Bill Carter, Master Jeweller

Wandering down the narrow, branching streets of old downtown Nanaimo will take you past the ornate stained glass of Bill and Jean Carter’s Bastion Jewellers.  Bill …”practices traditional jewellery making the old-fashioned way. He carves master models out of wax to create custom designs then hand-fabricates the piece which gives him the freedom to make exceptionally beautiful, high-quality finished jewellery. Whether it’s a favourite logo, ring design, or an art-deco reproduction of an antique item, we create custom items in gold, silver, platinum, or a new blend of platinum-silver.” Yet it is Bill himself who is the gem of the shop.  I first met Bill bent over his immaculate workbench, carefully dissecting the workings of a classic mens watch.  He…Continue Reading

Breaking the Rule of Thirds: Alberta Evening

It is amazing how strongly the Rule of Thirds is wired into the human neural network.  Cropping pictures, I slide the margins this way and that, looking for unusual ways to place my subject and compose in an interesting and unusual way.  Yet in almost all cases, the subject clicks into one of those magic four points, and the image suddenly gels and gains strength.  There’s no logical reason why those points should work, but they do, and most of my pictures have the subject situated according to this classical rule of artistic composition. So it is with great pleasure that I take a picture where I can throw away the rule of thirds, emphasizing instead the wonderful symmetry of…Continue Reading

Cutting Keys at Hardwick’s: A Study in Complexity

Clearly, this is not Home Depot.  Welcome to one of my favourite haunts: Hardwick’s Hardware in Seattle.  Want a reverse-bladed Japanese saw?  A fine set of wood turning tools?  Brass corners for an ornamental box?  Endless numbers of delicate wood carving tools?  Racks of pliers with smooth points, long points, duckbill jaws, round jaws? If you have specialized hardware needs, from tiny 00 brass wood screws to a fine pocket knife, Hardwick’s has it. Any photo of Hardwick’s is a study in complexity.  Classicaly, one aims for a clean, dramatic image that highlights the subject.  This image breaks those rules; the young key cutter is almost lost in Hardwick’s clutter that fills the cases and tabletops, then climbs up the…Continue Reading

Craft and Art Fairs: The Sidewalk Artist

Music festivals, craft fairs, and art fairs are rich hunting grounds for vintage camera photographers.  Look especially for artist’s booths, as one may capture an image of someone sitting for their portrait or a face being painted.  These subjects are ideal for vintage cameras, as they are typically sitting very still; since the maximum aperture of a lens encircled by the mechanism of a leaf shutter is typically around  f/3.5, this allows use of a slow shutter speed. Fortunately, this chalk artist at a sidewalk art festival in Denver was well and evenly illuminated by indirect afternoon sunlight bounced from surrounding buildings.  The original image included many legs and feet of spectators and passers-by; judicious cropping isolated the artist and…Continue Reading

Two Women: Montreal 2010

Much of photographic composition is about the use of space.  In some compositions, the subject and the space around it become the dominant elements, and the creators of tension between space and subject. Walking through one of Montreal’s many cobbled courtyards,I saw these two women and took an image from a distance with my Ensign 820 and Ilford XP-2 film…Continue Reading