8 September

Life Lessons We Learned from Brando (our dog)

Anyone who follows the oopoomoo blog probably knows about our dog, Brando, who starred in several of our photo instructional videos including Proper Use of Zoom Lens for Story-Telling Photos. Brando left us on August 26 for fields filled with ground squirrels, rabbits and jars of peanut butter and no one to tell him ‘leave it’ ūüėČ

Anyone who has had a dog knows how they wag and wiggle their way into your hearts. But even more so dogs teach us important lessons about life and Brando was no exception. Below are twenty life lessons we learned from Brando:

Brando second favorite thing was walks - number one was food!

Brando’s second favorite thing was walks – number one was food!

Lesson 1: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially if you only get fed breakfast!

Lesson 2: Be adaptable… where ever you are is the best place to be.

Lesson 3: Be direct, tell people what you need and want.

Lesson 4: Good hygiene is important; keep your privates parts in order!

Lesson 5: Leave your mark every where you go.

Lesson 6: Puppies are annoying but they deserve patience.

Lesson 7: Always stand up for yourself and your ideals.

Lesson 8: Protect the ones you love.

Lesson 9: Only dumb dogs work for free!

Lesson 10: Don’t look a food gift in the mouth.

Lesson 11. Always lick the hand that feeds you.

Lesson 12: Always lick little kids; they are often covered in food residue.

Lesson 13: Parking lots are gold mines for tasty snacks!

Lesson 14: Everything is an opportunity.

Lesson 15: Don’t waste your time with the wrong people!

Lesson 16: Never complain about things you must do for those you love.

Lesson 17: Stop and smell… everything!

Lesson 18: Trust your instincts.

Lesson 19: There is no bad time for a nap (except at breakfast!)

Lesson 20: Be patient; rewards will come your way.

Going forward in our life, we’ll take Brando’s lessons to heart. If your dog has taught you important life lessons,¬†let us know in the comment section below.

Brando came into my life as a 6-month old puppy on August 26, 2004.

Brando came into our life as a 6-month old puppy on August 26, 2004.

Brando in the morning of his last day on August 26, 2014

Brando in the morning of his last day on August 26, 2014

13 February

Quick and Dirty Processing Tips – Retro Photoshop Technique Using Quick Mask for Making Great Skies!

If you saw our last blog post you learned how we used the retro technique of using Quick Mask in Photoshop to paint on local selections. In this video we’ll show you how we use Quick Mask in conjunction with the gradient tool in Photoshop to make more dramatic skies. To learn more about our processing tips be sure to see our eBook; 7 Quick and Dirty Processing Shortcuts for Lazy Photographers.

10 February

Quick and Dirty Processing Tips – Retro Photoshop Technique Using Quick Mask for Local Selections

Back in the early days of Photoshop, one of the easiest ways to paint on a selection was by using Quick Mask. Of course, now there are a million and one ways to do the same thing but even with all the innovations in making local selections, Samantha and I still find we go back to our tried and true method of using Quick Mask. If you want to learn more about how we do this see our eBook 7 Quick and Dirty Processing Shortcuts for Lazy Photographers and watch the free videos below:


3 February

Celebrating 10 Years of Photo Tours and Workshops in the Canadian Rockies

Samantha and I realized that 2013 marked the tenth year for our photo tours and workshops in the Canadian Rockies! Time for a wee celebration!

So as we embark on Bubbles and Lace 2014, we leave you with this short video. ¬†And we remind you that spaces are filling in our remaining Canadian Rockies 2014 dates.¬†Spots are limited to ensure everyone has access to instruction and the amazing scenery; we are based out of a¬†fantastic eco-lodge in the heart of the stunning scenery in the Canadian Rockies. We hope to meet you soon at a mountain near us ūüėČ


4 September

IRIS Photographic Society of Alberta – Old Cars and Copyright Fundraiser

Join Samantha, Peter Carroll, Ian McGillvrey and myself as we teach you about the finer points of asking permission and getting a property release from car owners at the Cochrane Classic Car Club Show and Shine¬†this September 15. ¬†The video below shows you what not to do and has a few tips on how to properly approach a car owner for permission to photograph. We have pre-negotiated a few owners to sign releases for participants who sign up (we have made the process a little less scary for first time street photographers). As well, we discuss in detail issues of copyright, model and property releases before we head to the streets. And finally we’ll give your images a detailed critique at the public showing of participant’s favorite photos. Learn how to avoid the most common mistakes photographers make when taking pictures of public events, and learn what your rights are as a photographer when it comes to your images. If you enjoy taking and sharing pictures of parades, rodeos or other public events, the skills taught during this unique workshop are not to be missed!

To top it off, this great event is a fundraiser to support the IRIS Photographic Society of Alberta! So come out and have some fun and learn the ins and outs of street photography. For more information about the event please check out this link!

Thanks to Dave Lovell of Gone Wild Kennels for his great job as the car owner in the video!

And thanks to our local sponsors, Legacy Guitar and Coffee House and the Nan Boothby Public Library¬†— you make learning opportunities like this one possible!

19 July

Bubbles and Lace – Winter in the Canadian Rockies Photo Workshop

For those interested in coming to see Abraham Lake, The Bighorn Wildland and Banff and Jasper National Parks this coming winter be sure to check out the video below that showed my results from the 2013 photo tours. In 2014 Samantha and I are changing the tour format to a workshop format. What does that mean? Photo tours are about guiding photographers to be in the right place at the right time – it assumes photographers know what they are doing and our job is simply to guide you to appropriate locations in the right light.

A workshop, on the other hand, is about teaching first. We are there to help you be a better photography by hands on learning, assignments and reviews. Sure we will be in great locations in good light but we will make sure you came away having learned a great deal about the art of photography and personal expression. The workshop is about your growth as a photographer and secondarily about the locations (which of course are amazing!). If you are interested in the 2014 workshop be sure to sign up soon as the 7 spots are going quickly!

For those of you venturing out on your own we recommend these three resources to help you find good locations and to do it safely:

Kootenay Plains and Abraham Lake Winter Edition

The Icefields Parkway Winter Edition

Winter in the Canadian Rockies

©Darwin Wiggett - Abraham Lake at sunrise in winter

©Darwin Wiggett РAbraham Lake at sunrise in winter

19 April

Bubbles and Lace; Winter in the Canadian Rockies 2013 Photo Tour Results

We are pleased to present a little slide show showcasing participants’ images from our Winter in the Canadian Rockies Photo Tour from this past February and March. For 2014 we have changed our winter photo tours to a workshop format with more directed learning, assignments and but still plenty of shooting time in stunning scenery. To learn more see our workshop description at ¬†Abraham Lake Bubbles and Lace.

The following photographers have participated in the slideshow; please be sure to click on their names to see more of their images images from the tour.

Alan Hays

Linda L

Susan Cooper Parker

Chris Manderson

Perri Schelat

Martin Chamberlain


Guy Kerr

Tony Dathan

Lisa Couldwell

Alan Ernst

Greg Bukoski

To see the high definition slideshow we recommend going to this link and expanding the view to full screen!

22 January

How to Properly Use your Zoom Lens to Tell Better Stories in Your Photos

Brando and I made a wee video on how to properly use your zoom lens to tell better stories in your photos. Are you using your zoom lens to its full potential?

1 January

The Twelve Beers of Christmas – Imperial Brown Ale

Happy New Year from oopoomoo and the end of our Twelve Beers of Christmas. We end this series with another Norwegian Beer called Imperial Brown Ale and a wee video about how we photographed the beers for this project. Notice anything weird about my hands?

The tasters at work!

The tasters at work!

©Darwin Wiggett - the final beer in the series!

©Darwin Wiggett Рthe final beer in the series!

Tasting Notes

We seemed to favour a lot of dark beer during this project, likely because dark beers seem to work well in the cold dark days of winter. (And strangely, we didn’t end up with any American beer… they must have been all sold out then, because we have some big faves from the States. Next year!) The Imperial Brown Ale is deep red in colour and well balanced with hints of nutmeg. This beer goes down smooth and creamy! This is an easy drinking dark ale that is friendly with food but has enough character to be enjoyed on its own. What better way to end this series and cheers to all for a fantastic New Year!

1 December

Why Photographers Should Shoot Video

In November, I attended an interesting seminar on filmmaking by the folks of stillmotion. The presenters asked the attendees to share by show of hands how many of those present considered themselves photographers as opposed to cinematographers or videographers (yes, there’s a difference says stillmotion). I was surprised to find myself not surprised by how many photographers were present. If you pause and think about it for a second, why would photographers be at such an event? Don’t you need fancy gear with names suggestive of secret sports-moves like ‘sliders’, ‘pocket dollies’ and ‘T-mounts’? I mean, we photographers deal with stills for heaven’s sake, discrete moments in time that, even when you string several together in a row, still reveal small gaps just like pearls on a string.

stillmotion homepage

Stillmotion’s website

So why was I surprised to not be surprised? Because when you think about it, actually photographers are perfectly poised to delve into the world of motion pictures. The best photographers capture stories in the sparest way possible — nothing is in that single frame that doesn’t add to the idea we’re trying to convey. We can’t rely on fancy movements to keep the viewer interested; we have to use our knowledge of light and composition to get to the heart of the story every time we click the shutter. All this means we should be able to take what we know about light, composition, point-of-view, sense of place, mastery of time and working in colour and tone and take the step from one still to the thousands that make up a motion picture.

Technology has made a potential videographer out of almost every photographer. But I think photographers can do more than just video-record a bunch of stills in succession: I think we can use our cameras to tell powerful stories, to be cinematographers. The talent at stillmotion are versatile story-tellers, but they never lose focus of their goal of creating great stories.

I think here at oopoomoo we’ll be turning our cameras toward moving stories more and more in the coming months. (Now if only I can get Darwin to memorize his lines! Any suggestions…??)