18 July

Catherine’s Beginner Tips: A Visit to Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland — DO IT!

Hi there! My name is Catherine. I’m Sam and Darwin’s photo slave (er… assistant). If you come to a workshop or talk done by oopoomoo you’ll probably meet me. Don’t tell Sam and Darwin I told you, but I’m really the brains behind the operation over here! 😉 I will be writing some beginner’s tips here and there; I hope you enjoy them!

Me and Ed in Iceland eating the yummy ice cream!

As many of you may know, a group of 14 friends of oopoomoo went to Iceland in June. Some of us headed to Iceland a couple of days prior to the start date of the photo tour. On our first afternoon, while visiting the Reykjavik Tourism store, Ed and I decided to book a flight to the Westman Islands for a day.  The Icelandic name for the group of 15 islands is Vestmannaeyjar. We were going to go to Heimaey Island (pronounced Hay May) which is just a ­­­20 minute flight  south of Reykjavik. It’s the one and only Westman Island which is inhabited. Approximately 4200 people live on the island.

Here is the link to an intro video of Westman Islands.

We left the hotel around 8:00 am, picked up our tickets at Eagle Air and were on our way in a SMALL plane at 10 am.  17 seats is small to me!!! We sat near the wing, where I could keep an eye on the right side propeller! I kept fear at bay and stomach contents contained within, by concentrating on taking photos through the teeny tiny window.

Here we go!

Flight to Westman Islands

View of Eldfell – Mountain of Fire

Our bus tour of the island did not start until 1:00. The lady who picked us up at the airport said that her husband conducts the 1 ½ hour boat tour around the island and had space for us on the next tour. Why not! Right away one problem arose. We were dressed for a BUS tour. Usually on a bus tour your hair doesn’t get blown into an uncomb-able matty mess and you don’t get DRENCHED on a bus. What I am saying is that we were not dressed for a boat tour on a windy day. Ed tucked his cap away and zipped his jacket up to his neck.  I strategically stood behind a tall, broad shouldered man who broke some of the wind. Stop laughing…..I didn’t say he broke wind!!


17 July

The Nordegg Mine Tour Results – Alan Ernst

We are happy to post each participant’s five favorite images from our second annual Nordegg Mine Tour (dates have yet TBA for next year’s tour/workshop). Up first is our intrepid host of the event, Alan Ernst from Aurum LodgeAs always, Alan’s fine eye for detail comes through in his selction of images. Alan used his Panasonic GH1, GH2 and Gx1 to make these images. Hey Alan, how many Panasonic cameras do you have?

©Alan Ernst – Groundsel: Lumix GX1 – Olympus 12-50mm at 86mm equivalent, f11, 1/16o s, ISO 200, + 1 EV

©Alan Ernst – Mine Marmots: Lumix GH2 – 45-200mm lens at 400mm equivalent, f5.6, 1/50 s, ISO 250, +2/3 EV, fill flash

©Alan Ernst – Processing Plant: Lumix GX1 – Olympus 12-50mm lens at 26mm equivalent, f8, ISO 160, polarizer, HDR

©Alan Ernst – Running Rusty: Lumix GH1 – Olympus 12-50mm lens at 200mm equivalent, f13, 1s, ISO 100, polarizer

©Alan Ernst – Silent Press: Lumix GH2 – 7-14mm lens at 16mm equivalent, f8, 25s, ISO 160, +1 EV, painted with hand-held flashlight


29 June

Alternative Iceland Photos – Ghostly Reykjavik Graveyard

There’s a lot more to Iceland than lava fields! Sometimes, Darwin and I found ourselves attracted to the most odd things to photograph…such as the Hólavallagarður graveyard in Reykjavik. In Alberta, we often don’t have such magnificent, mossy relics as these old boneyards. Consecrated in 1838, a plaque in the graveyard tells us that no family wanted to bury the first deceased in the new graveyard. Apparently, the spectre of the first person laid to rest becomes the guardian of the graveyard, welcoming the future inhabitants to their everlasting sleep. As with everything, somebody had to be the first…the dubious honour went to the wife of a Reykjavik judge, Guðrún Oddsdóttir. We didn’t see Guðrún’s ghost in the murky shadows under the trees, but visiting her little grave with its magnificent, large iron cross did inspire respect and awe…and maybe a little shiver. Her grave marker is captured in the final photograph below…and is that a little of her spirit in the wind-tossed leaves above? Rest in peace, Guðrún Oddsdóttir.

Hólavallagarður graveyard, Reykavik, Iceland

Welcome to Hólavallagarður…won’t you come in? ©Samantha Chrysanthou

Hólavallagarður graveyard, Reykavik, Iceland

©Darwin Wiggett

Hólavallagarður graveyard, Reykavik, Iceland

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Hólavallagarður graveyard, Reykavik, Iceland

©Darwin Wiggett

Hólavallagarður graveyard, Reykavik, Iceland

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Hólavallagarður graveyard, Reykavik, Iceland

©Darwin Wiggett

Hólavallagarður graveyard, Reykavik, Iceland

Three Crosses ©Samantha Chrysanthou

Hólavallagarður graveyard, Reykavik, Iceland

©Darwin Wiggett

Hólavallagarður graveyard, Reykavik, Iceland

Guðrún Oddsdóttir’s Cross to Bear ©Samantha Chrysanthou

20 April

Learning to See Photography Bootcamp in Yellowknife – Results

Samantha and I had a lot of fun with a great group of photographers this past weekend at the Learning to See Photography Bootcamp in Yellowknife. The photographers took to our assignments with gusto and pulled off some really creative images from ‘mundane’ subjects. Thanks to all for being such a great group! We also want to thank Lee Sacrey for organizing and hosting the event. Lee, you’re the best!

©Darwin Wiggett - The ice road in April (where is my motor boat?)

©Stephen Fochuk - Samantha and Darwin photographing at the bootcamp

©Stephen Fochuk - Bootcamp shootout!

©Darwin Wiggett - The welding teacher helps out with a demo

©Darwin Wiggett - Contemplating what to shoot

©Darwin Wiggett - Is that an approved point-of-view?

We were also honoured to participate as judges in the Skills Canada NWT event that was held in Yellowknife Tuesday, April 17. The event covered competition in the trades with high school and post secondary students participating. We judged the photography competition that had a photojournalism theme. We were again impressed by the level of skill from the competitors. Yellowknife has some crazy great talent!

Photo editing at the Skills Canada competition

Speaking of talent we also got to visit with one of Canada’s most talented commercial shooters, Dave Brosha! Recently Dave has posted an amazing photo that went viral around the web; check it out here.

Below are a few assignment photos from the participants in the Learning to See Photography Bootcamp. We hope you enjoy them. Click on their names to see more work! And stay tuned for Learning to See assignments here on oopoomoo where you can upload photos and get our feedback for free (of course chocolate is always accepted in appreciation!)

Steve Schwarz

©Steve Schwarz

John Clark

©John Clark

Trace Grunerud

Trace Grunerud

Stephen Fochuk

©Stephen Fochuk

Rachelle Gamble

©Rachelle Gamble

©Rachelle Gamble

Trevor Duggan

©Trevor Duggan

©Trevor Duggan

Samantha Chrysanthou

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett





21 March

Winter Photo Tour Results

This winter oopoomoo and Aurum Lodge hosted three Winter in the Canadian Rockies Photo Tours (Feb. 8 – 12, Feb. 23 – 26, and Feb. 29 – Mar. 4, 2012). In a previous post, we showed the results of the first tour in the form of a slideshow. If you missed it, check out the participant photos from the Feb. 8 – 12 photo tour. To see my (Darwin) results from this tour check out our new oopoomoo flickr stream or click on the photo below.

©Darwin Wiggett - Abraham Lake

Below is a slideshow combining participant photos from the Feb. 23 – 26 and Feb. 29 – Mar. 4 tours. Not all participants submitted slides for the show but those that did are listed below (check out their websites where hyperlinked!):

Erwin van Grootel, Fred Wasmer, Jennifer Rutledge, Juan Garcia, Matthew Goldsmith, Sheri Goldsmith, Mustafa Wahid and Greg Bukoski

To see my (Darwin) results of the Feb. 23 – 26 tour go to  our Flickr Stream or click on the photo below.

©Darwin Wiggett - Abraham Lake

Samantha came along on the last tour (Feb. 29 — Mar. 3) and we’ll post our results from that tour next week. Thanks for looking! If you’re interested in the 2013 winter tours, check out this link for more information.

3 March

Winter in the Canadian Rockies Photo Tour I – Results

Below is a wee slide show of participant photos from the ongoing Winter in the Canadian Rockies Photo Tours. After our workshops and tours, we share the great images made by our participants with the whole world. Be sure to stop by each of the participants’ websites to see more wonderful images! If you can’t join us for a future winter tour, you may want to learn more about some of the locations in the Canadian Rockies that we visit by checking out our Special Places eBook,  Kootenay Plains and Abraham Lake Winter Edition. We hope you enjoy the slide show.

Derrick Litovich

Alan Ernst

Dean Hebert

Lynda Taylor

Nicole Norris

Steve Pelton

For the HD version of the slide show go to this link

1 February

Talyn Stone Model Shoot with Dave Brosha

On January 28, 2012 Dave Brosha and a few of our photography friends went out on a windy Alberta day to make some environmental portraits of Talyn Stone. Wayne Simpson led the charge by making some Gothic-themed photos of Talyn along a line of silhouetted trees on a country road. While Wayne was shooting, the wind was totally epic and Peter Carroll and Samantha had to put some backbone into keeping Wayne’s light from blowing into Saskatchewan!

Once Wayne was ‘winded’, Dave took over. I’m sure purely for safety purposes only, he asked Talyn to go without clothes — you don’t want buttons and buckles and such banging about in the wind injuring people. Right Dave?

Peter Carroll continued photographing Talyn in the trees but he went for a softer, more romantic look. Samantha was up next creating some of her trademark ‘small person in the big landscape’ images. Branimir Gjetvaj documented the whole adventure and I ended the session doing fisheye portraits of Talyn on a lonely, dead end road.

Check out the video below for all our adventures and the finished images. If you want to see the video larger go to the oopoomoo TV video channel.

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Peter Carroll gives Wayne Simpson a ‘hand’ while Dave Brosha assists with the light.

©Samantha Chrysanthou

I show Talyn how it’s done. She never ended up using this pose. I wonder why?