4 December

Welcome to oopoomoo

Samantha and Darwin taking a break on the Rockwall hike in Kootenay NP

Welcome to the new home of photographers Samantha Chrysanthou and Darwin Wiggett!  Those two names are a mouthful so we made it easy for everyone and just called the site oopoomoo.  Your first question probably is:  “What is oopoomoo”?

Well, the name actually doesn’t mean a thing.  Darwin made it up one day while lounging on the couch (there was probably wine involved).  We just like the name and it stuck; it makes us laugh.

But the concept behind oopoomoo relates more to our attitude towards life. Life is short:  why not just do the things you love and live a balanced healthy lifestyle? Why not give back a little instead of always taking? Why not live a little softer on the planet? Why not have fun and smile a lot? Well, oopoomoo is our attempt to live that kind of life. We are photographers and photography instructors and we love our work. But we also love nature, hiking, eating, drinking, art, music and, in short, life. We want oopoomoo to reflect our passion about these things, and we want to share our passion for living well with the world.

But oopoomoo is also about listening.  We’ll share lots of information on photography but also on a wide variety of other topics that are relevant to people who care about the earth’s natural systems.  And we want to hear from you about steps you may be taking to be healthy, happy and yet a little softer on this well-worn earth.

Welcome to oopoomoo!  It’s going to be a great journey.

Sam and Darwin

1 December

Pimped Out Tripod For Winter Shooting

Surprisingly a lot of people ask me about my legs… I mean my tripod legs (no one asks about my athletic personal legs). They wonder where I got the special soft covering for the upper legs of my tripod that keep my hands off the cold metal.  Of course, you can go on-line and buy manufactured tripod leg coverings but you’ll spend from $30 to $50! Ouch! For less than five bucks you can make your own tripod leg covers from foam pipe insulation and hockey tape (the best tape to use ’cause it can handle the cold). I went to my local ‘hardware’ store to get what I needed. Canadians probably know where I mean and that special place even gives you their own printed money for each purchase saving you another 5 to 10 cents to boot! The only other thing you’ll need are a pair of scissors. Heck, I am the least handy of handy-men. If I can make my own tripod leg covers then so can you. Watch the video below to see how it is done!

If you are looking for more winter photography tips for cheap be sure to come to our Twoonie Talk (a twoonie is a $2 coin up here in Canada) on Winter Photography in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park on January 21st here in Cochrane (free parking, free coffee and close to that special ‘hardware’ store so you can buy goodies for your own tripod leg coverings. Hey did you know they even carry hockey tape in all colours including the ultra chic Camouflage, Lilac and Hunter Orange)?

27 November

How to Create Great Nature Photos No Matter Where You Live

The two most common excuses I hear for a weak portfolio of nature photos is that the photographer doesn’t own the ‘best gear’ and that the photographer lives far away from any area of scenic beauty. Neither of these excuses is valid. I know of many photographers using old or inexpensive cameras, and living in less than inspiring locales that consistently create wonderful nature photos close to home. In the end, photography is about seeing the potential of your surroundings. You don’t need to go to exotic destinations or visit a national park to get great nature photos. The next great image is as close as your backyard.

Give Yourself an Assignment 

At least once a month I give myself a photographic assignment to stretch my ability to see.  For example, most people have houseplants or flower bouquets in their home. I will book off a morning and just roam around my house with my camera and tripod and try to create interesting photos of the flowers and plants. This exercise forces me to see the light in my house and to recognize the beauty of my familiar surroundings. Often I find things beyond the plants that turn into photographic gems such as raindrops or frost on a window, a ladybug in the leaves, or a cobweb in a corner (what a great excuse to avoid house cleaning, eh?).  The point is simple, give yourself time to really look at your surroundings and you will find images that are powerful and evocative.

©Darwin Wiggett - Graphic interpretation of houseplant leaves

©Darwin Wiggett - Water drops on window at dawn

Get Outside 

A lot of nature photographers shut off their shooting eyes when they are on home turf and often turn to mindless entertainment (e.g. TV, the internet, or video games) to unwind after a day at work.