It is that time of the year again. Time to choose the best photographs of the last year.
2015 was a year rich in events, both photographically and otherwise. I became a Master in The Arcanum. I travelled within North America, making it as far west as the Kootenay mountains in British Columbia, and found myself in New York City a few weeks later.
Artistically, I started a new process of refining and distilling my artistic statements. As a consequence of that it will soon be time to call an end to the era of Heliomedia, which began in 1999. Early in 2016, I will be launching a new web site ericg.photography. Not only will it display a highly curated set of images, but it will feature full ecommerce capabilities including limited edition fine art prints and – eventually – ebooks and other educational materials. The site is active now, but currently displays only an email subscription form. Please drop by and sign up for the newsletter so I can let you know when the new chapter begins.
That’s a question I hear a lot when I teach an intro to photography course. At The Arcanum, my Foundation Level cohort has a few beginners and the techy details about photography are still rather mysterious and murky for many of them.
This is completely normal, and no one should be scared of adopting photography as a hobby—or potential career choice—because of what seems like a lot of techy lingo and complex weird settings to learn how to use. Basically, metadata is the information recorded within the image file (like a jpeg or RAW file) about which camera settings were in effect when you took that picture.
The metadata is a particularly useful learning tool when you begin teaching yourself the technical side of photography. Usually at that point in time, the details of shutter speed, f-stops and apertures, ISO and EV values, focal lengths and “exposure compensation” don’t represent anything tangible yet. You don’t “get it” because you haven’t “seen it” in action. So, by learning to easily access that inforamtion, you can compare the visual effects that different camera settings have on the final visual result. You truly get to see what that jargon means.
For example, visually comparing two images of the same scene with one image shot at f/2.8 and another at f/16 will have drastically different results in terms of depth of field. But it is the metadata that will tell you which one is which… Easy peasy.
About the Metadata video tutorial
This is a quick how-to video on how and exactly where to find the metadata within your image files. I demonstrate finding that information using Adobe Bridge, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and the Mac OS X Finder.
Adobe product screenshot(s) reprinted with permission from Adobe Systems Incorporated.
The goal of The Arcanum is to provide a safe, nurturing, collaborative learning environment where aspiring photographers can come together and learn together. As opposed to the traditional classroom style of learning, The Arcanum is based on the goals that the apprentice brings to the table. It is the apprentice that defines her or his objectives, where they want to grow. The Master is a friend and mentor, helping along the way. In other words, it is all about you as a photographer and where you want to go with your photography.
The Arcanum uses the Google+ platform heavily. Activities are held in communities, where each cohort has it’s own private space. Exchanges can be made as posts, chats, video calls and Google Hangouts.
(A cohort is a group of photographers who share a common start date, Master and general theme (such as portraits, fashion or landscape). Some cohorts are “General Photography” whereas some can be quite specialized such as “Black and White Architecture”.)
Apprentices go through the Levelling process, starting at Level 1, which is the first foundation level out of a total of 9. Most work is shared as a post to the private Cohort Community page where you will receive feedback from your peers. At Level 4, you will have a Hangout on Air with your Master where your critique will be recorded. At Level 6 there is a group challenge. Level 9 is the final critique before leaving the Foundation Sphere 0.
A Sphere represents one cycle of learning. The cycle of learning happens through the completion of 10 Levels within each Sphere. Sphere 0 and Sphere 1, the Foundation Spheres, consist of Levels 1-10 and 11-20, respectively. Sphere 2 is the first Focus Sphere and it consists of Levels 21-30. Sphere 3 contains Levels 31-40, and so on.
During my recent trip to Nelson, British Columbia, I had the chance to join up with Thierry Noblet of Kootenay Lake Aviation. Thierry is a seasoned pilot (and father of a photographer) so he knew the exact combination of ideal take off time, travel time and where to position the aircraft to get us to the Leaning Towers just in time for an amazing sunrise. The Leaning Towers are a range of mountains in the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Provincial Park and Protected Area just beyond the eastern edge of Kootenay Lake in southeastern British Columbia.
Location, location, location!
I have to admit that this brief 75 minute flight was an extraordinary experience for me, and resulted in some equally extraordinary images. It felt rather surreal that by 5:45am my “work day” was done and I had the impression that I had just fulfilled my photographic ambitions for the year. Nope, no way to beat that. And I hadn’t even had breakfast yet. For the remainder of that day, I had the surreal impression of “well, that happened!” without any means to follow it up in some way that could even come close to comparing.
It is that time of the year again: the end of December. A time to look back at the last 365 days and reflect on what happened. And choose the 14 photographs that best represent the evolution that took place in between January and December.
2014 wasn’t a huge year in photography for me, as in “going out and taking new pictures”. It was a great year in photography as in “aligning all the different aspects of my passion into a coherent whole”. I joined the ranks of Corbis. I spent a lot of time processing, cataloguing and keywording my older images. And I went to Iceland to take a few new images.
Iceland. The nature photographer’s dream destination. I have wanted to go to Iceland ever since I met my friend Þorfinnur on my first day of university in Montreal back in the late eighties. His passion for the landscapes and culture of his country remain an important influence on me to this day.
So, without further ado, here are my favourites images from 2014. Most of them are from Iceland of course. Please let me know what you think of them.
Öxarárfoss waterfall in Þingvellir National Park, Iceland
Öxarárfoss is a small (20 meters) waterfall in Þingvellir National Park, Iceland. It flows from the river Öxará and falls into the rift in between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.