A copy of each of my recent photo books can now be found at the Town of Placentia’s Cultural Interpretation Centre located on the town square in Placentia, Newfoundland. The books are part of a showcase featuring local authors.
Thanks to Rhonda Power and Anita O’Keefe of the Town of Placentia for making that happen!
A copy of my recently published photo book, A Cold War Fades Away, has been added to the reference collection of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum located in Hyde Park, New York.
This book is a photographic documentation of the remains of the former United States Naval base at Argentia Newfoundland twenty-five years after the closure of NAVFAC Argentia.
Anyone interested in the history of the Roosevelt era, World War II , the Battle of the Atlantic, or the Cold War can access a copy of the book at;
FDR Presidential Library & Museum
I recently received a long awaited package.
In a brown cardboard wrapping were copies of my first two photography books, direct from the printer. These were the proof copies of Placentia in Winter and A Cold War Fades Away. Each book represents projects spanning multiple years, and lots of time in the snow, rain, and wind of coastal Newfoundland in the darkest season. I’ve spent the past months going through the large collection of digital images, and developing and scanning rolls of film. This was followed by the difficult task of editing, finding the images that best fit each project, and that also complement each other. This in itself was slow going as the selection process had to be rigorous. It meant often choosing between multiple images that seemed equally worthy but where only one or two would make it into the book. It also meant writing introductory essays to set the context for each project, followed by choosing a printing service, selecting the appropriate cover material and paper stocks, doing the page layouts, and finally the overall book design. Then, when everything was checked and each image carefully considered again, I uploaded the design files and had them printed.
So when my review copies showed up the first thing I did was closely examine each printed photo to see how it matched the on screen appearance. I was quite pleased with the resulting reproductions. Often in moving from the screen to the printed page shadows can tend to darken and lose detail. That wasn’t the case here, and the few images that required reproducing shadow detail came out perfectly. I did find a couple of images with issues in one of the books and I went back and forth with the printer to correct these. After double-checking for typos and making a few minor changes the corrected files were re-uploaded.
In the end there were very few issues to be found. While I spent a lot of time tweaking and nailing down the original design it was time well spent. The proof copies needed very few corrections.
I then undertook the design of a second version of each book. The original designs I refer to as the Premium Editions. These have the highest quality covers with a dust jacket. They also contain the full selection of images for each project.
The second set of book designs I’ve labelled Essential Editions. These contain an essential subset of the original photo selection while having soft covers.
In all four versions of the books I made no compromises on the most critical factor. I used the heaviest stock, highest quality, photo paper on which to print the images.
These books are now available on my web store at
In blog posts to come I’ll dig into the ideas and concepts behind each book project.
In terms of the debate around where to spend money, the consumer is already being loud and clear on this. The camera market is in steady decline and heading back to the sales levels of the 90's film era.
This is mainly due to pretty much all serious cameras produced in the past 6-8 years being (more than) good enough for most peoples applications, and smartphones taking over casual photography.
Hence the big push for mirrorless which is being mainly driven by the manufacturers desperation to have a shiny new thing to sell in a declining market, and reduced production costs (no mirror box, mirror, prism more electronic integration, more automated assembly), more than offering some breakthrough new value for photographers, which it doesn't.
There isn't anything wrong with mirrorless cameras ( I have a one myself), like everything else they have advantages and disadvantages, just don't expect them to make your photography better, they won't.
Are they better than dSLR's? Yes and no. Are dSLR's better than mirrorless? Yes and no.
The current hype cycle was catalyzed by Sony simply because their attempt to crack the dSLR market (with the Minolta mount alpha cameras) couldn’t dislodge the Canon / Nikon duopoly so they had to come at it from a different angle, hence mirrorless. By going all in technically and marketing wise (full frame, aggressive seeding with youtubers etc. ) Sony was able to build hype and change the conversation away from dSLR. Having had some success made the other makers feel a bit threatened and forced to respond in kind. Voila! The mirrorless camera hype cycle.
And when I say Sony had some success, I mean some. They’ve managed to grab about 12% of the changeable lens camera market. That’s much better than where they started but nowhere near what you might think given the about of hype out there on the internet.
Just remember, all this hype has much more to do with fulfilling the needs of camera makers then it does with the needs of photographers.
Last year it was ‘Death By Selfie’ wherein overly adventurous ‘photographers’ would put themselves in danger to capture a magic moment, soon to be forgotten, going to such extremes of unwise behaviour as to sometimes result in fatal falls.
Now we have the gathering of the mobs. Driven by a collective ‘social’ media frenzy to swarm en masse and wreck havoc, again in pursuit of the perfect Instagram moment. Again soon to be forgotten in the endless stream of banal look-alike images served up by facebooks advert bots.
This time it was the misfortune of Ontario’s Bogle Seeds farm which saw the swarm of Insta Locusts arrive via 7,000 cars, armed to the teeth with selfie sticks and smart phones. I was under the impression there was a climate crisis.
Naturally chaos ensured and the poor farm, and local infrastructure, was overwhelmed.
At least the Insta-masses where satisfied, sort of, I guess. I imagine the only real winners were the Instagram / facebook / advertising / data hoarding platforms.
This latest feeding frenzy leaves me scratching my head, at least from a photographers point of view.
What exactly is the point of rushing to the same spot as everyone else to capture the same images as everyone else?
I thought the point of art was to have a unique, individual, vision. This whole episode just seems to be one of mob vision.
Sunflowers are nice enough but there are lots of places to see them and they are hardly rare and exotic.
Also the irony of thousands of cars driving for hours and spewing who knows how much greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere, exacerbated by the resulting traffic jams and idling, just to spend a few hours in nature is kind of sad and depressing actually.
It also shows that anytime a business or organization with even a hint to social media appeal thinks about holding such an event they might want to seriously think again or at least carefully calibrate their expectations and preparations.
Again I’m drawn back to the trendy saying that ‘today, everyone is a photographer.’
There’s no way to express how much I disagree with that idea.
It's summer so here are a few quick non technical tips for the traveling photographer.
-Always take less gear than you think you need. You won't really need it and it's a distraction. You probably won't need to walk around with a giant backpack, a tripod and 5 lenses unless your a birder.
-Don't be afraid to wander away from the obvious places. They yield non-obvious opportunities.
-Don't spend too much time looking at images of your destination online. It contaminates your vision and creates visual bias towards taking the same images as everyone else. It's fine to look at some photos, just avoid scrolling through hundreds.
When you're out and about the optimal kit is one camera and one lens. More than that creates opportunities for lost opportunities, confusion, and hesitation.
One Camera, one lens. Make it work.
Turning onto highway one from the 101 we left the shore-side communities behind and began the climb above the bay into the surrounding mountains of Marin County. As the road swept through the trees, taking turns among scattered driveways and sheltered homes, gradually we gained altitude and the sense of being in an urban space gave way to nature. Fields, scrubby bushes, spring flowers and tall trees dominated the rolling green / gold landscape where scatted glimpses of San Francisco Bay far below flashed past.
Again we turned, this time onto the Panoramic Highway and, eventually, to the Muir Woods Road, turning left and beginning our snaking decent. Carefully we switch-backed right and left, left and right, careful of oncoming cars on the narrow twisting road, while encountering the occasional cyclist braving the steep ascent.
These types of roads aren’t really of any surprise to people used to west coast back county roads but they can be a bit unnerving to anyone more familiar to flatter terrain. Finally we hit bottom and noticed a sign indicating our destination, Muir Woods National Monument, home of the Giant Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens.)
It was evident from the start the reality of Muir Woods reputation as one of the bay areas most popular destinations. The official parking area was already full, with cars spilling out onto overflow areas, and parked bumper to bumper along the roadside. This is where we found an opening and slipped into a space about a five minute walk from the main parking area. Here the paradox of having a nature preserve butting up against urban density became apparent. Muir Woods attraction to people is its accessibility, the rare opportunity to view some of the world’s tallest trees in a setting just minutes from urban density and sprawl. The very urbanization that destroyed so much of the regions original redwood forests makes the rarity of a place like Muir Woods so appealing also puts pressure on the last, protected, forests in the region. The National Parks Service struggles to minimize these pressures in varied ways including the now required reserved parking systems.
Making our way in the hot spring sunshine past the lines of parked car by the roadside, the small groups of people coming and going and through the ‘normal’ trees that line the road nothing seems remarkable until we turned the corner into the parking lot.
There in the distance and dwarfing everything surrounding it was our first view of a Giant Redwood. Towering hundreds of feet above the car park and making the people below appear as ants. It’s long striated reddish-brown trunk rising to a modest tuft of green at the extreme top. A tree so tall that even when I got down low on the pavement and aimed my camera in its direction i struggled to frame its entire length even with a wide angle lens. I had to take a moment to look it over from a distance to try to take it all in. The mind boggles at the sudden re-calibration of scale needed to comprehend such a large tree.
After taking a moment to read the posted information we passed under the wooden sign welcoming us to Muir Woods National Monument. With each step along the foot path the intense heat and light of the parking lot faded gradually into cool deep shadow dominated by red-tinged brown and green. Water tumbling through the adjacent brook reflected points of dancing sunlight into the trees until even that light was quenched in shadow. Here we found ourselves winding our way slowly through clusters of immense tree trunks. Craning our necks towards the sky revealed bright green clouds of the tree tops glowing in the sunshine as they simultaneously cast the forest floor in relative darkness.
Everywhere along the gently winding path people would inevitably seek to compare themselves in stature to the immense pillars of fibrous wood shooting far beyond their own heights. Countless photos were taken beside tree trunks or slipping into hollowed out caves at the base of some trees, the blackened and charred remains of a forest fire in the distant past.
As the path unfolded before us we found ourselves in a cluster of giant redwoods reaching to the sky, one after another after another. Looking up sometimes revealed precariously hanging branches that tumbled from on high.
Gradually we made our way to the elevated portion of the path network, allowing us to climb upwards into the trunks of these giants though never close to their tops. From above we could look down on the lower paths putting the people down there in perspective relative to this forest of giants. Some fallen trees also lay across the forest floor leaving giant stumps to mark their original position. Even on the elevated trail, while brighter than down below, full sunlight struggled to pass through.
Among the rusty tree trunks I noted not only the coolness of the shade, even on a warm spring day, but also the relative lack of insects. The acidic tannins in the bark of these trees being relatively inhospitable to many insects and the shade limits the growth of many following plants on the forest floor. The base of the trees being dominated by fallen debris or batches of ferns.
We then decided to take a path out of the narrow valley and up the hillside, following a route that rose quickly. Here it was remarkable how fast we left the limited territory that supports the giant trees, down in the valley near the water from the creek. Up here only the scattered similar tree can be seen. This shows just how limited and special this remarkable ecosystem is and how just a little over a century ago people thought nothing of clear cutting these places out of existence. If not for a few determined voices like John Muir and William Kent places like Muir Woods would just be a memory, existing only is grainy black and white artifacts from the early days of photography.
Richard Preston, Author, Andrew Joslin, Illustrator , Random $25.95 (294p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6489-2
What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from A Secret World
With the slowly rising warmth of the sun, in the early days of the northern, spring it begins. The soft warmth of the afternoon sun heats the trunks of maples and the soil below, thawing the sugary water within maple trees, triggering the upward flow of sucrose rich liquid signalling the trees awakening for a new season of growth.
In Quèbec this also triggers a flurry of activity among maple syrup producers who descend upon their woodlots in preparation for the new harvest. There are taps to check, buckets to monitor, sugar shacks to tidy, firewood to gather. All in preparation for the short burst of activity, usually just a few weeks at most, triggered by the slowly increased dripping of the sap into collection buckets.
Given rather vague directions we found ourselves on a rural dirt road in the gauzy sunlight of a Saturday afternoon, a distinct chill still in the air, and patches of winter snow scattered about. Placing a call to our host he directed us to keep going a few more kilometers to where we found him waiting for us at the entrance to his property. Turning up the gravel lane between leafless maples rising towards the suns faint warmth we parked and proceed to the small sugar shack. Steam was already rising from the open vents indicating that the boiling down of maple water was well under way. Awaiting the rest of the group I noted everyone was dressed for the season. Warm layers, hats, mitts and waterproof footwear. Gathering around the blue farm tractor with the plastic container suspended from the back our group finally formed, with ages ranging from seven to seventy, we awaited instructions. Those being essentially to follow the tractor as it went down the various paths between the trees. Everyone would then take some plastic pails, and disperse to the nearest tree with a metal bucket hanging from it, and lift the tin cover. If there was liquid in the bucket, detach it from the metal tap and pour the sugary contents into the plastic pail. When our plastic buckets were filled, take it to the tractor where the buckets liquid will be poured into the big container. Thus began a flurry of activity. Everyone scattered about through the trees, Adults helped children peer into buckets and pour the liquid. Some buckets were near overflowing with maple water while others contained barely enough to cover to bottom. It was all variable but little by little as the water was filtered into the big container on the tractor we incrementally worked towards a full harvest. On this day the forest was relatively dry and everyone was able to reach every tree while remaining, mostly, mud free.
At long last every tree was checked and every pails content transferred . Our group began to trickle back towards the steaming sugar shack. This time the tractor trailed the group. Peeking inside the entrance to the boiling room I noted the crew was stoking the fire with new wood as clouds of steam rose to the vented rafters. It looked like some early scene from the industrial revolution, all fire, heat, steam and boiling water. Here the temperature, water level and condition of the boil were carefully checked.
A flurry of activity ensued. Outside children ran about through the trees as the cabin crew set to work. A hose was connected between the big container on the tractor and the interior of the sugar shack. A small pump was then fired up and the maple water transferred for boiling.
As the afternoon waned outside, inside the cabin the maple water reached a foamy boil and soon enough the first batch of hot syrup dripped out.
Two members of the crew headed into the trees to gather some snow, placing it in a long wood trough. Bespoke supports were assembled and the snow filled trough was placed on top. Everyone gathered round excitedly, and wooden ‘popsicle’ sticks were distributed. Soon our host emerged from the steaming cabin with a mug full of hot syrup, which he poured in a thick line across the snow, freezing the liquid into a solid caramel-like form which everyone gathered from the snow by swirling their sticks.
The syrup vanished in a flash of activity as the daylight receded to a calm blue stillness, the suns modest warmth evaporated and the trees turned to grey sticks.
With the frozen syrup now consumed, the focus of activity turned inwards to the cabin where attention centered on the kitchen area behind the boiling room. Here the wood stove had been fired up and tables prepared. Everyone brought a contribution to create a traditional meal associated with sugar shack workers in days past. While commercial sugar shacks have become more like restaurants serving full course meals here we made a meal from everyone's contributions. Baked ham, potatoes, baguette, homemade coleslaw and relish, sausages, eggs and other traditional foods circulated among the group, its warmth appreciated after a long day in the cool fresh air.
As the evening meal wound down the fire in the boiling room ebbed as our group began to collect their belongings and bit by bit everyone drifted away in the darkness. A fun, memorable and somewhat productive day behind us.
What makes a photo ‘artistic’? Why would an image that at first glance may seem ordinary , actually be extraordinary? Without getting too deep into art theory I think this paradox can be answered without much difficulty. A snapshot, or everyday photo, is one captured with the intention to create a literal copy of the scene in front of the camera. In this role the camera acts as a sort of ‘Xerox‘ machine with the photographers intention being to capture, as closely as possible, some memorable moment. There is little intention or pre-visualization beyond that. This is why the majority of photos are taken.
What makes a photograph a piece of art goes beyond this. It becomes about intention. The photographer as artist creates an idea or concept in their mind and operates the camera and / or subject with the express intention of visually reproducing that abstract notion in a photograph. The image demands the viewer consider the created image, it’s intention and message, and even create their own personal interpretation of it. Whatever it is, it isn’t a strait forward, ‘Xerox,’ copy of what sits in front of the camera. It triggers other thoughts and demands careful consideration. Something not easily done in todays attention addled world of facebook and instagram.
Struggling to keep upright as gale force wind gusts whoosh across the abandoned runway I look directly ahead, though dense grey mist, towards the distinctive twin hills across the boiling winter sea that marks the point near which Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt met aboard the American warship USS Augusta in the summer of 1941. In the dark days of the second world war, before America was officially involved the two leaders had worked out an agreement for military cooperation and a framework for a post-war world known as the Atlantic Charter, generally accepted has basis upon which the United Nations would be built.
That world seems almost impossible to imagine from this vantage point. The massive American naval base that was built on this site persisted after the war, engaging in the monitoring of Soviet nuclear submarines operating in the North Atlantic. In phases, over decades however, the base slowly shrank. By 1975 the air base had been shuttered, leaving an aeronautical ghost town of runways, towers, hangers, bunkers, buildings, and assorted military debris, essentially intact and little used for decades afterwards. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 the peace dividend included the closure of the remaining United States Naval Facility Argentia in 1994, and with it one of the regions largest employers. Growing up in the area in the 70’s and 80’s it was common to see civilian vehicles with US Department of Defense stickers fixed to their bumpers or white US Navy vehicles on the streets.
All that history, all the relationships formed, it’s all long gone. From the vantage point of more than two decades since the base closure it becomes apparent that history is fading away. Exploring the former base it’s remarkable to see how many buildings and structures have vanished. Towers, power plant stacks, the massive residential apartment block, and family housing units. That said many persist. Some have been repurposed, with a new splash of paint, for civilian commercial purposes, while others slowly decay in the harsh marine climate, pealing, chipping, cracking and crumbling. Walking through the former base in the early days of the new winter feels like entering an abandoned, lost, world. Most of the businesses that now exist here are shuttered for the holidays and I’m free to wander, virtually alone among the remains. Along the vast, crumbling runways, their surfaces slowing being atomized into tiny stones with small plants pushing through. Nature reclaiming the land. Continuing past aircraft hangers barely holding on. Punctured with holes, steel girders threatening to tumble at any instant. Signs warning of the possibility of imminent danger. I wander past desiccated fire hydrants, their urgent colors still visible through rust and grit. Once bustling buildings now wear busted windows and pealing panels. Stacks of excavated asphalt and soil are piled like slag. A reminder of the more than $100 million dollars invested in cleaning up the decades of military waste. Aviation fuel, PCBs, heavy metals, and asbestos, just to name a few. The process continues as I note more signs announcing imminent demolition. I continue down roads that now seem to lead nowhere, just to an empty pad where some building once sat. Still, some large military buildings remain, having been re-purposed by metal works and fabrication companies involved in the various industrial projects that have brought a renewed degree of prosperity to the region in recent years. I ponder what their original, military purpose, had been. One seems like it had been a workshop of some sort while another baffles. It reminds be the of those large cold storage apple packing buildings in Washington State. I continually happen upon oddities. A former navy aircraft deicing truck, probably of 1960s vintage, a couple of rusty cannons that pre-date the Americans by hundreds of years, and modern shipping containers toppled by the pervious days wind storms like a child’s toy building blocks.
There remains an ever creeping feeling of the past being erased bit by bit. New industrial structures, dry docks, storage yards all steadily erasing the military past of the site. One day the physical reality of that history will simply, if imperceptibly, vanish.
The downtown's of small and medium sized cites, once left for dead by suburbia and shopping malls have, not unlike vinyl LP's, photographic film and cassette tapes, refused to die. Abandoned and affordable historic buildings and low income housing have steadily been encroached upon by gentrification. Drawn by the understandable appeal of vintage architecture and urban density these places have become a kind of frontier zone where various social trends of the early 21st century bump up against one another in an uneasy equilibrium. On the positive side this has created true mixed communities where peoples of varied backgrounds and income levels actually live together. Yet there still exists tension and conflict as developers see profit potential in these spaces which drives up property values and rents, potentially destroying much of what these areas so interesting in the first place.
These urban spaces are often filled with contradictions. A second hand store sits next to a high end food store, a farmers market faces a run down tavern. Numerous empty storefronts attest to the difficulty of running a viable business in these locations yet create a kind of shabby chic vibe. Varied scars of redevelopment schemes and fires abound, parking lots being but one example. Yet the draw to such places is irresistible for reasons as varied as nostalgia, trendiness and affordability.
At the end of the year I finished my last pack of Impossible Project PX680 instant film, as shown in the photo above, and ordered some packs of the new Polaroid Originals 600 film. This time I decided to go with two color packs and a pack of black and white, just to mix it up a little. On the last pack of Impossible I think I'd mastered, more or less, the art of getting decent exposures from this film with my circa 1986 Polaroid Spirit 600 camera. The trick is it slide the exposure level about half way towards dark, i.e. to underexpose. This seemed to mostly solve the tendancy of this film to blow out very bright or white / grey surfaces. On this last pack I was able to get usable results with each shot.
Apparently the new Polaroid Originals 600 color film has a new chemistry that renders the film more contrasty. I'll see about that soon enough but I can already see how that could lead to some very nice results if it holds up. Right now it's pretty dark and cold around here so I'm just waiting for some decent conditions to give it a try.
The new film comes in packaging very similar to the old Impossible Project film , just updated with the new retro-futuristic Polaroid branding. They did however put a little card in the box showcasing an old-school Polaroid camera, in this case the Spectra.
Nice touch. So stay tuned for my review of the new film packs.
Around town this year I've noticed an accelerating trend towards demolishing several less than 100 year old structures. These have included apartment blocks, from which people were evicted, an old factory complex, a neighborhood church, and soon, a fine example of 60's brutalist architecture.
Such is 'progress.'
Here'a a small experiment showing the changes in depth of field (in and out of focus areas) at a close focusing distance through a range of apertures. I set the stainless steel watch 25 cm from the camera sensor and the black watch behind it at 42 cm from the sensor. I locked a single focus point on the rim of the stainless steel watch and varied the aperture from f/1.4 to f/16 in steps. I used this lens because it's the only f/1.4 lens I own and there seems to be a lot of buzz around lenses with these very wide apertures.
Here's the first image using f/1.4. Note the extremely narrow zone of focus. Just the rim area is focused. Even the digits on the watch face are out of focus. This demonstrates the challenges of using very wide apertures at close range. If this were a person you could imagine the nose being in focus and the eyes blurred.
Stopping the lens down to f/1.8 broadens the in focus zone a little. The watch face digits come a little more into focus. In both cases the background reamins very out of focus.
Stooping down to f/2 continues this trend. Notice how the rim and watch face are now more in focus.
Lets continue to f/2.8. the trend continues. Also note there is still a pretty narrow depth of field even at this aperture. The slight angle at which the watch rests can be seen in that the upper part of the watch close to the focus point being slightly more in focus than the lower half of the watch.
Now at f/4 the entire watch face is in focus as the in focus zone expands.
Here at f/5.6 the entire watch face becomes sharply focused. Also the background becomes much less blurry.
At f/8 the watch face is razor sharp. The second watch come more into focus as well.
On to f/11 the same trend continues. The second watch and background, notice the photo on the wall, continue to coem into focus.
Now at f/14.
Finally at f/16
So there it is. Nothing too exciting but a useful comparison if you've been wondering about such things. Make note here that because I set the focus point just 25 cm from the sensor the background never comes completely into focus even at very narrow apertures such as f/16. If I set the focus point further from the camera this would of course change. Maybe that's an idea for another post.
As an aside I'll mention that the Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 is an optically superb lens with a very wide maximum aperture. It's a fantastic everyday general lens as its focal length is neither too wide nor too narrow on the crop sensor Fujifilm X series cameras. My only issues with this lens are its too easily moved-by-accident aperture ring and its size. Like many mirrorless camera lenses this one is quire large relative to the size of the camera body and negates somewhat the size advantage of using a mirrorless camera relative to a dSLR.
It’s coming up to the end of the year, which means it’s the time I usually refresh my film stock for my year-end and next year projects. One irksome trend I’ve noticed in the past few years is the lack of availability and crazy high prices for photo film in Canada.
Popular film stock like Kodak Ektar 100 or Tri-X 400, which retail for about $5-$7 a roll south of the border typically sell for $18-$19 a roll up here. This is outright crazy. These products are made in the USA and therefor duty free under NAFTA. The only difference, in theory, should be the exchange rate, which fluctuates but is around 20-30% normally. Yet these films are marked up about 3x in Canada for reasons I can’t understand. Instant film isn’t much better. Polaroid Originals film which sells for $19 in the US ( discounted another 20% for Black Friday BTW) sells for $38 at Amazon.ca and is chronically out of stock.
I guess retailers would make the case that they don’t sell much and it’s a niche product. At those prices of course it is.
Which forces me yet again to buy down south. Even factoring in the exchange it’s cheaper to buy in New York then in Toronto or Montreal. Many places even have free shipping to Canada if the order exceeds a a certain value. Even if you don’t place a big order shipping only amounts to $5 or $6 on small items like film.
Film isn’t dead, not by a long shot, but Canadian retailers are acting like it is.
Clowns can be pretty scary, just ask Stephen King
Anyway, what makes this particular image work is the combination of getting close and the mad collection of shapes and colours. In other words carefully choose your subject and then fill the frame creating the impression that it's coming for you.
Well, to nobodies real surprise Adobe has declared that from now on new versions of its popular Lightroom application will join it’s subscription only CC (confusing cloud). I can’t say I’m surprised. I saw this coming three years ago when I switched from Lightroom (version 3 at the time) over to PhaseOne’s Capture One Pro (version 8).
There were a couple of reasons why I jumped ship early. One was that I don’t really like subscription services. Especially one, where if you stop paying, the software you have on your computer stops working. No thanks. I prefer to own what I have and use it as long as possible, which for the version of Capture One I have is now three years and counting with no plan to change that any time soon. It does everything I need it to and it’s payed in full and will keep on going for quite some time yet. I’m not one to change much about my work flow very often, neither software, computers, cameras or lenses. What I have works for me. As for the alleged savings of subscription services I’ve already saved money at this point relative to the $10 per month Adobe wants for it’s photography CC package. What about Photoshop you might wonder? Well most Photoshop type tasks for me consist of re-scaling images, minor tweaks or changing file formats. All this I’ve found to be easily handled by GIMP, which costs $0.
The other issue that pushed me away from Adobe was their inadequate / problematic support for Fuji X camera RAW files (.RAF). It wasn’t supported at all by my version of Lightroom so I would have had to upgrade anyway. At the time and for quite sometime afterwards Adobe's support for these files was widely considered the worst among popular imaging software packages. So combine these factors and it was easy to make the move. This also points out the flip-side of one of the supposed advantages of subscription software. With new software updates come lots of news bugs and arbitrary changes (interface, features etc.) which you may not enjoy so much. It’s not all win-win, change can be disruptive.
I’m sure there are people out there who always gotta have the latest this or that and don’t mind paying the cost, in terms of time, money and frustration. For me though I prefer to just concentrate on the images not on all the gadgets around it. If what Adobe does works for you, great. If not however, just realize there are viable alternatives.
One of the knocks against instant film such as the new Polaroid Originals (i.e. Impossible Project ) instant film or Fuji Instax is the cost. This is usually somewhere around $1-$2.50 per image. Not exactly cheap no matter how you look at it.
There is something to keep in mind however. Instant film has never been cheap to shoot. I remember cost being one of the arguments against buying Polaroid cameras 35 years ago. Back then, as you can see from the scan of an old Sears catalogue, a pack of Polaroid SX-70 film cost $9.99 for 10 images. Seems ok right? Well a quick inflation adjustment calculation means that $10 in 1979 money is about $32 in today's money. So yes instant film has always been expensive. Not surprising when you consider the complexity of the chemistry and packaging of the film pack however.
By those standards today's Polaroid Originals film, which retails for about $15-$19 per pack of eight images is relatively affordable. Of course a simple inflation adjustment calculation doesn't mean that if the original Polaroid Corp. were still around and making film a new pack would cost $32. Outsourcing, optimization and other cost reductions would probably have kept the price from climbing that high.
Still, it pays to keep things in historical perspective when drawing conclusions about the cost of things. It's all relative.