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

The Bride at the Summit: A Smartphone Photo Essay

On those rare instances when life hands you a wonderful scene, grab whatever you have that will make an image and use it! Traveling to Calgary, (see The Phototrucker’s Blues), we left the Fraser Valley under leaden skies and a downpour that rattled on the roof of our van.  Rain turned to sleet and then snow as we ground up the steady climb to the summit of the Coquihalla Highway, avalanches spreading towering piles of mounded snow and splintered tree trunks beside the road, and gray mountaintops disappearing into the overhanging layer of soggy cloud.  An hour passed, and slush turned into walls of dirty brown snow walling both sides of the highway.  Finally, the clouds thinned, and an isolated…Continue Reading

The Moods of a Subject: Lakes Road Barn, Duncan, B.C.

A bag of M&Ms doesn’t last me very long.  Nor does chocolate – any species, type or recipe. Many photographic subject as are as – or more – ephemeral than my bag of candy: rainbows, fleeting smiles, glimpses of sunset on a field of lambs.  However, there are some subjects that are persistent yet changeable.  These you can, and should, sample over and over again in their many moods. I live within four miles of this lovely, century-old barn, and drive past it almost every day.  I first photographed it one lightly overcast winter’s day as the afternoon sun brought a glow to its doors, and diffuse light from the thin cloud layer perfectly filled in the shadows.  This soft,…Continue Reading

The Photographer As Predator

Let’s face it – every artist is a predator.   Writers use their childhoods, their mothers, their life experiences (Tennessee Williams and the sordid South, Hemingway and the Spanish Civil War).  Painters use atrocities (Picasso and Guernica) and their mistresses.  We all take from our surroundings and companions to feed our art.  Often, the result is beautiful and restorative.  Sometimes the relationship is symbiotic; consider Alfred Steiglitz’ erotic images of Georgia O’Keefe that built her career.  And often it’s downright parasitic – let’s not even talk about the National Enquirer and the paparazzi. When I’m out on the street with my camera, I often see people in terms of images – and I’m hunting.  No jungle cat with an empty belly…Continue Reading

The Nap – An Exercise in Creative Cropping

There are times when I’m creative because I’m creative, and there are times when I’m creative because I’m scrambling to fix an error or rescue an image.  This photograph is one of the latter cases, and I ended up being ripped away from my comfortable dependence on the Rule of Thirds. The 1950 Ensign Selfix 16-20 is my primary street photography camera.  It is a superb little camera, hardly larger than a point-and-shoot, yet with the excellent Ross Xpres lens and a full range of shutter speeds. I recently spent two wonderful afternoons wandering the streets of Seattle, and shot two rolls of film of street people and an itinerant street preacher with the Ensign.  Receiving my film scans two…Continue Reading