Notes from a Small Town Street Tog (February)

“If we limit ourselves, a whole new world of possibilities will emerge.”

“Some situations terrify me. That’s how I know it’s time to press the shutter.”

“Even if I go out and return home with no photos to show for it, I still feel good. It’s only a loss if I’ve learned nothing.”

“In street photography you react. Thinking is for when you’ve got time.”

“I don’t take photographs for the taking’s sake. They have to mean something twenty years from now.”

“What is photography if it isn’t putting bookmarks in the pages of your life?”

“There is a point where you can become too technical or too demanding. After that the photograph no longer has meaning.”

“I don’t get angry if I have to shoot at a high ISO. After all, it’s not a contest to see who can produce the cleanest photograph. There are situations where I embrace grain.”

“The more transparent a camera is the more I like it. I just want it to do what I need it to do with minimum fuss. I have to get on with my work.”

“In small town street photography there are really only two approaches: either you have to become involved in a situation or you have to be invisible.”

“Sometimes we need to take a step away from reality to emphasize reality.”

“Being in a state of readiness and able to anticipate what’s going to happen is most of what I do.”

“A smile can go a long way in street photography.”

“I don’t consider all of my photos to be good. Many though, are necessary.”

“After taking someone’s photograph, thanking them then walking away must be a little bit like – What the fuck just happened?”

“We’re all colour blind at first.”

“I enjoy photographing dogs. They’re usually so attentive or not.”

Notes From a Small Town Street Tog (January)

“Switching from rain to snow mode. Brighter but still no shadows.”

“Down to ISO 1600. Woohoo!”

“An umbrella is still a necessary piece of equipment.”

“Absolutely miserable weather, but hello smokers! Thanks for being there.”

“Texture everywhere!”

“Poor visibility today. A contrast nosedive.”

“Lack of texture everywhere!”

“Can’t bother looking for colour.”

“Wait! Grey is a colour!”

“Embracing noise.”

“Getting much more selective…”

“Feeling ok about the lack of opportunities today. The fresh air was nice.”

“Close is REALLY close.”

“Noticing snowbanks and slush way more than I used to.”


“I still hate boots.”

“Is disconnect a form of interaction?”

“Blizzards and lens cleaning cloths are like popcorn and the movies.”

“A hot coffee sounds about right.”


The Beaver Pond

When you look at a place like this what do you see? After spending a few days here and photographing a beaver family, I see a magical forest Shangri-la teaming with birds, animals, amphibians, and insects.  People often see places like this from a distance, but they don’t experience them. Being a part of this place, I think I got a better education here than I did all through grade school.






Busy as a Beaver

A few important facts about castor canadensis (source


  • beavers maintain wetlands that act as the earth’s kidneys to purify water
  • these wetlands support a biodiversity that rivals tropical rain forests
  • almost half the endangered species in North America rely on wetlands to survive
  • wildlife rehabilitators claim beavers to be gentle, reasoning beings who enjoy playing practical jokes
  • beavers rarely overpopulate because they breed only once a year
  • they mate for life during their third year. One to four kits are born in the spring and stay with the parents for two years. The yearlings become babysitters for the new litter.
  • trapping is the most common source of mortality


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Strategies for Birds

Whenever I’m out in the field taking photographs of birds, I find myself relying on my musical abilities. It’s very seldom that I don’t hear a bird long before I see it.

There are certain bird calls that I’m quite used to hearing – the American Robin, Song Sparrow, Dark-Eyed Junco, Varied Thrush etc. But, every now and then something new moves in and I know it immediately because I don’t recognize the call musically.

Yesterday I heard such a call. And as it happens very often, the birds are some distance away and quite small. What I usually do after I hear a call is scan the area with a pair of binoculars trying to get a glimpse of what critter is making that sound. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to spot him, and this is where having a good reference for bird identification comes in handy. A good book, a laptop, or an Iphone is an essential aid.

Once identified, you may be able to have better understanding of the habits of the bird and where you’ll be likely to see him again.

I was very fortunate to be able to grab several frames of an Alder Flycatcher yesterday. The procedure was the same. I heard him. I spotted him at a distance. I referenced him. Then I waited and anticipated where he may show up again. Patience is the name of the game. And having luck and light is ok too.

Alder Flycatcher

ISO 400, 500mm, 1.4x TC, f6.3, 1/1250s, -1/3ev

Happy Shooting,