After years of persistence and patience mastering his craft Sean receives prestigious Master Photographer in Fine Art designation from MPI.
Have you ever really wanted to go somewhere specific, and when you finally get to, it all happens so fast? That’s basically how I feel about anywhere new that I get to go! This was definitely the case in Arizona’s Antelope Canyon. I’ve seen countless pictures of it and yet nothing compares to seeing it with my own eyes. It’s amazing to see the artwork that nature’s power can create by something as simple as water mixed with sand, flash flooding into a colourful sandstone crevasse over thousands of years.
When I first laid eyes on this photo, a wolf howling towards the sky jumped out at me. I immediately started thinking about how I was standing on very sacred Navajo land, and their connection to the world around them. The Wolf is at the top of the food chain, as they are very intelligent hunters and travel in packs. The Wolf, or Ma’iitsoh as the Navajo people call it, is worshiped as a god and an ancestor
One of the biggest problems we have as photographers is stopping to enjoy the moment for ourselves. We get so caught up in the act of capturing the moment for others to enjoy, that we forget to completely disconnect from that and enjoy it for ourselves. This was one of those moments for me, I stopped myself for a brief moment and just enjoyed being alone in the shadows of the Ma’iitsoh.
Camera: #Canon 5Dsr
At nearly 300 feet below sea level, there isn’t a spot on Earth that you could stand further from the Moon all while wondering if you are in fact standing on it.
The combination of unbearable heat and salt will suck every little bit of water out of anything that lives here. But what makes this place so interesting is that it’s one of the few places, if not only in the world where you can be standing this far below sea level in the scorching heat and look to the top of the surrounding mountains in the middle of summer and see… SNOW! It’s surreal to see such a contrast in such a small area.
I scoured the area looking for the perfect composition, which is not as easy as one might think, there are so many different variations of salt formations that exist in this area. Some of them are very dirty and flat from being walked all over from others. I was looking for perfect patterns that were pristine and untouched, with very definitive lines. I wanted it to pull the viewer into the image and make them want to explore the foreground, all while still drawing their eye up into the distance.
”Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
I was on my way up to the top of Cypress Mountain, a popular recreation area just outside Vancouver, BC. I often check out areas well in advance, sit with the idea in my head, figure out different weather systems that would compliment that image and wait until the perfect picture arrives. Well, this is exactly what happened this day. About half way up the mountain it turned really foggy… which was very exciting for me, as I knew there was a lone tree in the field with nothing else in it’s way. I rushed to get myself in front of it, as fog comes and goes faster than anything i’ve seen. Sure enough… I got my gear out and rushed to where I knew this tree was, as I aproached it all of a sudden it’s silouhet slowly came out of the fog at me. I positioned myself so the tree was filling the frame and fired the shutter, for a split second all that existed in my world was this lone tree and the complete feeling of Solitude. Shortly, after that brief moment, the fog lifted and rolled out.
Photography has always been a mixture of countless hours of preparation, and pure lucky timing. I hope that never changes.
Who’s excited for summer??? Now that it’s getting warmer out (FINALLY…) I feel like I can look back on images from winter.
I had recently finished listening to an amazing audiobook by Robert Kiyosaki and it was fresh in my mind. One of his statements that really had an impact on me throughout the book was: “Life pushes all of us around. Some give up. Others fight. A few learn the lesson and move on. They welcome life pushing them around. To these few people, it means they need and want to learn something. They learn and move on. Most quit, and a few like you fight.”
This statement was particularly true on this day for two reasons. The first being that I was snowshoeing up to the top of this mountain with my 55lb camera bag on. About 3/4 of the way up after stopping every 10-15 feet to catch my breath, I thought to myself “I Sure hope the ambulance can get all the way up here when I have a heart attack”. However, it was the same state of mind displayed in that audiobook that told me “You’ve come this far… only to see what the view is like at 3/4??” That was enough to keep me trudging upward.
The second time that this statement popped back in my mind during this shoot was when I was all setup in what I thought was going to be the shot of the night. I had shot several frames on my panorama camera, but the light and the composition wasn’t really doing it for me. I left the camera and decided to walk around a little bit with the viewfinder to see if there was anything else that jumped out at me. Sure enough, I walked over here and looked through the viewfinder. About as quickly as I could get the viewfinder up to my face I was rushing back to my camera and flying over to that spot to set up and capture the view. I had just enough time to set the camera up, I readjusted all my settings and fire the release cable. I took one exposure at 2 minutes and by the time that was done the light had completely faded and night was upon me. I am so happy that I kept fighting and pushed my way up to the top for this scene. Hard work is always rewarded.
See you at the top!
“The drawing shows me at one glance what might be spread over ten pages in a book” from Russian writer Ivan Turgenev is a quote that resonated with me as I have always been a visual person, and just love how one image can say so many things to a variety of different people.
In the past, photography was regarded as a mere craft. The works of a landscape photographer wouldn’t necessarily be regarded fine art regardless of the aesthetics of the images. It’s not worth losing sleep over how the layman chooses to label your art (and whether they regard you as snap-happy or a producer of fine art photography worthy of being framed next to the great fine art photographers); it is however worth bearing in mind these 3 tips to fine tune your landscapes.
Lines: Use Them Wisely
Make yourself into a landscape photographer worthy of a fine art collection by considering how your photograph leads the eye of your viewer – It’s a great way to use the natural landscape to lead the viewer to the focal point of the image.
Using straight lines to dissect a shot can create scale, depth and be a dramatic point of interest in an otherwise unassuming landscape. A horizontal leading line gives a feeling of calm, a vertical line a sense of strength, and utilizing diagonal or multiple lines can imbue a landscape with a real sense of dynamism. Consider what it is about the landscape you’re trying to capture, and use lines to amplify that essence.
Shutter Speed: The Ultimate Control
Speed is your friend in fine art photography, and I don’t mean leaving everyone in your wake at sports day. A sense of movement (or lack thereof) gives a landscape that little bit extra. A long shutter speed can be used to give a rushing waterfall that silky smooth look, give the stars a slow crawl across a night sky, or some kinetic energy to a babbling brook. Conversely, snap the shutter for a fraction of the time to capture a dramatic freeze frame of a tumultuous sea.
Turn around: Evaluate Your Surroundings and Go With the Flow
You’re a master of your equipment and have no issues with hopping out of bed at an ungodly hour to soak your lens with the rays from the golden hour – but something’s not quite right; something you can’t put your finger on is stopping you from hanging your work in a Fine Art Photography Gallery.
Try literally turning around. Sometimes a rigid plan can work against you, and despite researching the best possible viewing points the results are off somehow. A little on-the-fly exploration can go a long way, fuelling creativity and translating your new found sense of discovery into your images.
Fine art photographers will testify that capturing the emotion of a place is the key to producing a great landscape photograph, but identifying this element doesn’t make it any less elusive. Keep these tips in mind and your work could be adorning the walls of a Fine Art Photography Gallery sooner than you think.
When I first saw this location I knew immediately that the tide needed to be out, in order to expose these amazing seaweed covered rocks in the foreground and give the scene some depth. On the day I took this image the tide was still going out when I arrived. Just as the sun dropped below the horizon, the tide receded just enough to expose the shoreline in the foreground. The lighting was just perfect and the seaweed covered rocks were starting to shine. Now it was just down to the camera.
I barely had enough time to fire off a couple shots, and before I knew it quickly diminishing light had faded away and it was dark out.
Come visit me this week at and check out my prints. I will be at the BC Home & Garden show until sunday!!
WHO WANTS TO WIN A LIMITED EDITION PRINT??
Well here is how you can do that!
1. Click on the link below:
2. Pre purchase your tickets for the BC Home and Garden show at BC Place
3. Come check out some of my work.
4. While you are visiting fill out a draw form and enter to win the print.
I will have a few select images on display in the Art Wall section of the show. See you all there!!
Sometimes its just about the simplicity of things. We tend to over complicate everything in life, but sometimes simpler things are much more enjoyable. It was a warm dry air kind of day and there was a fresh taste of prairie dust in my mouth. I was on a mission this mid summer day to find an image that displayed the vast distance in the prairies.
I had a much different idea in mind, but this is proof that if you just get out there, and allow Mother Nature to take the lead she will show you her colours. I came across this field, and for some reason it spoke to me. I stopped and got my gear all set up for the sunset. I couldn’t imagine what I was about to witness.
The sun dropped behind the clouds, and I thought that the show was over, but then about 60 seconds later a small part of the the sky started to light up. Then before I new it, the entire sky was lit up like a fire. Everything started slow but once it was going strong it took quite some time to die down. It seemed to stay alive for an eternity.
This is a sunset that I will remember for the rest of my life.