadian Rockies (See my post Prairie Light for another post related to this trip), I shot a lot of landscape images and remembered how much I enjoy it. While I certainly don't enjoy getting up at 5AM (I'm definitely not a morning person), the results can certainly be worth it. The following image was taken just after sunrise at Cavell Lake in Jasper National Park:

Cavell Lake Sunrise

Another torture session early morning took place at Moraine Lake. I have travelled to the Rockies many times, but had never sought out and shot the classic Rockies images. I decided I should, and did on this trip, as someone will come asking one day...

Moraine Lake Sunrise

A few more highlights, these are from the Maligne Lake area. This boathouse is a classic, and has been there for many years:

Maligne Lake Boathouse

Maligne Lake Boathouse

And of course, I continued to shoot my lifestyle images. Here are a few of my wife hiking, the first from Lake Ohara, and the second from Sentinel Pass near Moraine Lake:

Lake Ohara Seven Veils Falls

Sentinel Pass

And this is a gem I got from the Icefields parkway near Jasper. Sometimes I'll pull the truck over when I see a scene I like. I'll usually shoot the scene as I first see it, and then wait to see if anything interesting comes along. In this case, I waited about 5 minutes and nothing happened. I almost left, and then saw these guys coming down the road. This image is one of my best from the trip. Patience pays off again!

Motorbikers on the Icefields Parkway near Jasper, AB

Feel free to check out some of my other landscapes in my Nature and Landscape Photos gallery, as well as a selection of my Canadian Rockies Photos.

Cheers, Josh

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mac vs PC

Ask anyone that knows me well, and they will tell you I'm nothing short of outspoken when it comes to your choice of computers.

Macs Rule, and they're only getting better.

I could go on and on about the ease of use, their clean uncluttered design, the solid, secure UNIX base it's built on, the common sense of Apple to ship an OS with ports in it's firewall CLOSED (duh!), and so forth. But instead, I'll refer you to a few experts who have weighed in recently...

A recent CNET news article slammed Microsoft to give up on Vista stating numerous issues. In some cases, users were reverting to Windows XP because Vista was so bad! A quote from the article:

"The road ahead looks dangerous for Vista and Microsoft must realize that. With Mac OS X hot on its tail, Vista is simply not capable of competing at an OS level with some of the best software around. If Microsoft continues down this path, it will be Vista that will bring the software giant to its knees--not Bill Gates' departure.

Of course, categorically dumping an operating system is quite difficult and with millions already using the OS, chances are Microsoft won't find a good enough reason to do it. And while I can understand that argument, there's no reason the company can't continue to support Vista and go back to the drawing board for its next OS. Even better, go back to XP--it's not nearly as bad as Vista.

As a daily user of Mac OS X, Ubuntu and Vista, I'm keenly aware of what works and what doesn't. Mac and Linux work."

I especially like this video by a Mac user showing off Mac OSX features that have been around for quite a while, with audio from Microsoft descibing the same "new innovative features in Vista" that some of which have been in the Mac OS for coming up on 3 generations!

Maybe the biggest indicator is the number of students that are moving to the Mac. Check out this article from Princeton University's student newspaper stating that Mac sales to students from the campus computer store this Fall accounted for 60 percent of all sales! A MacWorld article reports the total Apple notebook market share of 17.6 percent.

Then again, maybe all we need is proof like this, an image from a recent lecture hall at the University of Victoria:

Click image to enlarge

Make the switch, see the light.

Cheers, Josh

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Prairie Light

I recently returned from a couple of weeks of shooting in the Canadian Rockies. To say I had a great trip would be an understatement, but then again, getting out of town to shoot is always fun. Trips like these are always too short. I always seem to feel like I'm just getting into the groove and it's time to head home.

I thought I'd share a few images with you from a part of the country I hadn't been to before, and a few thoughts about pre-visualizing photos.

Pincher Creek is a small rural community in southwest Alberta, and is home to some of the largest wind farms in Canada. I had done some research on the area before the trip and wanted to head there to photograph some of the turbines. I shoot a lot of stock photography (for those of you that don't know what stock photography is, see this Wikipedia Article) and had drawn up a few ideas of concepts I'd like to shoot. I was thinking of ways to show our dependance on energy, and it's relationship to things we use in our everyday lives. Usually tying in things from pop culture adds to the saleability of an image, so I was going to shoot a model (my lovely wife, of course) using a laptop, listening to an iPod, etc around these turbines. Alas, Mother Nature must have thought that there were already enough images of iPods around and made other plans. As we drove south from our campsite at Chain Lakes Provincial Park, the sky got progressively darker until we got to Pincher Creek.

The results? Nothing short of pure Prairie drama. This is the kind of light You just don't get on the coast...

Here are a few images of the wind turbines I originally came to photograph:

The lesson here? While it is great to plan ahead and have some ideas of what you want to shoot, don't let it get you down when it doesn't work out. These images are some of my favourite from the trip, and I certainly hadn't thought I'd get anything like them before I left.

And then came the rain...

Cheers, Josh

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Location Laptop Case

I travel a lot with my photography (well over 30,000 km in the past 2 years) and of course this means that my gear must come along for the ride. One of the most important pieces of gear a travelling digital photographer needs is a laptop computer. Without one, you are limited by the amount of storage you have with you, which can come in the form of Memory Cards, or fancier items such as the Epson Viewers. A laptop can also help you manage your post-production work while out on a shoot, saving you lots of time at the computer when you get home. If you are a location photographer, your laptop may go beyond merely backing up your images and being a time-saver, having to work with an Art Director editing your take in the field.

Commercial location shooters often work in places fairly inhospitable to computer gear. Water, sand, rocks, bumpy roads, falling off a boat, they can all happen, fast. Enter the Location Laptop Case, developed by Chase Jarvis and his crew in Seattle. Being the gear nerd that I am, I will be setting myself up with one of these ASAP, and I wanted to share my enthusiasm with all of you. Chase combined a Pelican Laptop case with some great accessories to create a tough waterproof case for his Powerbook. Enjoy this one!

Cheers, Josh

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Updated Blog

It's been a long time since I last posted anything at all, and I have a really, really good excuse.

I've been busy.

Now that I've explained myself, I'd like to point a couple of things out. Firstly, you probably have noticed that my old blog pages are gone. I have been using Apple's iWeb to build my site, and though it is really easy to use, I had really begun to see the shortcomings of iWeb's built in blogging feature. I got a bit of a bee in my bonnet tonight (those of you that know me well know that once I start something, I can't let it go until it's done) and decided to tackle it. I have integrated my Blogger blog onto my site, and it's looking "Prettyyyy, Prettyyyy, Prettyyy, Pretty Good" as Larry David would say. This will bring all sorts of yet-to-be-discevered functionality that I'm looking forward to exploring in the not-so-distant future. I think I have got everything moved over that I need, though a few of my old blog postings didn't make the cut. No big loss, they were filled with selfish Josh McCulloch Photography propoganda that really served no useful purpose. This brings me to point #2..

Up until now, I have been using my blog to shamelessly point out my achievements in photography. Though there is nothing wrong with this (and I will continue to do just that in moderate amounts), I will also be sharing other various tidbits of photography information with all of you. Everything from techniques and gear I find useful, links to other great photographers, and industry information and trends, to name a few. I'd like to start this off by pointing you to a photographer named Chase Jarvis. Chase is a commercial advertising photographer from Seattle, WA. A good friend of mine worked with Chase on a couple of shoots, and I recently saw a webcast of him giving a presentation at the Photoshelter Photography 2.0 Town Hall in NYC. Well worth the time to watch, as Chase provides some insight into the "Black Box" that is the Commercial Advertising photography industry. Chase strives to share his passion and knowledge with other photographers, and he has inspired me to do the same. Enjoy!

Cheers, Josh
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